Arduino Time Lapse Photography III

The results are in! (well, offloaded from the camera anyway.) This one turned out much better. Much more consistent.

there's a bit of an unfortunate shift at the end where the bloom we really want to see gets a bit cut off, but the movement is really cool!

Arduino Time Lapse Photography II

Partial results are in! They more or less suck.. ; )

I initially set this system up and had it shoot in our living room, on a wobbley tv tray with no flash. (I figured my wife wouldn't be happy about a clamped down monstrosity and a flash going off in the dark every 30 minutes.. turns out, she's fine with it!)

Vegemite: Brekkie of Champions!!!

Of course, I have been aware of Vegemite for many years, as well as its English inspiration, Marmite, but I had never tried it before a few days ago. I had always heard from Americans that it was salty and awful, but a great many Brits, Aussies, and Kiwis enjoy such things as their default breakfast. Despite the fact that I have a soft spot for the tastes of other English-speaking countries (Weetabix, anyone?), I guess I just didn't think that something described as "yeast extract" could be anything but nasty.

Oh how wrong I was.

I probably would have gone to that great big breakfast buffet in the sky having never tried Vegemite if it weren't for an article I can't find now that laid out the ideal set of meals for maintaining optimal brain function throughout the day, and Vegemite was listed as the best breakfast you can have.

Since I have issues with my brain function sometimes, I decided to give it a shot. I picked up a jar at Kaldi at Nishi Funabashi Station, took it home, made some toast, spread it on...

...and gagged. I couldn't even swallow the first bite. I spit it into a plastic bag with the toast so that it couldn't taint the other trash and threw it away.

I decided to return the vile substance to whence it came in the form of shoving it at Jack, my Aussie friend and coworker, in front of a gaggle of giggling students.

"Return this to your people," I proclaimed, sliding the jar across the table, "with my utter contempt and condemnation!"

"Did you try it with butter?"

"...No..."

"You have to have it with butter or it tastes like crap. And don't put too much on."

"Oh."

He slid it back across the table.

Arduino Time Lapse Photography

I've been building this thing for quite some time. For the last 2 nights or so, I spent some time finishing up version 1. It is now functional. (and has taken 23 or so pictures of my desk plant in the last couple hours)

Photos of the rig (with notes pointing out the parts) can be found here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/abandc/sets/72157600201419395/

What happens on the internet.. stays on the internet.

A 27 year old teaching student was denied her teaching certificate
because they saw her 'drunken pirate' picture on her myspace page and deemed it 'unprofessional'.

US GIs also used "comfort women"--I KNEW IT.

US GIs in occupied Japan took advantage of official Japanese brothels.

This doesn't surprise me in the slightest, but it's nice to finally start getting some documentation to tarnish the US's reputation in WWII. All the outcry around Asia about comfort women, which is then echoed by the US, and it turns out that Japan had to set up brothels for the GIs.

I don't have a lot of time to go on about this just now, but here's the deal: Soldiers are assholes. That's what we pay them for. We pay the military to take normal, everyday guys, and turn them into murderous animalistic assholes. What's weird is that usually they turn back into normal guys in not too many years after.

So all this blathering about Japan's use of prostitutes in WWII, which I see as a very thinly-veiled method of extorting money from Japan, is just plain ridiculous. I'm not saying they didn't abuse women, or that doing so is okay. I'm saying that everyone does it. That doesn't make it right, but let's just be honest here. Prostitution and war have always gone hand-in-hand. Get over it. It's just another reason why war sucks and should be avoided.

I am very interested in this period of Japanese history. We all know about the atrocities Japan committed in WWII, but... I just can't accept that we didn't do similar things and just didn't get caught. I think a lot of the shock and horror over awful shit like Abu Ghraib is just because we never realized that kids from Iowa could do things like that, because the victor writes history, and that was always us. Now anyone can write history, and does write history, as it happens, regardless of who wins. And sure enough, it turns out the US is not the paragon of virtue it believes itself to be. And articles like this prove that it never really was.

Cross Site Scripting Response

I listen regularly to security now, and there has been a lot of talk lately about cross site scripting vulnerabilities on blogs and websites.

For a more detailed writeup of what cross site scripting is than I could ever produce, check out trusty wikipedia.

Aaron's really basic overview

For a really basic overview, here it is. Basically, in html documents (such as this one) you can put client side code (javascript, generally but it can be many flavors) anywhere on the page.

You can completely mix content and code however you want.

Now, years ago, when the web was young, and pretty much a 1 to many broadcast medium. (I post content, you look at content, nothing more) this was not a problem. The only way you could make my server spit out content was to get my ftp credentials.

The problem comes when you accept content from users.. which is all the rage with the young kids ever since... 1995? ; )

So, I have a guest book on my site. If that content is not properly checked, a you could include a line of code that would kick all users that hit that web page to a porn site... or cover it in platypuses. Worse still, you could include a line of code that would have javascript send you a copy of all the user's session cookies.. which would allow you to pose as them on the website.

Not a big deal for your average blog.. but amazon.com? banking? You get the idea.

Solution: uh.. browser manufacturers?.. w3c? turn that stupid crap off!

With current html standards and practices.. there is absolutely zero need for tag attributes that execute code such as 'onclick' 'onmouseover' etc. There is also absolutely zero reason a <script> tag should ever be found mixed in with content. Most useage of both at this point is due to either backward compatibility with really old browsers, or sheer laziness.

internet's down... So I blog.

Comcast, is a pain in the ass. Every couple weeks, I wake up to no internet access. The old cable modem is blinking, and the tv's got nothing but snow.

For a while there, I got lucky. I'd call Comcast support, and I'd get a tech that would listen to me, realize that well.. the tv, and the modem are separate entities, so I MUST have a service outage that's bigger than my cable modem.

This morning, and a couple weeks ago, I get stuck with the stupid techs.

20min * 365 Days = 5 days, 1 hour, 40 minutes of exercise.

It all started with my brother. He was Looking for a way to overcome his training slump so he came up with the idea that he would do at least 20 minutes of exercise every day. No breaks, no weekends, no time off.

That was on 2/26/2006. He told me about it, and I thought about it for a while.. almost a month. and started doing it (albeit a bit differently) on 3/19/2006. Yesterday was my 365th day. (I went running)

The Plan:

So, basically, the plan is simple. Work out in some fashion every day, for at least 20 minutes. See how long you can keep going at that.

Like anything else.. your mileage may vary, you get out what you put in, etc etc.. In my experience, I *rarely* exceeded the 20 minute minimum by much, as I was generally in a hurry to get back to the other things I had going on in my life, but the net total is more than I've ever regularly exercised in my entire life, so I call that a win. Just the fact that I had a goal and something to lose if I didn't keep going, kept me going.

By contrast, my brother, who started this mess has maintained an average over an hour, but he's got things to train for. I just wanted to stay in shape and get a start on beating back my 30's metabolism.

Results

I've worn out a couple pairs of running shoes. Running is the simplest activity that I found I could do absolutely anywhere I found myself. My GPS says I did 597 Miles. (95 hours running, 65,000 calories burned.)

I've done Lots of strange and generally pretty fun things in search of something to count.

I've been running in 3 or 4 different states, early in the morning and late at night, semi-drunk and sober. I went for a run on the morning of my wedding day, while traveling in New Mexico, and on the docks around Baltimore.

How a Shower Toilet Works

I made a little video explaining how those fancy-schmancy shower toilet bottom washers works. I hope that this will be the last of my poop-themed videos, although I am in Japan, and you know what they say about Rome and their scat-porn...

Or is that just about Japan?

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