clrs: A Color Library for HTML/JS/CSS/Canvas

Jul 13 2014

Send to Kindle

As most of you know, I grew up as a programmer using Flash and ActionScript, and in the last few years have been much more into web programming, particularly with HTML’s Canvas. In general I do like Canvas a lot. It’s a different mindset than Flash, but I enjoy the challenge.

One thing that has consistently annoyed me, though, is using colors. In ActionScript, colors were 24-bit or 32-bit numbers. So they were easy to manipulate. Want RGB? 0xffcc00. Combine channels? red << 16 | green << 8 | blue. Extract a channel? red = color >> 16, green = color >> 8 & 0xff, blue = color & 0xff. Because everything is numbers, numbers, numbers, it’s super easy to create random colors, tween colors, generate colors based on any math formula, etc.

Then you get into HTML/CSS/JS/Canvas. It’s all strings. You can do named CSS color: “cornflowerblue” or hex values “#ffcc00″ and you can even do rgb/rgba: “rgb(255,128,0)” or “rgb(255,128,0,0.5)”. It looks all about as easy as ActionScript until you actually try to do it. Those rgb numbers must be integers, so if you have red, green blue values that might be floating point numbers, its:

"rgb(" + Math.round(red) + "," + Math.round(green) + "," + Math.round(blue) + ")";

GAH! You write that a few times and you want to kill someone.

So I’d usually write some kind of function that would deal with that.

function rgb(red, green, blue) {
    return "rgb(" + Math.round(red) + "," + Math.round(green) + "," + Math.round(blue) + ")";
}

This past week, I took it a bit further and made a little library that did that and added a bunch of other neat features as well. Introducing “clrs”:

https://github.com/bit101/clrs

Essentially, clrs is an object that has a bunch of methods on it. These return a color object. So you can say:

var myColor = clrs.rgb(255, 128, 0);

The color object is just an object, but its toString method returns an “rgba(…)” string concatenated as above. It turns out that if you use an object for anything that needs a color value, it will call that toString method and will get the string you set. Thus, you can use color objects anywhere you need a color value in JavaScript:

document.body.style.backgroundColor = myColor;
context.fillStyle = myColor;

So now you can set colors with rgb values (floats or ints), rgba values, 24-bit numbers, strings of any kind, even hsv values. I threw in some random functions as well. Not functions that do random things, but functions that return random colors. You can even interpolate between two colors.

So that’s cool in itself, but there’s more. That color object has a bunch of other methods. So once you have a color, you can set or get any of its red, green, blue or alpha channels, or all at once. Any of the set methods are chainable, so you can say:

myColor
    .setRed(255)
    .setGreen(128)
    .setBlue(0);

Another neat feature is binding. you can bind a color to a particular property of an object, say fillColor of a context2d.

myColor.bind(context, "fillStyle");

Now, whenever you change anything about that color, by calling setRed, setGreen, setRGB, etc. it will automatically update the context’s fill color with the new color.

Anyway, it’s early code. It needs to be more extensively tested. I welcome all feedback and contributions. I’d like to make it require.js compatible at some point. Any other standardization / best practice issue you see, or any methods you would like to see added, let me know, or do a pull request.

Send to Kindle

5 responses so far

New job: DreamSocket!

May 27 2014

Send to Kindle

At the beginning of March, I was laid off, along with a few hundred others, from Playdom/Disney Interactive. Due to a very generous severance package, I was able to, and in a very real sense, was required to, take a 60 day sabbatical. (Think of it as a paid vacation with full benefits.) No complaints there. I had a great time. But like all good things, it came to an end. Not that I mind working, not at all, but if I could find someone to pay me to do whatever I want for the rest of my life, I’d jump on it. I guess that’s called retirement. If so, I’m looking forward to it.

