Tag Archives: video

Retirement…slow down or speed up?

Not sure what your answer is, but mine is speed up! There are still so many stories I want to tell that another 50 years wouldn’t be enough, especially when I’m such a slow writer. And then there’s all that new tech coming online…

I’m not really a techie, you know. The true techies love all technology, whereas I’m pretty ambivalent about some of the innovations out there. Nevertheless, there are some gadgets I can hardly wait to use…like 3D printers for the home. Want that new top in your size? Not a problem, pay for the design and wait a few minutes while your 3D printer manufactures it for you. Or robots…I’ve loved the idea of robots since I first read ‘Door into Summer’ by Heinlein.

-laughs- I bet you thought Asimov was the only one who wrote about robots? Not so. You can find a description of ‘Door into Summer’ here.

Anyway, I’m saving my pennies for a household robot that will clean up after the cats, put the rubbish out, or maybe compost it on site? and mow the lawn. I’ve got a lot of lawn :/

But that’s not all! I haven’t had a chance to try VR yet, and it’s right up there as a ‘must do’ on my bucket list. I want to be able to travel the world from the comfort of my own home, and I want to fight monsters in glorious technicolour.

Of course, all of that depends upon how my eye-sight works with VR [I see depth via motion parallax, not stereopsis], but I’m hopeful, and this glorious track by Two Steps From Hell is how I feel at the ripe old age of 65. πŸ™‚

The track is called ‘Unleashed’… Bring it on!

cheers

Meeks


How to digitise real world objects for 3D printing

I’m stuck at home with a bad back and feeling rather sorry for myself, so this post by SV3DPRINTER was very welcome indeed. It not only gave me something else to focus on, it also gave me the tech that would make the world of Innerscape plausible rather than just possible.

Science fiction is always speculative fiction, so I knew that much of the ‘science’ in Innerscape was actually just magic based on tech that ‘might’ develop in the future. Nevertheless, I’ve always tried to make that speculation as close to reality as possible. That’s why I get so excited whenever something in Innerscape turns out to be ‘doable’.

Today, my discovery explains how all of Petra could be scanned and re-created inside a virtual environment. In the video clip below, the section on scanning terrain is only a small part of the presentation, but it made my day. πŸ™‚

 

And no, I didn’t know about these scanning technologies when I wrote Innerscape. I’m only an amateur techie, and I haven’t had a chance to explore the current Virtual Reality technology, so I simply assumed that a digital world would be produced the same way apps like Maya create digital models and gaming worlds now. Since watching this video clip, however, I’ve realised that re-creating the outside world for Innerscape will be a lot easier, and more accurate, than I originally thought, especially so far into the future.

Of course, the downside of each discovery is that my timescale for Innerscape becomes a little bit less likely. I mean, who would have thought ten years ago that 3D printing would become so commonplace so quickly? Or the internet. Who could have guessed that social media would become both a boon and a bane by 2018?

Honestly, the only thing any of us can say with any certainty is that the future will not be anything like what we imagine now. But that’s okay; perfect predictions would take all the excitement out of life. πŸ™‚

Anyway, time to lever myself out of this chair and walk around a bit.

cheers

Meeks


The making of an Iron Age torc

In an earlier post I wrote about the Snettisham Great Torc, and how it had been created by artisans 2000 years ago. Well today I have something even more exciting to share – a video about how these amazingly beautiful objects were made using the simplest tools imaginable. And here it is:

Roughly half way through, the presenter talks about how she experimented with the technique by casting her own ingot of bronze and then patiently hammering it out into a thin piece of wire. The Iron Age artisan who made the torc must have been a master craftsman with a whole bunch of lesser journeymen and apprentices to help with the backbreaking work, but still, can you imagine how long it would have taken? And how many failures there would have been along the way? The skill, dedication and commitment of these craftmen is beyond my comprehension.

Once again, my thanks to Dawn of Dawn Gill Designs for finding this incredible video and sending me the link to it. If you haven’t yet guessed, Dawn is the blogger I call Silversmith because she makes beautiful pieces of jewellery. She’s also my go-to-person when I need information on crafting techniques. -waves at Dawn-

Okay, back to work. Today I upload Vokhtah and its new cover to Lulu! Vokhtah was my first book and the only one I have never been able to physically hold in my hands. Finally getting a print copy will signify the end of a learning curve that began in 2004. So excited. πŸ™‚

cheers

Meeks


Just for fun…a robot kangaroo!

No, not kidding. I’ve been doing some research on bats today and stumbled across a youtube site about robot bats. Then..I found another site that had all sorts of robot animals, including that kangaroo I mentioned. πŸ˜‰

The video clip is broken up into segments, indicated by the small yellow square as shown below:

The first segment is about ants, the second [circled in red above] is about the kangaroo. If you don’t want to watch through the ants, just let the video buffer for a bit then fast forward to that first yellow segment.

