I know this

Hey, did you hear they’re going to make invisible planes soon? How cool eh? Just like Wonder Woman’s stupid jet. Here’s an incredibly convincing picture from an equally convincing article:

a8152e44-dc55-48f6-ba01-1feaaee86ff0-460x276

You see it’s apparently totally possible because it’s not actually invisible, it’s just magic technology projecting the scenery on the interior of the plane. Brilliant!

Except actually stupid!

The reason this is a stupid idea is not because it is expensive, unnecessary and unnerving, but because it simply can’t be done, and anyone who suggests it can obviously has not sought the opinion of anyone who has a clue about optics or aircraft. After checking the comments on this article, I realised that no one had really pointed this out, so I decided to do so.

Screen Shot 2014-11-02 at 1.06.13 am

The problem with saying something smart on the internet, is that some people are so used to everyone else being wrong, that they often don’t think about it much before assuming they know better.

Screen Shot 2014-11-02 at 1.06.13 am

Sturla Molden, he gets it. But then there’s this th3r0n guy. I mean, he has numbers in his name so he must be some kind of nerd genius right? Not about this he’s not. I am somewhat annoyed at his poorly reasoned dismissal of my criticism, and so feel it’s now extra important that people understand just how stupid the ‘project exterior onto interior’ idea is. It’s like, REALLY stupid, and yet no one seems to understand this!

I attempted to add a reply to further clarify the issue, but it turns out this is one of those terrible comment systems that only tells you the thread is closed AFTER you have entered your comment and clicked POST.

Screen Shot 2014-11-02 at 1.06.13 am

And so, because I have to record it somewhere or I will go mad, here is my [attempted] reply to the incorrect correction, further elaborating on my original, actually correct criticism:

I don’t know what led you to make this assertion, but it is not correct.

Imagine sitting in your seat, enjoying what seems to be an amazing panoramic view. You look to your right, at the horizon projected on the wall beside you. Place your finger on the wall so it’s touching the horizon. Now realise that a person standing up should see the horizon at their eye level, but instead will be looking down at the level of your finger. The distortion for all the other viewers in the cabin would be ridiculously bad.

Another example, imaging you are sitting towards the back of the plane, heading east, and you see a beautiful full moon rising. From where you are sitting it is superimposed over an exit door near the front. Hold your thumb up and you can obscure it. Now imagine what the person next to the exit door sees. An entire wall of bright shiny (distorted) moon blasting at them.

If I seem a little pedantic and/or smug, then fine, I don’t care. This is an area in which I have earned that right. I know the rules about projection and parallax and occlusion.

You know how words on a t-shirt are flipped in a mirror, but only left-right and never up-down? I KNOW WHY THAT IS.

How the moon seems bigger on the horizon? I CAN EXPLAIN THAT.

How the eyes on a well painted portrait seem to follow your around the room? TOO EASY!

More store room than office right now

Unsurprisingly, I haven’t managed to complete my mini-office build, but at least I’ve got the wall and door in place now. My plan to avoid cornices and skirting board may need revising though, as the alignment of the perfectly rectangular door panels shows up the crookedness of the ceiling and floor more than I’d like, and adding a bit of trim is a way to hide that.

IMG_7120

I had to temporarily remove the center panel because within five minutes of fitting the door lock and handle I (of course) managed to accidentally lock myself out. Luckily I hadn’t yet fixed all of them in place from the inside, so didn’t actually have to break down my brand new door.

(At least it’s not a dead-lock, so there’s no danger of accidentally locking myself in my tiny storeroom/future office)

Staycation

I took this last week off to try to catch up on sleep and a few odd jobs. My main project is the construction of a new mini-office space, as my current office does double duty as Polly’s bedroom and it’s just a bit awkward to juggle that. If all goes to plan, she will have her own room (nursery?) soon, and I’ll be commuting to work by walking downstairs (exercise!).

So far it’s not much to look at, but at least I finally made some tangible progress today, putting up a frame and hanging the door.

IMG_7095

All that crap on the other side of the wall frame is where my new office will ultimately be (in theory by Monday!). On the near side of the wall will be the now-truncated rumpus room, where visiting nieces will continue to be welcome to play Lego Batman on Xbox and scatter corn chips about.

This is my first ever wall building project, and a truly vast amount of my time and energy this week has gone into making plans, visiting the hardware store, and then totally changing my mind. It was originally to be a classic stud wall with gyprock cladding (drywall), but kind of morphed as I thought about the different materials involved and how little I was into the idea of plastering and painting, so now it’s going to be a semi-permanent wall using doors as panelling instead of plasterboard. This should make it stronger and easier to remove if/when it’s no longer needed, while giving the whole thing a retro minimal vibe from outside.

Although the idea of an office with no actual windows might seem like a really bad idea, even when I do have a window in my office I always end up leaving the blinds closed anyway, so I’m treating the absence of natural light as a challenge to be solved with various flavours of LED trickery. I may even attempt something like a fake window effect, but that’s probably a project for some other weekend. (Adequate ventilation on the other hand is something I need to finalise before I start working in there.)

Worst case scenario: it turns out to be a terrible space to work and so we just use it as a store room, so my efforts aren’t completely in vain.

6 Months

IMG_6740

Polly is 6 months old now. Jolly and chubby, a little sooky, and we still love her to bits! I keep meaning to write at length about my experience as a new dad, but it’s all going by so fast I feel like by the time I compose something coherent it will be out of date. Too busy doing it to write about it, basically :-/

Shoot the Moon!

Created by a friend, an iOS game which is both simple and hard, and visually beautiful.

Go get it for free!

And now 5 months!

So, sorry the blog is practically dead, been a bit busy hanging out with Bubs. The only reason I’ve somehow found time to post this is that I’m supposed to be getting my damn tax sorted out.

IMG_0446 IMG_0445

And as you can see I’m doing a great job keeping in shape too!

Polly is doing great, she’s frikkin huge at over 9kg, and she’s probably teething but we haven’t actually seen any teeth yet; only copious drooling and frantic gnawing behaviours as well as some rather grumpy faces.

 

Polly, 4 months in and already bored

IMG_6239

We took her to the doctor for some 4 month jabs on Friday, which she did not much enjoy, but on the whole she dealt with the ordeal reasonably well. She had her first official weigh-in for a while and measured just shy of 8.4 kg, which means she’s as well nourished as ever (length 66cm).

She has grown quite fond of her dummy (pacifier) and loves to scrunch and manipulate stuff. She is not quite rolling over yet but we are expecting her to work it out any day, as she is certainly making more of an effort to move herself around. She is becoming like an owl in that she seems to be able to swivel her head a crazy amount to see what’s going on behind her, and (coincidentally?) she also has razor sharp talons that grow faster than bamboo and a remarkable bite force for someone with no teeth.

FFS keyboard designers

From the many computer keyboards kicking around my office, here are closeups depicting the most common arrangements of Function and modifier keys:

IMG_6035 IMG_6031
IMG_6034 IMG_6032

This unwanted variety in layout (and function) drives me nuts. It slows my typing, as I have to work harder to make sure I’m hitting the right key when copy-pasting, application switching etc.

Specific gripes:

  • When Microsoft decided to add the Windows key to the standard PC keyboard, they idiotically put it between the Ctrl and Alt keys, so it wasn’t consistent with the already established convention of Apple’s command key (which in early days was also labelled as the Apple key)
  • Most manufacturers, when faced with the need for yet another modifier key (especially on compact keyboards), further cluttered the lower left key area with a Fn key. Again idiotically, Apple and Microsoft failed to standardize on the location of this, so on Apple keyboards Fn is the first key whereas with Windows keyboards it is the second.
  • On Windows, common hotkeys for manipulating text are all based on the control key, whereas on Mac they use the Command key (which didn’t have an analog on PC keyboards until the the Windows key was added, in the wrong place). Note the control key and the command keys are in very different places, so the finger positions are very different for common operations.
  • The Windows key is DUMB. It’s primary purpose is [was] to open the Windows start menu. It’s also a modifier key, but I’m guessing not widely used as such (every now and then I hit Windows-E to launch Explorer, just to remind myself I can). Also it doesn’t even have a symbol I can type, because Microsoft decided to brand it with the goddamn Windows logo. At least Apple’s command key has an actual glyph that can be typed (⌘) and isn’t in and of itself a trademark.

IMG_6039Special credit goes to the refreshingly simple key layout to be found on Google’s Chromebooks, which actually dispenses entirely with the Command/Windows key and the Fn key.

I really kind of love what they’ve done here; it’s like Google looked at existing layouts and said “Wait a sec, why do we need so many modifier keys anyway? And what’s the deal with the caps-lock key? Why such prominent placement for a key that is almost never used?”

Bravo Google for a bold design choice. Boo Apple and Microsoft for not sorting your shit out and saving everyone a lot of time and typing mistakes.

Numbers

Putting myself on notice again, re my general health.

Age: 42

Weight: 100 kg

Blood Pressure: 150/100

I’d like to still be around to see Polly become the first astronaut to win a Nobel Prize.

3 months

Polly is now 3 months old (13 weeks in fact, but I’m told counting in weeks is only for parenting noobs).

Notes:

  • She tries to grab toys and try to stuff them in her mouth, although she’s not very good at it yet. She can grab her feet, but she’s far too chubby to get them anywhere near her mouth.
  • She can sleep for longer and go longer between feeds (but doesn’t seem to like sticking to a routine) and she needs changing less frequently (blessed relief)
  • She’s been sucking her thumb for a while now, which means she can sometimes self-soothe and go back to sleep.
  • Just recently she’s taken to slobbering all over anything she can get near her face, so her hands are covered in spit.
  • She likes the TV (doesn’t really matter what’s on), although we don’t let her watch it too much as she goes all glazed and non-blinky.
  • She’s shy around groups of strange people, but very chatty when just with her mum or dad. Her vocabulary is still mostly goos and gahs though.
  • She likes being able to see us whenever she’s awake.
  • I actually felt angry at her tonight, as I was trying to cook dinner and every time I stopped paying attention to her she would instantly start howling. Fortunately she is a cute baby and smells great so I quickly forgave her.

 

9 Weeks

Polly now often sleeps for 4 hours or more when we put her to bed, which is nice. She still tends to be restless from 3AM onwards, but at least we get a bit of quality quiet time now. When awake she engages in lots of eye contact, chuckling, and vague burbling ‘conversations’, all of which are hugely adorable.

She’s about 6.5 kg now, and has now outgrown her 000-size clothing (baby clothing sizes here from newborn are 0000, 000, 00, 0).

Something for Polly

IMG_5106

Polly is 6 weeks old today, and doing fine. She is over 6kg now, and certainly seems significantly bigger, able to touch both sides of the her cot with arms spread out (and we had initially been looking at this cot and thinking it was unnecessarily large). She mumbles and grunts constantly (especially in her sleep) and is starting to smile quite a bit, and even have a giggle now and then. And man she can fart like nobody’s business.

On a slightly related note I’ve spent much of my weekend working on a new bit of furniture for her (and us), pictured right.

Lately all our baby change crap has accumulated on (what was until recently) the dining table, and this ain’t great long term because a) it would be nice to have a table to eat at again, b) we don’t want to sacrifice more space than is necessary for infant maintenance, and c) it’s far from the bedroom and will be hard to keep warm in the wee hours as winter rolls around.

So I’m making this changing table, to be placed in our small second bathroom, which will become the baby change room. It’s made from scraps of pine from old bed bases and MDF from a built-in wardrobe I tore out of our second bedroom in order to create enough space to turn around.

When you’re a computer programmer, it can be very satisfying to actually work on something real, made out of an actual tangible material and capable of continuing to exist even if the power goes out. I really enjoy trying to work out how to make stuff (and learning from my mistakes). Even better to finally recycle some of that crap I have a tendency to collect thinking “I might find a use for that one day!”

Update: We’ve been using it for the last week, and it’s working out pretty well. Also it’s great to have access to the dining table again!