Friday, December 14, 2007

Peer pressure

I was surfing the web and found something I thought was funny:
Q - Why did the monkey fall out of the tree?
A - Because it was dead.
Q - Why did the second monkey fall out of the tree?
A - Because it was tied to the first monkey.
Q - Why did the third monkey fall out of the tree?
A - Peer pressure.
(I found it here)

I don't know; maybe this is less funny if you are fully awake.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

New flickr feature

I just noticed a small new feature on flickr: photo stats.

It requires a pro account to use (which I don't have) so I can see exactly what it does.

My favorite XKCD comics

After watching the video of Randall Munroe (the creator of XKCD) give a speech at Google, I thought that I would post my favorite XKCD comics.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Top 10 songs of 2007

Jeph Jacques of just released his list of his top 10 songs of 2007.

Friday, December 07, 2007

Another picture of the snow day

So this blog is slowly becoming a photography blog. Oh well, I like photography blogs. Anyway, here's the picture:
Title: Snow everywhere Details: A picture of a snowy scene taken with a canon digital elph powershot SD600

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Snow day

It snowed here yesterday (for the first time this winter), so I went out with my camera and took some picture. Here's one:
Snow day
A note on taking picture of snow: set the exposure compensation to +1 ev or else the picture will be much too dark (the white of all the snow confuses the camera).

Thursday, November 15, 2007

HDR of a tree

Here's an HDR I took the other day:
HDR of a tree made in qtpfsgui. Picture taken sometime in november.
This was made in Qtpfsgui.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007


Qtpfsgui looks like a bunch of random letters, but it's actually the name of a free HDR creation program. I just found out about it today as I was reading the latest popular science magazine. Here's a sample of what can be made with it. For more HDRs made with Qtpfsgui, you can go over to the flickr group.

2 billion photos

Congrats to flickr on their 2,000,000,000th photo!

DHTML image page

After my last post I made a DHTML page that switches between the two images (from the last post) depending on where the mouse is. It works by putting the two images on top of each other, and switching the order.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Picture of pencils

This is an image I took the other day of some color pencils I had lying around.
I started with the picture on the left (see below), and edited it to what you see above. How I made the change is as follows:
I duplicated the image layer, and set layer mode to value (that way the color stays the same, just the luminosity is affected). Then I increased the contrast of the new layer with the levels tool, and merged the layer down. Then I lowered the saturation, and duplicated the layer (I now have two layers). On the new layer, I did a 5PX gaussian blur, set the layer mode to overlay, set the opacity to 20%, and did a merge down. Finnaly that I applied an unsharpen mask with a radius of 5PX.
(If you click on the image you can more clearly see the difference between the two)

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

What is this?

I took this picture the other day. Try to guess what this is:

Give up? Select --> A compact florecent blub <-- this text

Posted by Picasa

Monday, September 24, 2007

Must watch video: Internet people

Sorry, but this video was just too good to pass up posting. The sad thing it, I've seen most of the videos it makes reference to.

Internet People - Watch more free videos

Interesting Links Roundup 1

This is the first installment of Interesting Links Roundup.
To start off, we have Hiding an Airplane Factory.
An amazing feet of ingenuity, hiding such a massive building.

Then we have Images of extreme Rich/Poor lines.
Incredible contrast between the buildings on one side of a city and the other.

From OhGizmo! comes a silly picture of an ESC key, escaping.
I didn't say it was useful...

I found a story on digg about a CPU a professor created that's 100 times faster than the current best. It's actually 64 processors on one chip.

And finally, from OhGizmo again, there's a story about super image resizing. Trust me, it only sounds boring. It's hard to explain what it does and why it is special here, but the video there will make it all clear to you.

And that's it folks! Tune in next time.

Why not to start a startup

After my last post, it would be good to mention an article I came across while going through my bookmarks. It's called Why not to start a startup, and it talks about the reasons people have for not trying to start their own business. Apparently the writer is affiliated with a program that helps create startups by means of grants.

