“”Being a geek means being so interested in something that you don’t care whether or not it’s cool.”
THE SOCIETY FOR GEEK ADVANCEMENT was founded upon the principles that we should all embrace our inner and outer geek and have fun while doing it. As individuals who love learning, innovating and believe in possibility as well as change, the second step of responsibility is to “be the geek that keeps on giving”. As a member of SGA, we work together as a global community to provide the tools and help others realize their true potential too!”
Aufgrund neuester Entwicklungen im Speichermedien-Segment wird ab dem nächsten Release des sones Speichersystems auch das angesagteste Speichermedium der Stunde unterstützt: die Speichergurke.
Durch die sensationelle Speicherdichte und unerreichte Zuverlässigkeit ist die Speichergurke das perfekte Speichermedium für den Datenhunger von gestern, heute und morgen.
Source 1: http://www.sones.de
Source 2: http://www.speichergurke.de
If you ever asked yourself how many visualization methods are there und how do they look like you may want to take a look at this cool website:
On September 28th the Falcon 1 rocketship reached orbit:
“In an era when most technology based products follow a path of ever-increasing capability and
reliability while simultaneously reducing costs, launch vehicles today are little changed from those of
40 years ago. SpaceX aims to change this paradigm by developing a family of launch vehicles and
spacecraft which will ultimately increase the reliability and reduce the cost of space access by a factor
of ten. Coupled with the emerging market for private and commercial space transport, this new model
will re-ignite humanity’s efforts to explore and develop space.”
There was the Digital Image Suite and several other tools like Hugin and Cool360 which I used over the last years to create panoramic images. Now there’s a new tool available in 32 and 64 bit (for really really huge images!) from Microsoft Research. It’s free at this point and if you’re on Windows it’s definitely worth the try.
“Microsoft Image Composite Editor is an advanced panoramic image stitcher. You shoot a set of overlapping photographs of a scene from a single location, and Image Composite Editor creates a high-resolution panorama incorporating all your images at full resolution. Then save your stitched panorama in a wide variety of formats, from common formats like JPEG and TIFF to multi-resolution tiled formats like HD View and Silverlight Deep Zoom.”
…if you do have a decent printer and if you haven’t got any graph paper – you could print it yourself.
thx to Kristian.
If you searching a tool for Windows, Linux, OSX and your windows mobile device…you may want to take a look at this:
“SpaceTime 3.0 by SpaceTime Mathematics is a revolution in mathematics software with 2D, 3D, and time graphing with MobileCAS® for algebra and calculus. With features only available in Mathematica and MATLAB, SpaceTime is the most powerful cross-platform mathematics software ever developed for computers and mobile devices.“
This is a very impressive overview of new user interface ideas. It’s a fact that we need new userinterfaces for all kinds of use cases – and as it turns out there are unbelievable cool things going on in the UI research.
“Good user interfaces are crucial for good user experience. It doesn’t matter how good a technology is — if we, designers, don’t manage to make user interface as intuitive and attractive as possible, the technology will hardly reach a breakthrough. To gain the interest in a new product or technology, users need to understand its advantages or find themselves impressed or involved.
And here is where creative ideas and unusual interface approaches become important. Innovative doesn’t mean usable and usable hardly means innovative. As usual, it’s necessary to find an optimal trade-off. And some user interfaces manage to achieve just that.”
Photosynth is publicly available and it’s time to give it a try and play with the technology. Before starting you should be aware of some facts about the public photosynth technology-preview:
- all synths are uploaded and only available online (broadband needed)
- all synths are public, everyone can access them
- the synther tool runs only on Windows
- you’ll need a Live ID
When everything is checked you can go and upload up to 20 Gbytes of image data – my test synth takes up 200 Mbytes of the available space – so you have plenty of space to play with.
To start just install the photosynth application to view – and click “create” on the website. After the obligatory login you immediately can upload your pictures. Give it a name, ssome tags and a license and select your pictures.
Your pictures should show the same scene from different perspectives – photosynth is all about matching perspectives. After clicking on “Synth” the process starts.
And after a surprisingly short period of time your synth is done. Click on “View Synth” and you’re taken back to the website and you can browse your synth. That’s it – easy!
