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Showing posts from 2009

hubble on the imax

i was sitting through the previews of avatar and caught the 3-D clip of an upcoming presentation of the shuttle launch serving hubble for the final time in may of 2009. nasa shot the presentation using imax 3-D cameras. this will debut spring 2010. (

this happens to be the shuttle mission which i got to witness the launch in person. not only did i get to see the launch with my own eyeballs but with this presentation i get to see the up close and 3-D personal of the entire mission on the really big screen. awesome!

christmas avatar

christmas 2009 seemed shorter and less like christmas this year than in the past.  maybe it was because i felt like i was doing so much as soon as thanksgiving ended until christmas or maybe it was that i didn’t start my traditional christmas music until after our christmas musical, but it was different than past years.  we’ll see how christmas goes next year.

i am planning on seeing avatar tomorrow with some pals.  i caught this clip on the fox movie channel about the making of the movie.  it is actually ironic, i think, that the plot of the movie involves an avatar and the making of the characters as avatars was very similar to the same approach.  watch the video below to see how the cg animation is a direct modeling of the actors’ actual acting.


on november 1, i rushed over to the sprint store to upgrade my phone from an lg rumor to a samsung moment.  i have been very pleased with this phone and with android.  my phone is only on android 1.5 (2.0 is the current version of the software with 2.1 coming soon).  when i get to upgrade this to the most recent, i look forward to some nice features.

pros:  the screen is very nice.  there are a bunch of apps that have been already built for android.  plus i can get an sdk to build app myself.  i like having a better browser to hit the net compared to a stripped down version on my rumor.  google maps plus the device’s gps is a great combo.  i found a nice secure shell (ssh) app which drops me right onto any unix/linux box for which i have credentials.  integrating my google calendar with my device’s calendar is a huge time saver.

cons:  the camera is a little delayed to taking pics, as i have read–still adjusting to that.  i have to get used to plugging in my phone to keep it active i…

prime time colors

this weekend was the prime time for the trees turning their colors.  in an effort to get some photos of the trees in full turn before storms came and stripped them of their colors, i headed immediately out after work to shoot the scene before the saturday weather.

i had noticed highland memorial cemetery had some full, colorful trees while driving down sutherland one afternoon.  last year’s jackpot of vibrant trees had been in a cemetery off western avenue.  and like last year, i was not disappointed when i started driving the graveyard.  i found plenty of oranges, yellows, reds, and all the colors in between a combination of any two of those choices.  i took as many as i could before the sun set.

if i had taken the time, i could have set up my tripod and tried my hand at some hdr pictures.  i might make the attempt before it’s too late.  i love fall in this area.  there is no place better!

shorter and darker

couldn’t decide what i was going to dress up as for halloween this year.  a couple of thoughts pass through my mind.  i decided to give the military/swat theme a go since i had the clothes.

my sis is in school learning to cut and style hair.  naturally, i asked her to shorten it up and give it some black.  she did a good job.  here’s a before and after shot of her work:

waiting for a moment

if you know me, i avoid apple products.  i see no reason to spend extra money on devices which have the same (or fewer, in some cases) functionality than other products on the market just for cool design or because everyone else is doing it.

the videos below demonstrate the unboxing of the moment and an initial review of the phone.  the phone is reviewed having android 1.5 (cupcake).  there is integrated gmail and google calendaring support, youtube video application, exchange server connectivity (which i probably wouldn’t use), and an exceptional amoled display.  he does give the keyboard a bad rating, but this guy doesn’t seem to have used a phone with a slider keyboard before.  having the separate row of keys for numbers is way better than having to hit some shift key to type them.  having to do that currently is not convenient.

samsung moment for sprint (part 1 of 2)

samsung moment for sprint (part 2 of 2)

you can get some more details and some pics on engadget’s mention of the mome…

fall morning sky

when i worked downtown way back in the day (when i first started working for scripps), i would see some rather awesome sunrises on my commute.  coming in as early as i do affords me this experience.  although i didn’t capture this when i first arrived, it is what i saw when i stepped into the office a bit later.

baby needs a new pair of shoes

recently, the pilot’s shoes have been showing some serious wear.  i knew they were in critical mode, but a dose of cold reality hit me in the face a couple of weeks ago when i was stepping back to my vehicle in the starbucks parking lot.  i caught the glimpse of a screw embedded in my front tire.  these tires are practically bald to begin with, and as i stepped forward to examine the screw i noticed also some of the belts exposed on the edge of the tire.  great.  time for new ones sooner than i had thought i could get away with it.

the bald tires had me already driving a bit more cautiously than normal.  i know what happens when tires like that hit some puddles.  it still made me nervous.  i had a pal tell me about a tire place in maryville, murell brothers, but that’s quite the trek if i need to have service done after the fact.  so, i checked out my more local tire choice, matlock tire.  i found a tire i had in mind and asked for prices.  it was going to cost me some coin, but these…

concert at hva

my eldest niece continues her practice and playing of the violin.  this past thursday evening, she played in her first concert at hardin valley academy.  the performance was outstanding.  she seemed to enjoy herself the entire time.  great job, k1!

punt-kin time

just two more days until fall is official.  last week, a friend posted on her blog about baking some pumpkin pies and having the spice smell fill her house.  i know that aroma.  since it was rainy sunday, i decided to whip up some pumpkin pies for that same fall sensation lingering in mock manor.

this was pie number one out of the oven.  pie number two was working as was a loaf of pumpkin bread.  and yes, that’s timmy the code monkey in the background eye-ing the spicy goodness cooling on the rack.


a few friends and i traveled over to wilmington to visit a friend who works in that town.  and speaking of, that town was very nice.  our accommodations put us in a great place right on the beach.  we left the sliding door open each night so the sound of the ocean filled our room as we slept.  the sea breeze was refreshing.  we ate plenty of seafood and did so much relaxing.  it was a great end to the summer.

of course, pictures were taken.  you can view them by clicking the image.


just because this was a tax-free weekend doesn’t mean it has to be a bacon-free weekend.  saturday morning started with some bacon, pancakes, eggs, bacon, juice, coffee, and bacon.

  mmm, bacon

  full plate

good sleep is cherry

i read in a health guide that cherries contain melatonin and help with sleep.  someone had given me a bag of them, so i decided to try it out.  it was the soundest sleep i experienced in a long time.  so, i went out last night to stock back up on cherries to see how well i could sleep last night.  i wasn’t tired or fatigued when i got home, but i tossed a couple of handfuls in my mouth.  less than an hour later, i was starting to nod off.  i slept soundly another night.

i had mentioned this to a friend of mine who did a little research on the web about this fact and found that there is a big deal about cherries and melatonin.  a simple google search gave me a site with this quote (source

Cherries are one of the few known food sources of melatonin, a potent antioxidant produced naturally by the body’s pineal gland that helps regulate biorhythm and natural sleep patterns.  Scientists have found melatonin-rich tart cherries (commonly enjoyed as dried, frozen, juice o…

lock your machine

if you’ve worked in the tech field for any amount of time, you learn the importance of locking your screen when you are away.  my current company policy requires this action, but not all follow.  i learned at my previous employer to be wary of my colleagues when it comes to this principle.  even the most disciplined will give into the temptation to pull shenanigans on an open system.

the other day, i gave into the desire to post this tweet on @ryanberg’s open twitter account.  my hijinks are shown in the image to the right.  (for those not used to a twitter client, read from the bottom up.)  i almost got away with it but was quickly ratted out by his fellow designers.

i heard he was furious at this.  his reply tweet employing some cursing and assessment doesn’t quite communicate the level debauchery he felt this was.

and i can understand how he felt.  i’d be mad if someone invaded my computer like this.  indeed, i felt a little bad about it…until the next day when i walked into his a…

coffee/donut friday

it’s coffee friday, or for those of you on twitter, #coffeefriday.  every couple of weeks, will “gonzo” hortman grabs some java and brings it in.  at first, he tried some starbucks.  then he moved to a local old city java for the bean brew.

as this tradition grew, i started bringing donuts.  krispy kreme, of course.  then with the addition of old city java came other goodies like bacon chocolate chip cookies and carrot cakes.  this has turned into something i look forward to.  right now, i’m sitting here enjoying the moment.  but come monday, the countdown to coffee friday will commence again.

here are a few vids of my acquisition of the donuts:

donut friday – the ordering from mark mcintyre on Vimeo.

donut friday – the receiving from mark mcintyre on Vimeo.

donut friday – the transportation from mark mcintyre on Vimeo.

fedora eleven

yesterday was the official launch of fedora 11.  tonight was when i upgraded a laptop to the new os.  i’ll save upgrading my work laptop until i have a few assurances first from my home lappy that things will be fine.  the main consideration is the open source nvidia driver set, nouveau, which comes with f11.  if that works with my work laptop video chipset, i might be happier than i have been in a while.

a few other features that are of interest to me:

another big bonus i’m looking forward to is the twenty second boot time.
how about individual volume controls for different apps?  yes, please.
gnome 2.26 is the default desktop.  kde 4.2 is available for those who need bigger buttons and more of a windows vista/7 feel.
and ext4 allowing for up to 16TB file sizes.  just in case, you know.
i have to say the artwork is looking pretty good too, good quality.

