I am getting back into learning more about how to use POV-Ray to create ray-traced graphics. Unfortunately, the POV-Ray documentation makes it an uphill climb. Just evidence that programmers should not produce documentation.
Fortunately, I have found a site that helps out quite a bit. Friedrich and Andrea Lohmueller’s site is focused on ray-tracing and other artwork. Friedrich has put together a helpful tutorial for using POV-Ray and he includes custom expansions to the Insert Menu (to save yourself some typing) as well as some useful macros for building interesting shapes.
The best aspect to the tutorial is that he often includes thumbnail images of the code in question. You get to see what the code in question should look like ahead of time. If I build up any real skill beyond the cliché work that I do now, then I may try to produce a similar tutorial.
I have been trying various modellers and editors for POV-Ray too. So far, nothing has really been useful in that regard. Bishop 3D is looking promising, but this only works with the 32-bit POV-Ray. I may try exploring Blender too. These seem to be the most advanced modellers.
I also hope to learn a great deal from this rendering. It is rare that an artist who creates such an incredible image shares the code behind the work.
Look for more posts here as I explore further.
Five years ago today the Kitzmiller v. Dover case ruled that so-called "intelligent design" theory was "a mere relabeling of creationism and not a scientific theory." What a wonderful thing!
I highly recommend the Nova documentary "Judgement Day – Intelligent Design On Trial" for more information about this trial and its awesome conclusion. You can find this documentary on Netflix.
On Saturday, my cousin Erika and her husband Mark welcomed Ava Grace into our family. She weighed 8 pounds and 2 ounces. Mom and baby are doing fine.
I’m looking forward to seeing some pictures soon.
Today is the day that I have opted to celebrate Debug’s birthday. I’m not sure when she was actually born, but this should be close enough.
Giving Debug more room to roam around was actually a factor in my decision to buy a house. The two-bedroom apartment that I was tiny compared to the place that I had in Etobicoke. Now there are plenty of window sills that she can sit by and watch the world.
I sometimes wonder about getting another cat. Debug has been queen of the house for so long that I doubt she would take kindly to the intrusion. We shall see.
It has been a little over four months since I posted an updated map of how far I have cycled since April. The biggest reason is that I rebuilt my machine that had Streets & Trips 2010 installed on it. However, I remedied that yesterday and plotted my latest distance of about 1440 miles.
Wow! I am almost in Seattle, already in Panama and into Quebec from my house in Irving. When centered on my apartment in Etobicoke, I am nearly in Mexico and just outside of St. John’s, Newfoundland.
I am using Excel to keep track of this progress. It fascinates me how linear the chart is. So all this bike riding doesn’t vary much from week to week…it covers me going to and from work, the gym and grocery shopping.
I’ll probably take the bike into the shop for a complete overhaul in January. It could probably use the tune-up.
I liked what Michael Moore had to write in a Huffington Post article yesterday. Although it was typical Moore fair of not-quiiiiiite digging far enough and lacing it heavily with personal opinion. He claims to have posted bail for Julian Assange and makes it seem like he did it all himself. Read carefully and you’ll see that he had help and further, only half of the bail has been raised.
All of that aside, I do agree with Moore. This world needs something like WikiLeaks. Politicians and corporations often do act against the public and they rely on the public’s laziness and apathy (plus the control of most of the media) to get away with this behaviour. I would like to see these circumstance changed.
Alright, I am several seasons late to this show. But the first season of Heroes came to the top of my Netflix queue and I am sorry that I missed out on this when it was first aired.
Without any particular evidence, I had immediately written-off Heroes as being formulaic. Hollywood had already thrown a lot of superhero stuff our way – although I liked the X-Men movies, I didn’t want to see the idea re-hashed on a smaller screen.
I’ve been pleasantly surprised at how the plot for Heroes has twisted thus far. I’m looking forward to seeing the rest of the episodes.
Thank goodness! The fight for decency and basic human rights continues.
It can be a slow process, but the civilization of this nation is worth it.
Is Texas actually becoming civilized? A Texan judge in Houston is challenging the legality of the state’s barbaric death penalty. This will be something to watch over the coming days.
There are certainly some people who should never be permitted back into society. However, the risk of executing an innocent person can never be reduced to zero percent. That makes it a chance not worth taking.
With any luck, Texas might become a state enjoyable to live in…
I am amused at the tempest in a teacup that the newest WikiLeaks release has created. I saw that Vladimir Putin shrugged it off. Jon Stewart on The Daily Show shrugged it off. But Sarah Palin (genius in foreign policy that she is) and even Prime Minister Harper’s aide think that Julian Assange should be hunted down and killed.
