This is impressive, a project and tool set everyone can benefit from. For once, it is the future I am encouraging everyone to build, rather than science fiction. I found out about this courtesy of the Daily Galaxy Snag Films entry, and what a tool it is. Billed as The Planet’s Documentary Indie Film Widget (VIDEO), it will allow everyone to promote and distribute their own personal subset of documentaries or other independent films. If you haven’t created a film of your own, you can still promote your favorites by embeding a virtual theater onto your web pages. The baseline link is at Snag Films, and the widget works for all recognized browsers. The number of contributing movie sources is huge, and growing every day. And yes, you can add your own independent movies to the growing collection!
I mentioned yesterday that David Tennant will be appearing in several Sarah Jane Chronicles episodes in season 3. What I forgot to mention was they will be airing on BBC America, and that besides the Torchwood episodes coming in July they are bringing the Doctor in-house as well, and will start running the 2009 Who Specials in July according to SF Universe. You can also watch the new Torchwood trailer on BBC America. SFX has posted their new list of Fifty of our favourite SF t-shirts including such gems as Curse your sudden but inevitable betrayal! (with rubber dinosaurs), Upgrade or be Deleted (with soviet-era Cybermen), and It came out of nowhere (with a time-traveling DeLorian crumpled up against the Tardis). The dangerous part is all 50 shirts have links to the sites where you can buy them. The fun part is this is a listing of the second 50; the top 50 were published in the magazine this month.
The opening version of Wolfram/Alpha is now online and ready for testing. As I mentioned back in March, while the name sounds like the IT department of the evil Lawyers company in Angel, Wolfram Alpha is a computer program that actually answers the question you ask. Or at least that is the goal, and they are off to a good start. For those who think this sounds like Deep Thought from Hitchhikers, my favorite answer so far: if you ask it what is the meaning of life, the universe, and everything it gives the correct answer. Thanks to Sci Fi Scanner for thinking to ask it that question.
Visit the Spark Museum for some Steampunk vintage radio/electronics fun. It includes a picture on one page of a device I actually own, bought for 5 dollars at an estate sale from people who didn’t have a clue what the weird stuff in the back of their grandfather’s attic was. I figured it was a prize for the brass rotary voltage adjuster in the oak box, the ingenious wiring harness that allowed it to add another battery for each step you turned it up, and the full set of original 1924 RCA batteries (none leaking, and a few that could still hold a charge). It wasn’t until I got it home and did some research that I discovered what it was actually supposed to be. A word of caution if you find one of your own; it can get slightly painful if you crank it up beyond eight batteries in the circuit (You didn’t think I skipped the refurb and test part of the process, did you? What fun would that be? One should always get the full experience).
Here are a few 3D creation tools everyone should have in their arsenal. First up, DAZ Studio 3D; while not Open Source, this one is one of the best 3D software packages ever built, and released online for free. The other killer application is Blender, a full-service Open Source 3D program with more support than you had ever suspected was available. Between these two, you will be able to create anything you can think of for a 3D environment, and never have to pay a penny to pull it off.
And you can play God Games too! The SIMS are nice, but limit your godhood to a single environment on a single planet. To get into the game from a Universal level, try Discover’s Star Formation. You start with a dust cloud, and set up conditions to optimize star creation as gravity nodes gather mass. Another fun one is the Universe Sandbox, where again you start with the basic laws of physics, and modify the parameters to create your desired results. For a Gods-Eye view of the universe, you can try World Wide Telescope, the Windoze ripoff of the classic Open Source monster Celestia. And if you like the Open Source version better, be sure to visit Celestia Motherload, with a ton of upgrades and plugins, including the Selden Ball data.