May 04, 2007

Using art masters to improve your photographs

I've used the auto-adjust features of my photo editing software. I've even massaged the colors manually. Sometimes though, I just can't get the darned thing to look right. Here's an interesting solution, assuming that you possess Photoshop:

Adjusting your photographs to get the color 'just right' can be a chore. Think about this: The Old Masters of painting spent years of their lives learning about color. Why let all their effort go to waste on the walls of some museum when it could be used to give you a hand with color correction?

When Photoshop entered the CS series it included a new tool called 'Match Color.' This tools was made so that you could match a series of photos to one another.

But there is another thing you can do with 'Match Color' that is much cooler: You can match the colors in your photos to those in famous paintings.

I keep a directory of about 30 of my favorite paintings and anytime I need to do color correction, I just scan through them to find the one that gives the photo I'm working on the best look.

This technique can be used in other ways. For example, use the color from a scanned-in 1970's Kodachrome snapshot to give a recent photo a vintage look. Need to make a picture more menacing? Use the color from a picture of a storm.

Detailed instructions are there. Click the extended entry to see a few examples/results. more...

Posted by: Physics Geek at 10:42 AM | No Comments | Add Comment
Post contains 262 words, total size 2 kb.

April 24, 2007

Home project for the financially impaired

Ever have to go but a new wallet, but thought that they were too expensive? Me neither. However, if you really want to go cheap, it's good to know that you can make one yourself using a sheet of paper and two little pieces of tape.

Posted by: Physics Geek at 09:57 AM | No Comments | Add Comment
Post contains 58 words, total size 1 kb.

April 23, 2007

Cheap auto dent repairs

I haven't tried either method shown here, but the videos look pretty cool.

Posted by: Physics Geek at 02:23 PM | No Comments | Add Comment
Post contains 21 words, total size 1 kb.

April 18, 2007

Captain, I canna hold it together!

I'm still waiting for a transporter to take me to and from work. In the interim, protection for space travelers will have to do. Excerpt:

For Captain Kirk and his crew, the starship Enterprise’s force fields were all that stood in the way of oblivion from Klingon lasers. Now scientists are seeking to build Star Trek-style shields for real, to protect astronauts on their way to Mars.

Though a manned mission to the Red Planet could probably expect to avoid any unpleasant alien encounters, researchers believe that magnetic fields could be crucial to shelter its crew from deadly radiation


Now scientists at the Rutherford-Appleton Laboratory in Oxfordshire are proposing a Star Trek solution: to protect the spacecraft with a magnetic field like the Earth’s. A team led by Ruth Bamford, who will present details today at the Royal Astronomical Society’s annual meeting in Preston, has been awarded a £30,000 grant by the Science and Technology Facilities Council to start developing such a scheme. It will use technology originally developed for experimental nuclear fusion reactors to wrap a model spacecraft in a magnetic cocoon, so that harmful plasma bounces off.

“It’s no accident that Star Trek featured this sort of technology, as it had advisers who work for Nasa and it’s feasible,” Dr Bamford said. “The shields seem to be some sort of invisible barrier, which energy bounces off, and that sort of deflector shield is exactly what we’re talking about.”

Magnetic field generators, she said, could be critical to Nasa’s plans to establish a permanent manned base on the Moon by 2024, and to send astronauts to Mars around 2030.

It's a good start guys, but don't forget my transporter. Or the food replicator. That would be cool. No more ordering takeout.

Scratch everything I just said. Get the holodeck working and we'll call it even.

Posted by: Physics Geek at 07:32 AM | Comments (3) | Add Comment
Post contains 319 words, total size 2 kb.

February 21, 2007

Because the truth hurts sometimes

That's why I posted this picture:


Posted by: Physics Geek at 01:12 PM | Comments (3) | Add Comment
Post contains 16 words, total size 1 kb.

February 13, 2007

I pity the fool...

...who challenges my geekiness. To be fair, Harvey made a strong showing. For normal people. My score? Read it and weep:

58.38264% - Extreme Geek

I watched Monk a couple of weeks ago and Adrian was showing some home movies of his childhood. Here's my best recollection of the conversation:

Monk: And here I am playing Hide.