But anyway, time to move on and get back to work. While I was off, I explored several opportunities. I even went through some interview processes at some big name companies. None of those panned out, but in the long run I’m glad. I don’t think I’m a large company kind of guy. All those HR processes and red tape and forms for this, forms for that, etc. rub me the wrong way. And being a small cog in a large machine, handling some small details of some large application that someone else built years ago, is, to me, about the most mind numbing thing in the world. This was most of the work I did at Playdom. Not all, but a good deal of it. So I’m not sure why I was applying to other large companies.

Actually, I was looking into tech writer / dev support / evangelist positions for a while. But as I started actually looking for and applying for jobs, it became obvious to me that I wasn’t really sure what I wanted to do in that field. Some of the developer support positions wound up being more in the realm of tech support call center things. Nope. The tech writer jobs seemed to be largely writing API docs. Hmm… Not exactly creative either. So all in all, it’s most definitely better that none of those things worked out.

What did work out was that I was contacted by Kenny Bunch, a name I’ve known for ages, back from the old Flash community days, but not sure we ever met in person. Kenny started up a company called DreamSocket years back, at first doing lots of Flash stuff, but now mainly native mobile and web apps. We talked a lot and I was really impressed with the work they are doing and got a glimpse into some of the technology they’d developed to do things and was even more impressed. It’s a small company and one of the big draws was that the dev teams are usually a single dev or maybe a couple. In other words, I could own a project from start to finish, not just bang on Jira tickets from some massive code base that I barely understand. So after a few conversations, I got and accepted an offer and started last week.

So far, I’m honestly very excited and happy to be working here. There was a certain prestige about working at Disney – working for the Mouse – but that wears off really quickly when the work itself is not satisfying. What I’m doing now, even in the first week, is really fun. I’ve finally got a reason to buckle down and do real native Android dev. And eventually brush back up on iOS and Objective-C, though it’s only been about a year or so since I did much with that. And there will be some real web work as well. I’m not going to bash Flash, but if I never have to work with the mobile AIR publishing process again, I’ll be perfectly happy.

I’ll still be working remotely, which is nice as well. At least I’ll be on an east coast schedule. Working at Playdom, I adopted a mostly west coast schedule. I’d start working around 11:30 a.m. and go to around 7:30 p.m. Having the mornings was nice, but I also just got lazy and often accomplished nothing in the mornings. I think I’m happier being back on a tight morning schedule. I get up at 6:00 a.m., go for a run, come back, eat, walk the dog, take a shower and start work by 9:00 a.m. And I’m done in time to have dinner with my family, not at my desk.

Send to Kindle

10 responses so far

Flash and Me

Apr 23 2014

Send to Kindle

Today I tweeted a link to another stupid linkbait article proclaiming that Flash is dead. Of course, this set off a huge flurry of tweets about whether or not Flash is still breathing. And it made me realize that I haven’t made my current position on Flash very clear.

The fact is that I have no longer have any interest in Flash or ActionScript as a platform or language. While I did do some work with ActionScript and mobile AIR development while I was at Disney, I don’t think I’ve done any personal Flash development in two or three years. I don’t have Flash Authoring or Flash Builder or any other Flash development tools on any of the computers that I currently use.

But I’m not a Flash hater. I know a lot of people who jump started their development careers with Flash and have moved on and now rant and rave about how horrible it is and always was and how much they hate it now. I’m not in that camp. I have lots of great memories about Flash – both the technology and the community that it created.

So why did I jump ship? Short answer, I don’t see it as a viable, evolving technology for the future. That’s not the same as it being dead though. I look at it more that Flash has gone into retirement. Now, people who go into retirement are not dead. Many continue to have long, healthy, happy lives for decades to come. Some continue to do many productive things, have great experiences and learn new skills. But generally speaking, they’re not graduating college and looking for a new job to start their career. They’re winding down.

That’s where I see Flash. It had its Golden Age, and it was awesome. I’m super happy that I was a part of that. But that’s over. That doesn’t mean that it’s dead. In fact, Flash still does all the stuff that made it awesome, and does it as well as it ever did. It even continues to get some new features. And you can still use it for all that stuff. And many people still do, and they make a living at it, and likely will continue to be able to make a living at it for some time.