Source 1: my first photosynth
Source 2: Photosynth is open for the public
Source 3: create a synth
Believe it or not – it’s been 2 years since I first wrote about Photosynth technology. Today Microsoft made it available to the public. It’s not a tool (yet) – like I wanted – right now but it’s built into this website – so you have to upload your pictures, they are processed and then you can browse on this website… well it’s a start for a really great technology.
“We’re pleased to announce the first full release of Photosynth, available now at photosynth.com. Photosynth takes a collection of regular photographs and reconstructs the scene or object in a 3-D environment. For those of you who have seen the videos or tried our tech preview, you could experience synths that we made in the lab and get a feel for what Photosynth is and how it works. But now, for the first time ever you can create synths from your own pictures and share them with your friends. Explore great synths from others or create a few of your own.”
It’s not going to work on anything different than Windows. So stick to the movies if you’re on anything else. But as far as I know it’ll run o
Source 1: http://photosynth.net/Default.aspx
Source 2: http://www.schrankmonster.de/PermaLink,guid,fdc3d1fb-4966-418b-83ea-1e0c12aae833.aspx
OMG! I just realized that the better part of Munich is available in Google Earth in 3D mode – which means real real 3D buildings like this. I thought that the birds eye view of Virtual Earth is cool – but this is a different animal.
It’s like lego for electronic circuits:
“littleBits is an opensource library of discrete electronic components pre-assembled in tiny circuit boards. Just as Legos allow you to create complex structures with very little engineering knowledge, littleBits are simple, intuitive, space-sensitive blocks that make prototyping with sophisticated electronics a matter of snapping small magnets together. With a growing number of available modules, littleBits aims to move electronics from late stages of the design process to its earliest ones, and from the hands of experts, to those of artists, makers and designers.”
I wrote about Levelhead and it’s stunning concept not long ago. Now you can play with it’s code and try it for youself:
“First thing’s first, this is a developer release and needs to be compiled. It has many third-party dependencies from the renderer to the video capture context. As yet there is no lovely statically linked binary of levelHead or automagical build script for a folder of dependencies. Nonetheless, I’ve installed levelHead on many (Ubuntu) systems now and what’s listed below should work fine for you.
levelHead is known to build on Ubuntu 7.10/7.04 and Debian Etch systems against the following external dependencies. It’s adviseable you adhere to these versions if you want to avoid going spontaneously mad”
The site goes on:
“Code and assets are provided under two differing licenses: the code is governed by the GPLv3 and the art is covered by the GPLv3 compatible CC-BY_SA 3.0. Make sure you understand what that implied before downloading this project. For the rationale as to why I chose this configuration, please read the comments in the top of the
levelHead.cpp file itself. Both art and code are available in a subversion repository, aquired with the following command:
svn co http://www.inclusiva-net.es/svn/levelhead "
Since I will try it myself (installing Ubuntu now) – I will give a detailed tutorial about it in the future…at least I hope so.
Since last year FeM is recording and live streaming the annual Formula Student Event in Germany:
“Screeching tires, smouldering heads and impressive technical innovations – welcome to the Formula Student Germany 2008!
Join the Brunel Race at our stand. As a virtual race driver you’ll be able to win the Grand Prix at the Hockenheimring. The fastest driver gets the chance to win 2 tickets for the Formula 1 Event at Nürburgring 2009.”
If you don’t know what Formula Student is…you may want to read this:
“Students build a single seat formula racecar with which they can compete against teams from all over the world. The competition is not won solely by the team with the fastest car, but rather by the team with the best overall package of construction, performance, and financial and sales planning.
Formula Student challenges the team members to go the extra step in their education by incorporating into it intensive experience in building and manufacturing as well as considering the economic aspects of the automotive industry. Teams take on the assumption that they are a manufacturer developing a prototype to be evaluated for production. The target audience is the non-professional Weekend-Racer, for which the racecar must show very good driving characteristics such as acceleration, braking and handling. It should be offered at a very reasonable cost and be reliable and dependable. Additionally, the car’’s market value increases through other factors such as aesthetics, comfort and the use of readily available, standard purchase components.
The challenge the teams face is to compose a complete package consisting of a well constructed racecar and a sales plan that best matches these given criteria. The decision is made by a jury of experts from the motorsport, automotive and supplier industries. The jury will judge every team’s car and sales plan based on construction, cost planning and sales presentation. The rest of the judging will be done out on the track, where the students demonstrate in a number of performance tests how well their self-built racecars fare in their true environment.”
