Poppy Payne IS The Sexy Techie!

Technical Help and Opinions on Just About Everything Else!

Slinky On A Treadmill

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SlinkyWe’ve all seen the commercials where a Slinky toy ‘walks’ down a flight of stairs. With the fitness craze grabbing everyone, it certainly is time to see how a Slinky would do on a treadmill. This video is pure Geek entertainment! I know this is behaving according to the laws of physics, but that doesn’t make it any less magical. I’m somewhat embarrassed to say that I was completely mesmerized by this video. Take a look yourself and see if you agree!

Love ya! Poppy xxxxxxx

Memorial Day 2012

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Vietnem Veterans MemorialToday, Monday, May 28th, 2012, is Memorial Day in the Unite States. Memorial Day is set aside for remembrance of those who fell in service to the country. As simple as that. The holiday was instituted following the American Civil War and was called Decoration Day. The change to Memorial Day came after the end of World War I when it was decided to honor the service men and women who gave their lives in defence of their country in all conflicts and wars, including those yet to come. That was when the name was changed to Memorial Day.

UK Remembrance SundayIn the UK, we remember our war dead each year on Remembrance Sunday, which falls on the Sunday in November closest to November 11th, the day World War I officially came to an end. There are similar activities in the UK as in the US, such as parades, speeches, ceremonies and the laying of a wreath at the Cenotaph in London by the Queen. For my US friends, a cenotaph is an “empty tomb” or a monument erected in honour of a person or group of people whose remains are interred elsewhere.

US War Dead Coming HomeOn Remembrance Sunday, two minutes of silence are observed at 11 am to remember those who fought and died for our freedom. In the US, a minute of silence and reflection is called for at 3 pm. Let us, in this time of international conflict and strife, take that one minute, those 60 seconds, and stop what we are doing and honour those whom without we would not be enjoying the barbeque, the cold beer, the summer sunshine, the Indianapolis 500, the day at the beach; our very freedoms that we seem all too often to take for granted.

Rest in peace, warriors. We remember and thank you.

Poppy xxxxxx

Pic Of The Day May 27, 2012

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Umm... Excuse me?

I don’t think I need a billboard advert. By that point, I’m pretty much aware of what’s going on… Ummm, what’s that? That’s not what they meant? Oh, okay. Never mind!

Love ya! Poppy xxxxxx

The Leap Into Minority Report

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Minority ReportMany of you have seen the Tom Cruise movie “Minority Report”. This is not about the movie, but rather, it’s about something that took place in the movie. Remember when Chief Jon Anderton was was using the computer system by moving his hands in front of the screen and thereby moving items around on the screen, zooming in an out, opening and closing? Looked pretty cool, huh? In case you hadn’t heard, what was Science Fiction in 2002 is about to become reality in time for the Christmas shopping season. A company, Leap Motion, was formed four years ago by a couple of engineers who were fed up with the clunky way 3-D design had to be done using a keyboard and mouse. In four year’s time, they developed a sensitive motion detection/control interface named “The Leap” The Leap is being marketed as “the world’s most accurate 3-D motion control device.” The claim by the inventors is that it is 200 times more sensitive than existing technologies, can detect motion anywhere within a space of four cubic feet, is accurate to within 1/100th of a millimeter and can detect all ten of your fingers as well as objects such as pens. Of course, my mind immediately added ‘penis’ to the list!

The Leap will connect to your computer via USB and calibrate in just one step. You’ll be able to adjust the sensitivity settings, create and save custom gestures that you can use as shortcuts and, according to Leap, the device will support networking multiple Leap devices together to create a larger interaction space.

Leap Motion“I believe the Leap is the future of how people will interact with their devices,” says Bill Warner, founder of Avid Technology and one of Leap Motion’s investors, in a press release. “What’s previously been an expensive special effect in movies is now an affordable everyday reality, in full 3-D. With the Leap, you use both hands and all 10 fingers to work within your computer’s virtual environment just as easily as you do in the real world.”

Leap Module - Leap Motion IncPlans are to make The Leap available this winter for the extremely affordable price of $69.99. If you go to The Leap website, you can fill out a form to submit a pre-order to ensure you don’t miss out. I have the feeling this is going to be big. The developers see it as the mouse killer. I’m not totally convinced of that yet. Let’s say you’ve been typing up a report for the last four hours… You sneeze and the file closes without having been saved. Ooops! But that being said, I think this has a lot of potential and as soon as I finishing posting this, I’m going to order one!

Love to all, Poppy xxxxxx

The Tesla Rifle: It’s Here AND It’s Real!

