Archive for the ‘Found on the web’ Category

Making music makes news.

Thursday, September 26th, 2013

Nathan and I make the news:
Father and Son to Play at Sunday Service

Guinness Book of Records Record for Throwing the Guinness Book of Records

Tuesday, May 7th, 2013

Thanks to the latest “What If” by XKCD author Randall Munroe, I watched this wonderfully amusing program on throwing random objects.

I laughed out loud for a good 30 seconds at the amazing toss at the 5:00 mark.


PS: I cannot confirm that they, in fact, set any kind of records for any of these tosses.

Little Bit of Awesome in Red

Wednesday, April 17th, 2013

If I had more money than I knew what do do with, I’d have $400 less now because I would have just bought a Lytro Light Field Digital Camera.

If you haven’t heard of this optical awesomeness, it is a camera that captures not just the amount of light and its frequency, but also it’s direction. Yes it is a vector imager. This technology was announced a few years back, but I hadn’t realized that it was commercialized already.

Why is this made of bacon flavored awesome? it turns out that if you know where the light is coming from, you can, in fact apply depth of field and focus _AFTER_ you’ve taken the picture. So having the wrong focus, or aperture is a thing of the past.[1]

  1. I assume that there is a dynamic range limit to this adjustment, since the camera itself does not have an infinite aperture. []

“Ring of Fire” and Don’t Forget Your Towel.

Monday, March 11th, 2013

Two very blog-worthy things today:

First, SpaceX continues to wow with their latest flight and intentional return to earth of their Grasshopper test vehicle. The flight profile reminds me of the early rocket videos that suffered from pogo oscillation. I do NOT recommend the following experiment if you wish to experience this yourself:

  1. Sit in a running car in an area free from obstacles.
  2. Ease off of the brake/clutch so the car is rolling along at idle.
  3. Pull the lever for your seat forward-back release. (Electric adjust need not apply.)
  4. Gently press the gas pedal.

Anyhow, check out their fun video, which will explain the title reference above. Make sure to look closely at 1:14 and it will all make sense.
Update: And now, with an actual link to the video!

Second, all hail the king of British science fiction humor, Douglas Adams. he would have been 61 today. Google has honored him with an interactive doodle.

Geek Chic?

Friday, February 22nd, 2013

For the Tux wearing spy? Or just the geek that has everything?
Stainless Steel 4GB USB Cufflinks

PS. Don’t buy these for me. I don’t think I own a single shirt I could use them with.

Apparently I’m not the only one…

Thursday, January 17th, 2013

I’m a regular reader of John Scalzi’s blog. He recently bought a snazzy new computer that, of course, came with Windows 8. He’s been posting his reactions, and today he added the following opinion about the Windows 8 workflow, and the Start Page in particular:

You have to stop what you’re doing, fire up a separate screen that obscures everything you’re working on, and locate a program in a tile (you can also type in the program name and then click on the result, but you still have to first leave your work environment). It’s a hassle, but more than a hassle it’s an arbitrary imposition of the UI on actual workflow. Or to put it more bluntly: Windows 8 is wasting my time, and for no good reason.

It’s not the sparkly computer’s fault, it was Win8. So now I’ve fixed that part of Win8 that was annoying me.

He’s using Stardock’s “Start 8” program to serve this purpose. I will probably be checking this out (or some similar alternate) myself.


Monday, May 21st, 2012

Thanks to the Bad Astronomer for pointing out this mind-blowing shot from the International Space Station.

Someone in a space ship, orbiting our planet, looked down and snapped a picture with his camera. The picture shows the shadow of the moon, passing across the Earth.

Moon's shadow on Earth from ISS
Click through to the original image.

Camels lay eggs?

Wednesday, December 7th, 2011

No? Perhaps figuratively? Ok, this thought is going the complete wrong direction.

Perhaps I’m late to the party, but I tripped over a site called CamelEgg that has historical pricing information for NewEgg products. This rocks, because NewEgg is my primary site for purchasing computer and electronic equipment. It’s probably a close race as to whether we spend more through NewEgg or CamelCamelCamel does the same thing for Amazon products, with CamelBuy for CamelCamper and CamelSounds.

Here’s an example of what you can get (and a sample of the current hard drive price hysteria):


Friday, November 18th, 2011

For documentation I do at work I occasionally use LaTex to format formulas for display or print. Like most markup languages, LaTex is extremely powerful, but requires a certain level of programmer-esque skills to use. I use it rather infrequently, so I’m constantly looking at various sources for reference on how to make a certain symbol or format a certain function.

This is a classic example of when a typical text based (e.g. Google) search falls short. How do you search for a symbol who’s name you don’t really know… or has such a common name that it’s hard to distinguish the one you want?

Well Daniel Kirsch made it happen. Today wasn’t the first time I used Detexify but in a moment of work avoidance I played around with it a bit more than I had in the past.

Here’s an example of what it does:

So yeah, you draw a little skull and cross-bones and it uses the power of some kind of (probably) neural net examination and finds the symbol you needed.[1] Try it out, it’s sort-of fun just to play with. You can also go to the symbols page and pick one to ‘train’. You then draw the image by hand (mouse?) and it adds it to its training pool.

He’s working on a new version that also does Unicode characters. It will also offload some of the searching by running the algorithm on the client side using Java. Pretty impressive that such a search can be done in a reasonable amount of time using Java in a web browser.

  1. No, I did not have a particular reason to put this symbol in my documentation… but boy did I want to find one! []

ISS Timelapse Videos

Sunday, November 13th, 2011

If you liked my previous link to the International Space Station (ISS) video, you’ll like this montage even better. 18 separate passes with shots of city lights, atmospheric glow, aurora, and thunderstorms. Thanks again to the Bad Astronomer for pointing this out.

Earth | Time Lapse View from Space, Fly Over | NASA, ISS from Michael König on Vimeo.

Make sure to select HD and full screen. There’s a list of where the passes are below the video, but see how many you can identify without the list.