Saturday, September 25, 2010

Etiam oblivisci quod...

OK.  I get the Looxcie wearable camcorder - I can understand its potential uses.   But holy crap, what is NTT thinking with this camera-equipped bracelet?  "...the camera detects the color and other details of an object [in] one’s hand."  Uh, no.  I think not.

UFOs visited nuclear weapons sites.  At least that makes more sense than disemboweling cows.  I'm certainly repeating myself, but here's an image gallery from How to Photograph an Atomic Bomb.

 This photograph of firing an atomic cannon from 1953 looks unreal.

Be sure to check out Symscape's channel on YouTube including a CFD simulation of an F-1 race car.  And if you'd like to develop an F-1 car in SolidWorks, here are the documents and sample files.  For getting started with Rhino, Adam O'Hearn at the Otis College of Art and Design has posted an entire series of Rhino tutorial videos.  And MSC offers videos about MD Nastran Desktop.

The Echo Enduring blog takes on the issue of intuitiveness in interface design using Adobe Illustrator as an example.  The author makes a strong case for how both literal and figurative knowledge need to be addressed by an interface and pins Illustrator's failure in this case to the fact that "the symbolic implications of [the commands'] names and icons are not entirely analogous (at least in my mind)".  The key phrase in that statement is "at least in my mind."  A goal of a well designed interface is to reflect the user's mental model of the software's usage.  When that common usage model is shared between user and tool, efficiency is achieved.  Unfortunately, not all users have the same mental models of functionality for a variety of reasons including background, experience, area of application.  It's similar to something that happens in the CFD business when it comes to automatic mesh generation.  Automatic literally means "without human intervention" but that's not really what users mean when they say automatic meshing.  They mean "generate a mesh exactly the way I would've done it by hand" or according to the image "in my mind."  Since this mismatch often exists between mental models, another key goal of software design is to make functionality discoverable and it seems to me that's the failing cited in the case of Illustrator.  Finally getting around to the point of the article about intuitiveness, I adhere to Cooper's thoughts in About Face; the goal of the interface is not to be intuitive but rather idiomatic.  In other words, there's little about a bunch of buttons and menus on a screen that's intuitive so instead we should make the interface learnable.  See it or find it once - remember it forever.

OMG, long paragraph about serious stuff.  Phew.  Time for cuteness.

For those of you interested in the creation, exchange, and storage of 3D CAD data, the next Collaboration and Interoperability Congress will be held 23-25 May 2011 in Denver.  In the wake of NVIDIA's GPGPU conference, I suppose it's fair to start following their nTersect blog.

Stack Overflow asks "What's the best source code comment you ever encountered?"  While certainly not best by any means, the oddest one I've been involved with was something along the lines of "We agreed it'd be neat to eat the sweet meat."  (Don't ask.)  World Wind, an open-source platform used to display NASA and U.S. Geological Survey data on virtual 3D globes of Earth and other planets developed at NASA Ames, won the 2009 NASA Software of the Year award.

1-click simulation in CFdesign - the problem with clicks is that it all depends on when you start counting.  Exa released PowerFLOW 4.3.  Here's a brief presentation on high performance computing applications of OpenFOAM.

Another cool HTML 5 canvas plaything: kaleidoscope.  Git yer design on with Before & After magazine.  Did you know you could do math on the web with MathML?  More language and typography pr0n: the evolution of Arabic type since the 1930s.  Instead of learning great presentation design just steal from great examples from folks like Garr Reynolds (aka Mr. Presentation Zen) and TED.

Rothko's Phalanx of the Mind (1945), was included in his first solo exhibition at the Betty Parsons Gallery in 1947 where prices for his works were generally in the $300-$500 range.

You have to a true art geek to find the Archives of American Art's collection of Betty Parsons Gallery's records interesting.  For example, how about this series of documents about Mark Rothko, Writings on Art, 1951: "He [Rothko] has a partiality for sonorous chords that flush and fade with the rich, rigid solemnity of strongly held organ chords."

WeFollow says that Pointwise is the 3rd most influential CFD tweeter!  (That's computational fluid dynamics and not contract for difference, some financial derivative.)  Beta Machinery Analysis and SimTech-CFD both provide CFD consulting services.  And BAE Systems has their own suite of CFD tools.  Go 1,000 mph in a car: Bloodhound SSC.

Rob offers a list of lesser known traits of business founders (#2 How flexible are you?).  Regardless of whether it's lesser-known or not, my addition to this list would be "Are you able to make decisions based on little or no data?"  I am a firm believer in a business' right (and obligation) to protect its intellectual property but perhaps Apple's 837-page brief to the court about its rights to the word "pod" has gone too far.  Forbes' list of the richest people in America includes Mark Zuckerberg (Mr. Facebook) at #39 with $6.9B, Robert Bass (Fort Worth oilman) at #74 with $4B, and Sid Bass (Fort Worth oilman) at #182 with $2B.

Leave it to the Brits: gravy wrestling.  On the other hand, scientists at Imperial College London have developed spray-on clothing.  Imagine your favorite person in spray-on clothes.  Think about it.  Slowly.

Read about Poopy-Time Fun Shapes.  Feign disgust.  Chuckle self-consciously.  Imagine if they were real.

...scis interdum expedit.  (It is sometimes expedient to forget what you know.)  --Publilius Syrus

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