But, as I said, it’s not a viable, evolving technology. Looking at my years as a Flash developer, I started out with Flash 4. Flash 5 had groundbreaking changes and improvements. Eighteen months later, Flash MX blew everyone away with new features again. Flash MX 2004 gave us ActionScript 2.0. The next bunch of improvements get a bit hazy due to the player versions getting out of sync with the authoring versions, but we got BitmapData and crazy audio and video improvements, ActionScript 3.0, Flex, Flex/Flash Builder, Flash Catalyst, basic 3D and then Stage3D, and on and on.

But in the last few years, there has been nothing like that. Yes, Stage3D continues to get improvements, and AIR continues to get updates. And there are things here and there, but as an overall ecosystem, I feel like it’s largely in maintenance mode. I know people will deny this and start posting long lists of recent updates and improvements. But you can’t tell me that Adobe is anywhere near as committed to the future of Flash than it was 10 or even 5 years ago.

Where is Flex? Where is Flash Mobile? Where is Flash Catalyst? Where is any sign of Flash on Linux? (hint: gone, gone, gone and gone.) What is in store for the next version of ActionScript? (hint: there is no next version of ActionScript planned.) What improvements are upcoming for Flash Builder? (hint: none.) How many people were on the Flash team a few years ago and how many are on it now? (hint: fractional.) How is the Flash Platform monetized? (no hint. no clue.) How many people do you know who were full time Flash developers 5-6 years ago who don’t Flash at all now? (hint: a LOT.) How many of the numerous Flash conferences from 5-10 years ago are still held, and have not changed their name to exclude the concept of Flash? (hint: zero.)

I know I’m now sounding like a Flash hater, but I’m really not. These are all just facts. Adobe is committing a small fraction of the resources it used to to the Flash Platform. It has cancelled most of the projects and products related to the platform. Almost every person I know who worked on the Flash team back in the day has either left, been laid off, or has moved onto other projects. Most of the Flash developers I know personally from years ago are now doing iOS, HTML/JavaScript or other development – exclusively in most cases.

Now, I know people are going to come on here and tell me how great Flash still is. Yep, I already said that. They’ll say that it is still innovating with new features. I covered that. They’ll talk about how great it is for games. No argument. Then they’ll go onto say how much HTML and JavaScript sucks. They’ll say how you can’t make apps with it and you can’t make games with it and you can’t really do anything with it because it isn’t strictly typed and doesn’t have private vars audio support sucks and blah blah blah. I’m not going to respond to those people. Only going to roll my eyes and feel a bit sad for them.

Long, long before I was into development, long, long before most of you were into programming either, I knew a guy who was a programmer. An MIT graduate. He was really proficient in some particular language being run on some particular system. I can’t tell you what language or system because at the time, I couldn’t tell you the difference between C and BASIC. But he was one of the best at this system. He had this great, really well-paying job doing it. He worked there for years. Had it made. Then the company upgraded to a new system with a new language that he knew nothing about. So he was out of a job. And he went to look for a new job. And he realized that absolutely nobody used that old system or language anymore. He was so confident and complacent at his old job that he never bothered to learn any new language or system. Now, all his skills were completely obsolete and he could not get a new job. I think he wound up doing data entry somewhere. This is not a made up fable. This was a real guy that I knew well. I don’t want to be that guy, so every once in a while I put aside my likes and biases and take an honest look at the landscape around me and decide where technology is going so that I don’t paint myself into a corner. And that’s why I stopped doing Flash.

Send to Kindle

89 responses so far

Hire me!

Apr 05 2014

Send to Kindle

Well, as previously reported, I got caught up in a big layoff from Disney Interactive / Playdom. Considering the amount of time I was there, I got treated pretty well and that has allowed me to take a couple of months off completely. Actually, without getting into details, I kind of can’t start another full time job until early May. But it’s all good. Very good. I’ve been enjoying the time off immensely. I could get used to this. But eventually, the clock will strike midnight, my coach will turn into a pumpkin, I’ll have to leave the ball and go back to scrubbing cinders.

I haven’t been job hunting in earnest, but have had some interesting conversations that I need to follow up on. I guess over the next few weeks I will have to get more serious about this.

I did manage to pick up some contract work. I’ll be creating an online video-based course to teach basic JavaScript. This will be six lessons, each 30-45 minutes of video each. I spent the last week finalizing the outline and getting to work on Lesson 1. I’m really excited about this and I’m having a lot of fun doing it. This is exactly the kind of work that I would love to be doing full time. And it’s a nice extra income that pushes off that pumpkin deadline a few more weeks into the future as well.

I already mentioned this in my previous post about being laid off, but since then I’ve been doing even more “soul searching” about what I want to do and this is it. All recent controversy aside, I’d love to get into someplace like Mozilla, working with the MDN documentation or something similar. Or any other company that has an API, a service, a language, system, framework, etc. that they want people to understand and use to its full potential. I just love learning something, then analyzing the hell out of it in order to teach it to others, showing them A. why they might want to use it, B. how easy it is to use and how to get started, and C. some awesome things you can do with it.

Alternatively, I’d also love to get into something even more purely educational, such as Khan Academy, Udacity, Lynda.com or something like that. That’s basically what I’m doing now with this JavaScript course contract. I’d be happy to continue doing contracts like this, though the illusion of job security with full time employment still has a hold on me.

I’m also not at all averse to continuing on in a straight up developer role somewhere. But if so, I’d love to be somewhere where I could start projects and do some creative work, not just be a member of a large team handling a conveyor belt of Jira tickets on some system created by someone who no longer even works there.

So, I’ll be continuing to do a more traditional job search kind of thing, but figured it couldn’t hurt to throw out a shotgun post like this. If you know of any leads or have any contacts in any companies that might be looking for people in positions like any of the above, please send them my way!

Send to Kindle

6 responses so far

Playing With Chaos – Alternate Formats!

Mar 24 2014

Send to Kindle

Since I published Playing With Chaos on the Amazon store, people have been asking for alternate formats – PDF, epub, print. Well, I finally got around to cleaning it up and formatting it for PDF. Generating an epub from the Kindle .mobi format was easy enough. So you can now purchase DRM-free versions of the book from Gumroad:

https://gumroad.com/l/playingwithchaos

When you buy, you’ll get all three versions – PDF, epub, mobi. No DRM, so you can read them anywhere. Hopefully you won’t go crazy sharing them. Think of the children.

Send to Kindle

Comments are off for this post

Goodbye, Magic Kingdom

Mar 09 2014

Send to Kindle

Well, that was a bit fast.

At the beginning of last April, I started working at Playdom, the social gaming division of Disney Interactive. As part of the Central Tech team, I wound up working on maybe a dozen different games, from Star Wars to Pirates of the Caribbean. I’d usually just go on to a game team for a short time to help out with something specific – build process, some library integration, optimization, implementation of some specific feature, etc. – then I’d move on to some other team that needed some help.

A couple of months ago, there were some big internal reorganizations and a couple of key execs left the company. Then, a few weeks ago, the Wall Street Journal posted a story claiming there were going to be huge layoffs from Playdom. I didn’t hear about the story until the following week, which was after the supposed layoffs were allegedly occurring. Although I was told it was an unfounded rumor, I felt that there was probably some truth to it. Maybe the timing was off, but I suspected something was in the works. Lots of internal factors, such as major reorganizations, shifting production schedules and shifting technology decisions, made me wonder what a lot of employees were going to do.

So last Thursday, when New York Times announced that Playdom had laid off 700 employees, it didn’t come as a huge shock. Well, the fact that they used the past tense, and nobody in the office knew anything was a bit strange, but obviously something big was happening that day. It was an odd day to be a remote employee. But eventually I got THE CALL. And so, now, I am unemployed, along with 700 or so of my former coworkers.

