Thursday, October 26, 2006

89 Degrees F???

This morning the temperature sensor in our car must have gone nuts. I was driving into work through a blizzard. I looked up at my thermometre and there it was...89 F.

You have new Picture Mail!

ZUNE Pictures from Microsoft

ZUNE is slated to be released next month and we now have official pictures. Brown???

Pictures of the Shuttle Taken From Chase Plane

Paula's Uncle Donald sent me this link. The photos are pretty stunning and quite cool.

Thanks Donald!

Video iPod Patent Pictures

Information on the widely expected Video iPod was discovered by way of patent filings. iPod Hacks reported on it today--its worth taking a look at.

Halloween is Coming

A few of my more scary videos. Well, not so scary. Ok, not scary at all.

Things That Scare

The Moon


Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Photoshop Alternatives

Quite a few sites that WESTAF has developed use a specific image standard developed to replace slides. The sites include:

The Ohio Arts Council's Grant System

Several more are on the way. The standard requires that an image be perfectly square and each side needs to be 1920 pixels. Almost all images are rectangles so this requires masking the image on a 1920x1920 black canvas. The result is something like this:


For the most part folks use Photoshop.

That said, one of the most common questions that we're asked is, "What else can I use!? I can't afford to buy Photoshop!"

Fortunately there are a couple of free alternatives that are very good. Neither is as intuitive as Photoshop.

The first option is GNU Image Manipulation Program, or GIMP. This opensource software is pretty much as sophisticated as Photoshop. It works on PCs, Mac, and most flavours of UNIX. It is a little more involved to get it up and running than Photoshop. Still, it is an excellent piece of software and once you get used to the interface it is reckoned to be on par with Adobe's offerings.

The second option, only available for windows, is The reviews of the latest version are very positive. While I've not used it, I read that it will fulfill almost all needs that a user might have.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Paula's Latest X Rays

I took Paula to the doctor today for a checkup. They have moved her from the enormous 98 lb boot to a small brace. They have ok-ed her for driving--we are going to take it easy and wait until she is walking fairly normally--provided she is comfortable doing it. Physio starts up soon.

So, two photos.

Ankle 1

ankle 2

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Roku Lab's Photobridge Replacement

Roku Labs has announced its new version of the HD1000. It is called Bright Sign and allows for touch screen and a keyboard. It LOOKS to be a pretty nifty product, but we won't know for sure until WESTAF buys one. At this point there are three things that make it less attractive than the HD1000.

1) It isn't an open linux based product. This means adapting it as we have for ZAPP(tm) and CaFE(tm) will be tough.
2) Currently it doesn't support JPGs (this is a deal breaker)
3) The ethernet port isn't active (this too is a deal breaker)

In the first quarter of 2007 items 2 and 3 should be addressed.

Wood Pile

I took this past Friday off, partially to stack a cord of wood delivered on Thursday. I put together this quick little video to document it. Taking a day off to do manual labour can seem terribly unrelaxing and silly. I compare it to working on a dude ranch. Why WOULD anybody pay to do hard labour? At least my firewood stacking had value to my family.

The Napoleon 1101 has been happily burning pretty much steadily since Friday.

Web 2.0 Notes

These notes were used for a Web 2.0 presentation I gave to the WESTAF trustees a few days ago. It actually ended up being much more condensed than this due to time constraints.

Web 2.0 has a pretty murky definition. It is thought of as the culmination of what people hoped Web 1.0 would be—that is an interactive environment for people. Web 1.0 really just comprised brochure sites that provided information but no real interactivity.

In the last couple of years this has changed rapidly as communities have emerged from what were really dark days after the dot com bust.

There is a new idea of “everything casting” (coined by Eric Rice) which really is a fancy way of saying that I, Joe Computer User, have the tools using a pretty ordinary computer to

a) Publish and
b) Broadcast

to the world and using the Web, the world can publically comment.

Web 2.0 represents Online Social Multimedia experiences.

Sites like this include:

1) Flickr
2) Revver
3) Digg
5) Blogspot
6) YouTube
7) Technorati
8) Wikis
9) GeoTagr

One of the things that makes Web 2.0 work is open-ness. In most cases, social networking sites provide a framework in which almost anybody can take elements of their service and use it as their own. Content “vacuums” if you will.

So I can upload photos to Flickr and have them show up automatically on my Blog with a map from Google because I’ve included the location as one of my tagging elements in Flickr. I can do the same with my video and other people’s video. I can bookmark all of these elements in for others to follow and comment on, or add to.

In Web 2.0 everything is related to a conversation and everything is viral. It takes on a life of its own.

About two weeks ago I was flying back from Baltimore. In my Chicago-Denver leg, the flight was delayed for two hours as men were removed from the airplane.

1) I took video with my cell and posted it on Revver and embedded it on my blog with a description of what happened.
2) I entered a link into DIGG
3) I started conversations on three forums I participate in

Within two weeks between DIGG, the three forums, and my blog there were over 2000 views and conversations in all four places. While I started the dissemination of this content, I really have no control of how it is passed on any longer. Others have taken it on themselves to feedback to me, to communicate with each other, to comment in each of the places. The net reaches farther each day.

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