Recent Entries in Geek

Or rather, Everything Is A Remix. A cool video showing many of the influences of The Matrix.

Everything Is A Remix: THE MATRIX from robgwilson.com on Vimeo.

Everything Is A Remix: THE MATRIX on Vimeo

  Predator

The silent killer lurks in the shade of the computer desk, waiting patiently for its prey.



  Cat in the Box

It's a little quantum experiment I've been working on.



  Final Dessert from Alinea

In August, we experienced the magic that is Alinea in Chicago. Thanks to someone on YouTube, you can see what the final dessert looked like during preparation.

YouTube - Alinea - Chocolate Finale Dessert

I recently received a couple of boxes of PX 70 Color Shade from The Impossible Project's online store. They've recently started making instant film for Polaroid cameras, and are redoing the entire formula from scratch (or something like that).

This PX 70 is their first attempt at making a colour film, and I've made some comparisons against some expired 600 film I had sitting at the back of the fridge.

In each case, the expired 600 film was shot with a Polaroid Sun 600 LMS in outdoor conditions. The PX 70 is film designed for an SX-70 Land camera, and that's what I used, in mixed indoor/outdoor situations.

The image on the left is the expired 600 film, the right is the PX 70 Color Shade film.

impossible-polaroid-comparison1.jpg

impossible-polaroid-comparison2.jpg

impossible-polaroid-comparison3.jpg

They've got a ways to go yet, but there is indeed colour in the pictures; a very vintage-looking washed colour. Impossible Project stated very clearly that this is an experimental film, and it's very light sensitive, especially within the first few hours of being exposed. So, I took care and ejected the images straight into the film box, where they stayed overnight.

Honestly, I'm more impressed with the performance of the so-called expired 600 film. The outdoor pictures look awesome.

Some other notes: A blue caustic paste leaked out of two of the pictures. I've had this happen before with regular Polaroid film, so I just cleaned it up.

The images of the images were taken from my BlackBerry Bold 9700.

... apparently. Well, this is good news. I'm a big fan of Cory.

I write like
Cory Doctorow

I Write Like by Mémoires, Mac journal software. Analyze your writing!

I Write Like Cory Doctorow

  Friday Slacker Blogging

Been busy today. Only just now finding time to slack off.



  The house looks nice


The house looks nice - Uploaded by Zuckervati.

Yikes. A little up-close and personal, no? Google Street View now has
maps of 15 cities in Canada, and KW is one of them.

  As a Cyborg, I rule

Why, yes, Vigilant Assassination is my middle name.

Zeta Upgraded Construct Keen on Efficient Repair, Vigilant Assassination and Thorough Infiltration
Get Your Cyborg Name

  Tech dudes


Tech dudes - Uploaded by Zuckervati.

These are some geeks I know in the high-tech KW-Cambridge triangle. We're getting drunk at a tech party.

IMG_0792.jpg

Was just testing an old Flickr blog update mechanism I set up a couple of years back. Still working. I took the picture with my new Blackberry device to replace the old, worn-out 8800.

my_new_blackberry.jpg

Oh, it was a great device: lasted forever on a battery charge, and I must have dropped it a dozen times. But it was time to upgrade, and why not get something everyone is talking about. Sure the reviews are not all good (in fact, I had a hard time trying to find any really good reviews), but I wanted to see what all the fuss was about.

So far, the touchscreen just takes a bit of getting used to, and with the updated firmware, most of the software problems are minimized. The camera is really nice (3.2MP) and supports geotagging. Throw in a 4GB micro-SD card, and you can watch movies or take a billion pictures.

Hopefully I'll be able to blog with some little snippets and images from wherever I am.

  Tim's Coffee on Friday


Tim's Coffee on Friday - Uploaded by Zuckervati.

The lateness of this post is likely a little misleading. We finally got the server problems sorted out last week, and I took a 5 day mini-vacation in Montreal (actually 4 days, and I kind of screwed around on Tuesday). Apparently my MySQL-foo is pretty spot-on, and I was able to restore 10 jigabytes of data to to a backup server from our backup server. We're now rebuilding the failed DB server, which looks more and more as if its LSI Logic RAID card simply reset at some point, causing a massive RAID failure. Luckily, we do nightly backups.

