Posts tagged "technology"

  • April 24, 2012

    I’ve been looking for a good way to display my Instagram photos on my blog — some perfect storm of a solution that offers me control & flexibility, yet doesn’t require me to authorize a 3rd party to access my data. Since Instagram doesn’t offer their own public feeds (unlike Twitter, Flickr, etc), there aren’t many out-of-the-box solutions While sites like Listagram, Statigram, Instafeed, and Instagrid do a great job of showing other people my feed, they’re not designed to allow me to use that content on my own site.

    Thanks to a little Node.js code running on Heroku, I was able to build a little public feed of my Instagram photos. Basically, this Express app uses my Instagram API credentials to pull my recent images and presents the data via JSON. It leverages the instagram-node-lib project, too, which makes communicating w/ the Instagram API from Node a snap. I also threw in some Redis (Heroku makes this so trivial) to do some basic caching, to improve load times as well as reduce the Instagram API calls. Sprinkle in some front-end jQuery and a little CSS to make it all pretty, and you’ve got my brand new Instagram page. Not too shabby if I do say so myself! Be sure to scroll down and click on the “Gimme more photos…” button, too.

    Here’s the complete server-side code, if anyone is interested:

    And on the client-side, here is my jQuery, which handles the AJAX call as well as the animations:

    Apologies for any mistakes or smelliness — I don’t write a lot of JavaScript… But considering how quick and painless this was, I might just start! In any case, I hope this is useful for someone out there. Definitely let me know if you have any questions, or if you run into any issues with my new page.

  • October 28, 2010

    Two weeks ago, I did the unthinkable: I signed up for Comcast High Speed Internet service. Leaving Speakeasy DSL after 5+ years was no easy decision, but it was getting increasingly difficult to justfy the price for the performance that I was getting. In fact, when I called to cancel, I made sure that Speakeasy knew it wasn’t something that they did, but instead simply a matter of economics: I just couldn’t continue to spend $100/mo on “slow” DSL, no matter how reliable it was. After two weeks with Comcast, I’m simultaneously impressed and disappointed…

    Continue reading "Why I left Speakeasy, and why I miss them..."...
  • February 17, 2010

    If you're interested in such things, by now you've probably seen the news that Apple released Aperture 3. Tons of new features, and it's finally a 64-bit app, so performance should be much improved. This past weekend I got the Aperture 3 (A3) demo up and running on my iMac, and loaded some D700 RAW images for testing. Aperture 3 LCD metadata view

    First impressions: I love some of the new features, including the WB preset previews, image adjustment presets (and previews), and the responsiveness of the interface. I'm very excited about the photo book plug-ins from high-end album companies. I'm always on the lookout for ways to streamline my wedding/portrait workflow, and for tools that make it easier to create quality products for my photography clients. On that note, while I haven't used Faces or Places yet, I'm certainly interested these features for my own personal images. Bonus: The new LCD-like metadata view (shown on the right) is killer.

    Continue reading "Aperture 3 first impressions"...
  • February 10, 2010

    Facebook announced today that Facebook Chat now supports Jabber/XMPP, which means that it's possible to integrate pretty much any app or services that talks Jabber/XMPP with Facebook Chat. I use iChat myself for AIM and Google Talk instant messaging, and the requirement to use Facebook's web interface always turned me off to Facebook Chat. With that restriction lifted, I figured I'd toss Facebook Chat into the mix.

    The setup was painless, you just have to know what credentials to use:

    1. Add an account in iChat's Preferences window
    2. Select "Jabber" from the "Account Type" dropdown
    3. Enter [email protected] as the "Account Name" where facebookusername is your Facebook username (i.e. the one that you set up in June 2009)
    4. Enter your Facebook password
    5. Expand the "Server Options" arrow, and enter the following info:
      Port: 5222 (Uncheck the "Use SSL" box)
    6. Hit done and you should connect without any issues
    7. Optionally, you can go back into the iChat "Account Settings" and change the account description in iChat to be something useful like "Facebook"

    Continue reading "Facebook Chat in iChat"...
  • January 05, 2010

    Consumerist investigates Best Buy’s “pre-optimization” scam (via Gruber):

    Over the past year, a number of you have been telling us that, due to "pre-optimization" of computers, it's difficult -- sometimes impossible -- to walk into a Best Buy and leave with the advertised deal (in effect, you would be paying a $39.99 surcharge over the computer's advertised price). We decided to look into your complaints. We sent the Consumer Reports secret shoppers to 18 different Best Buys in 11 states, and one of our shoppers was denied the price advertised for a specific model because only pre-optimized computers were available. When the Consumer Reports engineers compared three "optimized" computers to ones with default factory settings, there was no performance improvement. In one case, an optimized laptop actually performed 32% worse than the factory model.

