Archive for the ‘joehungry’ Category

The X0 Project

Wednesday, September 13th, 2006

With the recent release of the “original” Star Wars Trilogy turning out to be nothing more than a non-anamorphic transfer to DVD, I stumbled across the X0 Project.

From the website:

The XØ Project has been created by four highly-motivated and experienced Star Wars fans to document our efforts to make the highest quality LaserDisc-to-DVD conversion of the Original Trilogy the world has ever seen.

Convert image to vector graphics

Tuesday, September 12th, 2006

nice nice nice nice nice
I’ve been working on a poster for a band I am in I wanted to blow it up for a playbill poster, but I knew that it would get pixilated at the magnified resolution. What I needed was to vectorize the image. I thought I’d have to trace the entire image by hand, but then found this program called POTRACE. POTRACE took my BMP image and quickly (and accurately) converted it to a SVG file….no problems at all.

Quite possibly the DUMBEST alert message EVER.

Tuesday, August 22nd, 2006

I’ve been using Microsoft SQL Server Enterprise Manager for a few months now, and compared to command line SQL, this application is useless. Sure you can view the records in a table….by right clicking on the table and choosing Return->All Rows. What ever happed to “select * from table”? Is that too much to ask?

To add to the frustration, it frequently asks me if I want to continue working with my result set. Uh, yeah, I’ll tell you when I’m done with it when I CLOSE THE FRIGGIN WINDOW MYSELF! Glar. For those of you not able to imagine this, it would be as if your web browser asked you if you were done viewing a web page every 2 minutes while surfing the web. Fun, yes?

Lastly, I encounter what I think could be the most useless alert message ALL THE TIME in SQL Server Enterprise Manager. When clicking on a SQL server to which I want to connect, I get this message EVERYTIME:

The Server /servername/ is not known to be running. Are you sure you want to try to connect to it?


Trust me, if you don’t laugh about it, this message could make someone kill themselves.

OF COURSE the server isn’t known to be running. ANY NUMBER OF THINGS could have caused it to be unavailable. A power outage, system crash (which would be likely considering it is a Windows SQL server), network outage, earthquake, meteor strike, nuclear war…and on and on. Any of these things could cause it to be unavailable.

Tell you what Microsoft: I know this would be a stretch, but could you, maybe, try to connect to the server anyway….I know it may be a pile of rubble smoldering under the hot meteorite….and let me know if it is not available? Could you do this for me? Or maybe keep the error message, but change it to something just as useless like “The server IS KNOWN to be running. Are you sure you want to connect?” or “Peanut butter and honey sandwiches taste good to some people.” Either one would be just as helpful, granted the later one would be funnier.

The Oh-My-God Particle

Thursday, February 9th, 2006

I read a thought provoking article recently. In 1991, an array of detectors in Nevada detected a proton colliding with the Earth’s atmosphere. The observed energy released from this event suggested that the proton was travelling 2.9999999999999999999999853×10^8 metres per second; almost the speed of light.

The calculations also reveal that if a human could hitch a ride on this proton, this is how long it would /appear/ to that traveler to reach these locations:

Alpha Centauri – 0.43 milliseconds
Galactic nucleus – 3.2 seconds
Andromeda galaxy – 3.5 minutes
Virgo cluster – 1.15 hours
Quasar 3C273 – 3 days
Edge of universe – 19 days

Observations suggest that the edge of the known universe is 17,000,000,000 light years away from Earth. That means that it would take light 17 billion years to reach the edge of the universe if it started on Earth, as measured from an observer on Earth. So, how can this proton reach it in 19 days? Remember that the faster you travel, the slower time goes (in relation to a “stationary” person).

So, if I could fly in a circle above the Earth at near the speed of light for, what would appear to be, 0.5 milliseconds, when I landed I would find that 5 years had passed on Earth. And likewise, my near-light-speed voyage to the edge of the universe would seem to take only 19 days for me, while on Earth, over 17 billion years would have passed. If I were to return from such a voyage, I would find a dead solar system. Any friends and family would have died only seconds after the start of my journey (during which thousands of years would have passed on Earth). Also, Sol, our sun, would have long since burned out, and Earth would likely be a frozen wasteland.

Amazing. Think about it.

Buying a Fender Rhodes MK 1b

Tuesday, January 17th, 2006

Well I’ve found a beat up Fender Rhodes MK 1b electric piano for sale in the area, and I’m picking it up at a pretty low price. It does need some work….needs 10 new tines, a sustain pedal and rod, and some new tolex. At first, I thought I would use it for parts for my Rhodes Mark V, but now I think I’ll try to fix it up. I’ll post pictures of the restoration process when I can.

Regarding information in an entangled system

Friday, December 2nd, 2005

I was reading a bit more about quantum entanglement, while thinking about my previous post and came across a quantum entanglement webpage that had this to say:

Q: Can we use entanglement for instantaneous communications?
No. Current theories suggest that the information passed between particles in an entangled system must remain a secret. However, experiments involving the decay of radioactive particles may hold promise for detecting when one half of an entangled pair has changed

But….the author also claims:

Unlike the static nature of the web pages presented here, quantum physics is ever changing. Physicists are confronted with problems that will take many iterations, many years, to solve. Scores of theories will be presented, some of them merely tweaking, while others radically alter, our perceptions of quantum nature.

