Another weekly update
What I've been up to:
Emma! How can she, at a mere 11 weeks old (almost) detect when I'm standing and when I'm sitting so perfectly? If I'm holding her and sitting, she cries; if I'm holding her and walking, she's perfectly content! Amazing, really. She also likes to be held face down like a football. A foreshadow of things to come?
Casters! You know those little wheels on the bottom of shopping carts? Those are stem casters. You know those wheels on the little rovers that carry luggage around an airport tarmac? Those are pneumatic casters! Here at McMaster-Carr Supply Co., I am currently living and breathing casters, as I am decomposing our selection of approximately 4,000 of these whirly-gigs into their attributes and features, shapes and sizes. While some may faint or snore at the idea, it's actually not so bad, and a good exercise in information design and architecture.
To supplement the quasi-dearth of creative challenge at my workplace, I'm currently coding away for what will be stormpulse.com, a real-time updating hurricane tracking site. Nothing there yet, but my PowerBook is gladly accepting a pummeling of data as I build the MySQL back-end. This is an exciting project in many ways. From a social benefits standpoint, I truly believe people deserve better than the cartoon-like graphics and information they get from their local weather service. Technologically, it's loaded with challenges of integrating multiple data sources by fetching live feeds and simultaneously calling on the historical data that will be stored as well (all of the tracking information since 1851). For the geeks out there, it looks something like: Original input + fetched data (Cron jobs) --> [MySQL] <-- PHP --> [XML] <-- XML Connector --> [Flash]. Yesterday I downloaded 32,000 GPS coordinates for the state of Florida. Fun! :-D
I leave you with some random links of interest:
For everyone: if you even think you might like classical music (but just haven't realized it yet) and you don't have Rachmaninov: The Complete Piano Concertos performed by Tamas Vasary, spend $13.88 and buy it now! It is definitely the best rendition I've heard of these pieces. Via Wal-Mart.com, you can listen to 30-second clips of each track in the 2-CD set. When something starts like this, you know it's going to be good; and these measures compose my favorite phrase in all of music. (This recording also seems to receive high praise).
For the black and white photographers out there, if you haven't already bought LensWork or visited their website, do it now! I'm hooked on Brooks Jensen's audio blog.
I spent my first hours ever in a darkroom this past Friday night, developing some of my 4x5 negatives (primarily this one) into 8x10's for presentation during my trip west. There's something just wonderful about laying a fiber-based sheet of Ilford paper into Dektol solution and watching your image magically appear. Along the same lines, I recently picked up used copies of Ansel Adam's The Print and The Negative.
A blog I've taken to reading; a friend of Skye's through someone, somehow, that I've slowly gotten to know over time. He has thought-provoking things to say when he wants to, and he works at Microsoft. Neat-o.