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Phun with Physics
games : by Tommy - February 22nd 2008, 05:04PM
games


It's hard to categorize exactly what Phun is. A game? There's no rules really. You could argue that it's educational, but it's just so darn fun. It's alot like a 2D virual Lego set: stimulating free-form play.

Created by Emil Ernerfeldt for his Master's thesis, Phun is a physics engine with dynamic shapes that can be arranged, moved and associated however you wish. For more info, check out the Phun webpage.

Grendel sez: Here's my first creation. The chain was a doozy to get working right.

( Comments : 3 | Full article )

 
Freedom of Information
news : by Greg - February 18th 2008, 08:15AM
news
So I was talking to Kim the other day and she mentions that what would be really nice is a non biased listing of all major religions and what they stand for and believe.

Most people affiliate with a particular church because it's how they grew up, i.e. that's where mom and dad choose to take you. But a much better way to choose would be to see the different denominations and choose one that most closely fits your personal faith.

At this point I mentioned that there's probably a website out there to facilitate that, but I haven't a clue what it is.

This also brought up the issue of having a stances guide for presidential candidates. There's Vote Smart and some other sites to give out bio stats but nobody lays out a unbiased look at each candidates stance on major issues, or what each candidate considers major issues. A lot of that has to do with candidates not wanting to be painted into a corner or having their stances be oversimplified, but thats not impossible to work around.

It seems like we have hundreds or thousands of data tools to use online if it's in the interest of helping us consume, but finding really useful information in a helpful format on things like religion or politics is a huge pain in the butt. Why can't getting information about denomination choices or presidential choices be as easy as getting facts about video card choices?

If you need me I'll be out defending our system of consumerism, hoo-ah!

( Comments : 5 | Full article )

 
Step Off My Grill, Dog
meat : by Tommy - February 17th 2008, 09:10PM
meat
After looking around at the different "big box" stores around town, Jennifer and I decided on a nice grill to replace my sad, hand-me-down. I have been wanting a new grill for about 2 years now, but just never broke down and got one. Up until last fall I had a grill that was so-so from the previous tenants in our apartment. I started having problems with it so I picked up Notorious' old grill. I never fixed it up, so I've been without a decent grill for several months. (It's been rough.)

Today, we went looking for a replacement. We settled on a nice one from Char-Broil at Home Depot (sry ltd, Lowe's just didn't have any I liked). It has a stainless steel body, hide-away tank storage area and a side-burner (A feature I've been looking forward to). One benefit of the new grill is the 3 burners so I'll have a bit more flexibility in the heat. It also has the quieter electronic ignition, as opposed to the old piezo-electric "ker-chunk" starter (used in so many potato guns). The side burner is also a welcomed addition. No more stinking up the house when frying anything and I can cook a large pot of shrimp or crawfish outside now too. w00t!

( Comments : 5 | Full article )

 
Sirus for a Lifetime
music : by Tommy - February 11th 2008, 12:52PM
music
Well, it's about that time of year again. Mardi Gras? Valentine's? Nope, it's time to renew my Sirius contract.

I've loved having it over the past year. It's made roadtrips that much more enjoyable. Any news I would otherwise miss I can get on CNN, Fox, NPR, Bloomberg and the list continues. As for music, which was the reason I got it, almost always has something fresh that I want to listen to. No more scrolling through pre-made selections of mp3s for me. In fact, I don't even think I've used my CD player more than a few times over the past year.

I love my Sirius so much I decided to go for a lifetime account. The website claims $499.99 but it's currently $399.99. The payments are spread out over a few months. They take into account any time left on your current plan (I should've done it sooner!) and knock that off your first bill. The lifetime account carries over to the merging of XM and Sirius, whenever that happens, and I'll only see more content on my channel selection, no additional payments required. I'm excited and you should be too.

( Comments : 0 | Full article )

 
OLPC: PSK31 is here!
olpc : by Tommy - February 4th 2008, 04:33PM
olpc
It wasn't by my doing, but I'm glad it's finally working. The XO laptop from OLPC now has PSK31 available for ham radio operators. Talk about a niche!

Jerry Dunmire, KA6HLD, finally got Fldigi working on his XO and bundled the program as a stand alone activity. For those of you with an XO of your own that want to try out PSK-31, here are the steps included in his HOWTO:
First you must enable the DSP on the laptop:
  • login as root: su -l (that's a lower-case L, not a 1)
  • echo "/sbin/modprobe snd-pcm-oss" >>/etc/rc.local
  • reboot for the changes to take effect

    Once you've rebooted the XO, download and install the activity:
  • Start the browser and enter the URL: http://www.dunmire.org/olpc/
  • Click on the FldigiActivity-1.xo link
  • Wait for the download to finish
  • Click on the Open button

    You should now have the Fldigi activity on the right side of your Activity toolbar. Enjoy operating PSK, see you on 14.070 MHz!

    For detailed instructions, click here to read Jerry's HOWTO. Or, if you'd prefer to do it manually (with no Sugar launch icon) there's a HOWTO by yours truly, here.

    update: First contact made via XO with WI4USA.
  • ( Comments : 1 | Full article )

     
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