Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Ridiculous movie sequels

A friend and I were talking about the bad Hollywood sequel-itis, and ruining two good movies with 28 Weeks Later and Dog Soldiers 2, so we started coming up with some bad sequels.

A good one of his:

City of Found Children.

Some of mine:

The Abyss 2: Dry Land
The Leander Job
Googli (plot centers around online searches for mobsters and bad actors)

Any others?

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

I don't normally post stuff like this...

Let's see...almost midnight, I need to get up early tomorrow, what am I doing? Cruising IMDb message boards about movies I haven't seen.

In the forum for World Trade Center, a lively discussion is going on about people rating the movie with a 1 (on a 1 to 10 scale) as a kneejerk reaction (to politics, Oliver Stone, whatever). Why am I reading this? Because it is what I do. I came upon an entry that just cracked me up:

Re: To the 140 people who gave this movie a '1'
by - Werewolf5 2 days ago (Sun Aug 13 2006 17:04:05 )

I loved it. To all those who gave it a one, please bend down and wait for the assistance of Michael Jackson.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Model fight update 007

A little more progress on the spybot. I've settled on this one instead of the one with wings. I wasn't liking the bridge across the top but I didn't know what I didn't like about it. I just realized while I was looking at it that what I didn't like was that both ends (the sharp parts) were going to the same points on the inner ring where the fan is. Now I know that I want the top of the bridge to go to the outer point of the body.

This is the underside of the robot. It features a camera lens along with other robotronic stuff. I file that stuff under TBD. The half-dome on the other side contains a laser that can paint targets much like the Ion Painter in UT2004. This robot can watch you from the skies and call in a rain of firepower if you get out of hand.

I'm going in to detail about the components because I'd like to make a little commercial or brochure about the robot's features.

The fan assembly was made by modelling a rectangle, rounding the edges, extruding it (Push/Pull), then rotating a copy around the center point. SketchUp has a cool feature where you can type in multiplying commands into a VCB (Virtual Command Buffer?), so after I rotated the copy a few degrees (so now there were two blades), I typed x11 and it automagically made the duplicates, all rotated correctly and spaced evenly.

Everything else on the model was drawing basic shapes, Push/Pulling, etc.

I'm probably going to go between robots and modelling the 01Robotics complex just to mix it up a little.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Nature preserve and an experiment

Here are some pictures from a nature preserve place outside of San Marcos. I can't remember the name, but we passed by a walkway over a swampish area and there were these cool...things. There weren't descriptions around them, so I don't know if they are supposed to collect water or what.

Also, I'm blogging these photos directly from Picasa 2. This may be a way to post photo collections, but if it comes out like I think it will, there won't be a link to the photos but all the photos will be there. This may not work if you want to have a link to a published photo collection elsewhere than on your front page.

 Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Tracfone vs cell phone?

I've been without a handy for almost five years. Usually I'm the only one in my group to be without one.

We recently bought a Tracfone - basically a prepaid cell phone - to use when we need it. We've been on the fence about buying a regular phone, or a second Tracfone so both of us can have one.

Here's what I think about the situation:

Cell phone:
Pro: feature laden
Pro: a lot of minutes
Con: one or two year contract
Con: feature laden

Pro: cheaper
Pro: no contract
Con: minutes can expire

We don't want a cell phone to replace our home phone - we have a great deal on long distance. I don't want a phone that does everything. A camera? Please! With the 1.3MP cameras on phones today I can barely tell the difference between Troy Aikman and Troy McClure. Korea has six and seven MP cameras in their cell phones. When we get there, I'm in!

I don't want a cell phone because it has a lot of minutes - I want one to find out where my family is or call someone when I need them. With this situation, a Tracfone makes perfect sense.

Any dissenters? Tracfone haters?

Model fight update 006

Spaghettis were talking about Ambient Occlusion in the renders, and I wanted to see what modo's results were. Rendering with AO is simplicity itself - change the Color Output in Render Properties from Shadertree to AO - that's it!

I rendered with AO one of the spy bots as well as a printer I modeled to see what they look like. Mind you, these are all default settings - I was interested in the default results before I started messing things up.

I think they look pretty alright, but now I want to tweak the settings. I like how the detail (albeit grainy) in the printer looks good, but with the default settings you lose some of the lines/separations between parts.