However, the version of mysqldump had a bug in it, whereby it exported the system database, information_schema, along with our own db. This system database can't be imported, so the whole restore process kept failing. The only solution was to edit the db backup (which was, as I said, 10 jigabytes, making it impossible to open in a conventional editor), so we used a line editor to remove the first x lines of the backup. This worked, but it then took about 8-10 hours to re-import the data and only after upgrading the MySQL server and other required packages.

So, the server was offline for a total of 3 business days, and two of those days were spent trying to recover the server without destroying the data onboard. Turns out our time was better spent finding a new (if temporary) home for the data.

Montreal was fun.

  Our poor server

I'm sitting at home, cup of coffee in hand, working on a Sunday. I've recently been having problems (a lot of them) with one of our servers. Three big problems, really...

There was a programming glitch, which set about 90% of our licenses to expire on the first of January, a bone-headed move which neither I, nor anyone else realized would cause big problems on New Year's Eve. So, with 2 hours sleep, and a wicked headache, I worked feverishly to restore licenses to most of my customers, hopefully without them even noticing. Many of them noticed.

Within 2 days of the first event, we had one of our domain names expire. This was not my fault, as our domain names are now maintained by another department -- a department, which, when questioned, said that all domains were properly re-registered. Cool. Not my fault, except that in order to resolve the aforementioned server, one needed this particular domain. So, now with about two dozen or so customers trying to relicense their systems, and no access to my server, more bad things happened. After the other department admitted that they had not, in fact, re-registered the domain, it fell back on us to get it registered using someone's personal credit card.

Now, a week later, this same server's gone dark. I'm attempting a remote reboot of it, but I'm not overly optimistic about it.

  Great Googleplex

A friend of mine got a job at Google in Waterloo, and some time this year, got a transfer to the Googleplex near San Jose. So, I paid him a little visit at work. The place is like a geek heaven: movie nights; free shuttle bus; bicycles you can just grab and ride to your building; boxes of umbrellas, in case it ever rains here; and the most decadent, a veritable mall food court of free food for breakfast, lunch and dinner. There were so many options for food that I finally settled on making a deli sandwich on focaccia, with turkey, genoa salami, bacon and provolone. I even put it on an available panini press, and made a hot sandwich out of it.

There was a really neat virtual Earth, which showed individual Google searches, sorted by language, and geographical source point. There were many other things as well, but unfortunately, I wasn't allowed to photograph anything inside any of the Google buildings. So these were the only photographs I could get.

googleplex1.jpg

googleplex2.jpg

I really want to work for these guys.

Testing out Windows Live Writer with the options that Brandon sent me. In this case, I've opted for the registry edit, instead of installing a wlwmanifest.xml file (I'll try that out later). Here's how it supposedly works:

Run regedit, and navigate to HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Windows Live\Writer\Weblogs\{blog-id}\UserOptionOverrides

In UserOptionOverrides, create a string object with the name "fileUploadNameFormat" and the value:

"[wherever you want to put the file]/{FileName}"

Note that these values are case-sensitive.

With any luck, your uploaded images should now go into the right spot. Assuming, of course, you only ever want the file to go in the one spot (which I do, unless I'm doing some kind of blog maintenance).

So here's my uploaded image. Let's see if it works...

minerva_cat

Update: Well, that worked peachy! Thanks to (I can't believe I'm saying this) Microsoft Tech Support for the tips.

  Fun with Lasers

Picked up a sweet red/green laser pointer from ThinkGeek. It was originally for artistic projects, and pointing at things, but it turned into a glorified cat toy.

After locking the cats out of the room, I did a little more long exposure photography. Here are the hilarious results:

fun_with_lasers1.jpg

fun_with_lasers2.jpg

fun_with_lasers3.jpg

The green laser is really bright, despite being <5mW. In a really dark room, you can actually see the beam. More powerful and/or focused versions of this laser can be seen cutting things, popping balloons, and lighting matches on the Internet. Well, not lighting matches *on* the Internet. That would be a pretty powerful laser.

  A look at my space

I found these old pictures while hunting around for a good publicity shot (of my studio/garage). Something about the way the lens hood framed my old computer desk made me keep them. Now it's time to share this vision with the rest of the world. A portrait of the artist ... as a geek.

artist_as_a_geek1.jpg

artist_as_a_geek2.jpg

  New web server

The website is a little fragile today. I switched servers, and moved everything offsite, so some things are still a little broken, like stylesheets on the studio site. However, some things are much much better. Bandwidth and reliability, for example.

Expect things to be in a state of flux for the next week or so, while I ferret out the remainder of the problems.


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