Sunday, September 24, 2006

Isaac Asimov Talks about Computer and Robot

Isaac Asimov, biochemist, and exceptional writer talks about Computers and Robots.

YouTube link via Neatorama.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Seitz Digital Panoramic Camera

Here's the biggest, baddest panoramic camera you would ever see. The Seitz 6x17 Digital Panoramic Camera can take photos at a resolution of 160 million pixels (7,500 high x 21,250 pixels wide). Each complete photo weighs in at 950Mb.

No more having to take a group photo and having to tell everybody to squeeze in a little closer!

The only drawback is that it costs 28,900 Euros.

Solar transit of ISS and Atlantis

This is an amazig picture! Thierry Legault, an excellent astrophotographer in France, patiently prepared, and was lucky enough to photograph the Space Shuttle Atlantis two days ago, right after separation from the International Space Station.

He caught them both in the same frame, with the background of the sun, and from Earth!
He used a Takahashi TOA-150 refractor telescope, (diameter 150mm, final focal length 2300mm), a $9,000 telescope and a Cannon 5D camera and lenses.

The exposure was 1/8000s at 50 ISO, extracted from a series of 14 images (3 images/s) started 2s before the predicted time.

This made the Astronomy Picture of the Day today. I've never seen something like it.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Talk Like a Pirate Day

Ahoy me mates! Today is Talk Like a Pirate Day!

"Avast belay, yo ho, heave to,
A-pirating we go
And if we're parted by a shot
We're sure to meet below!"
"Yo ho, yo ho, the pirate life,
The flag o'skull and bones
A merry hour, a hempen rope,
And hey for Davy Jones."

To arms, me lads! The spoils of the snack machine shall be ours, to each in a fortieth share!

Sunday, September 17, 2006

The size of Tech-Ed Boston 2006

I don't think I commented on the size of Tech-Ed 2006 conference that I attended in Boston back in June (blogged here).

There were about 12,000 people attending! It was the biggest conference I've been to.

The logistics were nightmarish, yet they went without a glitch. Look at (part of) the lunch room on a photo I took from the walkway above. Tables as far as the eye can see.

The Programmer's Bill of Rights

Jeff at Coding Horror hits the nail on the head with his premise that it is stupid for a company to pay a good salary to a programmer and then give them hand-me-down old hardware. Therefore he proposes the Programmer's Bill of Rights.

His basic rules:

  • Every programmer shall have two monitors
  • Every programmer shall have a fast PC
  • Every programmer shall have their choice of mouse and keyboard
  • Every programmer shall have a comfortable chair
  • Every programmer shall have a fast internet connection
  • Every programmer shall have quiet working conditions
I am fortunate to work for a company that believes in all these dictums and provides a wonderful and productive environment. The only one that I do not fully get is the quiet conditions as we work in an open-space environment. This is easily solved with a good set of headphones and your favorite music. I'm all set.

See the whole list and reasons in his article.

Schneier: Recovering Data from Cell Phones

Bruce Schneier has a post on how easy it is to recover private data from cell phones.

"Trust Digital of McLean, Virginia, bought 10 different phones on eBay this summer to test phone-security tools it sells for businesses. The phones all were fairly sophisticated models capable of working with corporate e-mail systems..."
Why don't cell-phone manufacturers offer a clear-all function? The only way I know to really protect your information is to destroy the phone. There has to be a better way.

Favorite FireFox extensions

Joel on Software talks about his favorite FireFox Extensions. I was already using two of the three, but did not know about IETab.

"IETab takes advantage of the fact that Internet Explorer is available as an ActiveX control, which is available to be embedded in any Windows application, to open certain websites in Firefox using Internet Explorer. Whenever a website comes up complaining that you need to get "Netscape 4.0 or some other modern browser" you can just right click on the tab and it'll pop up right in Firefox being rendered by Internet Explorer. You can set up a list of websites that always come up in IE tabs."
An excellent addition. It allows me to avoid having to load IE separately for certain Microsoft sites. Well done!

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Free FS 2004 add-on sceneries ready for download

As mentioned before, I was also busy creating some sceneries for use in the Tongass National Forest (Alaska), with the excellent Tongass Fjords for Microsoft Flight Simulator 2004.

This scenery covers 70,000 sqKm of some of some of the most breathtaking country anywere.

The recreation of islands, mountains, lakes and fjords is breathtaking. Adding animated AI airplanes, cruise ships, Coast Guard Cutters, fishing and pleasure boats, and even kayaks, the area comes alive.

The creators of this scenery, the same people that had done Misty Fjords (covering the area around Ketchikan), have extended and improved the area to the North, covering Wrangell, J. Petersburg and Sitka. See a comparison of Tongass Fjords scenery with photos of the area.

My sceneries comprise a few real-life National Forestry Service rental cabins , most of them very remote, with access only by boat or float plane (pictured: Devil's Elbow Cabin). All my current series of cabins can be downloaded for free at the user community sites for Tongass Fjords (here) and Misty Fjords (here).

If you like to fly in FS 2004 and you like bush flying, do yourself a favor and get these add-ons and companion free sceneries.

Note: I am no artist. Before you think I can draw and paint, I'll tell you I used Abacus EZ-Scenery which allows you to place library objects and build sceneries that anyone can use without needing a copy of the program installed.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Jon Stewart reaches out to the President while Little Richard gives us the low down…

Hilarious The Daily Show bit on President Bush's 9/11 (or was it Iraq's) speech?

Video posted at Crooks and Liars.

Captain Haddock's curses

Neatorama points to a wonderful collection of curses from one of my all-time favorite cartoon characters: Captain Haddock.

David's List of Favourite Captain Haddock's Curses.

Dictatorial duck billed diplodocus!
Thundering herd of zapotecs!
Links: Wikipedia
Official Tintin's Website

Converting a String to an Enumerated Value

Kevin McKneish, a fellow MVP, wrote an interesting tip:

You can convert a string to an enumerated value by using Enum.Parse(). For example, the following code converts the string "Int32" to the corresponding System.Data.DbType enum value:
Param.DbType = (DbType)Enum.Parse(typeof(DbType), "Int32", true);
Useful stuff.

Simflying recorder

An FS simflying friend, Chris Brisland opened a new blog "Musings of a sim-plane painter".

Cris is a very talented sim-plane painter having done many wonderful repaints for bush and aerobatic planes (mostly found as free downloads at Avsim, where he goes under the moniker of CBris).

Lately Chris has found a great and fun free tool, a sim-fly reorder. This is a tool that lets you record your flying, then allows you to play it and see it from different angles, and insert yourself into it, therefore allowing for such wonderful things as flying formation or aerobatics with yourself!

Here's a link to some of CBris's wonderful pictures.

Slow to blog

Sorry for not posting lately on this blog. I've been busy with work and with other online contributions (mainly VFP - Visual FoxPro boards) and also been busy as an editor in the English Wikipedia (my user page), where I'm part of WikiProject Argentina.

Another reason, which you'll see later, is I'm working on some sceneries for MS Flight Simulator 2004.