    This is why I buy Macs. It’s also why I never buy anything except PS3 games at Best Buy. Give me a break.

  • December 13, 2009

    This weekend, we celebrated the arrival of a new family member: a new Apple 27" iMac Core i7!

    I just wanted to take a minute and post my experiences with the machine, and what led up to the purchase of this hot new piece of tech. Thanks in advance to Jeff on the help and the idea to write this in the first place. Enjoy!

    Continue reading "Welcoming the new Apple 27" iMac Core i7 to the family"...
  • December 11, 2009
  • November 12, 2009

    Slate Magazine recently asked readers to send in Google Suggest results for “less intelligent” versus “more intelligent” queries, like “how 2” vs “how might one.” They posted the results this week, and they reveal a hell of a lot about our search habits.

    Continue reading "Google Suggest Reveals the Truth About Us"...
  • October 15, 2009

    Gruber, on Windows 7’s competition with XP, Snow Leopard, and “apathy”:

    Put another way, the idea that Windows 7's quality will spur upgrades from XP is predicated on the fact that the people holding out on XP make their computing choices based on quality. But if that's the case, why exactly are they still running Windows XP? Why are they still using Internet Explorer? I think it's hard to overstate the fact that, with the explosion of the Internet as a universal communication medium, hundreds of millions of PCs have been purchased around the world by people who don't care about computers or software at all.

    Read the entire article @ Daring Fireball.

  • September 11, 2009

    My upgrade to Snow Leopard went pretty well this week — no major issues to speak of. There were a few annoyances, though, related to some things I use daily. These notes are mainly for my future reference, but if you experience any of these hopefully it'll be helpful to you, too.

    Continue reading "Snow Leopard Upgrade Issues"...
  • March 30, 2009

    The time has finally come — I’m selling my trusty Nikon D200 and 17-55mm f/2.8 AF-S DX lens in order to upgrade…

    I still love this combo, and it has served me well over the past few years. I’m only upgrading because the Nikon D700 exists, and it’s what I’m currently looking for in a camera. To say it plainly, if it wasn’t for the D700, I would honestly hold on to the D200 for at least another couple years.

    If you’re just looking for price info, you can jump to the end of this post. If you’d like some background on the equipment, and the “why” behind my upgrade, please read on…

    Continue reading "Nikon D200 and 17-55mm f/2.8 AF-S for sale!"...
  • March 10, 2009

    Just got an email from Hilton re: their new “lifestyle brand” of hotels: Denizen Hotels.

    As vague and as “markety” as the email was, it seemed interesting enough to click through to the site. Unfortunately, it just gives an “Invalid Hostname” error… Guess the launch isn’t going as smoothly as planned? Anyway, here is a funny chunk of the email…

    Denizen Hotels will become a cultural epicentre at each of its destinations, cultivating community within its walls. Eclectic, social and humbly authentic, each property within the brand will be smart in design, cultural in character and sensitive in service delivery. Developed as an international intersection of business and pleasure, Denizen Hotels will redefine how guests stay and play.

    Really?!?!?! I want to be an “international intersection of business and pleasure…”

  • February 13, 2007

    i always knew that abt was awesome, but i never had the proof until now… i had been debating tv’s for the past few months (or year, depending on who you talk to) and finally made my decision. the search was over — i picked the samsung HL-S5088W, which is the 50” 1080p samsung DLP. sweet tv, but prices were all over the place. abt was good — not the best, but certainly not the worst.

    the other item i needed was a stand. easy — the BDI deploy 9634 was the perfect fit for my back room, and for the new tv. but the problem wasn’t picking out the stand, it was finding it in chicago. sure, i could’ve ordered it online and waited a few weeks, but i wanted instant gratification… not to mention something that we could watch the superbowl on. so on a saturday i started calling around town. 15 calls later, no one had it in stock, and delivery quotes ranged from 2-8 weeks.

