SteamVR Home

posted in Virtual Reality by Cargo Cult on Sunday May 21 2017

That oft-mentioned Destinations is going away - and is being replaced by SteamVR itself.

Concrete on the right is 'borrowed' from a bus station in Seattle.

The previously unannounced SteamVR Home has just entered public beta - it's now the place for all scanned and imaginary VR content from yours truly, and is more accessible than ever.

Sunday Things - tiny code edition

posted in Links by Cargo Cult on Sunday May 14 2017

The text for this article is likely longer than most of the things I'm linking to - tiny pieces of algorithmic sculpture that makes things like elevated look positively obese.

A Mind Is Born

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A Mind Is Born - 256 byte audiovisual demo for the Commodore 64, with a full writeup of its inner workings. If that's too much for you, there's always the 23 byte (yes, twenty three byte) Wallflower, coincidentally also for the Commodore 64.

Music from very short programs - the 3rd iteration

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Music from very short programs - the 3rd iteration - ridiculously simple code fragments outputting PCM audio. The one at 3:25 sounds way too complex to be the product of so little code. Have a Javascript web-app for live experimentation!
1024 bytes should be enough for anyone.
1kB Challenge: and the winners are... - the implementations of all those previous tiny demos are cheating in some respect, in that they're relying on operating systems - from the modern (and gigantic) to the vintage (and merely small). But what if you don't have such luxuries as gigabytes of software libraries, or even kilobytes of mask ROMs in hardware peripherals? Hackaday's 1kB challenge saw to that, with the winner making use of an ultra-compressed character set for visual output on an LCD.

Bonus Baby Strandbeest corner:

Techmoan pointed out the existence of Gakken's lovely educational kits. And, with my long-burning Strandbeest obsession...

  • Mini Strandbeest Kit - really motors along when stuck in front of a fan. Also, packaging and accompanying magazine look gorgeous - although it's all in Japanese...
  • Mini Rhinoceros Kit - lumbers slowly but gracefully into the wind. No English instructions, but the pictures are pretty informative - and the English text online for the previous one points out potential pitfalls more clearly. Construction is pretty similar, although not identical.
  • Strandbeest USA Web Shop - looks like they're also available here much more cheaply, but I've no idea what delivery is like. I need to build up an army for releasing on to windswept beaches around Seattle. Is this how Strandbeest reproduce, through human dispersal of tiny Strandbeest nymphs?

Sunday Things - still not Monday edition

posted in Links by Cargo Cult on Sunday May 7 2017

Sunday evening is the new habit. So, enjoy some space-themed links.

Spaaaaaace!
Approach above Sunset - looking like a gorgeously colourful 1970s science fiction novel cover, here's a Cygnus supply ship arriving at the International Space Station, capably snapped by ESA astronaut Thomas Pesquet. Bonus unofficial APOD RSS feed!
Captain Blood says hi.
The Coming Amnesia - the expansion of the universe will continue to drag galaxies apart, until at some point in the far distant future they cease being visible from each other. At that moment, cosmology from scratch becomes impossible, and the origins of the universe itself will be hidden. Quintessential BLDGBLOG plus Alastair Reynolds - and I'll throw a little Iain M. Banks into the mix by referencing Against a Dark Background.
Slightly smaller than the real thing, fortunately.
Introducing LEGO® Ideas 21309 NASA Apollo Saturn V - a roughly 1:110 scale, one metre high Lego model of a Saturn V and associated Apollo hardware, going on sale the beginning of June. So tempted!

Bonus Machine Dreaming corner:

Sunday Things - not quite Monday edition

posted in Links by Cargo Cult on Sunday April 30 2017

It can be handy living this far west of Greenwich. It gives more time for procrastination.

Cosmic cinema!
Seven Soviet sci-fi films everyone should see - further to last week's Tarkovsky micro-extravaganza, here's a cerebral listicle pointing out further interesting Soviet cinematography. I've found some full versions on YouTube!
Almost as expensive in its day as the 2MB memory upgrade for my Atari ST.
Selectron Tube - early, fantastic-looking volatile computer memory, initially storing four kilobits in each oversized vacuum tube. Developmental problems meant magnetic core memory took over before Selectron tubes became commercially viable.

Cassini's Grand Finale

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NASA at Saturn: Cassini's Grand Finale - this long-lived Saturn probe has just completed its first orbit diving beneath Saturn's rings, so here's a nice animation portraying its final days. From Erik Wernquist, who's made things like the splendid Wanderers and ... erm ... The Annoying Thing, a.k.a the Crazy Frog.

Bonus Stylish Prose corner:

Sunday Things - entirely on time edition

posted in Links by Cargo Cult on Sunday April 23 2017

Last week's Sunday Things was a special edition exclusively for the IRS (the contents weren't exactly riveting stuff) - and in keeping with these modern times, I have decreed not to share it with the rest of you.

Get out of here, stalker!
A Unique Perspective on the Making of 'Stalker' - speaking of Russian connections, here's 'the testimony of a mechanic toiling away under Tarkovsky's guidance'. Lots of behind-the-scenes imagery and information from this influential work of science fiction. Unexpectedly, some of the interior scenes deep inside the Zone were done in a studio in Moscow, not all some god-forsaken abandoned industrial sites in Estonia as I assumed. Splendid set design!

I said come in! Don't stand there!

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Сталкер - speaking of which, here's Stalker in glorious HD thanks to Mosfilm. English subtitles available - it brings back memories of another zone I explored... If you've got numerous more hours to spare, they've also got Tarkovsky's Solaris, in two parts. Wahey!

Cologne Cathedral - Nave Fly Through

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Cologne Cathedral - Nave Fly Through - fellow VR photogrammetry enthusiasts David Finsterwalder and friends have recently updated Realities with some magnificent scans of Cologne's cathedral and from Death Valley. Go visit!
Surprisingly non-rusty.
City of the Dead - urban explorer extraordinaire Lana Sator casts aside the usual corroded Soviet industrial sites and goes exploring these ancient crypts in North Ossetia.

Bonus High Voltage On A Budget corner: