BEEPS AND BLIPS FROM OUTERSPACE
PURE LOW FREQUENCY TONES 20-100HZ
audio speaker soundStinkpot created some pure low frequency tones available for free.  They can be used to test somone's low frequency hearing or performance testing new subwoofers.  Stinkpot created these sine waves with Matlab.  Nifty!via the Desk of Stinkpot.
POSTED 2012-03-27 11:18:34 CATEGORY ENGINEERING NEAT TAGS AUDIO HEARING MATLAB SOUND TONE
TOTAL CONFUSION
Total Confusion - utility to determine how a total was made with simple numbersI got a wild bill from PG&E a month ago that required them to check gas meter readings.  They determined they were at fault, but the resulting bill after corrections was absurdly confusing.  There was no easy way to figure out how they reached the total amount with the numbers they were providing.  Charges, fees, and payments were not clearly stated.So, I threw together a web application utility tool that takes the total and all the numbers that might possibly be used to calculate a total, and spit out which values were added and which were subtracted to equal the total.It was fun and easy to write.  It is also useful.  So, I've put it on the interweb so you folks can use it too.The calculation tool is aptly named: Total Confusion
POSTED 2012-03-16 11:36:28 CATEGORY ENGINEERING SOFTWARE TAGS ADD CALCULATOR IF A UTILITY HAS NO COMPETITION IT SHOULD BE STATE CONTROLLED PGE SUBTRACT TOTAL UTILITY WHY ARE ALL UTILITES EXTREMELY HASSLING
TSA INCOMPETENCE LEVEL 9000
The TSA has been running a scam by implementing the civil rights abusing nude body scanners.  The funny thing is they are in no way effective and they only serve to line the pockets of contractors, lobbyists, and government officials.  The devices actually make air travel less safe since they cannot detect strategically placed objects and they emit radiation on the subject.In short: If you want to get an object through airport security, head over to the higher security millimeter wave nude scanners with an object strapped to your side!

What sort of third grader with an engineering degree created a security scanning device that does not detect objects on the side of a person?The TSA has not caught any terrorist attempt and they only serve to make the public feel secure and, ironically, disempowered.  The TSA intends to cow air travelers and slowly erode resistance to personal civil rights and liberties.Write your senators and representatives urging them to stop the attack on Americans and return the TSA to the proven method of using old fashioned metal detectors and bomb sniffing dogs (or chemical sniffing machines... they exist).read more of the article from TSAoutOfOurPants.
POSTED 2012-03-07 22:02:20 CATEGORY ENGINEERING HEALTH POLITICS TAGS BODY SCANNERS HANDS OFF MY JUNK INCOMPETENCE STUPID TSA TSA IS A BAG OF LIMP DICKS
GUN TO STOP PEOPLE FROM SPEAKING
gunFolks in Japan have developed a handheld device (aka. gun) that can stop a remote person mid-sentence.  The research group capitalized on the oddity of people having trouble speaking when their own voice is heard with a fraction of a second delay.This is, in fact, a speech impediment.  There are people that get feed back when they talk and hearing their voice can derail any train of thought.  If you haven't seen The King's Speech, you should.  It is a great movie and it has a scene where the protagonist plops on some headphone to block the sound of his own voice and the stutter is absent.For all those conspiracy nuts, consider this device in the hands of big brother and how he can squelch any political rally with the non-lethal pull of a trigger...read more about the speech jammer at MIT.
POSTED 2012-03-02 10:09:16 CATEGORY ENGINEERING HEALTH NEAT TAGS GUN SPEECH STUTTER
WHY I DON'T LIKE MY THINKPAD EDGE
Lenovo Thinkpad Edge FailHere are some experiences I've had with my ThinkPad Edge laptop that are evidence Lenovo has destroyed a quality product line.  This is not necessarily a review, but a list of the reasons why I will not be buying a Lenovo laptop in the future.
Screen - The highest point of user interaction.  A slow processor can be ignored, but a bad quality LCD is a constant reminder of bad quality.
  • The viewing angle is too narrow on the LCD panel causing extreme color and contrast loss if the screen isn't perfectly perpendicular to the viewer's line of sight.  Even when it is, the edges of the screen are out of the viewing angle and are either washed out or lack contrast.  The shimmering while adjusting the screen is horrendous.
  • Lack of contrast and color range of LCD.  The default display brightness, contrast, and gamma must be adjusted immediately out of the box to see anything properly.
  • Extremely pixelated display and relatively low resolution ceiling (1366x768)
  • Auto dimming for the log in screen is horrible.  Sometimes it doesn't dim at the log in screen.  Sometimes it stays dimmed until long after you have opened your session.  Not only that, it resets your dim setting back to bright.  So, every time you log in you need to adjust your screen brightness with the F7/F8 keys.  Balls.
Touchpad/trackpad - The two finger scroll is a joke.  There is a delay of a full second before the laptop detects scrolling, which is extremely long.  By the time scrolling kicks in, your fingers are at the bottom of the touchpad and don't have room to further scroll.  Alternatively, you can do a brief two finger scroll upwards before scrolling down to get around this.  But what the fuck? This feature is so bad they should not have included it in the first place.Middle Scroll Button - It is useful while using the trackpoint (nipple/eraser) but it doesn't work with all applications.  It works in browsers, but not text editors like notepad.  What crap.  On the other hand, a mouse with a scroll wheel works just fine on all apps.  It makes you wonder if Lenovo stops working on features once they are half working or can be demonstrated to work on one application.  Just replace the freaking middle button with a stupid mouse wheel.  At least it would work.Basics - The model number is not printed anywhere on the laptop case.  It may sound nitpicky, but it is the first thing you look for when you want support or... want to write a review.Lenovo engineers are amateurs.  They need to get their act together.This laptop is so bad it makes me want to get a Mac, which is sacrilege.
POSTED 2012-02-04 11:11:15 CATEGORY ENGINEERING INFO TAGS EDGE FAIL IBM LAPTOP LENOVO POS THINKPAD
RANDOM WORD GENERATOR AND MUTATOR TOOL
gearI've created a new tool to create new and random words.  Instead of getting a generic list of random words, this tool lets the user choose from sets of characters for each letter of the generated word.  Not only that, Asian letters like Hiragana and Hangugeo can be used.  How sweet is that?The tool also has a mutation field, where the user can supply a word that will be changed into a similar random word.This thing can be used to find a good domain name, company name, or even baby name!  Now that I think of it... you could also create some interesting new words for a fictional language (like Klingon!).I created it for myself, but feel free to use it: Random Word Generator ToolNote: You might also find the Name Filter Tool interesting too.
POSTED 2012-01-16 11:33:51 CATEGORY ENGINEERING INFO SOFTWARE TAGS RANDOM TOOL WORD
HELLO, MY NAME IS ________
hello my name is stickerI've been spending a lot of energy searching for a really good name.  Don't ask me why.Not only have I been looking through baby name lists and books, but I have been scouring the web for specific name search engines.  Sure there are tools that help you find a good name or even generate random words, but there is no search engine for searching for a name based on ending.This is important because I have a last name that is short and starts with a W making many first name endings sound bad because they do not flow smoothly into the last name.  For example, the name Kirk has a definite sound termination.  This is due to how the letter K is pronounced with our mouths.  When saying K, we restrict air in our throat and release a short puff of air.  See Sounds of English for more.A name that ends clearly, usually with the constriction of the throat, does not work well with my surname.  Other sounds that have the same pronunciation mechanics are words that end in t, k, d, b, p, and x. When I searched for a way to find names based on endings, I couldn't find any.  So, I decided to make a tool that does it for me.For the impatient, feel free to hop over to the Name Filter Tool now.For those that want to learn how it was created, read below:The first step was to collect names.  I didn't want to take names from other baby name websites, so I decided to get real peoples names from a popular social network called Google+.  You may have heard of it.It took very little time to create a python script using urllib2 to scrape Google+ profile pages for user names and profile IDs.  However, it did take a while to run the script and collect over 10,000 names of people all over the world.  Of course, it collected some page names, which don't sound very human like Frogpants.  But, those are in the minority of the names collected and I can later choose to remove them.The final step was creating the search ability.  Instead of using python, I opted for javascript since it was quick, dirty, and could be uploaded for others like me wanting a name ending tool.  I gotta spread the joy and bump the karma.The tool itself does more than searching by ending characters.  It accepts a search format specification, which can be composed of letters, symbols indicating a consonant or vowel, and a wildcard character for zero or more characters.Here are some examples, but the tool describes how it works too:
  • If you wanted to search for names that start with John, the search definition would be: John~
  • If you wanted to search with names that start with M and end in T, then you would search for: M~t
  • If you wanted to search for names that started with a consonant and were followed by a vowel, consonant, then vowel, then you would search for: !@!@~
  • If you wanted all names that were six letters long, you could search for: ++++++
In addition, the tool lets you build a list, then remove names from those results with the search definition.  So, you can have more control targeting the name you like.If you do find the Name Search Filter useful and pick a name with it, please contact me and let me know which name you chose.  It would make me more than happy knowing the tool was used for such an important decision.  Best!Note: I also made a random word generator (and a word mutation) tool, but I'll post something on that later.
