Monday, January 30, 2006

Douglas Adams quote.

I've been trying to remember this quote since yesterday. My buddy mentioned it and I felt the need to post it. It's an excerpt from Dirk Gentlys Holistic detective Agency.

"St Cedd's," he pronounced, "the college of Coleridge, and the college of Sir Isaac Newton, renowned inventor of the milled-edge coin and the catflap!"

"The what?" said Richard.

"The catflap! A device of the utmost cunning, perspicuity and invention. It is a door within a door, you see, a... "

"Yes," said Richard, "there was also the small matter of gravity."

"Gravity," said Dirk with a slightly dismissive shrug, "yes, there was that as well, I suppose. Though that, of course, was merely a discovery. It was there to be discovered."

He took a penny out of his pocket and tossed it casually on to the pebbles that ran alongside the paved pathway.

"You see?" he said, "They even keep it on at weekends. Someone was bound to notice sooner or later. But the catflap... ah, there is a very different matter. Invention, pure creative invention."

"I would have thought it was quite obvious. Anyone could have thought of it."

"Ah," said Dirk, "it is a rare mind indeed that can render the hitherto non-existent blindingly obvious. The cry `I could have thought of that' is a very popular and misleading one, for the fact is that they didn't, and a very significant and revealing fact it is too. "

Sunday, January 29, 2006

XBox Headtracking system....

Last week, I was driving home and thinking about servos, the basic stamp and a few other things when ,as is the way the mind works, I recalled a simple "robot" my friend built based on the basic stamp that used 2 photoresistors to track the brightest light in the room.

Inspiration struck. Out of nowhere, came an idea that I found brilliant. I had wished there was a headtracker system for the xbox ever since it came out. Current console systems have a ton of rendering power and being an old school geek, wondered why there was no one exploiting the power of these systems for vr. I have a HMD and gaming on it is great, but I have always longed for a head tracking system to make it truly immersive.

How about a headtracker system for the xbox? There are commercial headtrackers for PC games and expensive systems for real vr use. Why does it need to be complicated? Why not use photoresistors to replace the pots in the analog thumbsticks? As long as the resistances are right it should work fine.

I decided on a system of 4 photoresistors (henceforth called pr's so I don't have to keep typing that) mounted in a diamond pattern. I had envisioned using a pic microcontroller to translate the resistances into the appropriate resistances that the xbox could understand. Turns out the control circuitry wasn't needed.

Here's the original concept sketch I showed my good friend B.

Here's what he proposed to simply replace the pots with the photoresistors.

In essence the resistance drops in the direction your going. So for example, if you look down the top photoresistor get illuminated and thus drops the resistance. So in essence you have to wire the board upside down and backwards. Though often in games you can reverse the cameras movements in the settings but not always. Best thing is to screw around and play with it and make sure it works before finalizing your design.

So here's what I needed.

1. An xbox controller I didn't care if it got trashed.
2. 4 Photoresistors.
3. A bunch of wire.
4. An activating light (I used a led based head mounted flashlight)

First I tore down an old style xbox controller. I never used it, I always thought it was to big.

Next we made the board that mounted the pr's. We kept it real simple. Good old fashioned cardboard. We started mounting the pr's then wired them all together.

Next up was soldering the wires to the xbox controllers pcb. Not bad, just 6 lines. Remember to thread them through the hole in the controller's case or your gonna be stuck. It was fun trying to figure out how to wire it up, looking at the pcb upside down and then looking at the analog stick right side up, and trying to figure which is necessary who need more resistance and less, was a pain. It took 2 of us to do it. One to use the multimeter and one to move the stick which was in the vice. So yes I took that pic while moving the stick and he was checking resistance.

Next we had to reassemble the controller. In this iteration the sensor board is soldered directly to the controller, but I will probably get around to putting a small 6 conductor connector on the controller so I can separate the 2 pieces.

Next was put on the led headlamp, hmd, plug it in and test.

It worked great. The only short coming was the fact that the headlight I used was so focused it was kind of an all or nothing affair. I'm going to switch to a normal flashlight bulb and things should be perfect. Here's a few screenshots of the game I was playing. I was kicking ass.

