Gravity part deux.

So I’ve been playing around in Python lately, primarily because I’ve been teaching it to a kid I’ve been tutoring. I decided to take the opportunity to port my old C# based gravity simulation to see how hard it would be to implement. I chose to use pygame because it provides the screen update engine and drawing routines out of the box with an easy way to tell how many milliseconds have passed since the last frame update (required for accurate physics). I haven’t really made any tweaks to the physics engine since the mono version, but it’s still pretty cool to watch. One thing I did add to this is a 2×2 box with alpha 10 that simulates a pencil running over paper wherever a ball passes. I liked the visualization so much, I left it turned on in the version I hereby bequeath to you, dear internet. Below are two of the generated images, the lighter the color of the line, the faster the ball was moving at the time.

First image from my gravity simulator
First image from my gravity simulator
Second image from my gravity simulator
Second image from my gravity simulator

Oh, I suppose you’d like to download the current version. It’s sloppy, but you’re welcome to it! Some code borrowed from the python/pygame tutorials, but the physics are all mine.

Download it here.

Update: Almost forgot!!! Left click adds an additional ball, right click saves a screenshot and clears the background.

Update 2:

This one was after about 30 minutes with 6 balls
This one was after about 30 minutes with 6 balls

Just another image, click to enlarge.

Update 4: Put a video up on YouTube showing what it looks like while running:

Black 360 Universal Remote Mod

I finally got my universal remote apart without breaking it in half and decided to throw together a little how-to for all the people having trouble getting it apart to paint it.

  1. Here we have the remote, battery cover removed. Notice the screw at the far end of the battery cover. It is normally covered by a sticker.
  2. Use a flat head screwdriver to pry the back tabs up, releasing the battery case.
  3. I used a vice to apply pressure to both sides of the controller. Because of its shape, you’ll need to slide it back and forth gradually as you apply pressure to prevent any blemishes. Also be sure to use a rag to keep the plastic away from the metal.
  4. Pull up at the seam until the side pops out. You’ll only need to get one side loose, the other will follow naturally.
  5. Bottom of remote removed.
  6. Be sure to remove these metal bits before painting, thank me later.
  7. Main board removed. I used masking tape over the IR screen, rather than try to separate it from the gray plastic before painting.
  8. Remote fully disassembled. Be sure not to lose anything!
  9. Check out Alcaron’s tutorial for painting tips.
  10. Close ups of the individual parts after painting. I painted in the dark, which was a major mistake. Always paint during the day.
  11. And our finished product. Notice the awful paint job which I’ll be sanding down and repainting tomorrow. I just wanted to get this up today. Hope you all enjoyed!

Please, let me know if you give this a shot, I really love the look.

Black Controller Mod

I’ve been a busy little bee this holiday break and decided to modify one of my xbox360 controllers following this guide by Alcaron. It came out way better than I thought it would, the only issue I had being that the battery compartment button didn’t hold the paint, so it’s starting to scratch off. Other than that one (easy to fix) blemish, I think the whole project worked well, and I’ll be repeating the process for my other controller and all my accessories soon… If only I can figure out how to get that damned universal remote apart. Here’s the pics! Enjoy!

Untitled short story Part 1

"Stay back."

"But I can help!"

"Enough blood has been shed today. I don’t need yours on my hands too."

Hearing that, Tal fell to her knees, sword falling from her loosened grip to the ground with a thud. "Please be careful."

"…I won’t need to," he sighed, then paused for reflection on the coming battle.

"Giving up so soon?" flowed, singsong, up the hillside to meet Sunder’s ears.

"If only…" he muttered to himself, squaring his stance and preparing to charge into the waiting group. He took one last breath of peaceful air, crouched low, and launched himself forward, leaving impressions in the earth where his feet once stood. He was not an exceptionally large man, standing just six feet tall, but countless modifications left his body dense with synthetic compounds. Each system in his body replaced, one by one, and individually programmable by thought alone. His blood was now a superfluid, traveling his superconducting veins and providing raw energy in the form of high energy, easily broken hydrogen compounds. Excess hydrogen and other compounds followed the veins back to his torso, now a mass of nano-complex systems designed to fuse the excess, creating power to drive all the other systems of his body.

