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Monday Sux Too

Posted 2012.03.05 9.23 in Pointless Blather

So Monday morning has arrived, but life still sucks.

I hope it’s not going to be another one of those months. I just barely survived February.

Why Living in Space is Cool #47

Posted 2011.05.25 9.47 in Pointless Blather

When everything gets delivered by space-ships travelling in a zero-gravity environment, the Contents will never Settle during Transport.

Over-Engineering FTW!

Posted 2011.05.01 12.57 in Computers/Internet/Technology

So a while back I was talking about building a Game of Life display – blinking flashing lights is what it’s all about. For those who aren’t familiar, Conway’s Game of Life is sort of a zero-player game. It’s a mathematical progression that simulates a sort of simple life evolution.

Using the kits from Adafruit, I started back in December with a small array, 12 x 8 cells (96 LEDs). Over the next few months I added to it and grew it till now it’s 20 x 16 cells (320 LEDs!) This is a good size, I think. I mean, you can always go bigger. You can never have too many LEDs. But still, one ought to draw a line at some point.

Next step was making it pretty. So I have it framed with a wood frame and protected with a sheet of dark green acrylic. Sort of like a framed piece of artwork on the wall. Including the frame it’s about 21″ wide and 17″ high.

Now that it looked good, I wanted an elegant, electronic, complicated way of turning it on and off. You know, better than flipping a switch like some sort of cave-man.

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And Now For Something Blinky

Posted 2011.01.06 9.59 in Computers/Internet/Technology, Hobbies

It’s (pocket-sized) blinkin’ flashin’ heaven.

The LoL Shield (Lots of LEDs) is an add-on board for the Arduino microcontroller prototyping device.

One hundred and twenty-six LEDs, all on a space of about 3″ by 2″, all a-blinkin and a-flashin.

Of course the first thing I wanted to do was run Conway’s Game of Life on there. Turns out there was a GoL program already made, in the associated library / examples. Still, I had to tweak it a bit to get it to work ‘just so’.

Now all I gotta do is replace the Arduino with something smaller, maybe just the Atmega uC, add some batteries and put it in a little portable case.

Real electronics should glow in the dark.

Edited to add: Click here to download my updated / tweaked version.

What’s your Scott Number?

Posted 2010.08.23 18.13 in Family/Friends, Pointless Blather

If you drink beer, you have a Scott Number. It’s a mathematical constant. Or maybe it’s a variable? Everyone has their own Scott Number.

Your Scott Number is defined as the number of beers you drink before you get around to putting the new case in the fridge.

In other words: You know when you bring home a new case of beer? And you really want one? So instead of putting it right into the fridge, you set it on the kitchen table, or the kitchen counter, or the coffee table, or the floor next to the sofa, or on the sofa, or… you get the picture. And then you open it up and help yourself? And then you have another? Eventually the beers in the case will get warm, or you’ll have had enough, or whatever. Sooner or later you’ll put them in the fridge. But between bringing the case home, and putting the case in the fridge, you’ll have some beers. How many beers you have, is your Scott Number.

The Scott Number is named after a guy named Scott, who once said to me something along the lines of “Oh yeah, that case never made it into the fridge.”

Clearly, his Scott Number was 24. That is a magic number.

What’s yours?

Real Survival

Posted 2009.10.27 20.52 in Music/Movies/TV, Pointless Blather

(A new TV show that I’d like to see.)

Not long ago, someone told me about a “reality tv” show called “Survivor”, where a bunch of “contestants” have to do made-up challenges and eventually someone wins some money. From how it was explained to me, it’s not really about survival so much as watching average people act like goofs on television, while saving the studio loads of money they’d otherwise have to spend on scripts and writing and quality.

This gave me an idea for a new television show, one where people were in actual life-and-death survival situations. This is the survival show I’d like to see:

You take two teams, 12 people per team. They are average people, just a random selection from whomever applied to be on the show. The directors can pick the ones that will give the most ‘drama’ or be the ‘best tv’ or whatever. As long as none of them are trained survivalist professionals. Once the two-dozen contestants are selected, they get divided into teams by luck of the draw (or by the director setting up who they think will make for good tv.) Then we assign three ‘experts’ to each team. Each team will get two cameramen who are experienced in wilderness survival and wilderness photography. Then each team will be assigned a ‘captain’.

The first team gets Les Stroud, from the Survivorman series. The second team gets Bear Grylls from the Man vs Wild series.

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Why are we here? What’s our purpose?

Posted 2009.08.18 6.31 in Family/Friends, Pointless Blather

Lezley (of Peeling Onions fame) has just blogged about some correspondence that she and I exchanged recently, discussing the meaning of life. (Just life, not the universe and everything.)

It’s fairly raw but maybe we can strike up a dialog between the two blogs and those of you who read them.

Cheers!