Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Your next TV will be Flexible plastic - what? Oh yes!

Engineering Researchers at the University of Toronto have created the "World's Most Efficient Flexible OLED" and they tell us that when we want to hang our next 55" TV on the wall, it won't be rigid and heavy, it will be flexible and plastic.  As a matter of fact, they say you will be able to roll it up and take it with you.  Just plug it in when you get there and the electricity will light up the organic matter on the plastic - organic matter that amounts to - well, basically - the same matter as the dye powder that is used to make your blue jeans the colour blue.  What will they think of next?

"Organic Optoelectronics, is one of the premier reserach units of its field in North America. The group's primary interests reside in the application of semi-conducting conducting organic molecules and polymers for the design of useful optoelectronic devices, such as dye-sensitized photovoltaics and organic light-emitting diodes (OLEDs). "

Friday, 18 November 2011

Knit items I have made recently

About Knitting.... I started a knitting club at work and when I went to book the boardroom, the lady who books the rooms said: "Are you starting a knitting club?"  I said "Yes".  "Can I join?" she said.  It is pretty popular. 

As I told my cousin, Elaine, I have just made: 1 pair of green mittens, 5 hats and one scarf. Now I am working on a sweater - but knit, not crocheted, although I do that, too!

My cousin, Elaine, said on Facebook: "Wow!! That is great!! Are mittens hard to make? Do you use 4 needles. i remember my mom knitting all the time when we were little. Can you post pics?? Have you knitted a sweater before??"

So... in answer to your questions, Elaine:
Mittens are fun to make!  I just made a pair of green ones that do not call for 4 needles, but I have made them using my mother's pattern for 4 needles and it was easy and fun.  I am kind of disappointed with the pattern I used for the 2 needle mittens because it is a little larger than expected. Lucky my daughter, Beth, has large hands. 

Yes, I have made a sweater before. Several, but I don't have the photo available right now. 
I will look for some pictures.  Below are some of the other things I have made recently and long ago. 

There is a blue twin-sized blanket for Beth (I made a pink one as well - crocheted).  There is a yellow cotton blankie that I made for Alicia when she was going into the hospital (for heart surgery at Sick Kids in 2006 - she's fine).  There is a Harry Potter scarf made for Alicia (Griffendor).  I also made two other Harry Potter scarves - one in RavenClaw for Renee (my eldest) and one for Kelly's daughter, Alex.
Also below are:  3 hats and one black scarf with a basketweave pattern on it. 

Here is a closeup of Alicia's hat.  Too bad I got the seam side!  LOL!  I would retake it, but ... maybe later.

Here is Beth in her scarf that I made in the colours of "The Bay" - The Hudson Bay company here in Toronto made a special scarf available for the Olympics one year using the colours that they use in their marketing material.  Beth wanted one, so I made one.

 Here is a closeup of the basketweave.  It looks a bit off here, but it is really nice.
Anyway, that's all for now. 


Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Toronto photo journal - September

Went up the CN Tower recently.  Great lunch.

Went to see Jimmy Rankin at the Docks (Sound Academy it is called now)

(had a birthday)

Threw stones in Lake Ontario at Kew Beach.  Dan throws rocks.  I keep telling him they don't skip as well...  kersplash!

Took a picture of the building I work in... can you guess where this is?

Went for a lunchtime walk and took a photo of the trees.  Nice.

Thursday, 29 September 2011

Remove wires from photo using CS5

Wires in photo

Wires removed with PhotoShop CS5 using the technique below

HOW TO: remove wires in Photoshop CS5:

- Open PhotoShop CS5
- Open the photo where there is a line across the image
- Click on the calligraphy pen (the path tool)
- Click on one end of the wire
- Click in small increments along the wire to make a path that is right over the wire
- Click on the healing tool and make sure content aware is selected along the top of the screen
- Click on the brush size and make it only as wide as the wire or a bit wider and make it 100% hard
- Click on "Window" on the menu bar and open the Path panel
- Click within the Path panel on the path that you just created 
- Click on the circle at the bottom of the Path panel (hover over it and it will say: "stroke path with brush"
- There will be a pause, then you will say "Eureka!" 
- The healing tool will attempt to remove the wire along the path and replace it with neighbouring conent
- Your wires will disappear.
- Delete the path and do it again, if necessary

Love it. 

Thursday, 1 September 2011

Top 10 electronic devices for cottage kitchen table

It is 10:30 in the morning and we are at the cottage.  The lake looks beautiful.  We go to clear the breakfast table for the next person to eat. 