Sunder is alone in this world. There are none like him. His family passed on generations ago, all having been killed in the initial invasion. He alone survived the initial prototype run of 12 in the risky operation to save humanity. As he flashed down at the hulking masses of the warrior class in their exoskeleton battle suits, he wondered if this 500 year war would ever end.

What to drink?

I haven’t updated in a good while, so I decided to do a little expos on the various things I like to drink.  Some of these things might be a bit sophisticated for your tastes, so I recommend saving them for special occasions.  You won’t regret drinking anything in this list, unless you’re a n00b.

What can I say about beer?  It’s liquid bread.  It lets everyone around know that you’ve been to at least one party and survived to tell the tale.  Everyone’s impressed when you can drink lots of beer.  There’s a social aspect to beer drinking that no other beverage can really compare to.  A camaraderie, if you will.  But what beer should you choose?

  1. Killian’s Irish Red
    This should be your first choice whenever you’re out on the town drinking.  The deep red color lets all the men around know you’re a ticking time bomb of hate, just waiting to explode…  The full flavor and smooth taste let all the ladies know you’re a ticking time bomb of love, just waiting to show them how the world is from your side of the lust-fence.
  2. Guinness
    If ever there was a beer worth drinking, this is it.  This beer will grow hair on your tongue, turn you into a werewolf, and make every woman in a thirty foot radius die of sexual exhaustion.  The ONLY problem with this beer, is that sometimes you just don’t want to look that bad ass in public.  Hence the number two slot.
  3. Samuel Adams
    This beer is just all around good.  Worth drinking.
  4. Yuengling
    Yuengling isn’t a bad beer.  It can often turn a shitty night of light hell into a nominally good night of yum.  Great fall-back beer.
  5. **** Light
    I don’t know why, but some places don’t carry beer that’s worth drinking.  In that case, drink as the romans drink…  Domestic.
  6. Natty/Beast
    Every once in a while, there’s a kegger and someone has this for free.  Do not pay for this beer.

Wow, what a roundup…  But what about when you want a more romantic evening?

Wine is delicious.  It will get you fucked up with relatively little effort, and you don’t have to convince people to try it.  This is the ultimate get someone drunk drink.

  1. Sake!
    Sake is an invention of the Japanese.  Those bastards sure know how to make an alcoholic beverage.  This is the only alcoholic beverage that’s actually better served warm.  No shit.  Go to a sushi bar and see for yourself.  Make it a high class one.
  2. Sangria
    While not actually a wine per-se, Sangria is my favorite wine-based beverage.  It’s easy to drink and can be made stronger with little noticeable flavor impairment through liberal application of booze.
  3. Merlot
    When you need class and sophistication in your booze, this is it.
  4. ???
    To be perfectly honest, I don’t drink much wine.  Let me know what you like in a fine wine and I’ll annotate.

What can you say about whiskey that years and years of evolution hasn’t already told you?  When you absolutely, positively, have to get drunk off your ass, accept no substitute.

  1. Black Bush
    Black Bush is Bushmill’s top of the line Irish whiskey.  Irish whiskey is not Kentucky Bourbon.  Think of Irish whiskey as Kentucky’s best’s favorite Uncle.  More fun than any adult rightfully should be.  Irish whiskey is classic beyond compare and this is the best of the best.
  2. Gentleman Jack
    This is the best Kentucky Bourbon you will ever put in your mouth, bar maybe the hundred year old bottle you get on your wedding day.  A single sip is bliss.  A gulp is pure ecstasy.  Accept no whiskey related substitute.
  3. Jack Daniel’s No. 7
    Jack is classic.  You want whiskey, this is the name you think of.  This guy and maybe his old pal…
  4. Jim Beam
    Another classic way to erase your sorrows and blissfully enjoy the night.  Don’t accept anything less.
  5. Calvert Extra
    This is so generic I can’t even find a website for it.  Drink at your own risk.

