Sweet Home Alabama with the Red Army Choir

April 03, 2008

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Apparently this is from a 1994 MTV awards show. The Leningrad Cowboys and the Red Army Choir performing Sweet Home Alabama. I'm not sure what to think, but it's pretty awesome in that kinda hurts my mind to see the Red Army Choir doing Skynard type of way.


Fold ins of Al Jaffee

March 31, 2008

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I'll confess to not remembering seeing a Fold-In from Mad magazine when I was a kid. I'm sure I saw them on the occasions that I could get my hands on one. This was a rare occurrence as the magazine was frowned upon by my folks. Regardless, the N.Y. Times has an article up on Al Jaffee. The guy who makes the Fold-Ins. The article is interesting by itself, but make sure to check out the gallery of Fold-Ins. These things are amazing.


Clear Cache Button - Firefox extension

March 30, 2008

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One more Firefox extension to help out anyone who does web development work or is otherwise interested in a quick way to clear your Firefox browser cache: Clear Cache Button. This extension adds a new toolbar button that you can access by right clicking on the browser tool bar and selecting "Customize". Then just find the new icon and drop it where you want it. In Firefox 2.x the clear cache got bundled in with a bunch of other privacy things which is okay from one stand point, but makes it a huge pain when all you want to do is quickly empty the cache and start fresh. This is another fine example of a relatively minor change that's made to a major product outside of it's original development team thanks to the wonderful world of Open Source software. Even though it only takes a few clicks to get to the original functionality, when you are in the middle of a development effort you end up needing to do it a lot so the time can add up to a decent amount. Worse for me is that it requires switching mental modes for a few seconds. This can really reduce the thinking momentum. I don't have a way to quantify this type of change cost, but I'm sure it has an impact. And depending on how much of a break it causes in the thought process (even for only a few seconds), it can be significant for me.


Favorite Icons

March 30, 2008

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I've been meaning to put a Favorite Icon on my site for some time and finally got around to it this weekend. It's on the home page right now and I'll get it lined up on the blog soon. Because of the way browsers cache files it may take some time to see it. Also, with browsers like IE6, I don't think it shows up unless you actually bookmark the page. Thanks again to CJ for the logo creation. It works at 16 pixels tall. Awesome. If you are interested in how to do it, the easiest way is to follow the steps and use the tool on this page. Now, if you don't own the site, you would need to put the favicon.ico file in a different location and setup the relative like to point to it as well. If anyone is interested, I'd be happy to put up further directions.


FireShot - Firefox screen grab extension

March 30, 2008

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If you ever need to do screen grabs of web pages and especially if you need to annotate them, check out the FireShot extension for Firefox. I've only played around with it a little, but it seems to be very robust. You can grab just the visible portion of the page or the entire page (including the parts you would have to scroll to see). Once you have the capture, it defaults to opening in an editor where you can crop, make annotations and do other basic editing. It's a great example of a simple tool to get a job done. It's no wear near as powerful as something like photoshop, but when all you need to do is highlight an area and tag it with a note, having to start up photoshop is a pain. Here's a quick example that I clipped while writing this post. Screen Grab Test One note is that it has problems with flash stuff sometimes. I think this has to do with the way the flash engine is does rendering outside of the main application render engine. If you have problems with something another screen capture utility that I use is ScreenGrab. In it's options menu you can choose from using the Firefox render engine or a Java one. If you use Java, it captures the flash elements that are sometimes missed by the the Firefox instance.


High speed video and full resolution in an SLR

March 29, 2008

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I don't really do anything at all with video, but the idea of having a camera that can shoot high speed stuff is way fun. Back in Jan. Casio announced an upcoming SLR that it says will shoot 60 full rez frames a second which is wild. Also, they state it'll do up to 1,200 fps in video mode. All this for about $1,000 which is not too far away from basic entry into the digital SLR market. I'm guessing we'll be seeing a lot more stuff on youtube in the next couple of years that were shot in high-speed so they have the slow-motion effect. Especially people shooting things, like in this one: Another very interesting thing to consider is the impact of the 60 frames/second at full resolution. The impact on sports photography for example could be huge. Instead of trying to nail The Decisive Moment all you'll need to do is play back the shots/video frame by frame and pick the best one. This is the first camera that I'm aware of where photo type resolution (like enough to print 8x10s) is able to be capture at video rates. In fact at 60 frames/second, it's basically double standard motion picture frame rates. Wild.


Boston Retinal Implant Project

March 29, 2008

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imageThat's right, these folks are working to make a replacement eye. Right now the goal is to treat blindness. Once they get it working, one has to wonder how long it'll be until the first elective one is installed/implanted. Also, how long till we stop making the distinction between the words "installed" and "implanted".


iPhone/iPod Touch has an odd screen size

March 28, 2008

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I was looking up the aspect ratio for my iPod Touch so that I can size some photos for its specific size and came across this article. I had noticed before that when I was watching HD formatted videos (16:9) there was letterboxing. I kept trying to find a setting that was causing it, but finally gave up. Good to know I'm not that inept and that the screen aspect ration really is different from HD. It weighs in with a 3:2 ratio from its 480x320 pixels. It's more than a little disappointing. Only thing I can really think of is that the cost to produce a screen with true HD dimensions would have raised the cost significantly. Interestingly, this ratio is the same as my camera. So at least it makes that transition easy. Of course, I'm not a big fan of that ratio for still photos and tend to crop them to 4:5.


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