I heart my droid

Posted in Tech on April 20, 2010 by lightningmonkey

“I shall slay thee mighty dragon!” I scream as I rush at the ancient green monster.   The last breath of fire from the beast had come far to close, my glowing red shield was the only reason I remained standing.  He, the dragon they call Tithdel, rears on his two hind legs and lets out a roar loud enough to wake my dead companions.  No matter! This quest that has consumed me for all these years will be decided at this moment!  I shall slay this enemy of man, or I shall die by his claws, there shall be no other outcome.  I reach Tithdel and raise my sword for a death blow, with a terrible rage I swing my mighty weapon at his black heart. He jumps back and returns with a *BEEP BEEP BEEP BEEP*.

I wake up and look over at my alarm clock showing 5:20 am, the string of obscenities that followed would make any sailor blush.  In my mostly dazed state I could not remember why I would willfully submit myself to the horrible monstrosity of 5:20 am.  I should hope I did this on purpose and not just set the alarm incorrectly again – THE DROID! I gleefully jump out of bed and head to the bathroom to put my face on.  It is droid release day!  I had set alarm to that ungodly hour so I could pick up the super phone before I got to work.  The Verizon stores had chosen to open up extra early on that Friday to accommodate the masses with more money then sense, like me!

I got to the store around 7:15, only a few minutes after they had opened, and a line had already formed.  As I “patiently” waited my turn, I played with the droid they had on display.  I had been in the market for an android phone so I had been reading the reviews of all the phones that were out.   None of them had seemed particularly great, until I started hearing about the droid.  It was fast, had a nice camera, a hardware keyboard, and a sharp screen, I was sold.  Once my number was called I skipped to the counter and purchase my new toy.

The clouds parted, birds started singing, taxi’s stopped driving like homicidal @#$!@#, the droid was mine! While walking to work I had a few minutes to get acquainted with my new phone.  The first thing I noticed was how great the screen was. The 480×854 screen was by far the best screen I had ever seen in a mobile device.  Even in the morning sunlight (after all that it wasn’t even 8 am yet, God 5:20 is early) the screen was easy to see and read.  The few quick youtube videos I watched loaded fairly quickly and looked very good on the droid, especially after I realized I can select high definition mode.  Sadly I had then arrived at work and could not give my phone the attention it deserved for a few more hours.

I have had my phone for a few months now, and it continues to impress. I have downloaded whole bunch of apps and explored the phone to a large extent.  The hardware keyboard is very nice and responsive, and I found that I could type on it quickly and with only a few errors.  While I did not use the virtual keyboard much at first, I have found it to be very nicely done in both landscape and portrait formats.  I write a lot of texts, so the ability to write quickly is much appreciated.

The camera on the phone is great, well, it was great for 24.5 days at a time.  There was a truly bizarre bug that had the auto focus on the camera behave like crap for 24.5 days, the work really well for the next 24.5 days.  This was fixed in a software update a few weeks after the phone’s release, but still, weird as hell. Now that it is working consistently I like it a lot and all the pictures in the last post were from my phone.

One pleasant surprise is that the droid is an excellent GPS device.  I have a Garmin GPS device that I used whenever I was going someplace new.  It worked very well and always got me where I needed to go.  Once I got a car charger for the droid (enabling the GPS sucks power like, well, a vampire hoover or some other such nonsense) I started to use it as a GPS device.  The first obvious benefit was being able to place the screen vertically which allows you to see the roads further in FRONT of you.  I never did understand why GPS devices came in a wide screen format, since I don’t care what is to the sides of me.  The next great advantage is real time traffic updates while driving.  The droid lets you see the traffic for your whole route at once in the green, yellow, red system of Google maps and lets you change your route accordingly.  This has saved me a few times already.

