Archive for the ‘Technology’ Category

Year-end link dump

Saturday, December 31st, 2011

In Japan, tradition for New Year’s Day is that it’s a fresh start – houses are cleaned, debts are paid, and so on. I’m not going to be anywhere near a fresh start this New Year’s, but I can at least try to clear out some of the links I’ve been accumulating.

This is not any sort of year-in-review, so don’t expect comprehensive links or dots being connected. This is just some of what I’ve accumulated in the last couple of months.

We’ll start with the Christmas/winter-related links while they’re fresh.

The Portal Christmas Tree is pretty cool. It’s appeared on a number of websites recently. The Portal 2 present wasn’t quite so widely noted. This last Portal-related link shows how Santa gets around quickly.

Instead of the Portal tree, which is one tree in two places, the Obama’s have 37 separate Christmas trees.

I’ve never cared for Star Trek ornaments, but I like this.

If you’re concerned that your stocking won’t hold your stuff, you can build one of these.

Do you tell spooky stories at Christmas? Some people do.

Some people like music to go with (inspired by) those spooky stories.

Some people have entirely too much time to play in the snow. Looks like fun. Back around 1977, I made this kind of fancy snow sculpture with my housemates, but I’ve not done it since then. Most winters, there’s seldom enough snow where I am to make an attempt worthwhile.

Art links:

Street Art Utopia has a wonderful retrospective of street art from the past year.

Variations on a theme. Some drawing are likely to be NSFW.

I like the fourth picture, but they’re all good.

Did Vincent Van Gogh have a vision deficiency?

Music links:

The Whitney Music Box. It’s fun to watch, too. Via.

Play Ukulele Hero.

So you’ve heard a song in a movie, and you want to know what it is.

Math and Science links:

A new technique lets you count the animals living in a body of water by monitoring the DNA in a sample of it.

This is amazing! MIT has a new high-speed camera system that can show the advance of light.

The archives of the Royal Society have been put onto the net for free access.

Nature wants to eat you.

This is cool! Watch the video showing how a new spray can keep your clothes and other things clean. I could use this on my windows and shower doors.

Another success for adult stem cells. To the best of my knowledge, all stem cell successes to date have involved adult stem cells, not fetal stem cells.

Do you believe in anthropogenic global warming enough to kill people? I don’t.

On science, pseudo-science, and heresy as it relates to AGW.

Nine equations true geeks should know (or pretend to know).

Technology and Toys links:

One of the Christmas presents I gave this year was a nice watch. Personally, I wear a cheap Casio watch currently, but I’ve been thinking of getting myself a nicer one. Here is one website I’ve checked out. You can find some nicer watches (definitely out of my price range) here, including this one that is wayout of my price range. It is beautiful, though. There is some attraction in an Android watch, though.

I had a Digi-Comp1 when I was younger. All that I have left is the manual. I may have to play with this emulator some time, but it was a pretty rudimentary computer, so perhaps not. Via Boing Boing.

I came so close to building one of these for a senior project in EE. I wish I had.

I have fond memories of Rogue, but they’re not too specific, because it’s been a long time since I’ve played. I wonder how close this is.

I haven’t tried this game-development system yet, but it looks interesting.

There’s not only an app for that, there’s now a brick-and-mortar app store.

It can’t tell you what changes were made, but there’s a new computer program that can tell you what parts of an image have been changed.

I remember reading this article (the Popular Science one) when it came out. I thought it would be a neat thing, and wanted to try making an aquarium pump. Unfortunately, I was a poor pre-teen at the time, and had no way to obtain the supplies.

This looks cool (and I almost put it in the art category), but I have to wonder about traction.

How cool is the idea of black boxes for archery arrows?

Politics, culture, and the economy:

An infographic about the Federal budget.

If the media were actually conservative, or even impartial or honest, this would be one of a number of major administration scandals.

The claim has been made that Occupy Wall Street is a grassroots uprising just like the Tea Party, but on the opposite side of the political spectrum. Is it? Is it really?

I had to ask some friends not to invite me for dinner if they were also inviting a specific neighbor of theirs to the same dinner; at each get-together where we were both present, he seemed to be challenging me to respond to his provocatively-stated political opinions, and I refused to submit myself to him being obnoxious all evening, and I didn’t want to make a scene. It’s not an unknown problem.