Look - we have 10 electronic items on our cottage table.  Three Kindles, an underwater camera, a digital cameras, 2 Nintendo DS's, 1 Blackberry, a cordless phone and a laptop - which is on the internet.  And it's only breakfast.  Outside Alicia fishes for chipmunks.

Tuesday, 30 August 2011

We are Stardust after all...DNA components found in meteorites

DNA components found in meteorites
Tuesday, August 9, 2011

A recently published study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America indicates that the essential building blocks for early life on Earth may have indeed been delivered through extraterrestrial material such as meteorites. These molecules, known as nucleobases, are key components of DNA and have been found in meteorites several times before.

However, until now, scientists could never be certain that these compounds were native to the meteorites or if they were simply contamination from the terrestrial environment in which they landed. To this end, researchers analyzed eleven different organic-rich meteorites, called carbonaceous chondrites, for the presence of nucleobases and found that three of these molecules are very rare on Earth.

Additionally, none of these nucleobases were found in the soil or ice in close proximity to where the meteorites were found. This led the researchers to conclude that it was likely that these molecules were extraterrestrial in origin which could mean that life on Earth may have originally been seeded by such material.

From Wikinews, the free news source you can write!

Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Earthquake in Toronto and G20 remembered

We just had an earthquake in Toronto! The building shook and creaked! I am on the 11th floor - ah!

Last year at this time there was an earthquake as well and I was on the 4th floor downtown, supporting some guy on his computer. What a feeling to look at someone and think the person may be the last person I talk to. I took off downstairs. I went outside (not too smart in hindsight because things drop on you – even if you are looking down, Pooh.) I walked to a place with a wide open space – Queen’s Park. There were cops everywhere and horseback cops and cops with bulletproof vest and helmets and riot gear. There was a protest group with signs that were being marshalled down University Avenue. There were people everywhere in disarray. Somewhere a car burned. The G20. Remember that?

Saturday, 23 July 2011

Wasaga Beach is calling

Wasaga Beach, Ontario, Canada

Wasaga Beach... ah... the long shallow sands, the water lapping at your heels, the sun glistening on the waves.  It is a place of peaceful memories.  

We had a family reunion there in 2009 with my Dad's side of the family.  Uncle Ken has a cottage right on the beach.  I hope to go up for a few days this year. 
We all had a great time!  Thanks, Uncle Ken.

Tuesday, 31 May 2011

Birder by fluke - the saga continues...

So.. the other day I was standing on my front lawn, taking my annual photo of the tree that blooms at the side of my house, when all of a sudden a hawk swoops down and grabs a bird then flies up to a tree.  I did not see anything, just heard it.  It flew in out of the sun.  Dan was there and says it was a yellow bird.  After my shock, I realized I had a camera in my hand.  Dan pointed to where the hawk was up in a tree.  The back of the hawk was towards me, but I thought I would try to get a picture anyway.  I pointed the camera and the bird moved to lift off - what a great shot I ended up getting!  See for yourself... amazing, eh?
Oh, and here are the amazing blossoms from the tree...

Thursday, 19 May 2011

Lineart Doodling and Fingerpicking on my Taylor guitar

I am addicted to pens, markers, lineart and fingerpicking on my Taylor guitar.  I carry at least 20, if not 30 pens/markers with me at any time.  I am not the only one - my brother and my daughter are pen freaks, too.  I love walking into Curry's or Staples and walking down the pen and marker aisle.  I gave each of my daughters a whole new set of Sharpie's for Christmas - and Easter.  There is nothing like a new marker - except new great paper to draw on.

I like to draw on paper that is slightly rough - like oatmeal paper, manilla paper, cardboard, rocks.  I use a .5mm black marker most of the time.  How can I be so addicted to different pens of the same size and colour?  I don't know, but I am.  If not that, I use a calligraphy pen and India Ink.  Sometimes I use India Ink in different colours - oooh - so daring, eh?

Once or twice I watercoloured my drawing.  It was nice. I like watercolour painting, but I need more time to experiment with it.  My daughter bought me a bamboo easel for my birthday/Christmas/Mother's Day.  She likes to save it all up and come back with a bang.

I like doing these because they are a luxury to me - I immerse myself and don't think about time, or chores, or the gym, or problems.  I escape and doodle. 

The only think I like more than lineart doodling is fingerpicking, writing songs and singing.  I must be OCD. But, hey - everyone has their foibles.

Tuesday, 17 May 2011

Artificial leaf! I thought of it all by myself! Psychic or what?

