Hackaday Links: November 6, 2022
Do you remember the token shortage? We certainly do, mainly because, as far as we can tell, it continues, at least judging by the fact that you can’t get a Raspberry Pi for the love or the money. But it must only be noise, because according to a report in the Straits Times, the chip shortage is not only over, it has reversed enough that there is now a glut of semiconductors. The article claims the root cause of this is slowing demand for products like smartphones, an industry that is seeing wave after wave of canceled orders from semiconductor makers like TSMC. PC chips are apparently also in abundance now, as the panic-buying machine spasm for remote work during the pandemic comes to an end. Automakers are still feeling the pinch, so much so that Toyota now only ships one smart key with new cars, instead of the usual two. So there seems to be a long way to go before balance is restored to the market, but whatever – just give us a call when Amazon has run out financing on a Pi 8 GB.
The long and sad farewell to the Mars InSight lander continued this week as NASA released the last spaceship selfie. Once you look at the image, the mission’s eventual cause of death is pretty clear – or rather, really dusty. The entire vehicle is covered in dust, and with its two 2-meter-diameter solar panels obscured, it’s only a matter of time before the batteries can no longer be charged. The InSight team is preparing for the end by making sure all the latest data is collected and transmitted, even while they massage the power management systems to keep the lander’s seismometer working the most. long as possible. The team is even flipping the mock-up of the ForeSight lander, which was kept on a model Martian surface and used to plan robotic arm movements before sending instructions to InSight.
We followed Lufthansa divide, again relationship with Apple AirTags with some amusement, mainly because it seems much more likely that the airline is trying to manage perceptions of its baggage-handling prowess rather than mitigating the risk that a CR2032 coin cell battery will do fail a flight. And while Lufthansa finally gave in, it seems other airlines are now also interested in alienating their customers. Air New Zealand just banned AirTags in checked baggage, though oddly their version of the TSA hasn’t been asked to remove any devices it finds. And just to give you an idea of why airlines might actually do this, check out this story about certain AirTag-equipped camera equipment that was allegedly stolen from checked baggage and tracked to a private residence in Alaska.
And finally, we presented a really cool engine simulator a while back that really seems to have captured people’s imaginations. It’s understandable, because as cursed as the internal combustion engine may be, there’s no denying that it can sound really, really great, and the simulator was designed to replicate the sound of various engines based solely on their dynamics of fluids. We have to admit that we didn’t really grok the whole thing when it was released, mainly because it was too much fun to mess around with in the sim; we spent far too long trying to get it to replicate the gurgle of the air-cooled, horizontally opposed four-cylinder Volkswagen engines that were our introduction to auto mechanics at the time. But now, the simulator’s author, Ange Yaghi, has released a follow-up video explaining in detail how the simulation works. It’s worth watching, even if just to see its homebrew physics engine through its paces.