POSTED 2012-01-13 17:36:11 CATEGORY ENGINEERING INFO SOFTWARE TAGS APP BABIES EVERYWHERE JAVASCRIPT NAME PYTHON
LIBGDX: CREATING MULTIPLE STAGES DEGRADES PERFORMACE
While working on a game using the ever wonderful libgdx, I noticed slow performance when I was using two different Stages.  One stage was the game HUD and the other served as a poorman's dialog.I didn't notice the choppy performance hiccups until after I called draw on the second stage then returned back to the original HUD stage.I had something like the following (WARNING: pseudocode):

Stage hud = new Stage(); Stage dlg = new Stage(); ... hud.addActor(widget1); hud.addActor(widget2); dlg.addActor(widget3); ... void render() {   if (show == HUD) {     hud.draw();   } else {     dlg.draw();   } }

After seeing the problem, I had a suspicion the performance degrades when swapping between Stages and I still am not sure why it does so.  At any rate, I fixed the problem by using only one Stage then adding and removing Actors when needed.So, the code ended up something like this: Stage ui = new Stage(); Vector hud = new Vector(); hud.add(widget1); hud.add(widget2); Vector dlg = new Vector(); dlg.add(widget3); ...// Call show() when you want to switch context void show(what) {   ui.clear();   Vector widges = hud;   if (what == DLG) {     widges = dlg;   }   Iterator iter = widges.iterator();   while (iter.hasNext()) {     ui.addActor(iter.next());   } }void render() {   ui.draw(); } That cleared up my performance trouble.Find out more about libgdx at Badlogic Games
POSTED 2011-12-21 11:16:07 CATEGORY ENGINEERING TAGS GAME LIBGDX PERFORMANCE
TICKER FOR THE NEW CENTURY
Little PrinterNothing beats the tangibility of paper.  We live in an age where we can print anything we wish on demand.  However, the best things to read are not requested.Much like a newspaper subscription, the ticker tapes of old would spit out information in a stream.  The owner basically subscribed to the market content.  Given the very low cost of printers, why don't we have an analog in this day and age for our homes?Well, there is a product coming down the line called the Little Printer that fits that need.  It's a small heat printer similar to what you find on retail cashier machines, but prints news, sms texts, todo lists, sudoku, foursquare feeds ... anything you subscribe to.

Think of it.  You get targeted news and information local to you.  Simply tear off the paper and take it with you.  What a beauty of human computer user interfacing.more information at BergCloud
POSTED 2011-12-02 10:33:54 CATEGORY ENGINEERING TAGS 21 CENTURY TICKER
PYTHON NEVER LETS YOU DOWN
python-logoSometime in the future, you will find yourself wanting to test some quick web code (say WebGL) and hit problems with cross domain scripting since your first try is always to load an html file in your browser from the file system (file://).You will groan at the thought of having to host a web server just to test your web code... And if it's offsite, or in a VM, keeping the files sync'd during debugging can be annoying.Not to fear, Python to the rescue!Just change to your development directory in your console and use Python's SimpleHTTPServer:
> python -m SimpleHTTPServer
Oh! Think of the many headaches and blistering ulcers this will save you from getting.XOXO, we love you Python.
POSTED 2011-11-30 11:54:39 CATEGORY ENGINEERING TAGS PYTHON RAPID DEVELOPMENT WEBGL WEBSERVER
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