Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Farewell Craig Harding

Craig "Horse" Harding, Head of PostProduction for Outpost Digital Media passed away on Tuesday after a battle with cancer. He was almost 42.

I remember Craig from our high school years when he was involved in scouts, shared some of the best games in the Apple IIe lab at school and was the DJ for the lunchtime school radio station. An early adopter of anything technical, Craig was a pioneer of the internet society in New Zealand.

Working together with one of the MuzGadget brothers for more than 15 years, they formed Outpost in 1997. He says "Craig was a very talented man, turning his hand to any role, be it technician, editor, audio engineer, cameraman, writer, director, voice over artist, computer geek...".

World of Warcraft gamer, motorbiker, sci-fi and fantasy enthusiast, band manager, all round top bloke. We will miss you Craig. Ride on triumphantly.

The power of the sun

Watch these 2 amazing videos of Markus Kayser, who uses the sun to cut and print in 3D. 

Markus Kayser - Sun Cutter Project from Markus Kayser on Vimeo.
The sun cutter project explores the potential of harnessing sunlight directly to produce objects. The machine is a low-tech, low energy version of a laser cutter. It uses pure sunlight, focused by a ball lens, to repeatedly cut programmed shapes in up to 0.4mm thick plywood as well as paper and card. 
The project also explores the merit of analogue mechanized production that draws on the machine technology found in pre-digital machinery and automaton. It uses a cam system, moving an x & y- board to control the shape of the cut. the cams are set into synchronized motion by a small solar-powered motor driving a timing belt. 
Each pair of sunglasses made, even though very similar in shape, is still unique, creating a juxtaposition between the machine-made, repetitive and individual, unique object.

Markus Kayser - Solar Sinter Project from Markus Kayser on Vimeo.

In a world increasingly concerned with questions of energy production and raw material shortages, this project explores the potential of desert manufacturing, where energy and material occur in abundance. 
In this experiment sunlight and sand are used as raw energy and material to produce glass objects using a 3D printing process, that combines natural energy and material with high-tech production technology. 
Solar-sintering aims to raise questions about the future of manufacturing and trigger dreams of the full utilisation of the production potential of the world's most efficient energy resource - the sun. Whilst not providing definitive answers this experiment aims to provide a point of departure for fresh thinking.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Steampunk Exo Legs get international attention

Professor Damotimus Tipotus (Damien McNamara) of the Libratory Steampunk Art Gallery in Oamaru, New Zealand has gained international attention after his Exo Legs were placed first in Inventor / Scientist category of the 2011 Steampunk Fashion Show.

Some of the technology behind the legs is revealed in this video:

A Candian TV/web production company is keen to use the legs for the pilot of an upcoming series, and American film makers are interested in Damien's skills in weapons design. (See how to punk a Nerf gun!)

Read more about the Steampunk fashion show and the opportunities this has opened up for Damien on Stuff.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Meet the Elements

At his school's end of year talent quest today, my son sung Tom Lehrer's The Elements. 

Watch the original song with animation and learn more about the elements of the Periodic Table on my latest Squidoo Lens: Meet the Elements.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Speed reading gadget

I stumbled upon this gadget from Eyercize that helps you to learn how to read faster.

The reading pacer tool highlights the text so your eyes focus on what you are reading and scrolls at the speed you set. The controls include the number of words per minute, words per fixation (point where your eyes should look) and fixations per line as well as font size and spacing.

You can practice speed reading some of Abbott A Edwin's Flatland in the library, or use the bookmarklet to speed read any text you highlight on a webpage.

At the end of your reading you will get a statistical summary of the time it took for the number of words you read and how much faster than average you read them.

Try it at