Graphic Menu

March 18th, 2008

This panel has 11 links and 4 hidden gems – click on the airplane.

       - the Muse

Fuji X100 28 vs 35 mm wide angle or panoramic!

June 28th, 2014

I have been shooting with a Fuji X100 lately and love the camera for landscapes and walking around. I bought the tele converter for it that makes a 35mm equivalent focal length of 50 mm. With 12 mp, it makes the camera viable for portraits and full length people with a bit of cropping. I considered the wide angle conversion but just could not get excited about the difference between a wide angle lense (35mm equivalent) of 28 vs 35 mm. Then I did some research.
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       - the Muse

Lighthouse Park

April 30th, 2014

A setting sun falls on the lighthouse at Lighthouse Park.

PonyCalc screen shot

       - the Muse

Freighters Gathering in Lake Huron

April 30th, 2014

The long cold winter has delayed the shipping season. Freighter traffic was heavy on Sunday and freighters were gathering just north of the St. Clair River. Ten ships were parked off shore, apparently waiting to make their way through the still receding ice as a group.

PonyCalc screen shot

       - the Muse

Cleaning a Glass Palette

April 28th, 2014

I paint with acrylics and love glass palettes but I could not find a way to clean them easily. I read that applying water works and it does, but the film backing also wrinkled when I submerged the pallette. Applying lots of water also resulted in a soupy mess.

The answer turned out to be less is more and a bit of patience. I filled a small spray bottle with water and misted the palette of dried paint. Then I cooked dinner. That loosened the paint’s grip on the glass and wrinkled it some. After dinner I misted it again and I was then able to start peeling it off the glass. Far less mess, no scraping required.

       - the Muse

Silhouette Studio Cameo Running Wine Ubuntu 12.04!

May 18th, 2013

Finally! I never did manage to get my cutter running with Ubuntu 10 Lucid Lynx. But after deleting some files I should not have (if it ever says “if you are sure type ‘Do as I say!’ don’t) I recovered by upgrading to 12.04 LTS Precise Pangolin. Encouraged by the more friendly nature of this release, I tried to install Silhouette Studio using Wine 1.4. It hung at the initializing screen.

Some Googling found the following at askubuntu.com:
Remove studio, upgrade to Wine 1.5, Reinstall, repeat until it works. Remove Studio using the intall/uninstall app. To upgrade Wine type in terminal:

sudo apt-add-repository ppa:ubuntu-wine/ppa

sudo apt-get update

sudo apt-get upgrade

sudo apt-get dist-upgrade

And then the first of two keys not on askUbuntu.com, the next line to type is sudo apt-get install wine1.5

For some reason I had to do this twice before it worked. So there is hope if it does not work the first time.

After two tries, the Studio software worked but did not communicate with the cutter. But it is better to be lucky than good. The second key solution is taking advantage of the fact that the Cameo has an SD card slot. So, you can save to SD card (choose a location anywhere), put onto an SD card, insert into cutter, and voila. A Windows Free stencil can be cut.

       - the Muse

Writing Android Apps with MIT App Inventor

April 30th, 2013

I had some experience with basic Ansi C.  This was a great help to me when I started writing IOS apps for iPhones.  Apple’s Xcode application had enough graphical help that I was able to make slow progress and become productive after two or three weeks.  Encouraged by this, I turned my attention toward writing Android Apps.  I thought it would be easy after cracking open the door to IOS apps.  I was disappointed to discover that there was almost nothing in common between the two platforms.

Android apps done with the full SDK package are in Java.  I found Java a difficult language to pick up.  I did find a great tutorial on how to install the Android SDK on Ubuntu, and then proceeded to struggle to get a hello world app running.  In particular, I struggled to write code that I knew would run in all the different resolutions that Android devices come in.

After a week I downloaded the MIT App Inventor (click on the setup tab) and jumped right in with their tutorials.  I jumped to their second tutorial, the “Magic 8 Ball” and was able to work through getting an app to run on the emulator (easy) and getting it also to run on a Samsung Galaxy Tab2 (straightforward, but did require some deep system settings to get the USB to recognize the device.  It was just a matter of following all the instructions).
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       - the Muse

Simple Horse Racing Mobile App

February 12th, 2013

Sometimes the simplest of utilities can prove the most useful. Last Thanksgiving I went to Churchill Downs and watched the thoroughbreds run. The atmosphere is awesome. The history of the place goes back more than 100 years and standing on the rail while a handful of race horses thunder down the home straight is worth the experience.

However, as most who visit the track, I also tried to win a bit of money. I failed in that endeavor. As a new bettor I didn’t really expect to win. As I learned what the horse racing program data had to offer, I was most baffled by the maiden races. Since they were the hardest to predict, maiden races seemed like an ideal chance to bet on some long shots. As my losses clearly support, I was really just guessing.

All the programs had were workout times, and the workout times were different for many horses. So it was like comparing apples and oranges. You couldn’t just multiply a 3 furlong time by two and get a 6 furlong time. Horses cannot hold their speed constant for any distance, they (like people) slow down some the further they run. I listened to the graybeards at the track saying “that workout time is great” and never quite was able to tell.

So I was on the lookout for a mobile app to help and one just hit iTunes. It is called PonyCalc. So simple. It let’s you estimate what time a horse would run at a different distance. This is invaluable for picking a winner in maiden races. The app was only 99 cents, so I downloaded it for my iPod. I first checked it on times for a couple of horses that had run out of the gate at different distances. It took times at 4 furlongs and estimated the time at 5 furlongs to within a tenth of a second. I was really surprised, since I would not even expect horses to be that consistent.

The app has let me compare horses. It has also let me compare times for a given horse. I found one horse that had workout times at 7 furlongs that were faster than would be expected based on his 5 furlong workout times. The horse had previously raced at 6 furlongs, and I figured he might do better than expected at a mile. The horse went off as a long shot and finished in the money.

It is a useful app at half the price of a program.

PonyCalc screen shot

       - the Muse