Thursday, August 30, 2007

The Skyscraper farmer: food for all

The Skyscraper farmer: food for all

According to Popular Science nearly 41 percent of Earth's land is now used for agriculture, yet we're on the brink of vast population growth, from 6.7 billion people today to an estimated 9.2 billion by 2050, with the majority living in cities.

Dickson Despommier, Professor of Environmental Health Sciences and Microbiology at Columbia University says the only way to make room for the enormous number of new carbon-sequestering trees we need in order to reverse current global warming trend is to change the way we grow our food. Classic farming methods used by our fathers are not good enough as they require too much land. What we need is a new form of vertical farming: Skyscraper farms that provide organic food with no herbicides, pesticides or fertilizers.

The Skyscraper farmer: food for all

Venture capitalists and scientists have already joined Despommier with his efforts in making the theory a reality within 15 years. According to Despommier:
The plants will be placed in automated conveyor belts that move past stationary grow lights and automated nutrient-delivery systems. The first buildings would have to be subsidized, with energy incentives and tax incentives. We're talking about the equivalent of engineering a Saturn rocket.
Also, according to the model designed by Despommier, the Skyscraper's energy is generated from a giant solar panel, with incinerators which use the farm’s waste products for fuel and all the water in the system is recycled. Sounds fantastic. but how much should all this cost?

Apparently, previous experiments in similar biofarming show the cost is a major factor here. Biosphere 2 for example was brainchild of a Texas billionaire named Ed Bass who spent $200 million of his own money to construct it. This was in the eighties. In todays economy and technology such a project must cost much more. Despommier says it can come up to "billions"... Thus, it seems the best chances for all of us to see the first Skyscraper farm is in a country that is both rich and short in usable land e.g. Japan, Iceland, or more likely Dubai.

Image souerce: popular science

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Blogrolling

Wikipedia's list of blogging terms says a blogroll is simply a list of a favorite blogs presented on the sidebar. This may fit the narrow definition but the truth is that having the blogs you read on your side bar is a common practice of social networking and Internet marketing with roots set deep in the art of Search Engine Optimization AKA SEO.

Blogrolling is actually a form of link exchange with the difference that when you put up some other blog on your blogroll it does not mean you should be getting one in return as its done with traditional link exchange, certainly not right away. Usually, if you find yourself in someone's blogroll it means you have found your way into his mind, and that doesn't happen over night.

There are many services providing free tools for easier and more efficient blogrolling and some that are quite good. I've been using the services of blogrolling.com, a Tucows Inc. company supporting multiple blogrolls and RSS, Javascript and OPML export. It's quite good but as it can sometimes take too long to load I decided to take it out of my side bar and link it from there, leaving just the top few on the bar.

Marketing Advertising and Media


Politics, Social and Culture



Technology



Puzzles



Other

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Compete.com: toolbar is only one of many information sources

Is my blogging getting hotter or what? Following my post Alexa get is wrong: switching to Compete, and after getting quoted on ZDNet's Googling Google, Andy Kazeniac from compete.com just posted this comment telling me how they love stories like my in Compete (i bet they do :)) but also added this important addition about them using other sources of information in addition to their toolbar:
Although toolbars do contribute to the Compete community, they are only one of many sources of information. We believe that the variety in our sources helps eliminate any bias that shows up in a single source and helps to give a better representation of the average U.S. internet consumer.
Jay Meattle from Compete.com explains in a follow-up email:
Compete aggregates data from Internet Service Providers, ASPs, opt-in panels, and Compete software – such as the toolbar and Firefox extension. We like to think it’s a better approach than Alexa’s, and pretty much any other provider of 3rd party competitive stats.

Cheers Andy and Jay.

Individual@home quoted on ZDNet's Googling Google



Google Analytics is back in business but the 3 days hole in my data is still there. I can live with it but I am not sure what others who use this to make their living think about this missing part in their data. Anyway, using my GA this morning I discovered my post about 'Google Analytics in data blackout' was quoted and referenced on ZDNet's Googling Google, Garett Rogers' famed blog keeping track of Google activities.

Check it out below. Apparently Mr. Vint Cerf , vice-president and “chief internet evangelist” at Google, has recently said some things he shouldn't have considering the amount of problems Google seem to experience recently.

Vint Cerf warns about reliability and security on the web by ZDNet's Garett Rogers -- It’s a bit ironic that Vint Cerf is touting Google’s infrastructure and warning users about unreliable software and poor security when both Blogger and Google Analytics were reported unavailable this week. To top it off, Google also recently pulled the plug on their paid video content services — causing users to “lose” their purchased [...]

Monday, August 27, 2007

Compete is America’s 824th fastest growing private company

Alexa is out, we already know that. But now Compete, Inc. has been announced 824th on the first-ever Inc. 5,000 list of the fastest-growing private companies in the country. As Jerry Seinfeld said 'wheels are in motion'...

read more | digg story

Out-of-Body Experiences are now real



I have always been fascinated by out-of-body experiences such as those described in movies like Strange Days, Altered States and the books of Carlos Castaneda. Recently I read that as with many other fascinations we used to have as children technology and science already take us not very far from there.

According to an official announcement published by the UCL institute of Neurology a neuroscientist named Dr Henrik Ehrsson who was a researcher at Institute at the time has managed to generate out-of-body experiences in volunteers, as a paper published in ‘Science’ explains. In ‘The experimental induction of out-of-body experiences’, Dr Henrik Ehrsson, , outlines the unique method by which the illusion was created and the implications of its discovery:

The illusion worked by using head-mounted displays to enable participants to watch a live film recorded by two video cameras located behind their head. The image from the left video camera is presented on the left-eye display and the image from the right camera on the right-eye display. The participant sees these as one ‘stereoscopic’ (3D) image, so they see their own back displayed from the perspective of someone sitting behind them.

The researcher then stood just beside the participant (in their view) and used two plastic rods to simultaneously touch the participant’s actual chest out-of-view and the chest of the illusory body, moving this second rod towards where the illusory chest would be located, just below the camera’s view. The participants confirmed that they had experienced sitting behind their physical body and looking at it from that location.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Sex offenders in your area?



Type any address and zip code, and Vision 20/20 system will Identify registered sex offenders living in your area. The system will reveal their location and picture instantly. Find out exactly how they look like, where they live and get to know everything about them including alias names , ID marks, hair color, gender, height, date of birth, weight, race, eye color, offense type and full address.

Vision 20/20 Inc., is a wholly owned subsidiary of ThinAir Wireless Corporation, a two-way wireless telemetry service provider (TSP) headquartered in Houston Texas. Vision 20/20's primary focus are children security and teen monitoring, especially when driving, as well as safety of elderly parents and family and community’s welfare.

Other than warning systems for neighborhood sex offenders, Vision 20/20 also provide tracking devices for children and parents status as well as alert systems for hurricanes and government homeland security cautions. The above screenshot, taken using Vision 20/20 online system, shows the locations of four registered sex offenders living around the New York central park. Click the picture or here for a high res version.

http://www.thevision2020.com

Alexa get is wrong: switching to Compete





Is it my imagination or are there more and more Internet giants failing to provide the goods, making place to newcomer companies? Alexa used to be the "Mecca of traffic research". The only place on the internet where anyone could check for the main traffic parameters of any website owned and controlled by other people.

I have been using Alexa for years and always put a lot of trust in their data, even though its important to remember that there is no magic involved here: Alxea use data collected from users of their popular toolbar to generate their statistics and their data accuracy depends on how close their average user profile to the average profile of the worldwide internet user. They provide some of the data for free and generate high priced reports from the rest of it.

About two weeks ago when Michael Arrington from techcrunch.com reported that in his opinion the became useless after coming up with a "complete fiction" (in Arrington's words) claiming YouTube has more page views than Google ("Alexa Says YouTube Is Now Bigger Than Google. Alexa Is Useless"). This shows how useless Alexa has become as a method for measuring web traffic and reach. Arrington adds:

Comscore tells a much different (and more accurate) story - Google is nearing 100 billion monthly page views; YouTube sees around 16 billion. Even newcomer Compete, which measures traffic in a similar way as Alexa, seems to be getting it right. Alexa needs an overhaul. It’s long since become less than useful. For smaller sites it is understandable that Alexa may not have good data. But Google and YouTube are among the largest sites on the Internet. To get it this wrong is embarrassing.