Making money from blogs

If you have spent any significant time on the web, then you know that many people make money from blogs. One of those people's blog is about making money from blogs. He makes money off of a blog that tells people how to make money... I wish I could think of something clever to say about that.
Anyway, his blog is called Problogger. It's the old faithful of blogs about making money from blogs, and one of my favorites.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Where apple should go with the ipod touch and the iphone

Where apple should go with the ipod touch and the iphone.
Both the ipod touch and the iphone have touch screens. It would be quite logical to give them a note-taking application, like tablet PCs, which would be great for students who do not want to pay for both an ipod and a tablet PC.
Another thing they should have is a place where you can download new software to put on the ipod touch/iphone. Some of the software would be free, others you would pay for using your itunes account. If the software avaliable included document and spreadsheet editors, it could make both devices a good pda replacement (having them function as a pda would also make them seem a like a much better deal).
With the note-taking ability and the software improvement combined with the wifi, music ability, and web browser, the ipod touch could replace:

  1. An ipod (duh)
  2. A PDA
  3. ..and possibly even a tablet PC
Given the above improvements, the iphone could replace:
  1. Again, an ipod
  2. A PDA
  3. A cellphone
  4. A point-and-shoot digital camera
  5. ..and possibly even a tablet PC
Now imagine if apple gave the iphone and ipod touch 3d gaming on par with a Sony PSP or Nintendo DS...

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Toasters should ding

Ovens and microwaves ding when they are done. Cars ding at the slightest offense, reminding you to correct your operation error. Washing machines ding, dryers ding, even some refrigerators will ding if the door is left open. So why don't toasters ding?
Countless times I have walked in to the kitchen to discover that there was some cold toast sitting in the toaster that I had completely forgotten about (I did that just now). A simple bell or buzzer would make toasters so much more useful to a distractable person like myself. Having a count-down timer on the toaster showing how much time left until you get toast would also help. I would suggest a toaster that e-mails you when the toast is done, but that would be overkill.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Because no one reads my blog anyway...

Because no one reads my blog anyway, it can't hurt to express my less-than popular political views here. I can't lose readers, right?

Firearms refresher course
1. An armed man is a citizen. An unarmed man is a subject.
Guns have a perfectly legitimate use as defense weapons; they've saved lives.

2. A gun in the hand is better than a cop on the phone.
The response time of a .357 is far grater than that of the police, even if they are next door.

3. Colt: The original point and click interface.

4. Gun control is not about guns; it's about control.

5. If guns are outlawed, can we use swords?
If you outlaw guns, outlaw will continue using them. If you get rid of all guns, they will just find another way (or make their own guns).

6. If guns cause crime, then pencils cause misspelled words.
Crime is caused when people choose to do bad things, not when a gun chooses to fire.

7. Free men do not ask permission to bear arms.
I believe we have a right to own and operate any mechanical device, regardless of what it does.

8. If you don't know your rights, you don't have any.

9. Those who trade liberty for security have neither.

10. The United States Constitution 1791. All Rights Reserved.

11. What part of "shall not be infringed" do you not understand?

12. The Second Amendment is in place in case the politicians ignore the

13. 64,999,987 firearms owners killed no one yesterday.
Guns kill far less people each day than cars. So lets outlaw cars, and see where that gets us, eh?

14. Guns only have two enemies; rust and politicians.

15. Know guns, know peace, know safety. No guns, no peace, no safety.

16. You don't shoot to kill; you shoot to stay alive.

17. 911: Government sponsored Dial-a-Prayer.
How many times have the police ever prevented a crime in progress, instead of just catching the criminal?

18. Assault is a behavior, not a device.

19. Criminals love gun control; it makes their jobs safer.
If you were a criminal, you would not care weather or not the law says you can carry a gun, you'll carry one anyway. You do care if your target has a gun.

20. If guns cause crime, then matches cause arson.

21. Only a government that is afraid of its citizens tries to control

22. You have only the rights you are willing to fight for.

23. Enforce the gun control laws we ALREADY have; don't make more.

24. When you remove the people's right to bear arms, you create slaves.

25. The American Revolution would never have happened with gun control.

If you say we should outlaw guns because they are dangerous (or because they can be used for crime), then by that logic you should outlaw matches. You can get hurt with them, and you can commit a crime using them. They have useful purpose, starting fires, and so do guns, shooting things.

