from the i-can-see-my-house-from-here dept.
krou writes "With a budget of £500, Robert Harrison used cheap parts, a weather balloon, some duct tape, a digital camera, and a GPS device to capture some great photos of the earth from space that resulted in NASA calling him to find out how he had done it. 'A guy phoned up who worked for NASA who was interested in how we took the pictures,' said Mr Harrison. 'He wanted to know how the hell we did it. He thought we used a rocket. They said it would have cost them millions of dollars.' The details of his balloon are as follows: he used 'an ordinary Canon camera mounted on a weather balloon,' 'free software' that 'reprogrammed the camera to wake up every five minutes and take eight photographs and a video before switching off for a rest.' He also ensured the camera was 'wrapped in loft insulation' to make sure it could operate at the cold temperatures. The GPS device allowed him to pinpoint the balloon's location, and retrieve the camera when it fell down to earth attached to a small parachute."
"More software projects have gone awry for lack of calendar time than for all
other causes combined."
-- Fred Brooks, Jr., _The Mythical Man Month_