Thursday, March 29, 2012

Self Portrait

Shoot-Out, GPP 2012 from gulf photo plus on Vimeo.

I had read about this challenge and seen the winning image before but hadn't seen any video of how it took place until now. It's worth a look as it provides a rare glimpse into the minds of several well known pro photographers.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Update Time

It's that time of year again when Autodesk rolls out all their new goodies.  It might be early 2012 for you and yours, but for AutoCAD geeks it's 2013 already.  Those of us on subscription salivate while we wait for delivery of the new version of our favorite software.  Some prefer a direct download option now and grab the program as soon as it's available.  But others, me included, still like to get the box, the DVD, and the piece of mind that only something physical will provide.  The price we pay is time... we have to wait on the mailman.  That's where I'm at right now.  Waiting.

On Monday this week Autodesk released all beta testers (beta version code name this year: "Jaws") from their non-disclosure agreement, so features, reviews, and unrestricted comments started leaking out on the blogs and discussion forums.  Tomorrow for 4 hours Autodesk will host an online Virtual Event and officially roll out the new release.  I'll be there, even tho' it'll mean getting up at 0530 to be on time.

Yeah, for geeks like me it's Christmas in March.  Altho' I probably won't see Santa until next week or so.  Hopefully the US Postal Service will still be in business then.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

End of an Era

The last home in the Royal Gardens Subdivision is no more. Jack Thompson's house, which had survived countless assaults by Madam Pele since the current phase of eruptions started in 1983, was the 75th, and final house in the development to be claimed by lava from the Puu O'o vent this past Friday, March 2, 2012.  Royal Gardens was originally developed with 1,500 lots.  Fortunately only 75 houses had been built when the eruption started reclaiming land back in 1983.

Much more information, including this video and many other photos, can be found on Leigh Hilbert's excellent Hawaiian Lava Daily blog site.

This was my photo of the property taken a couple of years ago during a Blue Hawaii Helicopter's flight down over the volcano.

Saturday, March 3, 2012


The name is Bond. James Bond. And yes, that *is* a pocket protector!

See what happens when engineers have free time?!

Credits & Notes:

Flying robot quadrotors perform the James Bond Theme by playing various instruments including the keyboard, drums and maracas, a cymbal, and the debut of an adapted guitar built from a couch frame. The quadrotors play this "couch guitar" by flying over guitar strings stretched across a couch frame; plucking the strings with a stiff wire attached to the base of the quadrotor. A special microphone attached to the frame records the notes made by the "couch guitar".

These flying quadrotors are completely autonomous, meaning humans are not controlling them; rather they are controlled by a computer programed with instructions to play the instruments.

Penn's School of Engineering and Applied Science is home to some of the most innovative robotics research on the planet, much of it coming out of the General Robotics, Automation, Sensing and Perception (GRASP) Lab.

This video premiered at the TED2012 Conference in Long Beach, California on February 29, 2012. Deputy Dean for Education and GRASP lab member Vijay Kumar presented some of this groundbreaking work at the TED2012 conference, an international gathering of people and ideas from technology, entertainment, and design.

The engineers from Penn, Daniel Mellinger and Alex Kushleyev, have formed a company called KMel Robotics that will design and market these quadrotors.
More information:

Video Produced and Directed by Kurtis Sensenig
Quadrotors and Instruments by Daniel Mellinger, Alex Kushleyev and Vijay Kumar