Flickr widget

For fun, I just made a flickr widget:
Silenceofnight. Get yours at

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Flickr badge

Just trying out the flickr flash badge:

Darn. Blogger doesn't let it work.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Passive solar homes video

This video is about passive solar houses from a company called enertia. They use an interesting design technique described in the video to make the houses provide all the heating and cooling needs from the power of the sun.

Here's a more detailed explanation of how it works.

Thursday, May 31, 2007

Interesting videos about energy efficiency (Rocky Mountain Institute) is an organization about energy efficiency in design. They have five videos of lectures given at Stanford university. The speaker tells how energy efficient designs can actually be cheaper to build in some cases. Add that to the savings in energy costs, you have a very appealing situation.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Best looking photos on the web

The dude over at XKCD has made a web program that uses user input to find the best looking picutres on the web. It's called The page of the 'Fairest'.
There are some really great photos there. None of them are mine.....

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Makeing a fake HDR in the GIMP part 2

Last time I told you a way to make a HDR (or an image that looks like one) from a single JPEG.
Since then, I've made a few modifications to the process. This tutorial is for those who are very familiar with their image editor (I used the GIMP, but Photoshop works just as well).

  1. Decompose HSV
  2. Duplicate value layer
  3. Invert new layer, then blur (5 to 20 px is good, depending on size of image)
  4. Set mode of new layer to soft light, then duplicate it.
  5. Merge down the first new layer, then the second (It gets messed up if you do it the other way around)
  6. You are now back down to the Value, Hue, and Saturation layers.
  7. Turn up the contrast of the value layer until it looks bad, then bring it back just until it looks OK.
  8. Re-compose the image. You're Done!
Here is an image I used this technique on:


Monday, May 14, 2007

Making a fake HDR in the GIMP

I just was over at digg and I saw these steps for making a fake HDR (Thanks, Elliuotatar).
By doing this, you can make an HDR from a single JPEG, instead of needing a bunch of files (the quality is not as good, though).
1. Duplicate image to a second layer.
2. Image->Adjustments->Desaturate second layer. (Make it black and white.)
3. Image->Adjustments->Invert second layer. (Make it a negative.)
4. Do a 64 pixel gaussian blur on the second layer. (Low pass filter. Prevents loss of high frequncy contrast on surfaces.) Edit: You can just use regular gaussian blur at about 5 to 15 pixels.
5. Set the second layer to soft light.

This works in Photoshop or The GIMP.
And there you have it. If you want to see some real HDR images, Stuck in Customs from flickr has over one thousand of them.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Most diggs ever

As far as I know, this story has gotten the most diggs of any ever submitted.

Update: The story has passed 30,000 diggs. This is almost twice the previous record.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Spreading the number

I'm spreading The number (Follow the like to find out why).
09 F9 11 02 9D 74 E3 5B D8 41 56 C5 63 56 88 C0
I hope my blog doesn't get taken down..

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Age of empires II (AOE 2) tip

You know when you have been playing an age of empires game for a while, and you are low on gold but there is none left on the map? Try this tip:
When starting a game, always have one or more ally. Then, when you get past the dark age, build a market. In the market build trade carts, with the gather point on your ally's market. The trade carts will go back and forth, bringing you gold each time. More trade carts = more gold per minute. You will continue to receive gold until either your carts, your market, or their market is destroyed, or the way between the two markets is blocked. NOTE: building your market close to your ally's market will dramatically reduce the amount of gold you receive.
This works in age of kings or in the conquers expansion pack.

Monday, April 02, 2007 down?

Is it just me, or is very broken right now? If I try to get to any page other than 'My page', the page is blank. There isn't even any HTML in the pages. Very odd.

technorati tags:,

Saturday, March 31, 2007

Monday, March 26, 2007

"Artwork" (image)

Here is my rip-off of a lot of art work:

Friday, March 23, 2007

The first flower of spring (photo)

I took this picture with a canon SD 600. Lots of detail in the original.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

