Red Echo

April 29, 2015

Category Theory for Programmers

Bartosz Milewski has been writing a helpful series of articles explaining category theory using language intended to be familiar for computer programmers. He has recently begun Part II, which discusses declarative programming.

April 28, 2015

Used ThinkPad Buyers’ Guide, with prices, key specs, and suggestions of the best models to look for.

Antarctica from the air

Kalle Ljung filmed his Antarctica sailing trip with a drone-mounted video camera. The result is a slow, crisp, stark, beautiful eight-minute video, best viewed late in the evening with a tumbler of whiskey and a warm blanket tucked around your ears.

April 26, 2015

Light art hacking

It’s a fine grey Seattle spring afternoon and I’m sprawled out on my bed with a laptop making an array of LEDs jump through some specific hoops. The math is pouring out of my head, stuff from the previous iteration of the previous bloom lights project mixing up with old familiar tools I’ve been using since I worked on Starfish. I don’t exactly know what to call this, but it feels like my most comfortable artistic medium, and it’s really nice to be back.

April 25, 2015

Me and AJ at SEAF


Thanks to Ruben Ortega for the photo.

April 22, 2015

High-mobility vehicles

An Indiana company called Startracks Trucks offers 6×6 conversions – all six wheels drive and steer. There is a tantalizing photo of the suspension layout though I don’t think that example shows steerable axles.

People have apparently converted their Land Rovers to 6-wheel drive, too.

Lockheed prototyped an 8×8 vehicle where the entire frontend operated as a separate 4-wheel walking beam suspension module. I love the photo showing a Twister prototype climbing over a wall which appears to be at least 80% of the height of its tires, but I’m linking it here because of the interesting diagrams of its suspension and drivetrain.

April 20, 2015

Remodeling finished


April 19, 2015

Looks like fun. My turn?


April 6, 2015

Remodelling my house

I don’t know how it is that I have so far neglected to mention the single largest project I am likely to undertake in this calendar year, but it’s finally drawing to a close, so I feel like giving you all an update.

In a nutshell: I tore my bedroom down to the plaster and subflooring, ripped out the drop ceiling, and rebuilt it all again.

Somebody, at some point, for reasons I can only guess at, decided that the bedrooms in my house were just too spacious, and would look a lot better if their ceilings were sixteen inches lower. Various other people, at other times, have applied their opinions about the desirability of thick texturing on the plaster. The most recent owner clearly believed that cheap beige carpet was a good thing. And nobody, in the entire history of this house’s existence, appears to have taken issue with the manifest insufficiency of this bedroom’s single, solitary power outlet.

I had one month – February – between the departure of one tenant and the arrival of another, in which to move all my possessions out, tear my bedroom apart, and rebuild it in a manner more in keeping with my aesthetic priorities. I just barely accomplished this, but of course the last 10% of any project takes the other 90% of the time and so I have been living in a mostly-but-not-quite finished bedroom all month.

The ceiling is back up to its original height, and after scraping off years of texture and wallpaper, I smoothed the walls back up with a fresh coat of finishing plaster. The carpet is gone, with a new layer of sound-dampening felt under a sturdy sheet of engineered hardwood in its place. I’ve installed new door, closet, and window trim, and now the baseboards as well. Yesterday I finished painting all this new trim, and it’s starting to look almost respectable in here.

I’ve slimmed down my furniture as well, passing a couple of shelving units along to new owners after making better use of the vertical space in my closet – so there’s more open space horizontally and not just vertically.

There’s still a fair bit of work left but I am definitely easing down the home stretch. The ceiling needs crown moulding, I have a ceiling fan/light unit to install in place of the bare bulb currently illuminating the room, and my wall-mounted nightstands need to be reinstalled after I’ve finished painting the wall they live on. I should probably come up with a new closet door, too.

It’s been a ton of work, but I’m really happy with the way it’s coming together. It’s my bedroom, in my house; I’ve never had so much freedom to customize a space before, and it’s been great to take things as far as I wanted to make them go.