Archive for August, 2007

Eclipse images

Friday, August 31st, 2007

Although these did not turn out as nice as I had hoped, they’re still interesting. There was a total lunar eclipse the morning of August 28th. I set up the camera in our guest bedroom window to shoot every 5 minutes starting at 4:51 AM. Unfortunately, there were some clouds, and I wasn’t quite pointing where I ought to have been for maximum resolution, but practice makes perfect. In any case, the following collage, and animation resulted:
August 28, 2007 Eclipse Collage

Eclipse Movie

Note: Both thumbnails are cropped, so click to see the full images.

MacCready Joins the Flight Everlasting

Thursday, August 30th, 2007

I am saddened today to hear that Paul MacCready, aeronautical engineer and inspirational inventor, passed on August 28th into the great beyond. MacCready is famous for his prize-winning aircraft designs including his Gossamer Condor and Gossamer Albatross. These revolutionary aircraft, which were invented about the time I was entering school, were certainly a contribution to my interest in flight, design, and aeronautical engineering.
I recall watching Nova and other similar programs document the success of the Albatross as it crash landed on the beach in France, having crossed the English Channel and fighting the wind to reach shore.
I remember amazement at watching a radio controlled pterodactyl flap its wings and soar with grace. Some were still debating whether the beast could even fly, let alone a mechanical model.
His contributions to low energy flight carried into solar powered vehicles, including the famous solar powered Sunraycer which won the first race of solar vehicles by a wide margin.
AeroVironment, the company he founded, produced these and many other modern wonders over the last 35 years or so.
Thank-you Mr. MacCready for showing us all that “unachievable” things are always possible with the right vision and innovation. You will be missed.

New Gallery Features!

Wednesday, August 29th, 2007

I’ve added a major new capability to the Gallery which I think is very cool. Here are the details:

  • I have activated the “Keyword Album” feature. This is actually something that has been latent in the software for a while, but I hadn’t gotten around to setting it up. What it lets you do is quickly navigate the gallery by keyword, rather than (the somewhat arbitrary) album hierarchy (you can do something similar via the search feature also). In the left sidebar you will see a pull down menu which lists ALL of the keywords on the site (for now). At some point I will probably limit this only to the top 25 or so keywords, but I’m going to display all for testing purposes for a while. Once you are in a Keyword Album, each thumbnail will have keywords listed which will let you navigate to other Keyword Albums depending on what you click on. The albums should be ordered such that the most recent image (or album) is shown first. This example will take you to the Nathan Keyword Album.
  • You will also find the Keyword Album links on the bottom of the album pages (for the album’s keywords) and on the image pages (for the images keywords). So if you are looking at an image of beer and food (that has been tagged), you can click the keyword “beer” to see all images of beer.
  • If you have navigated to an image via a Keyword Album, there is also a link below the image which will allow you to view that image in the context of the original album (back to the normal hierarchy).
  • One consequence of this addition is that I’ve been editing the tags on quite a few images so that the tags are consistent and (reasonably) useful. As such, quite a few galleries and images will show as “Updated” when really nothing significant has changed.
  • There is also a new “View Latest Updates” link in the sidebar for each album. It will provide a dynamic gallery of the most recent images in that album (and children albums). So if you click on that link when viewing the top level gallery album, it will show you the most recent images in the entire gallery. Try it!
Edit: Added a bullet about the ‘view in original album’ link.
Edit: Added a bullet about the ‘View Latest Updates’ link.

Our trip to Maine

Wednesday, August 29th, 2007

Ok, so I’m a little behind in blogging about this, but I figured I better do it anyway.

Nate and I took a trip up to Maine to visit my parents August 5-13th. Chris joined us on the 9th after his business trip to Colorado. It was nice to be able to spend a good chunk of time with my parents and brother.

Here are some highlights from our trip:
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Microwave Madness.

Saturday, August 25th, 2007

Thanks to my Sis for bringing this to my attention. She didn’t blog it, but I will.

Certainly websites showing random things getting microwaved is nothing new, but Easy Mac Micro Maniac does it with such a nice web design and user interface that it’s certainly worth checking out.

You will not be disappointed by the Christmas lights.

The rest of the site is pretty odd, but strangely entertaining (it’s actually an elaborate add for Kraft Easy Mac, but that doesn’t make it any less funny).

Month Four Begins!

Saturday, August 25th, 2007

Nate turns three months old today, which means it’s time for another installment of the Photographic Growth Chart!
3rd Month

I’ve also put up several new pictures in the 3rd and 4th month galleries:
Rugby Anyone?
Boy Blue

Falcon 9 unveiled

Monday, August 20th, 2007

SpaceX has done a monster progress update (they actually put it up on the 17th, but I just noticed). Lots of pictures!

I just skimmed it, but it seems to be talking about their progress on the Falcon 9, and hopefully it will include some details on the Falcon 1 changes after the test flight.

Oh, and they’re hiring… I’m not really keen to work in California though.

Addition: Be sure to check out the latest firing test video. The audio is great.

Animated Knots!

Monday, August 20th, 2007

Thanks to Sis for posting this link.

I’ve always found the step-by-step line drawings of knots to be really hard to understand, despite being pretty handy with many knots. This website changes all of that.

Each knot is shown in a slide-show sort of animation that makes it very clear where the rope ends go. Also, there is discussion on the history and uses of each knot. Nicely done.

Check it out: www.animatedknots.com

10 years and so much more…

Thursday, August 16th, 2007

Today K & I celebrate out tenth anniversary. Ten. 10. Years.

I cannot imagine a better friend, a more stimulating person or anyone else that I could possibly be celebrating ten years of ANYTHING with, let alone a happy marriage. Every day I am amazed that I am lucky enough to to have someone like her at my side.

I decided to dig up some images to remind us of how much some things have changed, and others have stayed the same since we met. Obviously one of these predates our marriage (about 12 years is represented in the pictures), but it was important to me to go back near the beginning.

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US20: Another lost highway

Friday, August 10th, 2007

In lieu of the New York Thruway (I-90), we often take US20 when we are traveling from Caz to all points east. It’s a beautiful drive through the hills of central and eastern New York that lets you experience the small historic towns in the region. The Interstate system, which was originally designed for rapid transport of freight, is now the ‘fast-lane’ by which Americans cruise from city to city without experiencing the country in between. We’ve lost the fact that the journey itself is part of the experience of travel and not just the destination. This lost era, which I call the American Driving Era, was when roadside attractions were common place and hotels, roadside inns and car-cabins were needed in every small town. US20 like many US highways in this time period was not just a route to a destination, but a path along which a vacation could be formed. Our modern luxury destinations and centralized service vacations stifle the adventurer’s spirit that formed the basis of the United States for most of its existence. Now we’re lead to believe that exploration is something one does from a luxury cruise liner or a chartered helicopter.
So in an attempt to capture some of this Americana before it is lost forever, I am starting a new series of posts about a recent journey from near Albany, NY, to Caz. What could have been a simple 2 hour drive home was transformed into an all day whimsical adventure. Unfortunately, it was also often somwhat melancholy due to the disrepair and abandoned feeling one got at so many stops.
Abandoned Car Cabin Motel