As it turns out, it seems like Disney took pretty good care of the people it let go. I can’t complain at all about the deal I got, especially considering I’d been there just under one year. Without getting into details, it works out that I’ll be taking the next two months off. That sounds extravagant, but it’s not just me being lazy. It’s just how it’s going to work out, and it’s the only logical option. So I’m pretty psyched about that. In my 11 months at Playdom, I didn’t take a single vacation or sick day. So I feel like I’m ready for some time off. Two months to chill out and reboot and do some soul searching about what I want to do next. I can do some other projects or small contracts though, so if anyone would like some help on a project, let me know.

Some thoughts: I’m not sure I really want to go back into a production coding environment. Yes, I can track down and fix bugs in my or someone else’s code. Yes, I can implement new features in existing code bases. Yes, I can optimize and convert existing code. But I’d much rather be building things from scratch. And with my recent Coding Math series, it’s become clear to me that one of my strengths is in education. I’d love some kind of position where I could write documentation, tutorials, do videos, seminars, workshops, sample apps and implementations. So if anyone has a line on such a job, let me know!

Some of the projects I plan to work on during this “sabbatical” are:

1. Playing With Chaos. Several people have been asking for a non-Amazon version of the book, either PDF, other format, or print. I’d started the conversion of this a while back, and got back onto it recently. It’s mostly a lot of formatting work. The Kindle/mobi format is basically reflowable HTML, but PDF and print are page-based, so I need to go over each page and look at how it lays out – code line breaks, image spacing, etc. Anyway, I think I should have some alternate versions available very soon. And then I’ll look at a print version.

2. Coding Math – I was doing three videos per week, which was getting to be a bit much. I was about to post something saying that I was going to cut that down to two videos per week. But now that I have some free time on my hands, I think I’ll keep up the three-per-week schedule for a bit. Last week I only got out a single video due to the drama at the end of the week.

3. I’ve had a couple of game ideas floating around my head. I may try to get those out the door finally. And I need to do some updates to Falling Balls.

4. Woodworking. This is a recent hobby I’ve picked up. Still in the noob stages, but starting to create some half decent items. I have a small basement shop, so I’ve been concentrating on small boxes, toys and puzzles. I’ve been having a lot of fun with it. After so many years of making virtual goods, it’s quite a change to be creating physical items. Here’s some of my stuff. https://www.etsy.com/shop/SquareKWoodworking

5. Get back on track with current web technologies. I was getting into this more last year, but at Playdom I was back in the Flash/AIR world mostly. I still love JavaScript, but have probably fallen a bit behind on the current popular frameworks and technologies that all the cool kids are using these days. I’d like to ramp back up on that really quickly. Suggestions? I’ll probably go to a bunch of local meetups too.

6. I also started learning a bit of Unity at the end of my Playdom stint, as it seemed like we were going to be doing a lot more with that. I may spend a little time continuing to look at that stuff.

7. I’ll probably reboot my running activities. Since my third marathon last October, I’ve been in a real rut. Just can’t get into a steady running schedule for more than a week or two. Maybe with a little extra time, I’ll be able to get back into it.

Send to Kindle

10 responses so far

Coding Math Mini #5: Pythagorean Theorem and Distance

Feb 12 2014

Send to Kindle

This is one I’ve been meaning to do for a while. Probably should have done it earlier, as it’s used in so many places. Anyway, here you go, how to find the distance between two points.

Send to Kindle

Comments are off for this post

Coding Math: Episode 13 – Friction

Feb 11 2014

Send to Kindle

I figure I might as well post these here too. Just in case people aren’t aware of them. :)

Send to Kindle

Comments are off for this post

Coding Math Application Series

Feb 10 2014

Send to Kindle

Last week I kicked off a new series on the Coding Math Channel. It’s the Application series.

