Don’t Judge A Book (or Glassblowing Mold) by its cover!

Earlier this month, on eBay, I purchased a 40-rib glassblowing fin mold attributed to Tiffin Glass Company.

Tiffin’s furnaces were turned off in 1980, so you can imagine after 35 years in storage the molds might be a bit dirty, and needed to be cleaned before being used for glassblowing again.

But I NEVER expected such a dramatic transformation! See the before-and-after photos below!

Side photo from eBay (cropped):

Tiffin Glass Company 40-rib fin mold - dirty - side view

Side photo after bead-blasting and cleaning with green Scotch Brite cleaning pads…

Tiffin Glass Company 40-rib fin mold - dirty - side view

Top photo from eBay (cropped):

Tiffin Glass Company 40-rib fin mold - dirty - top view

Top photo after bead-blasting and cleaning with green Scotch Brite cleaning pads…

Tiffin Glass Company 40-rib fin mold - dirty - top view

Posted in Glassblowing Miscellaneous | Comments Off on Don’t Judge A Book (or Glassblowing Mold) by its cover!

Beautiful Garden Plant Labels / Stakes

I went searching for nice permanent weather-proof labels on stakes I could use in my garden to identify the various plants and trees.

I looked at a variety of websites, and some were very expensive.

I really liked this image from www.aaaqualityengravers.com it was exactly the type of engraved label with rounded corners I had in my mind which would complement my plants:

AAA Quality Engravers - Garden Labels on Stakes

I emailed daylilyranch@bellsouth.net and got a quick reply from Bernie Holliday, the owner of AAA Quality Engravers.

I liked that Bernie understood both engraving AND plants (he registered the daylily you see above).

The day I receive my labels and stakes, and showed my wife, she immediately said “Our garden is going to look like a MUSEUM”, I agree with her, these look like museum-quality plant identification.

I want to point out that the stakes are really nice too — they are 5/32 carbon steel power coated black, and tall too (mine are 25 inches).

I took a couple photos of my plant labels and stakes, below. Wish my photos were better, but I took the photos will my cell phone camera.

AAA Quality Engravers - Garden Labels on Stakes - Tony Patti photo #3

AAA Quality Engravers - Garden Labels on Stakes - Tony Patti photo #5

(My two images above can be clicked on, if you want to see full-size)

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I want To Be a Cowboy

http://www.glassblower.info/i-want-to-be-a-cowboy.html

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Perfect Glassblowing Safety Glasses (for hot glass)

I needed and got new prescription eye glasses, and so wanted to get new glassblowing safety glasses which met two mandatory requirements for my glassblowing with a blowpipe:
1. fit-over my prescription eye glasses (unlike the clip-ons I was using before), and
2. side-shields which did not reduce my peripheral vision

My preference is for polycarbonate (PC) for impact resistance (my prescription eyeglasses are polycarbonate). Trivia: due to its light weight and high impact resistance, polycarbonate is the dominant material for making automotive headlamp lenses.

tl;dr If you do “hot glass” with a blowpipe, you want these glassblowing safety glasses, and best of all they are under $15 on Amazon! (and with an option for free shipping too)

glassblower.info - uvex-s111029-astrospect-3000-shade-2-glassblowing-polycarbonate-safety-glasses.jpgUvex S111029 Astrospec 3000 Safety Eyewear, Black Frame, Shade 2.0 Infra-Dura Ultra-Dura Hardcoat Lens

I had been happy for many years with my clip-on Shade 2 AUR-99 which are a soft green color and available from Aura Lens. The most important aspect of my previously purchasing my AUR-99 was how well the lenses filter out (attenuate) the dangerous Infrared as well as the Ultraviolet portions of the spectrum, as shown on this image on their website at http://www.auralens.net/content/images/thumbs/0000113_aur-99-filter.png

Auralens AUR-99 spectral chart
But that got me thinking: where could I find out more information about the different “Shade Numbers”? Because as you can see in the graph above, as the Shade increases from shade 1.7 to shade 2.0 to shade 2.5 there is dramatic reduction in visible light transmission (VLT), from nearly 60% VLT to just over 20% VLT. I found this informative table on this Elvex Safety Glasses website:

Lens Description UV Light Protection
180-380nm
High UV Protection
380-400nm
Blue Light Protection
400-480nm
Infra Red Protection
780-1100nm
Visible Light Transmission (VLT)
Welding Shade 2
PC lens
100% 99.9% 98% 97% 29%
Welding Shade 3
PC lens
100% 99.9% 99.6% 99.9% 13%
Welding Shade 5
PC lens
100% 100% 99.9% 99.9% less than 2%

If you take a look at page 50 of the Uvex Safety Eyewear, you will see that these safety glasses are offered in three different shades: 1.7 and 4 and 5.

Uvex 9168 in Shade 1.7 or Shade 4 or Shade 5
From my Google searches, it seemed like there were a LOT of shade 3 welding glasses and also shade 5 welding glasses, but not many which had increased visible light transmission (VLT) in the range of shade 1.7 through shade 2.

The box these Uvex Shade 2 Astrospec safety glasses arrived in says “Uvex by Honeywell”, and Honeywell is a company I trust.

Glassblower.info - Uvex by Honeywell - glassblowing safety glasses

I have been using my Uvex Shade 2 for my glassblowing for several weeks now. My one additional suggestion is to consider microfiber cleaning cloths to remove fingerprints etc. I researched microfiber cleaning cloths on Amazon, and really liked MagicFiber’s Premium Microfiber Cleaning Cloths which have an amazing 4.9 out of 5.0 rating from over 3,600 customer reviews! I can’t think of any other product on Amazon which has gotten so many uniformly positive reviews! And also available with Amazon’s free shipping offer.

Glassblower.info - Amazon - Microfiber cleaning cloths for glassblowing safety glasses

These are of course my personal opinions, YMMV, each person should carefully evaluate their own specific needs and requirements for safety equipment.

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Awesome multi-monitor screen saver for animated GIF images – gPhotoShow

A picture is worth a thousand words.

awesome multi-monitor screen saver for animated GIF images
(click for full-size image)

Unfortunately in this still image you can’t tell that these animated GIFs are all simultaneously rotating, it is a beautiful mathematical sight to behold!

It was more difficult than I expected to find a screen saver which would display ANIMATED GIF images on multiple monitors (in my Windows 8.1).

After far too long searching via Google, I found this wonderful gPhotoShow program: http://www.gphotoshow.com which has a 30-day trial version I am running now both at home and work. I am writing this blog so hopefully others can find this program more quickly if they need a multi-monitor screen saver which supports animated GIF images.

I am indebted to my new friends Antonio Sanchez Chinchon and Andrew Wyer for their blogs about Harmonographs in both 2D and 3D, and in rotation, and for the “R” program source code which creates these beautiful mathematical curves.

Across several days I had generated more than 500 of these images at 1300×1300 pixels, and a screen saver is a great way to view the curves.

You can see the first 80 on my web page by clicking here, which shows both the thumbnail but if you click will show you the full-size curve in rotation. You can also click on any of the 7 images below!

Glassblower.info - Tony Patti - 3D 3 Dimensional Rotation - Harmonograph #040

Glassblower.info - Tony Patti - 3D 3 Dimensional Rotation - Harmonograph #040

Glassblower.info - Tony Patti - 3D 3 Dimensional Rotation - Harmonograph #040

Glassblower.info - Tony Patti - 3D 3 Dimensional Rotation - Harmonograph #040

Glassblower.info - Tony Patti - 3D 3 Dimensional Rotation - Harmonograph #040

Glassblower.info - Tony Patti - 3D 3 Dimensional Rotation - Harmonograph #040

Glassblower.info - Tony Patti - 3D 3 Dimensional Rotation - Harmonograph #040

The full 1300×1300 animated GIF images average 35 MBytes, so please allow time for the full image to be downloaded and displayed. Generally, the curves display with a slow rotation while being downloaded, then once fully downloaded, rotate at normal fast speed.

Before I end this blog, if your GIF’s are displaying static, rather than animated, please check this setting!

Glassblower.info - gPhotoShow - animated GIF GIFs setting

And here is another piece of the puzzle, if you use Windows-L to lock your computer (for example when you step away from your work PC) and want the screen saver to start IMMEDIATELY (rather than wait for the timeout interval), take a look at MonitorES (from code.google.com). My settings for MonitorES shown below.

Glassblower.info - MonitorES to activate screen save immediately upon locking

Enjoy,

Tony Patti

Posted in Computer Miscellaneous, Interesting | Comments Off on Awesome multi-monitor screen saver for animated GIF images – gPhotoShow

PHP used to create a Hero Image for a LinkedIn Group

I founded and manage the LinkedIn group “Cryptographers and Cryptanalysts

LinkedIn allows the group manager to create a “Hero Image”, which appears at the top of the main group page, and helps to describe and brand the group.

This hero image is in addition to the “Group Logo” which is a small (100×50) graphic which appears in the Groups directory and on all group pages (in the upper left corner).

What would be the best Hero Image for this professional crypto group? My plan was to make the hero image a “crypto function” of the group logo.

Those of you who know of my writing the five volumes of Cryptosystems Journal know of my interest in Steganography which is “the art or practice of concealing a message, image, or file within another message, image, or file.”

One of the most famous historical examples of steganography is by William Friedman where he had soldiers looking straight-ahead or sideways, as shown in this photograph:

William Friedman - Francis Bacon - Baconian cipher - Decoded - soldiers looking straight-ahead or sideways

As shown on, and described in, this web page: http://www.cabinetmagazine.org/issues/40/sherman.php

More specifically, I wanted to create a Baconian cipher which is a reference to Francis Bacon who used italics (a second typeface) to create a binary distinction from the normal typeface.

I wanted to achieve the same effect, but instead of soldiers, I wanted to start with the “Group Logo” which is a key I photographed (as in “crypto key”, get it?!) which looks like this:

LinkedIn group -- Cryptographers and Cryptanalysts  -- group logo

From there, I created:

  • To represent a “binary zero” a key pointing left: Glassblower.info -- Key Zero
  • To represent a “binary one” a key pointing right: Glassblower.info -- Key One

This is where the PHP program I wrote comes into the picture (pun intended).

<?php
$string = "<Crypto>";
for ($loop=0; $loop<8; $loop++) {
$char = $string[$loop];
echo $char . ' = ';
$bin = decbin(ord($char));
/* echo ' ' . $bin . "\n"; */
$binary = str_pad($bin, 8, 0, STR_PAD_LEFT);
for ($i=0; $i<8; $i++) {
echo $binary[$i];
}
echo ' = ' ;
for ($i=0; $i<8; $i++) {
if ($binary[$i] == 0)
      {echo '<img src="key-zero.jpg" alt="" />';}
      else {echo '<img src="key-one.jpg" alt="" />';}
}
echo "<BR>\n";
}
?>

That PHP generates this:

Image generated by Tony Patti PHP for Hero Image for LinkedIn group Cryptographers and Cryptanalysts

which was then uploaded to LinkedIn as you can see here:

Hero Image generated by Tony Patti via PHP for the LinkedIn group Cryptographers and Cryptanalysts

Posted in Baconian Cipher, Computer Miscellaneous, Crypto, Linux Apache MySQL PHP (LAMP), Steganography | Comments Off on PHP used to create a Hero Image for a LinkedIn Group

Happy 12th Birthday to www.glassblower.info !

As I mentioned in my earlier blog, the www.glassblower.info website started on April 11, 2002, so today is its 12th Birthday!

Even more exciting is that we just had our MILLIONTH page view of the home page on Tuesday, and it was my glassblowing lab partner Keith who got up early that morning and was the recipient of seeing the odometer roll over to 7 digits, thanks Keith!

Here is where the counter is three days later:
Happy 12th Birthday to www.glassblower.info
Thanks for sharing this glass odyssey with me!

Tony Patti

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U.S. Postal Service Honors Legendary Guitarist, Jimi Hendrix, with Limited-Edition Forever Stamp

http://about.usps.com/news/national-releases/2014/pr14_015.htm March 13, 2014

U.S. Postal Service Honors Legendary Guitarist, Jimi Hendrix, with Limited-Edition Forever Stamp on the SXSW Outdoor Stage at Butler Park

The greatest rock guitarist of all time gets his own “forever” postage stamp, what more is there to say, this stamp ROCKS!

Tony

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FreeCell Card Game

My son introduced us to FreeCell many years ago. FreeCell is a solitaire-like card game, which has four “free cells” (hence its name) at the top of the screen.

There is a Wikipedia page devoted to FreeCell (in general), and a specific Wikipedia web page devoted to FreeCell in Windows.

FreeCell was introduced in Windows 95 (which was released in August 1995). The Windows Vista and Windows 7 implementations could provide hints as well as move retractions. Unfortunately FreeCell is not included in Windows 8. Very fun to play, using the mouse to move the cards on the screen.

But what has become more interesting to me than the Windows version, is the touch-screen version available for Android.  I played a LOT on my old Samsung Galaxy S (specifically Sprint’s version with the slide-out keyboard named the Epic 4G), and now on my new Samsung Galaxy S4.

I like playing the Brainium version of FreeCell, self-described as the #1 FreeCell game on Android. As I write this, Brainium FreeCell has been downloaded/installed upwards of one million times! It has received an average user rating of 4.6 (out of 5.0). Brainium is also on Facebook.

I got my new Samsung Galaxy S4 at the end of May, during the last five months I’ve played and won 238 games, so I average close to two games per day. What I find nice is that if I have a few spare minutes, like waiting in line for a haircut, I can play a quick game of FreeCell. Playing FreeCell involves thinking about card strategy, and I believe there is ample evidence that staying mentally active is good for the brain.

When I got to 100,000 points, I thought it was worth taking this print-screen from my Android cell phone, and writing this blog.

Glassblower.info - FreeCell print-screen from Android

Well, roughly two months later (from October 18 to December 27) I’ve doubled my points to more than 200,000 and games won to 466, roughly three per day, so much fun!

Glassblower.info - FreeCell print-screen from Android 12/27/2013

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Taking Photos and Videos both day and night of Birds and Animals

We started thinking we would feed a few birds outside the kitchen window. Then we learn more about birds, and that each type of bird has a preferred food. So we add a few different types of seeds.

One of the pleasant surprises has been the nocturnal animals at the bird feeder. To see what goes on at the bird feeder both day and night (especially when we are asleep, and especially the animals visiting in complete darkness), we purchase Primos Truth Cam 35 Camera. In addition to relatively low cost, the vast majority of reviewers on Amazon give this camera 4 or 5 stars!

Truth_Cam_35

Here are some of the day and night photos and videos we took with our Primos Truth Cam 35 Camera:

Red-Bellied-Woodpecker-female-and-other-birds-at-feeder-in-the-snow-640
(reduced 640×512 pixel thumbnail, click to see the full-size 1920×1536 pixel photo. That is a female Red-Bellied Woodpecker in the foreground)

Truth Cam 35 photo of three deer
(reduced 640×512 pixel thumbnail, click to see the full-size 1280×1024 pixel photo, resolution is less at night).

Truth Cam 35 photo of three deer
(reduced 640×512 pixel thumbnail, click to see the full-size 1280×1024 pixel photo, resolution is less at night).

I recommend you get the 32 GB SD card, the maximum capacity which is supported.
Amazon currently sells the Transcend 32 GB Class 10 SDHC Flash Memory Card (TS32GSDHC10E) for under $25. Class 10 is defined as “high speed” at 10 MBytes/sec. How much can you store with a 32 GB SD card?

Type Resolution 32 GB
Day Photos 3.1 megapixels (color) 26,440 photos
Night Photos 1.3 megapixels (black & white) 106,640 photos
Video 30 second high resolution 720 videos

I extracted and paraphrased some of what Amazon has to say about this outdoor camera:

  • Easy to operate camera without sacrificing performance.
  • Simply load 4 D cell batteries, insert your SD card and slide the switch to photo or video and this camera is ready to go.
  • All settings, including camera resolution, are adjustable for your specific needs and conditions.
  • Capable of capturing both still and video images, the Truth Cam 35 offers a 40-foot nighttime range thanks to its 35 infrared LEDs.
  • Captures video or still images
  • 35 infrared LED bank
  • Nighttime range: 40 feet
  • Trigger speed: 1.5 seconds (0.3-second when camera is not in sleep mode)
  • Image resolution: 3 megapixels
  • Stamps photos or video with date, time, temperature, and moon phase information
  • Supports up to 32 gigabyte SD card (used to be 8 GB)
  • Back lit LED screen with large easy to read menu settings
  • Live screen preview for setting up field of view
  • Password protection for operating the camera
  • Heavy-duty hook strap included
  • Molded security cable hole through case for theft prevention
  • Dimensions: 8.75 by 6.625 by 2.875 inches (H x W x D)
  • Power: four D-cell batteries (I use an external 6 Volt encapsulated power supply instead)
  • Has operational instructions printed on the camera door for convenience in the field.
  • Trigger speed of 1.5 seconds (out of sleep mode) and takes images every 0.3 seconds when active.
  • The camera can be set for multi-shot bursts of 1, 3, 5, 7, or 9 images per triggering.
  • All images are stamped with date, time, temperature, and moon phase information.
  • Back lit LED screen with large easy to read menu settings.
  • Equipped with a molded security cable hole for theft prevention.

Below I will add links to additional web pages of photos and videos taken both day and night with the Truth Cam 35:

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