First-and-TenWith the Super Bowl being this weekend lots of people like me (who can’t stand not knowing how something works) will be sitting around wondering “How do they paint the first-down line on the TV?”

Since 1998, Sportvision has provided many of the major networks with the technology called “1st & Ten” to paint the first-down line on the screen.

How does the line get there?

Well, the short answer is a computer analyzes the position of the camera on the field, takes into account zoom and the angle the camera is at, and where the first down line is, and draws the line on the image.

Why doesn’t the line cover the players?

There is a carefully calibrated color pallet of all the colors on the field, and another color pallet of all the colors of players’ uniforms, skin, the ball, and anything else which the line should not be painted on.

Before the line is drawn, very pixel on screen is then compared against these two color pallets. If the pixel matches a color in the field pallet the line is drawn on that pixel, if it matches the non-field pallet the line is not drawn.

Of course all of this has to happen 30 times a second to keep up with moving cameras and players, so as you can imagine it takes some serious computer power.

For more detail, check out Sportvision’s description of the technology or How the First-Down Line Works from HowStuffWorks.com.

sports, football, technology, television, tv, super bowl, superbowl

Mmmmm... Spam.Has anyone else noticed that if you’re looking at your Spam folder in Gmail there is a link at the top for a Spam recipe?

Google typically places a web clip from a popular news site at the top of the mail view, but in the Spam folder you’ll get a random Spam recipe from RecipeSource.com.

Yup, Spam. Not gag recipes either! Legitimate recipes for things like Spam Breakfast Burritos, French Fry Spam Casserole, and even Spam Primavera.

So if you’re sitting around wondering how you should prepare that Spam you bought for dinner, remember Gmail has the answer.

spam, gmail, email, internet, entertainment, cooking, recipe, food

Inspired by Animaniacs, I now present you with Good Idea, Bad Idea. Today’s topic: Internet advertising.

Good Idea:

The Million Dollar Homepage: This is a very fresh idea with an interesting result. Alex Tew of Wiltshire England came up with the idea of selling one million pixels on www.milliondollarhomepage.com for one dollar each so he could put himself through school. He reached his goal and then some in January 2006. Way to go Alex!

There will be plenty of copy-cat sites, but I will always hold the original as a great example of out-of-the-box thinking.

Bad Idea:

buyitoff.com: Not only a rip-off, but somewhat degrading. It’s a fresh new type of prostitution, but its still prostitution. The site features a moderately attractive woman who, as people buy advertising, will be undressed, one painfully small panel at a time.

Anyone who buys advertising here is a moron. For starters, there’s better porn out there. More importantly, the ads only show up when you mouse-over the body part purchased, and nobody who is looking for pictures of a naked woman is going to mouse over her best parts just to find out who sponsored them.

The only thing that could somewhat redeem this site is if it had a “Crying Game” surprise ending. This guy is such an ass clown I won’t even link to him. He’ll get a little press, but will be recognized for the hack he is.

advertising, internet advertising, ads, internet, ass clown

Pouring a drinkAfter months of planning and weeks of construction, on New Years Eve, 2005 Alan’s Bar Monkey finally made its debut.

I have updated the Bar Monkey image gallery with more photos from the construction, testing and first night of use.

The first night was a limited success. The Bar Monkey made tasty drinks, and calibration was easy, but due to gas leaks in the caps we ran out of gas after only two rounds of drinks.

So we’re currently experimenting with different methods of making caps. The original design used hot glue, but leakage has been a problem. Alan attempted to seal these leaks with silicone sealer but this didn’t help much.

The most recent attempt was made with 30-minute epoxy. Most of us held that this had a better chance than other methods we have tried, but actually failed completely. It seems that polyethylene (which the tubing is made from) is extraordinarily difficult to glue.

So we’re back to the drawing board for caps, but check out the image gallery for pics of the unit in action. There will be more to come.

As time allows I will be posting more info on the construction process and some better pics of the finished unit. Also check out my other stories on the planning process and the relay assembly.

drinks, cocktails, alcohol, bar, bar monkey, electronics, drink, cocktail, alan baker


paperweightThis seems to be a popular topic lately, and while I have written about this in greater detail in my story The Straight Poop on Kopi Luwak Coffee a couple new sites have come to my attention since then to warrant a re-visit.

Most notable is AnimalCoffee.com which hosts some of the only images I’ve seen of the Luwak, the Indonesian animal which eats raw coffee cherries and excretes undigested coffee beans in its droppings.

They also have the only pictures I’ve ever seen of the droppings before processing. They sell attractively packaged Kopi Luwak coffee gift boxed with your very own luwak dropping. Check out their souvenir page for a very attractive paperweight.

Also of interest is this article from TruthOrFiction.com which validates much of what I have written in the past.

coffee, kopi, luak, luwak, kopi luwak, kopi luak, food, dining, coffee bean droppings

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