I tend to agree with Arrington's claim. Alexa seem to have a very serious problem there and this might just be the right time to make a switch to compete.com - another service doing the same kind of job Alexa does, only they might be doing it a bit better. Even though I am sure - due to their toolbar dependency - both compete.com and alexa.com are seriously biased with American users I started my compete.com account yesterday and already find it much more friendly in usability terms. The above charts show one year history trends for (unique) people count, relative rank and number of visits at www.conceptispuzzles.com

Monday, August 27, 18:20 Edit

I was trying to put corresponding Alexa chart here as well but what do you know, their embedding script is MUCH more complicated and can not run on a blog page, at least not on my blogspot one. Luckily their permalink work so you can have a look here and see how different and much more shaky it looks comparing to Compete's info:

Alex's pageview measurement for example is far from being even close to what was really going on on conceptispuzzles.com during the last 12 months. I can tell that because I have their server logs and know about every page view ever requested on the server. Alexa need to find a good doctor, or just buy a good looking gravestate. they seem to be out of the game.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Google Analytics in data blackout

I have been testing the Google Analytics service since the launching of the new version in May this year and was quite impressed:

The option to preform a drill down search into particular data segments (similar as its done with Sawmill), the elegant Flash user interface, the easy installation and of course - another one of Google's great services provided for free.

Since about two days ago, however, it started to look like my blog has been banned from the Internet by some cyber punk police as there are almost no visitors there anymore (there was one to be exact but it just made me more suspicious), not at least according to Google Analytics. Could it be that the great Google is not doing its job properly??! naaa... this is Google, not Skype.

Searching in Google didn't do any help and even going over the official Google Analytics blog only brought up some old report from almost one month ago about some problem they used to have on Monday, July 30, 2007. Its not about the problem I though I might be having here but It drove me to search the blogospher for some more updated stuff.

Well, according to FeedComputer, the Google Analytics service completely stopped delivering data to users a week ago and, in accordance to what I read, this glitch is another one in "a series of recent performance and availability problems affecting this popular Web site traffic-monitoring service". Also according to FeedComputer, "the latest problem remains unsolved and is apparently affecting all Google Analytics accounts, according to a message posted Monday afternoon by a Google employee in the official Google Analytics blog".

Friday, August 24, 2007

Oded Ezer



Oded Ezer is an Israeli typographer, type designer and artist. While making his living working as a commercial designer, Ezer also manages to find enough time for experimental typo/art projects, where he explores non-conventional solutions in Hebrew typography. His posters and graphic works have been showcased and published worldwide. The above piece (2004) titled Stami Veklumi (Hebrew: סתמי וכלומי English: Unimportant & Nothing) is a typographic homage to my favorite Israeli poet Yona Volach (1944-1985) photograph by Shaxaf Haber.

Ezer is a top line artist and has won many local and international prizes, including the Gold Prize at the international design competition of the Nagoya Design Center, Japan (2000); Certificate of Excellence at the 4th annual competition of the New York Type Directors Club and Certificate of Excellence at the "Bukva raz", a type design competition, Moscow, Russia (both 2001), and the Israeli Education Ministry Prize for Design (2003).

In 2000, two years after graduating at the Bezalel Academy of Art & Design, Jerusalem, with a Bachelor degree in Visual Communication Design Ezer founded his own independent studio, "Oded Ezer Typography". I had the privilege to know about Ezer and his work after digging into some blog 'extensions' of Kosmar - another great artist.

http://www.ezerdesign.com

Thursday, August 23, 2007

The most amazing comprehensive blogospher micro-button gallery



Use Kosmar's blogbuttons at will, but be kind and respectfully blog about it with a link to his page. Do not hotlink them from Kosmar server but copy them over to your own webspace. Kosmar says "trademarks are owned by their respective owners, send me a mail before you send your lawyers please". My kind of guy.

read more | digg story

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Bubble Bath



According to Wikipedia Bubble Bath also known as a foam bath can be obtained by "adding a product containing foaming surfactants to water and temporarily aerating it by agitation often merely by the fall of water from a faucet". It also says "children find foam baths particularly amusing, so they are an inducement to get them into the bathtub".

I tried putting some foam in one of Carmel's bathes a few months ago and she didn't seem to like it at all. I think the foam got here scarred. Recently, however, things have changed dramatically. We now like foam baths very much and take them anytime anywhere possible. Including kitchen sink.

Hollywood dinosaurs: social video is behind you!


Four Eyed Monsters was the first original feature film ever to be released on YouTube. Developed by Arin Crumley and Susan Buice from a video blog and became public on June 8, 2007 the film seem to be gaining great success in many parameters, mainly in terms of public awareness.

With a total view count of 810,505 when this article was made and still counting, Four Eyed Monsters has already been favorited by 5,296 users, rated by 5318 and commented 3,374 times all summing it up to a 4/5 stars grade movie. I think its safe to say "the people" like both the idea of consuming feature films online and this particular implementation of it. Four Eyed Monsters "made it".