I was thinking that it’s nice to present new concepts in each video, but there is a limited amount that I can do with them. I try to make the main episodes be 10-15 minutes long. I can explain a concept, do a few drawings, show some math, write some code, see it in action, and maybe iterate on that once or twice. And then, that’s it for that topic. Hopefully the brief example was good enough, because I’m moving on to something else now.

So my thought was to start another series where I actually build some simple app or game, or at least the barest outline of such. With some real world applications of the principles that are covered in the other videos. Each video will be in the five minute range, adding just one or two small features to the current app or game. Each feature may make use of one or more of the concepts from the other videos.

The first game is something I call Ballistics. It’s just a simple idea where you aim a gun and it shoots a cannonball that you try to hit a target. Like the old QBasic game, Gorillas.

gorilla2

In the first episode, we use a bit of trigonometry, including arctangent, to aim the gun using the mouse. In this week’s upcoming episode, we’ll actually get a cannonball firing, so that will use the particle class, with velocity and gravity, and lots more real world application of trigonometry. But each one is a bite sized piece of an application. We might hit the same concept over and over in different parts of the same app, or in different apps. But that’s the whole idea, to see many different ways you can use these concepts.

So now, we have the main episode each Monday, a Mini episode – shorter 5-minute simple concept – on Wednesday, and these Application episodes on Friday.

I want to thank all of you who have supported me on Patreon.com. It really makes doing these videos more justifiable in terms of the time I spend on them. And if you are a supporter, know that only the main Monday episodes are Patreon sponsored episodes. The Minis and Applications are on the house.

Send to Kindle

Comments are off for this post

2013 in Review

Jan 01 2014

Send to Kindle

For the last few years I’ve done a year in review type of post near the end of the year. I guess I blew that already. But January 1st isn’t a bad time to do it.

2013

2013 brought a big change for me. After almost 6 years of working at Infrared5, I left there to work at Disney Interactive. It was a tough decision. I started at IR5 because the people there were my friends. And more friends arrived over the years. But the company had started as a Flash shop and with the slow decline of Flash, I felt it was facing an identity crisis. Long story short, I felt I was stagnating there the last year or two and needed to move on.

Moving from a small company to a massive one like Disney is tough. Oddly, I find myself back doing a lot of Flash work. But really touching all kinds of stuff – Objective-C, C++, C#, JavaScript, Unity, Java. For a month or so I became the go-to Jenkins guy, setting up build servers for a bunch of different teams. That was a lot of fun. It can get a bit frustrating being on a massive team where you only own a small portion of the code and other people are working on other parts. I honestly prefer smaller projects that I can start from scratch, do the architecture and then start fleshing it out, with another person or two helping to do parts. Thus far at Disney I’ve mostly been jumping around assisting in ongoing projects for a few weeks to months. A kind of strike force of one. But when I’m done with the current project I’m on, I have a project lined up for 2014 that I’m very excited to get onto. Nothing hugely glamorous, but something I’ll be able to start up myself and be a lead on.

Other than work, I’ve started a couple other projects. Of course there was Playing With Chaos. That took up a few months of my spare time, but was a ton of fun and hugely satisfying to be able to pull off the self-publishing of a book. One thing I’ve realized publishers are good for is publicizing your book and driving sales. So it hasn’t exactly been a runaway best seller, but honestly, I don’t think it was ever destined to be. It’s a niche title. A labor of love.

And I started the Coding Math video series. This has also been very satisfying and keeps me excited on a weekly basis, planning out new subjects, writing scripts, recording and editing. I’m almost at the point where my own voice in my own ears doesn’t sound like fingernails on a chalkboard to me. And learning lots about the process as well. I can see myself that the quality of the videos has come way up since the first one, but still has a long way to go.

