22 June 2009

So this is pretty cool...

This guy's 'blog' post makes me feel good for several reasons:

1. He updates his blog less frequently that I update my web-log.

2. A LEGO CONVENTION! I mean, I knew they had to exist, but oh finely plastic brick nirvana, whence might I snap myself upon thy dimpled green surface to suffer a thousand tiny pricks of plastic bricks, hands sifting to find the gem, the missing piece.

3. The aforementioned gives me a reason to go to Chicago, assuming Heaven descends upon The Second City annually.

4. The iPhone is really cool.

5. I want one even more now.

6. Nerd Justice!

7. I have a reason to consider purchasing MobileMe. (I wanted for a reason, I did).

8. A LEGO CONVENTION - it's worth mentioning twice, and you know it.

That is all.

17 June 2009

From Wired.com's AUTOPIA 'Blog': Autopia Planes, Trains, Automobiles and the Future of Transportation MIT Hopes to Exorcise ‘Phantom’ Traffic Jams

I may have mentioned this before, so bear with me please.
Since my college days, especially since I've begun commuting to Frederick/Clarksburg from Hagerstown daily (almost 10 years now), I've wondered about traffic flow, traffic jams, etc. there's been some research done on it, but I, of course, had largely considered the psychological reasoning behind some of the causes (motivation for goal seeking behavior - e.g. in passing scenarios), but that segued into wondering about traffic jams and the communication of information (watching a series of brakelights flow down a line of traffic is like an ultra-slow fiber-optic situation).
Per the title, they've "blogged", if you will, about some MIT research into this - I think I may have previously discussed the Japanese research referenced in the AUTOPIA posting.
From the post:

"The equations MIT came up with are similar to those used to describe fluid mechanics, and they model traffic jams as a self-sustaining wave.

“We wanted to describe this using a mathematical model similar to that of fluid flow,” Kasimov said.

The researchers hit upon the equation after an experiment by Japanese researchers demonstrated the formation of jamitrons on a circular road. In that experiment, drivers were instructed to travel 30 kilometers an hour (18.6 mph) while maintaining a constant distance between cars. It didn’t take long before disruptions occurred and phantom jams formed. Denser traffic brought quicker jams."


So yeah, fascinating stuff for me. Being able to consider what I'm stuck in scientifically, positing potential solutions while waiting for the jam to clear, has kept me sane more than once.
I'd consider collecting data, but that's as bad as picking the pickles off your burger in traffic, and I don't want to be that guy.

08 June 2009

About to Burst

I've been a nerd my whole life, the smart kid, and a tinkerer. It's genetic, coming down both lines. Later in life I developed an aesthetic sense, and after years of tinkering with Windows, I also needed a new OS to tinker with. It also helped if it Just Worked™ (You're Welcome, Jared). With that, and some encouragement from friends, I started running my first Mac, and eventually became a fan boy, much in the same way I'm a trek nerd - I mostly keep it to myself. Except for web-log posts, but no one reads these anyway, right? Where was I? Right:
Mac, iPod (in roughly that order), and today I'm still rocking out my 5G iPod Video and a 13" 2007 Macbook. I love them, and I love my sister for hooking me up with her old RAZR when I had to give back my company-sponsored blackberry when I switched jobs a little over a year ago, but it's about time for a change on 2/3 of those things, and I'm about to burst in anticipation - you know the super slo-mo video of the apple shot by a bullet? How the apple EXPLODES everywhere when the energy is transferred from the bullet to the apple? I'm the apple, and the iPhone is the bullet. I know, NERD.
I've been following the iPhone, dare I say lusting after it, since it was announced. Since before it was announced. I dare say my own speculation involved some sort of rotary-click wheel dialer to add phone functionality to existing iPods, but oh how deliciously wrong I was.
I've always wanted one, but at the time couldn't justify the expense; my iPod was still working great, and I had a phone, and plus, they were cool, but how much cooler were they going to get? And when was the iPhone going to hit the same level of storage that my present iPod has? 30 GB is that important level for me. Plenty of room for my music collection (quality control keeps it in check) and a few movies.
According to rumor that much like me is nearing the boiling point, the new iPhones that will be announced are going to have 32GB of storage. That alone is enough to put me in line to buy one. If any of the other rumors (the matte redesign, video capture) are true then I'll be even happier, but it's already a bitchin' piece of hardware, and now that it's likely going to have the storage capacity I desire, I'm getting one. If I don't explode first from the anticipation.
But what of the 30GB iPod 5G Video, you cry? eBay, so that I can recoup some of the upfront cost of the iPhone as well as allow someone else out there the chance to enjoy some classic iPod love.

I'm so 5 minutes ago

Yes, I've done it. I'm on Twitter; lefthandrob.
I'll admit I tried to sign up before, but I couldn't ever get that username, so I said F- it.
Now to figure out how to unify posting to Twitter with the Facebooks updates, and I'll be all digitally 5 minutes ago! Time to go check the RSS so I can see what the next fad, er, "trend", is.

01 June 2009

Zack & Miri

I, like most people my age, am a Kevin Smith fan; not quite a Secret Stash-visiting, trench-coat wearing super fan, but I've seen Clerks II, I own Clerks the Animated Series on DVD, and I can quote ("What's a 'Nubian'?"). But I haven't seen Jersey Girl, and until recently I hadn't seen Zack & Miri Make a Porno. Though it was on that mental list of movies to watch that we all carry around with us.
Zack and Miri can't pay the rent or any of the bills, they live in a Pittsburgh suburb (big points for getting out of Jersey, KS, but Pittsburgh? You're trying to make NJ look better by comparison, right?), they are roommates, and they don't have love lives. Cutting right to it, the Mac guy ("Hi, I'm a Mac" - I know it's Justin Long, settle down) does a great job as a gay porn actor, and thanks to him and some YouTube serendipity Zack gets a big idea to make a porn movie to pay the rent and convinces Miri et al to go along.
Of course Jason Mewes is cast as the male lead in the film, and we get some fun work out of Katie Morgan and Traci Lords (Google them at your own risk, oh, and take "fun work out of" as you will...). Seth Rogan and Elizabeth Banks are completely believable as Zack and Miri.
Yes, the plot is a little contrived and some things seem too convenient, but who cares, because it's funny - I haven't laughed this hard at a movie in a long time; in fact, bonus points if any one can tell me the last time I said that about a film - and it's just fun.
Given that this movie's been out for awhile, this review is about as dated as the Reebok Pumps scene in Robin Hood: Men in Tights, but the movie was good enough that I wanted to drop a few paragraphs on you (a/k/a 'grafs' in the newspaper biz) related to the hilarity. If boobs, brief full-frontal, plenty of farcically simulated sex, and liberal use of the F-bomb don't phase you, then check it out.
If any of these things DO phase you, I'm sorry.

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