Social video

The Four Eyed Monsters project "started small" with just Crumley and Buice "writing each other notes and sending each other videos". Then, according to the couple, it evolved into creating a feature length film about their story. The movie was of course blogged all over the place and got to be the talk of the day for quite some time. I particularly liked this comment posted by Mike Abundo on insideonlinevideo.com:

Hollywood dinosaurs who think social video is restricted to bite-sized entertainment are in for a full-length dose of reality. Four Eyed Monsters an autobiographical Bohemian love story, is the first original feature-length film on YouTube.

Perhaps somewhat obvious at first yet not a trivial phenomena at all, there are also excellent short films on YouTube taking this great form of art from the darkness of esoteric filmoholics scene to the sunlight of the public eye. Armistice by Triune Films was the first professional short film for me to actually watch and enjoy on YouTube. Triune Films is an Independent production company based in South Florida. Hollywood dinosaurs: social video is behind you.


Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Suprnova.org relaunched



On August 2, 2007, Slonček, former owner of suprnova.org, donated the domain name to the owners of The Pirate Bay - the world's largest BitTorrent tracker. Today, August 21, 2007, the legendary Suprnova.org "The Universal Bittorrent Source" was relaunched by The Pirate Bay.

Originally launched late 2002 and considered the world's most popular BitTorrent search engine at the time, Suprnova.org got shut down in November 2004 following legal threats. The site operators turned to support the development of the eXeem BitTorrent client after realizing a "fixed" website too difficult to operate in the present legal climate and we all thought that was it. Today Suprnova.org is back to life.

The following message targeted at what they refer to as "non-internet loving companies" closes the official announcement on Suprnova.org homepage:

This is how it works. Whatever you sink, we build back up. Whomever you sue, ten new pirates are recruited. Wherever you go, we are already ahead of you. You are the past and the forgotten, we are the internet and the future.

Lastly, an important note from me: under any circumstances don't confuse Suprnova.org with Suprnova.com. The latter being a site that charges for membership while the first and most other bittorrent sites do not.

Skype: Microsoft patch triggered outage



Last Tuesday, August 14, the great Redmond giant released another one of its patch batches claiming to fix (at least) 14 operating system security holes in computers powered by different versions of Windows and MS Office. The updates were pushed to millions of MS users all over the world using the Microsoft's "Automatic Updates" system.

Windows XP users were pushed with at least six updates from this patch batch, and more if they have any version of Microsoft Office installed. Office 2000 users had to scan the Office Update site for additional fixes not offered via Microsoft Updates.

On Thursday, 16th August 2007, the whole world was amazed to watch how Skype's legendary peer-to-peer network - used by millions for VOIP communications - had actually crashed and became unstable for about 48 hours. According to an official announcement released yesterday by Skype the crash was triggered by a massive global restart of Microsoft based computers across the globe within a very short timeframe. Also according to Skype:

The high number of restarts affected Skype’s network resources. This caused a flood of log-in requests, which, combined with the lack of peer-to-peer network resources, prompted a chain reaction that had a critical impact.

Normally Skype’s peer-to-peer network has an inbuilt ability to self-heal, however, this event revealed a previously unseen software bug within the network resource allocation algorithm which prevented the self-healing function from working quickly. Regrettably, as a result of this disruption, Skype was unavailable to the majority of its users for approximately two days.

According to Washington Post blog a Microsoft spokesperson claimed the August 14 patch release - fixing at least 14 vulnerabilities in its software - was "hardly out of the ordinary" and that "Windows Update is a routine service Microsoft provides to its users to receive software updates, including last Tuesday's security updates, which were not unique," the spokesperson said. "As indicated in Skype's blog, their specific disruption was caused by a bug in their software."

Did you get that? fixing at least 14 vulnerabilities in a software is "hardly out of the ordinary". There are many common jokes about the need to restart Windows based systems but I think this last one is certainly one of the best amongst them. We'll still have to live and see how funny this joke is for Skype / eBay, their engineers and their managers.

By now there are 435 blog responses to Skype message on Technorati.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Jigsaw puzzles of vintage comics, sci-fi and horror magazine covers



Brady's wooden jigsaw puzzle blog is a way for you to get a glimpse onto his "eccentric world of puzzle cutting". The above pictures - covers of old popular magazines - are offered by Brady as custom wooden jigsaw puzzles, cut from their high quality reproductions. With two optional sizes the puzzles are offered in 50 or 100 pieces configurations.