Assistant: Oh you mean Hide and Seek.

Monk: You just don't get it, do you?

Now I have to tag some people. Let's hope some of them are actually, umm, still reading this blog. Let's see:

Val, of course. Robb Allen because he also brews beer. Helen, because it might make her laugh. Annie, if she still stumbles through this geekish dreck I create. And CalTech Girl, just because.

Posted by: Physics Geek at 01:54 PM | Comments (6) | Add Comment
Post contains 134 words, total size 1 kb.

November 17, 2006

SF book meme

Found via Ith:

This is a list of the 50 most significant science fiction/fantasy novels, 1953-2002, according to the Science Fiction Book Club.

Bold the ones you've read, strike-out the ones you hated, italicize those you started but never finished and put an asterisk beside the ones you loved.

Here's my list, which doesn't exactly match Ith's; I really, really loved Dune.:

The Lord of the Rings, J.R.R. Tolkien*

The Foundation Trilogy, Isaac Asimov*

Dune, Frank Herbert*

Stranger in a Strange Land, Robert A. Heinlein

A Wizard of Earthsea, Ursula K. Le Guin*

Neuromancer, William Gibson

Childhood's End, Arthur C. Clarke

Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, Philip K. Dick

The Mists of Avalon, Marion Zimmer Bradley

Fahrenheit 451, Ray Bradbury

The Book of the New Sun, Gene Wolfe

A Canticle for Leibowitz, Walter M. Miller, Jr.*

The Caves of Steel, Isaac Asimov

Children of the Atom, Wilmar Shiras

Cities in Flight, James Blish

The Colour of Magic, Terry Pratchett

Dangerous Visions, edited by Harlan Ellison

Deathbird Stories, Harlan Ellison

The Demolished Man, Alfred Bester

Dhalgren, Samuel R. Delany

Dragonflight, Anne McCaffrey*

Ender's Game, Orson Scott Card*

The First Chronicles of Thomas Covenant the Unbeliever, Stephen R. Donaldson*

The Forever War, Joe Haldeman

Gateway, Frederik Pohl

Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, J.K. Rowling

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, Douglas Adams*

I Am Legend, Richard Matheson

Interview with the Vampire, Anne Rice

The Left Hand of Darkness, Ursula K. Le Guin

Little, Big, John Crowley

Lord of Light, Roger Zelazny

The Man in the High Castle, Philip K. Dick

Mission of Gravity, Hal Clement

More Than Human, Theodore Sturgeon

The Rediscovery of Man, Cordwainer Smith

On the Beach, Nevil Shute

Rendezvous with Rama, Arthur C. Clarke*

Ringworld, Larry Niven*

Rogue Moon, Algis Budrys

The Silmarillion, J.R.R. Tolkien*

Slaughterhouse-5, Kurt Vonnegut

Snow Crash, Neal Stephenson

Stand on Zanzibar, John Brunner

The Stars My Destination, Alfred Bester*

Starship Troopers, Robert A. Heinlein*

Stormbringer, Michael Moorcock

The Sword of Shannara, Terry Brooks

Timescape, Gregory Benford

To Your Scattered Bodies Go, Philip Jose Farmer*


One question: why is Dragonflight listed as a single book, while the entire First Chronicles of Thomas Covenant listed? Why not the Dragonflight/Dragonquest/White Dragon trilogy? Just curious.

Posted by: Physics Geek at 12:56 PM | Comments (8) | Add Comment
Post contains 375 words, total size 3 kb.