One day we were driving to Niagara Falls.  We looked at all the power lines overhead and started thinking about how they actually have power lines that go across the province (Ontario) just to carry electricity as it is generated to the homes that need it and whatever is not used is wasted.  It occurred to me that it is such a primitive system. After all these years, couldn't we store the electricity? To make a long story short, I looked over at a greenhouse and said: "We should just figure out how to store our energy like nature does - in plants."  Well, that got a laugh, a few guffaws and lots of ribbing, but I stand vindicated - and only a few weeks later:  scientists have actually done it!

Scientists Create First Practical Artificial Leaf, Producing Power Through Photosynthesis

My question is - how did I pick up on that?  I feel like the 99th monkey once again.  This happens to me quite often - I think of something or invent something and then I hear of it a short while later.  It reminds me of the story I heard about people on two sides of the ocean both inventing something and rushing to get to the patent office first (was it a bomb or something?)   That is a little more understandable due to the fact that they are working in the same field and are aware of the same advances in their field - but me?  I know very little about science on a daily basis, so how did I pick up on that?  Needless to say I went straight to the corner store and purchased a lottery ticket.

Sunday, 24 April 2011

Happy Easter!

When I was young all the kids had to fnd their baggie full of chocolate
The older kids (of 13) hid the baggies in the hardest placest.
I remember one year, I could not find my baggie anywhere.
I had checked and checked, but nothing.
My brothers laughed at my despair.
Finally, one relented and got mine for me -
It was behind the clock.

Happy Easter


Sunday, 3 April 2011

Dundas Square, Toronto is like Times Square now

The lights are much brighter there
You can forget all your troubles
Forget all your cares and go
- Toronto, that is.

Monday, 21 March 2011

Birding, my Hummer and San Diego Photo shoot

Wow! My birder brother invited me to go to San Diego on a birding photo shoot.  I've never been officially invited by real birders to go on a birding trip, and it is pretty exciting, even it I can't go.  I just took my vacation and have none left until summer.  Wah.  Work sucks.  But it is nice to think I could have gone.

My daughter and I are part-birder, not full-fledged.  We get excited when we see a fresh bird and always keep our eyes peeled for unusual birds around, then look them up in our book that shows a picture and makes the call sound of the bird.

When she is bored, my daughter likes to sit on the front porch and call the rock doves - she does a really good imitation of the bird - then when they come in close and tilt their head to listen to her call, she presses the button on the book and it makes the screeeeeech! of the red hawk and scares the dove away. But they always come back for more. She likes the hawks better than the doves and sees them flying over her schoolyard. She points them out to the other kids - "Look! A hawk! A hawk!" But they answer - "So?" So, we are part-birders. She is also demonstrating a good eye for photography lately, so she has the birder/photographer family blood. She wants to go on a bird/photo walk through the Rouge and I know a guy from work who does the tours through there.

I do, however, have a bird-photo-trophy.  It is a hummingbird. Taken in St. Thomas, Virgin Islands, at the top of a huge mountain. I heard it fly by my head and go into the bush, so I took about 10 pictures in the direction I heard it land, but the sun was too bright on the viewfinder so I could not see what I was shooting. Turned out pretty good. My birder brother says it is a cool Hummer.  He thinks it may actually be sleeping -awesome - I caught a hummingbird sleeping!  But, I think it still has it's eyes open.
Check it out...

Monday, 7 March 2011

How I know it is spring despite the ice wind

In the cold sunshine,
On the stone wall,
By the wide, black highway
Oblivious to rush hour
Or the whooshing multitude
Of frenzied vehicles
Perched two puffed-up pigeons

Monday, 28 February 2011

Code is not poetry, Wordpress

Wordpress.org has a slogan - Code is Poetry.
As a web developer, I thought that it was cool when I first saw it, then ignored it, pretty much.  But after writing a piece recently - a song - I started thinking about it.  I thought about all the poems I have written and then compared it to the code I have written.  I think I have come to my conclusion on the issue. Code is not poetry - but poetry can be code. The purpose of poetry is to encapsulate emotion. To create emotional bullets. Code does not. It does not contain an emotional punchline as you can find in most poems.  Songs can be poetry. Comedy can be poetry. Rants, rhymes and curses can all be poetry.  Code can be concise, precise and efficient - which some people may call beautiful, but it does not evoke an empathetic response in the reader and enhance the sense of human unity through shared emotional experiences - like poetry does.  Code is code, Wordpress, and even all your popularity and all the many pageviews by all your many daily users cannot turn that slogan into truth - or code into poetry.

Grateful Today: for the rainbow I saw through the rain while driving the highway to work. (Not a double rainbow, but I have seen one of those as well.  If you have never heard about the Double Rainbow YouTube thing, click here for more. )