in all my dealings with fedora, i’ve had to content with several technologies a bit behind the release date, such as the 3-d effects.  …

ocean sunrise

as i’m a sucker for a good sky shot, i forced myself up one morning while in florida to capture the sun coming around as the earth rotated.  as you might suspect, timing was of the essence.

ksc – day 2

the next day i watched three imax movies.  the first called “magnificent desolation” was about the mission to the moon, what it was like, what it took.  it was amazing to see the history of what it took to get men there.  it was fascinating to see footage (in 3-d) of activities on the moon.  the movie also postulated what might happen if there had been problems on a moon mission.  intentions to return to the moon in the coming years was communicated as a goal that nasa has.

the second movie (”space station 3-d”) was about the construction of the international space station.  from the beginning pieces constructed to the second crew who lived on the station, we heard from the astronauts about their experiences of living on the space station.  the movie is not current as many more pieces have been added in the past ten years.

next, i got to experience what it was like to be in the shuttle on a launch.  with the absence of the g-forces, it was exactly like a launch.  well, no, i don’t kno…

ksc – day 1

while in florida watching the shuttle atlantis head for the hubble telescope, i was able to visit kennedy space center and tour some of the complex close up.  i saw the vab (vehicular assembly building) where they now prep the orbiter for missions.  it once was used to prep the apollo crafts for the moon missions.

the tour also took us out to view launch pad 39A, from where atlantis launched just the day before.  in the distance, you could see the shuttle endeavour sitting on pad 39B ready for a rescue mission if necessary.  the reason for the rescue contingent is that the hubble is in a higher and different orbit than the iss.  were a problem to arise, there wouldn’t be enough resources for the iss to be a rescue option.

we saw the landing strip, which is so long you cannot stand on one end and see the other end as it follows the curvature of the earth.

as part of the tour, we were dropped off at the apollo/saturn v center where the history of the apollo and gemini missions were expl…

launching of atlantis for sts-125

i finally got to see the launch of a space shuttle.  this was originally the trip i wanted to take back at the end of 2008.  but a malfunction with the hubble in late september caused the october launch to be postponed to this past week.  according to the tour guide, there were two parts to the hubble, a primary and a back up.  the primary failed passing control to the back up.  since they had not yet made the trip for the maintenance, this opportunity gave them the chance to fix the failure and perform the upgrades.

along with a friend and her parents, we camped out on side of SR-528 about a mile from the banana river drive exit about three and a half hours to get a good spot, which we did.  we realized we had a clear view of endeavour while atlantis was hidden behind some trees on a small island.  (i shifted my location to get some pictures of the initial srb ignition.)  i was still quite a ways away to get some very detailed shots.

i found out while on the tours of kennedy that i …

astronaut twitter

i have a indifferent/hate relationship with twitter.  while it has suffered from the inability to handle scaling back when it first was launched to its infrequent outages to date, there is a bit more stability, and i don’t hate it as much as i once had.  in fact, i’ve been using it about as much as facebook in terms of posting my activities rather than updating my fb status.

my geeked interest in space/nasa has been hightened lately by the past several shuttle launches (and nasa tv) which provides great coverage of the launches, landings, and missions including activity on the international space station.  no news agency has better footage of the inner workings of nasa.

now, news from space can be feed directly to anyone subscribing to mike massimino’s twitter account.  in this computerworld article,astro_mike will be sharing his activities while on mission for hubble maintenance/upgrades.  he only has 64 tweets under his belt yet over 140,000 followers.  that’s a heck of a lot.  this…

bacon explosion

when the bacon explosion first was seen on, i received countless pings to the link from everyone i knew.  (it was more like a blitz.)  i knew when i first saw it that one day i would have to try this wonderful recipe.  and last evening, that day arrived.

i used the recipe found at for this endeavor.  as the author of this recipe is a barbecue connoisseur, he chose a barbecue rub for his weave.  i received a coffee rub from a pal of mine for my birthday which i thought would be perfect for bacon.  i chose jimmy dean sausage, a pound of regular and a pound of hot, for my loaf ingredients.  and the bacon…i don’t recall the brand, perhaps thomas.  it was a good quality bacon, needless to say.  my cooking time was about two hours, although another 30 minutes would have made it better.

everyone who tried it seemed to like it.  even pat was on board with a helping (or two).  since pictures are worth a bunch of words, click image for slideshow.

bacon birthday

my professed love for bacon was embelished this year as i received gifts for my birthday with the outstanding theme.  among the many items given were:  bacon jelly beans, bacon t-shirts, bacon toothpicks, bacon air freshener (for the car), bacon gumballs, a bacon cookbook, home made bacon candles, and a bacon pillow.  my sister even made a bacon breakfast casserole which i took to work today and shared with my fellow geeks.  (bacon is worth sharing…when you have enough.)  it was truly a good birthday!


