Archive for the ‘Technology’ Category

Southwest Trails Mapset For Garmin GPS Receivers Available!

September 3rd, 2009 2 comments

For those of you living in Arizona and New Mexico, and who own Garmin GPS receivers, I have created a mapset called Southwest Trails that you may find useful on your outdoor adventures.

Southwest Trails is a transparent map overlay that you can put on your map-enabled Garmin GPS receiver. This allows you to see, and follow, trails using whatever maps you normally would on your GPSr…be it topo maps, City Navigator, or any other sort of map that you have on your GPS. Using data provided by The Trails Co-Op, as well as my own data and user submitted data, I hope to build an extensive mapset of trails across the Southwest. This should help make your outdoor experiences more enjoyable, and more safe.

Using Southwest Trails on your Gamin GPSr extends your ability to have a fun, safe time in the wilderness. No longer are you contrained to adding a few trails or tracks to your GPSr, limited by the design of the device. Since Southwest Trails is a complete mapset, you simply load it with all the other maps you want to have on your device, and any trail in the mapset is available for your use at all times. Now, the only limitation is the number of trails that come with Southwest Trails! It’s my hope that Southwest Trails will enhance your wilderness enjoyment, and keep you safe on your travels.

Southwest Trails is available for both Windows and Mac users. The current version, v0.51a, is available for download at Outdoor Resources.

What Was The First Successful Video-Arcade Game?

October 1st, 2008 No comments

Pong, a simple electronic version of a tennis game, was the first successful video-arcade game. First marketed in 1972, Pong was actually invented 14 years earlier in 1958 by William Higinbotham, who headed instrumentation design at Brookhaven National Laboratory at the time. Invented to amuse visitors touring the laboratory, the game was so popular that visitors would stand in line for hours to play it. Higinbotham dismantled the system two years later, and, considering it a trifle, did not patent it. In 1972, Atari released Pong, an arcade version of Higinbotham’s game, and Magnavox released Odyssey, a version that could be played on home televisions.

Categories: Computing, Technology Tags: , ,

Goosh Golly!

June 4th, 2008 5 comments

I stumbled across Goosh today, which is a command line interface to Google. I’ve gotta admit I never even though of the utility of a command line interface for Google. But it’s cool, and you should check it out.

Goosh 0.4.4-beta #1 Tue, 03 Jun 08 22:59:00 UTC Google/Ajax
Welcome to – the unofficial google shell.
This google-interface behaves similar to a unix-shell.
You type commands and the results are shown on this page.
goosh is written by Stefan Grothkopp <>
it is NOT an official google product!
Your language has been set to: en (use lang to change it)
Enter help or h for a list of commands.>

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Your Password Must Contain 18770 Characters!

May 23rd, 2008 No comments

Check out KB276304 from Microsoft. There’s apparently a bug that appears when Windows 2000 is configured to authenticate against an MIT Kerberos domain that throws the following error message:

Your password must be at least 18770 characters and cannot repeat any of your previous 30689 passwords. Please type a different password. Type a password that meets these requirements in both text boxes.

Holy smokes!

Categories: Computing, Humor, Technology, Weird Tags:

Standards for Measurement

May 7th, 2008 No comments

Ever wonder what really defines a meter? Or a second? Or a twip? From Charlie Emrich in the September 2007 issue of Wired comes this list of standards.

  • Meter
    • Standardized in 1983
    • Measures length
    • Defined by the distance light travels in a vacuum in 1/299,792/458 second
  • Second
    • Standardized in 1967
    • Measures time
    • Defined by the time it takes for a cesium-133 atom to cycle 9,192,631,770 times between two specific quantum states
  • Ampere
    • Standardized in 1948
    • Measures electrical current
    • Defined by the current required to create a force of 2x10E-7 newtons per meter between two parallel wires
  • Kelvin
    • Standardized in 1954
    • Measures temperature
    • Defined by 1/273.16 the temperature of the triple point of water – when it’s simultaneously gas, liquid and solid
  • Mole
    • Standardized in 1971
    • Measure amount of stuff
    • Defined by the number of atoms in 12 grams of carbon 12 (6.022x10E23)
  • Candela
    • Standardized in 1979
    • Measures brightness
    • Defined by the intensity of a 1/683-watt yellow-green light spread over a square meter, seen from a meter away

Now for some more interesting, obscure units of measure.

  • Gou
    • 180 milliliters – better known as a rice cup for an electric cooker
  • Pack Year
    • cigarette consumption based on one pack a day for a year
  • Nibble
    • typically four bit of binary code, or half a byte
  • Score
    • 20 of something
  • Hand
    • 4 inches of horse height
  • Twip
    • 1/20 of a typesetting point
  • Thrave
    • 24 sheaves of wheat
  • Shake
    • 10 nanoseconds
  • Mickey
    • ratio of computer mouse movement to onscreen cursor movement
  • Jansky
    • strength of radio signals from space
  • Butt
    • two hogsheads, or about 126 gallons, of booze
  • Smoot
    • a measure of length developed by some MIT students, equal to 5′ 7" – the height of one Oliver R Smoot
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ChaCha for Answers

May 2nd, 2008 No comments

Yesterday I signed up to be a guide at ChaCha, a place where you can go to get answers to any question you have. Primarily SMS (text messaging based), the idea is that a user texts a question to ’242 242,’ a guide researches the question, then sends and answer back to your mobile. I thought this concept was pretty cool, and since I like researching information so much, I singed up to be a guide. I answered their questionnaire, took their entry tests, and was accepted into the program. Today I spent time doing my 15 test searches, which will allow me to start answering queries for real. And when I do…I get paid a whopping twenty cents per answer! Not a lot of money, but over time it could add up. What impressed me most was the tools that I used to do my research (in beta at ChaCha), and how easy it was to send back an answer. I highly encourage a look at this service, whether you need answers, or you just like to help find answers. I think they’re on to something over there at ChaCha!

