Archive for July, 2003

After many months of silence, many weeks of hard work and testing, and a couple weeks with unexpected delays – it’s finally here. Our main goal when we started out on 1.2 was to bring you the “wireless edition”, meaning it could be remote controlled. However mediocre solutions from Keyspan as regards their Digital Media Remote quickly put and end to those plans. We did get full support for the SonyEricsson line of cellphones though, via the excellent Salling Clicker.

The new features are:
– Support for Salling Clicker for remote controlling
– Full history, for browsing back and forward in downloaded images
– FastSwitching between plug-ins – change plug-in with a keypress
– Vastly improved error handling when a server is not responding or other download problems arise
– Many, many minor and major bugfixes in areas such as history, fullscreen mode, keyboard control, interface, and more

Some of the keyboard shortcuts not listed in the ReadMe include: left/rightarrow for back/forward in history and command+up/downarrow for next/previous plug-in.

As always, a big thank-you to all of the testers for version 1.0, Tomas for putting a lot of time into the coding, Oscar for testing, the fans (you know who you are) and myself.

So go download.

 

When you are out traveling, you might bring a map. There will be signs along the way to guide you, and you can always ask by passers for directions. Most of the time though, you have a goal, a destination. On the net, it can be different. Often you might find yourself browsing through pages upon pages of useless Google search results, or getting stuck in an eternal loop of links (ie. page x has a link to page xx which in turn links to page xxx and so on).

You have search engines for finding your way through the millions of pages of information, but what about blogs? Indications point in the direction that Google will try to do something about it, but that is not my main point of this story. Because blogs are so much more than just a “page of information” – it tells the life of a human, in as little, or as much detail as the owner want. Forcer made a great post about the different kinds of blogs, and where different people put the emphasis, something that alone tells a lot about that person.

The thing that often sets blogs apart though, and make them interesting, is the use of automation and dynamic content. For instance, users of MovableType can get comments from readers, they can trackback articles, auto-submit updates to “trackers”, and much much more. And the interesting part is that all of a sudden you are part of something. A network. A community. You meet people you never knew existed. After posting my thoughts on the IXUS 400 for instance, I shortly got a mail from a guy who were looking to replace his old camera, too. And after trackbacking to a couple of Etan’s articles, I am all of a sudden on his blogroll, yet I have still to exchange a single word with the guy. Isn’t this exciting? I think it is, and I think this is all just a tiny taste of what the future holds…

I have previously been ranting about what Apples latest inventions will mean to the future, and with iChat AV and the iTunes Music Store, we are already well on the way. I, like many other, have yet to realize what a big deal this is for the future. Soon we will *all* be getting our music, movies, and even software – from a 1-click based central locations like the iTunes Music Store. Some company, with the ambition of Amazon, and the knowledge of PayPal or Kagi, will make a cross-platform software with all this enabled – where developers/artists/actors (or the people responsible for the work, ie. record labels and movie studios) can make “plug-ins” for offering their media. The sole owner of the whole “thing” will process all payments, and you know… don’t you think?

On to something very different, yet related to the future: I love my T68i, but it has too little of Apple to it. The future has already begun. The technology is here now, but it’s not being used. I want to be able to communicate with my iChat buddies over GPRS, and if I have a camera attached to the phone, I would want to use iChat AV capabilities. Ok, ok, so the network can’t QUITE handle the bandwidth, not to mention *I* can’t handle the costs. But still… Is it time for Apple, despite promises, to bring the Newton back to life? As echoed by Steven, there is yet a phone/pda that have a OS matching Apples. The Mac is easy to use, and so is the Newton. I don’t mind the SonyEricsson interface too much either, and the PSION OS is actually pretty good, with an overall blend of Mac and Windows. But still not quite anything like the Mac…

My iSight arrived today. I’ve had a couple 30-minute sessions already, and I am truly impressed. Much better results than with my camcorder. One thing that bothers me though, is the stands… they suck. My iSight is currently way too high, and in the wrong direction. Lucky to have an iMac, I can tilt and rotate the display to adjust the camera, but it’s just not the right way to do it…

 

iPod Love

24Jul03

Off to work now. With a little help from Forcer, I got the dock below updated last night. It will now show the latest image from my photoblog, and the smaller font used for the iTunes status WILL be adopted throughout the site at a later point, yes! Oh and also, I just happened to discover links in the comment windows would not open in a new window. Should be fixed now as well…

Hats off to Dan also, for pointing out the iPod Love video 🙂 Well sweet.

 

Work is taking too much time this week, so updates are, and will be, sparse. Let’s hope it will lead to something good anyway (in addition to the money I mean).

Thanks to Tom for pointing out “The ECCelvis – All Your Base Are Belong To Us” 😀

Will integrate the photoblog with the rest of the site a bit tighter in the time ahead. Also, I *know* the webcam is offline… after reinstalling the OS 3 times a week or so ago, I’ve had nothing but more problems. When the camera is “online” (iChat or EvoCam), I get no sound-out through my iMic, and if my sound is “online” (iTunes is open for instance), my camera will not be available for iChat and/or EvoCam. I have to choose, and I choose sound. My iSight shipped today, so maybe it’ll be better once I get it. Or maybe I’ll find a solution once I have the *time* to debug.

Update: as commented by Tom, all the All Your Base remixes are found here. My personal favorites are Elvis, Beatles and Nirvana. Hysterical stuff. I also removed the direct link, visit their site instead and grab YOUR favorite!

 

I tinkered a bit with the video features of the IXUS 400 (PowerShot S400 for all you americans) today, and already having experience with DV cameras, I doubted it would blow me away – but it did. You can’t fit too many minutes on the camera, unless you have huge CF cards, and each clip is still limited to 3 minutes. You can’t zoom while recording, you can’t focus, in fact – you can’t do much at all but moving the camera around. Unlike its predecessor, the IXUS v3, which were able to record in 640×480, the new model can only record at 320×240. Why did Canon choose to step DOWN on features? I don’t know, maybe some last-minute “if we want the camera out on time, we need to remove this” or something like that. Or maybe they simply discovered that this is not a camcorder?

Nevertheless, the quality of the recording is pretty awesome – much better than any webcam I have tried (no, my iSight has yet to arrive) – almost DV quality to be honest – that is if you shoot it and then compress it.

Like I said, you get 320×240 in resolution, and 15 FPS. Data rate is about 330kB/sec. You can also record in 160×120 if you like, but who would? What I mean to say is, if you manage to drag the camera with you somewhere, and all of sudden find out “this would be cool to show off on my website” – this is just the perfect device. You normally wouldn’t be taking your camcorder with you on a trip to town, but how about a still camera? Maybe, and getting the clip out on the web is as simple as drag&drop as it’s already compressed. I made some previews for you. Sound is removed for smaller size, but quality remains the same. Clips: indoor and outdoor.

Exactly how Mac-friendly Canon is have always interested me. Their products work on the Mac, camcorders, still cameras, scanners and printers… on Classic or native in OSX (most newer devices anyway). Their installers are horrible on the other hand.

Before getting the camera, I read a review of it at some website, and they posted a video clip taken with the camera. The clip was a .avi file though, and QuickTime complained about some missing codec (no it wasn’t a DivX). So much for Mac compliance I thought. Upon getting the camera however, I noted a QuickTime logo on the box. What’s this? So today I finally got a chance to try some of my own recordings. Since the CF card doesn’t pop up on your desktop, you will need to use Image Capture. Fine enough. So I get my clips, and low and behold they have .avi extensions. However, they DO play in QuickTime. Upon closer inspection it appears they are of format “Motion JPEG OpenDML”. I’m the casual movie user who enjoys iMovie, so I have no clue what this is – but it sure isn’t AVI? Hmm, is it?

I’ve been drinking a lot of Snapple lately. Great stuff. Oh, and if you ever buy a LOT of candy – do NOT leave it in a box in your window when the sun shines. Now I’ve one giant multicolored candy instead of several.

 

Two great things happened today, both giving me more power! In one way or another.

Firstly I will be reviewing my hosting service GetMeHosted (which I have praised earlier) for MacSofa. What do I get? How bout getting my account upgraded from “Started” to “E-Com”? Disk space going from 50 MB to 250 MB, bandwidth from 1000 MB to 5000 MB a month, and more email accounts, SQL databases and subdomains. Weehaw! Needless to say, I will be slamming them 😛

I also got a notice saying my long-awaited amp is waiting for me at the post office, so I’ll be picking it up tomorrow. It’s a 150 Watt mono block (mentioned earlier) that will be powering my woofer.

 

After some waiting, the camera was finally here today. Didn’t take much time getting to know it, mostly everything is controlled using a on-screen menu system, but I recommend reading the first couple pages of the manual for a quick low-down on what the different buttons and switches are.

I will probably post more as I get to play with it, but without further ado, I know introduce you to a new feature here at xgrape.net – my photoblog. It has been in development for a couple of weeks, but is now ready for use. Please drop by it by clicking on “Pictures” in the sidebar, and let me know what you think – both of the blog, and the images – by commenting in the appropriate locations. Goodnight.

 

More movies…

15Jul03

So there are a lot of movies I have wanted to go see lately, including Finding Nemo, The Hulk and Terminator 3. I joined my sister and brother-in-law today on their way to the mall however, and at the exact same place I bought my last two movies, I picked up 6 more! I guess I didn’t really think about the price till a few minutes after it was done. Now I kinda regret it, because it was a lot of money, and I have been spending an awful lot lately in general. But I suppose I got a couple good movies after all, and hopefully I’ll appreciate them all at some point. The 6 movies (listed by price, most expensive first) were: Lilja 4-Ever, Forrest Gump, Detektor, Scream 3, House on Haunted Hill, Virus. Comment below if you have seen any of them – but please no spoilers 🙂

 

Problems

13Jul03

I have had repeated problems with my OSX install for some time. Friday it topped, with applications quitting all the time and basically nothing worked. So I did an archive and install on Saturday, preserving my user folder and then trying to move over the remaining items in my System folder. That didn’t turn out too well so today I did a new archive and install, still preserving my users folder, but re-installing the software that placed items in the lower-level folders. This included any drivers for peripherals and all the haxies. Once it was all installed I kept a lot of the old problems, although it seems a tad bit better. Oh well, I guess I have to live with these till I format the drive when Panther ships. My current problems include: setting English as default language every startup in all possible ways (keyboard layout, date, time…), finder not launching properly on startup (meaning it appears, but the dock icon will not have a triangle below it, so you can not “switch” to the Finder), force-quitting it solves the problem. Lastly, keyboard shortcuts will not work in sheets. Command-D for “Don’t save” for instance, or Command-D for “Desktop” when in open/save dialogs.

These are all things I can live with, but a new problem arose today. Whenever I try to open an application that exist both on my Jaguar volume and my Panther volume (TextEdit, Installer have been confirmed at least, but not Disk Copy), the Panther version will be used, and it will instantly quit. So now I need to keep TextEdit and Installer in the dock and drag&drop all files to them. Darn.

I were also out on the sea today, and of course I forgot to use enough sunblock. My feet are very red, and they hurt. I knew I should’ve stayed inside 😉

Tomorrow’s work again, but we _do_ plan on releasing FjortisViewer 1.2 this coming Tuesday. Weee. There is a ton of bug fixes that have been made in the last couple days thanks to Tomas and Oscar, and we even got a handful of new features in that I _know_ you will enjoy! All previous testers (and specially interested – you know who you are) will get a mail with the full details once it’s public.

 

Illusions

12Jul03

When I was younger, I were rather fond of magic, and I had this little magician set with real bad tricks in it. Anyway, while the tiny interest in things that go beyond the human understanding is still there, it’s not as tense as it used to be. I do enjoy great illusions when I see them though. This terrace is a good example of one of the few that make me go whooo. Whatever way you twist and turn it, it will for sure disturb your mind.

 

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