Saturday, August 14, 2010

Don't cry because it's over.

Rarely does my internet wandering evoke a powerful, genuine memory but sure enough that's what happened when I found Mold-A-Mania, a site dedicated to the wax sculptures produced on-demand by Mold-A-Rama machines.   I remember a childhood visit to the Cleveland Zoo with my older cousins.  It was summer, it was hot, I was tired, and I absolutely had to have a wax gorilla before we departed.  I'm fairly certain it cost 50 cents (that I had to borrow) and I remember the wonder of watching the machine's magical process.  And then it pushed out my gorilla, white, slick, and still almost too hot for a child to hold.  It spent the ride home in the car in my lap. Do you remember these?  I haven't seen a Mold-A-Rama machine forever.  It seems that the popular thing today is what our family calls "fifty ones" - you put in 51 cents (2 quarters and a penny) and the machine smashes the penny into an oval and stamps on a design.  My kids have lots of those but they lack the tactile pleasure of the Mold-A-Rama sculptures.

Enjoy Senosolgy, a Michel Gagne animation of avant-garde jazz.

Chuck Yeager's wife, Victoria, has a blogA Little Business is a blog by "a frustrated entrepreneur working for a poorly run small company."  Combine FEA and Linux to get fea-nux, an ANSYS blog.

The NAFEMS World Congress will be held 23-26 May 2011 in Boston.  The Huntsville Simulation Conference will be held 27-28 October 2010 in Huntsville, AL.
Got an iPad?  Like to fingerpaint?  Then you might want to get this free iPad animation app from Toon Boom.  Are you interested in Tom Mankiewicz' unfilmed script for Batman?

Flow Science announced the addition of fluid structure interaction (FSI) capability to FLOW-3D v9.5, due to be released in early 2011.  Not only are they adding a finite element capability for solving the solid mechanics portion of the problem, but a new body-fitted hex mesher will generate the grids for the solid regions.  Abaqus will also have FSI capability but they're coming at it from the other direction: they added CFD capability to their structural mechanics solver.

Here in Texas we send about half our email between 9am and 5pm and a bunch of other questionably useful business email usage statistics.

You can get a free preview of Don Norman's new book, Living with Complexity.  The preview of chapter one begins with the quote "Seek simplicity and distrust it" and follows with Norman describing the difference between complexity (which is neither good nor bad, can be natural and even fun) and complicated (which is often the result of poor design of technology).  If this book is anywhere near as good as his classic The Design of Everyday things, it will be another fine addition to your bookshelf.

The most intense moments the universe has ever known are the next 15 seconds.

What nuggets did ANSYS CEO Jim Cashman drop during his interview with Fox Business?
  • They've seen economic stabilization which has been good for their bottom line, although their customers still see some economic uncertainty as they plan for the future.
  • ANSYS is hiring but it's taking longer than they'd like which he blames on the fact that the US produces an order of magnitude fewer engineers and computer scientists as we need.
  • Because no one industry sector contributes more than 20% to their revenue they've been very fortunate from an income and profit standpoint.
  • Areas where they see growth are energy, automotive (electric and hybrid vehicles), aircraft (fuel efficiency), and electronics (advances in capacity).
Find out how studying the Berbers of Morocco leads to a position as VP of R&D at Spatial

GrabCAD is a new free CAD library; read their blog.  And there's the new Alibre Powered, a community for showing off your CAD skills.  Not to be outdone, the folks at Dezineforce have introduced their new blog, aptly named dezineBlogSymscape's August 2010 newsletter is out.  Need a free viewer for CAX files?  Try VCollab Presenter Lite.  Does SolidWorks really have the best user interface you'll ever use?

Still looking for a juicy summer read for the beach?  How about CUDA by Example: An Introduction to General Purpose GPU Programming.   Don't know what book to buy?  Consult What Should I Read Next?

Has anything changed about what matters most to an engineer since 1953?  According to a help-wanted ad from RCA back then it was professional recognition, good salary, unexcelled facilities, and suburban living.  The only one of those four that is probably suspect in 2010 is suburban living (including the illustration with the wife and 2 kids).  And yes, the engineer in the sketch is a man and in 2010 this ad would probably show a suitably diverse group of people.  But at its core, I can't think of anything good to add to the first three.  Technical freedom?  Opportunities for personal growth?

Here's an interactive timeline of milestones in data visualization.  The Apollonian Gasket and other mathematical shapes.

If/when I get a new phone, I should get this bacon and eggs iPhone case. Suggestions for how to be a good restaurant customer including "be a good tipper" (20%).  The recently commissioned USS Independence is one cool ship.

An interesting side-effect of the use of social media is the apparent conflict between activities that build the employees' personal brand versus contributing to the success of their employer.  I've been tweeting for 2 years, 3 months, and 10 days.  Find out this and more for yourself at Tweeting Since.  Hubspot gives us this list of 30 awesome B2B social media resources.  Need flags?  Have your pick of these 10 icon sets. And to put them all in context, check out this history of computer icons beginning with the Xerox Star from 1981.

Enjoy this animated walkthrough of the Clyfford Still Museum.

In this interesting dissection of a software demo it seems obvious that you want to avoid hearing the question "What's this good for?"  An opinion on software QA and QC: quality assurance deals with the process and quality control deals with the products.  Here's one follow-up on the CFD comparison chart debacle that appeared in Desktop Engineering a couple months back.  Rule of thumb: these are never a good guide for choosing which software to buy.

A couple weeks ago you saw an ultra-realistic simulation of particulate modeling.  Here's a cool simulation of a bullet breaking a glass.   Visualize the world's population by latitude and longitude at Radical Cartography.  (Click Projects, The World, Population.)

I've got to get me some of these: liquid pencils. I am also intrigued by this USB hub with power switches.  The internet was made for things like this: a museum of cardboard phonograph records.  My Desk is a flickr group for folks who like photos of desks.

In case you missed it, this past week was the 50th anniversary of Dr. Seuss' Green Eggs and Ham.

Smile because it happened.  --Dr. Seuss

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