Video is coming as soon as I find my s-video cable so I can capture it from my camcorder. Hope you guys like this and you can use it. It's not polished but it works as is. A better light and fine tuning of distances is all it needs. I have some decent video of me using it in first person mode of "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" (yes I'm a fan, so sue me ;) ). Can't wait to play "Call of Duty" and "Medal of Honor". Should be great as that is what this was really designed for, FPS's.

Total cost was around $6 bucks. Needed 2 packs of the assorted PR's so I could get 4 that matched. Everything else I had.

Here's a video of it in action.

XBox Headtracker

High Speed camera platform continued.

Just a few things to note about the rc10 this is based on. It used to run in the modified class. That means off road vehicles modified to run on the street.

Actual nuts and bolts spec on the car, my buddy would be in better position to mention and maybe I'll have him type something up soon. But in the mean while, Here's some things I found really cool.

1. Graphite chassis.
2. Carbon fiber engine mounts.
3. Kevlar belt drive system.
4. Titanium axles.
5. Ceramic differential bearings.
6. Aluminum wing custom built today.

And he built this around 10 years ago. Here are some clearer picture of it.

that's all for now. I need to cut the video together to show it off a bit. Should be in a few days. I'll update it here and in the make forums.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Hmmm..... kick ass idea.

Hmm... Head tracking diy style and interfacing an xbox. Pretty sure it'll work. Need to do some more homework before this weekend, to make sure i can pull it off...

Monday, January 23, 2006

Electronics and my philosophy...

Everyone has a personal philosophy whether it is borrowed or unique to themselves. Mine you can probably tell from the links I thrown here, and various rants in my blog.

Thats not what this post is about.

I've always had a prediliction for expensive gadgets, or nifty toys. However I almost don't see them as seperate pieces of equipment. For me they are a bit like high tech legos. My last post, which made the blog (YAY!), is indicative of what i mean. Over the past few months I've been amassing various toys that are good at what they do in their own right.

A tiny wireless color camera with audio, nice picture once it's properly focused and sensitive sound gain. Ideal to use as it was intended, a lowish cost security camera that needs no power cable or signal lines.

A generic lcd HMD. Great for gaming or watching tv, or dvd's that would bother or offend other people.

Six channel radio setup for rc airplanes. Good unit by futaba if your into Model Airplanes and such. I'm not, but still a good unit.

I like to see how i can combine different pieces and make them do other things. For example my last post shows how i used the above toys to create a really cool rc car you can drive from the cockpit of the car. It worked great but i have already taken the thing apart and packed the pieces away in their respective cases. Why? Because building it yesterday was just done just to do it. It has nop practical application in my life. I may rebuild a variation of it next time i need to run cable just so i don't have to climb into a ceiling (I hate fiberglass insulation). But I may not just the same.

It may sound crazy but i have this desire to build things just to do it. I may do it to solve a problem, or i could just be bored. More often than not it's the latter. But I think that's the beauty of the whole hardware hacking scene, and magazines like MAKE. To challenge ourselves to do something cool. Or to do it because you can save money yourself over buying overpriced items that are purpose built.

Everyone I know seems to have a PDA of some kind and also have a iPod or similiar mp3 player. This i dont get. The pda's have the ability to play the music well enough. Removable storage has come down in price enough where you can get 2 gigs relatively cheaply. I mean who really NEEDS a 60gb mp3 player? Isn't that a bit over kill and kinda ridiculous? Are you ever going to have time to listen to it all? And apart of a few PMP's out there, they can't display video. My pda can display video very well. I simply did some smart shopping and got a 2 gig compact flash card and now i only need carry my pda and my cell. I havent even booted up my laptop in about 2 weeks.

I think the notion of buying purpose specific items is silly. I prefer versatility in my gadgets. It's probably why i love my pda. I can do nearly everything with it I need. As a matter of fact I think one of my next projects is going to be is figuring how to make a cable that will connect a vga port to my HMD. Mainly because my pda has a vga out on it. I can use a screen rotation utility and dump the video signal back out the vga and have native resolution on my LCD goggles. Thus eliminating the bulk of my portable dvd player when traveling (and i do a lot of that).

I may dissect my little wireless camera and see if i can remove the ir filter and make a cheap night vision system. The possibilities are endless if you can look around and see things for what they can be used for instead of what they're made for. My guess is since that seems to be MAKE's mission statement, it explains why i like that site and magazine so much.