    Continue reading "you go, abt!"...
  • August 13, 2004

    if you’ve played soul calibur before, you might like this video right heere… (even if you haven’t, it’s still pretty damn cool.) basically some guys choreographed the characters dancing, and did not program anything. crazy.

  • August 12, 2004

    check this out, from techiegold's "salary report" page for chicago:

    The major players on the Chicago IT scene are not VC-backed new kids on the block, but rather blue-chip companies showing steady growth. You've heard of Bank One, Blue Cross/Blue Shield, and United Airlines? They're all major employers in this market.

    Almost half of TechieGold's Chicago-area placements are networking professionals, while Application Development positions are on the rise. Overall, we've found that most employers in this region are looking for "jack-of-all-trades" IT professionals who are willing to be flexible.

    don't know how i feel about being lumped in with bank one and bc/bs... i actually don't know how i feel about being included on this list! how do you think they picked those 3 as the "enterprises-to-mention" in the chicagoland area, anyway? what about allstate, boeing, and a lot of other places? i suppose we have quite a large number of IT people here, though. it'd be interesting to see the numbers for other companies.

  • April 26, 2004

    jesus, alias has reached a new low.

    on tonight’s episode the CIA needed to find someone but wasn’t having any luck. however they did have a brainwave scan spit out by a wooden box (don’t ask). no sooner than i asked myself “how the crap can you find someone using only a brainwave scan” did someone invent “remote encephalography.” yeah, remotely reading someone’s brainwaves. how remotely? from space.

    seems the DoD had a project that built a satellite network for situations just like these, and by the time sloan had finished explaining the theory to sydney they’d already pinpointed the location. and by pinpointed i mean in chechnya, in a labor camp, under an alias, and in sector C. damn, that was fast.

    ha. big freakin’ ha.

  • March 30, 2004

    if you haven’t noticed, i’m a geek. :) so of course i had to post when i saw firefox on law & order: criminal intent. i’m guessing it was firefox, although they didn’t show the titlebar. since the episode couldn’t have been shot that recently, it very well could have been firebird, thanks to the name change. anyway, gotta love when tv shows use cool technologies!

  • March 12, 2004
    A Raleigh, North Carolina cable news channel shut down a Web application designed to allow local schools and businesses to report weather-related closings last week, after a handful of puckish university students discovered they could use it to add textual graffiti to the station's newscast. Before the system was shut down, viewers tuning into Time Warner Cable's News 14 Carolina for updates on last week's record-breaking snow storm could read in the text ticker on the lower third of the screen that a company called "h4x0r3d Computer Services Inc." was among the business that would be shuttered the next morning because of the storm.

    how great would this be to find… the entire article (at securityfocus) can be found here. and of course check out some great screenshots.

  • March 10, 2004

    wow, i’m really glad i got directv. after this week’s make-the-world-hate-us move by DISH networks, their subscribers are left w/out mtv, bet, comedy central, vh1, nick, and local cbs… damn, especially as march madness arrives. DISH of course points to viacom’s rate increases, and viacom points right back to DISH’s own subscriber hike. from viacom’s press release comes some awfully strong language:

    Fortunately, consumers have a choice. Current EchoStar/DISH Network subscribers who would like to continue receiving BET, CBS, Comedy Central, MTV, Nickelodeon, Nick at Nite, VH1, and all our other channels can easily switch to one of these reputable operators. We urge them to do so.

    i’d seen the crawl on viacom-owned stations like mtv and comedy central this past week: “if you have DISH this channel could go away!” naturally since i don’t have DISH, i didn’t really care. argue amongst yourselves while the subscribers wind up losing. then tonight on comedy central, viacom poured it on thick again. sure it’s a petty jab, but it’s still great. here’s the transcript for ya, if only b/c i can…

    Thanks to the DISH Network, the best comedy on TV is going bye-bye. South Park, gone. Chappelle's Show, peace out. Reno 911, 86'd. The Juggies, bounced. The Daily Show, more like the Never Show. So if you know anyone w/ the DISH network, make room on your couch. 'Cause they'll be spending a whole 'lotta time watching comedy at your house. Comedy Central, now only on cable and DirecTV.

    sorry, DISH. something tells me that viacom has more motivational ability than you do. at least a couple people that i know w/ DISH are thinking about switching. do you really think you can just take away the best channels and still keep your customers?!?! good luck w/ that.

