Archive for November, 2008

Laptop Convertible.

November 30, 2008

As with a lot of ideas I have with video, this one sat in my brain for a few months.  Additionally, I had a few surprises.  Sometimes when I plan a project, what happens in reality is exactly what happened in my head.  In this project, that could not be further from the case.  I think that adds drama to the video.  It certainly created some consternation for me!  But I also got to learn an entirely new skill set in the process, so it was all good.

For your entertainment, I present Laptop Convertible:

Cabin pressure on commercial airlines.

November 23, 2008

I have a Casio Pathfinder watch with a built in altimeter. It works based on air pressure. I’ve worn it while I’ve been traveling a couple of times and I like to check it when the plane takes off and as the plane approaches cruising altitude.

Now of course it does not measure actual altitude. For that to happen, the cabin would have to be completely unpressurized. At the same time, one might think that the air pressure in the plane would stay the same throughout the entire flight. If my watch is to be believed this is not the case. This makes sense from a practical standpoint too because otherwise a person’s ears would never pop on the plane.

Here’s some of the data I took. Before they shut the door, the watch said 800′. At take off it dipped to 160′ then went to 420′, 800′, 1300′ and ultimately capped at 5940′ at 31,000′. So assuming a linear relationship between the reading on the watch and actual altitude, the ratio was 1′ on the watch to 5.22′ in real altitude.

On the way back, it capped out at 6280′ so I might have been higher at 32,781′.

I was kind of surprised that it went that high. If the watch is to be believed, spending time at cruising altitude in a commercial airline is like spending time in Denver, CO.

So did I feel like a geek when I was sitting there tracking this data from my watch? Sure, but if you’ve spent any time at all reading this blog, you know that that doesn’t bother me.

Friday Night Party Line #37.

November 22, 2008

Tonight’s hosts are David, Rym, Scott and Thaed along with newcomers Luke and Jason.  Here are the topics:

–Craigslist is destroying newspapers.  But is it really more of a question of the interface?  You don’t need the paper, you can get what you want online.  But what happens when we can receive information wirelessly directly into our heads.  What happens when the interface melts away?  You don’t need television, radio, phones or even computers assuming brain communication is two-way.  Moreover, if you can get sensory information this way with greater resolution than your five senses provide, what happens next?

–Carl Jacobi is known for using inversion to achieve insight and to solve problems.  The idea is that you look at a problem backwards or from another person’s perspective to work it out.  Have you tried this?  Does it work for you?
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carl_Gustav_Jakob_Jacobi

–In developing AI, where do self-teaching algorithm or genetic algorithm come into play?  Where is AI development going today?  What are the latest advancements?  How long before we all have robot
butlers.

–What is the future of theater, concerts, circuses, sports and other types of live performance entertainment?  Do people need to gather in meatspace and be entertained?  Is the economy (or the Internet) going to shut this down?  Is live entertainment doomed?

–Ask the economist.

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Direct download: fnpl_37_final.mp3

Why aren’t I producing more?!

November 8, 2008

This blog means a lot to me, believe it or not.  I can express my thoughts here and actually find an audience.  In real life, my audience pays me to talk about stuff that isn’t really that fun, but that is important to those who employ me.  I’m not complaining about it, it’s part of my living.  However, my job is all consuming and it takes me away from creative fun stuff.  So my videos suffer and Friday Night Party Line goes on hiatus.

The end is in sight, however, for this year at least.  By the end of next week, my travels will be over for this year.  This means I can spend more time doing fun internet stuff.  I have an idea for a video involving moding a broken laptop using power tools!  I also have 3 computers I want to build  And of course FNPL will be back.

So it’s just a matter of time really and then I’ll be having fun again.