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There are 269 blog entries within the category of Blog Entry

Build-A-Kev
September 20th, 2005 | View Post
I'd seen dozens of people do this sort of thing before and had wanted to make my own version of it. So after growing my beard out for about two months, I thought it would be fun to create a little stop-animation of the shaving process (thus run it backwards to have it grow).

I had a semi-formal affair to attend and really needed to shave for the event. Unfortunately it just so happened that my camera broke the day before and so I was kind of between a rock and a hard place with my little artistic experiment. The best I could do was to use my old video camera to capture basic clips and then grab stills from those video clips.

I'll admit it's definitely not the type of final product I had in mind (nor nearly the best I am certain I'm capable of producing), but it sufficed. If you look closely, you'll notice there are two little marks on the wall. These were actually nails that I used to align my head between for each shot. I had intended to remove them all, but never actually did since the images were so weak to begin with.

The images used to construct this can be found here: Build-A-Kev
Planetary Photoshopping
September 10th, 2005 | View Post
Every once in awhile I get the idea to try and draw something from scratch in Photoshop. This planet is what resulted.


Some distant planet out in space with a swarm of nebulae gases

Dreux's Tale of Jury Duty
August 19th, 2005 | View Post
Crockett and I were hanging out with Dreux the other day and he told us all about his experience with jury duty here in Travis county. We were surprised that he was picked for the case at all, being a logical engineer and all, but he was. His reward was sitting and listening to 5 days of civil trial.

The Suit

The lawsuit came from what is no doubt an upsetting tale, but in my opinion, was frivilous all the same. Essentially, an F-550 work truck was making a left turn at a stop light (crossing a highway in his turning lane). Mind you, he was actually the second car waiting for the green left arrow. As the arrow turned green (thus giving him the right of way), the car in front of him went through the intersection and he proceeded to so the same. Perpindicular to his car and coming from the left at about 55 MPH or so was another car. The driver ran the red light and the right side of her car smashed into the large grill bumper of the F-550 severely injuring her passenger and backseat daughter in a carseat. So much in fact, that life-flight was needed at the scene.

The woman's daughter suffered severe head trauma and will apparently never be the same again. To a lesser extent, this was apparently also true of the passenger. Oddly enough, the lawsuit actually came from the injured child's father, and from the mother of the passenger. They (the plaintiffs) were seeking a claim of negligence on behalf of the F-550 turning left claiming that he has a responsibility to ensure no cars are coming (even if he has the right of way). For that, they attempted to justify he was 20% at fault and were seeking to award $10,000,000 in damages (which results in $2,000,000 after factoring his negligent part).

Long story short, Dreux and the 11 other members of the jury found in favor of the defendant and therefore awarded no damages to the plaintiff. It seems that one of the largest points made was that by the time she ran the light, all lights had been red for two seconds, the defendant's light had been green for 8 seconds, and the woman driver's light had been red for 10 seconds! Not to mention, her light had been yellow for 6 seconds prior to it turning red.

How One is Selected for Jury Duty

There was some confusion amongst us trying to decide how one is selected for jury duty. It seems that some of us believe it comes from registering to vote, others believe it's merely having a license. It seems to vary from state to state and possibly county to county, but here are the rules for Travis County.

The jury wheel, which is the list of potential jurors, comes from three lists:
* all registered voters in Travis County
* all registered voters from neighboring counties that reside within Austin city limits
* all persons in Travis County with either a Texas driver's license or a Department of Public Safety identification card

Each year, the Voter lists and DPS lists are merged by matching the names as best as is possible to minimize duplications. The merged list is given to the Travis County district clerk. The district clerk, county clerk, and sheriff then meet to 'reconstitute' the jury wheel by replacing the old list with the new one. Jury summonses are sent from the jury wheel on a random basis.

About 120,000 to 150,000 summonses are sent each year.

To read more about this, visit http://www.co.travis.tx.us/district_clerk/jury/A1.asp.

Same Gnome 2.8.0+ Custom Image Pack 0.1
July 24th, 2005 | View Post

A look at the different pix maps.


This is just a pretty simple image pack that I put together for the popular open-source game, Same Gnome. The top left image is the default pixmap for the game, and the other three images are custom pixmaps that I made. Included in the tarball are: rotating_pills.png (topright), three_lens_flares.png (bottomleft), and mexican_numbers.png (bottomright). I cannot guarantee that they will work with all versions of Same Gnome, but were designed to work with v2.8.0.

Included Pixmaps
  • Rotating Pills
  • Mexican Numbers
  • Three Lens Flare
While the Mexican Numbers and the Rotating Pills themes were meant to be graphically appealing, the Three Lens Flares pixmap was simply designed to allow the user to more easily see what particular color appears most in the game (thus allowing for higher scores - or so was the idea).

How to use

Read your Same Gnome help section on 'Creating Scenarios'. Simply unTar/GZip the file and copy the .PNGs into your /usr/share/pixmaps/same-gnome/ directory (note: directory may be slightly different depending on your Linux distribution.)

Download them directly from:

Tar/GZ: same-gnome-pixmaps0.1.tar.gz (110,354 bytes)
A Technical FAQ About Me
June 28th, 2005 | View Post
1. Are you a computer programmer?
I guess so.

2. What languages are you familiar with?
I am an avid PHP programmer but am more than capable with C/C++, Python, Perl and a few others.

3. How about graphics, do you do that too?
I'm pretty fluent with PhotoShop and the like but my drawing ability is less than crap.

4. Video, sound, etc. Any of that?
I've done plenty of work with Adobe Premiere for the movies I've made, and use a variety of sound programs to help get my musical compositions onto the computer.

5. How many websites do you own?
About 10 I think. This one is currently my biggest project, though www.austinsmoke.com WAS my largest. It doesn't look so hot right now, but it used to be a bustling marketplace of GNU/GPL software.

6. How many websites do you manage?
All of the ones that I own plus 2 or 3 more.

7. Do you have any software floating around the web with your name on it?
Yes in fact. I wrote a nice little Currency Converter for PHP-Nuke around January of 2004. It's floating all over the place and can be downloaded from www.austinsmoke.com. At least, you used to be able to get it there. Freshmeat certainly still has a copy of it.

8. What kind of computer(s) do you have?
Right now I'm running a homemade AMD 64 bit machine, 1gb RAM, 80gb SATA 10k disk, on Fedora 3 Linux. My other boxes include a Dell Laptop running WinME, a homemade AMD 32 bit machine running WinXP, and an AMD 64 bit machine running WinXP.

9. Can you help me with my ______ software project?
Maybe. Send me an email via my contact page.

10. Did you design this website?
Yes - though I technically stole the look of it from Mambo. I'm pretty sure they've changed their look since, but that's who deserves the original credit.

11. So this site is run by Mambo CMS?
No. The LOOK of the site was 'borrowed' from the main Mambo site, but none of the coding is from Mambo or any other CMS for that matter.

12. Did you hand code all of this website?
...from blank VIM screens.

13. Can I have the source code to your website scripts?
As of right now, no. I am working on putting it together as a CMS package of some variety. Once that is all said and done, it will be posted on my website somewhere.

14. Does your site use databases?
Actually, though there is SOME database connectivity, it is in no way required to run the little CMS that I have created. The idea of the CMS is actually based entirely upon static HTML files. The software ultimately allows me to create things on the fly from the backend. Hence, if you alter the URL text in an effort to change an ID number, the most likely result will be an Apache error rather than a PHP or SQL error. The idea behind doing this is an effort to promote better security habbits of the site and also allow for faster loading times (as scripts don't need to compile, and queries do not need to be processed).

15. Is your gallery program finished?
No. Kallery is somewhat of a work in progress. I have made quite a bit of progress on it in the past while but do not feel it is dynamic enough to release. Should I ever get to release my CMS program to the world, the Kallery program would be a standard module that came along with it.
A Personal FAQ About Me
June 25th, 2005 | View Post
1. What is your name?
For the purposes of this FAQ, Kevin will do just fine, but I'll give you a hint: go to this URL.

