Donte your computers

March 31, 2009

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Quick link that I saw today for tips for donating your old computers. More importantly, a search tool where you can find places to donate computers based on zip code. I've had problems finding places to donate gear to before, this should help a lot. If you've got old gear, this is something you should think about.


My first internet video post

March 23, 2009

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I'm a stills guy. Not a video guy. It took me over a year with my latest point and shoot to actually think about the fact that it has video and to give it a try. Even longer to get the first real clip shot and posted. Today is the day. Here is my first video internet post.

This Way To The Egress from Stimulating Pixels on Vimeo.

This is the tail end of the crowd leaving Bryant-Denny after the 2008 Iron Bowl where the Tide beat the stew outta Auburn. Final score, a 36-0 shutout. Watching the fans move at roughly the same speed across caught my eye and I decided it would make a worthy video. This was after most of the fans had already filed out. Next time I'm there, I'll see if I can get on the ramp earlier and see what it looks like with more people packed together.


Farewell, Galactica

March 23, 2009

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While I'm sad that Battlestar Galactica is over, I'm happy with the way it ended.

Going into the last few episodes, I would wait longer and longer to actually watch each one after the broadcast. I think there were two reasons for this: 1) I didn't want one of my favorite shows to be over and, 2) I was afraid I wouldn't like the way it ended. All in all, my fears about how they would handle the final chapter was unfounded. Some parts didn't get quite as much focus as I would have expected, but overall, it worked for me.

I'm not one to do a lot of extra research on a show, but I wanted a little more on this one and came across this interview with the producers that answered a few more questions about the show. I'm glad I read that. Makes me even happier with the show.

Here's to resolution, redemption and clean slates.


April Fool's Day lasts for years on the web

March 14, 2009

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The web has its own version of the time/space continuum. It's kinda two dimensional when you look at it on a screen, but those dimensions are fluid. It's also kinda no dimensional since the bits and electric pulses that make it up aren't really physical. The sense of Time on the web is getting slipperier every day. You have to push out something new all the time if you want to get noticed and stay relevant, but all that content can stick around in weird ways.

Case in point, I just googled "camera bits" which is the company that makes Photo Mechanic. Even though the link I wanted was the first result returned, the fifth link on the page caught my eye because it had a long title. Specifically, "Rob Galbraith DPI: Camera Bits announces Here I Am photo tracking". I glanced at the article and it didn't make sense, it's about tracking software that can be slid into photos that allow them to be tracked. Because of the way photos are stored on computers this shouldn't be possible, so I started to read for real. Then I noticed the date the article was published: Friday, April 1, 2005.

Dates in articles are generally blind spots that we blow right past. In this case, it created a little dissonance since I wasn't ready for an April Fool's Day joke on March 11. Welcome to wobbly internet time.


The good news for the folks at Camera Bits is that their actual company still gets top google results, but it's not too hard to imagine the fake article getting the top billing. While most users would make it to them eventually, it would be a tough break to try to deal with. If you run a business and you want a reminder of why you don't want to piss off search engines, this should do. Imagine if customers searching for your site were all directed to joke pages about your company on other web sites.

The internet is a wildly powerful communications tool, but we'd all do well to remember that just a few companies and organizations have immense control over the direction of that power.


Video sampling

March 14, 2009

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While this isn't fundamentally different from creating an audio track from a bunch of samples, the fact that it's from youTube clips gives it extra points.

Of course, that wouldn't matter if it didn't groove.


Loads of free music from SXSW

March 11, 2009

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sxsw-logo.gif I've mentioned before that South by Southwest releases music samplers with free MP3s on them from artists that play the festival. I just looked up this years and found this page that points to torrents of all the samplers. Huge amount of music.

Sadly, I still haven't actually made it to a SXSW festival yet. I'll be trying again next year.


Get your skulls in the Home and Garden section

March 08, 2009

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I've heard one of the reasons you see skulls in old paintings so often is that artists used to keep one around as a reminder of their mortality. This seems like a good idea to me. Following along the line of making sure that you live every day to its fullest and to try not to let the little things get to you. So, I went in search of a skull. They are really cheap these days. Like under $10.

The one I ended up with is this one. It's very well detailed but a little smaller than I expected. No big deal, I really like it. The funniest part of the shopping experience to me was where Amazon had the skull categorized: Home and Garden. Here's a grab of the search results.

home-and-garden-skull.png

I'm not sure where I would have expected it, but Home and Garden would have been way down on my list of guesses. I'm not a big shopper of that department, but I'll have to browse around a little to see what other interesting surprises are there.


Mac Software: Max - CD ripper and encoder

March 08, 2009

Note: This post was migrated from my old blog software. It hasn't been cleaned up yet (and might not ever be). Don't be surprised if the formatting, links, images, etc... are messed up.

max-logo.gif I've added one more piece of software to my Mac's Toolbox: Max from http://sbooth.org/. Max is CD ripping and encoding software. For the technically minded, it's really a front end to other process like 'LAME' and 'cdparanoia'. To the person using it though, all you see is Max.

While iTunes has ripping and encoding functionality built in, I'm not confident that it's producing the quality of MP3s that I'm looking for. When I'm ripping my CDs I only want to do it one time and be sure the MP3s are the highest quality I'm like to ever want. On Windows, I used Exact Audio Copy. The goal of that software is to produce MP3s that your general audiophile would find indistinguishable from the original CD. Since EAC is Windows only, I was very happy to find Max which looks to be a nice Mac replacement.

A quick note about cdparanoia, the ripper that Max uses. It's really good at dealing with scratched CDs. Unless you go after a disk with 60 grit sandpaper, cdparanoia can usually fight through it to ensure the ripped version of the song matches the CD. In addition to ensuring the final MP3 is as close to the CD as possible, this also helps prevent those weird digital garbles that pop up in MP3s from time to time. The trade off for this insurance is that ripping a scratched up CD can be very, very slow. Like I said before, I'm more interested in only have to go through the process once, so I don't mind that might take longer to get the track into the computer if it means I don't have to go back and repeat the process later.


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