Saturday, July 29, 2006

EAA Oshkosh 2006 Images

My camera was on the fritz Friday, so some of these are wonky. Great day at Oshkosh, though!

Jenny loads her stomp-rocket for another flight; she was getting better than 50 feet out of this thing.

Brendan watches his stomp-rocket soar.

A formation of Navy planes across the decades. From left to right, an F/A-18 Super Hornet, an F4U Corsair, the only flying FJ4 Fury, and another Super Hornet.

The only Avro Lancaster still flying in the New World (there's another in the UK).

The Heavies. Front row, left to right, is a B-24 (only two flying) and two B-17s; back row is a B-25 and the only flying Avro Lancaster. The missing-man formation always puts a lump in my throat; with 16 big aero engines thundering overhead, it was really something as the B-24 pulled sharply up and off.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Interesting time/task management utility

Saw a reference to this on Larry O'Brien's blog--it's software to help you keep track of recurrent tasks that have "squishy" deadlines. There are plenty of to-do managers for one-time tasks, and calendars work great for things that have hard deadlines. But there's a whole list of things that fall into the nether regions between. For example, I have to do three takeoffs and landings at night every 90 days to stay night-current. I don't have to do it right at the 90-day mark, but sometime around there is good; when I do it, I want to restart the "clock". Likewise, bills need to be paid around a certain time of the month; a little earlier is fine, a little later is OK (so long as you set the time correctly!). Or you might want to exercise a minimum of three times per week.

The program is called Sciral Consistency, and it has an unlimited free trial (registering, for $25.00, unlocks some unspecified limits).

As their website says, "If you water your plants or exercise as consistently as you breathe, you probably don't need Sciral Consistency for those tasks. But if you examine your life, you may find a surprising number of activities unique to you in both your personal and professional life that could benefit from more Consistency."

They point out that, over time, the patterns of colors teach you where you're doing well and where you could spend more effort.

The screenshot shows that it's about time to water the plant in my office, that sometime in the coming week I ought to run the satellite-vs-pyranometer insolation comparisons, and there are 271 procrastinating days remaining before I have to change the Arlington anemometer and wind-direction instrument. The colors brighten and dim according to criteria too detailed to list in words, but transparently obvious in practice (e.g., dim red == potential trouble; bright red == problem).

Doubt it'll revolutionize my life, but I'm liking it so far. I dunno about you, but I have the most trouble with precisely this kind of thing: No hard deadline, but I don't want it to slip into the never-done past, either.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Interesting direct-manipulation UI tech out of Microsoft

TouchLight projects 3D-ish images, and uses 3 cameras to track hand gestures (a la Minority Report).

If you watch the demo, you'll notice that the user is moving very, very carefully, I suspect that they hired a Zen adept whose movements are so smooth that she doesn't throw off the tracking.

Still, pretty cool. Time to write MindDesign!

CNet story and video.

Thar's Gold In Them Thar Jihadist Loonies!

Danny Westneat of the Seattle Times skewers the war on terror yet again:

A federal inspector general has analyzed the nation's database of top terrorist targets. There are more than 77,000 of them — up from 160 a few years ago, before the entire exercise morphed into a congressional porkfest.
And on that list of national assets are ... 1,305 casinos! No doubt Muckleshoot made the cut (along with every other casino in our state).The list has 234 restaurants. I have no idea if Dick's made it. The particulars are classified. But you have to figure it did.
Why? Because here's more of what the inspector general found passes for "critical infrastructure." An ice-cream parlor. A tackle shop. A flea market. An Amish popcorn factory. Seven hundred mortuaries made the list. Terrorists know no limits if they're planning attacks on our dead people.
The report says our state has a whopping 3,650 critical sites, sixth in the U.S. It didn't identify them — remember, we wouldn't want this list of eateries, zoos and golf courses to fall into the wrong hands.That number, 3,650, is so high I'm positive we haven't heard the most farcical of it yet.Let's face it, I've been eclipsed. Anything I dream up now will surely be drowned by reality. The War on Terror has moved beyond satire.

The Seattle Times: Local News: Dept. of Homeland Lunacy

Monday, July 17, 2006

Bravo, Leonard Pitts!

Amid all the dire and depressing news from the Mideast, a ray of sunshine here at home: An absolutely outstanding essay on presidential hubris, flouting of US and international law, and the Supreme Court decision that stuck a stick in his spokes.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Brennan Center Releases Comprehensive Study on e-Voting Security

This is a must-read if you give a hoot about democracy. At least hit the executive summary, OK?