in 2007, i had a physical for a driver’s license requirement.  my physician looked at my stats and made a comment about my weight not being in the right range for my height class.  when i told him i was regularly exercising, he wanted to check the pending blood work before finalizing his statements.  he did clear me, but that thought lingered.

at the beginning of 2008, i decided that getting in shape was a little more than just  exercising alone.  i am not one for diets or crashing my system to get to a goal.  in my personal experience, quick to go, quick to come back.  i started to make small adjustments to my regular eating, primarily focusing on how much protein i ate and how much per meal i was downloading into my belly.  it was a slow process.

i had made some soft goals to try to be at certain weights throughout the year.  little by little, i would get down to my three or five pound goals.  it fluctuated frequently and sometimes i would end up way above the upper limits i was res…

shuttle discovery launches

i caught the launch of the shuttle discovery on my new tv this past sunday night.  this was taken with the phone on my camera aimed at my tv.  i know, very stupid low-tech, but the launch itself was impressive.  the audio didn’t get converted correctly, so it’s best to turn that down while watching this.

shuttle launch (as seen on nasa tv) from mark mcintyre on vimeo.

new tv

the television on the left has been at mock manor since about the time i bought this house. it has put in ten long, good years. it was starting to show some wear with odd green coloring on the right side of the tube after being active for a little bit of time. it was time for a change.

i had been planning a replacement for a couple of years. other things seem to get in the way, but the pricing on 1080p plasmas finally hit a price the tax return could help me out with.

now, i can enjoy “house” in a very large screen format!


it took me a while to get up and get moving this morning.  well, not quite moving that much yet.  i feel so tired still.  but i was able to finally rouse myself after benig awake for two hours to make some breakfast of some blueberry/cranberry pancakes, eggs (over medium), and bacon.  i fired up the griddle and made the morning goodness.

the time change this evening will take its toll on me if i don’t get to bed rather early.  here is where planning ahead is key.

naming node 3

nasa is running a poll right now to take votes on the next node to be added to the international space station.  node three is headed up into space during a december launch and will add room to the earth-orbiting facility.

node one was named unity.  node two was named harmony.  as of this post, node three is running high on the list to be named serenity.  (all you browncoats get over there and vote!)

the poll can be found at the following link:

where did you get that scale?

if you know me, i am a big fan of the centigrade scale for measuring temperatures.  (it’s 8°C outside as i write this up.)  it is easy to explain what celsius represents: 0°C is water’s freezing point at sea level and 100°C is water’s boiling point at sea level.  one hundred points between these two standard occurrences.  it’s easy and makes sense.

this is where fahrenheit came up with his scale:  fahrenheit put a mercury thermometer in a mixture of water, ice, and ammonium chloride.  when the mercury stabilized at a point, he marked it as zero.  he put the same thermometer in water just as ice was forming and presto, 32 on his scale.  the third point was putting the thermometer into the mouth or under the arm of a human to register 96 as the body’s temp.  as you an see, fahrenheit used two different sources for coming up with his scale instead a single baseline.

and the plot thickens.  later on, scientists noted that water boils at about 180°F and decided to make it exactly 180°F, so…

snow finally

yay!  we got some snow yesterday.  i realized this morning that if i didn’t take any pictures of it, i’d regret not capturing the one moment we ended up with the white stuff (not the white stuff in the middle of an oreo).

a friend of mine took a few more pictures of the snow.  check out her shots at flickr.

sprint screws up…and me

back in november, i decided to add a line (for my sis) onto my account.  it was thanksgiving afternoon.  i called them up and asked them what they could do for me.  the sales lady told me she could add the extra line for an additional $15.00 per month.  before i agreed to the changes, i asked her to confirm the total cost per month for me.  she gave me the amount as i understood it.  i ended up asking her to give me this total twice.  both times, it was the rate with only $15.00 added.

this past week as i was looking over my sprint bill, i found that instead of adding a line to share the minutes, sales lady had added a second phone plan to my account!  i was being charged over $75.00 for that particular line.  so, i found sprint’s chat feature and started conversing with a customer support representative.  when i told her what had happened, she checked on things, found we should have been sharing minutes, and told me she could fix this. my blood had started to simmer when i first sa…

shattered contact

ever shatter a contact lens?  this was my random act of dumb for the weekend.

dog-free month

about a month ago, sir barksalot disappeared.  i don’t know where she (yes, sir is a she) went, but i have to tell you that it has been the best month of the the past ten months.  in fact, the past month has been so peaceful that it has felt like a it’s been a year since dog went mia.

i can only pray that this change is permanent.  of course, this whole move took its toll on me and required multiple calls to the sheriff’s department and to animal control.  and that will have to resume if doggy ever returns.

but for now, peace.  ahhh.