Geez, that was a lot longer winded that I expected it to be. As always, feel free to comment.

High Speed Camera Platform with Pan and Tilt

This weekend I happened to come into possession of a $170 store credit to one of the better hobby shops in the area. Not being into RC cars or planes I figured I’d just nose around and see if anything struck my fancy. Well, something did. A six channel futuba radio set that came with 4 servos. I didn’t know what I’d do with it but I had a pretty good thought it would be useful for robotics experimenting and stuff so I plunked down the store credit and another $30 and walked out wanting to play with my new toy.

After brainstorming a bit with my best friend B, we decided to create a remotely controlled pan and tilt base for my miniature wireless color camera. I pondered for a few minutes and decided to use 3M poster tabs for a secure but temporary way to adhere it all together and in all of 5 minutes had a working pan and tilt system feeding video wirelessly to my HMD. Pretty neat to be able to put it down somewhere and just look around like you were there.

Then came the inevitable escalation. “We need to make it move” was what B said. My problem then was simple. Not being into RC cars, I didn’t have one. He said lets use mine. Uh oh. I remember screwing around last summer with him and his car. That thing is fast. Scary fast. Running full bore with no limitations it can hit nearly 50 mph. At one tenth scale that means net effect would be like a full size car running 500mph. Sounded like fun. So it was off to pick his car up and head to the shop.

As soon as we got there he went and started charging his batteries, and setting the car up. I went and started fabricating a bracket to mount the two servos together securely. Then mounted the camera with nylon zip ties (didn’t want a permanent solution and these things are pretty strong). I tested the pan and tilt mechanism and everything went smoothly with no hang ups.

Next we mounted my new receiver into his car (he had been running a 3 channel radio since it’s a car. This needed at least 4 channels to run so we used mine.) and mounted the camera system on it. We used double sided tape to mount everything and I was really surprised at how strong the bond was. Once it was all assembled, it was time to play.

Whoa. As in a Keanu Reaves kinda whoa. That car is fast. It was really strange trying to get used to driving it. We had the throttle and steering set on one stick and the pan and tilt on the other. It was really neat to be running in a straight line and then be able to just look left or up. One wired aspect was the out of body experience of driving it around and seeing a person, looking closer at them and realizing it’s you. The camera didn’t have a huge field of vision, but it didn’t matter so much because you could turn the camera there and see where you were. Also it was neat looking down at the tires when you turned, the ground rushing by, the chair leg as you hit it.

And hit things we did. A lot. Even got stuck under a desk. And the tape held, the wire ties held. I have to say it was a great way to waste an afternoon. But I have to be honest, it seems like it would be better suited to tank treads. Video from a platform that fast can just be rough.

Here's the video... cheesy soundtrack and all ;)


Thursday, January 19, 2006

PDA Battery charger/extender

While listening to my new xm radio, I found myself bored yet again. My pda’s batteries were low and I didn’t feel like going to get the charger for it. Made me think “Gee, wouldn’t it be nice if I had bought one of those battery extenders for my pda?” Knowing they cost like $10 online I knew I could do it cheaper. Off to radio shack. I picked up a slick battery holder and a plug that would fit my pda (Toshiba E750).

The battery holder was enclosed, held 4 AA’s and had a on off switch for under 2 dollars.

The connector was a coax style dc power plug

The pda charger produced 5 volts dc. Now I know your thinking “Hey aa’s are 1.5 so your going to overdrive it and burn it out!”. That’s unlikely but possible, however I wasn’t going to use regular alkaline AA’s. I had some nice 2500mah NIMH AA’s. These put out 1.2 volts so, 4 x 1.2 = 4.8. Well within the range. No damage to my pda.

So all I did was solder the wires to the connector charge my AA’s, insert them into the case, plug it into my pda and hit the power switch. The charging light came on, Success!

So far I have noticed it being able to charge my e750 about 3 times per battery recharge. It will also run off the AA’s before tapping the internal battery so bonus in runtime. Now I coulda gone real ghetto and used a bare battery holder, but when the parts are this cheap why bother. Maybe I’ll even use heat shrink on the wires to make it look cleaner but that’s just cosmetic and I don’t care all that much.