Going online is also a very pleasant experience with the droid.  With Verizon I am usually in a 3G area which lets the pages load very quickly.  I would say a  page shows up on average, with pictures and all, in about 10 seconds.  This is quicker then my old laptop.  The big screen allows for easy viewing and the browser automatically adjusts most articles to be the proper width for the screen.  More then once I have spent the bus ride home from work reading articles or looking up recipes for the dinner I was about to cook.

In addition to the web browsing, Google reader, tasks, and many other Google services have been formated to work very well on the droid.  I have many, many subscriptions on my reader and they all show up nicely on the phone.  A recent discovery for me is that tasks can be used as an EXCELLENT shopping list app.  At home I type in the list on my big old keyboard, and at the store I can cross thing off the list with one quick tap.

So in conclusion (I really need to wrap this up) I heart my droid.  I think it is the single greatest device I have ever bought and I use it constantly throughout the day for many different reasons.  Even after a few months of owning it, I am finding out new and exciting uses for it.

p.s. I kicked Tithdel’s ass the next night, the princess was pleased.



Posted in Tech on April 16, 2010 by lightningmonkey

Well, it has finally happened.  The singularity has been reached and we will all be (already are) replaced by machines.  If you are still reading this with your organic eyes please switch over to the multi-spectrum synthetics to enjoy the full 4D multi-surface pictures that are currently being downloaded into your neural upload points.  As these shiny new 4.5 petapixle pictures are downloading, I suppose I should start at the start.

It all began when a young, very handsome man finally had the means and the time to build himself a spanking new beastly desktop! After years of patiently waiting and scheming the beast of a desktop will be his!  With a little help from uncle Obama’s tax refund emporium, he headed over to newegg.com and bought himself some parts that arrived in all these pretty, pretty packages.

pretty pretty parts

All the ducks in a row

What he had before him was as follows:

  • Gigabyte motherboard with usb 3.0 and Sata 6b/s
  • Intel i-7 Bloomfield 2.8GHz quad core processor
  • Radeon HD 5770 1GB video card
  • 6gb of DDR3 RAM
  • 550W power supply
  • 1TB hard drive
  • 24x DVD Burner
  • Antec ATX Mid Tower Case

While most of us will scoff at such specs with most of our automated shovels having at LEAST 16GB of video ram, you must remember that these are very respectable specs for the time.  With earnest optimism, our young hero began the task of assembling a computer from scratch for the first time in his very handsome life.

With some prayers to the deity of his era, “internet”, he was blessed with a tutorial.

Motherboard....of DEATH

Motherboard of death paired with cpu of pain

He began by installing the CPU into the motherboard, which turned out to be much easier then he and anticipated.  All that was necessary was dropping the CPU into the correct socket (only one possible way to do it) and installing the heat sink with a few screws.

Once the motherboard had been assembled, it needed to be placed into the empty case.  The spacers that were provided with the case were easily installed and the motherboard was placed on top.  With a small amount of nudging and pushing, the motherboard was then screwed into its thrown where it would spread its icy tentacles of destruction.

its cozy in here

With their powers combined...

The next step for our mighty hero was installing the power supply.  He had gotten a modular power supply to try and cut down on cord chaos, which I guess means this was better then it could have been.

stay on target...

My, what pretty power cords you have

Once the power was installed, the installation continued more quickly.  This man among men had no trouble installing RAM, DVD drive, hard drive, and (holy crap it’s HUGE) video card.  These were tasks that he had completed numerous times before and posed no problem.  Well except the video card being MASSIVE.

Then with a satisfying twist of a thumbscrew, the case was closed and the computer had been built!  Behold!


By the power of greyskull!!

Once it had been built, our very smart hero plugged it in and turned it on.  Not at ALL to his surprise, everything worked on the very first try!  And thus is the beginning of our computer overloads.  This beast of a machine was able to pwn all the newbs with its 1337 skillz, and secure its place as our current and future imperial overlord, the great and poweful 011010010010000001110011011001010110010100100000011110010110111101110101!

