Shadow “Duke” Rhodes, 1994-2011

Yesterday, a wonderful member of our family, our Pomeranian Duke, passed away at the age of 17. He was a great dog who was such big part of our lives. He lived a long happy life and made our lives better having him. He was no ordinary dog and didn’t take a liking to many people but once he got to know you, you were a part of his pack.

Duke and I had a special relationship. After my black Labrador service dog, Quetzal, passed away 12 years ago Duke decided to take over the reins. Every day he took it upon himself to watch after me and would follow me throughout my daily routine. Every morning he was there when it was time for me to get up. And up until his final years he would ride in my lap when it came time to leave my bedroom. There were countless times when Duke would know I needed something before I would even ask. He even knew when I wasn’t feeling well.

As for the rest of us he felt the need to be the lookout. He was ready to bark at anything that would pass by the house. It didn’t matter if it was a car, a person, cat, deer, rabbit, another dog or even an aggressive blue jay. And even though he was only 12 pounds, in his mind he was a big dog and was willing to take on anything to protect us, even when it wasn’t necessary.

We consider him a pure gift from God and felt blessed to have him. He brought great joy to my family and he will be greatly missed. We love you buddy!

RIP Dell XPS 700

My computer died on me today. It turned on but nobody was home. According to Dell the motherboard needs a replacement but being that the computer is 5 years old and out of warranty my only option is a new computer. Replacing just the motherboard would cost as much 25-35% of a new equivalent PC. It is sad to see the end of a computer that I got so much good use out of be reduced to a behemoth paperweight.
I just finished my Starship project yesterday and I was going to work on posting it today but it going to have to wait until my new PC arrives and I am able to transfer the data over. Until then I will be using my Dad’s laptop which I am thankful to use.

Google SketchUp 3D Challenge #104 – Stereo

20For this challenge I created a concept for a compact stereo system. It is a combination of a full 7.1 surround sound AV receiver, a BluRay player and a biometric iPod safe.

As far as I know there are no biometric iPod safes in existence. When you place your iPod in the dock it is then lowered down and concealed within the stereo where it will charge and allow it to be operated by the stereo. Once the iPod is safely stowed it can only be removed once the owner scans their thumb print (or fingerprint, toe print, paw print, flipper print and sometimes tentacle print, etc.) on the included scanner atop the unit. Sure, someone can just steal the whole thing but as an additional precaution there is a Kensington security slot located on the back that is compatible with their tethered laptop locks (sorry, modeled separately).

In addition to iPod compatibility the stereo can accept a variety of inputs. The built in BluRay player is capable of playing BluRay discs, DVDs, CDs and all recordable variants. You can also access and play images, music or videos through the front USB port and SD card reader. If that is not enough there are also 3 HDMI/composite inputs on the back of the unit allowing for connection to a video game system, cable/satellite box or additional BluRay/DVD players. Video can be output to any TV with an available HDMI input. Connecting all components to the stereo allows everything to connect to the TV with a single HDMI cable.

See the model in the Google 3D Warehouse here and the gallery below:

Google SketchUp 3D Challenge #103 – 2D Components

1 This challenge seemed very unconventional to me so I decided to do something unconventional for SketchUp. SketchUp is a great program for 3D modeling but not so much for flat 2 dimensional images. For this challenge I decided to created a parody of a game I used to play as a kid called Wolfenstein 3D. It was a revolutionary game for the time and it basically launched the First Person Shooter genre video games.  The game was only partially 3D and in fact, the only part of it that appeared to be 3D rendered were the walls. All of the bad guys, guns, game items and decorations were just 2D sprites arranged in 3D space.

My parody version is called SketchUpenstein 3D and is modeled entirely in 2D components including the walls. The original enemy guards have been replaced with the “Unmodelers” who are bent on erasing all 3D models armed with giant SketchUp erasers. In this erase or be erased world you must guide the hero, Bryce, through the game killing, er, I mean, erasing the unmodelers before all is lost. Along the way you can recover some models taken from the 3D Warehouse including the coveted Google SketchUp 3D Challenge trophy.  When ‘”playing” SketchUpenstein 3D be sure to use your imagination. Some laughable instructions are listed at the top of the screen to help you along.

See the model in the Google 3D Warehouse here and the gallery below:

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas everyone!  Keeping in tradition with last year I thought I would let everyone know what I was given for Christmas.  Last month my parents gave me an early present which is a replacement for my trackball mouse called a SmartNav 4AT from NaturalPoint.  It is a hands free mouse that uses an infrared camera to track the movement of a reflective dot that can be placed on ones forehead, hat, eyeglasses or even a ring and translates the movement to the mouse cursor.  I also received a R2-D2 Projection Alarm Clock and a Mimobot 8GB Darth Vader USB Flash Drive early as well.  On Christmas Day they gave me a fantastic Star Wars Stained Glass Light-Up Panorama to display in my room along with my collection.  They also gave me the complete Beatles Stereo Box Set containing all 14 albums in 16 totally remastered CDs including a set of 13 mini documentaries on DVD.  They sound better than ever and I recommend the box set to anyone who can get their hands on it.  I also received the Star Wars Saga 2010 Calendar.  My Grandma gave me a nice The Birds (Alfred Hitchcock film, not the band) – Bodega Bay T-shirt that glows in the dark, very cool.  My sister made the 3 of us some hand-knitted Christmas tree ornaments; a stocking hat, a stocking and a scarf all in miniature scale!  I also gave my Dad a emergency car battery jump starter and my mom battery operated salt and pepper grinders.  They gave themselves a Nintendo Wii system including Wii Fit Plus and tons of accessories.  Here’s a gallery of what I received:

Stained Glass Panorama

The Beatles Stereo Box Set

Star Wars Saga 2010 Calendar

SmartNav 4AT

R2-D2 Projection Alarm Clock

Mimobot 8GB Darth Vader USB Flash Drive