Set up a portable XM Radio in your house.

This weekend I was bored and needed to do something. I had purchased a Roady2 XM Reciever for a exgirlfriend but broke up with her before giving it to her. Seemed like a shame to let it go to waste, and I had been curious about satellite radio for a while.

Examining the package, it was a standard car install kit. Including the receiver, the antenna, 2 types of mounts (vent and pedestal), a tape adapter, dc power supply (cig lighter), and a few colored faceplate accents. Standard fare really. Useful for a car install but useless for a house install.

After checking prices online for the home kit, I was surprised to find that it cost around $40. Way to much for essentially an adapter kit. I mean really, I only paid $29 for the radio itself. I knew there was a cheaper way. First to assemble the parts.

Roady2 XM Reciever

Multi-voltage DC power supply

1/8th headphone to RCA cable

Now I had everything I needed the assembly was straight forward. Configure the power supply. I used a old radio shack Multi-voltage 1000mah wall wart power supply. Radio shack has a bunch of replacement wall warts with they’re adapta plug connectors for a decent price. I set it for the output voltage of 6 volts, center positive, with the “B” tip.

Next I used a standard cheap 1/8th headphone to RCA cable. Plugged the RCA’s into my receiver, and the other end into the XM radio.

Then I found a convenient place to mount the antenna on my front window (so it has a good skyview). Applied 3M poster strips on the antenna, stuck it to the window, and just taped the lead to the window frame to hide it a bit. Ran the cable and then connected it to the roady2 unit.

I used more 3M poster strips to mount the pedestal to the side of the smallish table that houses my home theatre components. Mounted my new radio, plugged in the power adapter, connected it to the roady2, turned on my receiver set it to the inputs of the roady2 (in my case I used the MD/Tape input). I turned on the roady2 and in a sec or so after finding the satellite I had XM Preview playing in my house.

This install cost nothing to me (because I had the parts already) other than the subscription fee. Now if you use new parts you can do this for under $30. The subscription is about $12 a month and I feel it’s worth it just to not have commercials. The world news and genre specific stations are just great. Not to mention I can still move it back and forth from my car because (aside of one mount) I never used the stuff that came with it aside from the antenna. I’ll just get another antenna to mount in my car permanently.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

'Kick A Spammer In The Nuts

The 'Kick A Spammer In The Nuts Daily' idea... -

Time to fight back. Instead of sending completely bogus information to them, actually go in and do it manually. This way it passes turing images, and looks legit. All the while, poisoning their database and eventually doing them more damage. I like this idea.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Hacker FAQ

Just for kicks.....

Questions and Answers:
Section 0: Basic understanding.
0.0: Won't my hacker break into my computer and steal my trade secrets?
No. Hackers aren't, contrary to media reporting, the people who break into computers. Those are crackers. Hackers are people who enjoy playing with computers. Your hacker may occasionally circumvent security measures, but this is not malicious; she just does it when the security is in her way, or because she's curious.
0.1: Was it a good idea to hire a hacker?
It depends on the job. A hacker can be dramatically more effective than a non-hacker at a job, or dramatically less effective. Jobs where hackers are particularly good are:
• Systems administration
• Programming
• Design
Jobs where hackers are particularly bad are:
• Data entry
More generally, a job that requires fast and unexpected changes, significant skill, and is not very repetitive will be one a hacker will excel at. Repetitive, simple jobs are a waste of a good hacker, and will make your hacker bored and frustrated. No one works well bored and frustrated.
The good news is, if you get a hacker on something he particularly likes, you will frequently see performance on the order of five to ten times what a "normal" worker would produce. This is not consistent, and you shouldn't expect to see it all the time, but it will happen. This is most visible on particularly difficult tasks.
0.2: How should I manage my hacker?
The same way you herd cats. It can be a bit confusing; they're not like most other workers. Don't worry! Your hacker is likely to be willing to suggest answers to problems, if asked. Most hackers are nearly self-managing.
0.3: Wait, you just said "10 times", didn't you? You're not serious, right?
Actually, I said "ten times". And yes, I am serious; a hacker on a roll may be able to produce, in a period of a few months, something that a small development group (say, 7-8 people) would have a hard time getting together over a year. He also may not. Your mileage will vary.
IBM used to report that certain programmers might be as much as 100 times as productive as other workers, or more. This kind of thing happens.
0.4: I don't understand this at all. This is confusing. Is there a book on this?
Not yet. In the meantime, check out The New Hacker's Dictionary (references below; also known as "the jargon file"), in particular some of the appendices. The entire work is full of clarifications and details of how hackers think.

