Unit for Origami Polyhedron

A couple of people have asked me what the unit for the icosa-dodecahedron pictured here looks like. It looks like this:

IMG 3159

I said in the comments of that post that it was a strip of three triangles; obviously I was wrong. It’s four trianges with flaps on the ends. The mountain fold at the center of the photo is the fold at the edge of the triangular indentations in the finished model.

Hasta la Vista, Vista

I recently wiped the hard drive on my Lenovo X60 tablet and restored its original contents, reverting from Vista to Windows XP in the process. It wasn’t so much that I didn’t like Vista. There are a lot of nice things about it, including the “Aero” look (yes, I like it), the numerous improvements to the Explorer windows, the new features for pen-based input, and the photo-viewer thing.

Unfortunately, though, it demands too much of the host computer. The machine isn’t a slouch; it’s less than a year old, rated “Vista-ready”, and has a dual-core CPU. But the contrast–particularly now that I’ve reverted to XP–is fairly dramatic. I get a lot more battery time running under XP, the machine goes in and out of standby much more quickly, file-copy operations happen more rapidly, .zip files uncompress much more quickly, and even the Start menu is faster. In other words, performance characteristics that are particularly relevant to a laptop are definitely degraded by Vista. In the end, longer battery life and greater responsiveness are more important to me than Vista’s benefits. read more

New System 7 CD In January; Video Up Now

System 7 is one of my long-time favorite music groups. I just checked their website to see whether there was any news about a new release. They’re putting out a new CD in January and there’s an animation up on YouTube set to an “edit” of one of the new tracks:

System 7 is one of the sources of music that fuels Audio Damage; I’ve probably written more code while listening to them than any other act.

Get Paid to be Human

Well, sort of. Chris just pointed this out to me. It’s sort of a mass outsourcing agency created by Amazon, in which humans are organized like computers to solve problems that computers aren’t good at. I’m sure there are applications for this that are more practical than this project but, on the other hand, how else could you gather 10,000 drawings of sheep facing left?

Praise for Dr. Device in Computer Music

The December issue of Computer Music magazine has an almost embarassingly glowing review of Dr. Device. They gave it a full 10/10 score and all three of their CM badge awards for Performance, Value for Money, and Innovation.

Thanks, CM!

Abandoning WordPress, Part 1: Faded Blosxoms and Shining Perl

I’m making progress with the new site. Nothing is online yet but I thought I’d post an occasional progress report.

As I described previously, my plan is to not use any dynamically generated content but instead create the whole site with static HTML on local machines and upload it when something changes. I’ve settled on Blosxom as the main component of this system. The trouble with Blosxom is that it’s something of an open-source orphan and isn’t really being maintained well. The official site is quite neglected (lots of broken links, etc.); fortunately the unofficial site is more helpful. (You can find them with Google if you need them. I’m not going to scatter links through these posts for every single bit of software I mention.) I thought for awhile that static rendering in Blosxom was broken altogether but it turned out that the real problem was that I was attempting to use a plugin written for version 1.x with version 2.x of Blosxom. It also seems that the download packaged up in a Mac OS X installer is not the same version that’s provided for “everything else”, i.e., Windows. With some persistence, though, I’ve convinced myself that it can do what I need to do, which is take a bunch of text files and generate HTML files with some cross-linking and categorization and stuff. read more

Snow, At Last

It finally snowed here on the day before Thanksgiving. In my recollection this is the latest that we’ve had snow in Boulder in the last 20-some years.

Just in case you’re feeling virtuous because you recycled your last cell phone…

Here’s a dismaying article. It seems that more than half of the electronic articles taken to recycling centers in the U.S. end up being shipped overseas, where the goods are frequently dismantled in manners dangerous to the individuals involved and hazardous to the environment as a whole. In other words, we’re just exporting the whole problem of consumer-electronics waste to other places.

This makes a recent event I witnessed seem even more ironic. The local trash and recycling company recently had a free electronics recycling day. You could bring in your old computers, TVs, cell phones, etc. for recycling without having to pay the usual fee (which is something like $10-20 for large items and CRTs and nothing for smaller items). This event generated so much interest that people lined up in their cars for blocks (literally) to drop off their stuff. It struck me as completely absurd that Boulderites, who are generally more affluent than average and ostensibly also of higher-than-average environmental awareness, would line up in their cars (most of them SUVs) just to avoid paying a few bucks to get rid of their discarded gizmos. I decided to not wait in line and drove to a nearby recycling center run by a different company and cheerfully paid them $20 to get rid of some old stuff. read more

The Plan

Okay, here’s my plan for this site. I’m going to abandon dynamically generated content altogether and go old-school. The site will have more or less the same stuff as now (blog entries, categories, etc.) but will be built with just plain ol’ HTML. I’ll build it on local machines and then sync it to the server. I’m looking into various ways and means of doing this in an automated manner; obviously I need something that’s quick and easy to use because if it’s not quick and easy I won’t use it. read more

This Site May Vanish Without Warning

I guess this is the warning. This site has been hacked, once again. I believe that I have fixed the problem but, in the course of researching the problem and updating WordPress, the software on which the site is based, the update process f—ed things up and damaged the database that contains the content for the site. (You’ll notice that a number of things are currently missing, such as links to the photo gallery and the blogroll on the right bar.) Hence two things have been made crystal clear: 1) WordPress can’t be trusted. It’s not that it isn’t as secure as its authors can make it. The problem is that it’s popular and hence a prime target for the script-writing spam-hackers of the world. 2) I either need to find something else or give up altogether. I’m tired of these fire drills. Each time someone exploits the site it takes me about a day to get things straightened out, and this time I’m not sure what it will take. read more