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Hi, This is Wayne. This is my site, my stuff, my blog, blahblahblah. The site itself is powered by WordPress and the Scary Little theme. I thought it was cool, and I still do.

December
22
2005
5:06 pm
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I just got notified that the subscription page for Austin Water email reports is now working. I tested it and no more errors.

I also learned about a new website for the city of Austin and it’s http://www.cityofaustin.org/. I liked reading about the basic facts about Austin, but I digest the information better when in tabular format instead.

December
22
2005
4:57 pm
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Quote :

Merry Christmas, Nearly Everybody!

– Ogden Nash

December
21
2005
11:08 pm
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It just came in. I had ordered “The Illustrated Principles of Pool and Billiards” by David G. (“Dr. Dave”) Alciatore, PhD book, companion CD and DVD off of his website last week.


First impression: nice. The book is not too big, not too small, feels weighty enough, etc. As I flip through it, what strikes me first are the many color diagrams everywhere.

And they’re cool diagrams — not just your normal pool table with balls on it and arrows trying to describe concepts. Some of these really get across what he’s trying to show you. One example is Figure 5.14 on page 141 — he shows a big blob across the table for where a decent shot on the 8-ball would be, and how one might get there. Typical books just show big triangles, which I guess is good for theory, but this matches my idea of pool better at the stage I’m at — which is namely “I need to ball to go there-ish, so how do I need to hit the ball to go in that direction?” (* note, see bottom for my take on this).

Also throughout the book are references to video on the DVD/CD. This reminds me of Unix Power Tools book, my all-time favorite technical book and example of how a good technical book should be. It’s riddled with cross-references and indexes such that you can just pick it up, read any page in it and learn something, and then be able to find anything else related to something on that page. I love it.

The book references (and the CD/DVD contains) over 90 digital video clips, 60 special high-speed video clips, 20 technical proofs and lots of cross-referencing within the book itself.

About the only thing I’d improve on the book (again, I’ve had it only 5 minutes so far) is a set of visual chapter indicators on the bleeding edges so that you can page through sections more quickly. Just a personal preference.

You can purchase your own copy in interested by going to his online shopping center.

I look forward to practicing and putting some of these principles to work so that I can know them better. Look here again later on for my reviews of the CD, DVD and book as I use them more. I think this book will make an excellent companion to my “Science of Pocket Billiards” yellow book by Jack Koehler, which I think is the best pool book ever.

I also think this will help me make the ultimate practice, drill and enjoyment system for pool. I just need the time and VC funding to make it happen. I’m still working on the information, but it’s going to be so cool.

————————————————–

* – my take on what I said about “there-ish” and where I’m at. I’ve heard and can agree that probably the best way to learn the dynamics and physics of pool and more specifically, the pool table you’re actually on right at this moment, is to implement “spot shooting,” meaning that for every shot you make, you should point out an exact spot on the table (like dime-sized or smaller) where the cue ball should land. The idea is that if you can get past failing every single time (because I mean who could land on a dime every time, right?), you should be able to quickly see how “off” you are on your position play. You also gain the advantage of actually picking out your next shot and are hopefully including the 3rd shot in consideration as well.

So I agree that spot shooting is better than “I need the ball to go that way”. I am trying to incorporate spot shooting into my playing. It takes a high level discipline and awareness, something I sometimes do not have when practicing or when playing with friends. You also have to be able to get past the failures and actually learn from them.

December
21
2005
10:14 pm
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December
21
2005
4:38 pm
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http://www.acropdf.com/

My comments:

  • I haven’t tried it myself, so can’t vouch for it
  • Someone had too much fun with WordArt or similar graphics tools
  • I like the price as compared with Adobe’s yearly subscription
  • I especially like the price when compared with Adobe’s unlimited site license ($5K I think)
  • I don’t know what is implied by the “PDF compatibility option for Abode PDF format” statement… Isn’t this PDF?
December
21
2005
4:29 pm
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In my most recent post I mentioned a subscription page. I just tried it out and it doesn’t work. I’ve alerted their webmaster via email address webadmin@ci.austin.tx.us and their other (working) response form.

December
21
2005
4:09 pm
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We recently received a “Communication to Stakeholders” letter from Austin Water about a new water treatment plant (the 4th one in a series) that is to be built on Lake Travis. We’re not Austin Water customers; we use a well. However, we received it because evidently we’re a “resident or business within a 5-mile radius of the proposed 1984 plant site.”

You can go to Austin Water’s website on the project to see more detail. Also, you can visit their subscription page if you want to receive email alerts about the project.

Also, I’ve taken the liberty to get a map of where the proposed plant will be built and it’s approximation to our house. Note that they have not said that it will definitely be built there.

Wow, that’s a LOT of land. 240 acres. I’ve never seen a water treatment plant so I guess I don’t really know if that’s a lot of land for this or not, but it sure seems like a lot.

You can also get a look at the water treatment process (click to enlarge):

I especially like the giant armadillos drinking out of some yellow cup outside of a large two story house. I mean, those armadillos are bigger than a car! I also learned what flocculation means and gained a healthy skepticism about water “chemical rapid mix” because if chlorine, iron, lime, ammonia and fluoride all get put into the water, are we supposed to believe that only fluoride remains when we turn on the tap? And is fluoride really red? And is iron and fluoride dropped into the wather while chlorine, lime and ammonia injected into the water?

You might note from this blog post that I’m neither “for” or “against” the plant per se. Since we use well and septic tank and don’t get services from Austin Water, I don’t think we’re impacted one way or another. I don’t think our water table will be affected and I don’t think our quality will be affected. I guess I’d like to be offered City Water services in the future because of the inherent risk in A) running out of water and/or B) not being able to sufficiently clean or soften natural water as well as the City does. However, I think that the water our well takes from the ground has been fairly well filtered through sand, dirt, rocks, etc and people don’t swim or boat in it directly. Nor do polluting corporations have their pipes into our ground like they might in Lake Travis.

December
20
2005
11:57 pm
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Not sure why, and I don’t really have a purpose in mind, but I went ahead and started a journal after joining Rotten Tomatoes’ VINE thingy.

http://www.rottentomatoes.com/vine/j/whallify

December
20
2005
11:24 pm
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A friend of mine recommended Rotten Tomatoes as a good place to get movie reviews. I basically have a problem where I’ve not ever seen a reviewer’s tastes match mine. But I’ll give it a shot.

The cool thing about the place is that it shows “good” and “bad” reviews so you can throw out the ones you’d normally throw out — example: if I’m looking at reviews for “King Kong” and the majority of the “Bad reviews” complain about how long the movie is, and I don’t personally care how long a movie is, then I can throw those out.

Now what would be cool is a netflix-type of rating system where I go in and rate the movies myself on some scale, and then in addition to giving me ratings of everyone, it gave me ratings of movies just from the people who’s ratings of other movies I’ve rated were similar… Let’s see, there’s probably a better way to word that. Let’s say I’ve gone in and rated 100 movies in a database somewhere on a scale of 1-10. Then the system would find people who’s ratings were within one digit +/- of my ratings, and THEN give me ratings on other movies I haven’t seen or rated from the averages of those people.

That way, if someone who is very close in my opinion on what a good movie is likes some other movie, I probably have a better chance of liking that other movie too.

I call this “The Netflix Rating Factor” simply because Netflix claims to have a similar system.

I’d say the review of Aeon Flux is indicative of my distaste for other’s people’s tastes. I read their critiques and just don’t agree. I really enjoyed the movie. All too often my “needs” from a movie are so forgiving and broad that the things people complain about just seem trivial. Too many people expect perfection from a movie. I want to have fun and enjoy the story. I did that with this movie.

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