Posts Tagged ‘wwtl.com’

Our Five-Year Mission

August 3, 2009

Some people are ragging Carl Rogers about “Operation Emboss”, griping that the changes are occurring very slowly and with disproportionate fanfare.

My POV: although it’s well recognized that Carl is riding into the sunset (though vientology will live on), many are underestimating the sheer effort needed to accomplish the hand-crafted embossing of hundreds of vientological images.

On April 4, 2009, Carl announced that Operation Emboss was 1.71% complete. On August 3, it is now 7.63% complete. In a span of 121 days, that’s a 6.22 percentage point increase. Doing the math shows that Carl will finish up on…

June 29, 2014.

Do all of us have the persistence and vision to propose, and accomplish, a similar 5-year project? I doubt it. Hell, in 2014 we might all have rocket cars. Or, more likely, gas will be $100 a gallon, which is not as bad as it sounds, because with inflation, one dollar itself will be $12.50.

More like CalWrong, am i rite?

July 29, 2009

The newest thing at wwtl.com

Construction of a flyover ramp, between eastbound California State Route 92 and northbound Interstate 880, has completed. Traffic in Hayward may now merge more smoothly w/ the mainline Interstate, as opposed to usage of a single-lane cloverleaf ramp that existed for decades prior…

I’ve never been there, but I found a CalTrans page with a good explanation of the 92/880 project, with aerial before and after shots.

So it looks like wwtl.com has a pretty good scoop here: a new milestone in this important project.

Leave it to Timothy J. Lee to throw cold water on it:

Only a portion of the flyover is open, as a bypass of the straight through eastbound 92 overpass that is apparently being removed. Eastbound 92 to northbound 880 traffic must still use a cloverleaf ramp. The part of the flyover that actually flys over the 92 overpass on the way to northbound 880 is not built yet.

So wait: everything Carl said was wrong?

I went to his page: http://wwtl.com/ca-92.html to see a picture of the construction, but there isn’t one. It’s just a blurry pic of Rt. 92.

This is not a shining day for vientology.

What’s new at wwtl.com

July 6, 2009

There’s always something new to report about the Internet’s premier vientology site, wwtl.com. (I’m a big homer for my own blog; but let’s be honest, it has not yet caught up with Carl Rogers’s pioneering site.)

* Updated FAQ. To be honest, most of the questions are rarely asked, but changing it to Frequently Unasked Questions would make it the FUQ. Noting that most questions are Administrative or Site-related would make it the AS-FUQ. And who wants to explain to their spouse that they’re checking on Carl Rogers’s latest AS-FUQ?

* [Present-day] video of the former Lincoln Highway. Writes Carl:

You will also learn in this video what nearby freeway absorbs traffic at the Altamont Pass region.

(Spoiler: I-580.)

Steve Firth asks:

Have you got a video of you sticking your head in a blender?

Steve, try this quick link.

In fact, one of the areas in which wwtl.com does not lead the world is videos of people’s heads in blenders. He is tied with most of MTR at zero. The closest you will get is Mr Yamamoto’s site, where a roadie for the Teutonic punk quartet GartenKill has a hot waffle iron close on his hand.

* IE8 support. Although IE8 has been out for only a little while (and you can get a Nickelback mp3, or if you’re in Australia, a chance to win $10,000), wwtl.com has been supporting this browser since March. Carl says:

While we support Firefox, Safari, and Opera, your visual experience at the WWTL is taken to a whole new level w/ the world’s leading standard — Internet Explorer.

If you don’t have IE8, take a look at this beautiful screenshot. Droool.

* Pictures from Dubai. Carl Rogers hasn’t actually been there, but he will have photos from a real live Dubaian – Pham Hung Son! Carl says:

You’ll be surprised to see how advanced the U.A.E. highway system is — in fact, it appears to be one of the leaders in high-speed travel and safety.

(Why? My guess: no women drivers.)

* A slideshow pause button.

Go ahead, press our new “Pause” and “Play” buttons! These buttons come in handy for people needing more time to view a certain road photograph … perfect for those who have just a few minutes to spare and want random access to roads in the Americas, Europe, Asia, and Australia. Talk about vientology at its simplest.

This is yet another wwtl.com innovation which may find an even greater applicability in porn. The others are:

  • drag and resize photo (obvious)
  • virtual coordinates (just where was that VIP party?)
  • CarlCam(tm)

For those haters that say Carl has jumped the shark: not so fast. Come up with your own innovations, then you can talk.

WHL-360s in depth

June 22, 2009

Every time I show off a WHL-360 from Carl Rogers’ wwtl.com, people ask “How in the hell did he do that?”

Often the word they use is “Why”, but they really mean “How”.

WHL-360 is a proprietary, immersive, virtual reality 3-D rendering technology from wwtl.com. Instead of a photo, you have a 360-degree panorama that makes it look like you’re really there.

See US 89 in St. George Utah for an example.

