Archive | March 2010

Moon Dust by Andrew Smith

Moon Dust -Andrew Smith
Moon Dust by Andrew Smith

Well I’ve finally gotten around to finishing off this book… and its not because it wasn’t interesting its more because I’m easily distracted from reading. I have to say this was a great book. I very much enjoyed reading about the Apollo missions from a reflective viewpoint. I wish I had seen the Moon landings – shame they happened before my time. I’m not sure I see the point in going back, but I’d like to watch that kind of fascinating endeavour. Anyway, the book is a really good read and it was nice to find out what the eclectic bunch of astronauts are up to now – quite surprising really. There are some very interesting stories in this book and its all nicely put together and you can tell a lot of hearth and effort went into it. Its not a new book, but not old either… and I’d hugely recommend it to anyone who is interested in space travel and general science.

Convert video to PSP format on Linux

At Christmas I bought a [PSP] and since then I’ve only really used it to play games – I guess that was the primary reason to get it… but I’m about to go on a long flight and not trusting the entertainment systems / waiting around at [George Bush International] I thought it was about time I put a few movies on there. I’m a bit of a linux head (I’m primarily a [Ubuntu] user), if you hadn’t already guess and I wanted to do it on here. In fact assuming you have [ffmpeg] installed (its in the Ubuntu repo) its fairly simple:

ffmpeg -i “InputFile.avi” -f psp -r 29.97 -b 768k -ar 24000 -ab 64k -s 320×240 “OutputFile.mp4”

then just copy that over to your psp memory stick (assuming it is mounted as disk):

cp -r OutputFile.mp4 /media/disk/VIDEO

Job done. biggrin.gif

Calgary at Night

On my way home last night I got the chance to take some photos of the Calgary skyline at night… and also got my first proper chance to try to take some long exposures of car headlights.
Walking across the bridge to Prince's Island park
Calgary at night
Car lights

Experience Hubble’s Universe in 3-D

This is a rather cool press release from the HubbleSite: [Experience Hubble’s Universe in 3-D]

Take an exhilarating ride through the Orion Nebula, a vast star-making factory 1,500 light-years away

NASA, G. Bacon, L. Frattare, Z. Levay, and F. Summers (STScI/AURA)
Image credit: NASA, G. Bacon, L. Frattare, Z. Levay, and F. Summers (STScI/AURA)

Converting ps to png

I guess this entry is more of a reminder for myself as I keep forgetting the syntax todo this… its pretty simple and since I use the command all the time you’d have thought I’d have remembered it!

convert -density 100 -flatten output.png

This just give 100dpi, which is fine for the purposes I have…
If you need todo some fancy things and things such as converting from eps this should work, however you might want to look up [Converting .eps to .png Easily]

This is cool: 1 Billionth Scale Ion Model Of Enterprise-D

This is probably one of the coolest uses of physics ever… [1 Billionth Scale Ion Model Of Enterprise-D] … well maybe not very practical though.

What I’m listening to: “Story of the Year – The Constant”

I thought its been ages since I actually wrote about some music so here goes.
Story of the Year - The Constant
Story of the Year – The Constant

The album I’m currently spending alot of time listening to is [Story of the Year] – The Constant. Though I’m not sure any of the tracks live up to their debut single (of 7 years ago), “Until the Day I Die”, its still quite nice. I feel that the music here shows a progression of age. There is definitely less screaming, that or maybe I just don’t notice it anymore. I quite like “Holding on to you” – resonates well with me at the moment. I guess its a bit “pop-y” and not very pop-punk. That probably describes my tastes quite well at the moment. Though if you are about to forget what Story of the Year are about you are hit with a wake up call in their next track “Won Threw Ate”. That really gets me going on the way to work. Overall I’m loving this album and was kinda-what I was expecting and I was pleased. Compared to some of the releases of other bands recently it was nice to have something that hit the nail on the head. “Eye for an Eye” nicely finishes off the album.. and normally by that point I’m ready to work.

CSS Image Maps

Earlier today I was asked to add an image with floating text to the [FAS] website. It’s been a while since I had todo any proper CSS and so quite eager to give it ago. It turns out that what I needed to do is fairly simple. The basic CSS does the work:

and so on until you have all the elements you want. Then just create a list in html:

and job done! See [for an example], well this is what I produced for the FAS site. The main bulk of this was inspired from: [CSS How to]… so a big thanks to that excellent page.

SKA Pathfinder Video

I’m a radio astronomer, which is pretty obvious if you know me or have ever looked at my blog before, and sometimes I find it hard to properly explain what I do – especially since my current work is based on a telescope that is still in the design stages (the Square Kilometre Array). One of the pathfinder telescopes to the SKA is ASKAP (the Australian Square Kilometre Array Pathfinder, imaginative name, eh?!). Anyway the ASKAP guys have a cool movie showing the design of the telescope… so if you have ever wonder what the heck I’m going on about maybe this will help:

If you can’t see the link try [here]