News and Views from Dave Wilson


Make Good Art

by on May.29, 2012, under Miscellaneous, Photography

I’ve not shared anything particularly inspirational recently (not since the Ira Glass post) but I listened to this commencement address by Neil Gaiman and had to pass it along. Treat yourself to the 20 minutes it takes to listen to the whole speech then go and make good art.

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Musical Formation Quadrotors

by on Mar.01, 2012, under Computer, Miscellaneous

Does it get more cool than this (robotically speaking)? A formation of quadricoptors playing the James Bond theme. Congratulations to the folks at the University of Pennsylvania who came up with this.

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Plus One Collection

by on Feb.11, 2012, under Miscellaneous, Photography

Here’s something cool from the land of Google+. Ivan Makarov, well known in online photography circles, has pulled together submissions from over 500 photographers worldwide and published a book in aid of charity Kiva. The Plus One Collection will be sold in three forms – a limited edition collectors’ version, a Blurb-printed version and an eBook. The printed editions include photos from 193 individual photographers while the electronic version contain all submissions received. The image I submitted was selected for both the print and electronic versions and, if you have sharp eyes, you can see it in the poster image in the top right quadrant of the plus sign.

The limited edition book is on sale between February 10th and 20th only, after which no more copies will be made. On February 21st, the general print edition will be available for purchase. So far, over $5000 has been raised and that is only in 1 day of sales. Head on over to the project’s web site for more details or to order a copy of the book.
Plus One Collection

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Merry (Musical) Christmas

by on Dec.24, 2011, under Miscellaneous

Wishing everyone a Merry Christmas or, if your traditions differ, a wonderful, safe, healthy and happy New Year! Here’s an amusing little video I found that should help brighten your winter day.

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Photos from BEST Robotics Competition

by on Nov.28, 2011, under Computer, Miscellaneous, Photography

My photos from the recent BEST Robotics Competition Texas/New Mexico regional are now online. You can find the full set here or, if you are interested mainly in pictures of the Dripping Springs Middle School team, you can find these images here.

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BEST Robotics Competition video

by on Nov.23, 2011, under Computer, Miscellaneous

I’ve been neglecting this blog horribly recently! Lots has been going on both at and away from work and I’m afraid posting here just didn’t bubble high enough on the priority list to get my attention. Hopefully I’ll be able to catch up with a few posts over the Thanksgiving weekend but, in the meantime, here’s a little video I pulled together using some timelapse sequences I shot last weekend up in Dallas where Cameron and I were attending the BEST Robotics Competition Texas/New Mexico regional final with his school robotics team.

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Tiger Robotics First Drive

by on Sep.30, 2011, under Computer, Miscellaneous

The kids at the Dripping Springs Middle School robotics club passed a huge milestone yesterday evening when they got their first robot up and running! This is a great start – they’ve proven they can build a basic platform, wire up the control system, write, compile and download software, configure the wireless controllers and get the whole thing to work together to make the robot move. There’s still a lot of work ahead before competing in the BEST competition but there were lots of happy kids at DSMS last night.

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Dean Kamen on Cultural Problems and Education

by on Sep.21, 2011, under Miscellaneous, News Commentary

I came across this interview with Dean Kamen today and reckoned it was worth sharing. If you’re an engineer, scientist or mathematician, get out there and become a role model to some of today’s kids!

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Beautiful Robotic Bird

by on Sep.14, 2011, under Computer, Miscellaneous

I love to hear about people doing wonderful things with our products so I was delighted to read about this project from German robotics designer Festo. They have produced an autonomous, robotic bird that can fly purely by flapping its wings. The bird is controlled by one of our Stellaris microcontrollers (an lm3s811 to be specific).

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“Ready Player One” Launch and Signing

by on Aug.23, 2011, under Miscellaneous

Ernie Cline's "ECTO88" DeLorean outside Book People

With an author wife whose first book is scheduled to hit the shelves in August next year, our family attends a lot of book signings and launch parties but tonight was rather different since, for the first time in ages, the boys and I attended a signing without Nikki and for a book aimed at adults.

Local screenwriter and author Ernie Cline (he wrote the screenplay for “Fanboys“. If you haven’t seen it and are even vaguely interested in Star Wars geekdom, you should) was hosting his book launch and signing event for “Ready Player One” at Book People this evening. The book, a dystopian sci-fi, is promoted as a jam-packed geekfest of 1980’s cultural references so the evening started off well when we discovered 80s era video games available for people to play while waiting. Pan-Galactic Gargle Blasters were flowing or, for those who don’t like having their brains smashed out with a slice of lemon tied round a large gold brick, Tab and Pepsi (in old-style cans). The mechanical highlight of the evening, however, was definitely Ernie’s DeLorean, complete with flux capacitor, KIT-style oscillating LEDs and Ghostbusters paraphernalia. This cunning tax write-off is to be Ernie’s transport all around the country on his book tour which started yesterday in Houston and continues through Michigan, Wisconsin, Ohio and California. It was also open for young (and not so young) boys to sit in.

I’m looking forward to getting into the book since I have it on good authority that it’s a great read (thanks Mike).

Drew in Ernie Cline's DeLorean

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