Starting this friday there will be a livestream available (Flash and Windows Media). Great stuff!
Source 1: Livestream
Source 2: http://formulastudent.tv/
Source 3: http://www.formulastudent.de
It’s just great to see more and more big archives are getting available online. This time the National Space Agency of America opened it’s picture library:
“NASA Images is a service of Internet Archive ( www.archive.org ), a non-profit library, to offer public access to NASA’s images, videos and audio collections. NASA Images is constantly growing with the addition of current media from NASA as well as newly digitized media from the archives of the NASA Centers.
The goal of NASA Images is to increase our understanding of the earth, our solar system and the universe beyond in order to benefit humanity. “
Since I am a bit familiar with graph theory and building technologies around graphs I came across this neat little library originally developed by Marc Smiths Team at Microsoft Research. It’s now up on Codeplex for your own study and research:
“.NetMap is a pair of applications for viewing network graphs, along with a set of .NET Framework 2.0 class libraries that can be used to add network graphs to custom applications.
A network graph is a series of vertices (sometimes called nodes) connected by edges. See this Wikipedia article for an overview of network graphs.”
It even integrates into Excel…well if you need that… more interesting is:
“The Windows Forms control is one of several graph “visualizers” that are packaged in a Microsoft.NetMap.Visualization assembly. There is also a Microsoft.NetMap.Adapters assembly for reading and writing graph data in various formats, a Microsoft.SocialNetworkLib assembly for analyzing social networks, and a Microsoft.NetMap.Core assembly that implements the low-level vertex, edge, and graph classes. The framework for a Microsoft.NetMap.Algorithms assembly is also provided, although most of the graph algorithms are still work items as of May 2008.”
Source 1: http://research.microsoft.com/~masmith/
Source 2: http://www.codeplex.com/NetMap
You may have heard about things like “guidelines for user interfaces” – Sometimes I tend to think that there is no such thing as a design guideline for a better user interface because some applications are just plain unusable for a normal human being.
But there are guidelines for almost everything and I wanted to give an overview:
- KDE Standards User Interface Guidelines
- GNOME Human Interface Guidelines
- Motif Style Guide
When I thought of self replicating machines I thought of end-of-time scenarios and a robot armies conquering the world and enslaving the human race… it’s not that bad right now but we’re getting to it… sort of :-)
“Adrian Bowyer (left) and Vik Olliver (right) with a parent RepRap machine, made on a conventional rapid prototyper, and the first complete working child RepRap machine, made by the RepRap on the left. The child machine made its first successful grandchild part at 14:00 hours UTC on 29 May 2008 at Bath University in the UK, a few minutes after it was assembled.”
“RepRap is short for Replicating Rapid-prototyper. It is the practical self-copying 3D printer shown on the right – a self-replicating machine. This 3D printer builds the parts up in layers of plastic. This technology already exists, but the cheapest commercial machine would cost you about €30,000. And it isn’t even designed so that it can make itself. So what the RepRap team are doing is to develop and to give away the designs for a much cheaper machine with the novel capability of being able to self-copy (material costs are about €500). That way it’s accessible to small communities in the developing world as well as individuals in the developed world. Following the principles of the Free Software Movement we are distributing the RepRap machine at no cost to everyone under the GNU General Public Licence. So, if you have a RepRap machine, you can make another and give it to a friend… “
It seems that I missed that Augmented Reality Toolkit all the way until now. It’s ARToolKit and it’s completely OpenSource.
As a matter of fact there are a ton of demos available… HOW could I possibly miss that for so long?
“ARToolKit is a software library for building Augmented Reality (AR) applications. These are applications that involve the overlay of virtual imagery on the real world. For example, in the image to the right a three-dimensional virtual character appears standing on a real card. It can be seen by the user in the head set display they are wearing. When the user moves the card, the virtual character moves with it and appears attached to the real object.
One of the key difficulties in developing Augmented Reality applications is the problem of tracking the users viewpoint. In order to know from what viewpoint to draw the virtual imagery, the application needs to know where the user is looking in the real world.”
Here is a short video demonstration of what you could start with:
…not talking about the things that would be possible if someone had a great idea :-)
You may have heard about Levelhead – an augmented reality game made by Julian Oliver – if you did not hear about it? No problem:
“Augmented reality (AR) is a field of computer research which deals with the combination of real-world and computer-generated data. At present, most AR research is concerned with the use of live video imagery which is digitally processed and “augmented” by the addition of computer-generated graphics. Advanced research includes the use of motion-tracking data, fiducial marker recognition using machine vision, and the construction of controlled environments containing any number of sensors and actuators.”
So – Augmented reality mixes the reality and the computer graphics and creates a new reality for you. That’s a lot of theoretical…so let’s talk about Levelhead:
It’s a game where you have to move plastic cubes with printed-on patterns in front of a camera – the computer now renders a new world inside of the plastic cubes – when you move the cube, the world inside the cube moves too… it looks like this:
“levelHead uses a hand-held solid-plastic cube as its only interface. On-screen it appears each face of the cube contains a little room, each of which are logically connected by doors.
In one of these rooms is a character. By tilting the cube the player directs this character from room to room in an effort to find the exit.
Some doors lead nowhere and will send the character back to the room they started in, a trick designed to challenge the player’s spatial memory. Which doors belong to which rooms?
There are three cubes (levels) in total, each of which are connected by a single door. Players have the goal of moving the character from room to room, cube to cube in an attempt to find the final exit door of all three cubes. If this door is found the character will appear to leave the cube, walk across the table surface and vanish.. The game then begins again.
Someone once said levelHead may have something to do with a story from Borges.. For a description of the conceptual basis of this project, see below. “
If you are not amazed now? You should watch this:
The thing is – this cool game and technology will be available at the end of this month as full open-source. I suggest to check Julians site back at the end of the month at last.
Source 1: Augmented Reality @ Wikipedia
Source 2: Levelhead homepage
It’s really a piece of art with only 256 pixels space – it’s the remake of the Defender game you won’t be able to play in Full HD:
To be clear: This is not a joke – it’s an actual game… the size of:
I seriously don’t know why they are doing that – it’s not as if any material released previously came to any notice so far – but what the heck – Radiohead decided to put their current music video (which isn’t bad) and the raw data that was used to create it to the public using the Creative Commons license:
“The animation data used to make the video are licensed to the public under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike license at Google Code. This means you are free to use the data to make your own video projects, as long as you abide by the CC license’s conditions. (To be clear, the song and its accompanying video are not under CC license; the data used to make the video are.)”
I am once again pleased to present the official Trailer for this years FIWAK. FIWAK is the annual outdoor-conference presented by FeM e.V.. This year these lectures are planned (german only):
- Openstreetmap-Workshop von Markus Brückner und Dominik Tritscher
- Technische Grundlagen DVB-T von Sebastian Schwarz
- Opensource Videobearbeitung von Florian Raschke
- FeM-Geschichte von Mario Holbe
- Vereinsinterne Kommunikation von Michael Bock
- Tanzworkshop mit Udo Pescheck
- Bewerbungstraining mit MLP
- Whiteboard-Technologien von Smart Systems
FIWAK takes place from 20. to 22. June 2008 in the forest around Elgersburg – a small town near Ilmenau. But now watch the trailer:
Video: FeM FIWAK 2008 Trailer
Source 1: FIWAK Homepage
Oh yeah. I talked about these kinds of electronic whiteboards for years – and now it seems that there is a cheap and really useful DIY solution created by Johnny Chung Lee(beside several other really useful and astounding DIY jobs)
“Since the Wiimote can track sources of infrared (IR) light, you can track pens that have an IR led in the tip. By pointing a wiimote at a projection screen or LCD display, you can create very low-cost interactive whiteboards or tablet displays. Since the Wiimote can track upto 4 points, up to 4 pens can be used. It also works great with rear-projected displays.”
So you need:
- a Wiimote
- a selfmade Infrared-LED Pen that marks the trackable point
So namenlos (his blog) did his version of the Wii whiteboard and made a video of it:
Video: Wii Whiteboard
(due to music the license of this video is CC-BY-NC-SA)
Really impressive isn’t it? And you can do so much more with this Wiimote stuff. – Actually I am planning to get such a Wiimote and a Pen and try it myself.
Source 1: http://www.cs.cmu.edu/~johnny/projects/wii/
Source 2: http://blog.slash-me.net/archives/268-Wii-Whiteboard.html
They landed on the mars again…and they will launch a space shuttle within the next 22 hours if everything works out as planned. So maybe you, just like me, are interested in getting some live-information about that.
There’s NASA TV but on the NASA website you only get low (150kbit) bitrate streams. If you want better quality, just try these links:
Of course you can always go with the standard website livestream…
I told you, I would write about the things I am working on for the past months. And last week TechFest 2008 took place in Redmond/WA at Microsoft. Almost the whole team I am working with was there – I haven’t spoken to anybody yet personally but it seems to have gone well:
“Microsoft Research’s TechFest is an annual event that brings researchers from Microsoft’s labs around the world to Redmond to share their latest work with the product teams. Attendees will experience some of the freshest, most innovative technologies emerging from Microsoft’s research efforts. The event provides a forum in which product teams and researchers can discuss the incredible work occurring in the labs, thereby encouraging effective technology transfer into Microsoft products.”
fast forward to minute 24…one of the interesting bits starts right there!
Source 1: http://wm.microsoft.com/ms/research/events/TechFest2008/TF08Keynote.wmv
Source 2: http://research.microsoft.com/techfest/
Source 3: http://www.schrankmonster.de/PermaLink,guid,cf5f2c46-60d2-4bb6-b58b-c50f5f3ce4d8.aspx
The last time I wrote about Singularity was in 2005 when the first news came up… and now:
For all those source code kids – the sourcecode of Singularity – the research operating system written by people at Microsoft Research completely in .NET is now available.
from the Microsoft Research Overview page:
“Singularity is a research project focused on the construction of dependable systems through innovation in the areas of systems, languages, and tools. We are building a research operating system prototype (called Singularity), extending programming languages, and developing new techniques and tools for specifying and verifying program behavior.
Advances in languages, compilers, and tools open the possibility of significantly improving software. For example, Singularity uses type-safe languages and an abstract instruction set to enable what we call Software Isolated Processes (SIPs). SIPs provide the strong isolation guarantees of OS processes (isolated object space, separate GCs, separate runtimes) without the overhead of hardware-enforced protection domains. In the current Singularity prototype SIPs are extremely cheap; they run in ring 0 in the kernel’s address space.
Singularity uses these advances to build more reliable systems and applications. For example, because SIPs are so cheap to create and enforce, Singularity runs each program, device driver, or system extension in its own SIP. SIPs are not allowed to share memory or modify their own code. As a result, we can make strong reliability guarantees about the code running in a SIP. We can verify much broader properties about a SIP at compile or install time than can be done for code running in traditional OS processes. Broader application of static verification is critical to predicting system behavior and providing users with strong guarantees about reliability.”
You can even watch a small movie about Singularity here:
Source 1: http://research.microsoft.com/os/singularity/
Source 2: http://channel9.msdn.com/ShowPost.aspx?PostID=68302
Source 3: http://www.codeplex.com/singularity
You do realise that, despite that fact no mass media is talking about it, there are still robots around and on Mars doing research for the last years? Yeah you’re right: Spirit and Opportunity are still well and alive on Mars. There were several other missions and this newly released 9.9 Tbytes of data (adds up to 16.8 Tbytes) is just fantastic stuff.
See an avalanche on Mars:
“How much data was released? 2422 observations, making up 9.9 terabytes “in over 225,599 standard PDS and extras products” according to our database specialist. This was for data between orbit ranges 4400 and 6999, or between July 05, 2007 and January 23, 2008 (which is a lot of loops around the Red Planet!)
We have now released a total of 16.8 TB worth of data, or nearly 500,000 image products. Please check out the latest images on the HiRISE website on the “March 2008: New HiRISE Images Released to the Planetary Data System” page.”
