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New Year Habits December 31, 2012

Posted by Andor Saga in Habits, Personal Development.
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Last year I decided to begin exercising. Not for a few months or a couple years, but for the rest of my life. I made a resolution to do some form of physical or mental exercise for 15 minutes a day every day. 15 minutes may sound meager, but by making a small habit change, I could later on extend my time without too much difficulty. I managed to keep my commitment to bike, run, meditate, or do yoga every day.

I had some slips when I missed a few days while moving apartments and traveling, but this small habit change got me to start running, and I eventually ran my first half marathon (: So, it worked out well.

If you’re setting some New Year’s resolutions, here are some tips on forming your new habits:

Make it quantifiable

You must be able to measure your goal so it can serve as an indication that you are on the right track. Either you did it or you didn’t, there should be no ambiguity. Setting a number to your goal is the easiest way to prevent this ambiguity. My metric was 15 minutes. Either I spent those 15 minutes on myself or I didn’t. So figure out: How long? How many pages? How many phone calls? What time? Put a number on it so when you are done, you can tick it off.

Keep a log

‘Ticking it off’ is an important step in habit forming because it helps motivate you and, like I mentioned before, it shows your progress. Jerry Seinfeld has a productivity secret: Don’t Break the Chain. This is a great tool that I use to help me on working on my goals. Upon completing your task, tick it off your log to track your progress.

When you fail…Start over

Don’t be hard on yourself if/when you fail, simply start over. Last year I did some traveling, which threw my routine out of whack. I ended up missing some days of exercise. I could have beat myself up over this, but that would have been counter-productive. If you go back to your old habits, simply start over.

Do what works for you

Don’t set yourself up for failure by doing something you hate. Forming new habits can be difficult, so there’s no need to make it even more challenging. You know yourself best, so choose a task that is somewhat enjoyable. Personally, I love stationary bikes. It’s hands-free, I can listen to music, and I can enjoy the scenery while I pedal away. So, if you want to succeed in your new habits, make sure to do what works for you.

Good luck! (:

BitCam.Me December 25, 2012

Posted by Andor Saga in Open Source, Pixel Art, Processing.js.
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bitcam_me_asalga

Check this out: I created a WebRTC demo that pixelates your webcam video stream: BitCam.me.

I recently developed a healthy obsession with pixel art and I began making some doodles in my spare time. Soon after I started doing this, I wondered what it would be like to generate pixel art programmatically. So I fired up Processing and made a sketch that did just that. The sketch pixelized a PNG, taking the average pixel color of the nearest neighbor pixels.

After completing that sketch, I realized I could easily upgrade what I had written to use WebRTC instead of a static image. I thought it would be much more fun and engaging to use this demo if it was in real-time. I added the necessary JavaScript and I was pretty excited about it (:

I then found SuperPixelTime and saw it did something similar to what I had written. But unlike my demo, it had some nice options to change the color palette. I read the code and figured making those changes wouldn’t be difficult either and soon had my own controls for changing palettes.

I had a great time making the demo. Let me know what you think!

Enjoy!

Engage3D Hackathon Coming Soon! December 8, 2012

Posted by Andor Saga in Kinect, Open Source, point cloud, webgl.
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A month ago, Bill Brock and I pitched our idea to develop an open source 3D web-based videoconferencing system for the Mozilla Ignite Challenge over Google chat. Will Barkis from Mozilla recorded and moderated the conversation and then sent it off to a panel of judges. The pitch was to receive a slice of $85,000 that was being doled out to the winners of the Challenge.

After some anticipation, we got word that we were among the winners. We would receive $10,000 in funding to support the development of our prototype. Our funding will cover travel expenses, accommodations, the purchasing of additional hardware and the development of the application itself.

We will also take on two more developers and have a hackathon closer to the end of the month. Over the span of four days we will iterate on our original code and release something more substantial. The Company Lab in Chattanooga has agreed to provide us with a venue to hack and a place to plug into the network. Both Bill and I are extremely excited to get back to hacking on Engage3D and to get back to playing with the gig network.

We will keep you updated on our Engage3D progress, stay tuned!