Monday, August 07, 2006

Model fight update 005

Here are some rough concepts on the first robot I'll be modelling. Both of these are some sort of recon/spy robot.

The first one has wings with some sort of thruster pods on them. The wings pivot at the body to provide directional/rotational thrust. It's basically a flying camera. The wings fold back against the body to minimize profile and it can be launched like an RPG and at some point in its flight path the wings unfold and it seeks the target.
The second concept is like a contained helicopter blade/fan array with sensor equipment mounted on one/many sides. It has skis to let it land and still have clearance for the fan to provide lift. The fan can cause liftoff and rotation, but I'm not sure about directional travel yet - maybe other thrusters, or just tilting. Deployment method may be within a sabot in a missile, or just dumped from planes.

What if they aren't Talking Heads fans?

We were driving back to Austin from Houston and somewhere south of Brenham we saw a flickering light to the side of the road. As we got closer, we noticed that it was a house on fire! There were some police and an ambulance, but during the five or so minutes we were there no firetruck appeared.

We took a few pics from the car, and then the police came out to the side of the road (there were about five or six cars parked watching the house go up) and they told us to move as there was a gas tank that could blow at any time. They were going around to the other buildings on the property banging on doors and windows to try to wake any one up that might be inside.

Sacred or Secular?

So we’re at church this weekend and the band…hold on – let me back up.

I’m from a pretty casual yet traditional church background – choir, pastor, church suppers, trying to stifle your voice when you and your friends accidentally start a laughing kick. Why is it that laughing is so much louder in church when you are supposed to be quiet?

Anyway, I’ve been to a few places where they have the more modern musical ensemble with instruments other than an organ or piano and it just wasn’t for me. For some reason it doesn’t bother me now. Maybe because I’m trying to learn guitar? Maybe because one of the guitarists has a Stratocaster just like mine? I’m not sure.

For a special music the band started playing, “The Reason.” Yes, the song by Hoobastank. My wife and I looked at each other quizzically, but went with the flow. The words were displayed, and if you had never heard the song before, the lyrics could be taken appropriately for a churchly song.

But that got me thinking. Was the band still playing a secular song? Did it become a sacred song within that context? If the lyrics are applicable, depending on the setting, does the song change? When I was in Houston I went to a weekly youth meeting thing where they had a really good band with a great female singer. They would usually do a song while the service was just about to start, and often it was a secular song. The only one I can remember was Sweet Surrender, by Sarah McLachlan.

Friday, August 04, 2006

Model fight update 004

Here is the latest of my building 5 models. I made the first story a component so I wouldn't mess it up with edits (you have to enter something like Edit Component mode (my description) before you can, uh, edit a component) and snapped copies of it to itself. The detail in the Y section is a security checkpoint, so it is only on the first floor.

You may notice a black line between the floors. I modeled a small detail around the building, but I'm not sure about how it looks from a distance. Here is a close-up of it.

What I'd like to do with the buildings is use the facilities maps to have correct and to scale outlines of the other buildings. While drawing on the map is nice for a quick look, I prefer the precision of using the blueprint, and it's less frustrating having to try to snap points that aren't aligned due to the rotation in the graphic.

That said, I'll probably table the building models for a while. I'm itching to work on some robot models.

I'll use the breaktime from the buildings to take pictures of the actual architectural details from the buildings so when I go back, I'll have a starting point.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Linux on my laptop

So I finally broke down and installed Linux on something. Why? Well, because it is there, and I've been wanting to see what all the fuss is about.

I downloaded the Kubuntu 6.06 distro (in .iso format), burned a CD and booted. It has a Live CD option, which will basically run Linux from the disc instead of your hard drive. That way, you can experience Linux without destroying your current OS.

I went ahead and formatted the drive and installed it. From what I can see, if you are familiar with Windows you can at least function, as the interface is very similar to the Windows interface, plus a browser, office suite, etc, are installed, so I'm guessing that if someone just checked email, browsed the internet and wrote an occasional document, they would be set.

I'm looking at this laptop and I'm thinking, "Sweet! I've installed Linux.... Now what?"

My 3D content creation options are limited; games are limited. I guess I'll throw some C on here and explore coding.