Archive for July, 2013


Tuesday, 23 July, 2013

I’ve been wanting to run some more roleplaying for some time, and finally managed to herd the group of cats that are my work friends into the same evening. It’s a few weeks away still, but now I can really start planning. The game will be Dungeons & Dragons, 1st edition, and the adventure will be the original classic I6: Ravenloft.

Oh yes. It will be fun.

Drumming vs Differential Equations

Saturday, 20 July, 2013

Apple recently announced the release of Logic Pro X, an updated version of their audio processing software. There’s a discussion thread on about it. It comes with a new feature called Drummer, which is essentially a drumming machine component, described as a “virtual session drummer”. Several of the comments mentioned this and wondered how good it would be compared to a real drummer.

Cue the inevitable drummer jokes. Some people, while having a good laugh, also expressed the opinion that drumming is actually quite demanding and how they genuinely respect drummers. Then there was this comment:

I agree, drumming is a really hard job, up there with solving complex differential equations, simulating weather, image processing, managing data for millions of users…

Clearly sarcastic, but I couldn’t help finding it hilarious. Since I do image processing and solving differential equations for my day job, and have been taking weekly drumming lessons for over a year now. And I can tell you, in no uncertain terms, that drumming is more difficult than solving differential equations and image processing. I can tell you how the vibrational modes of a drum head are governed by an orthogonal basis of Bessel functions, but I’m still having trouble not swinging my sixteenth note syncopated snares in a straight 4/4 rhythm, or doing consistent 32nd note double strikes with my left hand. :-)

ND400 filter

Sunday, 7 July, 2013

I recently got an ND400 neutral density filter for my lenses. This is an almost black filter that cuts the available light by a factor of 400. It looks black, and lets through only the barest amount of light, like welding goggles. With it, you can take really long exposures when there’s too much light to do so otherwise. This is useful for things like ocean scenes, when you want the waves to blur out into a misty ambience. It’s best around sunrise or sunset, but I went out today in the middle of the day to test it out. Here are a couple of the results.

188/365 Ocean meets land

Rock shelf mist

CiSRA Puzzle Competition 2013

Thursday, 4 July, 2013

In 2007 a group of my work friends and I organised the first CiSRA Puzzle Competition as a means of promoting our company to clever people who might want to come work for us. It was a success and we’ve repeated it every year. And now, we have just opened the 7th annual competition for team registration! The first puzzles are released on 22 July. If you enjoy puzzles and brain-benders, check it out.