Mmm…  Whiskey.  Whiskey is by far my favorite drink.

Gin is a great drink, almost completely imperceptible in juice.  Try it!

  1. Bombay Sapphire
    This is the best gin on the market.  Give it a shot if you don’t believe me.  It’s damned good.
  2. Tanqueray
    A close second.  Tanqueray, despite Tony Sinclair, is actually very good.  Drink heavily, avoid moderation.
  3. Seagram’s Lime Twisted Gin
    Gin with a lime twist.  Easy to drink, on the cheap!

The Gin family, while not my favorite, is timeless.

I wanted to cover the other major drinking groups (vodka, rum, cordials, etc.) but I really don’t care that much.  Most of them suck, and the ones that don’t have proponents elsewhere.  Anyway, enough of my tirade…  Go forth, and get drunk my dear readers…  With my advice in mind, you shall not regret it.

A bit of sci-fi

I woke up this morning with a half-formed idea for something really cool, and in my dreamy state I tend to float in whilst I shower, I managed to form a halfway decent idea for a sci-fi universe.  Take for example the series Stargate…  The whole series revolves around the one little device that lets you travel huge distances instantly.  This morning’s shower formed my device…

The Yang.  A vessel of enormous proportions, maybe half the diameter of earth’s moon.  Big, but not impossible.  Not solid of course either, so it wouldn’t exert the same gravitational fields.  Before I can explain what Yang is, I must explain its creation.

Maybe some 400 or so years ago, scientists on a far off world with technology maybe 1000 years removed from our own had an idea for a vessel of nearly infinite power to take them between the stars and beyond.  They envisioned using a quantum link between our dimension and an alternate universe, where everything was similar, save for one important fact…  Every proton in our universe is an antiproton there, and every electron has an antielectron twin.  This antiuniverse was created at the exact instant the link was created between the two universes.  The link is a permanant facet of both universes and can be moved only with enormous gravitational force.

A side note about alternate dimensions should be added here to explain how a universe can be created, in order to head off questions you’ll have in a moment before they even arise.  When a universe unfolds, so does its history and its future.  Every event leading up to the unfolding of a universe has occured, even if in the first universe it seems as though there was no universe to be there earlier.  This allows for the alternate universe to have the exact same history as the source, with the exception of every charge being reversed.

The tunnel was deliberately made in the disc of matter around a forming star, scientists from our universe then used nanites created on their end of the tunnel to begin construction of a ship to surround it.  Powerful electromagnetic fields were used to build the first nanite on the other side of the link and it was made to self replicate, just as the nanites on our side.  Power was generated by sending atoms toward the tunnel, the nanites on the other side would send antiatoms and the collision in the center would convert all of their mass into energy, further fueling the construction efforts.  Two identical ships were built using this nanotechnology.  One here, the Yang.  One in the antiuniverse, the Yin.  It took many months for the two ships to be built, and once they were, the enormous gravitational pull they generated was enough to keep the quantum tunnel at their very centers.  The Yang was flown from its orbit about the infant star and the scientists entered to begin what would become their race’s greatest undertaking.  The nanites on the other side were instructed to build identical copies of everything on board the ships, but the scientists did not count on one important aspect:  Once they stepped foot upon the ship, the nanites replicated them on the other side as well.  The giant quantum computers at the heart of each ship were linked between the two realities, effectively doubling their already gargantuan processing power.  A power used by the sentient computer to give the same gift to its creators as they had given to it…  A quantum link between their two minds, joining them as one.  Two universes, one consciousness.  Now the scientists, with intellect vastly improved, set forth to learn and explore, to help and to save.  They are aboard both the Yin and the Yang, consciousness always aware of both realities, the computer keeping them in touch with themselves over limitless distances via quantum links.  Two universes, one crew.  What wonders will they find?

Now that I type it all out, it seems pretty cheesy, but I think I can make it work.