Aren't they cool? check out www.bradypuzzles.com or just order one here.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Syndicated flash games from Miniclip

The following flash games from Miniclip is a great example of modern content syndication. It can be installed on any website or blog within the speed of a blog post.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Skype protocol has been cracked



The proprietary protocol used by Skype for its voip services has been cracked by Chinese programmers, voip startup Vozin Communications co-founder Charlie Paglee reports on voipwiki.com.

Paglee says on July 12, 2006 - more than a year ago(!) - he received a Skype call from a friend at a company in China telling him he was not using Skype to make the call (screenshot above) claiming "his company has successfully reverse engineered the Skype protocol". The friend was after testing the new software with another end user in the United States to see how it worked between physically distant IP addresses.

According to Paglee the Chinees programmers reverse engineered a protocol that was not protected by patent. According to Chinese company CEO, their software will not support Skype’s Super Node technology... digg that :)

Kids' Travel Activity Book



Totally free and ready to print and use The Kids' Travel Activity Book pdf is an exclusive giveaway jam-packed with fun word puzzles, logic games, brain benders, and more - the perfect distraction for your grade level 2-7 kids on car trip, plane trips or anytime. Due to the graphics and depending on your bandwidth download might take a little time.

Direct download file | read more | digg story

Dreamy hidden bay surrounded by cliffs





My Skype seems to be green again and the number of other green contacts makes sense. Could it be that the problem was solved for now? I haven't checked and of its communication features yet. Really don't feel like doing so. People felt as if they were kidnapped here… for example, not being able to get your contact list info was a creepy experience. I read about people who have some contacts in their Skype simply not available anywhere else. Back it up from now on, pals.

Putting an end to that subject, I truly believe this event will become a turn point in how people refer to Skype and open source voip clients from now on. It might not be a one day turn, but just as it happened with IE and Firefox: things will start changing from now on and i'll try to keep up with the news about it from time to time.



Dreamy beach

So, yesterday early evening we went out, visiting Zemah and Sisi in their new residence outside the village just 24 hours after their arrival. It's kind of a long story why they moved out of the family farm which is not for me to tell. I'll just say that for Carmel, a new location 20 minuets walk from the nearest beach with lots of nature in the way is a major upgrade. She still have all the other attractions where Nitsi's family lives and now she also have this. Good for her - good for me.

The sea was fantastic. Zemah took us to a small dreamy hidden bay surrounded by cliffs and we had the privilege of saying goodnight to the Friday sun. It was great fun for all of us. Nitsi reminded all of us how some people travel half a globe to get themselves at such a fantastic beach with the water being above zero. We just had to take a short break. Isn't it cool? check out this short video from on my Wordpress Video blog. Same as the above pictures it was taken with my mobile so technically they are not of the best but still get the story straight.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Skype outage: supernode shortage?

If I am not mistaken we are getting close to the 48 hours line of the world major voip service provider failing to provide its service. Remember we are not only talking about (millions of...) 'free' users who pay nothing and enjoy the ride. Many Skype users I know have good American money invested in their SkypeOut accounts. They use it as a major international communication tool, Including for business. this is a very very problematic situation for Skype.

I have read many explanations by now. According to Valery Marchuk from SecurityLab.ru an exploit code published by an anonymous user on their forum may be the reason. Marchuk says the code uses standard Skype client to call to a specific number, causing a "denial of service of current Skype server and forces Skype to reconnect to another server.

David Beckemeyer posted a more reasonable yet much more amazing theory about the nature of Skype problem related to their usage of "Supernodes". According to Beckemeyer Skype depends on "supernodes": selected end user computers preforming as database servers and other network services. Thus, when the number of supernode skype clients goes under a certain minimum the network fails to preform. Beckemeyer think it could theoretically take days for this pathology to end.

By the time i finished writing this my Skype turned green. and then gray again. and then green again. we'll see in the morning.

More about Skype Supernodes

The People's Wiki follow-up



Jay Gould, founder of few popular websites, such as Music Video Codes, Yashi, Bolt and Sentt aggregated "the more interesting stories" published about his recent project WikiYou, launched July 9th this year.

According to Gould, WikiYou has been called the “Wikipedia About You“, “Twitter Plus Wikipedia“, “The People’s Wiki“, “The Ultimate Ego Play“, while others have already compared WikiYou to new sites.

Hey wait a minute Jay! "The People's Wiki"??! that sounds familiar... thanks for choosing my WikiYou nickname for your collection !

Read the rest here

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Skype is a problem



Someone I know has already convinced me long time ago that being Skype such a dominant player in the global Internet VOIP arena is a major problem that needs to be taken care of by the open source community.