2. Where are you from?
Originally I'm from the little town of Manalpan, New Jersey. My family moved to Texas when I was eight or so and I spent the next 10 years living in Houston, Texas. After I graduated from high school, I moved to Austin, Texas.

3. Where do you live now?
In an apartment in Austin, Texas.

4. How tall are you?
Ummm, I'd like to say 5'10", but I'm told that might be generous by an inch or so.

5. What color eyes do you have?
Blue.

6. What is your favorite color?
Green.

7. Are you married?
No.

8. Are you single?
Would a non-single guy have a website with multiple FAQ's about himself on it?

9. Are you rich?
Most certainly.

10. Can I call you sometime?
Hmmm, why don't you email me your picture first.

11. Are you the type of guy that enjoys dates?
Actually I prefer plums, though dates and more importantly, the act of dating, has appealed to me a time or two.

12. Do you have any favorite authors or books?
I have to be honest, I'm not much for reading. Not that I don't like books, I just prefer having them read to me via audiobooks or CDs. I generally prefer mystery books, random fact books, history books, and generally anything scientific in nature.

13. What about your favorite TV shows?
I don't watch that much TV. I like the FOX block of The Simpsons, Seinfeld, King of the Hill, and sometimes That 70's Show. Other than that I tend to stick to the Discovery Channel, the History Channel, and movie channels such as HBO (namely b/c I hate commercials).

14. And for the trifecta, how about movies?
I think my favorite movie is The Shawshank Redemption. As for clever movies, I like Guy Ritchie's Snatch. I've enjoyed all 30 or so Hitchcock movies that I've seen and also like a number of old silent pictures with Charlie Chaplin and/or Buster Keaton. A local Austin band, Guy Forsyth, has put on a fabulous show a few times by playing an original score to Buster Keatons, 'The General'.

15. What kind of music do you listen to?
I listen to most everything except for rap and country. Tho, even some rap has grown on me thanks to the Tony Hawk and Grand Theft Auto video game series. I've recently really gotten into listening to more worldly music and of course, being the narcacist that I am, I enjoy listening to some of my own homemade music.

16. What kind of a car do you drive?
A black 2004 Saturn Ion2 Quad Coupe.

17. What other cars have you owned in the past?
My first car was a white 1993 Mitsibushi Mighty Max small pickup truck. This was followed by a cherry-red/mocca Ford F150 Eddie Bauer pickup truck. After that came a cherry-red/mocca 2000 Ford Explorer Eddie Bauer. This is about when I moved to New Zealand. First, I purchased a 1989 Honda Beat 50cc Scooter, then a 1981 Subaru Leone. After returning stateside, I purchased my 2004 Saturn Ion2 Quad Coupe.

18. Do you like to travel?
Indeed.

19. Have you visited much of the United States?
Most all of it. I still have yet to visit Alaska, Hawaii, and a few states of the central north such as the Dakotas and Montana.

20. Have you traveled outside of the United States?
Yup. I've traveled to some of the Virgin Islands, Mexico dozens of times, New Zealand, Australia, Fiji and Puerto Rico (technically not part of the US)

21. Where would you like to go next?
I would really like to visit Canada, Cuba, Japan, Thailand, Russia, and then Europe. ...more or less in that order.

22. Do you have any pets?
No - sadly I've seemed to develop certain allergies to some pets.

23. What pets have you had in the past?
My family has had (and I grew up with) cats of the following names: Henry, Fluffy, Tabitha, and Sam. Dog names were: Barney (a sheltie), Freckles a.k.a. Senor Taco (a long haired chihuahua), and Sampson (a mutt). We also had a horse for many years named Tara. Personally, I have had dozens of fish including a few large mouth bass. I had a pet crawfish named Bob, and my personal favorite was my pet mouse named Mario Van Peebles Mouseman III a.k.a. Mousie.

24. Was it really necessary to type all of these questions?
You're the one that read them.

25. Is there anything that really annoys you?
Yes, people that would have typed the former answer as: 'Your the one that read them'.