Thursday, June 3, 2010

My Augmented Reality: Project AR2

As most of you are very probably aware, I am extremely excited about Augmented Reality (AR). In fact, I have been so excited about AR that I came full circle to not caring about it at all for the last 3 years.

Then, last weekend at the Lego store [], when a crowd of enthused onlookers were enjoying the augmented reality "Digital Boxes" on the shelves, I realized that I simply could not ignore AR any more. If the mall has this technology, so too then shall I.

So I put together Project AR2 and am hosting it on my research site for all to enjoy. Pictured above, my two boys playing around with the Project AR2 UI, which (in a nutshell) projects a digital R2D2* onto a marker in video captured by your average run-of-the-mill webcam. (In this case, my bargain basement ColorMangle DistortionCam 5000.)

The Project AR2 Augmented Reality Marker:
(Note: This is not narcissistic, just amazingly good branding.)


If you want to try it you will need to print out the marker and (for best results) stick it to a piece of cardboard. (It works best if the marker is flat.) Then mosey over to the Project AR2 Webpage and let it access your webcam when it asks for permission. Lighting makes all the difference. Webcams generally don't have the best image quality, so your mileage may vary.

Oh, and speaking of old technology that I have been ignoring; here is the QR code and the Microsoft Tag for this blog post:

* Until George Lucas sues me.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Meat Buster: A Mashup of Perfect Storm Proportion

As most of you are more than certainly aware, I like web mashups. They are always practical, and never a waste of time.

For some time now I have searched the Internet for what I consider to be the "perfect storm" of mashups: a combination of 1) Google, 2) Facebook, 3) Bubble Breaker and, of course, 4) Meat. It would appear that this particular breed of mashup is indeed a niche market, for I have been unsuccessful in my quest thus far. Truly, the dearth of availability has been disheartening to say the least.

Until now! I have implemented and present to you now the only known mashup* of Google, Facebook, Bubble Breaker and Meat: Meat Buster: The Embedded Public Wave Gadget Of The Game

What you are looking at is a beef-themed version of Bubble Breaker, running as a Google Wave gadget inside an embedded public Wave, with separate Facebook "like" buttons on the gadget and the container page. And quite frankly, what's not to "like?" <---Clever.

The Embedded Google Wave of the game**:

The Wave Gadget URL:

The stand-alone version of the game:

* I actually didn't look very hard. If Google and Bing can't find one, what chance do I have?

** Unfortunately embedded waves do not work properly on IE yet. Please try Chrome or Firefox if you are currently running IE, or use the stand-alone version, or don't bother; it's just Bubble Breaker with beef.

Monday, April 19, 2010

My War on Literacy Continues

As most of you are more than certainly aware, I work tirelessly and (without a doubt) singularly focused on eliminating the threat of literacy, both pro and con.  My recent submission to Urban Dictionary, "disreproachable" (which many of you have noted from my splash page, is arguably not a word) has been accepted, and is actually a word:

Thank Jebus for Democracy.  Without the concept of democracy, any number of randomly authoritative d@@chebags* could have poo-pooed my submission and sh^tbagged it****, like the d@@chebags* they are.

Anyhooz, I think you get the point.
* I don't allow profanity on my blog, so I replace them with funny characters like "@."**
** Except for "choad" and/or "chode" (alternate spellings)***
*** Which I do not think are profane, since I've heard and seen both on primetime TV; the last bastion of decency in the US.
**** I don't actually know if "^" is a good alternate for "I" but here we are.  You know what it's good for? Laughy eyes like this: ^.^  *****
***** I should submit "laughy eyes" to Urban Dictionary.  Problem: people have to know how to spell "laugh" to find it.  Ugh.  Stupid language.

Friday, April 16, 2010

"Disreproachable" is a word

Based on an almost ridiculous outpouring of support from a number of blogs, it turns out that "disreproachable" actually IS a word, and I don't have to edit my splash page graphics after all.  Whew.  Maybe I can spend the THIS weekend with my kids, instead of slaving over this blog like I normally do.

Here's a typical example of people crying out for recognition of the word "disreproachable:"

So I sent the following definition to Urban Dictionary.  Let's hope they see the wisdom of my post.

