Tonight's movie screening at work was Michael Jackson's This is It, essentially a concert movie starring the recently deceased King of Pop, Michael Jackson as he prepared for his first tour in a decade. Unfortunately the preparations for this tour were for naught when he died (under somewhat mysterious circumstances) on June 25th, 2009.
Jackson was controversial figure: his odd obsessions, fascination with plastic surgery, allegations of sexual abuse, his family, his marriage, his children, and even his death were all played out in the media. But whatever you think of these controversies, he definitely was an enormous talent who had a profound effect on the world of popular music, video, and dance.
This is It is basically a collection of footage from rehearsals in preparation for Jackson's final tour. There is no attempt to vilify him, nor especially to venerate him, except perhaps in recognition of his extraordinary (even unique) talent. And there is plenty of talent evident in this footage. It's very well done, and very well edited, and gives us a glimpse into the tour that wasn't.
If you're a fan, you'll enjoy it.
One year ago tody, I tinkered together a very simple program and keying circuit to use my Arduino to send out a simple Morse Code beacon message.
It seems like complete overkill to me to use a $30 microcontroller to do this task though. A couple of different groups have created PICs and the like which can be used to do the same, with a total cost of well under $10 (the chips are probably around $2 or so a piece). I keep thinking that what I should do is code up a simple version of this kind of application in ATMEL AVR assembly code and make it available. I can envision a simple web based application that would enable you to enter a list of beacon messages you want, and then hit a button and download the necessary firmware, all assembled and ready to go. Just burn and go...
I need more hours in the day.
I mentioned G3ZJO's "WSPR Organ" idea a couple of days ago: he has a much better write up of its success on his own blog. Check it out:
I think the idea of calling this "computerless" is a teensy bit misleading: he does use a PIC microcontroller to generate the necessary modulations. A PIC is still a computer, at least in my book.