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Ben FrantzDale

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(no subject) [May. 8th, 2010|10:20 pm]
Ben FrantzDale
[Tags|]
[Current Location |US, Massachusetts, Boston]

For some reason I had a craving for a liverwurst sandwich for dinner. It was delicious, especially with Harpoon Munich Dark. It reminded me of Austria. (Yes, I know where Munich is; it's just that on the whole it reminded me of Austria.)

Charlie Wilson's War was good; I want to go to Cairo. (Yes, I know where Cairo is and that it isn't Afganistan.)

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Offsite backup [Apr. 29th, 2010|09:12 pm]
Ben FrantzDale
[Tags|, , ]

Last July I posted asking about storage and backup. I still don't have a good solution, but am thinking offsite backup is the way to go. I got a few responses then, but no consensus.

What is your backup solution?

Poll #1558132 Backup

My data is safe because I use...

cloud backup (ala Mozy).
0(0.0%)
ad-hock copying among computers.
0(0.0%)
occasional piles of DVDs.
0(0.0%)
public FTP and let the rest of the world mirror it.
0(0.0%)
JWZ-style mirrored hard disks.
0(0.0%)
Gmail, Flickr, etc. for everything important.
1(11.1%)
prayer.
0(0.0%)

If you use online backup, what do you use?

If you have ever suffered catastrophic data loss, did your backup work smoothly?



If you have any other comments, more data is better!
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Unusual Groceries [Apr. 18th, 2010|03:59 pm]
Ben FrantzDale
[Tags|, ]
[Current Location |US, Massachusetts, Boston]

Dear Lazyweb,

I've been thinking: there are a lot of wonderful foods out in the world. While sometimes our supermarket is out of something regular, I realized thare are a lot of things they usually do have that I've never even tried (or at least haven't cooked myself).

I want to fix this. Do you know of any recipes involving any of the following?

Endive
Napa
Radicchio
Plantains
Sugar Cain
Water coconut
Cooking papaya
dasheen
Ñame negro
Ñame yellow
Batata
Jicama
Malanga
Eddie
Chayote squash
Yucca
Tripe
Beef feet

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Tensor SVD for Thing, director of chorography [Apr. 17th, 2010|12:46 pm]
Ben FrantzDale
[Tags|, , , ]

Yesterday we had a guest lecture at work from Daniel Vlasic, who has done some very cool tricks with multilinear algebra to transfer performances from one actor to another, including a dancing hand directing a humanoid.

Basically, given the right parameterization of the pose space, including the exponential map to make the pose space into a useful linear space, they do tensor SVD on pose templates of different actors, which yields a linear map from one actor's poses to another actor's poses.

Video
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Boston Community Boating [Apr. 8th, 2010|07:26 pm]
Ben FrantzDale
[Tags|]
[Current Location |42.359844, -71.069257]

I just joined and got checked out at the most basi level at Boston Community Boating! Ski season may be over, but a summer of sailing on the Charles awaits!

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Cleaning a steel counter top: 2000-grit sandpaper [Mar. 28th, 2010|06:11 pm]
Ben FrantzDale
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We have a stainless steel shelf/counter unit that came with our apartment. It is generally great, but its top surface with a fine-brushed finish scratches easily, given that the unglazed bottom "foot" of a ceramic bowl is significantly harder than stainless steel. Compounding this is the fact that the steel is shiny, so minor blemishes show up clearly. Scrub as I might, I never felt like I had the right tool to clean it. A ScotchBrite sponge gets it clean, but it always looks dirty due to the scuffs. Bon Ami doesn't help (after all, it's motto is "Hasn't scratched yet").

I found one good solution: 2000-grit wet/dry sandpaper applied wet with a sponge in long strokes in the direction of the existing brushed finish. Now there are still some fine scratches and some areas are more scuffed than others, but the ugly spots are gone.

FWIW, 1/2000 inch is 12.7 microns, not far from a mirror finish in the visible band.



On the topic of surface finishes, this looks like an interesting 3M product (I haven't tried, although my 2004's lenses are getting a little hazy): 3M Headlight Lens Restoration System.

Disclaimer: I work for 3M although not in abrasives. To my knowledge, 3M does not recommend using sandpaper on decorative stainless steel. Oppinions expressed here are my own and do not necesecarily represent those of 3M.
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Bad Google! Not Normal! [Mar. 27th, 2010|11:00 am]
Ben FrantzDale
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If you search Google Images for normal distribution, the number two hit is this god-awful ugly blob:



(I would link it to the page that made it, but that might encourage Google to think it has something to do with a normal distribution.)

There are a handful of other non-normal distributions on that Google Images search result. First the rant:

The normal distribution is a beautiful thing. It isn't just any bell-shaped curve. It has beautiful properties: It has continuously-varying curvature. Its inflection point is at ±σ. It is its own Fourier Transform. Convolving one normal with another gives a new normal distribution. And, of course, convolving an arbitrary sequence of compact distributions converges on the normal distribution.


Second, how do I fix this? I submitted a "dissatisfied" comment to Google... anything else? The blog post it came from is two years old... I could bitch at its author, but I doubt that would help and it seems like the asshole move.


Finally, to sooth your scarred eyes, here are some proper normal distributions:



Aah... much better.
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Lounge chairs of ten! [Mar. 21st, 2010|03:45 pm]
Ben FrantzDale
[Tags|, , ]
[mood |relaxedrelaxed]
[music |Free-Form BCN]

I just discovered that Ray and Charles Eames, of Eames Lounge Chair and LCW (and much more) are the same people behind the 1977 short Powers of Ten. Awesome!
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Chairs, ctd. [Mar. 20th, 2010|11:12 am]
Ben FrantzDale
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I've been scouring the web for amazing dining chairs. Outside of the classic and expensive Hans Wegner Wishbone chair, I've found surprisingly few dining chairs that look practical, comfortable, well-built, and interesting. I finally found a few interesting ones, but none seem to be in production. One is Monica Förster's Antelope chair link. But no prices and no clear distributor. Still, pretty:



Off to the South End to see what else is out there on this beautiful first day of spring.
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Rain [Mar. 15th, 2010|04:52 pm]
Ben FrantzDale
[Tags|]
[Current Location |US, Massachusetts]

It's wet in Bedford. Here's the supermarket parking lot.

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