Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Does anyone know what this is??

Originally uploaded by bangzoom
I've seen markings like this before. Sometimes just a "T" other times a full cross. They're huge, I always assumed it was some sort of aerial marking but could never figure it out. Today this mark showed up about 200 feet from my house. I doubt it's anything sinister but now I need to know!!! I've googled all sorts of phrases like "T street marking" and "aerial street marking" but no luck. Any ideas???

#posted by Rob Roschewsk @ 5:40 PM

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Monday, February 18, 2008

The end or an era: Analog Cellphone network to shutdown today.

Alas, my 1980's Vintage Tandy CT-200 is officially a paper weight .... actually boat anchor is more appropriate. The original AMPS (Advanced Mobile Phone System) will shutdown today. Gone are the days where I could sit with my modified 800 MHz Scanner and listen to random cell phone calls (oopps did I actually admit to doing that ??? )

The funny part, a few weeks ago Sam took that phone to school as part of her "life in the 80's" project .... needless to say all her cell phone toting classmates were amazed ....

#posted by Rob Roschewsk @ 6:26 AM

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HD-DVD is dead! Long live HD-DVD .....

It seems the HD Video Disc wars have come to an end. With Wal-Mart's recent decision to stop selling HD-DVD players some sources say Toshiba will be abandoning the HD-DVD format. Sony's Blu-Ray technology seems to have one the war.
It's ironic .... back in the 80's during the Video Tape format wars ...  Sony's Betamax format, which some say was technically superior,  lost out to VHS.
Seems Sony learned it's lesson.
Reuters: Toshiba to exit HD DVD, end format war-NHK

#posted by Rob Roschewsk @ 6:04 AM

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Saturday, February 16, 2008

Playing with povray ....

Heard about Povray on FLOSS weekly. Povray is a "ray tracing" renderer .... think 3-D graphics. In a nutshell you describe objects to be rendered (box, sphere, plane), specify lighting conditions and let it fly.

This is not some "drag and drop" tool .... it requires actual programming in Povray's "Scene Description Language" (SDL) to produce a picture.

I'm not artistic by any stretch of the imagination. I'm at best geometric, I can draw straight lines with a ruler. I kick-ass with programs like Viso or the open source Equivalent Dia, but to draw something free hand and representing three dimensions .... forget it. I like playing with Povray because it's mathematical and I can fine tune pictures by adjusting numbers. I never thought I could be so artistic!!!

Here is the SDL for my first picture.
(ASCII text)
And this is what it produced:

May not look like much ... but consider the power of this program .... all I did was specify the location of the box, the sphere, the lighting and the camera (or viewer) ... it figured out all th shading and shadows. Pretty cool, huh??

#posted by Rob Roschewsk @ 11:09 AM


Thank you for mentioning FLOSS "Weekly" on your blog. The next show is about Blender, so hopefully you'll have more things to make neat pictures with after listening!

# posted by Blogger Randal L. Schwartz @ 5:25 PM 

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Friday, February 01, 2008

We who have been defeated wish you well .....

It's been a long fight and an uphill battle at times. We gave it our all ... but sometimes your all just isn't good enough. Samantha's cell phone arrived yesterday. This concludes almost 18 months of begging, pleading, temper tantrums ... and that doesn't even take into account Sam's attitude.

This was clearly a peer pressure thing .... Sam is not big on sitting on the phone. Just about everyone in her class has them and she was feeling left out. The problem she wasn't getting .... it's not like a Christmas present ... it's the gift that keeps on giving in the form of monthly charges.

We finally came down to an arrangement where she would start doing some chores around the house. These were not busy work chores. The chores she came up with actually had to make a difference to Lisa and my household work load. Things like unloading the dishwasher and taking the trash out to the curb for example. We were able to negotiate a list of chores that Lee and I thought were adequate compensation for the phone bill. I drew up a simple contract and we all signed it. If she doesn't follow through on the chores or her grades slip ... bye-bye cell phone.

Knowing our daughter, and her lack of follow through, we hedged our bets and set her up with a prepaid refillable phone rather than getting locked into a 2 year contract. A few months down the road if it seems like it's working out will convert her to a regular plan.

So, to all those parents out there that haven't yet caved in please forgive us for giving up the fight. We wish you well in your challenges!!!

#posted by Rob Roschewsk @ 4:01 PM

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