Saturday, May 16, 2009

HD Advisor Tutorial – 2.35:1 Constant Height Projection | High-Def Digest

Here's a great article I stumbled across on all the changes of Aspect Ratios in Movies, and why we still have Black Bars on some movies. I knew most of this material, but he does a very good job of explaining it:

HD Advisor Tutorial – 2.35:1 Constant Height Projection | High-Def Digest

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Ring Roads of the World: Houston Wins! » Swamplot: Houston’s Real Estate Landscape

I've had a hard time explaining to people just how big (geographically) the Houston-metro area is. Here's an interesting graphic that compares different major cities and their outermost "ring road" around the city. (In the case of Louisville, that would be I-265).

Ring Roads of the world

If it's not obvious, Houston is the black "smudge" in the background. And what is the outlying Ring? It's FM1960/Highway 6 which starts the upper right corner, in Liberty county, crosses lake Houston, wraps around the west side of Harris County and then cuts back South-East going almost all the way to Galveston Island.

This is particularly interesting to me because the entire time I've lived in the Houston area, I've lived near FM1960. My current neighborhood is very near the bend under the "O" in word "World" of title on the graphic where FM1960 heads North-East.

Here's the original article I took this from: Ring Roads of the World: Houston Wins! » Swamplot: Houston’s Real Estate Landscape

Of course, this graphic is only comparing single-city metro areas. Multi-city metros like Dallas-Fort Worth are bigger still.

Police Impersonators Terrorize Family - Houston News Story - KPRC Houston

Police Impersonators Terrorize Family - Houston News Story - KPRC Houston

This occurred in the Humble/Atascocita area in a neighborhood located off of the Beltway. I personally, know someone that lives in that particular neighborhood and is now considering moving.

I've seen very little coverage of this in the Houston media so far. This is something folks definitely need to be aware of.

Some general home/safety tips:

  • Take some time to look at your home/property for "hiding places" near entryways (doors and windows). Maybe you need to trim back some shrubs near your porch?
  • Always keep your windows and doors locked at night or really any time when you can't monitor the entire premises.
  • Leave a porch light on at night. Consider installing a timer light or motion sensor light.
  • I'm not sure how deterrent monitored alarm systems are, but it is another element you should consider. We have one and are happy with it... particular because we have fire/smoke monitoring in addition to intrusion detection.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Bush Intercontinal Airport Proposed Expansion

I saw this article in the Houston Chronicle this afternoon about two (or maybe just one) additional runways which may or may not be built at George Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH) here in Houston. As the biggest airport in Houston (and pretty close to my house) Any construction at IAH can potentially affect me. For the good (more flights to choose from when I travel) to the bad (more planes flying over my house, road construction to avoid, etc.)

However, folks in the Timberwood neighborhood could be really affected if they choose options "C" or "D" for runways construction (or worst case both).

While the paperwork on the EIS site is interesting, I thought that a Google Map that you can drag and/or zoom in on (and turn roads on and off) would be a better way to look at this.

So I made one:

View IAH Existing and Proposed Runways in a larger map

As usual, I included an icon showing the location of my neighborhood as well as Timberwood (the affected neighborhood discussed in the article).

Software Development and Writer's Block

I'm sure everyone has seen the scene in a movie where a writer is struggling with how to start his novel, short story, newspaper article. He stares at the page. Types a sentence fragment, and then in frustration rips the paper from the typewriter, balls up the page and tries again.

You see this process repeat and they intermittently cut to a shot of a waste paper basked with paper wads piling up.

An alternate version of this scene replaces the typewriter with a pen and paper and lot of scrawling and scratching out of mistakes before balling up the page.

I suppose these scenes don't work as well today with word processors so maybe "the kids" stumbling across this post don't know what I'm talking about.

Anyway... I experience the same thing when developing software, or more specifically when starting a new project*. While many people view software development as a mechanical, technical exercise... fundamentally its still an a creative act.

Just like a writer struggling with that opening sentence

"It was a dark and stormy night..."

... I sit and stare at a blank text editor and think, "where do i want to begin.? Where am I going with this?".

I wonder if other software developers out there experience the same thing but whenever a I google'd for "Writer's Block" and programming (or software) I end up with links to commercial software package that helps writers brainstorm ideas to deal with Writer's block.

Inevitable just like with writers... once you do finally start, things tend to flow quickly... at least until you get stuck on the next major "plot point", but usually the biggest hurdle is where to begin.

* - I specifically mentioned "starting a new project", because enhancing or debugging an existing project is much closer to the traditional process of editing.... which is still a key skill any author should have, but it presents a different set of problems and I'm not sure that "Writer's Block" is one of them.