The week is off to a weak start. Last week I thought things at work would finally start to move along on my project. But it turns out the guy who told me “next week” didn’t expect me to read his email until last Monday. So this week turns out to be the week he thought he’d have something.
No word so far, and he didn’t answer my email this morning.
Meanwhile, on the other side of the data chain, oh, it’s a big disaster that makes me shudder. Late today we got an opportunity to test just one link in the chain I’m trying to build. Tests failed, so it’s back to the vendor.
I’ll rant about that later (and you’ll be free to leave). First I just want to share the only time management tip I ever learned that turned out to be hugely useful.
It’s a gray skies snowy Sunday afternoon, the fireplace is turned on, Bull Durham is on the TV machine, and I’d rather play with POV-Ray, snooze or get back to reading Terry Pratchett‘s Going Postal than spend hours working on a blog post. Sunday should be a day of rest or, at least, of difference.
I’m not particularly stuck on Sundays; my Lutheran background programs me for Sundays, but there are other ways to keep a Sabbath.
I do think it’s important to observe one day a week that is tuned differently than your other days. I think it’s mentally and spiritually healthy to change your pace one day a week. Dedicating a day helps insure following the practice.
Saturday thousands died for my amusement; today my desiderata is pax and nepenthe, so I thought I would share a Desiderata with you.
By all indicators (page reads, Likes, comments), most of my readers don’t find POV-Ray quite as interesting as I do. That’s too bad, because I’ve finally decided on a theme for this blog. It’s going to be all-POV-Ray all the time! Think of the fun we’ll have!
Yes, of course I’m kidding. Anyone who knows me at all (hello, have you met me?) would know better. Me, one topic? It is to laugh. Out loud. (Honestly, I don’t know how mono-topical bloggers do it.)
But I do promise this is the last post—for now—about POV-Ray. We’ll just swing by the gift shop, and then move on to other things.
Take a seat! (click for big)
As promised last time, my simple tour of POV-Ray continues with some examples a bit more interesting than an abacus stone or a box with holes in it. Time to move beyond a bunch of teal-colored spheres! (How about a bunch of hunter-green cones?)
I think it’s nice to have a place to sit while I lecture, so I’m going to use my digital woodworking set to provide a bar stool (and maybe a beer). The beauty of the virtual world is that , well, free stools (and maybe beers) for everybody.
Because I don’t just make a stool. I make a thing that makes stools.
Recently I took you on a tour of a virtual theatre I “built” to help illustrate a post about light and color. It’s virtual because it wasn’t built with wood or metal or rock, but only with 100% natural electrons grown in the U.S.A. (free range; no pesticides or antibiotics).
I also showed you some smaller objects I built with the same tool: a freeware ray tracing application, called POV-Ray. The application is a “rendering engine.” It takes your design and renders it as a 3D image, complete with textures, shadows, reflections and a variety of other life-like effects.
Today I’m going to take you down into the engine room!
In Monday’s post I started writing about light and color. I described how white light can be created by adding three primary colors (red, green, blue), and how mixing any two result in secondary colors (yellow, cyan, magenta).
I went on to describe how subtracting two of the secondaries gives you the primary color they have in common, and how subtracting all three filters out all color, giving you black. The secondary combinations are the negative of the primary ones (e.g. blue is “anti-yellow”).
Finally I touched on how color is the “pitch” (frequency) of light. X-rays, radio waves, microwaves and gamma rays are all forms of light.
Today I continue the topic by exploring some details and nuances.
Back on my first Sideband post, I wrote that, “Sideband posts are miscellaneous thoughts that accompany the main thread of posts. Think of them as small paths that meander off the main road. Some branch off, go a short ways and die after a short while. Others are scenic trails that follow along the main road.”
They never quite achieved that vision, so this year one goal is getting Sidebands back on track with that original “mission statement.”
And I’m going to start with fun topic: computer-generated 3D images!
This is a post I began quite some time ago thinking it would be a quick and easy one, since it concerns a topic I know very well.
But—perhaps due to my own inability to be brief—it turned out to be more involved than expected. Maybe I just have a hard time leaving out all the details. In any event, I set it aside until I had more time.
Then I had an idea for making this post a bit more fun (at least for me). The problem was: I needed to build a theatre! You see, this post is about color and light.
The maps you find in some buildings and malls have a little marker flag that says, “You are here!” The marker connects the physical reality of where you are standing at that moment with a specific point on a little flat map.
Your GPS device provides your current location in terms of longitude and latitude. Those numbers link your physical location with a specific point on any globe or map of the Earth.
But to fully represent our location, longitude and latitude are not quite enough. (We might be high overhead in a hot air balloon!) To fully represent our position, we need a little more ‘tude, but in this case that’s altitude, not attitude.
We need three (and only three) coordinates to completely represent our location in space. This post is about why.
Most of us have traditional ways of celebrating or observing the re-occurring events in our lives. An anniversary might call for dinner at a certain restaurant. A promotion or sale might call for buying a round of drinks. The great life milestones—births, graduations, weddings, retirements, deaths—all come heavily freighted with traditional behaviors.
For me, an important tradition at Christmas time is watching—and reading—the Charles Dickens classic, A Christmas Carol! I think it is one of the most engaging, endearing, wonderful and important stories ever. It is a story of redemption and re-discovery of lost joy. And it is an affirmation that how we choose to live our lives matters.
Plus it has ghosts!