30 Jun 2003 BenFrantzDale   » (Journeyer)

The cable modem was installed yesterday. Yeay!

I made Pad Thai today as per the Joy of Cooking. It turned out pretty good. I look forward to making more Thai food. The spicy lime/basil/cilantro flavors it uses are almost Baja style, but totally different. Yum.

I went to the local Whole Foods Market to get some real maple syrup and wheet gluten (which is desirable for making bread). One thing I learned was that the clasic tan plastic syrup containers, even out in LA, are made by Sugarhill, a company from Western Mass (where I grew up).

For some reason that Whole Foods doesn't have gluten. I did find Xanthan Gum which is apparently a gluten-free substitute. In addition, it is a common ingredient in commercial salad dressings because it keeps them emulsified. I'll be interested in trying it, particularly since I just tried with great success to make salad dressing the other day. Vinegar, garlic, mustard, salt, and oil. Easy.

As for technical things, last week I spoke with a consultant to the #1 producer of CD-Rs in the world (according to him, they have 52% of the world CD-R market). Here's what I learned:

  • DVD-Rs and CD-Rs cost exactly the same to produce. The only difference is the speciffics about the tracks. The technology is identical.
  • Kodak, Fuji, and Memorex DVDs all come out of the same factory—they are identical.
  • There is no difference among colors of CDs. Gold versus silver versus purple—colors are cool, but it's all just marketing. The laser (being a laser) is only in a very narrow color band.
  • As the cd tracks spiral out, they wiggle from side to side. The read head tracks along with this and uses that as timing information which reduces the cost of the CD drive.
  • The core of a CD drive costs as little as $14 to manufacture.

I think I'm onto something for reducing CCD noise in digital photos by moving into HSV space and selective-bluring the H channel as well as using perceived brightness as the value rather than simply the value. I'll investigate that more.

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