Everything old is new again

Remember tying two cans together with a string and making a putrid, doesn't really work phone? Looks like some modern company thinks that that's a dandy idea. Minus the string, of course. Excerpt:

Who didn't have the old cup-and-string telephone when they were a kid? It was one of those things that everyone had to try out at least once to see if it really worked, and who wasn't excited when they found out it actually did? Well, that excitement may have faded over the years, but that doesn't mean we can't appreciate some good old cup-and-string based gadgets today. Duncan Wilson's Cup Communicator brings that old-timey form of communication into the 21st century by cutting the string. The Communicator is basically a walkie-talkie shaped like a couple of cups with string hanging out. You tug the cord to turn it on, squeeze the cup to talk, bringing you back to the good old days. I'm not sure how often you use a walkie-talkie, but if it's more than never this would be a cool replacement for your boring black boxes. That is if they were for sale; this looks to be just a concept at the moment.


Posted by: Physics Geek at 11:43 AM | Comments (1) | Add Comment
Post contains 208 words, total size 1 kb.

Portable, do it yourself MP3 player

Looks like a project that an old electronics hobbyist like me might enjoy, but probably not something for everyone. Excerpt:

Looking for a weekend project, or haven't found a music player that'll satisfy your inner creative geek? Well, meet MAKE's Daisy MP3 Player Kit, an open-source setup that'll play MP3 and WAV files all from one little chip board. Of course, this is a kit, not a full-fledged player, meaning Daisy comes in parts -- you'll have to give it a power source and a case should you want to actually use it in the real world. You can buy whole kit (the caboodle is extra) from MAKE or direct from its Oakland-based creator for $115

And here's a picture of what you'll be buyingbuilding.


Posted by: Physics Geek at 11:38 AM | No Comments | Add Comment
Post contains 137 words, total size 1 kb.

September 14, 2006

Updates to building your own PVR

About a year ago, I posted an article containing info on how to build your own Personal Video Recorder. As usual, technology waits for no geekman. All About Linux links to a variety of Linux-based build your own PVR sites. Excerpt:

KnoppMyth : This is an attempt at making the Linux and MythTV installation as trivial as possible. This is a Linux distribution built from scratch using Debian GNU/Linux and the programs from Knoppix. KnoppMyth includes MythTV and all its official plugins as well as additional software such as Apache webserver, NFS, Samba and many other useful daemons. This GNU/Linux distribution is geared at setting up a PVR (Personal Video Recorder) in a quick and easy manner.Everything one needs to easily setup a power home entertainment system is included in this distribution.

MythTV for XBox - This is a project which aids in setting up MythTV on ones XBox gaming station with ease. Of course it is understood that you need to install GNU/Linux on XBox first as MythTV runs in Linux. This project requires that you first download and install a version of GNU/Linux called Xebian in your XBox.
Having dwelled so much on MythTV project, I might also add that there are two similar projects (though not as feature rich) which are taking shape to provide PVR functionality in GNU/Linux. They are Freevo and GeexBox.

I was aware of all of the ones listed in the post except for GeexBox. That one caught my eye because it:

  1. can be run off a Live CD
  2. can run successfully on a 400-MHz machine

Since I've got a 400 MHz paperweight in the corner of my home office, GeexBox looks to be a good home project for me to tackle. All that I need is a digital TV tuner and a bigger hard drive. I won't be able to record and watch simultaneously, but I'm okay with that. YMMV.

Posted by: Physics Geek at 08:21 PM | Comments (1) | Add Comment
Post contains 331 words, total size 2 kb.

September 08, 2006

4 decades without a woman

Today marks the 40th anniversary of Star Trek. What started as a scifi TV show that got kicked around on the schedule a bit before getting dumped morphed into a worldwide phenomenon, spawning numerous sequels/spin-offs and movies. In fact, the ST movies series is, I believe, Paramount's most succesful of all time. Not too shabby. Anyway, here's the link to a blog celebrating ST's 40th. It includes this post by scifi legend, Arthur C. Clarke.

Hat tip to Ith.

Posted by: Physics Geek at 03:12 PM | Comments (2) | Add Comment
Post contains 89 words, total size 1 kb.

September 06, 2006

Geeks get all the girls

Don't believe it? Go here and check out Todd Stanton's tale of glory. Excerpt:

Some developers are also excited that this may increase their chances of getting lucky, but most are being realistic. Walker Crandall said, "We thought we'd all be doing the hokey-pokey after Bill Fitzsimmons got some during the LinuxWorld Conference in 1999. We were fooling ourselves. Nobody got nothing."