  • February 03, 2004

    so what do you do when you want to see michelle branch on conan, but don’t want to sit through the hour of boring guests? you tivo it. yeah, that’s right. i figured i’ll just tivo the entire show, then go back tomorrow (or tonight if i’m up) and catch her performance at the end. in other related news, i setup my “season passes” for west wing and las vegas so i’ll never have to worry about missing those… man, i could get used to this!

    update: looks like michelle wasn’t on conan… oh well, it would have worked! heh…

  • February 02, 2004

    despite being “promised” for february 3rd, i hooked up the sbc/yahoo dsl equipment, and voila! guess who has smokin’ broadband again?!?! connected at a tasty 1536Kbps down… i must say, the install process (from when i hooked up my parents) is much improved. it messed w/ the network settings, but otherwise no ill effects. after i was successfully online i just dropped the linksys in place, and dhcp got it’s assigning on. not bad, in about 20 minutes everything was back to normal, wireless included. everyone is now happily back online, getting some much needed updates/patches.

    i didn’t want to go with sbc/yahoo dsl at first, but you just can’t beat the $27.99/mo price anywhere… speakeasy is awesome (or so i’ve heard from a number of people) but $50/mo is just too much. while i’m sure the service is better (customer, i mean, i know the speed is better) i just can’t justify almost 2x the cost. and in case you’re wondering, i got so sick of comcast that i didn’t even consider cable again. those people are incompetent, at least the ones i talked to on the phone. “hi, my cable modem isn’t getting a signal, any outages in chicago?” “did you reboot your computer?” “um, no, the modem itself isn’t getting a connection. are there outages you know about? if so, that’s cool, i was just wondering.” “sir, you’ll need to reboot your computer.” and so on, and so on!

    what’s more, directv (with tivo) should be all up monday morning, too. can’t wait for that… i’ll of course post as soon as i get it going. i already know what i’ll be tivo’ing for the week, how crazy is that?!?! a little las vegas, a little mtv, a little curb your enthusiasm, and of course the grammy’s next sunday… never again will i have to watch infomercials just b/c there’s nothing on. never again…

    oh well, keep your fingers crossed for me and the utilities!

  • December 26, 2003

    i followed a slashdot link to tips for traveling with tech gear, thinking it’d offer some insight… instead, it basically said “carry less tech shit,” as if that was a revalation. personally, i’d prefer to bring less clothes than less gear, but that’s just me. here’s the best quote from the article:

    "You need less electronic junk than you may think, and it's important to take advantage of the chance to unplug," says Rob Pegoraro, consumer technology editor for the Washington Post. "Try living without the iPod for a few days. One cell phone is enough and the BlackBerry doesn't need to follow you everywhere. Most important, leave the laptop at home unless somebody's paying you to take it along--borrow friends' computers or stop in any cybercafe if you feel compelled to check your e-mail. If you do bring a laptop, leave as many of its accessories at home as possible."

    is he for real? try living without the iPod for a few days? the whole point of having the iPod is to take your music with you, especially on a flight. plus, honestly, it’s the lowest-maintenance gadget i seem to have, next to the cell. iPod + headphones + charger = easy.

    i must admit, though, this little quote struck home. i travel pretty gadget-heavy: iBook, iPod, cell, blackberry (work), chargers, etc. and usually the d100 comes along for the flight, complete with lenses, CF cards, flash, batteries… but hey, i really don’t mind. all of it goes through the xray without incident, and it keeps me busy when i’m waiting for my name to be called!

    happy holidays, everyone. travel safe.

  • December 17, 2003

    i’ve been using mozilla firebird for a while now, both on my windows and linux boxen at work… very happy with it, especially after i got the flash plugin installed. a lot faster than IE, and of course it blows normal mozilla out of the water! i guess after using safari for so long i’ve just become accustomed to things like tabbed browsing, google search bar, popup blocking, and a straightforward interface. nice to get them back when i’m not on my mac!