Quantum Entanglement Followup

Wednesday, November 30th, 2005

I caught news that some folks have figured out a way to measure the quantum state of a particle, without affecting the quantum state. As I understand it, when one measures the quantum state of a particle, the act of measuring (or interacting) with the particle can change its quantum state. This would lead to unreliable measurements of a particle’s quantum state.

If these researchers have done what I think they have done, communication technologies should dramatically benefit. Consider the following:

  1. Entangle two particles (A and B).
  2. Put particle A into a device (device A) that changes its quantum states with variable frequency.
  3. Allow the frequency to be controlled by a microphone, so that the rate of changing quantum states is controlled by someone’s voice.
  4. Put particle B into a device (device B) that measures the changes in its quantum state, and amplifies those changes through a speaker.

This is similar to how a phone works, but the frequency is transmitted over wires and communication towers. What I think would be neat is that device A and B would be able to communicate at the speed of light, regardless of location, and without the need for a traditional service provider….you see, device A and B would communicate directly with each other!

Someone could be 1 mile underground in a Pennsylvania coal mine, and have a crystal-clear conversation with their friend in Australia, if they had such devices. In the same way, future astronauts in lunar orbit would be able to maintain communications even on the far side of the moon. The Mars Exploration Rovers would be able to communicate directly with operators on Earth without line-of-sight restrictions (or the need for orbiting relays).

Even better, the power consumption for long distance communications would be miniscule compared to the traditional RF transmissions. Consider the Voyager 1 spacecraft, which at the time of writing is 9,067,000,000 miles from Earth. Sensitive equipment on Earth is still able to receive communication signals from Voyager 1, even though they get weaker as the spacecraft distances itself from Earth. At some point in the future the Voyager 1 signal’s noise-to-signal ratio may be such that equipment on Earth won’t be able to “hear” the spacecraft. If Voyager 1 wanted to be “heard” it would have to “shout” louder, but the transmitter it has can only “shout” so loud.

If Voyager 1 had a particle entangled with one on Earth, then it could apply very little effort to change the quantum state of its on-board particle, and then we could measure the changes in our particle on Earth with no signal loss. No matter the distance, this type of communication would provide perfect reception.

Think about it.

Esspaul coming to a kitchen near you

Tuesday, November 15th, 2005

Ric, guitarist for Scribblin’, is totally psyched about starting the filming for Esspaul. He has offered the use of his kitchen for the filming of the pilot, and is already thinking of some great dishes for Paul to prepare.

I’m hoping Mark will be able to help with scene composition and lighting. I will be handling editing and pre/post mastering, as well as performing as Chef Paul’s personal minstrel; following him about the kitchen singing and obnoxiously clapping coconuts. Actually, I’m just going to sing the intro/outro theme song. (BTW-Paul, we need to write an outro.) But for now, we’ll be working on a storyboard. With the final product, we’d like to post it on the internet, but may seek corporate sponsorship and an eventual television series contract.

Designing sets for playing in large venues

Wednesday, September 14th, 2005

I had some cool ideas for playing on stage. These are just the artistic renderings of those thoughts. You can click on all the images for a slightly larger image.

In this one, the lunch box will roll on stage and then open to reveal the band as they start to play. Note that the drummer is wearing a giant foam pickle. The other players might be a thermos and sandwich. I’m not sure yet. And yes, that is my sad attempt at duplicating a Lazer Tag lunchbox from the mid 1980’s. I should know. I owned one.
Lunch box closed
Lunch box open

Here, I thought it would be fun to have a medieval theme because I love D&D-like games and stories. I really like this one and it would require some sort of control surface from the back, where a tech could activate any one of the following “states” to go along with the music:

  • Night – brings up blue and purple lights, turns on the christmas lights in the rear, lights the moon, plays cricket sounds, and other things…
  • Day – brings up bright lights, and…. um….plays daytime sounds? wind? gulls? hahahahaha! that’s hilarious. I have no idea….
  • Siege – (during day or night) turn on fans behind tall grass to blow red/yellow/orange streamers up with backlighting and sound for a fire effect.


This marionette one is a favorite. I had a fun time thinking about it. Basically, all the lights are on the puppets in front with the band playing music in the background. A system for the players to control the puppets would be crazy….right? So I think you would need puppeteers to do that work for you. Cool.

If you like these, and by some chance use these ideas, please take some photos and let me see it! That would be awesome. Or, if I ever build one of these I’ll post pictures here. Deal?

Quantum entanglement and Quantum teleportation

Tuesday, September 6th, 2005

On the trip back from Baltimore this weekend, Jason and I began to talk about interesting subjects, including quantum entanglement. I introduced the idea to Jason, and he was very interested in it. I decided to read up on Quantum entanglement and I stumbled upon a nice article about Quantum teleportation, which said:

That the term teleportation reminds of the beaming process in the Star Trek TV series might have been intentional. After all, the physicists coining the term might have thought, it is as if the particle would be brought there. But this analogue is prone to miss the point: Only the information about the quantum state is brought there, the particle to take up the state must already be present.