Resurrecting the 8088 Micoprocessor

I've started a new project--building circuits around the Intel 8088 microprocessor.  I am unsure how far this will go, but the idea is to hit the basics such as addressing external memory, fetching instructions to execute, handling interrupts, managing I/O, and other essential needs for a PC.  I will assume that you don't have much of a background in digital circuits or computer design.  However if you are savvy with the aforementioned, I will assume that you are capable of skipping through. 

Residence in South Korea

I currently stay with a family in Seoul.   We are on the fourth floor of a twenty-one story condominium apartment building.  Living spaces here tend to stack vertically instead of horizontally, so residence in a high-rise building is typical.  Space is scarce in South Korea.  In addition to the small land area, mountains cover around seventy percent of the country.  As a result, most of the population is concentrated within the remaining flatland; and the high population density in urban areas calls for these high-rise dwellings.  The apartment design and quality may vary from building to building (You might even see a Samsung condominium), but the common feature is stacked living.

Adjusting to South Korea

Two days after landing, I’m still adjusting to South Korea.  My internal clock stutters when telling the local time.  Aside from the jetlag, I am sore from all the standing and walking I’ve done.  The public transportation here is great, but it will only take you so far.  It will usually get you within a 20 minute walk of your target, but the rest is up to you.  It’d be difficult to have a sedentary life here.  People frantically run everywhere, even in high heels.  And the streets are forever bustling with swarms of passersby.  

It seems one can never establish a decent walking pace; an interruption is soon to come from someone jumping in front of you, stopping in front of you, or breaking a heel in front of you.  Here, traveling on foot is akin to agility drills in sports—jukes, double jukes, cuts left, hard cuts right.  I think this frequent interruption of pace, more than anything, is what has strained my body.  It doesn’t help that, without need, I’ve been toting around a heavy bag, which I’ve since lightened by unloading unnecessary junk.  Lessons learned.

How Not to Speculate on Bitcoin

It appears the year has started with positive bitcoin movement.  For those of you who regularly watch bitcoin, you are experiencing multiple episodes of deja vu.  We've seen this before; the price steadily increases over a short period of time, a few mild investments are made, and then the market is flooded with last minute speculators employing the "buy high, sell higher" strategy, which of course ends in disaster for them as well as everyone else.

Here are a few tips to remember before you become crypto-crazy and the market starts to bubble again:

1. Get in before the price curve starts to exponentiate (Buy low, sell high)

2. If jumping in while the price is rising rapidly, invest long (In the bitcoin market, that could be as little as a month)

3. Buying a ton of cheap alt coins will not make up for missing out on past bitcoin rushes

Cheers to Orbital Sciences, Cheers to SpaceX

Yesterday, Orbital Sciences' resupply spacecraft, Cygnus, successfully birthed with the International Space Station (ISS).  Cygnus brought with it a payload of 700 kilograms, the largest privately delivered yet.  The mission's success indicates Orbital Sciences' readiness to continue the Commercial Orbital Transport Services (COTS) delivery contract (A 1.9 billion dollar contract) with NASA.  Though NASA and Orbital Sciences publicized the event, the limelight soon shifted to another player within the space. 

SpaceX, which completed a similar rendezvous with the ISS a year earlier, launched an improved version of their rocket, Falcon 9, hours after the ISS captured Cygnus.  Since the Cygnus-ISS docking marks only the second time in history for a private spacecraft docking, one might think that SpaceX's mere rocket launch would seem trivial in comparison.  Well, that one would be wrong.