Saturday, April 12, 2014

Flat Surfaces

Everything in life has a purpose. Flat spaces are for storing things.

No, I'm not posting photos.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Monday, December 23, 2013

Rowan Atkinson

The last video posted was of Rowan Atkinson, or Mr. Bean as he seems to be more commonly known.
Here he is performing at the 2012 Olympics.

Invisible drum set

More drums, but comedy this time. Watch for the (invisible) cat at the end!

Top Secret Drum Corps

It's been a long time since I posted anything on here, so I'll soon have several more posts in short succession. Here is the Top Secret Drum Corps.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Honda Ad

This is one of the coolest advertisements I've ever seen:

You can see the motion tracking and compositing is a little weak in places, but even so, it's still pretty amazing.
Also, here's a link to the breakdown:

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Blender sci-fi

While on the topic of blender, here's my latest creation:

It's still a work in progress, the texturing still needs a good bit of work, but I'm pretty happy with the exhaust flames, just a few more tweaks and they'll be pretty good. 

Usually smoke or fire takes a really long time to bake, and then renders pretty fast.
With the adaptive domain, I've been able to compute the smoke pretty fast too; it took less than a minute and a half to compute 200 frames at 128 divisions and high resolution set to 2.

Wednesday, July 31, 2013


Blender is amazing! Here's their 2013 demo reel which should serve well as inspiration:

Every year it just gets better!

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Neat key holders

If you want to carry your keys neatly, there are two good options that I know of:

~ and/or ~

5 Key Capacity

Now I just can't make up my mind!
Maybe I should put frequently used keys on a Switchy, and keep the rest on a KeySmart...
Kickstarter has some really neat products.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Dell CS-24SC servers

Dell CS24-SC:

Recently I discovered these servers on ebay. So far as I have been able to find out, the Dell CS-24SC was made by Dell for some undisclosed customer in large quantities. When they decided to upgrade, they flooded the market with these servers, and the prices show it. You can buy one of these with 8 GB of memory for about $140 (including shipping!) For a model with 16 GB of memory, the price goes up to the astronomical number of... about $165!

Image from ebay

Here are the specifications:

CPU: 2X Intel L5420 quad core @ 2.5 GHZ
SATA trays: 4, but make sure the seller includes them.
USB ports: 4 USB 2.0, 2 front, 2 back
Ethernet: 2X GBE + one for management
Video: Internal Intel chipset, 1X VGA (back)
Memory: Up to 16 GB DDR2 EEC

Some notes:

This is an incredible value. If you are going to build a renderfarm or compute cluster, it doesn't get any better than this. If you find a better deal, I want to see it!
It has a PCI-E slot, so you can add a better graphics card. It's single slot, so the maximum you could fit would probably be something like a GTX 640 (Though that starts to approach the cost of the server!) If you want more GPU power in something like this, you would probably have to go to liquid cooling.
 If you like this model, but need more memory, the Dell SC24-TY (oops, typo, Dell CS24-TY.) looks like the same model, but I've seen some specifications that indicate it will hold up to 288 GB of memory. (18 DDR3 slots, 18X16 GB=288) Those get expensive pretty quickly though.
I noted 16 GB maximum memory for the -SC model above, but I forget, it could be 24 GB.

Before getting this, I read some of the reviews (which are surprisingly scarce), and it was claimed to be loud. This is not the case. The fans spin up loudly, but once booted, they throttle down, and stay nice and quiet. I've got a Dell laptop right here that is louder than the server. The server also runs very cool, so the cooling is doing its job. I ran a smoke simulation in Blender for an hour, all cores at 100%, and it only got mildly warm. This was in a room with an ambient temperature of probably about 85 F.
If you're curious about how fast this is, here's a nice comparison chart: This shows that it's a little slower than a modern desktop, but remember that the entire thing costs somewhere around half of what just the CPU of a new computer might cost! At the cost, scaling out over multiple servers is a good option too.

I've run Linux mint, FreeNAS, and Ubuntu Studio on it. Boot time is rather slow, but I haven't timed it. When using onboard graphics the X server sometimes has to be started manually with startx. I haven't had any such problems with a graphics card.

All in all though, if you're looking for power without the price, it doesn't get any better than this!

Monday, July 15, 2013

More good advertising

This is good advertising, at least in concept. The video is somewhat sub-par.

I guess this reduces the possibility of a leaking liquid cooling system ruining your motherboard/CPU.
My first thought is that the coating will trap heat, but I guess some silicone based coatings have decent thermal transfer.
It also makes open air cases more attractive, though I like the ASUS Sabertooth armor too.
Now I'm just waiting to hear of this for laptop motherboards!