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Archive for the 'cats' Category

Happy New Year!

Tuesday, January 1st, 2013

Kelly, our 21 year old kitty, enjoying her heated blanket

Is YouTube making us smarter? I really thought it was silly when it first came out but we spend so much time watching tutorials on it I recently bought an additional monitor so we can watch a tutorial on one and work with software we are learning on the other. I guess you can teach old dogs new tricks because videos aside I’m constantly amazed at what we have been able to learn on the internet. Recently, just for kicks, we taught ourselves a tiny bit of Mandarin at this website called memrise. They have all kinds of lessons there and although I’m not sure I’m really committed to learning to read a menu at a Chinese restaurant, the format is fun, the lesson are short and they have quizzes to help you remember.

Without the internet, I would never have been able to do this.

A scene from a game we are starting to write.

Or this.

Inside the house. No furniture yet.

If you buy a Tardis PC, is it bigger on the inside?

Here just a cool picture taken from inside a hot air balloon.

I think I may have posted about this place before. It’s a park that is underwater for part of the year.

This is a town in Spain where the houses and shops are built into the rocks and cliffs.

Happy new year everyone!

And finally, something to make you say awww

 

Asteroids

Friday, June 1st, 2012

Last month I told myself I was going to try to post more. So much for that. I spent a lot of time practicing digital sculpting and rigging characters and working on a silly walk.  Then out of nowhere a bunch of people I did web sites for wanted to redo their sites so I’ve been busy.

In the meantime I’ve been trying to come up with a good idea for this device from leapmotion. It allows you to control your computer with your hands going way beyond what you can do with 2d gestures. I would love to get one and the developer kit to play with. Virtual thumb wrestling anyone?

When I read this article about  Planetary Resources’ plans to mine asteroids it made me think about where wealth comes from. According to their website…

A single 500-meter platinum-rich asteroid contains the equivalent of all the Platinum Group Metals mined in history.

This article is interesting because it talks about the legality of mining in space.

Last month everyone was talking about mining asteroids. I was going to link to the jobs page at Planetary Resources because the application had some pretty amusing questions, but it seems they got so many applications  they took it down.

If this is actually practical, I kind of wish NASA had gone for it.  Maybe we wouldn’t have to pay taxes. I guess lately I’ve been thinking about not necessarily the Star Trek economic model where people don’t care about money but the whole asteroid mining via robots and delivering precious metals to earth thing got me thinking. What if there was something so lucrative no one would care if it were taxed at a rate where everyone could live comfortably from it.

Actually it reminded me of Project Azorian where supposedly Howard Hughes was building a ship to mine the sea floor for manganese nodules. The whole thing turned out to be a cover for an operation to recover a Soviet submarine. There’s probably some alien ship out there on an asteroid and this is their way of getting to it.

Speaking of Star Trek, I couldn’t help but think of Data in the Next Generation episode where they traveled back in time when I saw this photo.

It was interesting reading about metals in the platinum group. Apparently they are so rare because they sank to the middle of the earth when it was molten and the only ones we have now are from asteroid impacts. This article  is interesting as it is about finding ways to make catalysts which are far cheaper than platinum.

What if solar power got the same subsidies as fossil fuels?

BEC expects to be able to generate power at 1 cent per kilowatt-hour with no toxic emissions of any kind.

This article talks about “Modern Antiques” Today’s Kids Have Probably Never Seen where this one speculates about technologies young kids today will not remember.

They got me to thinking… “Hey kids you probably don’t even know we used to do math using a stick!”

This is just embarrassing.

Siri just got patched. Isn’t this the kind of thing that made HAL go crazy?

A lego crab.

I really love the light in this picture.

We ride at dawn!

And finally something to make you say awww…

Crowd Sourcing Science

Thursday, March 29th, 2012

I mentioned kickstarter in my last post. Until recently I would look at it and people would have projects there for games they wanted to write but often they were trying to raise ridiculously small amounts of money compared to what it takes to actually produce a game. The past month that seems to have changed with a few projects raising millions of dollars. Of course, these are well known people. I’ve had a game in mind for ten years or so I’ve wanted to write, but it’s hard to imagine doing it without large resources.

I ran across the site petridish the other day. They are attempting to crowd source science in the same way kickstarter does. I remember reading about DRACO, a project to create a broad spectrum anti-viral at MIT. It holds the promise to do to viruses the same thing that antibiotics did to bacterial infections. Those people should definitely get their project on petridish.

We occasionally have wasps building nests in our grill. At least they aren’t two and a half inches long!

This place is a good example of somewhere I would go a lot more often if I owned a self driving car. It’s about eight hours away and spectacular. You could just settle in for the night and wake up there. I had not thought about the point he makes in that link where people would probably own a lot less cars because most families could get by with one car. I disagree with his point in the last paragraph though. I think once most people have them, the insurance costs for driving your own car will become so high most people will not be able to afford it.

This is not a caterpillar.

Apparently there are glowing jellyfish in Japan.

And finally, something to make you say awww

Spring

Monday, March 19th, 2012

This site has been getting a lot of traffic lately and I keep meaning to post but I’ve been so busy. We have been working on an updated version of our game (more on that later). I’ve been talking to clients about mobile apps, and I’m working on web pages for people. On top of that I’m constantly learning new skills, and trying to retain and improve the old ones. And there have been distractions, the weather here in the central U.S. has been simply amazing for this time of year. Also I’ve been worrying about this girl.

Kelly

We had some blood tests run last week and she has some liver problems. Her kidney levels are high too, but I expected that as she had been sick a while back and  lost a bunch of weight. We starting feeding her the food she wanted instead her kidney friendly diet and her weight came back. I’m giving her antibiotics hoping her liver problems are due to an infection and not cancer. Later today I’m off to the vet to pick up fluids we will have to give to her. I know we have done it before but I’m not looking forward to sticking a needle in her and keeping her from moving around while we wait for the solution to drip into her. The good part is she seems to be feeling OK. Earlier we took a walk in the yard and she stalked a rabbit that was about her size. I don’t think the bunny had much to worry about but it wasn’t bad for a cat who will be 21 years old if she makes it to June.

Some of the things I’ve been meaning to write about are the many tools we used to write our game. Sometimes you wonder why there are so many games out there when you have to  program, do 2d and 3d art, produce sound effects, music, animation and on and on. One of the things I have been determined to do lately is to really learn to use Photoshop. I don’t like Photoshop! I find it very frustrating and often just give up and use a paint program I wrote years ago because, I wrote it so I know how it works. However, I recently bought a graphics tablet and decided to just grit my teeth and just plow into it. I have learned a fair amount of it over the years but some of the new tools are pretty amazing. I’m not going to do a tutorial here as there are already a ton of them out there. I was just going to mention content aware fill because it’s really cool.

Original

Altered

This isn’t a particularly good picture. I took it because I wanted to use the content aware feature to remove the blue tarp and the telephone pole. I used the quick selection tool to select the tarp. Now, even if you know nothing about Photoshop I just want to make a point. I did not tell the program how to fill in the area where the tarp was. I just told it to figure it out, and in this case it did a pretty good job. In the case of the telephone pole, I simply used the healing brush with content aware selected and brushed over it.  I’ve used this tool enough to know sometimes it doesn’t work and gives you completely ridiculous results but more often than not, it works and saves you a bunch of time.