Monday, October 24, 2016

Lapsed Time

So I backed Pulse during their Kickstater and my own Pulse unit arrived a week or two ago.  After messing around with it a bit, I finally gave it a shot last night and made a little time lapse video off the back deck...

Not bad for my first attempt I must say...



Saturday, October 22, 2016

Happy Birthday Carrier Fisher!!!

Happy 60th Birthday to Carrie Fisher!

Not sure why, but Fisher's 60th B-day actually made me feel a little old today too! LOL!

You have to wonder if Fisher had any idea that the role she was playing in some Sci Fi flick in 1977 would become such a big deal down the road (she was 21 when Star Wars released).

Be great in Episode VIII to see who her character reacts and deals with Han Solo's death...



Friday, October 21, 2016

Mapping Half Life

As if I haven't ever mentioned my Stumble Upon addiction...

I mean dude...that's just bad ass!



Wednesday, October 19, 2016

What Time Is It?

Ok...these 22 Mind Blowing Facts  related to time comparisons will really bake your noodle...

Here's a great one...

Star Wars came out in 1977...and France still used the guillotine still to execute people that year.

Here's another...

Oxford University is older than the Aztecs.

And another...

There are whales alive today who were born before Moby Dick was written.

One more...

When the Great Pyramids of Giza were built...Woolly Mammoths still walked the Earth.

There you go...mind blown.

Check out more at the link above!



Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Gotta Start that Holiday Wish List...

And here might be the first item on the list...

Star Wars Wookie Slippers that make Chewbacca roars when you walk...

$29.99 on ThinkGeek

Maybe you should get a couple of pairs for your loved ones before the prices start to go up...



Monday, October 17, 2016

Sunday, October 16, 2016

F.A.T. Mats are Phat!

I've been loving F.A.T. Mats for some time...

Note: F.A.T. mat with some terrain set up on it - assumed to be sold seperately.
Don't own one myself yet...but it's on my list for sure!

I've got a pretty great mat for tabletop space gaming (think X-wing Miniatures) that I love...but really these make me want to collect a few others...

A good gaming mat can really enhance the overall game experience IMHO.  It's also a somewhat more cost affordable option that actually creating a gaming table itself - or buying a full game board for many 100's of dollars.

Check out some F.A.T. mats!



Saturday, October 15, 2016

Failed Tech Predictions...Awwww Snap!

While it's fun to read these Top 30 Failed Technology Predictions and say, "D'oh!" and laugh as if we're all much smarter than them...I find better to try and put myself to the time of the prediction and appreciate what was impacting those predictions at that time.  Then, apply it to things today that are 'predicted...'

But here's a couple of faves from this site:

“We will never make a 32 bit operating system.” — Bill Gates

I'm writing this blog post from my laptop with a Windows 64 bit OS...

“There is no reason anyone would want a computer in their home.” — Ken Olson, president, chairman and founder of Digital Equipment Corp. (DEC)

A little related to the first one...the question these days is how many computers you have in your home (think smartphones and tablets in that list...)

“The horse is here to stay but the automobile is only a novelty – a fad.” — The president of the Michigan Savings Bank advising Henry Ford’s lawyer, Horace Rackham, not to invest in the Ford Motor Co., 1903

One must wonder if that president missed the IPO for Ford Motor Co. back then...

“Home Taping Is Killing Music” — A 1980s campaign by the BPI, claiming that people recording music off the radio onto cassette would destroy the music industry

Does seem like we hear something like this every 10 years or so...

“Television won’t last. It’s a flash in the pan.” — Mary Somerville, pioneer of radio educational broadcasts, 1948.

Well...some television shouldn't have lasted (Honey Boo Boo, Springer, the remake of MacGyver, Fox...

Check out the site for more...


Friday, October 14, 2016

Space History in Transcript

Hard to not get a shiver of excitement when you read these...

Buzz Aldrin (LMP)
4 forward. 4 forward. Drifting to the right a little. Okay. Down a half.

Buzz Aldrin (LMP)
KEY MOMENTThe Eagle touches down on the lunar surface:CONTACT LIGHT.

Buzz Aldrin (LMP)

Buzz Aldrin (LMP)
ACA—out of DETENT.

Buzz Aldrin (LMP)

Charlie Duke (CAPCOM)
We copy you down, Eagle.

Neil Armstrong (CDR)
Houston, Tranquility Base here.

Neil Armstrong (CDR)
The Eagle has landed.