This is the third such occurrence for Linux developers since 1991.

Tripled. Yeah, that's right: tripled.

You wish that you were me right now.

Posted by: Physics Geek at 09:58 PM | Comments (2) | Add Comment
Post contains 96 words, total size 1 kb.

June 30, 2006

Too much time on their hands

Do you like soccer? Do you want to watch it in streaming ASCII-art on the web? Me either, but it's kind of entertaining, in a they've-lost-their-freaking-minds sort of way. Just get to a command prompt and type the following:

telnet 2006

Posted by: Physics Geek at 09:26 AM | No Comments | Add Comment
Post contains 54 words, total size 1 kb.

June 23, 2006

Right on time

The Oxford English Dictionary has compiled lists of the most common words and nouns. 'Time' rolls in as the #1 noun, while 'the' is the #1 word overall. Here is the article in its entirety; it's pretty short:

For those who think the world is obsessed with "time," an Oxford dictionary added support to the theory Thursday in announcing that the word is the most often used noun in the English language.

"The" is the most commonly used word overall, followed by "be," "to," "of," and, "a," "in," "that," "have," and "I," according to the "Concise Oxford English Dictionary."

On the list of top 25 nouns, time is followed by other movement indicators with "year" in third place, "day" in fifth and "week" at No. 17.

The dictionary used the Oxford English Corpus -- a research project into English in the 21st century -- to come up with the lists.

Among nouns, "person" is ranked at No. 2, with "man" at No. 7 and "woman" at No. 14. "Child" appears at No. 12.

"Government" appears at No. 20 while "war," at No. 49, trumps "peace," which did not make the top 100.

The list of top 25 nouns: time, person, year, way, day, thing, man, world, life, hand, part, child, eye, woman, place, work, week, case, point, government, company, number, group, problem, fact.

Posted by: Physics Geek at 08:41 AM | Comments (1) | Add Comment
Post contains 229 words, total size 1 kb.

New technology

A new aid to rapid--almost magical--learning has made its appearance. Indications are that if it catches on all the electronic gadgets will be so much junk.

The new device is known as Built-in Orderly Organized Knowledge. The makers generally call it by its initials, BOOK(tm).

Many advantages are claimed over the old-style learning and teaching aids on which most people are brought up nowadays. It has no wires, no electric circuit to break down. No connection is needed to an electricity power point. It is made entirely without mechanical parts to go wrong or need replacement.

Anyone can use BOOK(tm), even children, and it fits comfortably into the hands. It can be conveniently used sitting in an armchair by the fire.

How does this revolutionary, unbelievably easy invention work?

Basically BOOK(tm) consists only of a large number of paper sheets. These may run to hundreds where BOOK(tm) covers a lengthy program of information. Each sheet bears a number in sequence, so that the sheets cannot be used in the wrong order.

To make it even easier for the user to keep the sheets in the proper order they are held firmly in place by a special locking device called a "binding".

Each sheet of paper presents the user with an information sequence in the form of symbols, which he absorbs optically for automatic registration on the brain. When one sheet has been assimilated a flick of the finger turns it over and further information is found on the other side. By using both sides of each sheet in this way a great economy is effected, thus reducing both the size and cost of BOOK(tm). No buttons need to be pressed to move from one sheet to another, to open or close BOOK(tm), or to start it working.

BOOK(tm) may be taken up at any time and used by merely opening it. Instantly it is ready for use. Nothing has to be connected up or switched on. The user may turn at will to any sheet, going backwards or forwards as he pleases. A sheet is provided near the beginning as a location finder for any required information sequence.

A small accessory, available at trifling extra cost, is the BOOK(tm)mark. This enables the user to pick up his program where he left off on the previous learning session. BOOK(tm)mark is versatile and may be used in any BOOK(tm).

The initial cost varies with the size and subject matter. Already a vast range of BOOK(tm)s is available, covering every conceivable subject and adjusted to different levels of aptitude. One BOOK(tm), small enough to be held in the hands, may contain an entire learning schedule.

