Monday, September 24, 2007

how to achieve my dreams

Randy Pausch is a professor at Carnegie Mellon University. Randy has cancer and only has about 3 months of good health left. He gave a farewell speech entitled how to achieve your dreams.

The post-gazette wrote this article about Randy and the Wall Street Journal posted a short video clip of the speech But if you have the 1 hour 44 minutes you really need to watch the whole speech

At the end of the speech he reiterates what he considers to be the biggest life lessons hes learned. My two favorite are:

[speaking about impasses in the pursuit of our dreams] "Brick walls let us show our dedication. They are there to separate us from the people who don't really want to achieve their dreams."

Don't bail; the best gold is at the bottom of barrels of crap.

I can't imagine what it would be like to know Randy. I watched him for two hours and I'm thoroughly impressed. At the end of the speech it was obvious that I was watching someone teach by example. He knew his dreams, followed them to completion, and didn't take no for an answer.

how to roux a chili

Recipe is here : White Chicken Chili

The recipe is pretty solid but it needs some tweaks. I needed to use a much lower heat when I was simmering the soup and I needed to stir more. I ended up with some burnt portions on the bottom of the kettle. Also, an hour is a little lite on the amount of time it took to cook the beans.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

that my camera has a 15 second exposure setting

I also learned that 15 seconds just isn't enough some times. Yup, its another photo post. Heres the album:

Some of these had to be tweaked a good deal just to bring the levels up enough to be seen. Its a bit late in the night to do them justice, so I just uploaded the picassa fixes.

The other thing I learned tonight was the real downside to not having an SLR. The video viewfinder couldn't get enough light to show what was going to be captured in the shot. The peephole on my camera was too small and too awkward to handle lining up the shot. The other downside to shooting in the dark was trying to transition from the dark of night to the bright LCD and back again. I got a headache pretty quickly.

I always end up learning more about photography from the comments on these posts than what I do from taking the pictures themselves. Maybe someone can explain to me how you take a picture of a bright light behind a dark object and have it turn out well. It took me quite a while to get the moon behind that windmill and I'm still not 100% happy with how it turned out.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Monday, September 17, 2007

how to fix a logitec xbox wireless controller

I bought a logitech wireless xbox controller a year or so ago and its worked out well. Recently the controller developed a drift in the left joystick.

When the N64 first came out it re-calibrated the joystick on the controller each time the system was powered up or a controller was connected. The logitech controller decided that this was really unnecessary and never automatically re-calibrates itself.

I tore the controller apart and couldn't find any manual alignment switches. A small consumer review comment on an old website pointed out the answer.

Remove on battery from the controller. Hit and hold start and the left trigger while you put the battery back in. This will realign the controller.

Official model number of my controller is G-X3B12.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

how to take a picture of a spider web

I took a hike with a friend to a local park and brought my camera along for the ride. Aside from the Mosquitoes it was a beautiful day. (For the record, I <3 Deet)

While we were hiking we almost ran into a spider web that was hanging across the path. We ended up ducking under it, but only after I spent 20 minutes trying to get a shot of it. The little preview screen of my camera wasn't good enough to show the webs so I just kept shooting. Once I got back and download the pictures it turned out that the first shot worked the best.

The key is to get a dark back ground behind the web. If you can get the light behind you, do it. My camera has an overzealous flash, but with some tweaking I managed to get a decent shot out of it.

Here is the album. I'm trying the slideshow thing. If it doesn't work for you, post a comment and I'll fix it.