There’s a new game in town
Mini ‘how-to’ Bluetooth/Wifi combo for Raspberry PI
Stick’em with the pointy end
Virtual and not so Virtual Space
Be Still my Bleeding Heart …
The Never-ending Privacy Battle
The Many Sides of Bitcoin
Cyber Jihadists
Hacker Gangs
The New Old War
The Sacred Executioner
Scripting Aphrodites
There’s a new game in town My first foray into role playing games (RPGs) wasn’t actually an RPG at all. Rather, it was a computer based word puzzle, “The Colossal Cave” aka “Adventure.” I stumbled upon this game during a computer job back in the late 1970s. The game was written in Basic and ran on a PDP-11. I spent hours […]
Mini ‘how-to’ Bluetooth/Wifi combo for Raspberry PI I recently purchased the Cirago USB Bluetooth/Wifi combo to use with my raspberry pi. All things considered, I am quite pleased. Being reasonably versed in google-fu, helped, of course. Since I want the freedom to do some mobile tinkering, I need to access the pi sans a lan. That, and my latest wild hair project […]
Stick’em with the pointy end Since I have been spending a great deal of my time playing in the field of 3D design and printing, I have only recently stumbled upon, and had time to read, “Privacy for Me and Not for Thee,” penned by Catherine A. Fitzpatrick, a human rights activist whom I first encountered in the virtual world […]
Virtual and not so Virtual Space Not long ago, someone asked if I liked 3D printing better than virtual worlds. The short answer is, equally but differently. The amazing thing, and what drew me to virtual worlds in the first place, was being able create things that simply could not exist in meatspace. While I had dabbled in various virtual reality […]
Be Still my Bleeding Heart … “Secure web servers are the equivalent of heavy armored cars. The problem is, they are being used to transfer rolls of coins and checks written in crayon by people on park benches to merchants doing business in cardboard boxes from beneath highway bridges. Further, the roads are subject to random detours, anyone with a screwdriver […]
The Never-ending Privacy Battle This brings me back to the Hundredpercent American. To some extent he is a pet of mine. I have always rather liked him, because he has some promising qualities. For instance, he has enormous hospitality. I used to feel personally complimented by the amazing warm-hearted hospitality showered on me by Americans. […] When I realized […]
The Many Sides of Bitcoin Pariah, darling, or somewhere in between. Bitcoin has continued to linger in the daily media spotlight since the shuttering of darknet’s black-market drug bazaar, Silk Road, and the subsequent announcement of the arrest of its alleged owner, Ross William Ulbricht (aka DPR), on October 2, 2013. Media mavens have long cast bitcoin as a sort […]
Cyber Jihadists “We’re facing a very great threat of loosely-coupled, organizational networks that increasingly rely on IT infrastructure to coordinate their movements and recruit young disenfranchised, apathetic guys as suicidal pawns in a sophisticated, dispersed movement. (…)” (AHM, Usenet, September 21, 2001)
Hacker Gangs Meet Jim Script Kiddie (skiddie). He is the guy (usually in his early to mid teens) who comes into a hacker forum, asking inane questions like, “how can I be a hacker?” He also tends to over-indulge in “hacker speak” making him look pretty much like a moron to seasoned (and not so) computer netizens.
The New Old War In 1956, FBI Director, J. Edgar Hoover initiated a program, code-named COINTELPRO (counter intelligence program) ushering in what would become the mainstay for how intelligence communities dealt with domesitic affairs. The sole directive of this program was “to expose, disrupt, misdirect, discredit, or otherwise neutralize” the activities of various dissidents and their leaders.
The Sacred Executioner In his book, “The Sacred Executioner,” Hyam Maccoby notes: “A figure in mythology that has received little attention is that of the Sacred Executioner. […] By taking the blame for the slaying, he is performing a great service to society, for not only does he perform the deed, but he takes upon himself the blame […]
Scripting Aphrodites On Wednesday, April 13, 2006, 10-year-old Jamie Rose Bolin was reported missing by her father. Investigators thought she may have been abducted by someone she met online. Oklahoma law enforcement suspected her abductor might be heading just across the border to Texas and requested Texas issue an Amber alert.
image There’s a new game in town
image Mini ‘how-to’ Bluetooth/Wifi combo for Raspberry PI
image Stick’em with the pointy end
image Virtual and not so Virtual Space
image Be Still my Bleeding Heart …
image The Never-ending Privacy Battle
image The Many Sides of Bitcoin
image Cyber Jihadists
image Hacker Gangs
image The New Old War
image The Sacred Executioner
image Scripting Aphrodites

Virtual and not so Virtual Space

Not long ago, someone asked if I liked 3D printing better than virtual worlds. The short answer is, equally but differently.

The amazing thing, and what drew me to virtual worlds in the first place, was being able create things that simply could not exist in meatspace. While I had dabbled in various virtual reality venues over the years, my first extended foray into same said was Second Life (SL) in ’05.

While the graphics were (and are) still somewhat rough, the 3D space was quite fascinating. At first, I spent the majority of my time exploring different places, awestruck with the various designs SL residents had created, eventually learning how to create a few myself, with their 3D building blocks, prims (short for primitives).

As I learned the SL scripting language (LSL), design options multiplied. I could write a simple script, place it in a single prim, and it would “rez” a complex object, as if by magic. The most complex artsy object I scripted was a , a chaos theory most commonly known as the that perpetually drew itself.

The most complex utility object I scripted was a “tour” vehicle for the crime scene recreation I built for the tragic case of .

At the time I was finishing up my Masters in Forensic Psychology, and I envisioned crime scene recreations that could be used as a tool for giving jurors a glimpse into the crime scene. I still think virtual crime scenes have great potential. Especially in light of the number of months it quite often takes for a case to go to trial. If the crime scene can be accurately reproduced, it would free up property that would otherwise sit stagnant and untouched. The 3D immersive effect could also play a role with regard to the story told. By both the prosecution and the defense.

But, I digress.

The next challenge was to dig into Linden Lab‘s raw source code, which they had open sourced in ’07. The goal was to create autonomous avatars that could move about and eventually, re-enact the crimes. Hence were born my Crime Scene Bots, which I lovingly referred to as my “Crime Scene Dummies.

Most of the bots at that time relied upon crudely scripted objects to move about. My bots, on the other hand, were driven from a program that ran on my computer, interacting with the SL virtual world to determine their movements. I also hooked them up to Pandorabots, as opposed to my conversational AI, so they could “talk” with residents. I had sentry bots that walked the perimeter of my sky dome, welcomers who aimlessly wandered about the welcome area, greeting guests and inviting them to my CSI Lab group, should visitors request an invitation. I also had actor bots that played roles in some of the CSI games I set up.

It was quite fun, actually.

By ’09 another player had moved into town. Avatar Reality and their Blue Mars project. A virtual reality world built off the, at the time, state of the art Cryengine. While their avatars left, and still do leave, a lot to be desired, the graphics were mesmerizing. Within a month of signing up for that platform, I had launched Digital DNA, which is, amazingly, still accessible.

Blue Mars presented its own set of challenges. And rewards. Being able to script my own weather system (they used … yet another scripting language) and tune environment variables allowed me to create an environment similar to the San Francisco Bay Area, that included everything from fog banks to rain and wind. It also allowed me to create a hot air balloon that actually obeyed the laws of physics… real ballooning, so to speak. Or rather, as real as anyone could get in a virtual world.

By the end of ’10, I had begun designing and implementing a complex vehicle system, as well as designing an interface for driven avatar movement, when Avatar Reality decided to send Blue Mars in a different direction: Dress up Dolls for iPhones and iPads.

I was disgusted.

As such, I haven’t really done anything further with my Blue Mars builds since. Though, you can view screen caps of Confluence the build I was preparing to deploy before they decided to move in their new direction.

As you may have guessed by now… from the rather long-winded rambling above, I quite enjoyed my foray into the 3D virtual space. For me, it provided the means to create, while challenging my analytical side. I’ll always be a coder at heart. It’s in my nature.

Which brings me to present day and 3D printing. One thing that is great, is that I’ve been able to apply what I learned about 3D design over the past few years, to 3D printed designs. I still have yet to reach the point where I can script my designs but you can bet that is an eventuality. Like I said, coding is in my nature. It is part of who I am.

In the meantime, what I am doing now, is experimenting with mechanical designs that can be printed as a single piece: no assembly required. An example of such is my captive bearing mechanism. A design that was inspired by a youtube vid posted by 3D Printing Systems, a company who manufactures and sells, the UP! Mini 3d printer.

So, do I like 3D printing better than 3D virtual worlds? Again, equally but differently.