Category Archives: TechnoGeek

How to Take Better Photos

This video clip is about an hour long. If you really want to improve your photographic skills, then it is worth watching.


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Okay. I’ve bit the bullet and have purchased a new Blue Yeti microphone from Guitar Center. That, and the Open Source program Audacity, are going to help me turn some of my stories into audiobooks.

Over the next few weeks, I’ll share some of the trails and tribulations of this effort. Feel free in asking questions.

I posted a quickie tutorial on how to use Audacity for AudioBooks on my own blog. Hope y’all find it useful. Be sure to share your recording tales as well. After all, misery loves company.

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Filed under News, TechnoGeek, Writing

Biological Integrated Circuits?

A bit of geek news on Slashdot this past week provided me with a small case of future shock and reminded me of a story I read many years ago.¬† Here’s the news link:

Back in 1975, Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle wrote a classic hard science fiction novel called “The Mote in God’s Eye”.

In one scene, an alien “engineer” was shown a damaged electronic control panel and, after studying it for a few moments, he took out something like a toothpaste tube and squeezed a thin line on a burnt circuit board. With a bit of poking and prodding, this paste automatically flowed into position, repairing the damaged areas in an almost biologic manner. This scene has stuck in my head ever since.

Similar reports from several organizations around the world point to inkjet-printable solar cells or flexible solar ‘cloth’ becoming commonplace in the near future. Combine that technology with self-assembling microcircuits and we might be facing the loss of huge segments of the electronics manufacturing industry.

What do you think? Are these latest developments on the way to making flexible computer systems on-demand, from a tube of paste? If so, what does this mean for all those Asian manufacturers?

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New Type of Quark!

A news release from the Large Hadron Collider, near Geneva, Switzerland, tells of a possible explanation for the lack of antimatter in our universe. Part of the article mentions a new type of quark, called LHC-Beauty.

If I recall my elementary physics, that means we now list seven types of quarks. They are, Top, Bottom, Up, Down, Charm, Strange and Beauty. Unless one of my real physicists  friends wish to correct me, that should provide good fodder for a bar bet.

The entire article can be read here:

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An Interesting Concept

I ran into this neat artist’s conception on one of my favorite websites.

The illustration shows an idea for the next generation of pocket cellphone/tablet/computer. I think the artist is correct in that it might be technically feasible in the next few years.

Would you like one?

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Future Shock!

This is from a Panasonic commercial website…
“The “i-PRO SmartHD” is drawing great attention in the Panasonic booth at the “SECURITY SHOW.” Its ability to detect age and gender of customers is being proposed here as a marketing tool for the store. Not only will it let you monitor and survey using network cameras, it will help you analyze your customer base by detecting their age and gender. It makes it easy to analyze the change in the customer base per hour by displaying the results as graphs and numbers, so you can fine-tune your product orders and advertising and promotional activities according to the situation in the store. As a proposal for the future, Panasonic is also introducing a function, which can also analyze the flow of customers within the store, on the front side of the booth.”

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Big Business

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More than a few years ago, I noticed that there were some email and blog taglines I really liked. In many cases, they were better than the message content.

With this in mind, I started collecting them in the form of a raw text tagline file. I chose raw text because I didn’t want to include any graphics, fancy typefaces or odd formatting. I wanted only the pithy and precise quotes.

This file has now grown to more than 1300 lines!

Some of it is obvious historical references with which I find kindred spirits. Many of Ben Franklin and Thomas Jefferson’s quotes, for example.

“An association of men who will not quarrel with one another is a thing which has never yet existed, from the greatest confederacy of nations down to a town meeting or a vestry.” – Thomas Jefferson

“A people that values its privileges above its principles will soon lose both.” – Thomas Jefferson

“A strong body makes the mind strong. As to the species of excercises, I advise the gun. While this gives moderate exercise to the body, it gives boldness, enterprise and independence to the mind. Games played with the ball and others of that nature, are too violent for the body and stamp no moral character on the mind. Let your gun therefore be your constant companion of you walks.” – Thomas Jefferson to Peter Carr, 1785.

“Those who would give up Essential Liberty to purchase a little Temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.” – Benjamin Franklin 1759

Then again, there are ancient gems from Roman times, such as:

“Everything we hear is an opinion, not a fact. Everything we see is a perspective, not the truth.”
“it is possible for a man to live in a palace without wanting either guards or embroidered dresses, or torches and statues, and such-like show.”
“Life is all warfare and a stranger’s wanderings, and the reward is oblivion,”
“Do not waste what remains of your life in speculating about your neighbors… To wonder what so-and-so is doing and why, or what he is saying, or thinking, or scheming — in a word, anything that distracts you from fidelity to the ruler within you — means a loss of opportunity for some other task.” – Marcus Aurelius (121-180 AD)
I have many, many more from different ages up to the present.

What gems of great wisdom have you saved to share?

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Model Railroad Joke

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Filed under Models, TechnoGeek

Happy New Year!

After a rough start to the week, tonight wraps up on some high notes.

New Ride!

My wife and I just traded up to a new car. We got a 2010 Subaru Forester 2.5XL. It’s very comfortable, has all-wheel-drive and gets 26mpg on the highway. Since the weatherman is promising some nice weather tomorrow, we’re going to take another road trip and I’ll grab some pictures that include our new ride.

Our old car was a 2004 version of the same ride. Here’s a picture I took when it was new…

Cardstock Models Project Status

Due to the computer crash last weekend, I lost four days, rebuilding my system. I’ve finished the color pages for the Iron Furnace model. Now, I’m still working on some perspective line art for the instructions. The text of the instructions is finished. If all goes well, I hope to have something ready for BETA testing Sunday evening.

Once the Iron Furnace is in the hands of the BETA testers, I’ll get back to work on Terry’s Tavern and I still have another project that I want to do just for the fun of it. I’ll be posting some progress photos when there is something new to show.

Geek News

If you’re not interested, feel free to skip this part.

If anyone is wondering, my computer is back up and running after rebuilding it twice. The first time, I discovered, to my dismay, that the latest 10.10 build of Kubuntu does NOT like older equipment. Since my CPU is about five years old and my motherboard is about seven, I had to rebuild the second time with the 10.04 version.

If all goes well, I’m going to build myself a new computer sometime in the April or May time frame. And yes, I’ll probably document that as well and make a How-To page out of it.

That’s about it for this year.

I wish everyone a happy and prosperous new year!

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