May 31, 2012
The Humble Indie Bundle V Is Out!

The The Humble Indie Bundle V is out! 14 days left to pay what you want and help charity. They’ve already sold 150,600 (and counting) bundles and there’s a nice list of games available:

  • Amnesia: The Dark Descent
  • Psychonauts
  • Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery EP
  • Bastion (Unlockable)

All games are cross platform (Windows, Mac, Linux), you can pay what you want, and you support charity. How much more awesome could it be?

Posted by Arcterex at 03:52 PM
Fear and Loathing and Windows 8

Great article: Fear and Loathing and Windows 8

My conclusion is that Windows 8 in its current form is very different; attractive in some ways, and disturbing in others.  It combines an interesting new interface with baffling changes to Windows compatibility, and amateur mistakes in customer messaging.  Add up all the changes, and I am very worried that Microsoft may be about to shoot itself in the foot spectacularly.  Even the plain colorful graphics in Windows 8 that looked so cool when I first saw them are starting to look ominous to me, like the hotel decor in The Shining.

Posted by Arcterex at 03:23 PM
Truer Words Were Never Spoken

If you want to get any work done, you have to use a decoy.

Via reddit.

Posted by Arcterex at 02:18 PM
The Happy Programmer

This is how I feel coding first thing in the morning: The Happy Programmer.



Posted by Arcterex at 09:46 AM
May 30, 2012
Quick Review of Quip iPad Twitter Client

So while you’d think that there’s nothing new that can be done in the area of iPad Twitter apps, you’d be wrong. Catching fire tonight is the Quip Twitter app from Glasshouse Apps. While it might not be what you would consider a “full featured” app like TweetBot, doing everything under the sun, it’s caught up the imagination of the twittersphere by being not only a solid overall twitter app, but having a couple of great hooks:

  • Conversation View: A splendid and amazingly simple implementation of conversation view that rivals all competitors both in the simplicity of how it works and how gorgeous it is. Tweet replies are threaded into a conversation, with icons of the avatars presented under the tweet. Touch them and the tweet re-jiggers itself into the full thread of the conversation. It’s a bit like how the Twitter website works, but much, much nicer.
  • Photo Viewer: A great photo viewer for images from people, taking some of the ideas of other apps (in the vein of “view all photos on twitter viewer apps”) and implementing it nicely into the UI. Touch a instagram, twitpic, etc photo from the timeline and it pops up in a simple (and very fast) viewer. Touch the images “stream” link on the left hand side and you get a big gorgeous view of all the latest images that have flowed through your twitter stream.

There are other nice touches as well. Swipe right to left and a subtle timeline bar pops up along the right hand side of the screen, giving you a clear look at how caught up (or out of date) the tweets you’re viewing are. Landscape and portrait work great, and the left hand column has a nice set of pre-set streams such as conversation mode, lots of retweets, and the aforementioned photo view in addition to the standard home/mentions/messages/search icons.

The app is not perfect however. List support is missing, there are a couple of odd UI choices (pinching an viewed image will put it back into the grid view (you know what I mean if you use flipboard at all), but “un-pinch” (or whatever it’s called) won’t open up an image, and blocked users don’t get hidden from your timeline to name a couple I’ve found in the couple of hours I’ve been playing with it).

Overall this app gets a solid 4/5 from me and a recommendation to go forth and buy it now from the app store for the low price of $0.99 (CDN/US anyway). While it may not replace your main twitter client, it’s definitely something you’ll want to use more and more as a different and logical way to view your twitter stream. The dev team at @getquip seem responsive and forthcoming about new planned features and fixes which will no doubt eliminate my above minor quibbles.

Posted by Arcterex at 11:45 PM
Lightroom 4.1 Now Available

Great news lightroom folks, Lightroom 4.1 Now Available.

Lightroom 4.1 is now available as a final release on and through the update mechanism in Lightroom 4. The goal of this release is to provide additional camera raw support, lens profile support and address bugs that were introduced in previous releases of Lightroom. In addition, Lightroom 4.1 introduces the following new features:[…]

The standard array of new cameras and lenses supported, bugs fixed, and other minor tweaks.

Posted by Arcterex at 03:48 PM
Follow Us!

Just a note to the readers out there that I’ve been trying to be more “social” lately with the site and realize that not everyone uses RSS or direct navigation to view their geek news, and because of that I’ve got things set up on both facebook and twitter. Hopefully that’s a good way to get your daily goodness and I’d love to get you to subscribe! You can follow news on:

If you enjoy reading your news via news reader, you can subscribe to the RSS feed.

Button goodness!

Posted by Arcterex at 12:14 PM
Evernote Hello for Android

Android Evernote users rejoice, Evernote Hello for Android is Here. Hello is a very cool app I’ve written about before in detail and I’m glad that it’s now out for Android.

One of the new features that I’m jelous of as an iOS user is the new LinkedIn integration that will auto-pull information based on email address. Hopefully there’ll be an iOS update soon!

Evernote Hello on Android Play.

Posted by Arcterex at 11:24 AM
May 29, 2012
Twitter Speed Improvements and Death of HashBangs

Good info linked from my buddy John Koetsier about new #NewTwitter and metrics used to determine site speed, and what they’re doing to improve it.

