Media Sharing

I do a lot of media sharing from Shiden, my desktop/server,  to my XBOX360 and Shoki, my laptop.  Both computers run Windows 7 Enterprise which makes things somewhat simple.  Never-the-less, there are a few essential tools and tips which make nearly flawless media sharing a possibility.

The core of sharing is creating a VPN to which all sharing computers must be part of (note this is not possible for the XBOX360, so it must be on the same network as one of the computers).  There are many ways to do this, but I find LogMeIn Hamachi to be the easiest and it does an excellent job.

Once all the computers are on the same network/VPN, a variety of options open up.  Windows Media Player can share its libraries which allows sharing of music, videos, and pictures.  But I find it doesn’t do such a great job of videos.

For videos and recorded TV Windows Media Center is a must.  Sharing to the XBOX360 is as simple as setting it up as a media extender.  However, other computers cannot be set up as media extenders.  But we can get around this using file sharing and register tricks.  You can find a great guide here.

Now, this works great for a lot of things, but it may be inconvenient or impossible to set this if you just want to show a mate a quick video.  For this TVersity is a lifesaver. It doesn’t work for recorded TV (wtv format) but it has a really nice interface that can be accessed from anywhere with a web browser.

Purple Hair

So a while ago I dyed my hair purple.  I finally got around to taking proper pictures so here goes.

The first time I did it I used Clairol Basic White Normal Strength bleach, and Clairol Pure White 10 volume developer.  My hair came out this crazy red auburn color.  Apparently my hair is actually really dark red!

When I dyed it purple it came out really bad, no one could tell it was purple.  So I asked Eryka how long I would have to wait again and she said I could do it right away and gave me some tips (she’s a pro).

So a few days later I bleached again with Clairol Basic White Normal Strength bleach, and Clairol Pure White 30 volume developer.  It took about an hour and twenty minutes to get it to the right color.

Then I dyed it with N’Rage demi-permanent Plum Purple.  About a month later it looks like this.

I’ve gotten tons of comments about it, including a couple that came up to me after class that “just had to tell [me] that I know how to dye [my] hair properly.”

New Registrar

On the recommendation of Chris from MOAP I have switched registrars to  They give me near full control over DNS records so that I can have unlimited subdomains.  Unfortunately, in the move I’ve lost my mail servers.  So Shiden is now running one.  However, because of downtime Shiden has, I have decided to minimize the use of the domain mail servers.

Absolute Boyfriend

So I was avoiding the cold, while waiting for the mall shuttle to come, in the  Coop, chilling in the manga aisle of course, when I picked up this cute little title called Absolute Boyfriend.  I read like two chapters and was totally hooked.  Everyone should read this manga!

I ended up reading scanlations cause of the hours I was reading it, but the translation wasn’t very good so I recommend you go to your favorite manga store and buy it (or read it there).  Here is a sneak peak (my favorite moment).


So, Bapa from moap, who doesn’t shut up about catgirls, was being annoying when I was trying to get him to read Absolute Boyfriend, which you all should read, and going on and on about Touhou fanart.

Naturally, I wanted to see the actual manga, because, while artbooks are nice, we all know it’s about the story.  But what’s this?  Touhou isn’t a manga, it is a series of games.  Well we will just have to check these out (all ~16 of them).  Hmm bullet hell, bullet hell, bullet hell, best fighting game in the world, bullet he… wait what was that?  Best fighting game in the world?  Yes that’s right.  Touhou 10.5 (and expansion 12.3) are the best fighting games in the world (they are even Peace approved).  You should check them out here.

Observational Astronomy (12.410)

Download (PDF, 513KB)

A/V Setup

I bought a 25″ TV today for 20USD and it caused me to make my audio video setup even crazier than it was.  Here is a diagram just to show you the insanity.

Astronomy Field Camp 2010 (12.411)

During 2010 Astronomy Field Camp Robert Arlt Jr. worked with Travis Barman on two projects. The first, a pointed search of 2MUCD 10529, an M9-type star, for Mars-sized-extrasolar planets. The second, a search for an ejected planet or stellar companion of HR 8799. Focus was given to the second project, as data for it was available upon the camps arrival at Lowell Observatory.

Data for both projects was obtained with the 1.8-meter-Lowell-BU Perkins Telescope on Anderson Mesa. Mimir, a facility-class near-infrared (NIR) instrument, was used for both projects.

The Perkins Telescope equipped with Mimir.

“Mimir, is multifunction, performing wide-field (F/5) and narrow-field (F/17) imaging, long-slit spectroscopy,” imaging polarimetry, and capable of switching between modes in a few seconds (Clemens et al. 2007). Mimir’s F/5 mode was used to expose HR 8799 and 2MUCD 10529 for 30 seconds onto a 1024 x 1024 pixel ALADDIN II InSb array detector with a plate scale of approximately .579 degree arcseconds per pixel. Data for the second project was also supplemented by the 2MASS catalog.

Data was obtained for the first project January 8 and 9, 2010. 2MUCD 10529 was the target for both nights.

2MUCD 10529 is circled in red.

The star was targeted because of its position during the half nights it was observed (above AP 2.00 for all but an hour of observable time and within the safe-slew limits of the telescope), its H-band magnitude (12.266), and its spectral type of M9. A total of just under six hours of data was obtained between the two nights. The data was calibrated, but then focus was given to the second project.

“[I]n 2008 November, Marois et al. (2008) announced the discovery of three planets orbiting the A5V star HR 8799, based on near-IR imaging at the Keck and Gemini telescopes.”

HR 8799's three planets are visable.

“The extrasolar planetary system around HR 8799 is the first multiplanet system ever imaged… This is a remarkable system with no analog in any other known planetary system,” (Close and Males 2009). For this reason, any information that can be gained about the system is highly valuable.

If a stellar companion of HR 8799 was found it could be studied to constrict the age of the entire system. The second project was designed with this in mind. A similar project was conducted by Close and Males of Steward Observatory, University of Arizona. They used visible and NIR data from HST/NICMOS and Gemini-North/Altair AO/NIRI NIR in order to obtain proper motions for server object near HR 8799.

Close and Males data.

It was hoped that by using only NIR data obtained with Mimir a deeper and more accurate search for a stellar companion could be conducted due to much better seeing in the NIR band.

Data for the search was obtained with Mimir on October 20, 21, and 22, 2008 and January 16, 2010. The data was calibrated with the IDL based Mimir Software Package – Basic Data Reduction (BDP) (the BDP is developed by Dan Clemens and was available from at time of writing). An astrometric solution was then obtained for the data by cross-correlating the data with the 2MASS catalog using an IDL routine developed by Mike Pavel.

The data was further calibrated and stacked using the IRAF packages ccdmask, ccdproc, imarith, imcombine, and mscimage. All objects in the stacked image were marked by hand with SAOImage DS9 and the IRAF package tvmark.

The final 2008 stacked image.

Accurate centroid positions were calculated using the Moffat algorithm with the IRAF package phot. The IRAF package wcsctran was then used to calculate the Right ascension and Declination of each object. Approximately 40% of the objects in the frame had to be rejected due to inaccurate centroiding (logical position errors greater than half a pixel). Meaning that search could not be completed on a level as deep as anticipated.

Originally, the positions from the 2008 data were planned to be compared to the 2010 data in order to obtain proper motions. However, instrument problems and sky conditions made the 2010 data scientifically unusable.

The final stacked 2010 image.

So, the 2008 data was compared to the 2MASS catalog. Proper motions were calculated for nearly all of the objects in the frame. However, the centroiding errors caused radial position errors for the objects as high as 100 milliarcseconds (mas) on proper motions that were no higher than 150 mas per year. By comparing the calculated proper motion of several stars to their known proper motions, it was determined that any object within 100 mas per year in either direction of HR 8799’s proper motion could potentially be a companion. Despite the inaccuracy of the calculated proper motions and the wide rage of possible companion proper motion values, no possible companions were identified in the search.

In order for a more accurate and telling search to be made much more accurate astrometry must be obtained for the objects. The astrometry could possibly be improved by using a different centroiding algorithm; by taking longer exposures; or by using a camera with a smaller plate scale, such as Mimir’s F/17 mode. The next planned step in the project is to test different centroiding algorithms to determine if better astrometry and be obtained from the existing data, until new, longer exposure time data can be obtained. However, switching to the F/17 mode will likely be avoided, if possible, as the field of view limits the number of stars that can be imaged in the same amount of time.


Well, the old UPS that I was running the server on died today.  So I bought a nice shiny new one, it even has an LCD screen.


It’s a giant 1500VA model yet still only has the ability to run the server for 21 minutes (its rated max is 164 minutes).


Is Shiden a menace to the evironment?  Absolutely.


New Site!

Hi everyone.  This is a new site, with a new theme, which I customized pretty heavily.  I lost the images that were on the site before.  I don’t plan to reupload everything, so if there is something you want please let me know.  Shiden (the server) was upgraded to Windows 7 Enterprise and has some nice things happening on the web end, although they shouldn’t be visible.  Check out