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If you’re any kind of a geek, you know the name Nikola Tesla. A scientific genius with some 300 patents to his name, Tesla is frequently referred to as ‘The Father of The Twentieth Century’. His overwhelming interest was in the field of electricity and as a result of his work, we have a national energy grid. His concept was to transmit electricity through the air without the use of wires, a system he built and demonstrated successfully in Manhattan in 1895. A setback to his work happened in 1895 when his NYC lab was destroyed along with all of his notes and working models by a suspicious fire, commonly thought to have been the work of money men who did not want to see virtually free wireless delivery of electric power. But this didn’t stop Tesla. He went on to invent an electric car (built from a Pierce-Arrow with the gasoline motor removed) which reached speeds of 90mph in 1931. The power source? Allegedly, it was powered by pulling existing free power from ‘the ether’. Zero-point energy? We may never know.

What’s point of the history lesson? One of Nikola Tesla’s inventions is known as a Tesla Coil which when sufficiently energized, creates an arc of electricity that jumps from the coil to the nearest convenient earth. Umm, sorry… For you non-Brits, that would be ‘nearest convenient ground’. The Tesla Coil was the inspiration for every iteration of ray-guns in movies, novels and television shows from the spark spewing ray guns of the Buck Rogers serials to Star Trek phasers and disruptors to science fiction yet to be conceived. The stuff of Science Fiction? Perhaps at one time. But now, thanks to Rob Flickenger, a self-described ‘Mad Scientist’ from Seattle, Washington, the Tesla Rifle is a reality. Bugger all, but he looks pretty damn sexy in that lab coat. Smart and hot. But, he has a fiance, so let me put my hormones away and get back on topic here….

Rob got the idea from the graphic novel “The Five Fists of Science” in which Tesla is one of the Five Fists. In the novel, he invents the Tesla Rifle, which, admittedly is far more versatile and powerful than Rob’s creation, but with one important distinction. Rob actually built one!

I watched the video and read his blog that details his build process this morning and I, quite frankly, was seriously impressed. This is not a gimmick or a joke; this is the serious application of scientific fact in a way that would be considered by many as near impossible. Is this the long envisioned ray gun? Not really.

It has an effective range of 8 to 24 inches and as Rob puts it, at that point, a baseball bat makes a more deadly weapon. Rob doesn’t describe it as a weapon, but as a high tech toy. To me, none of that is relevant. What he has done, in my own point of view, is take what seems to be fantasy and turn it into reality. It reminds me of a professor I had at university who said “Science Fiction may best be described as Future History”. Ask yourself, what other seemingly impossible devices from Science Fiction may become real through the imagination of a brilliant mind? One thing is clear. We need more people like Rob Flickenger.

Love you all, Poppy xxxxxxx

All photos in this article are hosted on Flickr.com and are the sole property of Rob Flickenger.

The Avengers Movie

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The Avengers MovieThe Avengers is possibly the best new movie I’ve seen in a long time! Hi, guys…  Sorry for having gone missing but I found myself sent off on somewhat of a secret mission for work. I wish I could tell you about it, but after all, it was a ‘secret’ assignment and I don’t kiss and tell! Ok, you got me…  That’s a pretty poor analogy for someone like me to use with a straight face!

Also, my birthday was last week (May 11th) which was when I turned 32… You know, it doesn’t seem that long ago when I considered anyone over the age of 25 to be ancient! To celebrate, The Boyfriend and I decided to go see a movie. I know. Sad, isn’t it? And what did we decide to go and see? Why, The Avengers in 3-D at the IMAX theatre, of course. For the benefit of those of you who haven’t read my earlier blogs (For SHAME!!!) I wrote a rather scathing opinion piece on the evils of 3-D movies in general and Avatar in particular. After seeing The Avengers, I have modified half of my opinion. The Avengers in 3d on the IMAX screen was fucking awesome! Avatar, on the other hand, is still “Fern Gully meets Dances With Wolves” and STILL sucks.

Go see movie or Hulk SMASH!Why the change in opinion? Several reasons. To begin with, the 3-D effects in The Avengers weren’t overblown and done just to show the audience “Look what we can do with 3-D effects!”. It looked so realistic that you one could almost forget they were watching a 3-D movie instead of a live action scene. Besides the 3-D effects, or maybe in spite of them, I simply really loved the movie.

Do yourself a favour and go see The Avengers on the largest screen you can find, preferably in an IMAX theatre. I will definitely purchase the DVD when it’s released, but I can’t help but feel that it will lose a measure of the magic afforded by a large screen.

This weekend I’m going to start digging through some technical questions you’ve sent in and begin answering them. If there’s anything at all you’d like to know, drop me an email at Poppy@thesexytechie.com and I’ll do my very best to answer it.

Love you all, Poppy

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