2015.01.31

La Jolla kelp forest dive underwater photography

Shane and I took our housings on their first dive. He has the D3000 rig with a pair of Ikelite 51s. Mine is the D700 with a single Ikelite 50.

Underwater photography dive gear

We had a lot of gear. The usual winter stuff: wetsuit, gloves, booties, hood. 26 lb of weight apiece, the housings and flashes. And dive gear. This'll be a lot more pleasant in warm water.

There were crabs, lobsters, and plenty of fish. Vis was okay by San Diego standards.


LA theatre

A phone shot of the UA theater in LA we got to tour on Erin's birthday weekend.

Annoying rock climber sticker rock climbing is cooler than your sport

Because climbers were not already sufficiently annoying.

Weimaraner dog California flag bandana

Kaf has a new bandana.



2015.01.27

Del Mar California surf beach clean day
Surf

The weekend brought nice waves and great weather, plus the water is not exactly numbing. Saturday afternoon had a strong offshore breeze, making for some serious spray off the lip. Sunday morning I went out at Encinitas with Derrick and Ryan.

Del Mar surf surfing surfer wave right closeout

There was no lateral current so it was easy to stay in position. But for whatever reason I was down... down-sun (? is that a thing? anyway he was backlit) for most of the session.

Also there was like a +2' tide so I could actually stand some of the time, meaning I was not exhausted at the end of it.

Surf surfing Del Mar left photography

On my own advice I went with center/continuous focus (stupidly not doing continuous shutter). I can't say it produced significantly better results. There are fewer frames where the water in front of me is the focal plane:


... but plenty where I missed my subject or water spray grabbed focus to leave the subject just a little bit off:


But it was a fun shoot and great to be in the water.

We had the spot pretty much to ourselves, but I did snap a couple of randos. One of them at least served the purpose of showing how closed out some of the waves were.


A few more:


Del Mar surf surfing left photography
SC2K

Sim City 2000 monster destroying city gif animated

Alright so it was a little while ago, but I got a jonesing to do some city building. I had sworn off of the new SimCity after the online-only snafu and maybe reconsidered when they fixed it but the mediocre reviews settled things.

I've heard games like Tropico are excellent alternatives, but Origin offered SimCity 2000 for free, so why not? What's more, I think I've played the game in two eras - when it originally came out and again around college on an emulator. Both times the game would hang or crash once cities reached a certain size. So I felt I had some unfinished business.

I stiched screenshots of Sahn Diago:

Sim City 2000 full map city

I was never the kind of kid to build a lego spaceship only so I could crash it, I had too much admiration for my own efforts. Nothing's really changed, but when a few incidental fires wiped out large sections of SD (including arcologies), I wanted to conduct study on fireproofing. So I turned a single monster loose (seen in the gif above) and did not deploy emergency services.

Best guess on the fire algorithm:
   foreach fire_space
      foreach neighbor
         if (random && burnable)
            burn!
Meaning:
Sim City 2000 fire damage

This area was obliterated. I think there was a stadium and maybe arco here. A single park did not burn, but the fire clearly climbed the hillside.

Sim City 2000 arcology power outage

Downtown, adjacent to the bay, remained untouched. A lot of dumb luck or other forces at play?

Sim City 2000 fire damage

Another section that seemed to escape the dice roll. I mean, they have no power or anything so they can't be all that lucky. Plus the rampant looting and violence.

Sim City 2000 arcology damage fire bay

Okay so the water protected the peninsula, the bridge and raised wires did not burn, but neither did their adjacent tiles. The southeast road did burn, but remained untouched at the bottleneck.

Sim City 2000 dark arcology boat ship marina fire damage

Note to city designers: islands are good. You know, unless your disaster is a flood.

Sim City 2000 arcology damage fire bay

At the late stages of my city building I did a lot of earth moving. Cause, you know, what's a few thou here and there. Putting arcos (and power plants) on artificial islands was good policy, although it slowed their growth. Dominant strategy: build arco, fill arco, moat arco.

Sim City 2000 arcology damage fire moat saved tactics

Moat all the things! I guess dedicating livible tiles to water isn't such an issue when you can build arcos.



2015.01.19

Cheesy stock art back end front end

Source.
Kilroy 3.0

A long time back blogspot removed the feature that enabled publishing to an external domain. Using a little perl-fu, I created a simple markup-to-html processor and went independent. Well, that code was shoestringy and so it's finally time to EOL it.

I decided to have fun with the new gallery (multiple image thumbnail) design. Then it quickly became unfun. I ended up with a couple hundred lines of agony, owing primarily to the combination of trying to introduce suboptimality and randomness into a knapsack problem (images/cells) and secondarily to the way that rowspan and colspan work. But I think every permutation of it works.

Another improvement is that gallery and full size images are now scaled a priori, rather than using html/css scaling. In-browser scaling is a little nicer on my storage quota, but slower to load.

The old method of cropping thumbnails was a fixed value, somewhere around the first third of the image. Sort of a middle-of-the-road approach. Now that I'm doing some automated image processing, I applied a pretty basic heuristic to try to find better croppings. Simply put, I scan some lines left-to-right and top-to-bottom and score the possible croppings by their contrast value over several pixels. The contrast means there will be something interesting in that area of the image, the pixel window hopefully means the algorithm will select something close to the focal plane.

I've retrofitted 2014, 2013 has some shenanigans that has to be accounted for separately. Once that's been taken care of I can re-process all the way back to 2010.07.

The one feature that was lost with the blogspot move was tags. Specifically, clicking 'kafka' and seeing a concatenated list of posts about the grey dog. I would like to bring these back, but it's a bit more work. Plus there is potential cleverness like displaying only titles or relevant portions of a post.

At present, the tags will autopopulate a search (also I added search at the bottom). I elected to use duckduckgo for reasons of internet hippiedom, of course search takes you to their domain. Either because my two hits per day (thanks Mom!) site doesn't get indexed much or because ddg is still a shitty search engine, the results aren't great (yet).

And maybe a slideshow view that presents just images.
Fantasy wrapup


The 2014 fantasy season came to an end. The championship game in Password is Taco was a bit of a disappointment, I needed a makeable 40 from Peyton and AJ but the way the game played out hope died quickly. Medieval Gridiron was mired by Loangate and Votegate, but at least I won out in the consolation ladder.

Games!

A little while ago a bought an hdmi media capture card for a pc that didn't have sufficient pci-x slots. Now that I have a decent media setup in the study, I installed the card in my main desktop. I think I might have some fun with it.




2015.01.01

Dog weimaraner bandana snow chomp snowball
Office space

After five years I bid qcom adieu to take on a new challenge in the startup world. This meant cleaning the cobwebs out of the study and setting up a proper work environment.

Home renovation office study workstation

(Not shown: working).

Not one to ordinarily subject myself to Black Friday, I ventured out and found a couple 27" LG displays. Fry's wasn't a total zoo, but with some effort I managed to still have a bad time. In addition to the monitors I picked up a mis-stocked dvi-hdmi cable that I realized, upon exit, went for $23. I could not let that one go, on principle, and unfortunately the return area was mysteriously unstaffed for a solid 20-30 minutes. I think my sitting down in the line might have precipitated action.

I want to say I did a decent job of offsetting the purchase to be Black Friday-negative - the very same day I got rid of cable. Why?
OS and driver hell

Another item I needed to retrofit the study was a new sound card; tunes are necessary and I already had the amp and speaker hardware. A Soundblaster Z was featured on an Amazon holiday deal so I had that delivered. Unfortunately, I then learned Creative only supplied drivers for win7+.

Yeah, that's right, I was still on xp. Don't judge me. It was stable. And getting at system settings wasn't a total pain.

After manually installing the driver inf didn't work, I decided to upgrade OS (for a sound card, I know, right?). A short experience with win8 convinced my to stick with 7, so I had my dear brother send me a spare install cd and key.

Ted never figured me for a luddite, so he sent me the 64 bit install cd. Oh well, finding the 32 bit iso wasn't so hard and the key is isa-agnostic. Of course this meant I needed to get a usb dvd burner since my new work laptop was, like my desktop, dvd free. Oh well, they're cheap now and never bad to have around.

Installing win7 was fairly painless and everything was going smoothly except for driverless nonfunctional wifi card. No big deal, I just used my work laptop to find the drivers... except there were none.

Poor website design? User error? I gave live tech support chat a try. It wasn't too bad, except that it turns out Linksys put GPL code in their drivers and can no longer provide them.

Bah. I have a sound card that doesn't have xp drivers and a wifi card that doesn't have win7 drivers. Sound card wins. Linksys loses, if you can't be responsible enough to keep your code clean, at least rewrite it. I'm on good old fashioned ethernet for now, maybe I'll go with Belkin in the future.
NorCal

Bodega beach dog weimaraner wind sand weather

I hit up the fam for Christmas week. Auntie Kathy had a sweet cabin out at a blustery Dillon Beach, Dave and Marcia hosted Christmukkah, Amber pulled me an espresso and introduced me to Handsome Jack, there was volleyball, my grandma poured me a Michelob Ultra, Jon and I prevailed at Axis and Allies (Anniversary Edition), and the Starks (Jon) and Lannisters (Mark) ganged up on the Greyjoys (me).

Snow dog

Dog weimaraner snow red bandana

Back in SD, the 4000'+ regions got a bit of snow recently. Since things are supposed to warm up soon I took the dog out east to tromp through the icy goodness.

San Diego snow sightseeing traffic kooks

While I had to have been the only person without a hangover this morning, I wasn't the only one with that idea. By noon 8-east was randomly slow in places, and particularly near the Julian-bound exits.

Expecting 79 to be horrible, made for Sunrise Highway where northbound traffic was at a dead standstill by turn 2. So I came back and made for the Corral Canyon area. Kaf and I got a good hike in before heading back to see the eastbound traffic getting worse and worse. Joke's on all of us, we all should have just gone to Connie's place.


Christmas tree dog weimaraner living room fireplace