Entries for month: March 2010
The latest release of WindowFlow Pro includes a unique new feature called dynamic resizing; this stops neighbouring windows from overlapping when they are resized. This dramatically improves the flexilbility of tiling; you may need to see this to really 'get it', so watch this short screencast.
Over the last week WindowFlow has seen many improvements with better performance, smoother moving & resizing, and better tiling on irregular display arragements. So make sure you are running the latest version by choosing the "Check for updates" menu item, or downloading it from here.
WindowFlow Standard hasn't missed out either: the latest release adds the option to hide WindowFlow from the dock and show it in the menu instead.
Stay tuned for more updates soon; I've got lots of great features in development and at this stage I'm releasing a new version every week or so.
WindowFlow is now up to version 0.9.4 and as well as a bunch of behind the scenes improvements you can see it's got a shiney new icon.
Also big thanks to Shaun from Panga Produductions for helping implement the design. He also produced an awesome animated version, check it out:
Space is big. You just won't believe how vastly, hugely, mind- bogglingly big it is. I mean, you may think it's a long way down the road to the chemist's, but that's just peanuts to space. - Douglas Adams
I recently picked up Bill Bryson's A Short History Of Nearly Everything again and each night I'm enjoying dipping in to it and being wow'd for a little while before I fall asleep. Bryson does a great job of using language to convey the immensity of the universe, as did Douglas Adams in his own way. It is almost impossible to really grasp the scale of the universe, or indeed, anything that's really big (can you guess what a trillion dollars looks like?), so it's fascinating to see how it is depicted to us.
This image from Hubble has been described as the most important photograph ever produced. It's astonishing because it was taken whilst the telescope was focussed on a seemingly empty speck of space.
It reminds me of the old saying that there are more stars in the universe than grains of sand on Earth. Thinking this might just be one of those things people say I did a quick search and found that the consensus is that this is true: Australian astronomers reported that there are 10 times more stars in the visible universe than all the grains of sand on the world's beaches and deserts. It's fun to see people justifying the claim with back of the envelope calculations. I'm not doubting it but it seems we really want this to be true, in some way it's re-assuring to be a something small in something so overwhelmingly massive.
There are loads more great shots from Hubble here, well worth checking out, as are the photos of the Hubble's final servicing mission, the tools might not be Star Trek but they really strike a chord with my inner geek.
This is a full scale model of Hubble's successor, the James Webb Space Telescope, or JSWT, is scheduled for launch in 2014.
I know nothing about astronomy and the technology behind all this, but damn if its looking a lot more sci-fi than it's predecessor and it's exciting to wonder what kind of images it's going to give us.
The know universe by the American Museum of Natural History (AMHN) takes the viewer on a journey out from Earth, view it in high definition on YouTube for the best experience.
These kind of videos are pretty common here's another, this one has a commentary, but I think the AMHN version captures it better, you don't really need a commentary filling your ears to be wondrous at it, just a little spacey music.
But if we are looking at fictionalized interpretations then the opening of the film Contact does a great job of creating that Wow! experience, cleverly using silence to create space to feel that, err, space. Just watch it:
The Universcale is a very slick interactive visualization created by Nikon. It's a Flash application and you can sit and watch it slowly move in, or you can accelerate it by clicking the numbers near the bottom, start at the far right and click back one by one from 27. Take your time with this one, and click on the item in the grid to see a nice reference on it, or just go crazy and jump straight to the low numbers.
I don't know the origins of this one, it got really nice zooming motion to it that makes it feel more like a game and, hey, who knew earthworms grew to be so big?
Perhaps we enjoy looking at all this is because it helps put our lives in perspective: being something so young and small in amongst something so old and big could have the effect of overwhelming us, but as it's all so non-negotiable there's nothing to do but accept it and be humbled by it. Helping any temporal problems we've got seems slightly less dominating.
The history of the Universe has been summed up thusly: 'Hydrogen is a light, odorless gas, which, given enough time, turns into people.'
John P. Wiley Jr., quoting Edward R. Harrison (a cosmologist at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst) Smithsonian Magazine, December, 1995.