There are a lot of scary charts and graphs around. Here are two of them.

Are white men gods? Fred makes a good case for it.

At the very least, it appears that old Republican white men know what’s going on in the world.

Muslims have killed more than 1000 Christians this year. They don’t limit themselves to Christian targets though, and the numbers add up.

It used to be that medicine had little relation to or dependence upon evolutionary concepts. As that is no longer the case, I weep for the future of medical treatment.

When should you use violence? Don’t skip the comments.

Sometimes, they don’t even make an effort to hide their attitudes.

Food and Drink links:

A cheeseburger requires the capabilities of modern society.

Recipes for Liquers.

Highway closed by 20-ton Marmite spill. Kind of reminds me of the Great Molasses Flood.

I’ve made orange peel candy before, but it’s nice to keep a recipe handy.

I’m planning to try this recipe tomorrow night.

Sometime, I’ll have to try to make Italian Beef.

Most honey isn’t honey (according to the FDA).

Whisky and lasers sounds like a dangerous pairing, but it’s actually useful.

I’ve had a couple of these brews. I used to have some bottles saved from various brews with fun names (I had a bottle of Beer Goggles IPA, and two of the Denver Zoo’s custom labels), but I got rid of them some time ago.

I never really cared for Dippin’ Dots, although it was an interesting thing to try when I was young. It seems that other people feel the same way.

Miscellaneous links:

I propose that world building is the primary distinguishing characteristic of SF and fantasy.” Years ago, I attended a presentation on world building given by John Barnes. It was fascinating – among other things, he talked about Mac applications he’d developed to do forecasting of everything from expected rates of technology introduction to likely political alliances to popular names that could be extrapolated for particular future time periods.

Trade your old gold for a new cat.

Lost/missing culture

An enlightening discourse on Fantasy Armor and Lady Bits.

I’ve seen this guy before, but he wasn’t modeling bras then.

Speaking of modeling, a Swedish fashion chain is under fire for showing their clothing using computer-generated models.

Also, as a model, you should know what terms are in your model release.

Here is one link to a resource for learning languages.

Speaking of languages, they’re being mapped by Twitter.

Like a southern accent is good for a drop in perceived IQ, the same is true of dressing in a certain manner.

I think I’ve posted this before, but I ran across it again recently. An amusing anecdote about an attack cat.

Wisdom from Calvin’s father.

Ernie Pyle remembers Clark Kent.

And Bruce Wayne has a medical examination.

This is interesting – Mayan ruins found in Georgia.

It’s not GlaDos, but it used to be potato powered.

The Royal Navy is retrofitting submarines in preparation to allowing women to serve on them. I’ve written about this before; I think it’s a bad idea.

Be careful what you text. Also, review it to make sure it’s what you intend to send.

It’s a sad thing to note that this is necessary these days.

The Rocky Horror Picture Show actors – where are they now?

I haven’t gotten around to reading this webcomic yet.

Some nice newspaper headlines here.

Watch out for online dating scams.

UPDATE: Fixed a couple of links that weren’t properly closed.

I’ve been corrected

Friday, November 4th, 2011

A couple of years ago, I reminisced about the early days of personal computing.

Yesterday, a comment showed up on that post, pointing out that one of my memories wasn’t accurate, from the pioneer in the field who was involved.

Nice.

Technology just keeps getting better, doesn’t it?

Sunday, October 23rd, 2011

Miscellany 19

Sunday, September 25th, 2011

I’ve been accumulating a lot of links. Time to clear the tabs out.

A good overview of corruption in Obama’s DOJ here.

Interesting discussion of poverty here.

This must have something to do with truth in advertising: a supermarket chain has been forced to withdraw ads that show happy customers.

Useful knowledge: How to avoid going to jail for violating 18 USC 1001.

Not, perhaps, the best dietary choices.

It’s been a long time – I haven’t read much about spontaneous human combustion since I was in high school.

I’ve seen photos of people with elaborate facial tattoos before, but never in this context.

This is interesting – a section of Idaho where major crimes can’t be prosecuted.

