iPhone 4 : Apple's Bumper cases

June 25th, 2010

Today, I had a delivery:

img_29961

Yes, the new iPhone 4. (yes, you can click on all the pictures to close-up on them)

img_2999

A pretty nice device..

And in the evening, me and my wife went to Apple Store here in Nagoya. The plan was to buy my wife a case for her iPhone 3GS (which I passed to her after getting iPhone 4). Myself, I don't like cases much – they are usually intrusive, huge, and don't really serve any purpose. The only "case" I ever had on my iPhone was Invisible Shield by Zagg.

So there – I don't like cases. And watching one by Apple (in their keynote) – which they called "Bumper" – didn't really impress me. It looked like just a rubber thingy around the phone. I thought – hah, only stupid folks would buy this one. Well.. I was wrong :)

Read the rest of this entry »

Prototype 1.6.1 on IE8 on Windows XP..

February 26th, 2010

Discovered a weird problem today.

Seems like in a particular configuration, the currently latest version of Prototype library gives problems to users who are using Internet Explorer 8 on Windows XP.

Error message states that Web page has a problem and Internet Explorer had to close its tab.

When running the same page under IE8 on Windows 7, the page loads fine, but with error message which states:

windows-7-x641

Switching IE8 to IE7 compatibility mode fixes the problem on Windows XP and Windows 7 platforms.

In order to do that, just add the following code right under the <head> tag:

<meta http-equiv="X-UA-Compatible" content="IE=EmulateIE7" />

This will automatically switch IE8 to IE7 rendering mode, and unless your site breaks under IE7, you should be fine with this solution.

Still alive yeah…

January 31st, 2010

OK I know this has been a long time since last update! Bu I have that "BLOG!!" in red marker on my white board, so eventually I'll blog! Kinda lazy/busy combination is in effect…

In the meanwhile, I'm also on Twitter http://www.twitter.com/macdigger

A few notes on iPhoto print service

March 30th, 2009

Last week – and after getting a pretty good calendar but using iPhoto's print service last year – I found out that my printer's printhead needs some repairs (and it seemed that getting a new printer would probably be the best option, or probably even cheaper). However, I had a few photos I needed to be printed to be handled to my friends. So sure, as a Mac user, and lazy person, I decided to go with an option which would require the least amount of any actions of my side – the iPhoto print service.

Took about 4 days for my prints to arrive (which is fine, except that 3 days of that time photos were in transit, which is a loooong time here in Japan as everything usually arrives in 2 days AT MOST). But oh well, I could wait :)

However, once I opened the envelope, I was shocked! The colors were all off, skies were blown up, details were lost.. These were not the photos I took – the ones I got were automatically-balanced.

And it usually works for most people who shoot their stuff with crappy compacts (face right in the middle, skies blown up to hell, everything is average and boring). However, I was taking a different kind of picture. I was using external flash to make some "dramatic" feeling to my photo – skies underexposed and blue to the point of being dark-blue, and the person on the picture was lit with a cross-light of my external flash unit and the sun, making him pop-out.

Here's the original (click to see in full size):

img_55141

And check out just what I got from iPhoto's photo service:

img_6017

(iPhoto photo service: left; original, printed on my dying printer: right)

Now, everybody has different sense of what a good photo should look like, and iPhoto (FujiFilm) print service definitely works for, like, 99% or cases. Just don't ever think of getting your artistic/conceptual/anything-out-of-average photos printed. They'll "fix" the hell out of them and then some – to make them just an average stuff which comes out of any crappy point-and-shoot camera around.

Called Apple's support today and I'll be getting my refund. It is just a couple of bucks and won't change anything, but at least it'll make me happy to stick it to their asses, even though they don't really care ;) (oh.. they'll pay the postage, so cost to myself is zero)

Now I wonder which print services don't "fix" stuff for you…..

The price of "%"

March 22nd, 2009

Was working on a remote machine today…

glasswall

Thankfully the machine was smart enough to reboot itself :)

Getting rid of those files

March 19th, 2009

I've been doing some maintenance of my server, and wanted to do some spring clearning, deleting all spam files inside users' directories. These files are automatically created by spamassassin software. Also, wanted to get rid of Rails production.log files.

Doing everything manually is no fun, and I have to admit, I completely suck at shell scripting.. But if you never try – you'll never learn, so that's what I came up with.

Calculating their size

First, I wanted to find out how much space exactly files called spam inside all directories inside the /home directory take. That's the command which I came up with ( of course, I first had to cd /home ):

[root@me-ja home]# find * -name spam -type f -exec echo {} \; | xargs du -ks | awk '{total += $1} END {print total}'

2952880

A little explanation. I use 3 commands each piping its output to the next one (and the last outputs everything to standard output which is the screen. Read the rest of this entry »

Canon 430EX II Flash, experiences and sample photos

February 15th, 2009

I'm really getting into photography lately, and finally got myself another accessory, which many people consider one of a must-have things – an external flash.

The one I got is Canon Speedlite 430EX II, and I have also got an Off-camera Shoe Cord (OC-3E) for situations when having flash mounted on top of the camera is not very good (think outside photos where you don't have any walls to bounce off, and still want to have some non-flat-looking images).

attached

So that's how flash module looks mounted on the camera. The camera suddenly became pretty heavy :) But yeah, that's the price you have to pay.. Near the camera is the off-camera shoe cord.

Having knowing near nothing about flashes, how they work and how once is supposed to shoot with them, I found a very good article describing how speedlites actually work. You should definitely give it a try at this link.

And as it was said in one of flash training videos I have (one from Blue Crane studio – google it up) – I moved out to make my first set batteries go dead over some flash testing. I share some of my findings below. So even if you don't have an external flash, these images will probably help you in making decision of wether you should get one :)

External flashes are basically your portable suns, you can point them at target directly, you can make the light bounce of walls and ceilings, you can fight with very bright backgrounds and still take great photos with shallow depth of field, by using hi-speed sync, and much more! I go into bouncing and hi-speed think with this blog entry. So let have a look at sample photos, with some short comments where applicable.

Read the rest of this entry »

Mute and unmute FLVPlayback in ActionScript 3

February 12th, 2009

I've been working rather alot with ActionScript lately (both my main job, and also some side projects), learning ins and outs of ActionScript 3, which is great, but differs a great deal from ActionScript 2.. Still alot of ground to cover in order to get fluent with all the quirks (or, may be, features) of the language.

One problem I faced was that I had a need to mute and un-mute a video played inside the FLVPlayback container, programmatically from ActionScript 3.0.

I spent like may be half an hour searching for answers on google and in Flash debugger (man.. will they ever add variables watch there?..). Anyways, the solution to mute and unmute is pretty straightforward. You just have to send the FLVPLayback's mute button a mouse click event. No need to juggle with setting volume to zero and stuff like that..

I also keep the state of mute/unmute in a variable (it was faster to do it this way, rather than research one more topic ;). So here's how you mute (in case your FLVPlayback instance is called flvbox):

Define isMuted var somewhere in the code:

var isMuted:Boolean = false;

And now the real thing:

if (!isMuted) {
MovieClip(flvbox.muteButton).on_mc.dispatchEvent(new MouseEvent(MouseEvent.CLICK));
isMuted = true;
}

and here's how you unmute:

if (isMuted) {
MovieClip(flvbox.muteButton).off_mc.dispatchEvent(new MouseEvent(MouseEvent.CLICK));
isMuted = false;
}

That's it! I guess one can get status of a video being on mute or not, but I'll leave it to you :)

PS: You can have a look at this code in action (well.. sorta..) at one of our company's homepages (the middle-top video thingy): http://www.mj-dvd.jp (warning! Japanese content :)

Rails session cookies not saved in IE 6/7 ?

January 15th, 2009

I spent half an hour surfing the net for an answer and luckily found this page: Problems with IE7 Sessions Not Saved in Rails or PHP

So basically if session cookies (or any cookies for that matter) work just fine on Safari/Firefox, but just get silently ignored on Internet Explorer – please check if there are any underscores in sub-domain you are accessing.

For example, I was using domain called 'amtes_shop.local' for my Rails application, and I could never "shop" for anything because cart was using sessions, and sessions were silently ignored by IE 6/7 (so I was in the latest stage of development when one tests everything on broken browsers ;) Renamed amtes_shop.local to amtesshop.local – and everything magically fixed itself! Bingo!

Circular Polarizing filter

January 5th, 2009

I am got pretty much into photography lately. Even though I got my DSRL (Canon 450D/Kiss X2) almost a year ago, it is just now that I finally started getting taste of "the real photography".

And a few days ago, I got myself one very little addition called Circular Polarizing filter:

Basically, this is the most recommended-to-get filter for beginner photographers. Basically, it works great in the following scenarios:

  • when you need to get rid of reflections (or, "look-thru") a glass or water
  • and when you want to take "clearer", richer shots of the skies and greens

It does so by filtering out reflecting sun rays (more technically, it filters out specific light waves, or something like that..)

I took a few test shots with filter on and off, so you can compare how it works in reality.

Shooting thru the windscreen of my car, no filter

A few moments later, with filter attached

Thru the window of my house. Guess which one is with filter on :)

Now, how about the skies? Didn't work as good for my test shots, but well.. these were my first shots with filter!

Left: no filter; Right: filter on (a slightly bluer and richer skies)

Now, into the field!

Yeah I know I suck because I have deleted the image where I took the same fountain without filter, but believe me – you won't have chance in hell to take a shot thru the water like this one during a sunny day, with your bare-naked lens.

And in closing… more of an experiment than a really good shot, but still.. This one was taken with filter on, on a very sunny day, with sun at about 90 degrees to my right. Turned out to be a pretty interesting shot though..

There are more (and guess, better) comparison photos on Wikipedia, but still, first-hand experience is much more priceless :)

Shoot on! The price of my (mid-range priced) filter was 3600yen (which is little less than $40 USD). A very nice price for such an interesting toy, I'd say.

Oh and by the way, I have some of my more interesting photos (or rather photo experiments) on my sister-site at this link.

PS: Holy fucking shit do I hate the new wordpress' visual editor!! Can't center the goddamn fucking images…