Once purchased, BOOK(tm) requires no further upkeep cost; no batteries or wires are needed, since the motive power, thanks to an ingenious device patented by the makers, is supplied by the brain of the user.

BOOK(tm)s may be stored on handy shelves and for ease of reference the program schedule is normally indicated on the back of the binding.

Altogether the Built-in Orderly Organized Knowledge seems to have great advantages with no drawbacks. We predict a big future for it.

Posted by: Physics Geek at 07:55 AM | No Comments | Add Comment
Post contains 526 words, total size 3 kb.

June 13, 2006

I am not Sulu

Apparently, no one else is either, including George Takei. Steve has an excellent review of what appears to be an execrable exercise in vanity by a bit player from a three year scifi series that went off the air almost 40 years ago. In other words, Who? Excerpt:

After that, he starts talking about his acting career. While I liked the historical information about Tinseltown in the Fifties and Sixties, I was disturbed to see how seriously Takei took himself and his talent. He threw away a perfectly good career in architecture because acting "called" him. That would be great, if this were the autobiography of Gary Oldman or Laurence Olivier, but George Takei is a really bad actor. Generally I root for people who follow their dreams, but in this case, I wondered what was going through his head.

Posted by: Physics Geek at 11:08 AM | No Comments | Add Comment
Post contains 148 words, total size 1 kb.

On everyone's wish list

If, that is, they're still living in their mom's basement at the age of 50. I present to you the Transparent Toaster.


I'm curious: is it really that hard for people to make toast without burning it?

Posted by: Physics Geek at 09:06 AM | Comments (3) | Add Comment
Post contains 45 words, total size 1 kb.

June 12, 2006

Open source penguin

So to speak, of course. Excerpt:

Welcome to the free-penguin project page. This project provides 'executables' that enable you to make your own soft-toy Linux® penguin. To put it straight: You can find sewing patterns and a community to sew your own soft toy or stuffed Linux® Tux penguin here. To help Google finding this, once again: You can find sewing patterns and community to sew your own soft toy or stuffed Linux® Tux penguin here. All downloads come under GPL (GNU General Public License).


The starting point of this project was the question: "Why is it that on the one hand in the Linux® world all code of software is freely available and on the other hand the code to compile a soft toy penguin is still not open source?" This project will try to publish code that will enable people to sew soft toy penguins themselves provided they meet certain hardware requirements.

Hardware Requirements:

First research efforts have shown that at least a needle, a long thread, black and white plushy fabric as well as yellow textile are necessary. Other assets that might be needful are thimbles, more thread and scissors. Warning: Before you start, make sure that you know what you are doing. Doing things on a trial-and-error basis in the fields we are dealing with here can do a lot of harm.

Posted by: Physics Geek at 09:46 AM | No Comments | Add Comment
Post contains 234 words, total size 1 kb.

May 07, 2006

Business as usual

VW Bug is in the news! Check out the this amazing photo.

Posted by: Physics Geek at 02:43 PM | Comments (1) | Add Comment
Post contains 18 words, total size 1 kb.

May 04, 2006

Mr. Lucas, I do not believe never means what you think it means

Really, did anyone believe Lucas' bluster about never releasing the original versions of Star Wars et al on DVD? After all, there's a huge market for them and huge markets mean huge money for the douchebag responsible for Episodes I, II and III. However, I'm gonna pre-order my copies as soon as humanly possible.

Why are you looking at me like that?

Update: I jumped over to Michele's place as soon as I heard. As I expected, she's doing body shots of tequila off of her life-sized Bobba Fett doll in celebration. Something anyway. Money quote, to be repeated around the geek globe: Fuck yea.

Posted by: Physics Geek at 01:16 PM | Comments (2) | Add Comment
Post contains 131 words, total size 1 kb.

<< Page 3 of 5 >>
67kb generated in CPU 0.07, elapsed 0.166 seconds.
100 queries taking 0.1235 seconds, 267 records returned.
Powered by Minx 1.1.6c-pink.