Section 1: Social issues
1.0: My hacker doesn't fit in well with our corporate society. She seems to do her work well, but she's not really making many friends.
This is common. Your hacker may not have found any people around who get along with hackers. You may wish to consider offering her a position telecommuting, or flexible hours (read: night shift), which may actually improve her productivity. Or hire another one.
1.1: My hacker seems to dress funny. Is there any way to impress upon him the importance of corporate appearance?
Your hacker has a very good understanding of the importance of corporate appearance. It doesn't help you get your job done. IBM, Ford, and Microsoft have all realized that people work better when they can dress however they want. Your hacker is dressed comfortably. A polite request to dress up some for special occasions may well be honored, and most hackers will cheerfully wear clothes without (unintentional) holes in them if specifically asked.
1.2: My hacker won't call me by my title, and doesn't seem to respect me at all.
Your hacker doesn't respect your title. Hackers don't believe that management is "above" engineering; they believe that management is doing one job, and engineering is doing another. They may well frequently talk as if management is beneath them, but this is really quite fair; your question implies that you talk as if engineering is beneath you. Treat your hacker as an equal, and she will probably treat you as an equal -- quite a compliment!
1.3: My hacker constantly insults the work of my other workers.
Take your hacker aside, and ask for details of what's wrong with the existing work. It may be that there's something wrong with it. Don't let the fact that it runs most of the time fool you; your hacker is probably bothered by the fact that it crashes at all. He may be able to suggest improvements which could dramatically improve performance, reliability, or other features. It's worth looking into.
You may be able to convince your hacker to be more polite, but if there appear to be major differences, it's quite possible that one or more of your existing staff are incompetent. Note that hackers, of course, have different standards of competence than many other people. (Read "different" as "much higher".)

Section 2: Productivity.
2.0: My hacker plays video games on company time.
Hackers, writers, and painters all need some amount of time to spend "percolating" -- doing something else to let their subconscious work on a problem. Your hacker is probably stuck on something difficult. Don't worry about it.
2.1: But it's been two weeks since I saw anything!
Your hacker is working, alone probably, on a big project, and just started, right? She's probably trying to figure it all out in advance. Ask her how it's going; if she starts a lot of sentences, but interrupts them all with "no, wait..." or "drat, that won't work", it's going well.
2.2: Isn't this damaging to productivity?
No. Your hacker needs to recreate and think about things in many ways. He will be more productive with this recreation than without it. Your hacker enjoys working; don't worry about things getting done reasonably well and quickly.
2.3: My hacker is constantly doing things unrelated to her job responsibilities.
Do they need to be done? Very few hackers can resist solving a problem when they can solve it, and no one else is solving it. For that matter, is your hacker getting her job done? If so, consider these other things a freebie or perk (for you). Although it may not be conventional, it's probably helping out quite a bit.
2.4: My hacker is writing a book, reading USENET news, playing video games, talking with friends on the phone, and building sculptures out of paper clips. On company time!
He sounds happy. The chances are he's in one of three states:
1. Basic job responsibilities are periodic (phone support, documentation, et al.) and there's a lull in incoming work. Don't worry about it!
2. Your hacker is stuck on a difficult problem.
3. Your hacker is bored silly and is trying to find amusement. Perhaps you should find him more challenging work?
Any of these factors may be involved. All of them may be involved. In general, if the work is challenging, and is getting done, don't worry too much about the process. You might ask for your corporation to be given credit in the book.
2.5: But my other workers are offended by my hacker's success, and it hurts their productivity.
Do you really need to have workers around who would rather be the person getting something done, than have it done already? Ego has very little place in the workplace. If they can't do it well, assign them to something they can do.