Time for Science and Technology:

Carbon nanotube cables that conduct electricity as efficiently as copper? Bring it on!

This is a bit old, but … we can now measure the magnetic properties of a single proton.

This is also a bit old … a new type of car engine. These come around every so often. I was quite taken with the Wankel rotary engine, but it had problems with manufacturability. Maybe this one will work out better.

Visual cryptography. Interesting, but I’m not sure how easy it would be to extract the information into text form.

A visual reference to computer ports.

Fairly computer-centric, but, then, I am employed in the field of software, and I love the title – Here be dragons: advances in problems you didn’t even know you had.

New and improved wireless technology.

Fossilized feathers found in 80-million-year-old amber.

Here’s a scale model of the solar system. Be prepared to do a lot of scrolling.

On the subject of the solar system, here’s an orrery that I think is pretty damned impressive.

Continuing with science, the Ig Nobel awards are about to be announced.

Scientists are also planning to make an artificial volcano.

Here’s something unusual: placebos are becoming more effective. How’s that work?

Been hearing voices with nobody around? You may not be as insane as you feared – birds are teaching each other to talk.

A Z-machine interpreter and a list of games for it.

Technology keeps on improving our lives – here’s a self-inflating bicycle tire.

The Document Which Used To Be Called The MIT Lockpicking Guide. I downloaded a copy when it was called that. Related: a series of lessons on YouTube.

Some products aren’t well-designed. Here’s one example from a trade-magazine blog on the topic.

Time for a little humor.

Here’s something that’s a staple of Jay Leno’s “headlines” segments: marriage announcements.

Got OCD and like to cook?

Lord of the Strings?

I like some of these modified signs.

Not quite humor, but close … Which Programming Languages Make You Cuss More? More accurately stated: which programming languages have more cussing in comments in the code I looked at?

Lost and found

Wednesday, September 14th, 2011

I had my cellphone at home with me last night, but couldn’t find it this morning. I spent the day without it – not much of a problem, given how few calls I make/receive – and eventually found it this evening. It had ended up beneath the cushions on my couch.

If I hadn’t found it, it would have been inconvenient, but I probably wouldn’t have done anything about it immediately. Next week is when I’m eligible for a cellphone upgrade, so I’d have held off until then. I’m definitely going to get a smartphone. I’m surprised at how much I miss not having the web and maps available anytime I want them.

I’d have been interested in the Droid Bionic, but the reviews I’ve seen say that the display, although higher-resolution than other Droid phones, is fuzzier-appearing. I guess I’ll just have to choose something else. Unfortunately, because of the timing of my Droid dying, and not having a smartphone since, I’m not grandfathered into Verizon’s unlimited data. Not that I’ve ever used more than a couple hundred megabytes per month so far, but you never know what the future will bring.

Miscellany 17

Sunday, August 21st, 2011

There’s not quite an hour left in the 52nd anniversary of Hawaii becoming a state (in this timezone, anyway). Time to clear out the browser tabs.

Andy Firth believes that people who code for a living aren’t learning enough about the abstractions they use and what those abstractions are hiding. I happen to agree with that. My list of things that coders should study/know would be somewhat different than his, but that is likely to be just because of our differing backgrounds.

The economy is going to hell in a handbasket. My company isn’t exempt from problems; our customers have taken to using us as a bank that provides no-interest loans – customers on net 30 terms have been taking 90 days or more to pay. Here’s a good roundup of poll results with respect to the economy and the government’s handling of it.

Perhaps this chart explains some of the problem. Pay particular attention to the last two lines.

Accounting rules have, of course, contributed to where we are today with respect to manufacturing.

Oh, for the days when farming was fun!

While we’re on the subject of dynamite, I’d like to suggest this as a problem that can be solved with a suitable application of high explosives.

I don’t agree with Fred all the time, but he’s almost always worth reading. He’s got a sobering take on the London riots.

The closest I can come to matching this customer service story is to note that I used to be a regular-enough customer at a local Mexican restaurant that the staff knew my usual order. Nowhere near the same thing. I’ll have to get to a Morton’s sometime when I feel as though I can afford it; such service deserves reward.

I need to find out more about this. There may be nothing there, but, if there is …

Free online classes in AI. Might be fun. Here’s more information about other online education sources.

I saw an interesting documentary on burlesque a couple of weeks ago. This song was in part of it, but never sung in its entirety. I looked it up because it sounded fun. Note: the page automatically plays a MIDI file of it.

Surprisingly, it’s not a trade exposition for bad cooks

Tuesday, July 26th, 2011

Blechexpo

Miscellany 16

Thursday, July 14th, 2011

Let’s see what we can pull out today, shall we, boys and girls?

I don’t use picks much, apart from finger picks when I’m playing banjo. I do use picks when I play mandolin, but I don’t play my mandolin that often (and, actually, it’s on a long-term loan at the moment). However, I can’t help but wonder if I’d have a better grip and be able to keep the picks from sliding around in my fingers without having to clamp down to the point of cramps if I were to punch them out of old credit cards.

Carbon fiber is neat stuff. I’m quite taken with the Blackbird carbon fiber ukulele, although I doubt I’ll ever own one. Perhaps I can eventually learn to make my own, though.

If you’re interested, there are more extreme substances discussed here. I don’t think there are any hobby guides for using them, though.

There are a couple of new British reality shows in the process of finding cast members. I’m linking to this article because the shows are based in Liverpool, where I was born, and I enjoy stupid puns such as the series names.

Invisibility cloaks are now officially passé – now they’re proposing time cloaks.

This is an extremely heart-warming story. I so understand why the father feels like that.

We’ve long had computers that could play games, but that’s because they were specifically programmed to do so. There have also been computers that have been programmed with the rules for a game, then tasked with determining a winning strategy by playing countless games against themselves or other computers. Now there’s a computer that learned to play a game by reading the manual.

Here’s a cool video: one year of the moon’s cycles covered in 2.5 minutes.

If someone tells you that the Sun doesn’t affect weather on earth (which I’ve seen argued by some global warming/climate change advocates), tell them “thanks for playing; now go away.”

Lots of information about sunscreen here; some of it I’d known, and some I hadn’t. It does put me in mind of the letter purportedly received from a child by a book publisher: “Dear Sirs: I am returning your book because it is about penguins and it tells me more about penguins than I care to know.” The link goes to PDF file of a speech delivered in 1948 – I first ran across the anecdote (which I remember slightly differently) in an earlier edition of this book.

This looks like an interesting site to help with learning a foreign language.

Mark Steyn has a disturbing report up.

Here’s a series of mug shots. A couple of them show up more than once. All I can say is, the only way I’d get tattoos like these people is if someone drugged me and applied them while I was unconscious. And then I’d have to worry about getting mug shot, after I went after them.

And, finally, the (presumably) first Pastafarian driver’s license.

There’s no way that this will end well

Friday, May 20th, 2011

But it is pretty freaking awesome.

Miscellany 15

Tuesday, May 10th, 2011

Got some good stuff today, some of which I’ve been holding onto for a week or so. A little video-heavy, too.

First, one of those quintessential Japanese culture things: a cute girl with cat ears. These, however, are controlled by brain waves. It’s everywhere now, but I found it at The Presurfer.

When Marion and I were vacationing in Ecuador, we saw this volcano off in the distance. We saw a column of steam and ash, but nothing like this, although we did hear an occasional booming in the distance. It doesn’t really look like the same mountain in my photos, but that could just be the vantage point from which we saw it.

Volcano in Ecuador

I’ve known some vicious cats in my time, but I would never have expected that I’d need to be medevac’d after a knife fight with one.

Whisky by the shot. Via Cool Material.

A remake of When Harry Met Sally? Looks like it has promise. Via Bad Example.

When Harry Met Sally 2 with Billy Crystal & Helen Mirren from Billy Crystal

Bad Example also had this one, which is pretty fun.

I missed Star Wars Day last week. Whether you did as well or not, you may enjoy these retro Star Wars propaganda posters.

If you prefer Star Trek to Star Wars, you may appreciate hearing that a German television station gave the Maquis credit for taking out Osama Bin Laden.

I want one of these when they’re available.

Want a big photo of the sky?

A town with a population of 1? Sounds sorta familiar.