00.53.58 - Mark

Cold opens suck, but I finally got around to buying a microcontoller, opting for an Arduino Diecimila. I've been wanting to play with microcontrollers for a while now, but I've never gotten to the point where I bought hardware to play with. I've been reading about Arduino boards though MAKE for a while now, and they seem really powerful. Given the cost ($37 shipped from adafruit) I figured it was time to bite the bullet and buy one.

Other than general experimenting, I'm probably going to try and connect it to the analog gauge I bought a couple weeks ago. I don't know what I'm going to measure, but I'll figure that out one it's in my hands and can experiment.

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Random thought:

14.31.43 - Mark

I'm fairly sure that "Intellegent design" gets you the easter bunny.

You have a rabbit, except over grown and it's bipeddal. Its fur (a mammalian trait) is colored in pastel colors not commonly found in nature, and it lays bird eggs (an avian trait) which rather than the natural calcium carbonate, tend to have plastic or chocolate shells.

Yes its cool, but I'm not sure that it will survive in nature for very long.

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Bits and Words

23.15.02 - Mark

While I can appreciate Direct TV wanting to save some bandwidth when customers are requesting interactive menus, I really question the trade off here. Does randomly dropping words and letters from show titles really save that much bandwidth, and does that savings really outweigh the amount of customer frustration it breeds?

Truncated and abbreviated show titles in Direct TV's program guide

Truncated and abbreviated show titles in Direct TV's program guide

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Two steps taken

22.44.27 - Mark

Going offline for the evening wasn't so bad. I got someone tolerable at the CompUSA tech desk (can't really say the same for the customer service) and snagged one of those $30AR 200 GB seagate drives. Guess we're honoring George and his fellow Commanders by making their green tinted portraits go a little farther than usual. Gotta love this consumer culture of ours. Not that I'm complaining about a $30 hard drive. This pushes me up past .75 TBs in my primary computers. I think this is when I'm usually supposed to date my inner geek by making some comment about how I never thought I would fill a 160MB hard drive, let alone contemplate measuring my network's storage capacity in terabytes

Also stumbled across Stainless Steel Chopsticks at another store. Part of them is for the sake of having decent chopsticks around the house for when I eat Asian cuisine, part of me likes the idea of being able to toss a pair or two into my camping kits and not need to worry about them breaking or finding whatever silverware I need. Kind of like my brothers obsession with metal sporks

Too bad tomorrow isn't looking that enjoyable...

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Photoshop Doodles

01.44.01 - Mark

My brother needed some scans and light photoshop work done on a couple drawings he pencil traced / inked from photos he found online, and while I don't care about pop culture figures like Paris Hilton and Joan Rivers, I started doing some colorization on the scans. I spent about an hour kicking them around photoshop colorizing and smoothing the edges. I think they turned out extremely well. I might need to try my hand at some more.

Redrawn Celebrities

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I had a rant, it died, it died

14.56.51 - Mark

I was going to go off about how online content producers who serialize their content should edit it together after all episodes have been released.

Then I realized the way I was writing it was only making for a lousy argument that was allowing for too many exceptions for it to be valid anyways. The gist was that with bandwidth so cheap, there's no reason not to release an uncut version of your video/audio/text work when it's finished. It just pisses off the users who don't want to waste clicks. For those who don't like big bites, its easy to segment it in your favorite audio, video, or text editor.

Instructables is a perfect example of a hybrid system.

So reader, you've been spared a rant.

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Second Life

02.41.19 - Mark

As if I didn't have enough stuff to do in my real life, I've set up a Second Life Account. Second Life is one of those things that I keep hearing about, and in tonight's little fit on insomnia, I bit the bullet and signed up. I'm not sure I'll be posting my user info anytime soon. I'm usually not big on online gaming. A bit part of that is the laughable excuse of an internet connection the FCC allows Sprint to call "broadband" I use, another part is that I'm not the most social of creatures.

But there are always exceptions, and recently I have been a bit more social that I usually consider myself to be. As I understand it, and one of the reasons people seem to love it, Second Life is very user centric, with a wide variety of tools for users to make things with. When I was playing the Sims, not that I played that much, one of the big things for me was building the house. So I might take to second life. However its late, and I just finished the orientation. I'll have to wait and see if Second Life passes the Second Launch test. Most of the online games I've tried have never passed that test.

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Fun with Loose Change Pt. 1

16.59.33 - Mark

I was taking a quick look at Boing Boing this morning during class and noticed building bridges with pennies (and the Boing Boing Link). I was a) bored b) looking for something to do a time lapse video of and c) holding on to a few dollars worth of pennies for no reason other than to have a cup full of loose change. So mix in a little time and a steady hand and about 160 some pennies latter you get Pennies. (150kb 320x240 Quicktime)

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.5 License.

I would have done some more with it but my camera battery died and while it was recharging someone bumped into the table something fierce and knocked it over. I like the idea of small time lapse type videos so I'll probably do another on at some point.

Just as a side note for anyone getting my videos though RSS, the markw.us/rss feed does not currently support enclosures, it's main purpose is to provide the source for the feedburner feed (which does provide enclosures). Unlike some 'casters I don't have preference for which feed you use, but just be aware that RSS enclosures in the on-site feed will be added on a when-it-happens basis.

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Wiki, what's a word for repitition

23.30.55 - Mark

Recently I've been finding myself wander around Wikipedia and other wiki-based sites. Despite some of the criticisms of the open source document and user-changeable model that lets wikis thrive I like using wikis. For the articles of relative unimportance (ie I don't need this for a report), but where people love the topic and want to do right by it, its fun to go though.

But there are a couple problem when you start looking at them. The big one is one Jimmy Wales talks about regularly, some of the articles out there border on unreadable. Some can be filled with typos and obvious grammatical errors, or worse, lack any sense of continuity or purpose.

Those are bad. What's worse, and something I've been noticing more recently, is that a phrase, or even a whole paragraph of text will be repeated several times on the same page. On similar pages that can be understandable, and seems to be a fairly common practice, but on the same page its annoying.

I can't recall any single wikipedia article to cite here, but its pretty common most of the wiki based sites I've visited, and I remember seeing a lot of this in-article and cross article repetition at Memory Alpha (Star Trek Wiki Site).

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