Astronaut Held on Attempted Murder Charges

February 6th, 2007

Lisa Nowak, who was on the July 2006 Discovery mission, has been charged with attempted murder. Crazy. I thought astronauts underwent an intensive psychological evaluation. I guess this shows how much good that does.

Apartment Story Web

February 6th, 2007

Part of the Gothamberg ProjectThe Gothamberg is a really cool visualization where you can interact with stories from people living in apartments. Users are free to contribute their own stories to the system. The stories are linked by keywords that the user types in ALL CAPITALS. These words from a web that ties different stories together “revealing complex connections between characters & places occuring in apartment buildings.” Its real fun to play around with. Note: you will need to click an author to get started on the Gothamberg page.

Blue Print of A Semantic Apartment

The same site also has a really cool piece called “Apartment” where users build their own apartments by typing sentances. The semantics of the sentence are broken down and used to create the blue print. The apartments are then grouped together into daily cities. And the best part is you can browse the apartments and cities in 3D. Definitely worth a look.

Four Centuries of the Royal Society

February 6th, 2007

Royal Society of London Visulization

Last year the Royal Society of London opened their online archive of journals to the public (it closed in December, and costs ~$9000 for a year subscription). This archive goes back over 340 years (1665 through today) and is home to some of the most famous works ever published: Newton’s work, Halley (of comet fame), Watson and Crick’s DNA, the discovery of aspirin, Benjamin Franklin, the list goes on. A really cool resource, especially when it was free.

Chris Harrison has taken all the citations from the archive and created a visualization of the journal over the past 4 centuries.

This visualization displays papers chronologically. Paper titles radiate downward from the vertical midpoint at a 45 degree angle. Within a single year, papers are sorted alphabetically. The year a volume was published is shown, centered among it’s respective block of papers. The size varies linearly by the number of number of papers published during that year’s volume. Authors are shown radiating upwards from the vertical midpoint at a 45 degree angle. Their positions are computed by calculating the average position of the papers they authored. The size of the author’s name reflects how prolific they were (linear relationship). Essentially, author names are “centered” above the time period they were active.

Bad Domain Registrars, Old GUIs and Translucent Concrete

February 5th, 2007

Apparently GoDaddy.com has a habit of disabling your domain name if another company complains to them (even if the site isn’t hosted by GoDaddy.com). Pretty messed up if you ask me.

Screenshot of Xerox StarInterested in the first GUI? Take a look at the old Xerox Star. This is the baby that started it all. Before Mac, before Windows, there was Xerox Star. Mac and Windows just “copied” it (not really, they also made many many improvements, but I don’t want to get into that debate).

Litracon has made a form of concrete that is translucent. Looks real cool. Imagine a city without shadow from buildings. Of course, really a building would still have a shadow (lots of stuff on the inside is totally opaque, and the Litracon isn’t that clear) but still, this stuff is cool. They will send you a sample for €60. Maybe a friend and I can go in on it together.

Hand Held Video Projector

February 5th, 2007

Lite Blue Optics
This just so cool. Its not on the market yet, but its a pocket sized full color video projector (the model pictured is monochrome). Uses laser diodes (one of each red, green and blue) to draw the image. They don’t explain the details, but I bet it uses a DLP or equivalent. Lite Blue Optics (the creator) claims only 1.5 Watts at max power. That means it could be powered by the battery in your PDA or cellphone. My one concern, its so small that tension on the cables that connect it to the PDA/cellphone/computer could cause the projector to refuse to stay level.

Real Life Where’s Waldo?

February 5th, 2007

Jim Gray is lost at sea. His friends have setup a Mechanical Turk HIT where you can look at satellite/spy plane photos of the area in an attempt to find his boat. I did 100 images today before work. How many can you do?

3-Instruction Target Forth

February 5th, 2007

Frank Sergent demonstrates (and provides code for) a 3 instruction Forth. Using a Motorola MC68HC11 he manages to get the whole Forth written in 66 bytes. And from that humble 66 byte origin you can bootstrap any Forth program you want into the system. Provided you have enough memory :). It looks really cool. I think I’m gonna try it out with a PIC18. Though getting the serial port to work will take some more code, so I bet its gonna be larger than 66 bytes. But hey, the PIC18s have much more memory so its all good.

Frank also has a version Pygmy Forth that he runs on an ARM processor. I have been meaning to get an ARM and try them out. Look real cool. Much beefier than the PICs i use now.

Good Ideas, Cool Photos and Odd Uses for Ballpoint Pens

February 1st, 2007

Maciej Ceglowski has posted his list of “Good Ideas” that he has had in the past year. “Birth-control pilsner” is my favorite.


The Reason for the Word Structure
An awesome photo by erik the homelessapien. Not quite sure what it is, but I love it.

Apparently you can use a ball-point pen to cause a NMI (non-maskable interrupt) with a PC and an old ISA card. Ah, the Bic pen. Truly an indispensable tool. Whether you are debuggin a computer, breaking a Kryptonite lock, making a homemade syringe or just wanting to write a note, Bic pens are the way to go.

Music Mappings

January 31st, 2007

Over at kiev.ua they have worked out a system of mapping music to square where

Diagonal, vertical and horizontal intersections through the center of rectangle correspond to the strong beats of the bar and “time” coordinate. Distance from the center to the edge of rectangle is the second coordinate that reflects the pitch of note.

The rectangle should be isosceles (square), as the bars are equal by time. Distance from the center to the edge corresponds to octave; lower notes are located closer to the center, while high notes are closer to the edge of square.

The notes are transferred to the plane to their respective paths. There are 12 paths for the octave, according to the number of semitones in the octave.

Their theory also includes sound to color conversions, however all the examples on the site seem to be in black and white save one (which is in black, white and blue).

Some examples (they also have flash versions):
Beethoven's To Eliza Visualization Lennon/McCartney's When I'm 64

hobagletslive.com - Domain Name Suggestion Gone Bad

January 31st, 2007

GoDaddy Name Suggestion - HoBagletsLive.com

GoDaddy.com likes to suggest alternate domain names to you based on your query. I was looking to see if holets.com was for sale yet (its an ad site that banks on mistyping hotels.com). It wasn’t, but thats not why I am writing this. GoDaddy had some crazy suggestions for alternate domain names besides the normal {domain name}{online | home | site | blog etc. }.com it suggested hobaglets.com, besthobaglets.com and my favorite (amoung others) hobagletslive.com.

Is hobaglets even a word? I don’t know. For sure hobag is… not so sure about hobaglets (small hobags?). How it ended up in GoDaddy’s pattern database I really don’t know. Anyways, I have included a screenshot of all the “hobaglets” suggestions GoDaddy had for me.