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a blog by ken pardue

Archive for October, 2005

Tropical Storm Alpha

Sunday, October 23rd, 2005

From the Miami Herald’s website:

Unbelievably, Tropical Storm Alpha — the 22nd named storm of this extraordinary season — developed in the Caribbean.

It broke the Atlantic hurricane season activity record set in 1933 and marked the first time forecasters ran out of names and had to resort to the Greek alphabet.

What a year.

Once you go Mac…

Thursday, October 20th, 2005

I’ve heard it said that once you go Mac you never go back.  I’m about to find out.  After seeing all the neat things that Mac does right out of the box, particularly organizationally, I decided that I didn’t want to wait a year+ to get an Intel-based iMac.  So, I purchased a shiny new Mac Mini 1.42GHz / 512MB RAM / 80GB Hard Drive (hoping for the upgraded 1.5 GHz model) from the Apple Store.  It’s presently in shipment and should be here this Tuesday.

What was my final justification to get one?  Several.  1) I wanted to get my feet wet with Mac and OS X without the $1800 investment in a year.  2) For what I would use it for–file organization, calendar/addressbook/mail use, finance management, and web development–the Mini is perfectly suited to get the job done.  3) I do freelance work for someone who uses a Mac, and it would be nice to know my work renders well on a Mac beforehand.  4)  I’m sick of Windows.  Maybe it’s just because of how long I’ve been using it, but I’m worn thin of the configuration problems, spyware, viruses, slow searches, and plain old ugliness.  I’m ready for a quiet, low power consumption computer, and if I can get one that was design with artistic beauty in mind, so much the better… OS X and the Mini just look crazy cool, is so quiet you don’t really know if it’s on, and uses 20 watts to a PC’s 160.

Besides, since Mac computers retain their value like nobody’s business I can just sell the Mini back on eBay for 90% of my cost if I don’t like it or OS X.

Happy Birthday to Me!

Tuesday, October 4th, 2005

Finally, after years of long waiting, Pink Floyd is releasing their 1995 PULSE concert on DVD.  It was announced on both Brain Damage and Fleeting Glimpse, two of the most reliable Floydian news sites.  The date, which is now actually official from EMI and not an estimate set forth by Pink Floyd Management, is December 5 of this year… my birthday.  I know what my present to myself is!

Here’s the finalized track listing:

DISC 1

Concert Part 1:

Shine On

Learning To Fly

High Hopes

Take It Back

Coming Back To Life

Sorrow

Keep Talking

Another Brick In The Wall (part 2)

One of These Days

Screen Films:

Shine On

High Hopes

Learning to Fly

Bootlegging the Bootleggers:

What Do You Want From Me

On The Turning Way

Poles Apart

Marooned

Shorts:

Time (Eames)

Money (Alien)

Speak To Me 1987

Pulse TV Advert

Videos:

Learning To Fly

Take It Back

DISC 2

Concert Part 2:

Speak To Me

Breathe

On The Run

Time

The Great Gig In The Sky

Money

Us And Them

Brain Damage

Eclipse

Wish You Were Here

Comfortably Numb

Run Like Hell

Screen Films:

Speak To Me (graphic)

On The Run

Time 1994

The Great Gig in the Sky (wave)

Money

Us And Them 1987

Brain Damage

Eclipse

Alternate Screen Films:

The Great Gig In The Sky (animation)

Us And Them 1994

Behind the Scenes Footage:

Goodbye to Life As We Know It

Wish You Were Here:

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony

Photo Gallery

Fly! Legacy

Sunday, October 2nd, 2005

I just read about an extraordinarily interesting project that has sprung from the ashes of the old Terminal Reality Fly! community. For the non-flight sim savvy, Fly! was a general aviation flight simulator released for PC and Mac OS in the late 1990’s. It had a sound foundation with unheard of realism in simulating cockpits and systems, and though it was clearly a 1.0 release, garnered a great deal of fandom. They followed on with a release of Fly!2K, which addressed some of the shortcomings of the sim, and in 2001 released Fly! 2.

Fly! 2 suffered from a rushed release schedule and high performance requirements, and shipped before it was anywhere near ready. Terminal Reality couldn’t shell out the cost to get actual manufacturer names on the aircraft, so instead of a Cessna Skyhawk we would be flying a Skyhawk, etc. As with the original Fly!, most of the airports in the world didn’t have scenery or accurate taxiways.

Sadly, the lead developer, Richard Harvey, passed away from cancer. He was a great guy, even replied to me personally in an email once. Truly, he was the lifeblood of the project, and with his passing and the dismantlement of Gathering of Devleopers (GoD), Fly! 3 never began serious development. A fairly active fan community has remained with the project at AVSIM, and I check the forums occasionally to see what’s going on.

Today, I noticed Chris Wallace’s post annoucing Fly! Legacy. Fly! Legacy is an attempt to build an open source flight simulator around the foundations of Fly!. It’s extrememly exciting, because the framework of Fly! is in many ways superior and more refined than that of the only other open-source flight simulator, FlightGear. Chris goes on to explain that he had once considered donating his source code to the FlightGear project, but found many fundamental differences between what he was trying to do and FlightGear.

To this point, there isn’t a great deal that is “consumable”. There are SourceForge project and public pages set up, and the project status is only roughly about 20% complete. There are two screenshots posted:

Fly! Legacy - Seneca V Over Lake Tahoe
ROTW’s Seneca V visits Lake Tahoe

Fly! Legacy - Flyhawk Panel
The trusty old Flyhawk panel, gauges are under construction

I’m just hoping that all this isn’t coming too late to save the spirit of Fly!. There have been so many other advancements in the Flight Simulator world since Fly! made its splash… AI traffic, Air Traffic Control, 3D “virual cockpits”, and of course refinements to scenery. I would certainly hope that Fly! can continue on as a reverse-engineered open-source framework, whether in conjunction with or a successor to FlightGear.