Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Linux - Zoneminder

Another big fail for me.  I have my nice cheap Chinese dash camera, and I wanted to whip up a home camera, using spare parts, sort of a Frankenstein for Halloween.  I started with Linux, a webcam, and Zoneminder, which is a neato program that does complex motion analysis.  The problem with a security camera is that it would store an awful lot of boring stuff on a terrabyte disk. You just want to trigger, or highlight when people or cars appear.

Enter Zoneminder, which can use complex zoning trigger algorithms.  But zm is a horribly complex thing, using Apache web server, Perl scripts, a database, and who knows what else.  I spent hours on it, following dozens of recipes.  In the end I gave up.

It's somewhat ironic that I was doing this on my old media PC.  I got the Zotac years ago, when Sony went all nutso with the PS3.  I ran xbmc on it, and it served movies to the big screen.  It was also horribly complex since it had to deal with endless variations of hardware and Linux distributions.  The update process was unworkable, and finally I gave up.  It was all replaced by a tiny WD box from Costco.

It's fun being a pioneer, but eventually all this gets embedded in a special-purpose box, using Linux.  Soon Zoneminder will be incorporated into a cheap Chinese camera that can connect to your network.  Oh well, on to the next thing....

Update:  Whoopeedo.  I got 'motion' working.  It set up real nice with a standard install.  The hard part was making the old media computer a headless, wireless server.

This is fixed up a bit by Youtube.
It show that it records only with major movement.

Update2:  That camera is useless at night because of internal reflections.  I've looked around and have yet to find my perfect outdoor wireless ip camera.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

The Breathing of the Oklahoma Earthquake Mechanism

We're on an exhale right now, so I thought I'd dig something up.

The OK mechanism is one big organism, and it breathes - one day busy, one day light, etc.  By this I mean it is composed of discrete elements, and no longer acts as an elastic body.  Discrete element modelling is great fun.

You model as a bunch of little independent components.  This is a huge one requiring a super-computer, but you can do little ones on your computer (Great Science Project!).  Once activated it appears as a living organism, since a little disturbance propagates as slow displacement waves, in an irregular manner.

Think of a sand pile being slowly fed from the top.  You look at it and see the obvious, many slope failures as the sand attempts to keep its angle of repose.  But if you shone double lasers at it (Great Science Project), you would see it's alive, since every slope failure must be set up by slow displacement waves.  (I just thought that up, never been done before.  Isn't the brain wonderful?)

This is the only fun I get from Oklahoma with its high fractal roughness.  By now Arkansas or Ohio would have had a storm of 6's.  It's like watching paint dry, which I'm doing right now.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Google Inbox - Multiple devices, multiple inputs

The Fish has been honoured to be an early recipient of Inbox.  Don't tell him if you got it too.

I think email has single-handedly destroyed the dysfunctional bureaucracy.  In a company, everybody and their dog sends stuff to every person, just to cover their rears.  5000 emails in the inbox is typical for a harried executive.  Well, forget those people, because they only use Microsoft.  Let's think about people in the New Economy who are effective.

We all now have at least three devices - phone, tablet, and computer.  We are getting info from at least two sources - hangouts (texts), and email.  We'll get the email first on the phone, while we are enjoying our espresso at Starbucks.  It's a link to a report, we don't want to deal with that now - pin it for the computer.

Things can be bundled and labelled - 'Boring' for corporate stuff, etc.  Links to YouTube videos can be saved for the tablet at home.

I didn't go through all the features, since I'm not a busy person, but I can see the potential here, and it would be great for my kids.

Update:  Apparently some people get a 'Golden Ticket' to invite others.  Not me, they're probably worried I'd sell it.  :)

Update2:  Man, no wonder they aren't giving me anything.  $200 a pop!

Friday, October 24, 2014

A Geology Grand Question: What is the process that eats continents?


Everywhere we look we see that the continents were increased by the plastering of fresh silicates from island arc complexes.  This is the fundamental deep geology of Ontario and Oklahoma, but they ignore it in the States, and for Bruce Deep Holes.

Like Einstein, I believe in a Friendly God, for things that I don't want to think about.  For example, we'd all be dead if water didn't expand when freezing.  What if???   Ouch, my brain hurts!  But I do know that in human biology, if you find a mechanism that increases serotonin in the brain, you better start hunting for something that destroys it.  This is The Balance of a Friendly God.

So, continents keep increasing, but we know that for the last billion year or so, the ratio of continents to oceans has been exactly the same.  Look for something that eats continents.  If  the amount of carbon dioxide increases temperature exponentially and unending,-- look for a compensating mechanism.  We have been hit with carbon dioxide before in geologic time.  If you want to think harder and don't invoke a God, then call it dumb luck.  And we wouldn't be here to yap about it.

I think the compensating mechanism for continents is heat flow.  As a thought experiment, double the size of continents.  What happens?  All Hell breaks loose because that light and fluffy silicate is a great insulator.  So, put all these continents together as a Super Continent, and watch out  for the fireworks!  The Deccan Traps would be nothing.  So, it is a simple matter that if we increase frothy silicates, the mantle gets hotter, and pours out basalt.  I think during a continental get-together, the edges get eaten off.  Even without that, if a continent gets too big for its britches, its deep keel gets eaten, even to the point of creating a Michigan Basin, a great example of mantle-munchies if I ever saw one.  :)

I think this will be the great next thing in tectonics -- Continental Breakfast.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Lowe's is the Target of Hardware Stores

I went into an empty Target store the other day, and they still have zombies and empty shelves.  Although I had just bought a lot of junk at Walmart, I felt an instant pressure not to buy anything.  If they had a Target Bar and Grill when Rob Ford was young, think how the world would be different today!  They couldn't sell sex at a Target brothel.

I always go to Home Depot, but the new Lowe's is closer.  Because of road construction I went into it today.  Instant Damper!  But I had to get something.  They are so hopelessly American that they don't have credit card chip readers as a matter of principle.  That tore it for me!  If my credit card gets bunged, I'm going to really say something.  :)