    anyway, figured i’d share, and see if anyone has given firebird a shot…

  • December 04, 2003

    dear midway games (a.k.a. “the blitz people”):

    while i appreciate your current “blitz-style” offerings, i am writing to tell you that there is an overwhelming and unmistakable void in your catalog. NFL blitz pro and NHL hitz pro (hell, even MLB slugfest 2004) are great, but i need more. where is my LPGA blitz?!?!?! i’ve looked everywhere but it plain just doesn’t seem to exist… so, in case you haven’t developed this sure-to-be-blockbuster title yet and are looking for some input…

    first of all, just take a moment to try and imagine some of the endless possibilities that come with ladies golf on steroids. 800-yard par 3’s, 500-yard drives, WWE-style bonecrushing tackles, lightning storms, underwater mode, tag-team caddying… and all with no penalties! not to mention the crazy antics that can be had with the tricked out golf carts! wow! this is just the tip of the iceberg – the list really does go on and on!

    think half golden tee, half grand theft auto, and half unreal tournament. oh, and my buddy joe wanted me to let you know that he thinks velociraptors are freakin’ awesome, hint hint!

    anyway, thank you for your time and consideration. if you need any help whatsoever in bringing to the masses what you certainly have already contemplated internally, don’t hesistate to call! i’d love to be a part of it, thanks again!

  • November 24, 2003

    great “open letter” to redhat by erick woods, probably one of the best statements i’ve seen about redhat’s recent business model change… now, while i still like redhat for certain uses, this does put a damper on the first-time adoption process.

    What worked well for both my clients and I was that I could buy the retail box for $30-40 or download the ISO images and make copies and redistribute at will to my friends and clients. They would evaluate them and pass them on. With my assistance, some would put systems in production using the discs that I had passed on to them. Some clients paid for support contracts, others paid per incident, and more recently, others purchased subscriptions to the Red Hat Network. I considered this a winning scenario for all involved. My clients didn't have to pay the Microsoft tax, I got paid to do a little bit more work to get Linux functional in place of an alternate solution, and Red Hat got their support and maintenance revenue. I find this whole situation incredibly insulting. I have been pushing Linux and acting as a salesman for Red Hat for years. I have developed software that is included in Red Hat's product. I have contributed to Linux in many ways for several years. And now Red Hat wants to jack me for $174 for their Red Hat Enterprise Linux Basic product in order to get support. I can no longer take Red Hat Linux CDs to a client and offer them the opportunity to play, test and learn Linux in hopes that they will become interested enough to place a Linux system in production so that both Red Hat and I will get paid. Red Hat's sales department offered 2 solutions. The first is to use Fedora, which they will not support under any circumstances. This is obviously not an option for most clients. They want the security of being able to call me to fix serious issues and, in the event that I am unable to do so, have me call Red Hat and get their assistance. So the Fedora project, no matter how good it is or isn't, is not an option. The second is to shell out $174 for the Red Hat Enterprise Linux Basic product and copy and redistribute that. I have a serious problem with that and it sounds like a big part of the community that has grown around Linux has, as well.

    for those of us that are able to support redhat on our own, perhaps fedora is the right way to go. and for those of us that need (and can afford) support, RHEL might be the best option. but for users that want to try redhat, that want to evaluate it, i feel they’re being left out. something similar is happening with bea in regards to workshop, and hopefully they’ll be evaluating some “development” license options. redhat would be wise to do the same, but i have to wonder where it could fit into their new model.

  • September 14, 2003

    the internet is a wonderful thing. i heart jt

    here i am, sittin around without a tv, tryin to figure out how i’m going to get my daily dose of pop culture… enter, full of all the crap i’ve been missing. and what’s more, i can actually watch videos, something normal MTV never let me do!!! sure, there was always MTV2 and MTV Hits and so on, but having on-demand access to it all just gives me a warm fuzzy feeling.

    anyway, about the image here… i’ve been scouring around for live concert videos, and found justin timberlake, live in london, doing seniorita. it was broadcast on MTV, or at least that’s what i’m thinking based on the MTV/jt logo in the corner. these girls popped on the screen for a sec, and boom, a post photo was born. (plus, i wanted to give joe something pg-13 to look at while working.) i wonder if they knew the show was being broadcast? or perhaps the “i heart jt” shirts are just part of their normal concert outfits? either way, i’m thinking that london trip shouldn’t be too far off…

  • August 07, 2003

    did you see this article about the “catastrophic hardware failure” that resulted in lost data for the D.C. police department? i know this happens all the time somewhere or other, but some of these quotes are just hilarious. of course, if it’d been me that got burned, i might not think it was all so funny:

    Michael Schader, the Criminal Intelligence Information System's chief engineer, agrees that the system is "clumsy" and "extraordinarily difficult to use," often causing detectives to believe their work has been erased or lost. But Lopez said the Metropolitan Police Department plans to keep using the system. To ensure that there are no further hardware failures, he said, the department has replaced some parts, reconfigured the system and instituted regular checks. "It's the best document-case system that MPD has," Lopez said. "And it's definitely much better than what they used in the past." He was referring to paper files.

    well at least it beats paper. rest easy, D.C… rest easy…

  • May 19, 2003

    looks like napster will once again be a hot topic. today roxio announced that it has purchased pressplay (hailed as the “struggling online music service”) and will combine this new asset with the napster name (roxio bought this last year for $5M) to launch a new online music service.

    "Roxio's acquisition of Pressplay significantly accelerates the development of our online music business which is central to the strategic development of our company," said Chris Gorog, Roxio's Chairman and CEO. "With our acquisition of Napster we obtained the most powerful brand in the online music space. Now, with our acquisition of Pressplay, we have the most complete and scaleable legal technology infrastructure to use as a platform to re-launch Napster. After taking the necessary time to add features, enhance functionality and improve usability we will launch a new service with an extremely compelling consumer experience that builds on the qualities of the Napster brand."

    so, a legal and pay way to download music… never heard of that before! i wonder how difficult it’ll be to convince the world that they should fork over money for using napster…

  • May 08, 2003

    cause apparently does. or at least they’re half expecting a rogue user to come across their site, have problems, and submit technical support feedback… but first some background…

    while on tonight (shut up) i experienced firsthand a weird process-based snafu. i added a few t’s to my shopping cart, and then decided to go to bed w/out buying anything. i wanted to save my cart so i didn’t have to add the shirts again tomorrow when i go back to complete my purchase. lucky for me, gap has a sweet “save your shopping cart” option, so i clicked. simple, right? unfortunately, the link points to a registration page asking for the standard info and promising “personalized shopping services” and “fast and easy access” etc etc. but, wait a minute! i’m already registered @! where’s the “sign in” form, instead of this “sign up” form?

    Continue reading "know anyone who uses os7?"...
  • April 29, 2003

    i took some photos this past saturday. and when i say “some” i mean 165. although i only posted 28 of those, trust that there are some other keepers that will make an appearance at a later date. some test shots will get trashed, esp the ones where i was just playing with settings (white balance, ev compensation, flash settings, etc). even the ones i delete, though, provide a valuable learning experience, because i now (yes, right now) know the effects of my “messin around.” that’s why i’m so excited: saturday really allowed the power of shooting digital to sink in.

    Continue reading "soooooo many photos"...
  • April 25, 2003

    i’ve been using NetNewsWire off and on for a while now, but only recently did i start to pay attention to what was coming down the pipe. now that i’m finding less and less time to find and read what i want online, i’m forcing myself to organize my news better. this isn’t because i’m any more busy but instead because i can’t stop finding shit i want to read! why bother going to cnn and/or bbc news to check for the latest news if i can just fire up NNW see everything? all those blogs i want to read, who can keep track of it all… my point exactly…

    so give NetNewsWire a try (there’s also a lite version that is free), and while you’re at it, sign up for my rss feed.

  • April 14, 2003

    apple released safari beta 2 today, which includes tabbed browsing and some other improvements… i’ve had some SSL-through-a-proxy issues while at work, and safari never seemed to remember my proxy username/password (even though i checked “remember”) so we’ll see how beta 2 does…

  • April 04, 2003

    while there are a bunch of sweet little cases based on the new via mini-itx mobo, this one takes the cake!

  • February 11, 2003

    is apple finally going to get some market share in the server space? will enterprises (small/medium/large, what-have-you…) consider apple technology as add-ons or perhaps even as replacements for some of their existing infrastructure? based on the recent xserve announcements, i find it hard to believe this isn’t a possibility.

    i for one certainly hope this is apple’s break. the reaction to the xserve’s debut last year was impressive (albeit more of a “wow” factor than respect). the recent upgrade and introduction of the xserve raid put the focus where it belongs: on the hardware.

    Continue reading "mmm xserve..."...