January 31, 2007
What's Next for Jim Allchin of Microsoft (Funny)

A most amusing post from Jim Allchin on the Windows Vista Team Blog on what his life will be like on a typical day :)

  • 7:45 AM: Went to check email. Only two pieces.
  • 7:46 AM: Checked network connection to see why I am not getting any email. Everything working perfectly. [...]
  • By the way, congrats to Microsoft for Shipping Vista!

    Posted by Arcterex at 10:47 PM
    Middle Management Kernel Module

    OMG! Why has no one told me about /dev/bollocks, the A middle-manager emulator for the Linux Kernel. It even has a perl module to help manipulate it. Basically it creates a file in /dev that will spew out random bullshit on demand! Too bad it's kernel 2.4 only :(

    Posted by Arcterex at 09:40 AM
    January 30, 2007
    777 Wing Load Test

    Jeremy links to a video of a Boeing 777 Wing Test Video. One whole plane to be destroyed in the interests of science.

    I was a bit disappointed that it was just a plane in a big hanger, I was hoping for seeing it dropped out of the air or something, still, the money shot at the end is well worth it (around 1:05 left :)

    Posted by Arcterex at 03:59 PM
    Shopping Tricks

    10 Shopping Tricks That Stores Hate.

    Using Credit and Paying it Off on Time: Sometimes stores will offer a "6 months, no interest, no payments" offer on big ticket items. Pay it off on time, and you've used their money for free.

    Includes good reasoning for a big one that they always get me with.... the extended warranty! Though I have had it work in my favor at least once (by buying a discounted floor model (-$100), buying the extended warranty (+$50) finding the unit broke not long after getting it, and exchanging the used floor model for a brand new boxed one (via extended warranty) (+$0.00).... net result was a brand new item for $50 off).

    Posted by Arcterex at 11:54 AM
    New Crysis Trailer

    A spanking new Crysis Video on youtube, and the high def version on Fileshack. Some old stuff, some new stuff (check out the rockfall!). Seeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeexy!

    Posted by Arcterex at 09:34 AM
    January 29, 2007
    Adobe Lightroom 1.0 Released

    After many months of beta, Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 1.0 has been released into the wild for a fairly reasonable price (assuming performance issues from beta4 have been fixed) of $199. Or maybe it'll be released Feb 19... one of the two :)

    A short list of changes from here are:

    • Clone/Healing/Redeye tools
    • Virtual copies (allows multiple adjustments/crops/etc for the same image)
    • Image stacks
    • Two new ways to rate photos besides the current 0-5 star system: flags (“picked”, “rejected”, “no flag”) and colors (an image can have one of five color tags associated with it).
    • Lots of keyword-related tools, including a keyword stamper and keyword browser
    • Intuitive folder-oriented layout replaces the “shoots” layout.
    • Export presets (yeah!)
    • Many editable presets (for filenames, metadata, export settings...)
    • Can import/export Photoshop PSD files
    • A "watched folder" - images showing up in the folder are automatically imported.

    Some pretty exciting stuff in there, at least for me :)

    Another page with some details is here.

    Posted by Arcterex at 04:13 PM
    Video of Lighter Explosion

    High Speed camera? Check.
    Lighter? Check.
    Golf club? Check.

    Slow Motion Lighter Explosion? Total coolness!

    Posted by Arcterex at 04:09 PM
    Various Distances from Earth

    A cool (and long) .gif image of various objects distances from earth. Definitely puts things in perspective :)

    Posted by Arcterex at 04:05 PM
    Bruce Campbell Video Blog

    A cool entry from Bruce Campbell's video blog on his roles in the Spider Man movies. Another hot one from Darren, as usual :)

    Posted by Arcterex at 11:40 AM
    Paint.Net 3.0 Released

    Paint.NET, a free graphics program written in .NET has been released. Here's the Paint.NET - Roadmap and Change Log. I'm actually a big fan of this program. When it first came out I basically said "meh", and since then I've changed my mind. My original complaint was that it was a really lame version of photoshop, with funky (but useless) transparency resulting in basically a glorified Microsoft Paint.

    However, MS Paint is far too lame to do some things, and Photoshop is far too big and complicated for simple tasks. For what I do at work most of the time (taking screenshots, minor editing, cropping, etc) this program works just fine. It also updates itself nicely and is fairly fast. I'm sure that there are other alternatives out there, but this one is free and decent. Hey, the default save format is PNG, which out to tell you something :) (well, if you're geeky anyway). Maybe someday Microsoft will replace the aging MS Paint with something like this in it's Windows releases.

    Oh, and there's a mono port in progress, which means that this could be a contender to replace (or augment) The GIMP for graphics work on Linux. Honestly I think that the functionality of Paint.NET is pretty close to the GIMP (from the user perspective anyway, it has layers and effects and whatnot) and it's a more familiar environment UI wise.

    Posted by Arcterex at 09:01 AM
    Someone Selling My Photo on eBay!

    So this is something that's completely pissed me off. I got a comment posted on my personal site that someone has listed my picture as their own on eBay!

    It's stupid and lame for a few reasons (£0.01 for one thing, second is "shipping is free"? third is it's the wrong format for wallpaper anyway), and the auction has ended. However, it's still up there and in violation of copyright I believe. Anyone have experience with this, specifically how to get the auction removed or who to contact at eBay about this in the future? Their help system doesn't seem to have a nice "report abuse" link that's readily visible.

    Note to self for the future, don't post large versions of images, and if I do, watermark them. :(

    Dang, seems you can't trust anyone these days...

    Update: The bastard has listed it again! The image (linked to my site) has been replaced this time though.

    Posted by Arcterex at 08:43 AM
    January 28, 2007
    Sexy Debian Install System (Bye Bye Microsoft)

    What easier way to install a Linux distro than going to a web page and running a little .exe? That's what goodbye-microsoft.com aims at. A little .exe modifies your boot screen to give you a choice to go to the debian installer (which appears to be all graphical and sexy now). Probably not something you should do without a bit of prior preparadness of course, but if you have a new computer, it's a lot faster than burning a CD and rebooting to get some linuxy-goodness installed.

    Posted by Arcterex at 11:14 PM
    January 26, 2007
    Empire Redux

    Star Wars geeks will appreciate Joey deVilla's "The Empire Strikes Back" Redux, an expansion of the "I am your father" scene in SW:ESB based on the new information we learned in Episodes 1 2 and 3.

    Great work on the authors part (and George Lucas of course).

    Posted by Arcterex at 02:27 PM
    iPhone Coming to Canada

    Another Gizmodo link has the news that iPhone Confirmed on Rogers Wireless, which luckily happens to be my provider. Of course, we'll see what happens when this sexy phone is actually out though :)

    Posted by Arcterex at 01:57 PM
    Computer Extender from Matrox

    On the trail of my own hardware and noise issues I found a link on Gizmodo which promises to Banishes That Noisy PC to a Faraway Closet. Basically it allows you to use a computer that's up to 250 meters away. More details.

    Posted by Arcterex at 01:55 PM
    Die Hard 4 Trailer Up

    I'm a bit worried about Live Free or Die Hard, it just has so much potential to be so so bad compared to the first one or two.

    Posted by Arcterex at 11:56 AM
    Enso Launcher / Utility

    Darren threw me a link to Humanized.com, a company who has a product called "Enso", which claims to deal with the fiddly little things that you are always having to do without getting in the way of your productivity.

    It's a bit like quicksilver. You select something, hit a hotkey (capslock), type what you want to do (calculate, upper case, open, google, etc etc (not having to type everything of course)) and it does it. Looks like it's got a lot of potential as far as helping people work with their computers in a more logical way.... ie: you just tell it what you want to do (ie: upper case) instead of going to the right click -> properties -> characters -> upper case, or hitting a menu option, etc. Extensible with python (in the future) for doing potentially any interesting things.

    They have two products currently, a launcher for $24.95 and a universal spellcheck and dictionary for $39.95.

    Posted by Arcterex at 10:46 AM
    Young Student Documentry on Race

    Kiri Davis created an 8 minute documentry that has left audiences stunned, showing just how little the perception of race has changed in the last 50 years. The short of it is that a group of young African American children were given two dolls, one white and one black, and asked to pick the "nice doll". Very disturbing results. I'd be interested to see the results of a similar experiment in other, less predominantly white, countries. Good video clip on the story anyway.

    Posted by Arcterex at 08:16 AM
    Krugle, the Code Search Engine

    How come no one ever told me about Krugle the Code Search for Developers before Scoble did?

    Posted by Arcterex at 05:54 AM
    January 25, 2007
    The Perfect Password?

    Another forgetfoo post is a link to Neomeme on Generating the Perfect Password. How about "ppearsfweocrtd" ?

    Definately an interesting idea, and anything that encourages users to have better passwords and better security makes everyone happier!

    Posted by Arcterex at 03:58 PM
    Multi-Touch Computer Demo Video

    I've posted a few of these before, but this is a bit longer (almost 4 minutes) and super cool. It's a video of a Multi-Touch Computer, using multiple touches to control what is going on on a big screen in front of you. Similar to the demo that showed interacting with a map application and using your hands to move / zoom, spreading fingers or hands farther away to zoom in, of together to zoom out, but with so much more. Thanks to forgetfoo for posting.

    Posted by Arcterex at 03:54 PM
    Diamond Age Miniseries

    Cat5 will be happy to hear that the Sci-Fi channel is making a "Diamond Age" miniseries. I hope they don't screw it up. Another Stephenson book that I'd love to see a movie of (but know they can't do it) is Snow Crash, which incidentally make #3 on a list of top ten sci-fi movies that never existed.

    Posted by Arcterex at 10:51 AM
    About the End of the World

    Another post via reddit.com.... some Fun Facts About The End of the World, based on the points of view of different religions, from Christianity to Branch Davidianism.

    Posted by Arcterex at 10:30 AM
    777 Engine Failure Picture

    Cool and scary at the same time. Check out this pic of Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777-2H6/ER having some sort of engine "incident" on take off. Definitely a case of preferring to be on the ground than the air (via Reddit.com).

    Posted by Arcterex at 10:12 AM
    January 24, 2007
    New Quake Wars Screenshots

    Over at shacknews there are some new Enemy Territory: Quake Wars Screenshots. Looking sweeter all the time :)

    Posted by Arcterex at 10:44 PM
    Gallery of Smoke Pictures

    Super cool, check out this gallery of Coloured Smoke images. The main site is here, but seems to be down right now.

    Posted by Arcterex at 04:11 PM
    Hand Painting

    This is pretty cool.... Amazing Hand Painting Art. Via Digg.

    Posted by Arcterex at 11:33 AM
    January 23, 2007
    Mac Beautiful Song (Video)

    Dana threw me a link to a video of the Mac version of the James Blunt song "You're Beautiful", called Mac Beautiful. Hilarious (and well done). Thanks dude!

    Posted by Arcterex at 02:36 PM
    Flight Sim Users With Lots of Time on their Hands

    Thanks to Darren Barefoot finding a neat link from some FlightSim users with way too much time on their hands. Basically someone took "photos" of their "flight" around the "world". Note how I use lots of "quotes" to indicate how the "words" are referring to "things" that are not "real" :)

    I'm really impressed with the guy re-creating the details of Vancouver within the flight simulator world.

    Posted by Arcterex at 08:52 AM
    All the Ads in Times Square

    Ever feel desensitized to ads? Or why advertising is getting more and more? probably because we have so much already and still manage to ignore it. Check out Ironic Sans' view of Every ad in Times Square. Scary.

    Posted by Arcterex at 08:24 AM
    January 22, 2007
    Tog on the iPhone

    Tog, of AskTog has his views on The iPhone User Experience: A First Look. Looks at the phone, sms, ipod and other areas with a realistic look at the amount of innovation and usability that is either there or not there.

    Posted by Arcterex at 02:51 PM
    Quick and Painless VPN Setup

    Darren pointed me to an article on Lifehacker on setting up Hamachi, what looks like a nice and quick VPN tool. Not exactly the industry strength stuff you would want to connect your satallite offices (for that you'd probably go openvpn or freeswan), but for getting into friends machines for maintenance, or a quick an dirty connection to surf pr0n from home from work it sounds like the way to go. Win/Linux/Mac as well which is nice.

    Posted by Arcterex at 01:31 PM
    KVM Performance Improvements

    A quick little story on kernel trap on Improving KVM Performance With A Tickless Kernel from the mailing list. Basically a patch (dyntick) that improved KVM (the built in kernel virtualization module if you didn't know that) performance. It basically removes some wasted cycles doing interrupts that aren't needed (I think I got that right).

    Anyway, looking forward (still) to playing with this and KVM in general.

    Posted by Arcterex at 01:27 PM
    Scuba Diving Cat and Dog

    Hey all, I'm back! Didn't do any scuba diving while on vacation, but if I did, forget swimming with the dolphins, I want to dive with the cats! An old post I know, saw this some time ago, but the first time I've seen the full video of this.

    Posted by Arcterex at 09:44 AM
    January 21, 2007
    An ArcterVacation

    Old Post... - Guess this never got posted cause I didn't read the part in the manual about scheduling future posts properly.... OOops! Here it is for your enjoyment before I start posting again tomorrow.

    Well I'm off for a bit, my first vacation since 2001, I'm very excited. I've turned off comments for non-authenticated users who don't have typekey to keep the comment spam at bay, sorry if this screws people up.

    I've left some good folks to amuse you while I'm gone. Fred, Darren and Iambe will (or probably will) be posting here in my absence, if not, well, you get to amuse yourselves :)

    While I'm gone you can hit my daily time-sinks:

    See ya'll in a week!

    Posted by Arcterex at 07:00 PM
    January 11, 2007
    Reproducing "Migrant Mother"

    A neat post in a similar photography vein... Mike Johnston talks about how he set up a reproduction of 'Migrant Mother' the famous photograph, starting with the original scan from the library of congress. Interesting way to do it anyway, wonder what other famous prints are available from the library of congress?

    Via The Online Photographer.

    Posted by Arcterex at 02:52 PM
    The Coolest Gas You Won't See

    Cool video of a demo of Hexafluorid, an invisible gas. Best way to show it? Float a tinfoil boat on it.

    Posted by Arcterex at 02:20 PM
    The Orton Technique

    A nice step-by-step set of instructions on how to apply The Orton Technique to your photos. It's hard to describe the look it gives, sort of a glamor, glow, contrasty looking thing. It looks cool though, and if you're into retouching and post-processing your images, you might want to check this out.

    Posted by Arcterex at 02:10 PM
    The Truth About MySpace

    Via Reddit has an image called the truth about myspace, which looks at the types of pictures you see on myspace (of people) and what they really mean.

    Posted by Arcterex at 11:00 AM
    Planned Firefox 3 Features

    List of Planned features for Firefox 3. From the article:

    # Files could be handled by web services. If I am reading this correctly, this could mean you would be able to click on an attached document and open it with something like Writely or Google Documents. And perhaps, as I asked Santa, the ability to redirect mailto: links to web email services.
    # A much needed print support to prevent cut paragraphs and true WYSIWYG.
    # The much requested MSI installer which will be a much welcomed improvement for IT administrators as it will ease deployment and updating of Firefox across a company.
    # In the security front: support for Microsoft CardSpace and OpenID

    See the previous ufies post for more information on OpenID.

    Posted by Arcterex at 09:10 AM
    MythTV Vs WMC

    Interesting screen shot comparison of Mythtv vs windows. Mostly they look the same, one is easy to install, one has more features and works on lowerend hardware. Depends on your level of geekness I suppose.

    Posted by Arcterex at 09:06 AM
    Crazy German Stunts

    Some crazy german stunt , looks like a candid camera type of thing, video is entitled watch your step. It's funny and so mean all at the same time. Here's another one involving a waterbed.

    Posted by Arcterex at 08:23 AM
    January 10, 2007
    ZunePhone... AWESOME!

    Not to be outdone by Apple's iPhone announcement, Microsoft has struck back with the ZunePhone! Sweet dude!

    (Yes, it's a joke)

    Posted by Arcterex at 10:58 AM
    January 09, 2007
    New SPAM Controls for UFies.org Mail

    I've added some super-magic postfix spam fighting rules, mostly RBL checks, based mostly on these pages. Please email me at alan ayt ufies dawt org if you find mail is broken or not going through for any reason.

    Other than that, you should just see less spam in your inboxs, and my bandwidth costs (*cough*points to donate button*cough*) should be less! Everyone wins but the spammers, which means that everyone wins!

    Posted by Arcterex at 10:38 PM
    Apple iPhone

    Looks like the Apple keynote is now done, and The Apple iPhone is real. A combination full screen video iPod, phone and internet communicator device (has wifi, web browsing, etc). Full screen touch screen, system runs OS/X and has all the sexyness that Apple brings to not only hardware and software. Everything it runs is like the desktop app as far as contacts, safari, ichat (for sms messages), etc. Visual voicemail, imap, push imap, google maps, etc.

    Dana's comment is that he has a smartphone already and half the stuff that the iPhone does doesn't really matter (80/20 rule). I say we'll see. The first iPod that was introduced was poo-pooed as well as being useless and no one would ever use one. Personally I am confident in Apple's ability to create a market.

    They also changed their name to Apple Inc, from Apple Computers Inc. Change of focus maybe? Something more ominous?

    Posted by Arcterex at 11:09 AM
    MacWorld Live Updates

    As usual, MacRumors have MacWorld San Francisco 2007 Keynote Live Coverage.

    Looking forward to new toys!

    Posted by Arcterex at 08:50 AM
    New Crysis Movie

    I haven't seen it myself yet, but there's a digg story pointing to a New High Res Crysis Video and Screenshots. Only mirror I found that works so far is trickling out the 95mb HD video at 1.6KB/sec. I'll see it sometime tomorrow at this speed!

    Oh, here's one that seems a bit better.

    Posted by Arcterex at 08:09 AM
    Windows Home Server

    Ars Technica has the details on Windows Home Server. Might be an interesting project to see something like this implemented in Linux. A lot of the major bits are there already, shadow copy looks equivalent to LVM snapshots and a bit of scripting + EVMS would give you the "plug in a drive and auto-expand storage" part. Of course, it'd take a bit of work to put it together in the package that MS has, course, they also have a bit more money to throw at this. Also sounds like they might have felt threatened by the availability of the easy home server setup that Linux offers as a file server. We'll see what happens though.

    The ars discussion has some good talk on what it actually is and does, as well as (perceived) up and downsides.

    Posted by Arcterex at 08:04 AM
    MacWorld Expo Predictions

    Daring Fireball has some Macworld Expo 2007 Predictions. I agree with him for the most part, though the sub-compact notebook, not saying "tablet" or not, just doesn't make sense to me. Of course, I don't see a purpose for the Microsoft ultra-portable "origami" (or rather, "ori-where-did-that-go") or their tablets for the mass market beyond a couple of very specific applications either.

    Maybe not "agree" with the predictions as much as "yea, I can see that" anyway. We'll see in an hour or so I guess!

    Posted by Arcterex at 08:00 AM
    January 08, 2007
    Big Bada-Boom!

    Holy crap! A page with some amazing looking videos of explosions.


    Posted by Arcterex at 02:11 PM
    Keynote Bingo

    In preparation for 9pm PST tomorrow here's this years Keynote Bingo!

    Thanks David!

    Posted by Arcterex at 01:54 PM
    Indiana Jones 4 Announced!

    W00t! Lucas officially announced that production of Indiana Jones 4 will start in 2007. Finally! I won't believe it until I see it in the theaters though :)

    My only worry is that they left it too long and some of the magic will be gone. Well, that and the fact that Harrison Ford is getting a bit long in the tooth compared to the young 'un he was in the original trilogy. I'm also worried that the new IJ will fall victim to the same thing that happened with the new Star Wars movies.... they weren't nearly as good as the old timers remembered the originals being (or thought we remembered them being anyway) and the kids didn't seem to have the history with the original trilogy to make the new trilogy (as) relevant. Course, the new Star Wars trilogy kinda sucked as well, which didn't help. Hopefully we wont' have Indy fighting hoards of computer generated characters (though for some reason I have a feeling we will, case in point a few of the scenes in Curse of the Golden Flower looked like the orc battles from LoTR...).

    Posted by Arcterex at 09:19 AM
    Linux KVM Performance

    Found another article (with screenshots) on Linux KVM Virtualization Performance. KVM is the new kernel model virtualization technique, which allows you to run other OSs through a kernel module, very similar to vmware or Xen, but without the need for a modified kernel (Xen) or non-free application (vmware) and with increased performance because of how close it can run to the kernel (a la Xen).

    Only sucky part is that you need a CPU with VT technology (either from Intel or AMD) built in. Of course, this means just about any CPU you buy these days, but not necessarily older ones.

    Posted by Arcterex at 09:17 AM
    Microsoft (and Apple) Keynotes and New Toys

    For those interested in what's been released recently in the Microsoft and Apple worlds, well, I can give you a bit of half of that. The keynote from CES is here. I am only about 10 minutes in and can't say I have heard anything yet, lots of "blah blah digital decade blah blah" so far. Dana's Blog has a note on how he's switching to Windows Home Server.

    Anyone got any other info from Microsoft at the CES show?

    On the Apple side, well, their keynote is tomorrow, January 9th, so we'll have to wait until then. As to what's coming from them? Well, the rumor mill has been going crazy lately, everything from something HDTV related (dimensions of the graphic on the Apple main page has a 16:9 ratio), the much talked about iPhone, the much waited for (by me) full screen video iPod, the release of iTV, and the thought that maybe Apple will trump MS by releasing the new Leopard. For the rumor mill going full steam hit macrumors or thinksecret.

    More updates on the apple stuff tomorrow.

    Update: If you are interested in the windows home server stuff, I'm told you should watch the on10 video, as the one at the microsoft site blanks out at the good part with a note about "intellectual property". Grrr.... stupid stupid stupid.

    Posted by Arcterex at 08:41 AM
    January 06, 2007
    UFies Downtime

    The server was down from around 11pm last night till 10am this morning. Sorry about that. Sounds like there was a power glitch or something was loose or... something. Anyway, everything is up and going again now.

    Posted by Arcterex at 02:44 PM
    January 05, 2007
    Amazing VW Converions

    Cute set of pictures entitled The Volkswagen Lisp. Didn't realize that the Bug could do all that :)

    Posted by Arcterex at 05:46 PM
    Vim Input for Visual Studio

    This is cool, ViEmu/VS: vi-vim editor emulation for Microsoft Visual Studio. Basically looks like it allows you to use the vi modal model for visual studio editing. This might make me go and check out MSVS again (sorry Microsoft, but my fingers only seem to know how to do vi editing while programming)....

    Posted by Arcterex at 04:25 PM
    January 04, 2007
    Matchstick Eiffel Tower

    Speaking of people with way too much time on their hands, here's someone who created a very impressive Eiffel Tower Made of Matches.

    Posted by Arcterex at 10:32 PM
    360 deg Underwater Panoramas

    One for the divers out there.... a page with some cool 360 Degree Underwater Panoramas.

    Posted by Arcterex at 09:30 AM
    January 03, 2007
    Cooking with USB

    Fred threw me a link on USB Cooking. This is what you get when you combine 30 USB connections together.

    Some people have way too much time on their hands...

    Posted by Arcterex at 01:02 PM
    Ray Tracing in Games

    Interesting article on adapting ray-tracing for games (q3 and q4 are used) at the Ray Traced Project. Wonder if this'll be the next big thing for gaming?

    Posted by Arcterex at 01:00 PM
    And the Steel Balls Award Goes to.....

    ... the Vietnam vet who saved a teenager by coving him with his body in between the subway tracks after the teen fell onto the tracks due to a seizure.

    Wow. How does he lug those things around each day?

    Posted by Arcterex at 12:30 PM
    Huge Animal Pictures

    Random page of pictures of Incredible Huge Animals from moose to trees and everything in between.

    Posted by Arcterex at 11:10 AM
    January 02, 2007
    Linksys Routers and Bittorrent

    This is more for me for later, but it looks like this guy has already figured out the solution to an issue I have with my router, and has documented all about bittorrent and the Linksys WRT54GL Router.

    Oh, and happy new year everyone!

    Posted by Arcterex at 01:52 PM