Archive for the 'videos' Category

Simgas, the ideal gas simulator!

October 1, 2008

This is one of those programs that’s based on 1800’s math and 1960’s technology, but has been doggedly missing.  It was driving me crazy.

It’s free and will run on MacOS, unix or even Windows with the right extra junk installed (a comment with the step-by-step details of installing said junk would be much appreciated).

Download it from http://crm.taoriver.net/simgas.tcl.

Download a non-fuzzy version of this movie from http://crm.taoriver.net/Simgas.mov.

This is super-duper-handy for solving PV=nRT, thermodynamics problems and modeling engine cycles.

It “thinks” in the metric system, but speaks whatever crazy units you like.  P = giga bars?  T = Rankine?  V = mega cubic inches?  W = horsepower-seconds?  Sure.  You can also define “mass” in moles.

It knows a bunch of gases: air, NH3 (ammonia), Ar (argon), C4H10 (butane), CO2 (carbon dioxide), CO (carbon monoxide), C2H6 (ethane), C2H4 (ethylene), He (helium), H2 (hydrogen), CH4 (methane), Ne (neon), N2 (nitrogen), C8H18 (octane), O2 (oxygen), C3H8 (propane), and H2O (steam).

You define which gas you want and then three of the four variables: P, V, mass and T.  (You can also just say “STP” to do all three of them at once.)  It solves for the fourth automatically (which is like a zillion freshman chemistry homework problems right there.)

In each step you can add to, subtract from, multiply or divide its pressure, volume or temperature adiabatically or at constant P, T or V.  You can also add or take away heat or work.

After every step it tells you what the P, V, mass and T end up being, plus the Q and W involved in that step.

This program changed my life!

The Interstate Screen Saver

September 25, 2008

RAMbox, a cheap computer speed-up trick

September 24, 2008

When your computer’s RAM is maxed out, then what?  How about some RAM in an external box that the computer swaps to over USB/Firewire?

Further, maybe it’s worthwhile to recycle old RAM SIMMs and DIMMs that are taking up space in coffee cans and shoe boxes accross America.  Doing a buy-back “amnesty” for old RAM could be a cheap way to get a whole bunch of gigabytes in a hurry.

MultiLane, a multi-redundant internet thingie+service

September 23, 2008

Surely this exists already, but I can’t figure out how to even search for it.  Eric was right about my Google-fu being weak.

It’s just a thingie+service that lets me pretend that my internet connection is in a data center somewhere.  The trick is that it can use (“load-share”) multiple internet connections (DSL, cable and wireless, for example) while doing this, and is ready for any one or two of them to break and still do its thing.

(As for what’s going on between the thingie and the data center along the colored lines in the video, I have no idea.  Maybe it’s iptables wizardry, or maybe it’s something else entirely that’s IP-based but weird and proprietary.)

So really, this is my naive best guess at how an ideal load-sharing redundant interent connection scheme would work for small-timers such as myself.  ‘Sure seems obvious enough from here.

Wuzzat.com, a picture-based translation service

September 22, 2008

This could be a neat thing for people learning a foreign language or traveling in a foreign country.

It’s a service that lets you take pictures of things with your iPhone and then get back a “subtitled” version of the picture a minute or so later.  It could be for things (like cats, salt shakers, etc) or words (like on signs or menus).  Hmm.

LapHead: using a laptop as a mouse+monitor+keyboard

September 20, 2008

Here’s a USB device that lets your laptop (or more specifically, a special computer program running on your laptop) to serve as the monitor, mouse and keyboard of another normally-headless computer.

I’ve needed one of these on at least twenty separate occasions, like when a computer crashes and I need to see what it’s trying to display on its monitor.  Further, being able to take screenshots (of even screencasts) of what a failing computer is doing as it fails, without special/crappy software needing to run on said failing computer, would be the bomb on many occasions.

I could sure use one, I’ll you that right now, and my desire for it will scale with how many computers we’re sitting on and trying to keep working all at once.

Frankly, I’m still a little baffled by this thing’s continuing non-existence.

Cat5Crazy.com, a business idea about cables

September 15, 2008

(BTW, Sorry about the annoying noise at 3:23.  It only lasts ~20 seconds.  It’s my cellphone RF-interfering with the microphone, sheesh. –Craig, aka Mr. Production Values)

PS (Sept 16): I forgot to mention how the snap-in connectors at the ends of Cat5 cables are pretty small, and not wide like DB connectors.  Ergo, Cat5 cables are easier to push/route/yank around/through holes and constrictions.  (In fact, there’s a new class of Cat5 end connectors that are specifically designed to be yankable without getting caught on things.)  Once the ends are in the right places, the fat and clunky adapters are clicked on at the last minute.  The bigger/nastier your cabling situation, the more convenient this is.

Tubewich! My first food invention

September 2, 2008

I’ve been into this one for years now.  Sandwiches are the cleanest fast food there is, plus they don’t need to be expensive.  The right fillings and the right bread and whammo, that’s a nice little meal.  However, it’s hard to walk around eating one (or at least not a good one).  So, here’s a way to eat a submarine sandwich with one hand and not make a mess.

Somehow, via some food-science wizardry, one makes this floored cylinder of bread that’s crusty on the outside and inside surfaces.  Ergo, the various liquids inside (mayo, oil & vinegar, pesto, etc) don’t instantly soak into the bread and get it all soggy and gross.

With a flat-ish bottom one could set it down.  Further, one could wrap the bottom half in wax paper and set it down in his car’s cup holder, which would probably make the thing wildly profitable.  (Apocalyptically so, perhaps, since having people eat more and more meals while walking or driving isn’t exactly the recipe for utopian perfection, but hey, get it while you can.)

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(Friday May 1st 2009 addendum)

Behold what someone observed in Italy one day:

img_5736

Pretty close!  Conical instead of cylindrical, but still.