A short story

A man went for a walk in the woods, like he had done many times before. He took his usual trail, which, winding around a lake, was his favorite. As he walked, he came to a place where there was a path branching off. That path had not been there last time he went this way. On a whim, he decided to follow the new path to see where it went. It was a nice, pleasent path. He couldn't imagine how it had been put here so quickly. It meandered up and around, coming to a view of the lake. The lake seemed bluer, shinyer than it had looked from down on his usual path. As he continued on, he noticed that the trees were getting taller and greener. The whole landscape was greener. There was much more vegitation; ferns here, bushes of some sort or other there. As he went on, he became aware of a hissing, roaring sound. Not a evil sound, just a powerful one. He saw below him that his path had gone from hard packed dirt to soft moss. The light shining through the trees was green and warm. He went on. The roaring sound grew louder untill he, all of a sudden, came out to a mountain streem. Before him he saw a tall water fall. Everything was so magestic. Suddenly he was starteled out of his thoughts by movement near him. Something was moving quite swiftly in the bushes. He became aware of other things moving, all of them hidden form sight. Then he heard a horn. Not a normal horn, but one that had a very tree like sound. In fact he wondered if it were just two trees rubbing togeather. Then he heard something wizz by. It was an arrow. He looked up and saw a small creature standing on a branch in a tree near him. It was holding a bow and had a quiver on his back. It had a green hat that made it look rather like a miniture robbin hood. To him, it looked like and elf or a gnome. Then, out of the bushes, there came a dwarf. Not a kind looking dwarf, but one holding a broad axe and dressed in metal armour. More elfs and dwarfs appered. Soon the place was swarming with both creatures. The dwarfs were marching in, chanting in a language he could not understand. The Elfs were swinging from vines, hopping from tree to tree. Arrows were flying. It did not take him long to realise that the elfs and the dwarfs were at war.
He did not know what to do or where to go. There was a battle all around him. So he logged out, turned off his computer and stepped outside.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007


I just started using twitter. Its like a mini blog where all posts must be less than 140 characters. The idea is that you just post what you are doing / where you are at that very moment.
The only problem is it takes forever to load (I think they need more servers).

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Google talk

Wednesday, March 14, 2007


Yea! I just got an E-mail saying that Joost is "just around the corner"(I had signed up to, eventually, be a beta tester of Joost).

2 Gigabytes of errors

I recently installed linux on an old (2001) machine. I left windows installed as a fallback.
Today I was cleaning out the windows partition (about 8 1/4 GB were used). I did the basics, uninstall old programs, delete temporary files (with Ccleaner), get rid of unwanted pictures and so forth. But when I finished, (I got the hard drive usage down to about 4.5 GB) I opened up WinDirStat and found that there were 2 GB of .CPY files. After a little pocking around, I discovered that they were all in a hidden folder (C:/_RESTORE/temp/). This folder is for system restore points. I had previously set the system restore points to only take up 200 MB. So then I googled: 'system restore cpy'. I found out that they are caused by an error in windows ME, the version of windows that was installed. I tried to delete them, but they were "protected". After a few failed attempts to get rid of them, I resorted to linux. I opened up the terminal window (effectively a command prompt for you windows users) and did: rm *.cpy. Guess what. There were so many files, linux would not delete them all at once. I had to section off the files in groups of about 1,000 (fortunately they were named with consecutive numbers) and finally wiped them all away. Now the windows partition only has about 2.6 GB used.

Monday, February 19, 2007


I recently started using Pandora internet radio. It's a music player that choses what to play based on what you've told it you like. The best part is, its free. I like free.
It's helped me learn about some of the current style in music. I have found a lot of good music on there. It's nice to here some of the lyrics of a song and actually have a clue what the song is.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

A half million years of video games

Did you know that video games waste a half million years of time per year?
Given some conservative numbers - 4 hours per week of game play, 25 million people playing - you find that video games are played for over five hundred thousand years annually.
To do the math for you:

4 hours per week * 52 weeks per year * 25,000,000 people playing games

24 hours per day * 365 days per year

To be precise, that equals 593,607.306 years per year (208 hours per year for one person).
Thats a lot of time wasted on video games.
If you multiply that times ten years or so,....
Now factor in TV usage, which is a few orders of magnitude greater than video games....

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

"Digg this" button

I'm testing out the "Digg this" button.

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Stop motion video

This is the first video I have uploaded to a video sharing site. Its a crude attempt at making a stop motion video.

Update: I changed the video host to you tube. Metacafe was giving me trouble.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Yahoo site badge

Just trying out yahoo site badge thingy.

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