Today, when Skype managed to have some kind of significant malfunction making it completely unusable for national or international calls. I know that for sure because I verified it with people I work with abroad.

Check out this message published on the official Skype blog:

Problems with Skype login
By My status Joosep on August 16, 2007.

UPDATED: Some of you may be having problems logging in to Skype. Our engineering team has determined that it’s a software issue and hopes to have this resolved quickly. Meanwhile, you can simply leave your Skype client running and as soon as the issue is resolved, you will be logged in. We apologize for the inconvenience.

Now, excuse me for saying so but I don't think what they say is true because I have three workstations running in my home network and surely all three were already logged in. So, being Skype a so called Peer-to-Peer software: why should I even be in any need for their (commercial) dysfunctional login mechanism?

I used to like Skype VERY much in their early days. I even spent my good money on a Phillips Dect Skype phone. But I am afraid I now think the problem is the VOIP being held in one company, not the login as Skype claim in their blog.

Edit: 23.20 GMT+2
Skype is still down. A world without Skype. wow.

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Leena's addiction

Leena's major addiction is puzzles. This well written and factual review about Conceptispuzzles.com was posted yesterday on her newly born blogging home.

read more | digg story

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Maze complexity and aesthetics: deep problems in computer graphics



Craig S. Kaplan is an Assistant Professor at the Computer Graphics Lab, The David R. Cheriton School of Computer Science, University of Waterloo, Ontario, Canada. Studying the use of computer graphics in the creation of geometric art and ornament, Professor Kaplan's interests extend into non-photorealistic rendering.

I happen know at least two high-end software engineers fighting similar research area and aware of some of its complexities and difficulties. Yet, Professor Kaplan's Maze Design is certainly one of the most spectacular amazing presentations of discrete geometry and non-photorealistic rendering techniques I have ever seen.

Creating computer generated mazes using human designer input, Professor Kaplan and his PhD student, Jie Xu, were interested in two complementary questions with respect to maze design: Complexity and Aesthetics. According to Kaplan computer-based maze design requires a mix of techniques from discrete geometry and non-photorealistic rendering. Thus, the two questions of complexity and aesthetics in mazes both represent profound problems in computer graphics.

Kaplan and Jie Xu were trying to answer the following questions:

Complexity

"What makes a maze difficult to solve? The more we consider this question, the more elusive it becomes. It's certainly possible to begin defining mathematical measures of a maze's complexity, but complexity must depend on aspects of human perception as well. For example, the eye can easily become lost in a set of parallel passages. Complexity also depends on how the maze is to be solved. Are you looking down on the maze, solving it by eye? With a pencil? What if you're walking around inside the maze? And of course, complexity isn't necessarily what we want to measure. Ultimately we'd like to generate compelling puzzles, which may or may not have a high degree of complexity."

Aesthetics

"How do we construct attractive mazes, particularly mazes that resemble real-world scenes? Here, maze design interacts with problems in non-photorealistic rendering. There are many great projects for producing line drawings from images. Our goal is similar, except that our lines must also contrive to have the geometry of a maze. This additional constraint affects how we think about creating a line drawing in the first place."

Also according to their page, mazes can be used to represent images in two different ways with the most obvious using non-photorealistic line art as in the fantastic examples by Christopher Berg and the less obvious as in the "great new Maze-a-pix puzzles being produced by Conceptis Puzzles".

Following are a few of those creations linked to their corresponding HUGE originals. Click on any of them to download a PDF or PNG of the maze from their website for solving on paper. If you are REALLY interested with the subject you can also download the full Vortex Maze Construction paper by Jie Xu and Craig S. Kaplan (be patient. it's a big one and might take time to download).

Note: All images are courtesy of and copyrighted (2005) by Jie Xu and Craig S. Kaplan. you are free to use any of the images for personal and non-commercial purposes but please check with the owners about any other uses.








Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Switched to phase 2



I've been posting about websites and blogging and techy stuff a lot lately but didn't say a word about how great our daughter is doing with getting herself to be a civilized human being. Well, she is doing VERY well, anxious and excited about everything new and wants to know it all right away. Especially when it comes to using new instruments and gadgets during my afternoon breaks. I wonder how come. strange.

Today she insisted on calling her grandmother using my Skype Dect phone and managed to have a 6 minutes 'conversation'. Later on she demanded using this new gadget shown above which is a significant upgrade on the subject started just this June. Luckily I had my Motorola phone close by so the moment is now properly treasured.