Dot Matrix Sky Writing

December 14, 2006

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A few weeks ago I was driving when I noticed what I think can best be described as Dot Matrix Sky Writing. There were 5 jets crusing along puffing smoke in a cooridinate effort to spell out "Geico" across the sky over and over again. The results was pretty neat: image I'm not sure if you can make out the jets in this image or not, but they are at the right side finishing up the "O". There was a sixth jet that was trailing behind that who wasn't adding anything to the smoke. I guess he was helping to keep everything in line.


Costume

December 14, 2006

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This will tell you just how behind I am. I'm just now getting to pull images off my point and shoot camera from Halloween. I usually end up at a costume party for Halloween and have always had my little point and shoot with me. This isn't that different from most of the rest of the times when I'm out as I tend to carry it with me the vast majority of the time. Anyway, Halloween is always a fun time to shoot a lot so I get loads of great snapshots. With the point and shoot though, they always have the "blasted by flash" look since there is rarely enough ambient light to provide a decent exposure for the little machine. This year, I decided that I wanted to bring out the big camera. What better way to do that than to make my costume that of a photographer. Not that hard to do since I have all the gear and fixings, but I wanted to add an extra little touch so folks didn't say I wasn't really dressed up. So, throw in a laser printer, a lamination machine at Kinko's and a lanyard and you come up with the extra detail that makes the costume work.

Here's the result:

Halloween Costume

And here's a snapshot someone took of me that shows most of the rest of my costume.

image


Pandora Radio

December 14, 2006

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If you haven't seen Pandora and you are a fan of music, go there now. It's a way to create online "radio" stations by choosing some songs/artists you like and then it drops in similar stuff along with it. You can listen for a few songs without signing up, but it's worth it to register an account (it's free, but requires e-mail address). A while ago I was thinking about creating a music recommender site, but mine wasn't going to stream music, and I don't think there is anyway I could have come near this which uses The Music Genome Project for its backend. Kudos to the folks who pulled this off. Yet anothe fine example of a way the internet can broaden your world and help you find new things that are your style.


Pistol Report

December 12, 2006

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The air pistol I order last week arrived today. I setup a little target drop and pellet trap in the living room (that's right, I'm a single guy) and went through probably 100 rounds. The gun (which is a Gamo pt-80) isn't bad, but there are several things that I don't really like about it. Specifically:

  • The trigger pull is VERY heavy. I don't have a way to measure it, but I almost have to struggle with it a little bit to fire. This means that I have to put so much force behind it that it's incredibly hard to keep a precise aim.
  • The gun can fire with either double action or single action, but there is no difference in the trigger pull. The heavy trigger pull is understandable when using it for double action, but when you already have the hammer cocked, the single action should require a very light pull to fire. (If you don't know what the difference is between double and single action this Wikipedia article explains it well.)
  • The CO2 cartridges loose "umph" quickly. The specs say that you can get 30-60 shots out of one C02 cartridge. The first 30 seem fairly consistent, but after that, it seems to loose power quickly. If the trigger pull wasn't already such a problem this would introduce another error into the accuracy equation.
  • Since the C02 cartridge only gets about 30 full power shots, there is a lot of waste for the remainder.

So, all in all, not really what I was looking for. I'm going to see if I can send this one back and purchase a Daisy 747instead. That's more than I wanted to spend, but unless I come across something else, I think that's about the price point I'm looking at to get a more target shooting oriented air pistol.


Photo Books

December 10, 2006

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Another find from Kevin Kelly's Cool Tools is Blurb for printing photo books. I haven't used the service yet, but it sounds like Mr. Kelly has tried most of the players in the game and like Blurb the best. You can check out the full review here. It's so very cool that the technology of book printing has moved to the point where basically anyone can afford to have a one off copy or low runs of their personal book publised. I really need to find time to put one of these together.


Bionics

December 03, 2006

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We have had cyborgs among us for a long time (think pacemakers) and some bionics where thought can be used to control an external instrument. It's amazing to see how far the tech has come. Still a long way to go, but it's yet another case of what used to be science fiction finding it's way into our worlds. Here's to human creativity and invention.


Pistol Purchase

November 29, 2006

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Recently, I've been wanting to try my hand at pistol target shooting. After having gone out to a shooting range to shoot a couple Glocks, I began looking at .22 caliber pistols. The Glocks were fun, but a huge overkill for just shooting at paper targets. I had pretty much decided on going with a Buck Mark FLD based on reviews of the gun, but at around $400 for the gun, I was having trouble justifying it. I continued doing research and came across some articles that suggested that beginners start with a airgun. This hadn't occurred to me. I've shot a few pellet/BB guns in the past, but they were all on the low end. They weren't particularly powerful and the Umph behind each shot varied a fair amount which had a huge negative effect on the accuracy. After looking around it quickly became obvious that there are lots of quality choices out there now that seem like they will fit my needs. Based on some online reviews, I put in an order today for a Gamo PT-80. Initial benefits that I can think of now include:

  • Way lower cost for the initial gun purchase
  • Lower cost to operate
  • No background check required
  • I can setup a short target range in my garage
  • I'll shoot with it a lot more because I don't have to go to a range thanks to the item above

Fun Video: Stop Motion Piano And Drums

November 28, 2006

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Crafty use of video editing: Stop Motion Piano And Drums.


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