3DWannabe Blog

General

Battle: Los Angeles

by on Apr.03, 2011, under General, Life

We went to see Battle:Los Angeles today. Not exactly the first ones to go, but what the heck, no lines. It had all the things I like to see in a movie, action and aliens, which was the good news. The bad news is that it was filmed for television. They decided to use the hand camera technique. Some people see this and like the ‘realism’, me, I see bad camera work. When you’re sitting in front of a 100 ft screen, jittery closeups are not realistic, they are nauseating. Swinging the camera around like Uncle Bob at Disney World does not convey action, it conveys vertigo. Go watch Battlestar Galactica, the reboot. These shots were occasional and for effect only, not the whole fracking show. I could have really enjoyed this movie, instead I’m talking about this. Enough said.

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The Station

by on Feb.19, 2011, under General, Science

So, what’s this space station going to look like. Since humans are pretty sensitive to Coriolis forces I’m going to use a maximum of 2 rpm. I need a disk 170m in diameter at that spin to simulate Mars’s gravity.  The intermediate rim for the moon crew has a diameter of 72m.  Let’s set the width of both at 5m and the roof height at 4m. Gives you a meter above and below, right and left for duct work, wiring, counterbalance system etc. The picture below shows the wagon wheel station and a 747 for a size comparison.

USA_SS_747.jpg

To big? You’ve decided only to worry about the moons gravity and use that data to make a Mars decision? Probably a good choice, now you only need to build the inner ring and hub. The inner ring and hub is actually smaller than the current ISS and would probably mass about the same. (You have the option of revising the spin to 3rpm at some point, that would give you Mars’ gravity)  Another couple hundred billion and 10 more years? No, not if we use our heads and not leave it to congress this time. The current ISS was way over budget and behind schedule. NASA incompetence? Not quite. The original assumptions were based on the approval of a shuttle derived heavy lift vehicle, the C vehicle circa 1987. Boeing quoted $500 hundred million to develop it, congress canceled it. (Wasn’t that expensive because it was never intended to be man-rated, just move cargo in to orbit.) Each launch would have put 150,000 pounds in to orbit. The final weight of the ISS is 800,000 pounds.  That would be 6 launches. About 2 years worth and much cheaper to build since you could put more together here on earth and have less space assembly.  A few years and your done. Cancel the heavy lift, break it in to tiny pieces, have manned launches to put it together and you get what you currently have. Since that time, the heavy lift concept has been revised to the J232, which is 230,000 pounds per launch. Four cargo launches and you have everything you need in orbit.

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Give In To Gravity

by on Feb.15, 2011, under General, Science

There was a story the other day about the end of the space shuttle. It got me thinking about the space program and how things could have been different. One big change that should be made is the 40 year focus on trying to make humans survive long term in a zero g environment. Well, after 40 years of trying it’s time to learn from the evidence, you can’t. 3 billion years of evolution has won. Humans need the resistance of gravity to develop and maintain health. The space station is the 100 billion dollar period on that conclusion. Let’s call it lesson learned and move on.
This gives us a big problem. All plans for space assume that we can survive and prosper in less than one g of gravity. The moon’s gravity is 1/6 that of the Earth. All of Zubrin’s plans for Mars hinge on the fact that 40% gravity is enough. What if those assumptions are wrong? What if we can only visit these places, not live there? From this point on, all our gravity research should have a different focus, to see what the bodies limits are.
There have been plans for rotating space stations floating (sic) around almost since the first genius figured out that a rock spun around your head wants to fly away. Let’s build one. Put it near the ISS, zero g industry may be the future, but our factory workers will need to return to a gravity environment. Basically you’ll need a hollow tire / wheel with spokes going up to the hub. Two living levels. One, the ‘bottom’ level would have 40% gravity, like Mars. The upper tier would have 15% gravity, like the moon. Put long term crews on each, let’s find the answer to the question, can we survive in these gravity environments before building colonies. If the answer is no, particularly if you opt for one of the one way methods for your colony, you might be condemning those people to a long, slow, painful failure.
While this seems to be basic research, it holds the key to human space exploration. Will our future be in rotating habitats building empires in the asteroid belt, or expanding colonies on the multitude of planets and moons in the solar system. The future, our future, hangs on the results.

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My first Enterprise

by on Jul.19, 2010, under General, Modeling / Rendering

After modeling the Romulan Warbird from TOS I want an Enterprise to go with it. Made some headway on the deck so construction is underway….

Link to the Warbird pic here…
Warbrid Picture

There is an icon in the center, above and below the picture, click that for the full size picture.

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I think I want one…..

by on Apr.07, 2010, under General, Life

Bev and I stopped in at the Apple store Saturday to see the iPad. I’ve haven’t wanted one up to this point since I have a net book I can carry around. (I originally bought it for work to replace my paper pad at meetings, but my job changed since then.) Then I played with the iPad and have to say it’s pretty cool. The people who say it’s just a big ipod touch are right, but that’s not a bad thing. The touch is very cool, but the small screen and keyboard have always limited it’s use as a computer / information device. In that role it’s more of a stop gap ‘twitter’ device as is the iphone.

The iPad is different than the touch or iphone It’s not so big that the touch interface becomes a problem, try waving your hands to move things on your 24 inch monitor, in fact the extra size seems perfect for the ‘touchy movey slidey’ way to do things. It’s fast as well, truly blows the touch and iphone away in this regard. The screen will keep up with your typing, at least mine. The screen based keyboard is responsive, maybe not for a book but certainly fine for an extended email. Another big difference though is the speed of displaying internet information. It’s as fast as your computer, the limiting factor is your internet connection.

