Excellence

Observing: Three computers with three operating systems

Observing: Three computers with three operating systems

I was told recently to do everything excellently. This was not to do things perfectly, but to do things the best that is possible. For me excellence is connected to my focus; am I focused on the task at hand or am I trying to do to much.

This surfaced tonight when we had exceptionally odd/bad data collection for at least 20 minutes, but things were poor for about 2 hours. Now if I may, there was a fairly significant earthquake starting that 20 minutes of bad data and that frazzled me. But I have no excuse for the first two hours except I was not focused and I was not being excellent.

So as a result I stopped, took a breath, and focused. No longer does the music matter or what will I do while waiting for the next image, I am going to focus on getting the data1.

Now I must go back and observe.


  1. A tangent: One of the things that kicked me into focus was the comment that this data only exits once. The light is lost forever if it is not recorded. So remember that you will never have this moment again, what should you be focusing on? 
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A Rival’s Legend

Sports are fun, and its a healthy way for me to feed my competitive spirit. I am always sad when competition takes over our better judgment. This was not the case the other night at the MLB All Star Game.

I am a Dodger fan and other than the Giants, there is no greater rival than the Yankees. Try as I might, I wish to dislike all who play in the pinstripes. This is very difficult when I fall in love with a player who later gets traded to that evil empire: Kuroda, Martin, Suzuki and others. But there is one Yankee great that I cannot dislike no matter how hard I try. Mariano Rivera is the greatest closer of our time, if not in the history of baseball. There have been few to rival him. Gagne was close, but that was only for a couple of seasons and he was likely on steroids. For Rivera to be as dominant as he was, both during and after the steroid era, is beyond impressive.

No matter how much I would like to mock every Yankee player, I must give my respect to Rivera. Because of his very impressive career, he earned everything he received the other night and his much deserved spot in the Hall of Fame.

The only thing more I wish on him is a blown save in the World Series against the Dodgers! Go Blue!

Quantum Frontiers and Tuba!

This is a cool video made by PhD Comics about a very cool dissertation. I stumbled upon it by finding my way to Quantum Frontiers.

For those who have been following all my photos lately, I have been slowing down do to lack of content and lack of time to take new photos or dig through some old ones for a good shot. I have been busy working away and I just started a summer band! I miss playing tuba so much. Hopefully later this week or this weekend I will get some cool shots. My goal is to try my hand at macro photography.

Advancing in Photography

I have always liked photography. As a child I was given a camera that took 110 film. Ok I don’t remember what the film was called, it might have been 111 or something, but it was the one that did not need to be inserted or wound and was fully enclosed so a child could not accidentally expose the film. Then in college I borrowed a nice (D)SLR [1] and took an intro to digital photography and digital photo editing. When I started this class I was getting about 1 excellent shot out of 100, but by the end of the one month intensive course I was down to 1 out of about 75 or 80.

This last summer I finally broke down and bought myself a nice full featured camera. I have been trying to take photos whenever I can and I am starting to amass a large photo library. Today I took my camera to work with me, and while walking back to the car I took some photos of things I saw. I took 20 photos and got 3 pictures I like. These might not make it into my portfolio, but they are good enough that I will share them with the public. I am very excited that I am improving as a photographer and can’t wait to see what my new top 1% shots will become!

PS. The next three shots are the three from today.


  1. I know that everyone talks about “DSLR” rather then simply “SLR” but since the camera basics and lenses are the same whether digital or film I have a personal preference towards just SLR. I know that digital photography is very different then film photography, and I greatly respect all those who can take pictures on film. I also know that for a long time digital was not as good as film so there needed to be a distinction, but I am young and I started after that.  ↩

Throwing a Hammer

I found this on “accident” while doing real work. I thought it would be cool to share it as an example of physics and technology coming together to make awesomeness, or just unexpectedness.

Its from Wolfram’s Demonstration site. I have tried to imbed its CDF file (similar to PDF’s if but for Mathematica documents rather then Word documents) with its cool javascript, but alas Worpress does not like me. So the original is here or you can get the CDF from my files. Note the the CDF needs a reader program so just going to Wolfram’s page will be easier.

I would set the height, velocity, x-rotation, and y-rotation as desired. Then if you click the little “+” to the right of the throw slider you will get and extra menu bar. If you hit the play sign you will see the hammer continually being thrown. Its like a movie!

Tech Tricks

I love my tech. It is one reason I love my job. I would love for this blog to be a place where I can share some tips and tricks with the world. This is currently the first tip and trick post but hopefully more will come.

This one was found by total accident. On my mac (OS 10.8.3) I would be archiving my email (in Mail.app) with command-control-a, and randomly my window would go to about ~10% opacity. It was totally frustrating. I had to close the window and reopen it. Then finally (after over a month of this random action) I determined that I would be pressing command-control waiting to archive an email, and then two finger scrolled to read the current email. This key-action combination makes any window only ~10% opacity. To get 100% opacity again just scroll up instead of down (I have the “natural scrolling”/ipad scrolling turned off).

I then looked to see what programs worked (Chrome, Sandvox, Terminal, Reminders) and what programs did not work (Papers, Mathematica, and MATLAB). I figured out that these were the programs that worked, or did not work, with Afloat.

Afloat is a cool application that I use to keep windows on top of all other windows. The only thing that is sad is that it only works with some types of apps. But this incident led me to find out another cool feature of Afloat: changing a window’s opacities.

As an example here is Apple’s Mail.app open with Safari open behind it.

Opaque

If you want to see what is on the Safari page then just perform the keyboard command (control-command-down two finger swipe) and then you can see the Safari window.

Transparent Mail is still the active window so if you were typing an email you can continue to type.

I know that this sounds a bit lame, but I expect to use it in my note taking app, nvALT, when I’m jotting stuff down but need to reference some other window. I know that the OSX is built for multitasking with different windows open, but sometimes there just is not enough room on my screen. I also might use this when I am coding or woking in terminal. Not sure when others will use it, but that is where comments come in handy.

I hope this trick is useful to someone.

Haiku

Here is a haiku that my wife created on the fly. I said “how are you?” And she heard it as “make a haiku.” So she did and here it is:

Trees of color go bare
Grey clouds threaten all who dare
Winter is in the air
-Cait