It is a very long-shot that any of this material could actually lead to war (as Tom Flanagan claimed). At least such a war would have a reason behind it – unlike the War On Terror.
The stories continue to build-up. First they sued over someone using the suffix "book" for their own website. Then they patent the term "Face." Now it is revealed that Facebook can track you (whether you are a member or not) with the "Like This" link button that many sites use.
The line between privacy and usefulness continues to blur.
Yesterday marked my seventh anniversary working with Microsoft’s SQL Server Customer Support.
I was hired with a group of nine others as vendors in the Mississauga, Ontario office. That site is now shutdown and I am the only one who is still doing support – the others have become DBAs around Southern Ontario. We had an awesome manager who inspired and encouraged us all regardless of how tough it got.
I still miss that team. We rocked and SQL CSS has never been the same without them.
Texas has been my new home for nearly four years now. The writing was on the wall that the Canadian team would be phased out, so I set the gears in motion to become a full-time Microsoft employee.
Wow! What a rollercoaster ride this has been.
There is no hiding that I have not posted here in quite some time. I regret that and thus pushed myself to compose this new post. My mind has been in a weird space these past few months.
There has been both good things to post about but some unsettling stuff too. The dizzying heights and gut-wrenching drops on the Rollercoaster Of Life put me in sort of zero sum emotional state. I feel ambivalence about nearly everything. A good friend of mine even described me as "depressed." I had never thought that before and it became just one more layer on everything else.
The good things were really good.
My workouts with Patrick continue to be excellent. I managed a leg press of 1010 pounds (no pictures unfortunately) that completely crushed previous personal records. Patrick kept adding plates after each set but my legs didn’t give out. It was an amazing feeling and I’m looking forward to besting it.
I visited two very dear friends in North Dakota (and keep wishing I can rescue them from that wretched place). Another friend became a dad again and yet another is due to become a mom for the first time.
Annual review passed by at Microsoft with me keeping my job. I have a few interesting internal projects on the go that I hope will help my colleagues.
I won’t post about the negative stuff since I don’t want to dwell on it. I’ll find ways to deal with them.
Back at the end of April, I wrote about leg pressing 590 pounds. At the time, it seemed like I had achieved something impossible. At the beginning of this month, I completely crushed my previous personal best of 650 pounds.
900 pounds! I managed two sets of 12 reps at that weight.
An astute observer will notice that this picture is only 810 pounds. That is true, this photo is from an earlier set. We added one more plate on either side after this was taken.
My sights are now firmly set on getting at least 1000 pounds pressed before the end of October.
I have been contacted directly by Adobe’s senior support team. Apparently, this blog played a factor in that. I do wish that a public rant here was not necessary.
The good news is that a local reproduction has been confirmed. A tight repro of the problem is crucial to assisting developers with a fix. Now that a bug has been filed, I’ll be continuing to provide Adobe with information if necessary.
We may use the XPerf tools to profile the Dreamweaver process. I am thrilled that progress is being made now and it is great knowing that a great product will be made even better.
I have been quite vocal at work about my problem with Dreamweaver CS5.
I haven’t used Microsoft’s own Expression Studio product – it would be interesting to do a comparison though. As I told my colleagues, I have been using Dreamweaver since it was owned by Macromedia. Back then, Microsoft’s web site editor was Frontpage and that was a piece of garbage that should never have seen the light of day.
My friend Bill has some experience with Adobe products too since his wife is a desktop publisher. It was his suggestion that I try using a 10×10 pixel PNG rather than a 1×1. Interesting idea…
Lo and behold, it worked quite nicely! Although the kernel mode time still spiked, it returned back to user mode much more quickly and let me type directly into the Design Mode window – which is the expected behaviour. I started experimenting with different dimensions for the PNG file (always using Fireworks CS5 to resize as desired).
As you can see in the Performance Monitor trace, the kernel mode time for the Dreamweaver process still spikes while I am typing in the Design Mode window. However, it quickly drops back and the typing remains responsive. This was captured while using a PNG image 890 pixels wide (the full width of my page content <div> tag) and 10 pixels high.
The trade-off is that the PNG file is a larger file size; but with today’s internet access rates, this should be hardly noticeable.
If any reader uses Dreamweaver and experiences this issue, I hope this post helps you out. I am also curious to hear from people who have used Adobe’s free technical support; how were you treated?