So who will want one? It’s not a laptop replacement for someone who wants to work with it. Big spreadsheets, powerpoint presentations, video editing etc, don’t even stop to look, you’re losing valuable time. The iPad is the ultimate casual computing device. Check your email, read the news, watch a video, check. (I could add listen to music, but this isn’t an iPad strength. The ipod is better suited because of it’s size) That’s the obvious stuff, the difference to the laptop you might already have is that it’s made to carry around the house with you. No waiting for it boot up from sleep mode. It’s open, instant on and ready to go. Check the TV listing, read a book, check your calendar, pull up a recipe, remember a birthday and then play bejeweled for a little while. My mother recently passed away, but this is the device I would set her up with.

I threw the recipe thing in there for everyone that remembers that selling point for computers. For 40 years salesmen have gone on about how you can put you recipes in the computer and access them later. Yes you can, but no one does because you quickly realize that the computer isn’t in the kitchen. It isn’t in the exercise room to use track your progress. It isn’t in the garage to read the assembly instructions. It isn’t on the deck to read the paper. It isn’t at the store with your grocery list. It isn’t in the car with your things to do list. It isn’t in the waiting room to pass the time with. The iPad is and that’s why you’ll want one too.

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Tiger Woods

by on Dec.07, 2009, under General, Life

As the count is now up to 10, does anyone believe he’s sorry? You can be sorry after one affair and wish it never happened, but this guy isn’t sorry. Only that it went public. Only that his life got complicated. This is one of those cases where the pre-nup should be thrown out of court for infidelity. She should get 50% + child support clean and simple. He’s a scum bag and should be treated as such.

That being said, can we get CNN to move on to something else? There’s this little health care thing and an energy policy this dope of a president is getting us in to that we need to pay attention to!

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RAID’s work!

by on Nov.12, 2009, under General, Modeling / Rendering

A few days ago my mouth went dry, panic began to well up inside of me. I store all my graphic assets on a network drive so I can access them from multiple computers. It’s been great for the last couple of years. I got the 1 TB unit on sale at Best Buy for $230 and set it up as a RAID 1, which mirrors your data on two internal drives.

Sunday it took FOREVER to access a file. I ran the disk manager and the DRIVE A FAILED message chilled my soul. Every model I’ve ever made was on that drive. Every render I’ve done. Assets and tutorials I paid more money than my wife knows about, all on that drive.  With not much confidence I told the unit to copy everything to my system hard drive. In theory, everything was on drive b, just not efficiently, the auto backup is the whole point of a RAID 1 setup.

IT WORKED!!!!! It took 24 hours, but it’s all safely on another drive, two other drives actually, and a replacement raid drive is on it’s way. Ahhhhhhh……

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Terminator – Salvation

by on Jun.06, 2009, under General, Life

Hadn’t planned on writing anything, but I’ve heard a number of people who haven’t seen it recommending not to see this movie based on what someone told them. Hopefully most people will ignore this third person advice and give this movie a chance. If you’re a fan of the first movie but less of the second and third you’re likely to enjoy this one. In many ways Salvation returns to the gritty feel of the original movie, machines that can’t be stopped and the T-800 is not your friend.

T-S opens by introducing a new character, one that bridges the present with the future and lets you see the post judgment day world from the eyes of someone from the present day. John Connor isn’t leading the resistance just yet. (Everyone who thought the world would immediately follow a 20 year old with no track record please stand up and head for the back row) In the original movie Kyle Reese said that the war was lost, humans were on the brink, then John Connor came. The writers of T-S watched the first trilogy and worked within that framework. This is not a reboot like Star Trek, exactly the opposite. You’re expected to be very familiar with the first three films, there isn’t much character development in between the Skynet plots and non-stop action. If you haven’t seen the first three, see them before seeing this one or you will miss the nuances that help make the film entertaining. (For that matter, watch the Sarah Connor Chronicles. I’m not sure who pulled from who, but it’s there) This might be one of the reasons for the bad reviews. It is a fast paced action movie, but has plenty of plot holes taken on it’s own, which I’m not going to detail to avoid any spoilers.  It will, however, really do well as part of a Terminator marathon after the DVD comes out.

The special effects are top notch, it’s hard to tell the CG most of the time. Some of the new Skynet creations are excellent, some will make you scratch your head. (Why build a giant human shaped machine?) The acting is passable, Christian Bale isn’t bad as Conner and plays it somewhere in the middle of the whiny impulsive kid from the first movies and the leader he is to become.  Anton Yelchin as Kyle Reese is okay, but didn’t really grab the role. Sam Worthington carries the first half of the movie along with Moon Bloodgood.

 To summarize, Terminator Salvation continues the series admirably, but not perfectly. It assumes you know the back story well and doesn’t waste time helping anyone catch up. Given that, it’s a must see for Terminator fans, passable summer entertainment for everyone else. I give it a 7 out of 10 and look forward to a fifth movie that picks up where this left one left off. (Personally I’d like to see the next one end with Kyle heading back and a last movie that ends with the fall of Skynet.)

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Gallery is open

by on May.25, 2009, under General, Life

I installed Zen-Photo, seems to work with no problems. (Link to the gallery is on the right, in the 3DWannabe Links list) There are a couple albums up there now, a few renders I’ve done and pictures taken at the Detroit Zoo this month. I’ve only uploaded 800 pixel wide versions to keep the file sizes down, if you’re interested in any of them at a higher resolution just let me know.

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Geocaching!

by on Apr.09, 2009, under General, Life

We got out last weekend and found our first caches of the year. This is great activity to get out of the house with, a place to ride the bikes to etc. All you need is a gps unit and a few minutes to get some locations on the web. There are caches hidden around you even now….

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