the categorical days: Technology

April 23, 2009

unseated

It's like a huge miniature city of electronics in there

Laptop flickered and made alarming beep noise again.

Dead.

Call to support, this time with proper screwdriver on hand.
Back in business but lost a tiny screw in the process.

Support fella said, "Just pop into the Apple Store for a little screw.
You should be in and out in 5 minutes."

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January 24, 2009

Happy anniversary, Macintosh

My current rig, an '07 MacBook Pro with woodgrain

According to this article I came across while reading clusterflock:

Twenty-five years ago today, Steve Jobs introduced the Macintosh at an event in the Flint Center for the Performing Arts to an audience of about 3000 people (video).
I owe a lot to these machines. In high school our forward thinking English and Math teachers pressed the school to get a Macintosh II loaded up with PageMaker 1.0 and a postscript laser printer to put together the school paper.

It was tucked away in a storage room behind the gymnasium, I'm guessing for security reasons, and I remember spending lots of time in there, amazed by the technology.

In college I would take a few years off from computing at the get-go. The design program at Ohio State was largely based on hand skills and theory. A computer lab was created in our junior year (loaded with Centris machines, I think). QuarkXpress was the playground that allowed for precise kerning and control of type.

For my graduating project I jumped into Macromind Director to craft an interface for a CD-ROM using bitmapped graphics. Not much to look at, but it worked.

Fast forward through the years and I've had a good share of Apple devices, both personally and at work. Every single one of them held up well (knock on wood veneer). I remember not being able to kill the Quadra tower, and the workhorse laptop is probably the 2001 titanium (my mom's still using it, though she's ready for a new rig).

I've always looked at these machines as my instrument that I know how to play. Judging from (the) iPhone interface, the future should be very dynamic for sure.

So happy anniversary Macintosh. You help me learn and wonder and create. I'm looking forward to the next twenty-five years. (And Steve Jobs, in the small chance you've got a some script crawling the internet for your mention, Thank you, for shaping this computer and the industry. I'm wishing the best for you as well.)

Above: The Macs I've had the pleasure to work with...


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July 23, 2008

International videoconferencing

Computers are magic (when they work)

Been trying to get Kim's laptop to hook up with her dad's PC so they can stay in touch while she and Kelley are out on tour all over the world. (If anyone has insight on cross-platform video chatting software/tips, let me know! update: we're moving away from AIM and trying Skype next time around)

The girls landed in Japan yesterday.

It was in the wee hours of the morning there, and early evening here in Dayton. I ran over to her parents house with my laptop and set up in the kitchen.

Kim's mom totally didn't believe it was live video for a minute, but it became perfectly natural in no time. They were gabbing with each other chin in hand, mirrored through this technological window.

We chased around camera-shy cats for hellos, and showed off tomatoes in their backyard (Our tiny ones pale in comparison). I asked her dad if they expected a good crop and he told me never to count your tomatoes before they're red.

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March 27, 2008

Photoshop Express

It's kinda like Photoshop, but free, and without an installer disk

Got the news this morning that Photoshop Express is in beta and out publicly.

Most folks are familiar with Photoshop—so ubiquitous it's a verb. But it has traditionally been big and expensive and hard to approach. This new web version is none of those things—reducing options to simplify the interface and presenting tools as tasks.

And though we've had web applications that replicate word processing and spreadsheets, in my mind, this is the one that will begin to change how we think of applications and the internet.

It's pretty cool I think, and it's not because some of my photos are baked into the beta. Yep, thanks to the magic of fairies and good graces I have a couple dozen images scattered up there. From the home page to the sample image library you can open and play around with, you might catch some familiar images from the pages of this journal.

Go to the home page, click on the TEST DRIVE button, then click on MY PHOTOS. Select a photo and play with all the tools.

I have to grin a little, about having my images up there.

See, I love taking photos and though I want to be more serious about it, I know that many creative industries (selling music, writing professionally, and making photos) are in this big transition.

That's another story altogether, but a big part of this change is because of hobbyists—learning these crafts and finding knacks because of information that is shared online.

Golly I ramble.

The point is: I'm pretty sure the reason I was approached is because my photos don't look too professional. And I'm totally cool with this because I like the little flaws and bits of humanity that show through my work. (I even like my interface designs to have this quality.)

As more and more folks also learn the joys of making photographs, editing and organizing, the more need we have for tools that are powerful, simple and inexpensive. I know I'm a peace-loving tree hugger, but sometimes I have to think it's all interconnected, good, and moving forward.

Current music: Katy Perry "Use Your Love"

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February 28, 2008

artifacts

a glitch while importing digital footage

The crunching of video continues. I've now imported 40 gigs of footage to whittle down to 36 minutes or so. More on the results another day, I'm knee deep in production at the moment.

I've jumped through three programs trying to find the right balance of features and ease of use to tackle the video editing job:

iMovie HD (v. 6.0.3), iMovie '08, and Final Cut Express 4.

I'm no means versed in each, but I can say briefly that iMovie 08 is the short-term winner. I initially lost my grip with the new interface change from linear timeline to stacked scrubby clips, but most every function required for this job is present—just hidden in an uncluttered manner.

I wish Final Cut Express was the solution as it offers so many options, but adding a transition between clips required some weird, non-drag-and-drop math-like maneuver that was super unintuitive. I left the program frustrated and cursing.

Current music: WOXY (Stephen Malkmus & The Jicks - Gardenia)

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September 01, 2007

The Barbinator 3000

Making “noise” in the studio [ + a better view ]

Where Wendy brings a sense of direction and order to the workspace, the other third of Wire and Twine– Tom – brings musical taste, whimsy, and the ability to make things out of nothing.

Just yesterday after finishing up his real tasks for the week, he broke out the soldering iron to craft a homemade amp. This new infatuation with electronics stems from his time spent with Reed Ghazala where he recently learned how to "bend" circuits.

If you're not familiar with circuit bending, wikipedia has a nice overview:

Circuit bending is the creative short-circuiting of low voltage, battery-powered electronic audio devices such as guitar effects, children's toys and small synthesizers to create new musical instruments and sound generators. Emphasizing spontaneity and randomness, the techniques of circuit bending have been commonly associated with noise music, though many more conventional contemporary musicians and musical groups have been known to experiment with "bent" instruments.

So if you're following my Flickr stream, The Magical Musical Thing might make more sense why it's laying around.

We're also blessed with the Barbinator 3000 (pictured above) whose extra eye pulses knowingly with the beat.

Current music: DJ Elephant Power "mc doux doute"

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August 10, 2007

30 some odd days with the iPhone

ack ack ack

I figured I'd use the new Apple device a while before piecing together my thoughts. Up front: this is my 2nd unit. The first one didn't like getting coverage. I took it to the Apple store and they replaced it on the spot with one that works quite well. Reception has been very good.

Now that I've kicked it around over a month, I can say with some confidence (as I have in comments before), if I had to choose between my laptop and this phone, I'd probably go with the phone and start designing on paper. Note: if I ever used a Blackberry or similar device, I might say the same thing. Not likely, but possible.

Some quick backstory: When the iPhone was announced, my current mobile phone was dying. I intentionally got the cheapest one without re-upping my T-mobile contract and marked my calendar for the day I could have a single device to charge—a device that would be a music player, capable of texting, web browser, email client, and no less important—a calendar.

Having videos and photos was a bonus, and man the screen makes em look great. The days of tiny photos yellowing in wallets are numbered. This makes sharing fantastic. This doesn't come without irks. I don't use iPhoto and it's a small pain to manage sets of photos there. I'd rather point to a folder on my drive.

Same for events. I like Google Calendar so there are hurdles to make everything appear on both—hurdles so high I've given up on the former and begrudgingly use iCal.

Those and minor quirks aside, I am smitten.

So much I wish the next version of OSX took cues from the interface and stopped with the transparency of the menubar and weird 3D dock thing.

Other bits:

I don't have to open my laptop at home as much. It's hard enough separating work from life. This helps.

I now have a clock that has more than two alarms. (for me, this is a small blessing)

Pooping got hella productive / entertaining.

Time wasted with Flash is pleasantly shortened. (Though I do wish I could access Vimeo on it)

I vote for my favorite dancers on So You Think You Can Dance (even though this season is lackluster) because dialing is fun. Yep, dialing a phone number... fun.

Maps? Awesome. Calculator? Handy. Visual voice mail? Nice.

It's a great flashlight. Easily 60% brighter than my last mobile phone.

--

So all in all, happy camper here—one that is grateful to have such a thing. Maybe when I get another chance, I'll talk about the fun standing in line and seeing old friends happenstance when the thing launched. Until then, some goodies:

Download some iPhone Wallpapers I made

Looking for more wallpapers and ideas?
- Airbag Industries iPhone candy
- Trapped - Joshua Blankenkship and friends make good fun with their contact photos
- Iconfactory has made all their sets iPhone friendly
- Garret Murray over at Maniacal Rage has lots too
- The Flickr iPhone Wallpaper pool


Current music: Headphones "Hello Operator"

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January 09, 2007

Can you lasso a star from the sky?

sharpie lovin’

My friend Tom makes super fun doodles.
He'll have a lot less to draw when everything is converged (into say, one device from Apple, Inc).

Some things however, will always be free.

To quote Mango,
Can you know the mighty ocean?
Can you lasso a star from the sky?
Can you say to a rainbow... 'Hey, stop being a rainbow for a second'?
No!
Such is Mango!

Current music: Sonic Youth "Pattern Recognition"

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March 22, 2006

i-fan

A powerful 2-in-1 fan!

I 'bout peed my pants when a friend I call "Brown" pulled this gift out of her (what I assume was a...) Wal*Mart bag.

The package attempts to pull cues from Apple design, as does the product itself—essentially a fan with two speeds: off or on. It sucks in air from the front and shoots out a somewhat weak, but comfortable draft upward.

It's definitely sucking.

It is also hilarious and I love it since it is the only thing I have that looks like an iPod.

Seems appropriate to talk about the power of Apple's iPod today as France passed steps that might force all these music players to play nice with each other.

I'm certainly not opposed to having Windows Media files play on an iPod, or having AAC files play on some (insert whatever other MP3 players there are).

But I wonder, does this mean I'll soon be able to visit MTV's site on my Macintosh and watch videos with Windows Digital Rights Management?

Does this mean Apple will have to make TV shows work on a JuiceBox? Or music bought from the Microsoft music store will have to play on HitClips or a Linux machine?

Just wondering.

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February 27, 2006

a font took my job

(Well, not recently...)

My first job was working the grill at Coney Island with my friend Gretchen. We got covered in grease and bleach while all our other friends goofed off as parking attendants, reading books and getting tan.

I'm not bitter. We ate better and made tips.

My second job was at Kroger, renting out VHS tapes and, once a week, making signs for endcaps and displays.

I was sent to a workshop to learn the "Kroger way" of writing these signs.

It was actually a hoot, wandering around the store with a clipboard, taking "orders" from department managers. Then I'd fill up the back room with the smell of chisel tip Marks-a-Lot markers.

I was the in-house design department. Painting the front windows once (disaster) and I also made a t-shirt (my first).

I held this gig for a good long time, but when my senior year of high school came around, it was time to turn in my badge and focus on my studies (senioritis).

Today I was shopping (the stomach bug has passed), stocking up on all the pop-tarts my brother keeps eating, and I noticed the signs are now computer output. Printed with a perfect incarnation of the Kroger sign font.

I'd say this is a terrible sign of technology taking over creative gigs, but I don't think so. The proliferation of blogs and digital photography, self-publishing for goods like t-shirts, books, pins, and even distributing video, it's a great time to be expressive.

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June 29, 2005

For Reference (#2)

Standard, straight-through wiring for ethernet cable
* These are not necessary

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June 06, 2005

Accepting change

The evolution of Fast Food logos

I bitched about the new White Castle logo a couple years ago. Today I was driving home, saw an old Taco Bell sign and was transported back to a happier time—when evolution wasn't so far out there.

How I miss the crisp gridded balance of yore. The warm tones are fading. Browns replaced by blues. Type now looking like it would be at home amidst fluorescent splatter from the 80’s.

*big inhale* Okay, fine. I can deal with all this change. I am resilient. I am hopeful.

Filed under: Design, Pondersome, Technology | | Comments (9)



April 30, 2005

Junk

Cheetos would've been almost appropriate

This entry really isn't about snacks, but instead, random junk from installing a new OS. After frantically trying to find my Microsoft shirt to wear at the Apple store tonight, I gave up and have resigned myself to tackle laundry this weekend.
A wipe of my drive and another frantic search to find installer discs of my core applications, I am now all set and everything is where it should be, minus the year's worth of crap I'd glommed on to my system.

And so, initial thoughts of Tiger...

Continue reading "Junk"

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April 22, 2005

Clickr

Gas stove woes

Imagine someone clicking two fingernails together and amplify that dozens of times with an irregular rhythm.

The pilot light keeps clicking on my stovetop. I've googled to no avail. Spark modules. Ignition problems. I've tried cleaning what I can, I just need to break down and call a professional.

In other news, CSS tools just ain't there yet for visual point and clickers like me.

Math is hard. I'm going to have a beer.

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February 06, 2005

What the world, needs now...

...is another picture of an iPod shuffle

A few quick thoughts on this latest MP3 player from Apple, as I got to play with one the other night. I didn't know any of the music it was shuffling through, and I liked that.

Sometimes it's easy to 'borrow' music from friends, one can amass quite a bit of stuff to sift through before deciding what to buy.

I'm no longer that 15 year old staring at the linear notes for hours. There's a lot to process it seems. More than ever? I'm not sure on that. But I do think it's almost too easy these days. Too easy to skip around and not ever really know what's playing.

I mentioned this in a comment at one point, but the Shuffle seems to mirror the way I enjoy music (while set to Play in Order mode). I like to have a handful of albums in the 6 CD changer, and use the forward button to skip through tracks.

If the Shuffle had a skip album button, or something more random like an 8-track player to advance you around the gig, that'd be nice. But overall, this thing is sweet.

With Napster pulling crap like this marketing, I feel pretty good that Apple is in no immediate threat of losing their current lead in digital music. The Shuffle just makes an already solid line-up even better.

Filed under: Music, Technology | | Comments (1)



January 12, 2005

iLife ‘05

2005 starts off with something nice or
I buy Apple Products. It just makes me feel special.

I have a laptop that burns CDs and I own Photoshop through way of work. In the scheme of things, I’m pretty dang lucky.

So yeah, all the hardware stuff Apple launched yesterday is nice. I respect the thought that went into each product. I think the Shuffle (used without shuffle) would be more suited for me than a big iPod, but again, I mentioned the ability to burn CDs. That's really all I need and use for music.

The mini is quite nifty, with a little more oomph than my current system for 1/3 the price. The thing is, I wouldn't own one without a gig of ram, and that's pricey (without it, it would be 1/6 the price.) If I was on the market for a new computer, I would seriously consider the mini. I hope it's a hit.

But the real pleasing thing I think, are the gradual enhancements to iLife.

Continue reading "iLife ‘05"

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January 11, 2005

Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle

...and Chris goes to the Video Store

My brother drops off a videotape from Blockbuster for Harold and Kumar, 'cause he thinks I'll like it. Doesn't he know that Blockbuster has photos of me in the break room plastered on the wall with all the other rental-felons?

I won't mention the incident in detail, but needless to say, my money is no longer good there.

Slight spoiler ahead. Stop now if you must.

So I popped the tape into the VCR I have, because you need those for old porn. At first I was half paying attention, fiddling with my laptop - but I closed the lid to actually watch the movie.

I thought this flick would be a bunch of stereotypes strung together with bong hits, and there were a few from each category, but it was actually (kinda) funny. Once Neil Patrick Harris zips by in the stolen Camry doin’ a line of coke off a hooker's ass, I felt like I was bearing witness to cinema history.

But that moment was fleeting. I wouldn't need to own this. If there was a sequel, I might go to a matinee. Funny yes, but not pee my pants funny. Entertainment value = $3.50

But how does it compare to a Mac Mini?

Continue reading "Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle"

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January 10, 2005

Where was I?

Linked up

Keeping track of links is sometimes no fun. I use different browsers on different computers and it never seems I have what I want right there.

At first, I thought I'd take the easy route and make my own page to handle everything. It worked, for a while—then the bother of being at my computer with FTP made it less attractive. I'm not going to develop some fancy online form to add to it, that would require me knowing how to code.

Then along came del.icio.us some time ago, and I fiddled with it, but did not invest too much thought. After a while of perusing their Popular Links, it began to sink in how handy the service could be. Imagine if everyone kept their bookmarks online, and you could sort by category or popularity.

Mind you, it's an ugly site, but highly functional. There's even RSS feeds for those inclined to harness the power of feeds. In theory, I could make my own page more dynamic on my site, but until then, I just add any interesting tidbit to my page there: http://del.icio.us/glass. It's handy for now.

Next technology topic that was so 2004: flickr

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November 08, 2004

Delicious Library

Testing, 1 2 3

Delicious Library was released today, an application that lets you create a database of media (music, videogames and books).

The neat part is that you can use an iSight camera to read the bar codes and it automatically populates the rest of the data from Amazon. It brings down thumbnail, track listings, short description and related items.

Another feature lets you lend out items to friends in your contact list.

All in all, first impression is that it is very nifty. Seems that a few videogames I have cannot be found in the database My guess is that new platinum versions may have made the original barcode obsolete. The brushed metal appearance, though it jives with iTunes, is tired.

I'm trying to figure out the purpose of this other than, look at all my stuff!

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November 02, 2004

I elect to clean up my computer

Mac OS X geekery ahead: A few handy utilities to the rescue

My computer's been grinding lately, pausing, unhappy in general. I believe it has something to do with a lack of disk space, some bloated swap file, having lots of apps open, and refreshing caches a boatload.

It's hard to find out where space is being used in Mac OS X, so this little app called WhatSize is a superfriend—ordering a column view of everythings sorted with file and directory sizes listed.

What are swap files? I think they're temporary memory. So to force the system to clean things up, I've used MacJanitor. With this, I reclaimed over a gig. ( offending hidden files were located at /computer/var/vm/swapfile0-4, don't delete these though, this app will do it for you )

I was able to archive some projects and photos to clear up a good 15% of hard drive space for the hungry UNIX underpinnings.

Still think there's something fishy about disk usage? There’s some freeware out there to help you find duplicate files.

Yes, I did vote today, that's another story, but now, I have to get back to work, and this machine is much happier.

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July 29, 2004

Try AOL for Broadband

I've bitched about it before, I'll bitch about it again.

Dear AOL,

My mom told me not to hate, but you leave me no choice.

No matter how many checkboxes I un-check, you still insist on littering your frickin "Try AOL for Broadband" and "Refer a friend" dingleberries all over my system every time I'm forced to upgrade AIM.

If you think you're winning customers with these tactics, think again.

I hate you. I hate your box ads (Who on EARTH clicks on these?!). I hate your privacy settings. I hate your icons. And I've never used your broadband service, and you can bet your sweet bottom I never will.

Ever.

Have a great day,
Chris Glass

Filed under: Technology | | Comments (1)



June 07, 2004

Kick Ass

AirTunes

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April 06, 2004

Packages are fun

Frenchy is a godsend

The UPS man finally caught me...
and how happy I was, whenever he does.

Now I am truly bi-platform, as the software inside the box allows me to do what I need to do on a PC.

I've been stuck in front of PCs before, but I will admit, each version of Microsoft's OS seems to be getting brighter and more enjoyable — however there seems to be more pauses between activity, and I am still longing for the crisp immediacy that seems to have been beaten out of these new-fangled operating systems.

The spinning beachball on my Mac is a testament to this notion.

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December 17, 2003

Top 10 reasons why PCs are not Evil

10. Every time I hear the Google toolbar's *tick* blocking a popup ad, I find a small comfort that I am thwarting a marketer. (This gets regulated to the "bottom" of the list since Safari has this tastefully built in along with tabbed-browsing - the most useful feature _EVER_)

9. This is harder than I thought. Maybe I should have said the Top 9 reasons.

8. Java works. (Write once run anywhere my ass)

7. ALT tags are visible on hover. (Okay, I'm stretching here)

6. Pirating made easy. (P2P file sharing apps, ripping off video, burning ROMs to Dreamcast emulators, etc.)

5. Every few days, I like to re-evaluate program defaults. Really, I do.

4. Right clicking yields lots more options (than a mac).

3. Customizable experience.

2. Google toolbar allows quick lookup of dictionary words like jejune.

1. They're cheap.

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October 29, 2003

I broke my computer

Who needs Aqua

I installed some stupid hack to rid my system of the annoying "brushed metal" appearance and I hated it even more. So I ran the uninstall script that, upon restart, stuck my system in console mode.

Dave helped me 'root' around remotedly and identify the missing corrupted file. I did lots of two letter commands and I was back in business.

Lesson learned: Never download a system hack from a porn site.

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October 25, 2003

Geek Treasure #151

Select, copy, paste, mutilate

The new Preview application in the latest version of Mac OS X allows you to copy text from a PDF and paste it into any other type of document. Sure this feature is available in Adobe's full blown Acrobat suite, but I never upgraded to the native version.

What I was amazed to find though, was the new tool to allow copying of the vector path info, which can also be pasted from the clipboard into applications like Photoshop and Illustrator.

This both disturbs and thrills me. How often have I asked for a logo from a client and they don't have a "clean" version handy? On the flipside, I thought one of the best features of PDFs were the "locked" down information that could not be repurposed.

Grin and hmph.

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October 17, 2003

I don't feel dirty at all

iTunes for Windows

I'd be lying if I didn't say I anticipated the new release of iTunes today. Reasoning twofold: a.) I was hoping for some fun whiz bang features on the mac side b.) was looking forward to having a music player/organizer on the pc that I'd feel comfortable using.

No great new stuff on the Mac side. However, it's totally weird seeing the familiar Apple icon on the Windows desktop. It's comforting in some odd way.

There's oddities though. The scrolling of the music store is atrocious. The minimize buttons are wonky. Windows resizing is also, wonky - not at all smooth and fluid like on the lesser popular OS. Best PC app ever? Methinks not.

I was surprised I could download the installer or access the store.
Apple is surely getting more traffic than ever before. (oh jeez, i'm rhyming)

Ultimately, I feel like I'm playing Sonic the Hedgehog on a Nintendo system, and I don't mind it one bit.

PostPost :
Who knew Audiobooks cost so dang much?

PostPostPost :
Heather says the iTunes store is addicting.
"Why's that?" I ask.
"It's not often I can go music shopping drunk."

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