Red Echo

April 30, 2013

A thread on lists an array of riding routes radiating from Seattle. Looks like fun – I could use a few new places to go…

April 29, 2013

HDR from three exposures taken on my Galaxy Nexus phone’s camera.

April 28, 2013

Here’s a promo video for this year’s Iron Monkeys project, the Guardian of Dawn. Biggest project they’ve ever tackled, looks pretty cool. Bummer that I’m not going to Burning Man this year; wonder if they’ll set it up here in Seattle afterward…?

April 27, 2013

Two photos from the weekend. The second is a long exposure taken with my camera braced against one of the speaker stacks. You can see the shape of the audio waveform in the spark trails rising from the bonfire.

April 25, 2013

A wooden floor made out of interlocking Escher lizards: wow!

April 24, 2013

I haven’t done much with Radian in the last few months – I’ve been trying to buy a house, and my coding-energy has been focused on the startup I’ve been working for since October. What’s more, I’ve been vexed by a persistent and remarkably slippery bug, manifesting itself as any of a variety of failures. Everything worked fine in the small, but every time I tried to build a complex program, particularly one that used more than a single IO action, things would go mysteriously wrong – objects would suddenly have the wrong types, internal invariants in the map object would suddenly fail to check out, data would mysteriously become wrong…

I’ll spare you the litany of attempts I made and directions I pursued; I took another crack at it last night and the problem was suddenly obvious. Twenty minutes later, I’d fixed it. Well, then! That’s nice. Time for a new release.

Motorcycle jeans

Bikeexif has a roundup of armored denim jeans suitable for high speed motorcycle riding. Aside from the great big logo on the back left pocket, I really like the Dainese kevlar-lined jeans.

April 23, 2013

LED efficiency droop explained

LEDs are less efficient at higher currents: this well-known mystery has meant that LED lighting performs very well in small scale applications but becomes less economical when you need a lot of light. A team of researchers based at UCSB and the École Polytechnique in Paris have figured out why: “a complex non-radiative process known as Auger recombination [is] behind nitride semiconductor LED droop, whereby injected electrons lose energy to heat by collisions with other electrons rather than emitting light”.

April 20, 2013

Land’s End / Sutro Baths

April 19, 2013

Jeanine’s PCT send-off party


Small-town Oregon

Wolf Creek general store, established 1888. Strange to see an actual “cigar-store Indian” right here in the year 2013.

April 14, 2013

Arboretum & Japanese Garden


April 13, 2013

Groovik’s cube repairs

April 12, 2013

The Crazyflie Quadcopter weighs 19 grams. Its PCB is its chassis. It uses the typical nRF24L01+ chip and its processor is an equally typical STM32F103, so it should be relatively easy to program. IMU is an Invensense MPU-6050. It’s like a laundry list of all the obvious best choices for a hacker’s toy – nothing weird and undocumented, just the totally normal parts you’d pick if you were going to design this yourself, all soldered up and ready to fly. Cost is $173 and it’s backordered far enough in the future that you’ll be able to buy the inevitable Chinese knockoff in a toy store before you get one of the originals.

Janky but cool: mini container gardening with cinder blocks.

April 10, 2013

April 8, 2013

Why I do not love git

In the long tradition of faux-Zen unix lore, here are some Git koans.

April 7, 2013

Laura’s birthday cruise


April 5, 2013

Boston Dynamics, makers of the BigDog quadruped robot, have developed a humanoid biped robot they call PETMAN. It has a surprisingly decent sense of rhythm.

Grimwire appears to be an interesting answer to the problem where web-apps are convenient and useful, but require you to give all your data to the app publisher and let them store it for you, rendering them disastrous from a security and privacy point of view.

The page does a poor job of explaining this, but as far as I can tell Grimwire is a system for decoupling web-apps from storage mechanisms. It aims to provide a common interface between frontend applications and backend storage providers, so that you can pick the tools you want to use and retain control of the data you want to manipulate with them.

Something like this ought to exist, and I wish them luck. I have my own server, after all – you’re looking at it – and I often use a webmail client to read & send mail on my own server when I’m not at home. I’d be much more interested in using systems like Google Docs if I could store the data on my own server in a similar fashion.

Bitcoin makes journalists say stupid things: bitcoin appears to be in another period of heavy public attention, and while the system is relatively straightforward from a cypherpunk point of view, financial journalists haven’t had to pay much attention to this sort of thing before, and some of them are clearly struggling to get a grip on it.

April 3, 2013

Oh, no. No, no no. Iain Banks is dying of cancer:

The bottom line, now, I’m afraid, is that as a late stage gall bladder cancer patient, I’m expected to live for ‘several months’ and it’s extremely unlikely I’ll live beyond a year. So it looks like my latest novel, The Quarry, will be my last.

From IO9, an introduction to The Culture, the galactic civilization threaded through most of Banks’ SF novels.

April 2, 2013

A miracle happened here