Archive for September, 2009

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Wednesday, September 30th, 2009

Duct tape programmers

Joel Spolsky wrote an article about “duct tape programmers” last week that got a lot of attention: Here is why I like duct tape programmers. Sometimes, you’re on a team, and you’re busy banging out the code, and somebody comes up to your desk, coffee mug in hand, and starts rattling on about how if […]

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Tuesday, September 29th, 2009

Simple Quantum Visualizations using IDL

Simple Quantum Visualizations using IDL by Rob Dimeo at the NIST Center for Neutron Research provides a nice gateway for a researcher to begin exploring visualizations in quantum mechanics: This book is not intended to be used as a textbook in IDL programming or quantum mechanics. Rather it can be used as a supplement to […]

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Monday, September 28th, 2009

IDL 7.1.1 released

IDL 7.1.1 fixes several bugs (like the DEVICE routine now accepts the GET_DECOMPOSED keyword for Postscript devices as the documentation says it should, which I have complained about before). See the full releases notes for details.

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Thursday, September 24th, 2009

Syntax highlighting IDL code

While playing around with getting the QLColorCode QuickLook plugin to get quick previews of IDL code from the Finder on my Mac, I discovered Highlight, which is the underlying engine which produces the syntax highlighted output for QLColorCode. But Highlight can be installed as in independent command line utility and it can produce output in […]

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Wednesday, September 23rd, 2009

Visualization of vessel movements

These visualizations of vessel movements, i.e., the movements of ships near port, demonstrate an interesting technique for showing particle movements. From the abstract: Our visualization is based on density fields that are derived from convolution of the dynamic vessel positions with a kernel. The density fields are shown as illuminated height maps. Combination of two […]

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Tuesday, September 22nd, 2009


NodeBox is an application to create 2-dimensional visualizations using Python as a scripting language. It’s similar to the Processing environment that I’ve mentioned before. It seems to be used more for art than “visualization analysis”, but the results are fun to look at. I’ve used IDL to create a few desktop backgrounds—being able to write […]

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Friday, September 18th, 2009

Animation frame analysis

I have been meaning to mention the recreating movement website for a while. The site has many fascinating examples of visualizing the frames of an animation in different ways including a Shockwave demo so that you can play around with it. Link via infosthetics.

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Thursday, September 17th, 2009

cmdline_tools project

I created an update site for my cmdline_tools project (docs). This project contains a few routines that are handy when working interactively on the IDL command line. The update site for the Workbench is: Name: cmdline_tools URL: If you are unfamiliar with using an update site, follow the directions in this post, just replacing […]

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Wednesday, September 16th, 2009

xkcd: volume 0

xkcd, the great geek webcomic that I have mentioned before, has a printed book available for sale. Grab the mousepad depicting the fight with red spiders from the book’s back cover while you’re there.

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Monday, September 14th, 2009

Designing scientific posters

Some good advice for designing scientific posters: The best general advice I can give a first-time poster constructor is to describe the circumstances in which a poster will eventually be viewed: a hot, congested room filled with people who are there primarily to socialize, not to look at posters. Because poster sessions are often concurrent […]

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