Posted by Arcterex at 10:49 PM
Elementary - 2012 American Sherlock Holmes Remake

I don’t know if I’m convinced by the trailer for the new American “Sherlock Holmes” Series Elementary (coming fall 2012), but I think I’ll give it a try anyway, it might not be a atrocity!

Posted by Arcterex at 09:20 PM
Trailer For The Cyberpunk Short Film 'Reboot'

Check Out The Trailer For The Cyberpunk Short Film ‘Reboot’ via Geeks of Doom.

Set within a dystopian world that is a collision between technology and humanity, “Reboot” touches upon many of the current social and political concerns that arise from becoming more and more intertwined with the virtual. In contemporary Los Angeles, a young female hacker (Stat) awakens from unconsciousness to find an iPhone glued to her hand and a mysterious countdown ticking away on the display. Suffering from head trauma, and with little recollection of who she is or what is happening, Stat races against time to figure out what the code means, and what unknown event the pending zero-hour will bring.

It’s a short film, and I could probably freeze frame and analyse the “comptuer code” and pick out how it’s completely wrong to have a dir command on a macbook which as you know is a unix based operating system, but hey, I’m a sucker for anything cyberpunk :)

The film’s website is here.

Posted by Arcterex at 03:20 PM
Canadians Can Buy Nest Learning Thermostat

Canadians Can Buy Nest Learning Thermostat For USD $249. Yay!

Posted by Arcterex at 12:05 PM
Pebble Watch Interview

Nice Interview with Pebble Founder Eric Migicovsky if you’re enthralled by the $10m kickstarter project e-ink watch for iPhone and Android.

Posted by Arcterex at 11:51 AM
Apple's 3D Maps App For iOS 6 Rumors and Speculation

The rumours that Apple is going to create their own 3D Maps App For iOS 6 have been flying hot and heavy lately, and the mock-ups that people have been posting (ignore the titles that make it look like these are anything other than mock-ups based on speculation based on the fact that Apple acquired a mapping company in 2011) have looked pretty good.

I pose some questions only assuming that these rumours and mock-ups are vaguely close to reality:

  • Will areas that aren’t NYC, LA, San Francisco and London get the awesome 3D treatment, or will places that matter to me (ie: beautiful Vancouver, BC) be left out in the cold as happens so many times.
  • Is the 3D view going to be that useful? Yes, it looks awesome, but in reality if you’re looking to navigate from A to B, or are searching for the pizza joint that’s supposed to be near the sushi place on main near the bank, will a view like this be helpful?
  • Will Apple be able to match google’s local/map search? Assuming that they’re not going to be pulling in google results and putting them on top of their own map, or somehow merging their Jesus-Map system with google results, they have a tough uphill slog to get to the level of quality of results (and variances of search terms) that google allows.

Guess we’ll see in June….

Posted by Arcterex at 10:39 AM
The 16:9 iPhone

iMore has a really great look at the 16:9 iPhone, how it might show up, how it’ll be used, the justification for it, etc.

With all that in mind, the least likely option — though the easiest for developers — is for Apple to keep the app space the same on a 16:9 iPhone as it is on the current iPhone, and use the extra pixels exclusively for new and updated iOS features.

Really good article, worth the read. Full or rumores and speculation of course. :)

Posted by Arcterex at 08:11 AM
May 28, 2012
Finding Nemo 3D Trailer

At least 3D conversions of animated shows are way better than conversions of live action ones…. therefor I’m not as scared about the Finding Nemo in 3D that’s going to be released.

Posted by Arcterex at 05:16 PM
How to Survive a Zombie Apocalypse

Suddenly all those zombie movies seem silly in the light of this revelation.

Posted by Arcterex at 01:56 PM
Looking At Windows 8 At MacWorld

An interesting look at Windows 8 from Macworld, talking about some of the ups and downs of the new OS.

But running Windows 8, it often seems that what’s been compromised is your sanity. Metro tiles seem analogous to app icons in iOS, but unlike iOS, there’s no persistence with the tile scrolling. Launch an application in iOS and close it and where are you? Right where you were. Launch an application in Windows 8 and close it and where will you be? Well, it depends on the application. If it’s a Metro-enabled app, you’ll be back in Metro, but at the first set of tiles because it operates like a menu. If it’s a traditional Windows application you just closed, you’ll be in the traditional Windows desktop.

Of course, being “macworld” they are completely crazy mac fanboys who don’t like anything that’s not from the hallowed halls of Cupertino right?

Which is good, right? Because it turns out it really was the Windows interface we didn’t like. We’re not just irrational Microsoft haters under the thrall of Cupertino’s Reality Distortion Field. Man, that’s a load off us, isn’t it?

Regardless, it’s a moderately fair and balanced look at Windows 8 and some of what might be good or bad in it.

Posted by Arcterex at 11:24 AM
Objects of Beauty, 4. - "He who brings good"

Once again Vancouver photographer David DuChemin makes me want to sell almost everything I own, pack my bags, leave my life, my job, and everything I know behind and take a camera around the world.

I really really want to do this, and have no idea if I ever will be able to.

His post this morning, Objects of Beauty is a great look at his life. That bastard :)

Posted by Arcterex at 10:57 AM
May 27, 2012
"Jersey Shore Shark Attack" Trailer

I have no words.

