Archive for the ‘ Uncategorized ’ Category

So you want to go geocaching?

Quite a few people who have heard of Geocaching are entirely enthralled and romanticized by the idea, but are turned off because it seems a little frivolous to buy a handheld GPS just to find mostly useless hidden treasure. But thanks to the advent of a couple of new technologies, there are a variety of ways you can geocache without those expensive gizmos! Below I have listed just a few.

Paper Caching
What you need:

  • A computer (duh)
  • A Geocaching.com account
  • A printer – Not necessary, but handy
  • Access to Google Maps or Google Earth

This is probably the easiest of all the ways to cache without a GPS.

Step 1. Log on to GeoCaching.com and find a cache that you would like to look for.
Step 2. Take the coordinates and paste them into Google Maps.
Step 3. In Google Maps, click the ‘Satellite’ button on the top right of the map and zoom in as far as it will let you. This will give you some idea of where the cache is physically located.
Step 4. (optional) Print out this zoomed in satellite view
Step 5. On the upper left of the page click the link that says ‘Get Directions’. A dropdown will appear below it with a spot for you to enter your current location. Enter it and click Get directions
Step 6. Change the view of the map from ‘Satellite’ to ‘Map’
Step 7. (optional) Print out driving/walking directions to the area the cache is in
Step 8. Follow the maps and find the cache! It may be advisable to also print out the GeoCaching.com page.


iPhone Caching using ‘Geopher’
What you need:

  • An iPhone
  • A computer (optional)
  • Download of the free iPhone app ‘Geopher Lite’

Step 1. Fire up the app store on your iPhone
Step 2. Search for ‘Geopher Lite‘. This app currently costs $0.99. Download it
Step 3. In Safari (or optionally on your computer) browse to GeoCaching.com and find a cache to look for
Step 4. Open Geopher Lite, click Set Target and enter the coordinates. It will now point towards your coordinates
Step 5. Go out and find your cache!

ALTERNATIVE METHOD

Step 1. Fire up the app store on your iPhone
Step 2. Search for ‘Geopher Lite‘. This app currently costs $0.99. Download it
Step 3. Open Geopher Lite. Tap ‘Set Target’ and then click ‘New Search’. It will automatically list the geocaches closest to your current location. This is a great way to cache on the fly!

iPhone caching WITHOUT Geopher Lite
What you need:

  • iPhone
  • Computer
  • Some paper

This one is a tiny bit more complicated to start, but easier to use!

Step 1. On your computer, find a cache at GeoCaching.com
Step 2. Write down the coordinates of the cache on your piece of paper
Step 3. Here you have to convert the coordinates to a different style so they will work with Google Maps on the iPhone. Let me explain what I mean. Take for instance the coordinates N 52° 07.550 W 106° 40.051. If you simply keyed that into Google Maps on the phone, it would not work. Also, good luck finding the ° symbol. Instead, you have to strip out the N and the W, and replace the ° symbol with a space. Also, put a dash between the latitude and longitude. With the above example, the converted coordinates would be 52 07.550 – 106 40.051.
Step 4. Open the ‘Maps’ app on the iPhone and click ‘Directions’
Step 5. In the first space type ‘CU’ and select ‘Current Location’ from the dropdown list
Step 6. In the second spot enter your newly-converted coordinates
Step 7. The map should take you right to where you want to go! When you end up near the dot on the map, put the phone away and start digging around!

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ST Opinion Piece – Michael Vick and the NFL

Michael Vick

It’s not often that I use this blog to write an opinion piece. In fact, this is the first time. But something has been bothering me. As most of you have probably heard, Michael Vick is being released from prison today, and being taken home where he will spend the last 2 months of his sentence under house arrest. This has brought the topic of his crimes back into the limelight, and as such it has also brought the bleeding hearts back out full force, demanding that he be punished further for his crimes, some even calling to have him executed, etc. etc., and, the one that bothers me the most, that he be barred from playing in the NFL. My question to these people is, what is the purpose and point of our justice system? The justice systems hands down a punishment that effectively counteracts (or ‘fits’) the crime. Once someone has served their sentence, as handed to them, they have been punished for what they have done and should be treated like it. I understand if the judge says that he can never own a dog. That has a direct correlation to the crime he committed. But his crimes had absolutely nothing to do with his professional career, so leave that out of it. I understand that the chances of any NFL team picking up Michael Vick after this are miniscule, but don’t make it impossible by law.

That’s my 2 cents.

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ST Mixtape Day!

mixtape-day

Welcome to the first Signal Theorist Mixtape! Every once in a while I’ll compile a ‘mixtape’ of 10 MP3’s I find for free around the web. The aim is for all of the music to be legally downloadable. All of the MP3’s today are courtesy of XLR8R.com,  a great site to discover new music! You can listen to all 10 tracks here, download them individually, or download them all together as the first ST Mixtape at the bottom!

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Roomba, Economics and Long-Exposure Photography

Hi Reddit! – DigitalOSH

Earlier this weekend I picked up a Roomba, as my old vacuum cleaner bit the dust(ha!) after an altercation with a shoelace. Like any good geek, I immediately went online to see what kind of modifications I could make to this little beast. What I ended up finding out was that iRobot, the company that makes the Roomba, actually promotes and encourages hacking the devices, even offering the tools to do so. This made me wonder about the business sense behind it, and, in my eyes, it’s quite good. This is all I’ve been able to think of so far, please add if you think of anything else.

Pros:

  • -Consumers end up designing functional modifications, which can be used in later versions of the device
  • -Hacking voids your warranty, thereby reducing warranty claims
  • -Revenue from sales of hacking tools/interfaces
  • -Active community promotes the product

Cons:

  • -Brand diluted by other items under Roomba name
  • -Brand may get an image of being complicated

I’m sure I’m missing some obvious ones here, please comment. Now here’s something interesting:

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Carrots in a Blender at 600FPS

Last week I picked up the Casio EX-F1, a prosumer digital camera that also happens to shoot video at a max of 1200FPS. This is a first for easily-available cameras (I picked mine up at London Drugs), and definitely a first for it’s pricerange (it’ll set you back $999.90). I returned the camera, but before I did I shot a LOT of good video. You’ll be seeing more over the next few weeks. First video after the jump.

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