Section 3: Stimulus and response
3.0: My hacker did something good, and I want to reward him.
Good! Here are some of the things most hackers would like to receive in exchange for their work:
1. Respect.
2. Admiration.
3. Compliments.
4. Understanding.
5. Discounts on expensive toys.
6. Money.
These are not necessarily in order. The 4th item (understanding) is the most difficult. Try to remember this good thing your hacker just did the next time you discover he just spent a day playing x-trek. Rather than complaining about getting work done, write it off as "a perk" that was granted (informally) as a bonus for a job well done. Don't worry; hackers get bored quickly when they aren't doing their work.
3.1: My hacker did something bad, and I want to punish him.
Don't. 30 years of psychological research has shown that punishment has no desirable long-term effects. Your hacker is not a lab rat. (Even if he were a lab rat, punishment wouldn't work; at least, not if he were one of the sorts of lab rats the psych research was done on.) If you don't like something your hacker is doing, express your concerns. Explain what it is that bothers you about the behavior.
Be prepared for an argument; your hacker is a rational entity, and presumably had reasons. Don't jump on him too quickly; they may turn out to be good reasons.
Don't be afraid to apologize if you're wrong. If your hacker admits to having been wrong, don't demand an apology; so far as the hacker is concerned, admitting to being wrong is an apology, most likely.
3.2: I don't get it. I offered my hacker a significant promotion, and she turned it down and acted offended.
A promotion frequently involves spending more time listening to people describing what they're doing, and less time playing with computers. Your hacker is enjoying her work; if you want to offer a reward, consider an improvement in title, a possible raise, and some compliments. Make sure your hacker knows you are pleased with her accomplishments -- that's what she's there for.
3.3: My company policy won't let me give my hacker any more raises until he's in management.
Your company policy is broken. A hacker can earn as much as $200 an hour (sometimes more) doing freelance consulting. You may wish to offer your hacker a contracted permanent consulting position with benefits, or otherwise find loopholes. Or, find perks to offer - many hackers will cheerfully accept a discount on hardware from their favorite manufacturer as an effective raise.
3.4: I can't believe the hacker on my staff is worth as much as we're paying.
Ask the other staff in the department what the hacker does, and what they think of it. The chances are that your hacker is spending a few hours a week answering arcane questions that would otherwise require an expensive external consultant. Your hacker may be fulfilling another job's worth of responsibilities in his spare time around the office. Very few hackers aren't worth what they're getting paid; they enjoy accomplishing difficult tasks, and improving worker efficiency.

Section 4: What does that mean?
4.0: My hacker doesn't speak English. At least, I don't think so.
Your hacker is a techie. Your best bet is to pick up a copy of TNHD (The New Hacker's Dictionary). It can be found as (last I checked) or from a good bookstore. If you have trouble understanding that reference, ask your hacker if she has a copy, or would be willing to explain her terms. Most hackers are willing to explain terms. Be ready for condescension; it's not intended as an insult, but if you don't know the words, she probably has to talk down to you at first to explain them.
It's a reasonably difficult set of words; there are a lot of them, and their usage is much more precise than it sounds. Hackers love word games.
[It is also possible that English is not your hacker's native language, and that it's not yours either. Feel free to substitute a more appropriate language.]
4.1: I can't get an estimate out of my hacker.
Your hacker hasn't figured out how hard the problem is yet. Unlike most workers, hackers will try very hard to refuse to give an estimate until they know for sure that they understand the problem. This may include solving it.
No good engineer goes beyond 95% certainty. Most hackers are good engineers. If you say you will not try to hold him to the estimate (and mean it!) you are much more likely to get an approximate estimate. The estimate may sound very high or very low; it may be very high or very low. Still, it's an estimate, and you get what you ask for.
4.2: My hacker makes obscure, meaningless jokes.
If you feel brave, ask for an explanation. Most of them can be explained. It may take a while, but it may prove interesting.
4.3: My hacker counts from zero.
So does the computer. You can hide it, but computers count from zero. Most hackers do by habit, also.

Tribute to Nice Guys...

I saw this online at a friends blog. I feel the need to post it also, as it's about time someone said what this does. To the Author of this and the people he's talking about I salute you.