Earlier in the year, I decided to build an arcade cabinet. This never fully materialized, but did spark a new interest in woodworking and an old interest in electronics. I dabbled in both a bit, but both got pushed aside when I started working flat out on Playing With Chaos. But both will come in handy for a new project I’ll be doing this year…

Personally, things are good. I ran my third marathon on my birthday in October. It wasn’t my best, but not my worst either. Since that race, running has taken a back seat for me. Marathon training is a four-month process that takes a lot out of you. I’ve gone through it three times in the last two years.So the last month or two I’ve taken a break. I’ve also gained some weight. So I start this year temporarily in the worst shape I’ve been in in a couple of years! But still, it’s better shape than I was in the previous 10 years.

I got a dog! I never was much of a dog person. Could take them or leave them. Some people at my last job believed I hated dogs. Not true. There were something like 5-6 dogs in the office and it was a major distraction all too often. Anyway, my daughter Kris has been dying for a husky for years. I kept saying no. My wife was on the fence. She finally joined my daughter’s side and they ganged up on me. So now we have a husky named Yuki. They promised to do all the work, including taking her for long walks twice a day. Of course, at this point, I am the chief dog walker. But this has had its benefits. At any rate, Yuki has totally changed our lives and is a really awesome addition to the family and home.

A husky needs a lot of walking. So I’m out with her 30-45 minutes or longer twice a day. This has lead to a couple of new hobbies. One is history. I’ve been into audiobooks for a while, listening during my long runs. But I started listening to history lectures from The Great Courses. You can get many of them on Audible.com and I can also get a lot from the library as well. (Side note: my use of the library has rocketed since I discovered that you can go on line and search for and order books, movies, and audiobooks from a huge network of libraries around greater Boston and suburbs. I can find almost anything if I’m willing to wait a week or three.) I’ve listened to a couple about the American Revolution, the Rise and Fall of the British Empire, The Fall and Rise of China, and the Rise and Fall of Soviet Communism in Russia. On deck are ones on Hitler’s empire, more about China, and the French revolution. And a few non-history subjects I wanted to learn about. It’s been a fantastic learning experience so far, and I’m able to bore my family to death with fascinating (to me) facts.

Also, while walking the dog at night, I started looking up in the sky. When I started, I could recognize the Big Dipper and Orion. And from the Big Dipper, I could sometimes locate the North Star. The rest was just random specs of light. But they were up there every night so I started looking closer. Tried a few different star chart apps, and settled on Stellarium. I just use the desktop app, spot a few things to look for before I go out, try to find them while I’m walking the dog, spot some other patterns while I’m out there and try to figure out what those were when I come back in. I have an app on my phone too, but it’s tough to use when you’re walking a dog and listening to history lectures. :) I got up to the point where I could find and name more than a dozen constellations and more than a dozen stars as well as other features, including Jupiter and Venus. This past week I started thinking of getting a telescope to take things to the next level. Much of what I read said to start with binoculars. So I got a half decent pair and took them out last night with my daughter. Holy cow! The moons of Jupiter, the Andromeda galaxy, the Orion nebula! I’m now honing up on telescope basics and reviews. I need one.

2014

So what’s in store this year?

1. I’d like to get out a printed version of Playing With Chaos. This requires formatting a decent PDF version, which I may sell directly in addition to the Amazon sales.

2. I have another self-publishing book idea that I started working on. This will be smaller and probably even more niche, but it has to be done. More on that if and when it moves forward.

3. Of course, I’ll be continuing on with the Coding Math series. Currently this is my top priority.

4. As hinted to above, I have another project in mind that will make use of both my electronics and woodworking skills (minor though they both may be). I’ve gotten started on this, but have some parts on order, will need to order more, and then will have various fabrication issues to work out. Taking this one slowly, but will report when there’s something to share.

5. More learning, learning, learning. Stars, planets, history, technology, etc.

To sum it up, I quote from the best New Year’s resolution tweet I’ve ever seen:

My new year’s resolutions:

1. Read
2. Write
3. Execute

#chmod777

https://twitter.com/bobspace/status/417799321921126400

Send to Kindle

Comments are off for this post

« Newer posts Older posts »