Monitor Your Own Uptime

If you manage websites you know how bad it feels to have someone tell you a site is not only down but it’s been that way for 2 hours … or days. There are solutions out there to monitor your sites uptime but many of them charge and are at best clunky. I’m going to share with you a simple php script I wrote to monitor the sites I maintain for my work and my personal sites.

I’ll assume you can use PHP already in this, if you can’t start here. First you want an array of the sites Continue reading

Programming Languages for the Internet

These aren’t all programming languages and this list doesn’t have every web programming language possible on it but this is generally (in no particular order) what you will encounter in the world of web design, development, programming, or whatever else you want to call making things online. This list is more like what you’d see in a job description or on a resume as opposed to purely being a list of programming languages. So here are the languages we will cover:

Type: A markup language, not a programming language.
HTML (HyperText Markup Language) is what websites are made of. When you view the source of a webpage you are seeing html. It is structured as an Continue reading

Platform Agnostic Video

While it is possible to play video on the iPhone and other comparable mobile devices that video always takes over in full screen mode. I intend to make a video player (without sound for now) that will work on any platform without going fullscreen, needing users to click play, or depending on the use of animated gifs.

This will be accomplished with a combination of server side processing technology and client side ajax. A video will be placed on a unix based webserver and then split into individual images using a script for MEncoder (part of the MPlayer system). These images will be delivered to the page via ajax calls to allow them to then be quickly displayed in sequence to simulate video play.

So the steps are:

  1. place video on webserver
  2. split video into individual images
  3. load images dynamically to page
  4. quickly display the images on timed intervals

This results is video play that can happen in a standard div element and then be further manipulated. The later goal is playing this video on a 3d surface or in a stretched or skewed manner.

The images need to conform to a timecode to look like continuous video rather than having fluctuating speed. To accomplish this the client side code needs to keep up with time passed versus images loaded and when a redraw interval comes display the most appropriate image, then abandon any loading of an image that playback has passed.

What would I do with the Natal?

Microsoft has created and plans to release a video game interface that is as far beyond mutants as they are beyond mankind. Microsoft Natal is a tool that allows real time motion capture of the users entire body. It can also work with multiple users and it has a set of microphones that are supposed to be able to identify the voice of people separately by location.

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This doesn’t need a special type of room, a motion capture suit or a green-screen to work and while I could explain how it works in detail I don’t expect that many people to be interested so instead I’ll tell you what I see as the coolest game to make with it.

Continue reading

Idea for an Evolutionary Programming Project

An idea grew in my head recently for a proof of concept project that would be an excellent example of evolutionary programming and that evolved concept would lead to an equally interesting robotics project. I think this idea would make for a great senior thesis for a comp. sci., or engineering major.

The basic concept is having a robot draw a picture. Continue reading