brainwagon "There is much pleasure in useless knowledge." — Bertrand Russell

28Dec/061

More minor shaking…

I woke up at 5:30 this morning to let the cat out (he has me trained really well) and thought that I might
have felt a minor tremor. Just now, I thought to look back and see if there was one. Yep! 2.8 on the Richter at 5:37 AM,
same location as the earlier ones, but smaller amplitude.

Recent Earthquakes - Info for event nc51177225

I'm gonna have to think about making a seismograph.

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28Dec/060

Zito keeps his Bart Pass, pockets some extra change…

Major League Baseball : News : Major League Baseball News

Left-handed pitcher Barry Zito has agreed to a seven-year, $126 million contract, according to The Associated Press and other sources.

I'm gonna have to start measuring my salary in millizitos.

Seriously though, I'm not sure whether this was a reasonable choice. Zito is on record saying that he wants to win not just a World Series ring, but in fact multiple rings. If that really is true, does he genuinely think that the Giants organization is going to be the way to do it? I've never been impressed by the Giants personnel moves: I can't think of a single trade or acquisition that they made which was truly outstanding, since perhaps the acquisition of Bonds himself. The Giants frequently miss the real big name guy, and pay too much for the second best guy. Luckily, the new Barry will see an era beyond the old Barry, which I think at least will give the Giants some greater room to maneuver and to reimagine their team in a new way.

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27Dec/060

HD Video Capture Via Mac

Today I was goofing around with hooking a firewire cable to the Motorola DCT-6412 DVR that Comcast provides, and seeing if I could capture HD content onto my MacBook. I could, with some caveats. (Click on the image below to get the full resolution png file of a frame from the capture.)

HD Capture Frame

The problem is that many channels (including most HD channels) are set up with copy protection. They will record, but no open source playback solution exists because of encryption. TNT and our local PBS station are
transmitted in the clear however.

I'll play with this some more. If anyone is interested, I'll summarize here at a later date.

Engadget had a nice guide to recording HD material onto your PC, and includes a lot of information.

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27Dec/060

A Flexible New Technique for Camera Calibration: Zhengyou Zhang

I was rereading Tsai's paper on camera calibration, and was reminded of this more recent work by Zhang at Microsoft. I thought I'd dump a link here for later consumption.

A Flexible New Technique for Camera Calibration: Zhengyou Zhang

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27Dec/061

Gutenberg Gem: Wood-Block Printing by F. Morley Fletcher

I admit to a fascination with most methods of print making, so it's nice to see a rather nifty treatise on wood block printing in the Japanese style make it into Project Gutenberg. It covers the basics (at least from a technical if not artistic side) and is pretty well illustrated.

Wood-Block Printing by F. Morley Fletcher - Project Gutenberg
Wood Block Printing

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26Dec/060

John Baez’s Stuff

I found John Baez's stuff because he mentioned Poundstone's book Fortunes Formula, which is about the relationship between mathematics, information theory and gambling, topics which continue to interest me, at least in an academic sense. But he has pointers to a lot of stuff that seems pretty interesting, so I'm adding him to my bookmark list.

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25Dec/060

Who’s reading my blog with a new Christmas Gadget?

I'm curious: some of you are undoubtably unboxing and firing up you new gadgets, like computers, Wii systems (you lucky bums) and cell phones. How 'bout dropping a quick comment here and letting me know what new gadgets you are using?

Oh, and hope you are having a Merry Christmas!

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25Dec/060

Merry Christmas

On this Christmas holiday, I'd like to extend my best wishes to all my readers and their families. Hope you all have a safe and happy holiday!

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23Dec/062

Yet another one…

Wow, three in three four days. This was pretty minor. I heard a door in our house rattle in a stacatto, but felt no rolling or other shaking. Nearly the same epicenter, measuring 3.5.

Recent Earthquakes - Info for event nc51177121

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22Dec/060

Another quake…

A twin to the one we had a couple of days ago. Preliminary report say 3.6 (the other one was a 3.7) and it occurred very close to the same place that the other one did.

Recent Earthquakes - Info for event nc51177103

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21Dec/060

Interesting Paper on Inexpensive Laser Scanning

Here's a pointer to a cool technique for scanning 3D objects. It's cool in that it uses very simple equipment: a cheap webcam, a corner bracket (just a backing plate that forms a 90 degree angle and has a calibration target on it) and a handheld laser modified to cast a line.

I'll look at it more later.

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Addendum: Here's a link to Tsai's camera calibration paper.

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20Dec/060

Quake!

Just a couple of seconds ago, I was cutting some salmon and we had a bit of a quake. Very little ground shaking, but all the windows rattled pretty well. Usually, I access the finger server to get real time updates when such a thing happens, but I found out that the USGS has discontinued this old friend. Quel dommage.

Nevertheless, here's the event as recorded on their website.

Recent Earthquakes - Info for event nc51177042

Addendum: My neighbor Sam informs me that the USGS does still have their finger server running. I was misled! Oh well. 3.7 on the Richter scale. Very close, right on the Hayward fault. But no damage.

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Seimograph from 12/20/2006

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20Dec/060

Sloan Foundation funds Internet Archive

Boing Boing links to this CNN story about the Open Content Alliance: a group which is trying to scan and make available books of considerable historic and cultural value on the Internet. They are receiving a one million dollar grant from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation to digitize collections at the Boston Public Library, the Getty Research Institute and the Metropolitan museum of art.

The deal represents a coup for Internet Archive founder Brewster Kahle, a strident critic of the controls that Google has imposed on its book-scanning initiative.

"They don't want the books to appear in anyone else's search engine but their own, which is a little peculiar for a company that says its mission is to make information universally accessible," Kahle said.

Cool.

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19Dec/060

Christmas Card Fodder

The fromoldbooks blog had this nice engraving of the Nativity available for download (it's from a book old enough to be in the public domain, so is free to use as you see fit). Someone might have a nice craft project that could use such source material.

Nativity of Christ
The Nativity

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19Dec/060

Mount St. Helens rockin’…

Mount St. Helens woke up with a bit of a rumble today. Here's the seismograph. It's not exactly unprecedented, but kind of cool.

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