Yeah it’s another low-rent Jaws rip-off, only this time the makers of the movie mashed that hoary concept up with a rip on the unfathomably popular MTV show Jersey Shore. But in the world of Jersey Shore Shark Attack the very vacuous muscleheads and party gals we supposed intellectual superiors take great pleasure in mocking whenever their names are mentioned - or at least their SyFy counterparts - are all that can save many Garden State vacationers from becoming gory bits of chunkhead chum. Plus their version of Snooki is way hotter than the real thing. That alone might make this movie worth a single watch.

Posted by Arcterex at 09:58 PM
May 25, 2012
Pre-Build IE VMs For Testing

Many thanks to my buddy staticred for pointing me to the github repository xdissent/ievms which provides a set of pre-build Virtual Machines (VirtualBox) setup with IE6, 7, 8 and 9 for testing if you’re not running windows, or need to test multiple copies of Internet Explorer at the same time (not an easy feat on Windows).

Great resource to have in your back pocket!

Posted by Arcterex at 01:25 PM
Samsung Galaxy S III Review

For some strange reason neither Google or Samsung has provided me with a demo version, so I’ll leave you with the Samsung Galaxy S III review from The Verge.

Posted by Arcterex at 11:57 AM
Siri v S Voice

Even though it was linked from an apple blog, this Siri v S Voice video is by no means a blowout. Both voice technologies have high and low points, and both falter (sometimes painfully) at points. Some of the issues may come from the accent of the tester of course. The only real “edge” I’d give Siri in this example is having the voice feedback seems to make the technology more…. “friendly” compared to simply outputting the data to the screen, but I’m not sure if it’s just turned off on the Android phone (which does start speaking at 6:40 or so).

Posted by Arcterex at 10:33 AM
Bump Transfer From Web

The site looks awesome. Open up the bump app on your iOS device, go to the website, hit the spacebar, and it magically transfers images you select.

Other than it not working at all for me, it sounds awesome.

Posted by Arcterex at 10:27 AM
iOS 5.1.1 Untethered Jailbreak Available

Absinthe 2.0 Download Available For iOS 5.1.1 Untethered Jailbreak.

Posted by Arcterex at 09:58 AM
Microsoft pulling free development tools for Windows 8 Desktop

Via Engadget: Microsoft pulling free development tools for Windows 8 desktop apps, only lets you ride the Metro for free.

Microsoft has instituted a big change with its free Visual Studio 11 Express suite that’s leaving some current- and soon-to-be Windows 8 developers up in arms: it’s pulling support for creating anything but Metro-native apps. After 11 becomes the norm, desktop developers will need to either cling to Visual Studio 2010 for dear life or fork over the $500 for Visual Studio 11 Professional.

Kinda sucky.

Posted by Arcterex at 09:57 AM
May 24, 2012
Yahoo! Introduces The Axis Web Browser (plugin)

Yahoo! has introduces a new idea in web browsing, and have iPhone, iPad and desktop versions, and called it Yahoo! Axis. The blog post Introducing Yahoo! Axis has a lot of detail about what it is and how it works.

Yahoo! Axis is a completely new way to search and browse the web. By supercharging the browser with a visually rich search experience and seamlessly connecting that experience across all of your devices, we are delivering an experience that will change the game. In its simplest form, Axis is a mobile browser available for iPhone and iPad, and a desktop plugin available for your favorite HTML5-enabled browser (IE, Firefox, Chrome, Safari) that removes the friction from getting you to the content you want.

I’ll be honest, I’m mildly impressed with this, not blown away. It feels to me a bit like some of the early ’00s search engine wars, with people adding thumbnails, 3D, and throwing a bunch stuff at the wall to see what sticks. What I’ve seen from a few minutes with the desktop plugin for chrome, it really feels like one of those “that’s cool” things you play with for a few minutes and then go back to plain old Google.

The iOS app has some neat ideas, but since you can’t set the default browser to anything that’s not Mobile Safari, it’s almost a lost cause already (just like any other browser on iOS that’s not Safari).

Still, interesting and I have no doubt that it’ll find it’s audience.

Posted by Arcterex at 10:15 AM
May 23, 2012
Coda 2 and Diet Coda Available For Sale

Yup, you can get Coda 2 and Diet Coda for sale now (50% off till the end of Thursday) on the Mac App and iTunes stores.

Posted by Arcterex at 09:15 PM
Carmageddon: Reincarnation Kickstarter Project

I can’t believe I haven’t linked to this already. Carmageddon: Reincarnation by Stainless Games is a kickstarter project from the original Carmageddon team (which if you haven’t heard of, you’re either not a PC gamer or not over the age of 30). Amazingly great game.

Anyway, to quote a great man, “TAKE MY MONEY!”

Posted by Arcterex at 09:09 PM
Google Search App on iPhone Updated to 2.0

A faster, simpler Google Search app for iPhone. Nice update.

Starting today, when you use the Google Search app on your iPhone, you’ll see a completely redesigned interface that gives you faster results, beautiful full-screen image search, and a simple way to access all your Google apps in one place.

Posted by Arcterex at 01:25 PM
The guide to implementing 2D platformers

The guide to implementing 2D platformers is a super-geeky look at how platforming games are implemented (and how to if you’re a programmer). Fascinating look at different methods for dealing with things like obstacles, slopes, etc.

Posted by Arcterex at 01:17 PM
Daring Fireball On the Larger iPhone Rumors

Daring Fireball: How Apple Could Play the Bigger-Display iPhone Thing at WWDC, Which I Swear, I’m Still Not Convinced Is for Real But We’re Getting to the Point Where There’s an Awful Lot of Smoke for There Not to Be a Fire So Let’s Run With It.

Post title pretty much says it all. As usual Gruber has all sorts of good thoughts on the matter, but still isn’t convinced.

If Apple introduced something like this in iOS 6, they could encourage iOS developers to adopt the recommended APIs to be responsive to changes in available vertical screen space. For now, they could pitch this in the context of shrinking screen space in response to on-screen notification banners, but, come October, apps that do the right thing would automatically be responsive to, say, a new device with 176 more pixels.

Recommended reading as well is this post linked from within the article.

Posted by Arcterex at 12:06 PM
Avengers Computer UIs

Avengers Computer UI from one of the artists that worked on the film.

This is just an image dump of marvel approved stills and screenshots of my work on the film. I’ll do a proper post soon - this is a fraction of the work - But I had the distinct pleasure of working with Cantina Creative, leading the design of the glass screens for the Helicarier in the Avengers. I also led the design and animation of the all new and upgraded Mark VII Hud.

Via Shawn Blanc.

Posted by Arcterex at 10:58 AM
The Oatmeal Responds to Forbes Regarding The Tesla comic

Great post on the Oatmeal: I wrote a response to the Forbes article about my Tesla comic. You’ll remember the Tesla comic a couple of days back.

Posted by Arcterex at 09:50 AM
Alex Kenjeev Paid His Student Loan In Cash

Alex Kenjeev Paid His Student Loan In Cash - Business Insider

“I just plopped the bag down (on the counter),” he said. “They also didn’t know how to handle it. At first the manager didn’t want to accept the money.” 

Via this reddit post.

Posted by Arcterex at 09:33 AM
10 Things Kids Today Would Never Believe About Flying in the 1980s

Great post over at Everywhereist: 10 Things Kids Today Would Never Believe About Flying in the 1980s. I’m in my mid-30s now and I remember (vaguely) flying when I was around 5 or 6, so right around 1980 or so. I was invited (or asked to go, I forget which) to go and visit the cockpit and saw the pilots flying, and I also distinctly remember the smoking section in the back of the plane.

Posted by Arcterex at 09:26 AM
May 22, 2012
Pet Interviews - Guinea Pig

Pretty hilarious Pet Interview with a Guinea Pig for a campaign for pets. And you know I love pets.

Posted by Arcterex at 10:29 AM
SpaceX Takes Flight

SpaceX Takes Flight:

After experiencing its fair share of setbacks, SpaceX has finally done it. At 3:44 a.m. EDT, the company successfully launched its Dragon capsule into low Earth orbit atop its towering Falcon 9 rocket. In doing so, it has become the first private company in history to send a spacecraft to the International Space Station.

Via my buddy Jim.

Very exciting.

Posted by Arcterex at 09:57 AM
May 21, 2012
GitHub for Windows

GitHub for Windows:

Ever wish there was an easy way to get up and running with Git and GitHub on your Windows computer? Turned off by command line utilities and setting up SSH keys? Want to join the incredible world of open and closed source collaboration that happens on every day?

Today we are releasing GitHub for Windows which is available immediately as a free download.

Posted by Arcterex at 05:46 PM
James Bond "Skyfall" - Official Teaser Trailer

The Official teaser trailer for “Skyfall” is out.

Damn, yet another movie to be excited about. Also

Posted by Arcterex at 05:17 PM
Coda 2 and Diet Coda Announced

Web Developers rejoice, Coda 2 and Diet Coda are Coming Soon. You can get a look at Coda 2 and the iPad app Diet Coda which actually looks really awesome.

Posted by Arcterex at 05:01 PM
Pentax Announces The K-30

Got an email today announcing the Pentax K-30.

  • 16 MP CMOS sensor
  • 1080p HD video
  • Advanced auto focus and image stabilization
  • 100% FOV viewfinder

Full specs here.

DPReview also has a preview of the K-30 for something more in depth. To me it looks like it’s not the high end K-5, but has a lot of the updated hardware from the K-01.

Posted by Arcterex at 04:36 PM
What Happened to The Talk Show on 5by5?

You now can hear in his own words what happened to the show.

Via this update where Brooks Review broke the non-story story.

Posted by Arcterex at 02:34 PM
May 18, 2012
The Talk Show Moves To Mule Radio

The Talk Show has moved! One of my favorite podcasts from 5by5 has moved (without explanation so far from either @gruber or @danbenjamin) to Mule Radio and have the premier episode What If the Dolphins Had Thumbs posted.

If you’re looking for the old episodes, head over to the Talk Show on 5by5 to catch up. One enterprising user picked out (what might have been) the awkward goodbye from Gruber on the last show.

Really wish there was some explanation about this, Gruber was a staple of the 5by5 network and the “new” Talk Show sounds (from the first few minutes anyway) similar to the old show. I’d expect at least a note about what happened from one of them, even if the parting was bad.


Posted by Arcterex at 03:50 PM
2001 Themed Lego iPhone charging station

A friend’s husband just built this iPhone charging station. - Imgur

Posted by Arcterex at 11:54 AM
Facebook IPO This Morning

Yup, they’re up as NASDAQ:FB and are at (as of noon PST) 40.03.

Posted by Arcterex at 11:52 AM
May 17, 2012
forgetfoo. -- Crashing A Lamborghini  

Oh wow, thanks to forgetfoo for posting this Crashing A Lamborghini   video.

“With great horsepower comes great responsibility.”

Posted by Arcterex at 03:58 PM
Original First-Person Shooter 'Wolfenstein 3D' Now Free To Play Online

How could I have missed this!? Original First-Person Shooter ‘Wolfenstein 3D’ Now Free To Play Online.

Posted by Arcterex at 12:26 PM
iMore Does The Math on the 4 Inch iPhone

More and more rumors have been swirling about the next version of the iPhone, and iMore has done the math on The 4 inch iPhone in terms of what you’d get and how Apple (might) do it.

Posted by Arcterex at 10:56 AM
The Making of the Leica M9-P

Gorgeous video of The Making of the Leica M9-P, a gorgeous camera.

Posted by Arcterex at 10:37 AM
May 16, 2012
Resolving Memory Issues with Google Reader In Chrome

Lately I’ve seen my Chrome memory usage go through the roof while on the Google Reader site. 1.5G of memory is not uncommon. Finally tracked down this bug in the product forums: “Waiting for” which pointed to the new Plus 1 buttons as the culprit, with the solution being to add this filter to your Adblock+ filter list:

Posted by Arcterex at 04:55 PM
Amazing Spider-man Four Minute Preview

It aired on TV the other night, now online: THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN (3D) - 4 MINUTE SUPER PREVIEW. Can’t wait.

Posted by Arcterex at 03:04 PM
Arrest made after woman with cerebral palsy robbed of her iPad

The story is that some scum sucking dirtbags who deserve more than a few swift kicks to the nuts stole the iPad of woman with cerebral palsy. The happy follow up is that not only is one of them under arrest, but also Vancouver is full of awesome people looking to help after seeing the story.

Then someone showed up at our Burnaby studios and dropped off $450 in cash - no questions asked. They did not wait around to identify themselves. A short time later they came back with another $50, fearing the original $450 would not be enough.

In yet another twist to the story, the same person came back again, this time with a brand new iPad and case. However, when reporter Aaron Mcarthur went to give Cassie her new iPad, she had already received one.

CBC also has a take on the story, with more details. Careful watching the second video though, it may cause you to roll a tear (a big manly tear in my case, least anyone wonder) or two.

Did I mention fuck the scumbag cowards who did this? If not, I will again.

Posted by Arcterex at 02:16 PM
New Evernote 4.0 for Android

Speaking of Android, there’s an All New Evernote 4.0 for Android. Looks great, congrats to the Evernote people for another great looking release!

Posted by Arcterex at 12:39 PM
Google Introduces Knowledge Graph

Looking a little like a response to the recent Bing updates, Google has Introduced the Knowledge Graph, which augments search results with meta data and information related to the search.

With the Knowledge Graph, Google can better understand your query, so we can summarize relevant content around that topic, including key facts you’re likely to need for that particular thing. For example, if you’re looking for Marie Curie, you’ll see when she was born and died, but you’ll also get details on her education and scientific discoveries:

The video dives deeper in and shows how they are trying to understand what you mean when you search and display more relevant information to you. This is basically an extension of what they do already (ie: displaying the answer to 2+2) but putting that into a side panel based on information they’ve gathered from other people’s searches. A bit like how Siri is supposed to work, giving you answers, not search results (again what Bing is using as a differentiating factor between their search and google).

Looking forward to this rolling out.

Posted by Arcterex at 12:26 PM
London 2012 Join In App For Android

Congrats to my buddy Deesa for putting out the official London 2012 Join In App for Android. Other mobile apps for the London 2012 Olympics are available from their mobile app page.

Posted by Arcterex at 11:10 AM
May 15, 2012
Why Nikola Tesla was the greatest geek who ever lived

The Oatmeal: Why Nikola Tesla was the greatest geek who ever lived.


Posted by Arcterex at 02:30 PM
Rethinking the iPhone's App Switcher

Cool look at Rethinking the iPhone’s App Switcher over at The Verge.

Hat tip Brooks.

Posted by Arcterex at 12:03 PM
Diablo III

Diablo Effin’ III is out, just in case you’re wondering why productivity is suddenly zero and a lot of folks are taking sick days recently. Development of the game started in 2001 so this is pretty much a milestone. We’re not talking Duke Nukem Forever numbers here, but still pretty impressive.

Everything I’ve heard about the game is it’s pretty damn good, so head over to the official Diablo 3 site and get yourself a copy.

Posted by Arcterex at 11:38 AM
Google Maps Add Quick Access to Home and Work Locations

Nice tweaks from the Google maps team: Quickly access your home and work locations in Google Maps.

Posted by Arcterex at 10:42 AM
IM Contact Blocking In Linux, A Rant About The State of the Linux Desktop

This is a bit of a rant, but after reading the last reply to the bug #2939 Blocking does not work properly on MSN I’ve really almost had it with Linux and the Open Source folks.

