WARNING: This blog contains random thoughts on technology, software engineering, and general all-round nerdery. Read at your own risk. Nerd is contagious.

Monday, February 28, 2011

Algorizms moving to Tumblr

Hey folks, I don't update this blog at all, so I thought I'd move the party over to Tumblr, where I can easily post a variety of stuff more easily.

Head on over to Algorizm's new spot in Tumblr

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Why AIM with Facebook is important

Today, we release the first beta of a bunch of our AIM products which adds official support for Facebook chat! I'm personally very excited about this, as my team works on AIM Express, and we had a blast adding Facebook chat support!

"Official" is the big keyword here. Up until now chat programs that have had "Facebook chat" support have often accomplished this by reverse engineering how the Facebook chat website works. It's really important for us to do this via official means, so that AIM and Facebook can work together to deliver a great experience.

One of the great things about official Facebook chat support in AIM is that we are helping make Facebook Chat available outside of Facebook's site and mobile apps!. If you use AIM for iPhone, for example, your Facebook friends will see you online more often and be able to IM you wherever you are!

Add to that the fact that we show your Facebook news feed and it ends up being pretty awesome way to experience Facebook:

I'd love to hear your feedback on AIM Express. You don't have to install anything. Just visit the beta site and click the green button!

Monday, January 04, 2010

Throwing the baby out with the bath water

Pro tip for Adobe AIR developers: Don't pick 'bin-release' as the folder to export your .air files!

I just spent a full day trying to figure out what was wrong. I'm so used to other Flash Builder app where when you export a release build, it puts it in a 'bin-release' folder under your project folder.

So when I was building an Adobe AIR app, I was ready to build an .air file, so I did an export release build, and for my destination, I put "bin-release/MyApp.air". And then I couldn't figure out why, but everytime I'd build, I'd see the 'bin-release' folder get created, and then immediately get deleted again when the build was over! I had no .air file!

Uploaded with plasq's Skitch!

Apparently for AIR projects, the bin-release folder is special; it is only created when doing a release build and then deleted as if it were a temp build folder. Placing my .air file in there meant that it, too, got deleted along with the trash.

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Monday, October 26, 2009

Lightroom 2.5 erases JPG files from RAW+JPEG in DNG conversion

Sort of an unexpected behavior I noticed this evening. I'm trying out Adobe Lightroom 2.5 to organize / process photos from my Canon 5D Mark II.

If you go from within Lightroom and choose "Convert to DNG..." one of the options is to 'Delete originals after successful conversion', right after "Only Convert Raw Files".

I've been shooting RAW + JPEG lately, because I keep finding the need to share my photos instantly with some family members, and what I wanted was to end up with a folder of DNG + JPEGs.

Unfortunately, even though "Only Convert Raw Files" is selected, Lightroom deleted all the CR2 files AND the JPG files, leaving only a DNG File! I would have thought that since "Only Convert Raw Files" was checked, it would only remove the processed RAW file, but it took the JPG along with it.

Luckily, it only moved the deleted CR2 and JPEG files to the Trash, so I was able to recover my JPGs and put them back in the folder. From now on though, I'm going to stick with using Adobe's free, standalone DNG converter tool [Windows Link] (Remember to select Camera Raw version 4.6 or later, if you want to someday support Aperture)

Monday, February 02, 2009

Game Mechanics in Social Media

I just watched this Google Tech Talk video, Putting the Fun in Functional: Applying Game Mechanics to Functional Software. Anyone in the social media industry would probably benefit from watching this video, because it brings up some great points.

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Pale Blue Dot (revisited)

The Loft Productions created a "re-imagining" of Carl Sagan's famous Pale Blue Dot, and it includes some amazing time lapse photography, as well as an original piano piece. Very moving, and the last time lapse (shifting from day to night) is simply stunning.

Friday, January 30, 2009

My Blu-ray Review of The Final Countdown (1980)

My Netflix queue is, shall we say, "diverse".

I recently received The Final Countdown on Blu-ray through my queue. I added this movie a while back while in a nostalgic mood, and had sort of forgotten about it until now. The basic premise of the 1980 movie is that a US carrier goes through some storm and travels through time back to the day before Pearl Harbor. The only two things I remember from my childhood about this movie was 1) Some really lame effect of travelling through time, and 2) A scene where friggin' F-14's take on Japanese Zero's!!!!

If there's two things I love, it's Sci-Fi and F-14's. Top Gun is one of my favorite movies (though, technically speaking, the movie's action scenes don't really hold up to modern standards). Clearly I had to watch this movie!

I had both good and bad reactions to this movie. The Final Countdown, according to RottenTomatoes is only half-good, and I definitely had the same feelings. The acting is pretty mediocre, and the ending is anti-climactic. It's funny watching a pre-Terminator movie discussing notions like "time paradox" and "changing the future."

On the other hand, what I wasn't expecting is just *how* well this movie captures life aboard the U.S.S. Nimitz, and it's all captured in fantastic detail on the Blu-ray transfer. Some of the shots of the F-14s flying and the "carrier" at work are awe-inspiring, and you really get a sense of the sheer effort involved in keeping an aircraft carrier fully operational. I do have to say, that the first scene when a Tomcat takes off, I was expecting Danger Zone to be playing in the background!

I'd say if you enjoy Sci-Fi and enjoy military themes, this is definitely a good rental. What makes it particularly entertaining are the 2 "extras" in the Blu-ray. One of them deals with the general production of the movie and some of the challenges, and it's one of the first DVD extra I've seen that actually "talks some smack" about the director and some of the people involved, so that was refreshing!

The second extra is worth a big mention, it deals with the Jolly Roger squadron pilots that were hired to film the aviation scenes (the 5 weeks they spent filming used up their "vacation leave"), and they had some really interesting anecdotes about the production:
  • There's an infamous scene when an F-14 is dogfighting a Zero where the Tomcat pitches up, rolls to one side and dives toward the ocean, only to pull up with what appears to be mere feet from the surface. Apparently the plane did bottom out with about a 100ft above the deck, and it was so dangerous that they didn't show it to their commanding officers until the movie was in theaters
  • After shooting one day, the pilots and director were in the hotel bar when Katherine Ross, the female lead showed up. The pilots asked the director to introduce them to her, but she refused to meet them for no reason. So, the next day, one of the pilots took a sign up that read "F*** You, Katherine Ross!" onboard a Tomcat, and while filming a refuelling scene they held it up so the camera got a shot of it. Two days later (it took that long to process the film), in their "dailies" meeting, the brought up the film to review, and, with Katherine Ross present at the table, the first shot of the film was the pilots holding up this sign :)
Watching the extra featurettes made this movie worth the rental, so I'd recommend you give it a look-see, and tell me what you think!