Here’s how it’s done. First, run your photo through an  FFT with appropriate Nyquist ratio. Then, take the inner product of its finite elements:

Kronecker Product, in the context of WHL-360

Kronecker Product, in the context of WHL-360

Then reconstitute it and package in a QuickTime codec. Sounds easier than it really is!

For user without Quicktime, there is an open source version called VH-360 (Virtual Highway 360) – see vh360.sourceforge.com. This way you can still enjoy wwtl.com on your Windows Mobile device.

Let’s start with a watermarked photo from Carl Rogers:

Watermarked NJ Highway photo

Watermarked NJ Highway photo

Then apply the VH-360 transformation. The result is of course not as mind-blowing as WHL-360, but you can still see the general effect:

NJ photo in WHL-180!

NJ photo in VH-360!

Cool. However, the watermark is illegible. No problem, just re-watermark it:

WHL-180 photo, with new embossed watermark

VH-360 photo, with new embossed watermark

That’s pretty sharp-looking, for an amateur effort. To see the real thing, go to wwtl.com.

Hand-crafted JPEGs

June 20, 2009

Carl Rogers’ Operation Emboss has been proceeding at a lively pace. As each JPG is watermarked, we are closer to the day when we see wwtl.com “lift its ban on JPG file-sharing,” which means we can start putting them on bit torrent.

Even better (“a nice byproduct”): he is giving each and every photo personal attention.

All photos are hand-touched, one by one.

What makes this even more special? It gives me the chance to re-evaluate*each* photograph and judge their picture quality. If a picture does not have the right colour[sic] balance (shades, light, etc.), I correct it! As Operation Emboss continues, you may notice one of your favourite US Federal Route or Mexican Autopista w/ better image quality.

This is more dramatic news than the embossing itself. Just think of all those photos on wwtl.com, but with better quality! With the tricks Photoshop can do, there’s no limit to what could be fixed in those pictures.

Photo enhancement process, as seen in TV and movies.

Photo enhancement process, as seen in TV and movies.

Stuff that used to be affordable only to CSI departments is now a $400 desktop app, and in a couple years will be free (ad-supported) on the web. My favorite CSI episode was when there was a murder on a United flight, and the blonde chick took a picture of a Dodgers game from the LA Times, zoomed in on the retina of the third-base coach, got the reflection of the aircraft, zoomed in on that through a first-class window, bounced off the bulb of a champagne glass, and identified the killer by a telltale tooth filling. Enhance. Enhance. Enhance.

These days you can even rotate a picture in 3-D. Before: dang, got a photo from the wrong side.

Whoops, took her pic from behind. Too late to fix that... or is it?

Whoops, took her pic from behind. Too late to fix that... or is it?

Then apply the 3-D rotation:

How to rotate your photo in 3-D

How to rotate your photo in 3-D

And the result:

Same photo, rotated 180 deg around Z axis.

Same photo, rotated 180 deg around Z axis.

The old-fashioned photography skills (lighting, composition, framing, exposure, focus, etc.) matter less and less every day, because it can all be fixed in Photoshop.

Here’s the top 5 list of photos I’m looking forward to Carl Rogers making even better, at wwtl.com:

You know who else wasn’t liked?

June 11, 2009

Vientology is blowing up on misc.transport.road!

Jason Pawloski: I keep seeing the word “viatology” on this newsgroup but I never see a definition, and I’m curious to learn more about it. Does anyone have a rigorous definition of what viatology is and perhaps link for me a website with more information? Thanks.

“outend”: Complete list of Calrogs’ useful contributions on the topic of roads worldwide: This page intentionally left blank.

I’m normally not going to get involved in the “MTR” reality show; one reason I lurk there, but don’t post. But the fact that a guy is annoying is no reason to deny his rightful accomplishments.

Yes, Carl Rogers can be abrasive sometimes; and vain, pompous, hardheaded and sockpuppety (another word, like vientology, that spell checkers have not caught up with).

But think about it. They jeered Nikola Tesla. They vilified Henry Ford. They crucified Jesus.

Put personality differences aside, and there is an undeniable pattern of pioneering vientology work from Mr. Rogers. Let’s take a look:

WHL-360

This is the 360-degree virtual reality presentation of a stretch of highway. All 5 senses are telling you you’re on the road, while your inner ear says you’re sitting on the couch. It is so immersive that people with delicate stomachs have felt nauseous while looking at Carl Rogers’ WHL-360s.

A site visitor is captivated by a WHL-360 at wwtl.com

A site visitor is captivated by a WHL-360 at wwtl.com

Operation Coordinates

Don't be a website WallyI hate looking at a photo and not knowing exactly where it is. But at wwtl.com, Not only are the photos placed in context, but Carl Rogers gave us all daily progress reports. That’s the kind of employee you want to have reporting to you. Not the guy who hides in his cube and give you no updates until it’s done (or the deadline passes).

Operation Emboss

It’s a widespread problem: you go to all the trouble of taking the photo (or having someone email it to you), and then someone else hotlinks it, stealing your bandwidth and your Alexa ranking. What do you do?

Most people have Apache serve up something else:

RewriteCond    %{HTTP_REFERER} !^http://wwtl\.com [NC]
RewriteRule    \.(gif|jpe?g|png)$ penis.jpg [F,NC,L]

A better way is to emboss photos with a watermark, wwtl.com-style. Start off with your original photo, which someone may be tempted to hotlink:

Unembossed photo, New Jersey

Unembossed photo, New Jersey

By adding a subtle watermark, you can enhance your branding and discourage someone from trying to take credit for your work:

Embossed photo, New Jersey

Embossed photo, New Jersey

Green Viatology

Sometimes the best roadtrip is the one not taken. Actually, I don’t agree with this one so much, and this innovation is the one that reminds you the most that Carl Rogers lives in California. Still, he came up with the idea.

Other Languages

¿Quiere leer sobre rutos en los otros lenguas? Con Carlos, ¡usted es en el suerte!

RSS

This is where you can get wwtl.com updates before anyone in the general public. It’s very exclusive. To sign up for RSS, you just need to click a button on your browser. It’s open to the general public.

Aiming high

In many ways, wwtl.com is said to surpass Google Maps.

Ironically, created with Google Charts API

Ironically, created with Google Charts API

‘S’ roads

These are roads that have curves in them. Carl Rogers coined the term.

Dragging and resizing photos

I always want to do this, especially in porn sites, and almost no site lets me.

Web 2.0

Wwtl.com is at the forefront of Web 2.0.

Operation Animation

This early innovation made analog hyperlinks change color when you hovered over them.

green v.
other languages
rss
better than google (/maps)
virtual coordinates
S roads
drag and resize photos
web 2.0
operation animation color coding analog hyperlinks

I’ll step off my soapbox now. If you take an honest, unbiased look, the facts speak for themselves. wwtl.com is a pioneer in vientology.

Vientology = research

June 8, 2009

If vientology is a science, then a real vientologist adds value to the discussion, with new information and real insights.

If the Internet is just a closed system, with everyone copying each other’s work, then it would be like the Earth with no Sun, no external energy source. The Second Law of Thermodynamics says that everything would eventually become the same temperature (“heat death”) and that would be the end of it. (Same thing will happen to our universe.)

So for vientology to grow, that means people have to step away from their computer, find out new facts, and then type them in.

For me, the vientological mecca is the Hubert Kamms Map Library at UAB, with general reference down the hall, and government documents right next door. This is like Hooters with maps (and without waitresses or beer). Seriously, I could hang out a long time here.

Highway Inventory Logs are indispensable to vientology. These show the exact locations and lengths of Alabama highways. The only sticking point is that most of these are hardcopy only, and don’t circulate. Here’s a scan from the I-459 page:

Here's a scan from the I-459 page of the Highway Inventory Log, 1969

And you can pull out old maps dating back to the 1920s:

Birmingham map, 1929. US 78 was still a dirt road

Birmingham map, 1929. US 78 was still a dirt road

Those two together, and your laptop with Google Earth, and my friend you are in highway heaven.

I’ll be going back there and digging up more info (especially about I-220 in the north end) and I’ll have some photos as well.

Carl Rogers (wwtl.com) got 60,000 hits in May (I’m pretty sure; he posted when he was close, but didn’t post the final numbers). That’s pretty impressive. I’d like to get to that point, but I know it will take time. WordPress has some stats for this site, but the numbers are low since I’m just starting out.

Carl should get one of those hit-counter things that looks like an odometer. Like this:

Just a sample. I don't have this many hits

Just a sample. I don't have this many hits

That would be cool, and appropriate for a vientology site.

Hello Vientologists

June 3, 2009

Hello Vientologists!

There’s been a ton of discussion and some acrimony about this new term for the study of roads and highways. As with any new idea, sometimes there is some pushback from people who have an ax to grind, or like the way an institution was in the past, just after they joined.

H. B. Elkins offers a pejorative definition of vientology. On the other side, Carl Rogers has been championing the term in constant newsgroup postings, and his website wwtl.com.

So what’s the state of vientology right now? My spellchecker still flags the term. A few people use it unironically (me, Carl Rogers, and a Louisiana blogger). Most other people group the term with other unwelcome neologisms such as webinar, digerati and staycation.

To me, vientology is deep, diligent study of roads and the science, politics and history surrounding them. A photo or video is nice, but not really enough. If you’ve actually been to the photo site, that’s better. If you can provide more information about the site, better still. If you provide information most people do not already know, and some insightful commentary, then you’re on your way to being a vientologist.

Many self-called “roadgeeks” practice vientology, even as they deny doing it. As we’ve seen, the term vientology won’t really take off until there is more than one open practitioner. Carl Rogers, of course, gets credit for being first out of the gate with wwtl.com.

I have no experience being a webmaster, so I won’t be able to put up a competing site, much less one that gets 60,000 hits a month like wwtl.com. But this blogging thing looks a lot easier, and I can certainly put in my experiences and research, and even a few photos.

My first topic will be something near and dear (I can see it from my house) but also of national importance: one of our longest and oldest interstate highways, I-59.

See you next post.