Getting There

Posted in Uncategorized on September 11, 2009 by lightningmonkey

So I am making progress on my dad’s website. I think that the infrastructure for it is almost done, which would mean a big step in the right direction. After that comes making it look pretty and content. Clearly things that are not important at all. I’ll just riddle the site with lolcats, it’ll be fine. I will hopefully be able able to show off some sort of beta site within the next couple of days. Stay classy people, stay classy.

Hey there!

Posted in Uncategorized on September 9, 2009 by lightningmonkey

Howdy y’all! So There has been a fair amount going on in my life recently, namely I am now a real adult with a real job and real paychecks! (the last one is the most important) I started my job about 2 months ago, and I have to say I like it so far. I am programing in python, the company gives me free bagels in the morning, free cereal/coffee/espressos/soda pop all day long, and there is a game room with xbox 360 and wii! I play halo at work almost everyday. I mean its only like 20 minutes of Halo, but I still enjoy it.

The other thing I am up to is making a website for my dad. The first incarnation can be found at here. I think its a pretty decent first attempt at a web site considering I made the whole thing from scratch and learned css in like 2 days. The whole thing took me about a week.  Currently I am working on the second incarnation of this site that should be much easier to manage.  I am using pylons, which is a python based web framework, to make my life much easier.  Now I can quickly add and change the sites around with minimal effort.  Let me tell you, inheriting templates of html code makes life SO MUCH EASIER. Anyway, I am going to try and post more frequently, we shall see how that goes. Peace out.

What I’ve been doing…

Posted in Uncategorized on July 5, 2009 by lightningmonkey

So I am now done with college, I have a degree and everything!! I will also be starting my job on Monday, very exciting! In my few weeks of free time between college and work, there has been a lot of video games and some side projects. There is the physics sim that you all know and love, and I have also been working on a website for my dads company.
So I have been working on it for about 4 or 5 days, learning css along the way, and I already have a fairly functioning and I think good looking site. Now I first looked around for my dad to get some legit web developers to do it, and they pretty much all wanted 6-8 weeks and ~$8000. Crazy talk. I know I learn this stuff faster then the average Joe, but damn, I clearly should do this stuff on the side. I could be making mad bank! I will link to the site once it is in a finished state so you can all tell me what you think!

new applet version

Posted in Uncategorized on April 29, 2009 by lightningmonkey

I just posted a new version of the gravity applet that lets you choose if you want to draw short tails, no tails, or draw the full line!  So now you can draw pretty pictures and all that jazz.  I think the next version will allow you to define a path for a well to follow.  On a side note, this is starting to move away from a gravity sim and move more towards an E&M sim, so if I start calling gravity wells magnets, that is why.  Although when you turn on friction it is more of a gravity sim then E&M.  Whatever, we shall see how it turns out!  Once again you can find the applet here.

update:  As my friend pointed out, I couldn’t do anti-gravity, but now I can!! Namely you can put in a negavity well power number so that it repels particles instead of attracting them.

Yay for Gravity!

Posted in Uncategorized on April 27, 2009 by lightningmonkey

So its been a while since I have posted I know, but I have something cool to show.  I made this yesterday instead of doing my homework, a spiffy physics simulation!  The basic premise is that the blue things are gravity wells and the red things are particles.  Each of the particles has a direction and speed while the wells have a magnitude.  At regular intervals each particle 1) figures out the vector between itself and each gravity well 2) calculates the distance between itself and a gravity well 3) divides the well magnitude by distance, multiplies that by the well vector, and adds that resulting vector to its current speed and direction.  So basically this means the particles get attracted to the larger wells more and to the closer wells more then the further away wells.  Makes sense to me.  You can also turn friction on and off, which simply shrinks the current direction vector by a set amount. In addition you can start and stop the simulation, add or take away gravity wells, change the number of particles, and draw a grid so you can place the wells more precisely if you please.  Hope you all have fun with it!