Thursday, December 30, 2010

12-30-10: Podcast: A Canny Approach, Episode 2

Here's another episode of my experimental podcast - A Canny Approach. Much better sound quality than the first rendition. I used my new Yeti microphone; sounds great. Need to work on pre-production for the next episode, but it came out OK. Have a listen:

Here are links from the episode:

Car Trains:

Wired article

BBC article

Google cars

Discovery article

Main site

New York Times article

Yale hockey:

Yale athletics site rankings

Monday, December 27, 2010

12-27-10: Tron: Legacy

Last night I went to see Tron: Legacy with the only other member of my family with good taste in tech-based movies: my dear mother. There's only one movie theatre near my parents' house down here in North Carolina, but it's much cheaper than what I'm used to in New Haven.

I made the usual mistake of reading the reviews before going in. Couldn't help it. I knew that the soundtrack was good (Daft Punk composed the score) and that it was in 3D, and that the quality of plot development wasn't quite what people had hoped for.

I don't remember the last time I saw the first film (came out three years before I was born), so I had completely forgotten some of the details regarding the original story line. For instance, I completely forgot the name of the bad guy (Dillinger), so when they revealed his son's character (who doesn't play any further role in the film - why bother bringing him up?), I was at a bit of a loss. I also forgot about how the character of Tron came about, but that wasn't really an issue either.

The film is dazzling in its look and feel. The acting was decent. The soundtrack was, indeed, awesome. Overall, I thought it was quite entertaining, but some of the plot elements just didn't work. The idea of bringing back the Clu character (who was killed off in the first film only to be replaced by Flynn himself) was interesting, but the end was sort of predictable. I still don't understand why they brought up Dillinger's son, played by the capable and uncredited Cillian Murphy. It felt more like The Matrix at times than it probably should have (Flynn is treated, literally, as a god, and Michael Sheen's character is almost a digital British copy of the Merovingian). I also didn't quite get the role of a certain group of "pure" characters (won't spoil that part of the story). I did think Olivia Wilde (13 from House) did a good job.

If you haven't seen the film, I recommend watching the first film beforehand. Some of the plot relies on the viewer knowing a little bit about the back story, but if you just want to see it for the entertainment, it's a good take. I'd give it a 7 out of 10.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Monday, December 20, 2010

12-20-10: The Joys of Tweed (Airport)

This will be my seventh trip from Connecticut to North Carolina to visit my parents. They moved in March of '09 to escape the cold of their native New England. I like to make my occasional escape, as well.

The seven trips have consisted of two by car and five by air. This trip is via the latter. Of the five trips by air, two have originated from Bradley Airport, two from LaGuardia, and this one, via Tweed in New Haven. LGA is the cheapest option (thanks to Spirit Airlines direct to MYR), but is the longest and most troublesome drive. Bradley is a good medium as far as price, but takes over an hour to get to. I'd never considered Tweed until now.

My, what a fool am I. I guess the biggest reason for not trying Tweed earlier was because I didn't live six miles away, which I now do. Sure, any road is easy to drive on at 5:15AM, but it was a breeeeze. Door to door in 18 minutes.

The catch with Tweed is that the only flights from it go to Philadelphia, where I now am. But it's small, really small. We flew a Dash 8 (prop plane) an hour to PHL. My only regret is that I didn't sleep in a little longer (though the flight being delayed an hour was unforeseen). The long term parking is close by, and relatively cheap. The total cost of round-trip airfare is more than it would be from Bradley or LGA, but the total cost, including parking, is only $50 more. That, my friends, is worth it. After all, it probably saved me a couple days of my life in the end. With the cost of healthcare so brutally expensive at the end of life, I feel like I did some one else a favor, too. You are welcome, future taxpayers.

If you live near New Haven, give Tweed (HVN) a try.

If you are associated with Tweed (HVN), I am willing to accept discount air fare as a recommendation fee.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Friday, December 17, 2010

Champions League Round of 16 Draw

The Champions League Round of 16 draw was this morning in Switzerland.

A few good matchups (to be expected with only 16 teams remaining). The big ones are Arsenal vs. Barcelona (both doing very well in domestic play) and Inter Milan vs. Bayern Munich (rematch of the most recent final). Spurs is playing AC Milan, which sucks for me because I like both teams.

Here are my predictions:

AS Roma vs. FC Shakhtar Donetsk: Shakhtar

AC Milan vs. Tottenham Hotspur FC : Spurs (I am biased)

Valencia CF vs. FC Shalke 04: Valencia

FC Internazionale vs. FC Bayern München: Inter (though both are struggling domestically)

Olympique Lyonnais vs. Real Madrid CF: Real Madrid

Arsenal FC vs. FC Barcelona: Barcelona

Olympique Marseille vs. Manchester United FC: United

FC København vs. Chelsea FC: Chelsea

The Valencia – Shalke matchup looks to be the best for competitiveness. Both teams have been good in recent years, though Shalke is currently 10th in the Bundesliga and Valencia is 5th in La Liga. The Inter – Bayern matchup would be much better if both teams weren’t struggling. I think Inter will pull through based on their manager Benitez’s history with the Champions League. Spurs are going against Milan, who is currently top in Serie A. I’m hopeful they’ll make it through, but it won’t be easy.

Round of 16 play begins February 15th. For those unfamiliar with the format, it is two-leg (each team plays home and away) aggregate (total goals scored for both games) with away goals as the first tie-breaker. For example, Arsenal and Barcelona play twice, once in London and once in Barcelona. If the first game is in London and ends 1-1, and the second is in Barcelona and ends 2-2, then Arsenal goes through on away goals (2 to 1).

Monday, December 6, 2010

Road-Train Tests Move Forward

Good to see this move forward.


Sent to you by Pat via Google Reader:


via Wired Top Stories on 12/6/10

European motorists need not worry if they see a driver not paying attention to the road while tailgating another car — it's all in the name of science.


Things you can do from here:


Saturday, December 4, 2010

12-4-10: A Canny Approach, First Edition

Here's the very first edition of A Canny Approach, a podcast experiment of my own design. Just a quick and dirty podcast I threw together this afternoon using GarageBand.

I tried recording the audio with an old cardioid microphone, but I need to get a pre-amp for it to use it on the Macbook (I know it's cheap - waiting for Christmas to come). I ended up just using the built-in microphone. The sound isn't that great. The music is "King Harvest" by The Band. Plenty of room for improvement (except for the music, of course).

Friday, December 3, 2010

Foodtubes Proposes Underground, Physical Internet

I propose the name of the system be the BacoNet.


Sent to you by Pat via Google Reader:


via Slashdot by Soulskill on 12/3/10

geek4 writes "Automatically routed canisters could replace trucks with an Internet of things, says Foodtubes. A group of academics is proposing a system of underground tunnels which could deliver food and other goods in all weathers with massive energy savings. The Foodtubes group wants to put goods in metal capsules two meters long, which are shifted through underground polyethylene tubes at speeds of up to 60 miles per hour, directed by linear induction motors and routed by intelligent software to their destinations. The group, which includes an Oxford physics professor and logistics experts, wants £15 million to build a five-mile test circuit, and believes the scheme could fund itself if used by large supermarkets and local councils, and could expand because it uses an open architecture."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.


Things you can do from here: