Archive for month: June, 2004

Serious Putty

June 30, 2004 | Science | By: Mark VandeWettering

Everybody needs 5 lbs of Silly Putty, although I must admit I can’t imagine why. The official site is at Aaron’s Putty World offers all sorts different kinds which you can order in 1lb bags. Or you could try ordering 100lb quantities from Dupont.

Cassini arrives at Saturn

June 30, 2004 | Astronomy, Science | By: Mark VandeWettering

After a seven year, 2.2 billion year trip, the Cassini spacecraft completed its SOI burn and entered Saturn orbit. Check out the details on or review the project homepage. During its lifetime, Cassini is supposed to relay over three hundred thousand pictures of Saturn and its surrounding moons. Let the wallpaper downloading commence!

Apologies for downtime…

June 30, 2004 | News | By: Mark VandeWettering

Sorry to my two or three readers, who undoubtably were devastated to find brainwagon off the air earlier today. I had a brief outage while my domains were shifted to GoDaddy and the name serves were updated. All should be well now.


June 30, 2004 | Link of the Day | By: Mark VandeWettering has some fun (if silly) flash animations, including the story of “The Monkey and the Coconut”, which perhaps people who appreciate monkeys might, in fact, appreciate. Or not.

All you need to know about lasers…

June 29, 2004 | Link of the Day | By: Mark VandeWettering

I was trying to figure out some details about how laser time of flight sensors determine distance, and Sam’s Laser FAQ came to the rescue. What a terrific resource for geeky hobbyists. The simplest laser to build from scratch would appear to be a variation of a design from Scientific American’s Amateur Scientist column, but […]

U.S. Supreme Court Rules on Rights of Detainees

June 29, 2004 | News | By: Mark VandeWettering

The Supreme Court handed down its rulings on rights of detainees. You can listen to some commentary on NPR if you are streaming enabled. The basics of the decision as I absorb them now is that the court found that Bush’s claim the he could classify people as enemy combatants and hold them indefinitely without […]

Barbie Dumps Ken, Dates Blaine, CNN Money covers!

June 29, 2004 | I Kid You Not | By: Mark VandeWettering

While scanning the headlines of CNN Money this morning, I found out that Barbie is dating again, this time it’s a hunky Australian. This is just the kind of insightful business coverage I’ve come to expect from CNN. The most precious quote: After 43 years as one of the world’s best-looking couples, Mattel announced the […]

One More Reason To Stop Using IE

June 28, 2004 | News | By: Mark VandeWettering

CERT has suggested that users stop using IE because of a serious conjuction of two security flaws: one in IE, another in IIS. If there weren’t enough reasons to hate IE, try searching Google to find some more. Me, I just hate it because of all the bugs in their CSS implementation. Some people want […]

Iraq war will cost each family $3145

June 28, 2004 | Rants and Raves | By: Mark VandeWettering

But to free the world of Weapons of Mass Destruction, it’s worth every penny. I’m beginning to agree: a vote for Bush in November is now a sign of a character flaw.

Blog Me Out to the Ballgame 2004

June 27, 2004 | Baseball | By: Mark VandeWettering

Taking a cue from Tom Mangan, I decided to participate in his proposed Blog Me Out to the Ballgame 2004 extravaganza. Carmen and I got some cheap view level tickets, and were treated to a beautiful day at the ballpark, baking in the sun amidst the wide variety of individuals who form that eclectic group […]

Senate Has Too Much Time – Passes Useless Bill

June 26, 2004 | Rants and Raves | By: Mark VandeWettering

Reuters is reporting that the Senate has just passed a bill that makes using a camcorder to record a movie a federal crime. punishable by up to three years in prison, or up to five years in prison if such recordings were made for commercial purposes. On the one hand, I work for the movie […]

Pay for My Stupidity

June 26, 2004 | Link of the Day | By: Mark VandeWettering

Slashdot provided a link to KiteCam Disaster Fund Appeal, the website for an individual who lofted and subsequently landed a Casio EX-3 digital camera using a kite. To pay for the folly of his poor engineering and inadequate kite flying skills, he now has resorted to pleas for money. Frankly, I think giving money to […]

21 Rules of Thumb — How Microsoft develops its Software

June 25, 2004 | Link of the Day | By: Mark VandeWettering

Jim McCarthy writes about 21 Rules of Thumb that guide the development of software products inside Microsoft. There are very few surprises, but I’ve been involved in quite a few software products before turning in my leaf and becoming a TD, and I bet most product managers would find more of them surprising than I […]

Spoofing Biometric Scanners

June 25, 2004 | Link of the Day | By: Mark VandeWettering

Marie Sandström has a short thesis on spoofing biometric fingerprint scanners. It involves collecting latent prints, and then casting a replica finger in gelatin. I have read about such techniques here by Tsutomo Matsumoto, and here it is two years later and the latest hardware appears no more effective.

Python Weblog Software — Aether

June 24, 2004 | Python, Web Programming | By: Mark VandeWettering

Aether is a simple weblog/website authoring system written by Paul Harrison. He’s also got some other cool stuff that he’s written, including GIMP plugins for texture synthesis. He’s also got an electronic singing tortoise.