Listen up, "disreproachable" is absolutely a word. I am not saying you hear it every day; in fact there is a significant, not-insubstantial chance you won't even hear it in your lifetime. You should get out more.

It's very much like "irreproachable" and its root word "reproach" but in no way similar, other than the obvious similarities.
Obviously similar uses: 
"Her grooming was beyond reproach; it was _irreproachable_."
"His groomering was _dispreproachable_; although without question I burned the couch cushion he sat on when he left."

Less similar: 
"You know how 'irreproachable' is a word? That's awesome, but I don't think 'disreproachable' is cool like that. Only a choad would say that."
"You know what word I like? 'Disreproachable.' That's an awesome word. I don't think a chode would use that word."

So, they are not completely interchangeable, but you definitely get the picture. Also, New Moon sucked. Where I come from the vampires actually suck blood. Come on.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

My First Annual Bi-Weekly Tweet Roundup*

My first annual posting of this bi-weekly* period's most exciting tweets by me, sorted in reverse-most-exciting (RME®) order:

The tweet of the link to this blog post:

Self-recursive tweet of the announcement of my URL shortening service:

Tweet regarding my "favoriting" of the tweet about my blog update:

Tweet announcing my blog update:

* Some of you may have noticed a dichotomy regarding the words "annual" and "bi-weekly," possibly due to the fact that they mean incompatible things, like "up" and "down," or "solid parenting" and "Britney Spears."

Before you question whether I proofread my posts prior to posting (hint: I do not) I should explain that I expect to completely forget to do this again for at least a year. Which, let's be honest, is likely how long it will take for me to accumulate enough tweets of the amazing caliber demonstrated above to merit another tweet roundup.

On an unrelated note, look for a very exciting Google Buzz roundup in the near future. Rumor has it that it may reference some of the Tweets from this post.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

URL Shortening and your personal security and you

As most of you who follow security chatter are aware, URL shortening services like and are somewhat frowned upon by the security community: []

I won't bore you with the tedious details. I'll let the wikipedia article do that.

What's unusual is that despite the general public's universally near-instantaneous adherence to the advice of the security community, URL shorteners are actually gaining in popularity.

To thwart this growing threat I have written my own URL shortener that not only supports a tiny subset of the functionality of the "big name" shortening services, but still provides basically the same fundamental security flaws.

The difference is that, since I wrote it myself, if it suffers from link rot or torrential virus distribution, or is simply not even responding to basic requests, you can rest assured that these issues are safely being managed by me, rather than some faceless conglomerate that cares more about the bottom line than providing a sub-par service.

My tweet announcing my new URL shortener: []

A link-back to this blog post: []

Notice in my previous example that the shortened URL can be as long as you like. Try getting that from I suspect that they will just laugh at you if you ask.

Anyway, to take advantage of this quantum leap forward in URL shortening, simply send me the URL you wish to shorten and the URL extension you would like, and I will let you know when it's up. Please allow 3-5 days for a response.

Monday, February 15, 2010

I have tweeted about updating my blog!

Thanks predominantly to the overwhelmingly positive response to my previous blog post, (thank-you Eric S) I became so emboldened as to decide to tweet about it, via the popular social messaging medium "Twitter."

Here's the tweet:

And the meta-tweet (please forgive my vanity):

Some of you may be thinking, "hey, it kinda seems like Brent's blog is mostly about Brent writing stuff in his blog, and any actual substance feels, well, somewhat stark or even nonexistent."

My reply: I love your in-your-face honesty, and the way you use colloquialisms like "kinda" and, quite frankly, your overuse of commas in quotations. I've heard your feedback, and I've internalized it. Look for more of this quality post in the future.

I have updated my blog!

Don't let the exclamation mark in the title fool you, this is not simply some sort of punctuation-based hype. I have truly made a change to this blog.

First of all, the splash page has changed completely:

Second, I made this announcement (that you are reading right now) regarding the fact that the splash page has changed.

In other news, for those of you following my attempt to own the word "irony" the news is quite good. As of this date a Google search for my name (Brent) and the word "ironic" (ironic) now returns the top link to this blog.

The original story is here:

The Google search is here: