Archive for March, 2009

Augmented Reality: One Step Closer To The Holodeck

March 23, 2009 By: erik Category: Geeky, Reviews, Science

thumbI recently tweeted about some cool new technology that is fast approaching and has been dubbed “augmented reality“. The basic gist is that some sensors read information about a real scene and then a computer somehow projects additional virtual objects onto the scene. The easiest sensor type at the moment is the lowly computer “web”cam. The optimal setup for augmented reality, in my mind, would be transparent glasses with camera that can both see and figure their orientation. This technology already mass produced and demonstrated in the Wii Remote. Then the virtual elements of the scene would be drawn on the glasses the user is wearing. I see this as being the ultimate medium for what some people are calling Sixth Sense technology, an always online digital assistant that helps you navigate your life without ever touching an actual interface or looking at what we now consider a screen. You’d just have a little Clippy-like assistant with you at all times.

Favorite Fragile Possessions

March 23, 2009 By: erik Category: Musings

The only thing worse than accidentally breaking one of your favorite fragile possessions is when someone else accidentally breaks one of your favorite fragile possessions. They didn’t mean to do it, but it happened anyway and it’s their fault. But holding a grudge or getting angry doesn’t improve the situation at all, nor is it appropriate to throw them for a guilt trip, so you’re just left to silently mourn your loss.

Zucchini Pizza

March 20, 2009 By: erik Category: Food

Tomatoes with BasilToday I experimented a bit with the pizza toppings on our seems-to-be-tradition-now Friday pizza. I went (gasp!) vegetarian! I thought I’d try some zucchini (that’s courgette to you French-loving Brits) because there just aren’t enough z’s with just “pizza” and “mozzarella”. The result was pretty good, but not without mistakes.

Not having any real clue as to what I was doing, I figured that the zucchinis might need a little more time to cook than the pizza itself, so I placed them on a tray by themselves, sprinkled with a little extra virgin olive oil, and placed them in the oven for 15 minutes (our oven sucks, so your time should probably be shorter). (more…)

What the close-up? #3

March 20, 2009 By: erik Category: Games, Photos

What the close-up? #3Interesting. So #1 was too easy, and #2 proved too ambiguous and difficult. I agree that “grains of some powdery stuff” was about as close as anyone could reasonably get to the answer. Hopefully #3 will strike some balance between too trivial and too impossible.

San Jose – Father's Day

March 19, 2009 By: erik Category: Family, Religion, Spain

In the Roman Catholic tradition of assigning saints to days of the year, March 19th is the date assigned to Saint Joseph (or San Jose in Spanish). It is also the date that Father’s Day is celebrated in Spain. I think it’s because Joseph was such a good dad that he stuck with his sexless marriage and raised a son that he knew wasn’t even his, just like his father-in-law did.

Faith and Magnets

March 18, 2009 By: erik Category: Religion, Spain, Weird

Somehow I managed to live in Spain for four years without ever learning the word for magnet. The Spanish word for magnet is imán. After learning this recently, I thought nothing of it besides a chuckle about it sounding like some sort of bionic implant or sex toy from Apple. But then I was listening to a radio broadcast about Islam and I heard the word iman mentioned several times, so I looked it up. Iman (إيمان‎) is Arabic for “faith”, one of the tenets of the religion of Islam.

Happy Saint Patrick's Day

March 17, 2009 By: erik Category: Funny, Partying, Photos, Photoshop

Happy Saint Patrick's Day!

Worth seeing detail large.


European Parking

March 16, 2009 By: erik Category: Colindres, Complaining, Photos, Spain

Peugeot 1007In Europe, the only thing smaller than the cars are the parking spaces. It’s impossible to use a car for any more than a month without sustaining some bumper scratches, because you absolutely must come into bumper-to-bumper contact with other cars in the course of normal use. I’d say that in 40% of trips I take in the car with another person, to facilitate entry and exit of the vehicle, the car is removed from the parking space before the passengers try to squeeze in, and the passengers get out before the car is squeezed into its space at the destination. And we have a pretty normal-to-small car in Europe, one that would be considered tiny in the United States. So you can imagine how impressed I was when I saw this Peugeot 1007 for the first time in the neighborhood a month ago.

Thirty Inches, Baby!

March 16, 2009 By: erik Category: House, News, Photos, Reviews

My 20″ Apple Cinema display that I bought on December 12, 2003, when I bought my G5 for the price of a small automobile, finally died. Well, it didn’t actually die. I think the point of failure was the adapter from my MacBook Pro’s DVI output to the oldskool proprietary ADC connector. I suspect that the Cinema Display will still work just fine with the G5 it was purchased with. The problem is that I don’t have the desk space to plug it in nor the need to have that computer running with a display. So for now the old monitor is going into storage. That was the sad news. Here comes the good news…

Respigos – Colliding Gastronomic Cultures

March 13, 2009 By: erik Category: Food, Spain, USA, Weird

RespigosLast night for dinner, I had respigos. One of our Thursday night salsa dancing friends has a farm, and another has a restaurant. These respigos were taken straight from the farm to the restaurant and prepared for us last night. Do we know how to pick friends or what?

When I asked what they were, I was told that they were the leaves of the nabo. I’d heard the word nabo before, and knew from context that it was some kind of vegetable from the garden, but I’d never heard it used in direct relation with an object that I could identify. iPhone Spanish-English dictionary to the rescue: nabos are turnips! Actually, most usages of turnip in English are metaphorical as well (truck, blood, etc.).