Bicycles Dorking Out Stuff I Like Stuff I Made Technology

Bike Skate Parkin’

Finally got around to getting some slo-mo of me at the skate park.  Considering the park is 2 blocks from my house and I’ve had the camera for a year, it was time.  210 FPS from a point n shoot?  Too cool.

Dorking Out Graphics Stuff I Made Technology

Sketchup the House

Since we became home owners (and incidentally, debt owners), my wife and I have been wanting to “do something” with our blank slate of a yard.  For me, that meant make a 3d model of the house and the grounds.  Of course!  Right? I like to plan things out, sometimes to the detriment of actually doing them, which is a source of friction.  Too much planning and playing on the computer, not enough actual landscaping / painting / doing.

However, because I’d never played with Google Sketchup I figured now was a good opportunity to learn it.

I measured all the dimensions of the house and the property and it came out pretty well. Using the Google objects 3d warehouse was really helpful.  Modifying the objects from the library was more difficult.  Which is why the windows aren’t quite the same as the real thing.

Here’s a screenshot from Sketchup,  no rendering or anything.  A little photochopping to get rid of some shadows that looked weird.  Which reminds me, the shadow feature is pretty cool.  Set the time of day, time of year, and Sketchup will put the sun in the right place in the sky and render the scene appropriately.  Pretty slick for a free application.

Now to actually do some landscaping modifications and then do actual landscaping.  Pretty sure this was the fun part.



One Year Later: reCAPTCHA Works Well

I installed reCAPTCHA on the comments system March 15, 2009, and in that time I’ve been lucky enough to receive 1826 spam attempts, with zero false positives.  reCAPTCHA

Although you’d think the spammers would go after a site with a bit more traffic.  I know, it’s probably automated, but still.  I mean, as far as I know, nobody reads this.  Which is fine.  I don’t think there’s much in the way of compelling content here.

Maybe it’s time to change that: throw google analytics on here, get some affiliate links going, and start monetizing this shitzle!  Oh hell yeah.  Though that might require updating this site more than “whenever I feel like it”:  7 times in the last year.  So maybe not.  That sounds suspiciously like work.  I am wary..

Either way, reCAPTCHA’s got me covered.


reCAPTCHA and Machine Image Recognition

Here I had assumed nobody but me reads this, but I got some love from the spammers last night.  Could’ve enabled the Akismet plugin (and maybe will), but I always thought the reCAPTCHA project was cool.  Harvest the human effort required to decode the spam-stopping CAPTCHA’s (Completely Automated Turing Test To Tell Computers and Humans Apart) and use it to help digitize books.  Too cool.  And free.

fun with photoshop
fun with photoshop

Kind of like Amazon’s Mechanical Turk project which I always thought was a cool idea… use distributed networks of humans to decode things machines can’t do, such as “is there a horse in this picture”.  Takes a human a second to figure that one out, but the smartest visual software in the world isn’t able to handle it.

Though it will soon.  Google acquired Neven Vision in 2006, whose facial recognition system appears to have been integrated into Picasa web albums and google image search.  Try searching for images containing Shakespeare’s face.  (because there’s some dispute) I was curious whether that would bring up different results than searching Google images using the terms Shakespeare face.  See for yourself

So, it works pretty well, but let’s hope Google continues to try to hew the party line: “don’t be evil”.  Combine facial recognition with the geotagging features and date added and you can follow people around the world via Picasa.  If you don’t already use Google Latitude that is (which allows your “friends” to track your movements by using GPS enabled phones..lovely).  It’s a brave new world in 1984 2009.

So for now, reCAPTCHA is cool and functional.  We’ll see what happens.