Tribute to Nice Guys

"This is a tribute to the nice guys. The nice guys that finish last, that never become more than friends, that endure hours of whining and bitching about what assholes guys are, while disproving the very point. This is dedicated to those guys who always provide a shoulder to lean on but restrain themselves to tentative hugs, those guys who hold open doors and give reassuring pats on the back and sit patiently outside the changing room at department stores. This is in honor of the guys that obligingly reiterate how cute/beautiful/smart/funny/sexy their female friends are at the appropriate moment, because they know most girls need that litany of support. This is in honor of the guys with open minds, with laid-back attitudes, with honest concern. This is in honor of the guys who respect a girl’s every facet, from her privacy to her theology to her clothing style.

This is for the guys who escort their drunk, bewildered female friends back from parties and never take advantage once they’re at her door, for the guys who accompany girls to bars as buffers against the rest of the creepy male population, for the guys who know a girl is fishing for compliments but give them out anyway, for the guys who always play by the rules in a game where the rules favor cheaters, for the guys who are accredited as boyfriend material but somehow don’t end up being boyfriends, for all the nice guys who are overlooked, underestimated, and unappreciated, for all the nice guys who are manipulated, misled, and unjustly abandoned, this is for you.

This is for that time she left 40 urgent messages on your cell phone, and when you called her back, she spent three hours painstakingly dissecting two sentences her boyfriend said to her over dinner. And even though you thought her boyfriend was a chump and a jerk, you assured her that it was all ok and she shouldn’t worry about it. This is for that time she interrupted the best killing spree you’d ever orchestrated in GTA3 to rant about a rumor that romantically linked her and the guy she thinks is the most repulsive person in the world. And even though you thought it was immature and you had nothing against the guy, you paused the game for two hours and helped her concoct a counter-rumor to spread around the floor. This is also for that time she didn’t have a date, so after numerous vows that there was nothing “serious” between the two of you, she dragged you to a party where you knew nobody, the beer was awful, and she flirted shamelessly with you, justifying each fit of reckless teasing by announcing to everyone: “oh, but we’re just friends!” And even though you were invited purely as a symbolic warm body for her ego, you went anyways. Because you’re nice like that.

The nice guys don’t often get credit where credit is due. And perhaps more disturbing, the nice guys don’t seem to get laid as often as they should. And I wish I could logically explain this trend, but I can’t. From what I have observed on campus and what I have learned from talking to friends at other schools and in the workplace, the only conclusion I can form is that many girls are just illogical, manipulative bitches. Many of them claim they just want to date a nice guy, but when presented with such a specimen, they say irrational, confusing things such as “oh, he’s too nice to date” or “he would be a good boyfriend but he’s not for me” or “he already puts up with so much from me, I couldn’t possibly ask him out!” or the most frustrating of all: “no, it would ruin our friendship.” Yet, they continue to lament the lack of datable men in the world, and they expect their too-nice-to-date male friends to sympathize and apologize for the men that are jerks. Sorry, guys, girls like that are beyond my ability to fathom. I can’t figure out why the connection breaks down between what they say (I want a nice guy!) and what they do (I’m going to sleep with this complete ass now!). But one thing I can do, is say that the nice-guy-finishes-last phenomenon doesn’t last forever. There are definitely many girls who grow out of that train of thought and realize they should be dating the nice guys, not taking them for granted. The tricky part is finding those girls, and even trickier, finding the ones that are single.

So, until those girls are found, I propose a toast to all the nice guys. You know who you are, and I know you’re sick of hearing yourself described as ubiquitously nice. But the truth of the matter is, the world needs your patience in the department store, your holding open of doors, your party escorting services, your propensity to be a sucker for a pretty smile. For all the crazy, inane, absurd things you tolerate, for all the situations where you are the faceless, nameless hero, my accolades, my acknowledgement, and my gratitude go out to you. You do have credibility in this society, and your well deserved vindication is coming."

Saturday, January 07, 2006

Nifty new toys.....

I just recieved my new HMD in the mail. And i got to say for the price, the thing works great. I've used it for sao far for viewing videos off my pc and from my portable dvd player. Later I'm going to try to use it for a ghetto pov reciever for my wireless spycam with audio I got from home depot the other day. There's also the possibility of using it wiht that camera after removingthe ir filter and using it as a cheap night vision system.

Seems the possibilities are endless. Neat toys alone but when combined even cooler things are possible.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

chandanlog(3C): The All-In-One Card

chandanlog(3C): The All-In-One Card