And here’s the actual video. πŸ™‚

Enjoy,

Meeks


Awesome NZ police video

I stumbled on this hilarious recruitment video via Twitter today – thank you Twitteratti! It made me laugh and feel good. Hope you enjoy it too. πŸ™‚

cheers

Meeks


Boomers and #VR [virtual reality]

One of the first friends I ever made online is George, of Ready, Aim Click. George is also my go-to person for info on graphics, gaming and the tech that drives both. This is the eye-popping youtube video he just sent me:

If you’re getting a bit long in the tooth, like me, and wondering what all this VR bunk is all about, this video may change your mind about the value of the technology. I know, because it’s changed mine. I WANT IT NOW! -cough- Sorry.

The VR equipment you see in the video clip is probably top of the line and so expensive I can’t see me buying it any time soon. But…prices will drop, eventually, and when they do, this little old lady is going to be at the head of the queue. πŸ˜€

cheers

Meeks


Smithing in Vokhtah – how to forge the links of a chain

The creatures of Vokhtah possess many ‘skills’ that owe more to fantasy than sci-fi, but their world is as real as I can make it, so here is some real blacksmithing that I had to research today:

Those who’ve read the first book about Vokhtah will know that the technology of the iVokh is somewhere between the Bronze Age and the Iron Age of Earth. They have Smiths who work starrock – i.e. rock that falls from the stars – in firepits. Of all the items crafted by the Smiths, two play a vital role in Vokhtan culture – timepieces and shackles.

I introduced the concept of a water-driven timepiece in book 1, and the following is a concept drawing of what such a timepiece [with extra ‘alarm bell’] might look like:

 

In book 2, however, I’ll be introducing the idea of the shackles. Think old convict shackles like these:

If you go searching for images of shackles, please be careful how you word your Google search. I learned some eye-opening things about bondage before I found the above image on Ebay. Apparently you can ‘Buy Now’ for $25.97 USD…

But after all that research, how much actually ended up in the story?

Not much. The one thing that truly hit me from the video was that without that shaped anvil, the calipers and the hammer, the blacksmith would have been struggling to make anything resembling a chain link. So how about my Smiths. Would they have possessed such specialised tools? Probably not, at least to start with. So my research boils down to half a sentence, shown in bold below:

The silence of the small chamber was broken by the clank of starrock as Tatah strained against the shackles that bound her to the cot. Held aloft by her huge, red wings, she thrashed from side to side in a vain attempt to break free, but neither the shackles nor the cot showed any signs of weakening.

Exhausted by her efforts and still not completely recovered from the Cut, she slumped back onto her belly and lay there gasping as her wings slowly deflated.

She was bitterly disappointed at not being able to free herself but was not surprised. She had commissioned the shackles at a time when she thought she could conquer the world, so her Smiths had been ordered to produce nothing but the best. They had taken her at her word, spending a year just to craft the tools they would need to forge the shackles. Then they had spent another year refining the starrock and forging it into a set of bindings strong enough to hold even the strongest Vokh.

Tatah had been delighted. But, of course, she had never dreamt that the shackles would be used against her…

Happy weekend all. πŸ™‚

Meeks

 


Cat to the rescue!

I wasn’t going to post this weekend, but then my friend Scottie posted this, and I just had to share it:

I’ve watched the rescue three times already and I still get a lump in my throat watching that cat save one of the ‘enemy’. πŸ˜€

We humans could learn a thing or two from this amazing cat.

Still smiling,

Meeks


Augmented Reality – it’s just around the corner

Vuzix knows that people don’t want to be embarrassed when they put something on their face. So the company is working hard to ship a pair of augmented reality smartglasses this year that will be thin enough to wear comfortably. The Rochester, N.Y.-based company unveiled its latest models, the Blade 3000 smart Sunglasses andΒ the…

via Vuzix aims to ship thin augmented reality smartglasses in 2017 β€” VentureBeat

In Innerscape, Episode 5, I write about the NCTU agent following a digitally projected ‘map’ to his destination. In the trailer above, the guy wearing the AR smart glasses does the same thing. The details are obviously different, but the concept is the same. I am so chuffed. πŸ˜€

cheers

Meeks


Pressure points – research for Episode 5

This is not my normal fare, but I had to find out if it was possible to knock someone out using only a pressure point. I found my answer, and it’s ‘yes’.

In the video clip below, the instructor is demonstrating a four-step move that leaves the boy totally out of it. If you rewind the video to 04 seconds, you will see that the move which actually knocks him out is the third one. It pushes the point of the instructor’s elbow into a pressure point on the boy’s chest. You can hear an ‘oof’ sound as it happens.

The blow to the jaw is probably not needed, at least not against an opponent who isn’t actively fighting back.

I have to say this is one of the scariest things I’ve ever seen. Many of the people commenting on the video try to pass the whole thing off as a fake, but if you watch only the boy’s face, you’ll see that he would have to be an Oscar winning actor to fake this reaction.

Youtube is an amazing resource. 😦

cheers

Meeks


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