Categories: Technology Tags:

R2D2 Projector

May 1st, 2008 No comments

I love gadgets as much as many of you do. And most of the ones we get exposed to are pretty cool. But I came across one today that surpasses anything I’ve seen in a long time : The R2D2 Digital Audio and Video Projector by Nikko.

This product pretty much defies description, so I invite you over to their web site to watch the video. But, to pique your interest, here’s a short list of the features:

  • Project any digital media up to 260 inches onto walls or ceilings
  • Play DVDs and CDs with built-in player
  • Connect external devices like iPods, memory cards and USB flashdrives
  • Built in 20W speaker system
  • Wireless FM out
  • Format support : DVD-video, DVD/R/RW, VCD, SCVD, Audio CD, CD-R/RW, WMA, MP3, MP4, DivX 3.0, JPEG
  • A seriously cool Millennium Falcon remote!

And all this can be yours for only $2900US!


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MIPS Breakdown

April 30th, 2008 No comments

Your house has more computer power in it than the average laptop! According to an article by Patrick Di Justo in the May 2007 issue of Wired, the modern house has about 31,700 MIPS while the average laptop has about 6,300 MIPS. In case you’re wondering a MIPS are millions of instructions per second, which is a measure of a processors speed. Here’s how it breaks down:

  • Typical Laptop : 6,300 MIPS
  • Modern House : 31,670 MIPS
    • Living Room : 26,750 MIPS
      • Xbox : 21,000
      • Cable Box : 2,000
      • Hi-def DVD : 2,000
      • TiVo : 1,000
      • Television : 600
      • Home Stereo : 150
    • Home Office : 2,600 MIPS
      • Broadband Router : 800
      • Wireless Router : 800
      • Smartphone : 500
      • Inkjet Printer : 350
      • Digital Camera : 150
    • Garage : 1,690 MIPS
      • Car : 1,300
      • Roomba : 80
      • Clothes Dryer : 60
      • Clothes Washer : 60
      • Vacuum : 60
      • Heating/Air Conditioning : 60
      • Home Security : 60
      • LawnBott Lawn Mower : 10
    • Kitchen : 420 MIPS
      • Refrigerator : 60
      • Dishwasher : 60
      • Microwave : 60
      • Stove : 60
      • Toaster : 60
      • Blender : 60
      • Coffeemaker : 60
    • Bedroom and Bathroom : 210 MIPS
      • iPod : 200
      • Electric Toothbrush : 10

I would have thought that my digital camera had more MIPS than a home stereo, but them I’m also surprised that an Xbox has more MIPS than a laptop. Guess you need a lot of processing power to play Halo 3!

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Boston Dynamics’ "BigDog"

March 26th, 2008 No comments

It seems that Boston Dynamics, "an engineering company that specializes in robotics and human simulation," has created the most advanced quadruped robot on Earth, called "BigDog." Here is the video that can be found on YouTube:



Quite honestly, this thing is amazing. I have never seen a robot move with the precision, and "normalcy" that this one does. It walks exactly like a dog. The freakiest moment of the video, though was when it was slipping on the ice, and trying to recover it’s footing. At that moment, it looked more like a real animal than a noisy robot. I think these guys have their finger on the pulse of the future, and we’ll be seeing quite a few of their creations on the battlefield, as the project was funded in part by DARPA.

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Cool Google Gadget : gpicsync

March 21st, 2008 3 comments

Some of my Twitter pals showed me this today:

GPicSync automatically inserts location in your photos metadata so they can also be used with any ‘geocode aware’ application like Picasa/Google Earth, Flickr,, etc.


  • automatically geocode your photos (in the EXIF header)
  • use a GPS tracklog in the GPX format or NMEA format (multiple selection possible)
  • Support elevation data if present in the tracklog
  • create a Google Earth KML file to directly visualize the geocoded photos and track in Google Earth
  • create a Google Maps file to publish your pictures and track on the web (more)
  • Automatically associate audio or video files in Google Earth and Google Maps
  • create a Google Earth KMZ file (containing your geolocalized pictures and tracklog).
  • add additional geonames and ‘geotagged’ metadata (for automatic tagging in Flickr for example) and create an automatic IPTC caption (more)
  • manually write latitude/longitude in a picture EXIF or a selection of photos
  • handy tools integrated (Time correction tool, EXIF reader, GPX inspector, rename pictures with date/location,)
  • supports Jpeg pictures and main RAW files format (more)
  • software available in English, French, German, Italian, traditional and simplified Chinese, Catalan, Russian, Spanish, Polish, Portuguese and Czech (see translations)

This looks pretty cool! The next time I’m out geocaching, or taking pictures in the wilderness, I plan on creating a track file with my GPSr, and then later merging them together. It’d be cool to come back to a location some years later and take a comparison picture.

Categories: Geocaching, GPS, Technology Tags: