Pretty picture

I spent the last few days playing with matplotlib, a nice graphics package for Python. The result, which is basically what I needed to accomplish, is below. I just need to scale the data properly, which is easy using the Python classes I wrote to encapsulate the dose and phantom outputs of EGSnrc, the Monte Carlo dose calculation code I use. Oh, and don’t worry: that’s not a real head. It’s a “phantom”, an artificial head made of plastic with a real skull, jaw bone, and teeth embedded into it.

Dental phantom

Listening to Michael Jackson from the album “On The Floor At The Boutique” by Fatboy Slim

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Minor hardware hacking

Well, not a hack as much as a kluge. My external FireWire drive has been out of commission for well over a year. At first, I thought that the disk itself had died, but putting a new one in made no difference.

I had noticed that the disk activity LED was intermittent, but put that down to the disk. Regardless, I tried wiggling the power connector, and that seemed to affect the LED. The power switch is right next to the power connector, and yesterday, I thought I might just remove the switch and jumper the connection. I just finished the little bit of de-soldering and soldering in of the jumpers, and voila, it works! Now and then, it’s nice to screw around with a soldering iron.

Setting some fonts in GMail

Well, I was happy to find a simple CSS hack to make GMail display messages in a monospace font. Safari allows you to use a personal CSS file. But, the message composition text box was still variable width, making it truly annoying to format messages nicely. Finally discovered that it’s pretty easy to change that: just set the textarea style to use a monospace font in your personal CSS file.