Spacelog is both fascinating and engrossing.  It's project (entirely volunteer) to capture the some two hundred + human spaceflights in transcripts of the conversations of those flight crews.  As of this writing, there are nine sets of transcripts on Spacelog - Vostok 1 (in Russian), Mercury 3, Mercury 4, Mercury 6, Mercury 7, Gemini 3, Apollo 8, Apollo 11, and Apollo 13.

Each transcript is broken down into phases...for instance, Mercury 3 - the first American crewed mission into space - has three phases:  Launch, Space, and Reentry.  Each has full transcripts of the radio conversations of those mission segments.

Each also will have a 'featured moment,' some statement of reknown that you can quick click to and read the transcript at that point in time - in Mercury 3's example, on May 5, 1961 at 2;41pm UTC (and the transcript gives you a historical datum of how long ago this was said - in this instance '55 years, 5 months ago'), Alan Shepard radios, "I'm on Fly by Wire.  Going to re-entry attitude."  You can load other moments as well...or just read the entire transcript for each phase.

You can also look at each phase on a timeline that shows levels of conversation activity - which is a great way to follow particular events in a phase - for instance I clicked the timeline for Apollo 11's Phase 5: Descent to the Moon and was quickly able to read the final approach and touchdown of the Eagle Lander.

There's also a very cool 'People' section for each mission - where there's short biographical data on the crews - both vehicle and mission control - that you are reading the conversations of.  In the example of Apollo 11 - there's bios (and more clickable transcript quotes) on Michael Collins,
Michael Collins
Edwin Aldrin, Jr.,
Edwin 'Buzz' Aldrin, Jr.
and Neil Armstrong
Neil Armstrong
as well as bios of notable people that were part of CAPCOM and other mission control positions for Apollo 11, such as Bruce McCandless II (back up pilot on first Skylab crew, two time Shuttle mission crew, first untethered spaceflight),
Bruce McCandless II
Donald "Deke" Slayton (Director of Flight Crew Operations '63-'72, member of Apollo-Soyuz crew, and oldest person in space at that time),
Deke Slayton
and James Lovell, Jr. (Gemini's 7 and 12, Apollo 8, and the infamous Apollo 13.)
James Lovell, Jr.

Lastly, Spacelog has a handy glossary of terms you might read, which really does help if you aren't sure what they're talking about in the transcripts (I mean, I didn't know that the ALSD was the Apollo Lunar Surface Drill - do they have that at Home Depot?)
Overall, it's wonderful way to sit back and read some of the greatest events in human history, and to get a small feeling but a big appreciation of just how thrilling these times were.  Totally worth a visit (or two).


Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Free PC Games

'cause wasting time is not time wasted... Bertrand Russell


F2P is great, but only when the game is too. And most of these are...

I've played a number of them, including Dungeons & Dragons Online, Firefall, World of Tanks, Mechwarrior Online, Lord of the Rings Online, War Thunder, World of Warships, Star Wars The Old Republic, Winning Putt, Hearthstone, Heroes of the Storm, Team Fortress 2, Spelunky, The Battle For Westnoth, Command & Conquer: Tiburon Sun, Transport Tycoon, Arma 2, Plants vs Zombies, and Slender.

Do any of these stink like 0600 at the frat boy house? No...because they are free.

Fire one up!



Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Outstanding Words

"Only two things are certain: the universe and human stupidity; and I'm not certain about the universe."

-Albert Einstein

Pirate Insult Generator

You know there's a ton of rather cool and useful generators out there...such as the ever expanding (and outstanding) Fantasy Name Generator, which I use on at fairly regular basis for everything from gaming (board, RPG, and video).

But this one holds a special place in my heart...or maybe my 'Blackheart'! 
The Pirate Oath Generator will spill out insult, jibe, and insult one after another each time you hit the' shout again' button.

Check it out...

"Kill my parrot will ye? I'm gonna knot yer legs together ye butt ugly dung diggin wiggly maggot!"



Monday, October 10, 2016

ListMuse's 100 Best Science Books of All Time

Stumbled (using, go figure, Stumble Upon) across this list of The 100 Best Science Books of All Time...good list, so here’s the first 25:

  1. The Origin of the Species – Charles Darwin
  2. QED: The Strange Theory of Light and Matter – Richard Feynman
  3. On Growth and Form – D’Arcy Wentworth Thompson
  4. Ideas and Opinions – Albert Einstein
  5. Double Helix – James D. Watson
  6. Lives of a Cell – Lewis Thomas
  7. The Structure of Scientific Revolutions – Thomas Kuhn
  8. Knowledge and Wonder: Natural World as Man Knows It – Victor Weisskopf
  9. What Evolution Is – Ernst Mayr
  10. The Superorganism: The Beauty, Elegance, and Strangeness of Insect Societies – E.O. Wilson
  11. The Selfish Gene – Richard Dawkins
  12. To Explain The World: The Discovery of Modern Science – Steven Weinberg
  13. The Music of Life: Biology Beyond Genes – Denis Noble
  14. A Brief History of Time – Stephen Hawking
  15. Godel, Escher, Bach – Douglas Hofstadter
  16. King Solomon’s Ring – Konrad Lorenz
  17. What is Life? – Erwin Schrodinger
  18. The Making of the Atomic Bomb – Richard Rhodes
  19. The Elegant Universe – Brian Greene
  20. Atkins’ Molecules – Peter Atkins
  21. Silent Spring – Rachel Carson
  22. Against Method – Paul Feyerabend
  23. Coming of Age in the Milky Way – Timothy Ferris
  24. Wonderful Life – Steven Jay Gould
  25. The Realm of the Nebulae – Edwin Hubble

If this kind of stuff turns your crank…check out the other 75, with such cool titles as Cosmos by Carl Sagan (say what you want, Cosmos is the bestselling science book EVER published in the English language), Chaos by James Gleick, The Man Who Mistook His Wife For A Hat by Oliver Sacks (I love, love love Oliver Sacks – saddened when he passed recently),  and The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer, by Siddhartha Mukherjee (one of my heroes and perhaps the most important Pulitzer Prize winning books I can ever recommend to anyone).



Gear up for Gears of War 4

That's's almost here.  In fact it's less than 12 hours away as I write this post. Gears of War 4 releases at midnight Oct 11th and yet another Xbox/Microsoft exclusive will suck up a crap-ton of my life now that I'm not only out of school, but not starting the new job until next week.  

Yea...that's right...we're now talking about JD Fenix, Marcus Fenix's son, and we're back on Sera about 25 years following the end of Gears of War 3.  Now there's a new threat to the planet - and it's not the Locust and their bitch-queen Myrrah that Dom sacrificed himself so we could finish them off.

 It's the Swarm that JD and his buddies Del Walker and Kait Diaz will have to ditch their COG duties to blow the goo and gore all over your screen with.  (BTW Kait isn't COG - she's with some kind of vigilante gang called The Outsiders. The Swarm are the new unknown bad boys on the block, and in order to take them on, JD asks for help from his pops, the great Marcus Fenix, who is nicely aged for being 25 years older in addition to being pissed off at his son for joining the COG in the first place.
To me, the Swarm look an awful lot like the Locust...but hey, I'm happy to chainsaw bayonet pretty much any hot-mess alien soldiers that stand in the way of Sera's heroes.

So go grab it and pre-order if you still can so you can snag the extra goodies for pre-order - such as the Brothers-To-The-End elite gear pack with Zombie Don, Old Man Marcus, Tomorrow Anya, and some gold plated lancer and gnasher skins.  Plus you can start playing now (the pre-order started 3 days ago).

I also picked up a deal for a free $10 gift card from Microsoft here  for pre-ordering a download code for Xbox One from that sealed the deal for me.

Don't forget too that if you GoW4 is PlayAnywhere, meaning that if you DL it for your Xbox One, you can play it on your Windows 10 machine too...for free...and it syncs progress between the two.  PlayAnywhere is awesome, and I use it a lot more than I thought I would - not to mention that it's pretty common for me to stream my Xbox One to my Windows 10 laptop when I'm doing Xboxy stuff or playing a game.  It's fantastic, and allows me to play a game in the living room streamed from by X1 to my laptop while my wife is watching the TV.

And if you're reading this after the game goes on sale tonight...well buy it anyway because you know you will.  It's one of the reasons Xbox is Xbox - between Halo and Gears it was never even a second thought about which console goes into my entertainment center.  If you opted for PS4 and didn't also pick up an Xbox...well...guess you'll just have to cry in your wheaties while I'm taking cover before tossing frag this week.  (Maybe I'll fire up something off my EA Access subscription this week too...oh PS4 fanboys don't have that either.  Seriously, buy an Xbox already!)

Gears of War has been on of my all-time fave game franchises - both from great story, excellent gameplay, and most importantly from a married to gamer spouse person - multi-player split screen play (and I'm 99.9% sure GoW4 will be split screen two-player).

Polish up your lancer and oil up it's chainsaw...I'll see you on Sera!