The short story is this. Using the default IM client in Ubuntu (arguably one of, if not the, most popular Linux distribution) you cannot block contacts. This is a bug that’s been around since (at least) 2007 and the last reply (a year ago) to the bug was “Patches welcome”.

I appreciate that this is free software. I understand that I can get the source and fix it myself. But if you’re a “real company” making a linux distro you’d think that after 5 years someone would have done something more than “patches welcome.

The scenario is this. Every morning I put my IM client online. Immediately I get 3-5 messages of “hey hows it going” or “I’m bored, what are you up to” from like addresses. I go to the contact menu, select block, and close the window. Sometimes the contact is already blocked. The next day, or the next time I go online, I get the same messages, from the same (or similar) contacts. I block them all. It does nothing.

A while back I tracked this down to a bug in libpurple, the core IM library used by Pidgin and Empathy, the core IM clients used under Linux.

There’s Bug 551911, reported 2008, last update a few days ago (2012-05-07) with someone with the same issue. There’s also Ticket 2939, reported 2007, reporting a similar issue, with the last update being 12 months ago with this update:

Changed 12 months ago by salinasv milestone set to Plugin Suggested Discarding messages form a blacklist can be done in a plugin. If you prefer a privacy option, “Patches welcome”.

Most of the replies regarding the issue in both bugs seem to be either:

  • [othertool/library] doesn’t implement this so we can’t yet”
  • “Doing this right is hard and there’s incomplete documentation, results, etc”

I don’t have this problem on any IM I use on the Mac or Windows. I appreciate that it’s hard to get it right, but the end result is that the end user (me) is getting spam, getting annoyed, and my overall Linux desktop experience is diminished by this. I echo the sentiment of a comment from 13 months ago by “cydon”:

Seriously now, I appreciate very much the effort open source developers put into programs with no compensation whatsoever but this has been ignored for 4 years. I have been waiting for this to be fixed for 3. The only reason I was not impatient is that I very rarely use the block function. So, the question is this. Are you ever going to fix this or will I have to (regrettably) change my client? To hell with winks, handwritten messages and voice clips. We are talking about basic functionality here that creates huge privacy problems when its not implemented and you only find out when you test it. Are you serious about creating a client for the MSN as well or not?

The…. “challenge” that open source software has, and has always had, is that doing things like implementing contact blocking isn’t sexy. Making an IM whiteboard is sexy. Voice chat is sexy. Implementing a complete new desktop paradigm is sexy. Squashing bugs isn’t. Making the whole new desktop paradigm more usable isn’t.

I love linux, I really do, I’ve been a user since 1993 and an advocate of the “Year of The Linux Desktop”, but it seems more apparent that lately Linux is doing what the Mac did in the 90’s when Apple stopped innovating and let Windows beat them. Linux was equal, if not ahead, of the Mac and Windows desktops in terms of features, speed, usability, and other areas up until the GNOME 2 timeframe, but then it wallowed in a world of looking like a really great rip off of the Windows 95/98 look and feel when the rest of the world moved on. Linux advocates (and I put myself in this category) seem to have an aversion to looking at or using anything but, perhaps because it looks far cooler to laugh at “Micro$loth” and “CrApple” than it is to acknowledge that maybe, just maybe, someone else has a better system than [Insert your Favorite Thing Here].

I’ve heard Linux advocates proudly proclaim “I’ve never even seen MacOS” right after telling you that it’s crap. It’s this same attitude that I believe is holding Linux back from the desktop (ignoring of course that Linux is Android and Android is used by a ton of people, probably more than Linux on the desktop). I’m not saying that Linux desktop developers should blindly follow Windows and Mac desktops, but ignoring them completely, or worse ignoring what makes them popular (ie: attention to detail, easy developer tools to use, etc). It’s not all like this, Ubuntu’s desktop has definitely borrowed from MacOS with some of their UI elements, and they’ve also gone a completely different direction with Unity, which I give them full kudos for doing something different, same as I do for Microsoft for going their own direction with Windows Phone.

Anyway, long rant which is a roundabout way of saying “gosh I really wish I could block MSN spam on my Linux desktop”.

Posted by Arcterex at 09:31 AM
May 14, 2012
How Pixar Almost Deleted Toy Story 2

How Pixar almost deleted Toy Story 2.

Taken from the Studio Stories series included on the Blu-ray versions of Toy Story 1 & 2, here’s a short story about how Toy Story 2 was almost erased before the film could be rendered for theaters.


Would not want to be in charge of IT for Pixar.

Posted by Arcterex at 04:45 PM
Programming For a Cause:

You a programmer and want to help others? Hit and check out what they’re doing there.

are you a charity, scientist or engineer in need of programming help? are you a programmer who wants to spend just five minutes helping make the world a better place?

Posted by Arcterex at 04:43 PM
Mac Video Tool Perian Reaches End of Life

Perian posts end of life notice:

t’s been one of the best and most useful tools I have had access to and invariably the first thing I reinstall after any upgrade. And now, according to a statement by its devs, it’s reaching the end of the road.

Sad, but awesome that they are posting all the code to github or google code. They also have a nice list of alternatives on their site.

Posted by Arcterex at 04:21 PM
BlackBerry 10′s Predictive Keyboard For iOS

Proving it’s not just the Android community that can move fast and hack in cool stuff, the Octopus keyboard team has added BlackBerry 10′s predictive text keyboard to iOS with a jailbreak tweak. Obviously not for anyone keeping their phone “pure”, but the demo video makes me re-consider.

Posted by Arcterex at 09:52 AM
May 11, 2012
Add and Remove Media Players From The Ubuntu Sound Menu

Nice tip for Ubuntu 12.04: How To Remove Media Players From The Ubuntu Sound Menu. Definitely a handy tip to keep Rhythmbox out of there if you’re an Amarok guy!

Posted by Arcterex at 02:23 PM
How to Tell if Your Tech Salary is Fair

Saving this for later: How to Tell if Your Tech Salary is Fair.

Posted by Arcterex at 12:17 PM
Dropbox Announces Dropquest II: The Future is Now

Dropbox announced some details of Dropquest II: The Future is Now:

Many of you were around for last year’s Dropquest, where we sent y’all on a magical journey through Dropbox and the interwebs. Wordokus were solved, music puzzles were deciphered, origami cranes were folded, and dragons were slain. All in all, nearly half a million Dropquesters were rewarded for their craftiness, skill, and effort. That was well over a year ago, and since then we’ve been holding our cards and toiling away to craft a Dropquest successor worthy of the first.

Posted by Arcterex at 12:15 PM
Marco: Why I Don't Have Comments On My Site

Great post on Why I don’t have comments on my site from Marco, Apple Cult-Member and instapaper author.

In my past I’m pretty sure I posted more than one of these types of vitriol spitting comments, probably directed towards “Micro$loth har har”, so I can only look down my nose so much. Not sure if I’m also a cult member or maybe I’ve just grown up and have realized that Mac is good for some things, Linux is good for some things, and Windows is good for some things.

Better to talk about something that’ll cause people less stress, like religion or the pro-choice/pro-life debate. Or Vi vs Emacs.

Posted by Arcterex at 11:57 AM
iOS 6 Rumor: Apple To Replace Google Maps With In-House Solution

Scoop (well, rumor) from 9to5 Mac: iOS 6: Apple drops Google Maps, debuts in-house ‘Maps’ with incredible 3D mode.

Unsure how I feel about this, a lot of people use Google Maps and are used to how it feels and reacts, and how to work well with it. While the “3D Mode” looks great, comparing the two images at the head of the article, I find the one on the left (the original) far more usable than the 3D (very nice looking) version (granted, it’s a mockup anyway).

Guess we’ll hear more about this (or not) in June at WWDC.

Posted by Arcterex at 11:40 AM
What Is The Best iPad Stylus

The Verge goes through the The best stylus for iPad and gets a nice list of hits and misses. I finally decided on the Wacom CS100K Bamboo, but it was a tough call compared to the Adonit Jot Pro.

Posted by Arcterex at 11:27 AM
This Advertising Life - Funny Gifs Illustrating Life

This Advertising Life.

“The emotions of life in advertising as told through gifs.”

Via Shawn Blanc.

Posted by Arcterex at 11:26 AM
May 10, 2012
The 'New' Bing Adds Deeper Social Integration

Details of The ‘New’ Bing. Nothing seems changed for me. Either it’s not out yet , rolling out, or (once again), non-US users are getting the shaft. Kudos to microsoft for this, though I don’t see anyone switching from Google to Bing because of this.

Update: Ah I just got a notice about this, but it would like to post to Facebook on my behalf. Not sure if I’m comfortable with Bing posting my searches to facebook….

Your friend Arcterex just searched for “big boobed dinosaur costume rentals for sex parties in New York” and got 18 search results! Click here to search on Bing too!

Declining the permissions gave me an internal error. Awesome.

Posted by Arcterex at 02:32 PM
Adobe Brings Photoshop Lightroom 4 to Mac App Store

Been waiting for this: Adobe Brings Photoshop Lightroom 4 to Mac App Store (app store link). Of course, you lose the cross-platform ability (I think), though if the software needs a license key, that should work for a windows machine as well (permitted by the license I believe).

Speaking of adobe, Continuing a proud tradition of user hostility is the story of installing CS6.

Update: The Brooks Review confirms that you only are licensed for Mac, not dual. Something to think about.

Posted by Arcterex at 11:11 AM
May 09, 2012
Google Maps for Android updated to version 6.7

Google Maps for Android updated to version 6.7. Looks great!

Posted by Arcterex at 06:18 PM
Ars Technica Redesign

The awesome site Ars Technica reveals version 7.0. Great look, kudos to the team.

Posted by Arcterex at 10:57 AM
XLR8 Smartphone App Makes Your Car Sound Like A Supercar

Make Your Car Sound Like A Race Car, via iPhone in Canada.

Ever wish you owned an exotic supercar? Now you can with XLR8! Pronounced as “accelerate”, XLR8 is a super cool iOS app from 2XL Games that makes your car sound like an exotic supercar as you drive (via FSM). The universal app for iPhone / iPod touch and iPad uses your device’s GPS and accelerometer to track your speed, braking, and cornering and convert that data into the sounds of a gas-guzzling V-8 through the speakers of your car (requires audio connection). The app even lets you unlock engine sounds produced by Ferrari, Lamborghini, a NASCAR vehicle, and a Ford GT40 via in-app purchases.

I know it’s completely useless, but I’m so tempted to spend the $0.99 on this.

Posted by Arcterex at 10:02 AM
May 07, 2012
Musical Version of "Every Major's Terrible" (Today's XKCD)

Confused a bit by today’s XKCD (Every Major’s Terrible)?? Clicked the link but just couldn’t imaging the words sung to that tunr? Check out the song sung over on Youtube by the talented David Dalrymple.

Posted by Arcterex at 02:40 PM
Microsoft Stops Shipping DVD Player With Windows 8

… thus prompting the question of If VLC can ship a free DVD player, why can’t Microsoft? over on ZDNet.

“Microsoft says the cost of DVD playback adds up to several dollars,” the argument goes. “But I can download the VLC player for Windows and get DVD playback for free. How come VLC can do it and Microsoft can’t?” Welcome to the wonderful world of software licensing, where today we get to see a real-world example of the differences between commercial software and free software published under an open source license.

A good look at the why’s, and yet the answer still infuriates me. If you really care about Microsoft justifying this stupid decision, you can read their (lengthy and mostly unreadable) [FAQ response] (

As a side note, both MacOS and Linux come with DVD playing software installed by default.

Posted by Arcterex at 02:35 PM
Microsoft RAW Viewer

New(er) download of the Microsoft Camera Codec Pack to view supported RAW images within the Explorer. Not great new functionality if you’re a photographer and using Lightroom or Bridge or the like, still good to see it’s available for 64bit now as well.

Posted by Arcterex at 10:49 AM
How To Cut Your Linux PC's Boot Time in Half With E4rat

How To Cut Your Linux PC’s Boot Time in Half With E4rat, via How-To Geek.

Anyone else brave enough to try this?

Posted by Arcterex at 09:59 AM
May 04, 2012
Numbers Show dot-XXX Sites Are A Sham

Interesting post on ZDNet on how little adoption the new .xxx TLD has gotten. You’d think that these would be now a hotbed of porn, but it seems that only about 133,000 adult domains were registered under .xx, and of those only 27,555 are actually developed. I know that 28k is a lot, but compared to the rest of the domain world, that’s nothing. Expected for something like a .bob or .arcterex domain, but .xxx?

Posted by Arcterex at 05:22 PM
Review of the cardboard camera from IKEA

Remember that cardboard camera from IKEA that was floating around not that long ago? Well, someone wrote up a Review of it.

Posted by Arcterex at 04:17 PM
GIMP 2.8's Cage Tool

Ok, I admit I’m biased towards the Photoshop world for my image manipulation, but this Cage tool screencast of the new tool in GIMP 2.8 looks pretty awesome. Hard to describe, so I’ve embedded it below.

Posted by Arcterex at 11:22 AM
May 03, 2012
GIMP 2.8 Released

gimp.pngCongrats to the GIMP team for their release of GIMP 2.8, the result of three years of work on the GNU Image Manipulation Program, a shining star of the open source world.

GIMP 2.8 is the result of three years of hard work and collaborative development. This version of GIMP is equipped with a wealth of new features, including some highly requested ones. Keep reading to find out exactly what GIMP 2.8 has to offer you in areas such as the user interface, tools, and plug-ins.

Lots of great improvements, I can’t wait to have at this!

Posted by Arcterex at 09:46 AM
May 02, 2012
How to Backup Windows Phone

How to Backup Windows Phone.

If this was a pre-release of a hot new gadget, or a version 1.0 release this is acceptable. Using a beta or alpha of software I’ve done messy hacks like this before and would agree with Edd Bott and his assertion this is clever. But this is a Phone OS from one of the largest tech companies in the world. This is a Phone OS that has been out since November 2010. That’s a year and a half and I have to ask:

  • There’s no way to backup already?
  • If so, this is an acceptable ugly hack created by the community. However, even from day one the iPhone had a backup (I believe, if not it was shortly thereafter)[1].

[1] There was also a dark time in there when the iPhone backup was horrible, slow to the point of taking something like 15 minutes to complete. But it was there, and I think the procedure linked would take longer than 15 minutes.

Posted by Arcterex at 03:58 PM
May 01, 2012
RIM Offers Developers $10k For Not Sucky Apps For BBOS10

Wow, RIM has got themselves in the news a bunch this week. First claiming responsibility for the “Wake up” stunt, then releasing news about BlackBerry OS 10 (impressions here), and now they have said To Developers: We’ll Make Sure Your App Earns At Least $10K In Its First Year. Techcrunch says it like it is:

Translation: the apps can’t completely suck. Sorry fart app devs, that means you.

It’s a good proposition for a company desperate to get high quality apps like those on iOS and Android, because I think that good apps do matter (just look at the flack that Microsoft has gotten over the crappy Metro apps included with Windows 8 Dev and Consumer previews). However the question really is, who is going to hitch their wagon to that sinking ship?

Posted by Arcterex at 04:42 PM
The Dark Knight Rises - Official Trailer #3

The Dark Knight Rises - Official Trailer #3. Have I mentioned how excited I am for this movie?

Posted by Arcterex at 12:17 PM
Programmer Hiring Tips

5 signs that you should hire a programmer on the spot over at the More Than Coding blog.

Good stuff there, both for prospective employees and employers.

Posted by Arcterex at 10:00 AM