ols 751 through 753 this week promise some exciting new imagery from Curiosity. Already published to the Google Earth archive is the latest telemetry from Sol 752 (taken yesterday) which will be used to create a further upload (I’m separating the presentations into two files for this event; one called 752a, the other, 752b). These will illustrate further a detailed look at the geography of the region now being called simply ‘the Amargosa Valley’.
According to Curiosity Rover scientist Lauren Edgar:
“A short ~30 m drive on Sol 753 should put Curiosity in a good position at the Pahrump Hills. Sol 754 will consist of 2 hours of untargeted remote sensing, including ChemCam calibration activities to prepare for the Pahrump investigation, and a Navcam movie to monitor the atmosphere.”
Edgar promises further science mission plans for the Pahrump Hills region and beyond will be known very soon.
amFeeder, reflecting my latest work, has been deployed to the AppRefactory website. It’s not in an ideal state just yet, but does offer the main UI to serve as the platform for future refinements of a tool that effectively replaces a much older utility that once existed for Yahoo’s application platform (which I forget the name of). It features a simple XML file that contains data about web query strings and URLs needed to display and, eventually, capture imagery from traffic cameras anywhere in the world! Because I live in the city of Ottawa (Canada), I’ve added a selection of cameras from this city’s own traffic monitoring service – but any camera with a web-based feed should be compatible.
Indeed, it would be particularly helpful to receive feedback from persons editing the XML file (called camopts.xml) in the application’s folder in other cities. Currently AR CamFeeder is available only for Windows; but I expect to have a different version readied for Android smartphones in early 2015.
This was also an opportunity for a trial run using InstallShield as a package and deployment technology in concert with Microsoft Visual Studio 2013. The Limited Edition package isn’t bad at all; offering a time-unlimited means to archive an entire windows application within a setup.exe and tailor all of the settings one used to need the Windows SDK and Orca to tweak properly (at least some of the time). It is this setup.exe made available for download from The AppRefactory Inc. website you’ll be using to do the installation if you’d like to review the package or play around with adding your own cameras.
If you’d like to add your name to a usability testers list, get in touch with me via firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll add your name to the group list; with thanks for your assistance in advance.
To the rest: enjoy AR CamFeeder during this trial phase at no cost. (Fear not: more features will be in the full release which, it is still hoped, will be a free download.)
esterday, we again saw numerous spending questions about the value behind #Curiosity and other endeavours by #NASA concerning space exploration. These were prevalent amongst the media’s questions during a Curiosity Update event sponsored by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (#JPL).
Earlier this month, similar frustration could be heard reverberating from the Mars Society’s Dr. Robert Zubrin, who (ensconced atop his pulpit at NASA’s Ames Research Centre) aggressively critiqued the high-profile US department for vacillating on its exploration objectives throughout the solar system. Zubrin and others see an inefficient, navel-gazing, visionless bureaucracy requiring a refocusing of goals and research to end years of wasted money and energy spent on justifying bad programs. Instead, what seems to be happening is the very same political institutions responsible for funding US space exploration are simply cutting an inefficient image-conscious government department without addressing the real problem behind invested dollars being well-spent.
In the meantime, corporate America (and commercial interests elsewhere) have begun to step into the sacred ground once reserved for NASA. Cancellation of the Constellation project happened in tandem with the government refocusing its spending on backing commercial exploration, no doubt because of NASA’s inability to get the job done soon enough to put America first in a second emerging space race. But NASA still has missions all over the solar system to manage and maintain — and its not clear where the money will come from if the larger issues affecting it aren’t addressed.
In the end, maybe a few heads have to roll. And there will be consequences; but the only alternative is continuing to stand idly by and watch an organization that once led humanity to the surface of the moon fade from relevance entirely.
he AppRefactory Inc. launches its first service offering today with the debut of a partnership with Google Inc. through Google Helpouts. This further enhances the company’s service offerings in the application maintenance and support space; but also extends its services to more generalized support of the tools and technologies it uses throughout its service delivery process. Support is being offered through Google Helpouts for technologies and platforms like:
- Microsoft Visual Studio (all ediitions, 2005-2013)
- Programming Language Support / Tutorials:
- Visual C#
- Visual Basic / VB.NET
- Microsoft SQL Server
- Microsoft Team Foundation Server
- Microsoft Windows / Microsoft Windows Server
- Microsoft Office / MS Office VBA
- Linux (Ubuntu)
- Apache WebServer
- Microsoft Internet Information Server
- Microsoft Windows Communication Foundation (WCF)
- Microsoft Windows Workflow (WF)
- Microsoft .NET Framework
- Web Services
…and much, much more!
Google Helpouts also offers payment features that allows either the business or individual user to use services on a demand basis easily. And with this launch, the service is being offered, for a limited time, with a free support instance — giving potential customers an opportunity to “try-and-buy” for a fixed 20-minute session, without charges or fees applied. (See Google Helpouts terms & conditions for more info.)
Need For Speed advertisement released in March 2014
got through the first half hour of #NeedForSpeed….and then had to turn it off once the inevitable accident happened; the one killing younger, inexperienced buddy pits the villain versus the hero in the storyline. The event in question (which was big enough to rival a small asteroid hitting the surface of the Earth and bouncing back up into space) somehow left neither forensic nor any other kind of evidence and, of course, no witnesses despite there being a string of legendary secondary car accidents in the wake of the centre-stage farce.
I have a theory — call it amateur speculation if you’d like — about why this summer’s #movie season was the worst on record. It had nothing to do with anything else going on in the world or in the #Hollywood universe. Nor was it World Cup Soccer causing some kind of movie-fan-wallet-eating distraction. It was simply that the big movie studios turned out total garbage this year…garbage like Need for Speed. Spare yourself the bandwidth (to say nothing of actually visiting any of the B-list theatres still playing it); the only thing you’ll gain watching this is a desire for that time (and/or any money) back.
oly Messiah, indeed! There aren’t many articles in the Entertainment category on my blog, but I’m a fan of classical music and found this unique presentation of “Messiah” by George Frederic Handel hiding in the YouTube database. It’s a stunning revisitation of a masterpiece by one of the world’s greatest composers.
Handel’s “Messiah” (Staged Version), September 30, 2013 at Theater An Der Wien, Vienna, Austria
An excerpt of some of the more well-phrased reviews:
One user had commented that this treatment detracted from Handel’s work on (what seemed) quasi-religious grounds; that it “cheapen[ed] this fine work of sacred art.” In response, a fellow enthusiastic fan of classical music wrote:
If I may politely respond. As one who believes every word, given the source, I still applaud the message and the central theme and characters. The music is outstanding, and while I don’t see them, the orchestra is truly outstanding in its voice. If I were to see this as a Sacred Oratorio instead of a writer’s interpretation I could and likely would join you — as I did at first listening and watching. Once I realized the literary license employed, the central characters and theme and the outstanding performance, I cheered the members of the choir, soloists and the fine stagecraft — and the outstanding orchestra. Please accept my comment with no negatives intended, and I can agree (and do agree) with you if this were meant as the original work. The only part that “bothered” me was the failure of people to stand for the Chorus, *Hallelujah,” (Chorus, at #41 in the work), as the custom! I have sung this as part of a choir and as a member of the choir — as choral literature it is outstanding and it is a favourite. May I politely ask: were/are you viewing/hearing this work as the original scriptural work or as an interpretation of a funeral and the feelings thereof? If the second, I can see from whence you come! Know that many agree with you – but would your feelings be different if you saw this as a literary work of art instead of a “Sacred Oratorio”? I dare say while the music is scriptural to the letter, the message is solely and totally different, and refreshing. I do speak from a USA point of view, so maybe I am one who “does not understand” this. Thank you for allowing me a fairly long explanation. I mean to support you, and at the same time cheer the work.
Among those few offering reservations about the performance:
f ALL of Handel’s Oratorios, I think the Messiah is the MOST DIFFICULT to dramatize.
Successful or not, this is a valiant attempt, and should not be thus discouraged.