Source 1: http://hirise.lpl.arizona.edu/HiBlog/?p=147
Source 2: http://hirise.lpl.arizona.edu/PSP_007338_2640
Source 3: http://pds-imaging.jpl.nasa.gov/
Source 4: http://hirise-pds.lpl.arizona.edu/PDS/
Source 5: http://marsrovers.jpl.nasa.gov/home/index.html
Oh well, there’s this “Current Map of The Solar System” by the Armagh Observatory:
“The image below is an up to date map of the solar system displaying the orbits of the terrestrial planets and the estimated position of thousands of known asteroids. This diagram is missing comets, space probes and, of course, the undiscovered asteroids. Even conservative estimates would suggest that for every asteroid on a dangerous Earth-Approaching orbit there are hundreds more which have yet to be discovered. There are over 300 known objects on Earth-crossing orbits, the majority of which are potentially capable of causing death and destruction on a scale unheard of in human history.”
To make this clear: red and yellow = (possibly) EVIL! ZOMG!
“Small green points mark the location of asteroids which do not approach close to the Earth right now. This does not exclude the possibility that they will do so in the future but generally we can consider the Earth to be safe from these for the near future. Yellow objects (with the exception of the one in the middle which we astronomers call the Sun ;-) are Earth approaching asteroids which are called Amors after the first one discovered. Amors have orbits which come close to the Earth but they don’t cross the Earth’s orbit. However, their orbits are close enough to the Earth that they could potentially be perturbed by the influence of the planets and begin to cross the Earth’s orbit in a short time. There are over 300 known objects on such orbits.
Finally the red boxes mark the location of the Apollo and Aten asteroids. These cross the Earth’s orbit and are the most directly identifiable astronomical threat for the near future.”
One of the great good news in the last few days was the release of the brand new TrueCrypt 5 crypto-software.
I am using TrueCrypt for years now getting little and not so little container files mounted as drives and having the data warm and cosy encrypted on disk.
The long awaited features that were added in the brand new version are complete system – pre-boot authentification – drive encryption and OS X support.
Especially the system drive encryption is of particular interest for me. It’s a straight forward and completely painless solution to encrypt your complete machine and use it as if nothing was done at all.
The workflow is like this:
- Install TrueCrypt 5
- Fire up the TrueCrypt Volume Creation Wizard
- Select “Encrypt system drive” option
- It will do a test-run to make sure your machine can boot with the TrueCrypt Pre-Boot Authentification
- if everything worked out, TrueCrypt starts to encrypt your drive…
After that you’re set. On my brand-new machine the speed does not decrease noticeable – Even on my 4 year old machine I wouldn’t say that there is a slow-down at all.
FeM is in need of one… for more than two years now… maybe this will do the job? It’s bright, nerdy and cat-compatible (needed for keeping certain Mr. S’s out of the office)
When I first saw a review of “Microsoft Windows Home Server” I was impressed by several features. One that I never thought about is that little icon on each Home Server client that shows you the overall status of your home network:
This little icon can look like this, depending on the status:
As you can see – it’ll give you a clean and fast status by telling you that everything is okay on your network or that anything needs your, maybe immediate, attention.
I am administrating round about 12 Windows servers and I always looked for a clean and easy to use tool to monitor them. So I came up with a plan: Build my own tool.
Since I am extensivly using Windows Communication Foundation in the last weeks I was intrigued to try it on that matter. So I built a WCF selfhosting service that makes the eventlog of the machine it is running on available. Then I built a small client that fits nicely in your tray. I am not quite done yet but it’s a good start.
As you can see. There is the Host, running on the server and making all Eventlogs of this machine available. Then there is “SmallClient” – being exactly this: a small client for testing purposes only. And thirdly there’s the EventLogClient – giving you the full blown user interface…
This is how it looks when you add a server to the client:
And this is how it looks when you configure a filter:
I thought it would be nice to have this workflow:
configure/add the server and select the eventlog that you want to monitor
create and configure a filter that is matched upon the particular eventlog source
For the icons (see above) I used one of the icons from the Tango Icon Gallery as a starting point and added some color and stuff.
So why do I even talk about all this? I want YOU to take the code and use it…add more functionality…I am releasing the code(except the icons) under the BSD license. So you can do almost whatever you want with it – but I would love to hear about the things you’re doing with my code and idea.
You can download the sourcecode of my little project here. (200 Kbytes)
Source 1: Home Server Homepage
Source 2: http://tango.freedesktop.org/Tango_Icon_Gallery
Source 3: Sourcecode.
Uhh it seems that someone got hold of a power cord … and did a bad bad thing: