Holograms under a microscope

While giving a talk about holography to a school group recently I mentioned that one could look at a hologram through a microscope and see what you’d see with the original subject.

Since I’ve got an Intel QX3 microscope I decided to capture a few images.

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Using OneNote to make holograms

OneNote has been written about ad-infinitum as a tool for note taking in meetings and classes, as a general information repository and as a collaboration tool but I’d like to introduce you to another use that I’m putting OneNote to.

Making holograms.

Or more specifically, documenting both the process I go through when creating a hologram and the results from that process in the form of notes and pictures.

As most of you will probably know, OneNote is a great repository for all sorts of information. It has allowed me to combine a number of sources into one place so that when needed, I can easily refer back to previous results when I’m making a new hologram.

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My own flying death machine

I don’t have one of these babies yet but you can bet they’ll be on my Christmas list.

Laser tag is sweet. R/C helicopters are sweet. When you combine the two only good things can happen. That’s why I’m pretty amped about the news that a Chinese toy maker has armed its new R/C chopper with an IR transmitter and sensor, allowing for two to have laser dogfights in midair. If one gets hit, its power gets cut, sending it crashing to the ground. Cold blooded!

UK military targets civilians

Oops.

IT was not quite a Star Wars death ray, but air force Top Guns accidentally focused high-powered lasers on to a civilian car in May this year – potentially endangering the eyesight of peaceful earthlings.
RAAF F/A-18 fighters from the Williamtown base north of Newcastle were conducting exercises near the NSW mid-north coast town of Forster when the incident happened.

The pilots thought their laser targeting system was turned off for the training flight.

Unfortunately it wasn’t and the powerful light beams, known as class four lasers, were shone twice on to a road intersection for a total of 43 seconds.

Guys, remember to put your equipment into O.F.F mode first.

Graffiti by laser

I’d seen mention of this group before but never a description of how their laser tagging actually works.  Until I read the article in the NYT that is.

As Mr. Powderly neared the museum’s entrance, he jumped off the cycle and pointed it toward a bare stretch on a garage door across the street. Mr. Roth pulled a laser pointer from his pocket, and as he moved the laser’s green dot across the wall, a line of what looked like thick, drippy paint lit up its surface, roughly following the motion of his hand.

This actually sounds pretty darn cool.

Joining the crowd of cyclists, Mr. Powderly followed them as they moved through the honking streets of Brooklyn. In search of a spot to project their graffiti, they settled on the handball courts of McCarren Park in Greenpoint.

Mr. Powderly positioned the cycle to face the court’s gray concrete wall. Within a few minutes, someone had drawn a detailed sketch of a bicycle, and another person had traced an outline of an American flag.

Let there be green

After several days of tests I’ve gotten a couple of decent transmission holograms on VRP-M using a Coherent 315m.

GreenShot1

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Dance for me, little atom!

Do they wear dancing costumes?

Reuters reports that NIST has developed what may someday become a building block for quantum computing.

Suspended in laser light, thousands of atoms pair up and dance, each moving in perfect counterpoint to its partner. Porto’s team isolated pairs of atoms in a lattice of light formed by six laser beams all fixed on one point, suspending the atoms in a uniform pattern. "There is no container. It is levitated by the laser beams."

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Windows Vista, go back where you came from!

Last week there was a rumor that a beta of Vista SP1 was going to be released any day now.

This week the rumor (supposedly iron-clad) is that SP1 won’t be out for more than a year.

Most people who’ve tried Vista would likely say that SP1 needs to come out this year.

Now there’s another tech writer who’s coming out of the closet and planning on switching back to XP.

Vista is taking body blows by ZDNet‘s Marc Orchant — I’ve been on a bit of a blog and RSS hiatus the past couple of days and have been working my way through tales of destruction and distress (the 365 outage, not Lindsay Lohan’s latest episode), news, and views. In my reading, there’s a recurring theme that beats louder all the time. People are just not loving Vista.

I’ll grant you that my four-day test of Vista shouldn’t be taken as gospel.  That was enough for me to know that there weren’t any features in Vista that I could live without and UAC I couldn’t live with.  Add to that that Vista is slower and device support isn’t as good and it was easy for me to see that XP was where I needed to stay.

Other people are finally coming around.

I hate you all. Every one of you.

No, not YOU. These people:

Tracy Hooten

Warner Crocker

Eric Mack

OK, I don’t really hate them. I’m jealous. With the exception of Tracy they get to play with new gadgets all the time and the latest making-me-drool gadget isn’t the iPhone but the Lenovo X61. As a real-world user there are definitely times when I wish the rate of change in the tech world wasn’t so high.

A few months ago I bought a Fujitsu T4215 and while I’m very happy with it, it’s hard not to read about other fancier machines and not think about a trade-in.

Trouble is, I’d be doing that every six months.

*sigh*

Hotplate-stirrer added to the lab

Sometimes it pays to wait.

I’ve been wanting a hotplate stirrer for some time now but didn’t have enough time to devote to serious emulsion making and didn’t want to spend $50-150 on something that wouldn’t be used often.

Over the weekend Andres and I went out to a local tech swap meet called 1st Saturday. It’s got a long history and I’d been meaning to go for some time now.

I got lucky and found a guy selling a few hotplates and one hotplate stirrer. The stirrer was marked "stirrer doesn’t work" but the hotplate worked fine and since the seller only wanted $10 I decided to give it a shot.

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