Mac Pareidolia and The Moon Rabbit

July 20, 2014

Hi there.

Cracking open a Mac to upgrade the hard drive reveals a little pareidolia robot on the motherboard waving to say, "Hi."

Paraphrasing the global tome of knowledge, Pareidolia is the psychological phenomenon of a random image being perceived as significant. Common examples include seeing animals or faces in clouds, the Man in the Moon or the Moon Rabbit.

In related news: Today, I learned about the Moon Rabbit who makes The Elixir of Immortality.


Temptation, thy name is Bubble Wrap

June 21, 2014

Opened an office closet to discover this giant roll of bubble wrap.

That's gotta be, like, a million bubbles.

If it's still there in a month, it's fair game, right? I mean, a person can't be expected to just let that many un-popped bubble simply lie around, right?


No Books Here - Chamblin Bookmine Spacer

June 18, 2014

At 23,000 square feet, Jacksonville Florida's Chamblin Bookmine is one of the most impressive collections of books you'll ever see. Every square inch of wall space is filled with books.

Well, almost every square inch.


Welcome to New York

May 29, 2014

My fellow passenger missed a beautiful landing.

This photo was taken with a pocket size point and shoot camera. That fact amazes me. There has never been a better time to be a photographer. At least in terms of tools. And they keep getting better and better.


Backyard Double Rainbow

May 16, 2014

Mother nature put on a spectacular light refraction show yesterday. She did Roy G. Biv proud.


Backyard Wildlife - Dragonfly

May 15, 2014

My favorite of the mosquito eaters.


Nice Design Touch in RVM for Auto-Update

May 10, 2014

The Ruby Version Manager (or, RVM) is an incredibly useful tool for working with Ruby. It provides a way to install and switch between multiple versions of the language with ease. It also provides an excellent example of how to be a useful piece of software.

When installing a new version of Ruby, RVM checks itself to see if it's up to date. If not, it shows a warning:

Warning, new version of rvm available '1.25.25', 
you are using older version '1.25.14'.

Pretty standard stuff there. The nice design touch comes on the next lines. Not only does RVM describe two solutions, it also provides the actual commands that implement them.

You can disable this warning with:
    echo rvm_autoupdate_flag=0 >> ~/.rvmrc

You can enable  auto-update  with:  
    echo rvm_autoupdate_flag=2 >> ~/.rvmrc

Just copy and paste the echo rvm_autoupdate_flag=2 >> ~/.rvmrc string into the command line and RVM will update itself whenever it needs. Very nicely done, RVM.


Firing a Hand Cannon

April 24, 2014

In the 1971 movie Dirty Harry, Clint Eastwood delivers the famous passage:

I know what you're thinking, punk. You're thinking "did he fire six shots or only five?" Now to tell you the truth I forgot myself in all this excitement. But being this is a .44 Magnum, the most powerful handgun in the world and will blow you head clean off, you've gotta ask yourself a question: "Do I feel lucky?" Well, do ya, punk?

The official name for the .44 Magnum in the film is "Smith & Wesson Model 29". I have no idea if was the most powerful handgun in the world in 1971. It's certainly not anymore. Enter the Smith & Wesson Model 500. The .50 caliber (compared to .44) hand cannon. It might not stop Godzilla, but any non-fiction land animal is fair game.

While hanging out with a buddy for a Redneck Weekend, I got the chance to fire this piece of personal artillery.

We shot rounds loaded with 40%, 60% and 80% of the maximum amount of gun powder the pistol can safely handle. Safely, in this case, meaning that it fires the giant, deadly bullet down range without removing your hands in an uncontrolled explosion of fire and steel.

The 40% rounds felt like trying to catch a cinder block thrown by an angry line backer. At 80%, the blast concussion knocked animals within 100 yards and smaller than a raccoon unconscious. We didn't have any rounds packed to capacity with powder but I don't feel slighted. I'm not sure if I could have held onto the gun.


Incidentally, the Model 500's bullets are bigger than the .44 Magnum's. It only holds five shots instead of six. So, if you're in a Dirty Harry situation remember those numbers when you're trying to count.


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© Alan W. Smith
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