Saturday, November 20, 2010

A Cyber-Stroll Down Memory Lane.

Google has been running a publicity campaign called Your Google stories collecting stories submitted by users about how Google has "changed their life" or whatever...  My first thought when I saw the series was that the whole idea was at worst pretentious, and at best kind of lame.

Today my parents were over visiting, and my father and I were looking up some directions.  Being Canadian, the trip we were evaluating was a measly 4.5 hours.  We joked about how you could get across Ireland in less than that time.

As a lark, we typed in "ireland," and started scrolling around.  We scanned over to Castletownbere where a colleague of mine just inherited a house.  My dad was suitably impressed that they had Streetview there!

Then we decided to zip over to Tralee, where my father grew up.  He scanned around, and settled on Lohercannan.  He found his old street.  We dragged the "little yellow man" onto it, and eventually found his old family home.

View Larger Map

We turned around to see the view of the mountains he looked out on (and climbed!).  We walked around the bend and down the lane toward the beach he swam in.  He told stories about old farmers that had no children to pass their farms onto.

All through this, my son watched on and got a real tour of his family history.  He couldn't wait to hear more about Ireland, and where Grampa grew up.  He wants to go swimming in the channel.

So there you have it Google.  I'm happy to say that I was wrong - you really do create memorable "search experiences" that change lives.

Monday, November 1, 2010


I claim personal responsibility for the sale of several Nintendo DS handhelds and games.  I've really enjoyed mine, and was recently selling a co-worker on Super Scribblenauts (great game.  buy it now).

My co-worker did in fact buy a shiny new DSi XL.

Of course, being a programmer at heart, and having created a few GBA homebrew games in the past, I got on the flashcart bandwagon with the DS as well.  One of my favourites is Animanatee, a flipbook style animation application.  I was a big Animator fan as a kid, so I had a blast with this thing as well.

Here is a sample of my wonderful art.

Friday, October 1, 2010


I love my EyeClops BioniCam.  Our house is surrounded by, and full of neat-, weird-, nature-stuff.  Whenever you get an urge to explore, you can break out the "microscope" (as the kids and I call it), and see something up close!

Today in the backyard, there were lots of caterpillars.  The kind that hang from invisible threads, and are only about 1cm long.

We caught one with a stick, and took out the ol' EyeClops.

We were surprised to see it had little hairs.

No eyes?  Gross hairs!

Friday, September 17, 2010

Tribute to GLOC

A few of us were talking about GarageBand at the pub after work tonight.  I was digging around in the basement, and found a Sega GameGear.  Awesome.

I played GLOC for at least 20 minutes.  Once you get the hang of it, it's honestly pretty fun. 

Here's my chiptune tribute.  Composed by yours truly in GarageBand, using the magical8bitplug plugin.

Mixed down to m4a.  Enjoy!

  Tribute to GLOC by Horganic 

Saturday, July 24, 2010


Here's a video I took with my FujiFilm W1 back in December at Disney World. It's the waterwheel at the Swiss Family Robinson Tree house attraction.

It also shows how the YouTube 3d tags work - you can select among a variety of viewing methods (anaglyph, parallel, cross-eye, etc.)

Edit: (looks like you have to click through to watch it at youtube proper in order to get the 3D options.)

Monday, July 19, 2010

Totally Awesome Price Increase Dude!

Ah Virgin.  I was almost placated by the "we're your BFF" marketing prose and the increased chocolate ration.
Wait - what's awesome about this again?

Monday, May 10, 2010

It's a boy!!

Meet Thomas David Horgan. Born Saturday May 8th at 6:25pm. 10lb 1oz.

Teri, you are a force of nature, and I'm blessed to share the miracle with you.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Lego Segway!

Alright, whatever. I haven't gotten around to taking pictures since it requires a tiny bit of setup.

So I'm just posting a video from the website of the robot Colin and I built. It was awesome to build, at just the right difficulty level. The kids had a blast making it with me - picking out parts, trying to read the instructions, pressing pieces together - it was a great family nerd-out. And it worked the first time - easy as 1-2-3.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Robot on a Segway

Let's start off by setting the right mood.

Now let's combine that with some other awesome things.

Robots and Lego

I recently attended Ignite Waterloo, and the icebreaker/mingling Lego contest was enough to remind me that I really needed to get out the Mindstorms NXT kit again. Thankfully, Dave Parker at has cooked up tons of great projects that only use the items that come with the kit. No crazy Technics hydraulics or whatever.

I've built the sample models that come in the kit. I've also attempted the Tilted Twister - which I actually completed, but could never get woking quite right (sticky cube I guess).

The last thin I built was the Ball Roller Coaster, from nxtprograms, and the kids loved it. They interacted with it, and watched it hypnotically until the batteries died.

That's what I like best about Mindstorm builds. You get the satisfaction of building and programming something cool, you flex your imagination a little bit, and you get a cool trophy to display for your efforts up on a shelf like any other hobby or Lego model. The killer is that you also have a piece of art. A kinetic sculpture.

When I noticed a new build posted at with the "Segway" in the title, I knew it was going to be a winner.

I guess that'll be part two.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Next Gen 3D Photography

I receved a Fujifilm W1 camera for my birthday back in December. So cool! I've always been a fan of stereoscopic 3D. I think the recent adoption of 3D in theatres is fantastic. I'm excited to see it become mainstream enough that I'll be able to get a 3D TV soon.

Back to the camera. I own a Lorex 3d 35mm camera before the digital revelotion. I got it back before the digital revolution, and I barely used it. The quality of the camera wasn't that great, and I could never be bothered to develope film, even thought it was simply the standard 35mm print processing. I probably shot 3 rolls on it. The stereo viewer you used with the split-image prints was pretty cool though.

The W1 is so much better. Not only does it have all the benefits of a digital point and shoot camera, the built-in viewer displays in 3D! People are always amused by the 3D effect on the camera's viewscreen when I show them pictures I've taken of family or scenery. The fact that it doesn't require glasses also raises people's interest.

A great as the viewscreen is, there isn't any other way to share 3D pictures with people. Anaglyph has always sucked. No one you else you know has even heard of cross-eye or parallel viewing (and even if they did, they probably still have trouble with Magic Eye posters).

Fujifilm started shipping lenticular 3d photo processing printers, but the recommended site ( doesn't ship to Canada. Fuji also sells a digital 3d photoframe - but it's way too expensive to buy for each of the people I'd like to share pictures with.

Enter! This is a pretty typical web2.0 photo storing/sharing community site, with twist. Founded by Colin Davidson, a computer vision expert (Academy Award wining in fact), it features a nifty embedded viewer called Piku-Piku. This viewer ( the name apparently means 'twitch' in Japanese) uses a flip-book style display that gives a great impression of the 3d effec.

In addition to sharing via Twitter, Facebook, etc., etc., Start3D also lets you manage your albums with uploaded photos. It lets you upload left/right pairs of 2d images, and supports the ".mpo" format of the W1!

You can also embed your photos in a page like this:

(Katherine and Colin in their fortress!)

I hope to see a lot more from Start3D. It solves a big problem for 3d enthusiasts in a novel way, and once you're in there for photosharing, it's naturally poised to become a one-stop shop for things like lenticular prints (sadly still unavailable as of this post).

Maybe they can keep me in mind when they start up those services ; )

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

How to have a better Monday

Monday is garbage day here.  If it's not out at the curb for 7am, you might miss the boat.  That's ok in the in your refrigerated garage. In the summer, it means another week of week-older rotten garbage in your hot garage.

On the few occasions I tried putting the garbage out the night before, the raccoons got into it the can, and made a big mess.  Not fun.

So, I started hauling my butt out of bed a little earlier Monday mornings, to put the garbage out.  It took a few weeks to form the habit, and I missed the truck a few times not getting out till 7:15.

At some point I recalled seeing a garbage can at Canadian Tire that had some sort of strap to hold the lid on.  I decided I needed to at least give it a try.

This is what I got:

Racoon proof garbage can?

It wasn't until I got it home that I realized it doesn't have wheels.  Bummer.

But wait!  I currently own this garbage can:


The lid of the animal proof fits on the wheeled base.  Tada!

Anyhow to the point.  Sunday night I put the garbage out, using my new cadillac.

I woke up this morning (Monday, and our clocks just "sprung" forward) particularly groggy. Instead of the usual Monday dread - my first thought was "Woohoo! I don't have to put the garbage out!"


Saturday, March 13, 2010

Replacing guitar strings

So I broke a guitar string. It could happen to anyone. Took Colin to the music store to buy new strings.

That was last weekend.

This weekend, we had a nice rainy afternoon to work on restringing the guitar. Oh noes! The guitar is set up for light strings, and I bought medium. Darned whammy bar - I don't even use the thing except in Rock Band.

Tightened the springs so I could use the strings, Colin helped me tune it, and now we're back in action. Time to play Alec Eiffel, which has been this week's earworm.

We inspected the broken string, and I showed Colin how the thicker strings are actually two wires, one straight, and one coiled. Here's the picture of the broken one to prove it: