Archive for June, 2004

Captured in Colour: Rare photographs from the First World War

June 27, 2004

I visited this photographic exhibition at the Museum of Brisbane today.

The exhibition contains eighty odd photographs of the Great War, taken by French and Australian photographers, utilising two new colour techniques.

There aren’t many action shots as the technology of the day required exposure times in the order of seconds. To my eye, neither technique works particularly well on anything but strong base colours (red, green, blue) so items that stand out are flags, standards, colourful uniforms, medals, and in one stunning shot, flora; where as most of the background fades into a sepia sameness.

There are three amazing panoramas by an Australian photographer, Frank Hurley.

A surprising little project by a French photographer shows a group of children acting out the military feats of their parents. At first it’s very charming, but by the end it is definitely disturbing.

A must see if you’re into photography, but be quick, it finishes on the fourth of next month.

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The Blues

June 25, 2004

I’m going to be attending The Blues film series showing at the Schonell. Should be very cool.

Todo manager

June 22, 2004

An itch that I’ve had for a long time is a command line todo list manager.

Yes, there’s a lot of them out there already, but none of them looked like they’d be a good fit with the way I work.

ttm came very close, and I’ve borrowed quite a few ideas from it, but it didn’t let me organise things into trees, and it popped up an editor rather than taking arguments.

Oh, and it’s not written in Python :)

So, announcing todo, a very simple todo list manager.

The Worlds of Galileo, by Michael Hanlon

June 18, 2004

I can remember many years ago being entranced by a Quantum program (now rebadged as Catalyst) dedicated to the Galileo probes flyby of Jupiter.

With the Cassini probe approaching Saturn, it seems appropriate to review this lovely book.

It’s a quality book, starting with the sumptuous pictures, continuing with the human story of it’s creators, down to the nitty gritty technical stuff.

All the politics and engineering tradeoffs leave you reeling sometimes; why bother doing this sort of science at all if you’re not going to do it properly?

There’s plenty of space given to the technical problems the probe had (the worst being the high gain antenna failing to deploy, causing a complete rewrite of the communications system, and a rethinking of the entire mission), and the solutions found.

A lot of room is given to conjecture on the possibility of life on Jupiter and its moons. Although the book is quite old and a lot of theories of life have now been squashed, the hope and excitement of these scientists is palpable. The very idea of tidal gravity being strong enough to warp the centre of a moon such that it melts and provides enough heat to create a subsurface ocean possible of supporting life is, well, mind blowing.

Another interesting facet was the all the different types of science done from afar.

Definitely recommended if you’re into books that give you the whole story of an event.

A splash of colour

June 16, 2004

Thanks to this very cool colour scheme picker I managed to pick a few colours that wouldn’t make people barf on first contact.

Channel Icons

June 13, 2004

I’ve now extended my D1 parser to grab channel icons. There’s a winding path to follow to get mythtv to use channel icons, I think it’s to do with non .au networks having multiple channels per network. Instead of just using the icon element in the channel description, there’s an icon mapping file that needs to be imported into mythtv. My parser generates that file, the user imports it, then mythtv takes care of the rest.

Oh well, it works.

Shut that thing up

June 3, 2004

There’s less room in my new place, so I’m forced to live closer to my PC than ever before. Gosh it’s noisy.

Some of the noise is coming from the main hard drive, I’ve installed noflushd in an attempt to keep the hard drive quiet when I’m not actually using it. I’m using ext3 on that hard drive, which apparently doesn’t work too well with noflushd. I should try the Acoustic Management stuff that hdparm now supports as well.

Most of the noise of the system stems from the front case fan, followed by the power supply fan, followed by a tolerable amount of noise from the CPU fan.

CSS sucks

June 2, 2004

Lets replace a simple, well understood, widely used, fully debugged boxing model (nested tables) with the complicated, fuzzily specified and horribly implemented one (the CSS model). Would it have been so bad to have moved all the content into divs and have a HTML template of nested tables?

Oh well, it’s done now. Basic layout due to Juicy Studio. Figuring out floats for the story details was helped by Brain Jar.

I’ve still got to do something with the colours. And the fonts for me just look awful.

New Riding route, nearly getting taken out

June 1, 2004

One of the challenges a rider faces when moving is working out the best riding route. For me, best means safest, which would hopefully mean riding along designated bike routes as much as possible.

So I’ve chosen pretty much the longest route I could, following the clearly marked bike route from Bardon into Milton, doing a little duck shuffle there, taking a cycling underpass to avoid the main road, then onto designated cycling paths all the way out to uni. This route seriously adds to the length of my ride, but safety first, right?

It was a bit of a rude shock then, when on my first ride home a nice big truck nearly takes me out on the designated riding track. The driver could just not wait to overtake me, and having done so, forgot about me when rejoining the lane; I had to break, stand up and lean the bike over as though I was turning a corner to avoid the back of the truck hitting me, it was a very close run thing.