Weekend project against the gloomy weather

A rainbow quilt! Accompanied by a two season marathon of Doctor Who on DVD πŸ˜‰

A fun rainbow quilt pattern

I found this awesome pattern onΒ Hooked on Needles (Tutorial). The original version is for a baby quilt and uses 4 inch squares with 2 inch sashing, I made mine with 6 inch squares and 3 inch sashing so it turned out just the right size for cuddling up on the sofa while still being manageable on my sewing machine.

How to re-combine JPEG + RAW in Aperture 2.0

I am currently playing around with the trial version of Aperture 2.0. As the Canon G9’s RAW format was not supported in Mac OS X until very recently, I kept the JPEGs in iPhoto, and the RAW images in folders somewhere else.

Aperture can show the JPEG + RAW of the same picture as a single image, so they do not take up unnecessary screen real estate. The RAW or JPEG master can be selected through the context menu:

masters.png

But I couldn’t find a way to re-combine the JPEGs I had imported from iPhoto, and the RAW files from a separate location, though it worked fine when importing directly from the camera. A workaround would of course be to use stacks (easy, thanks to auto-stack), but that would mean that stacks are pretty much unusable for other purposes.

I tried throwing JPEGs + RAWs together in a folder, and re-import them, hoping that Aperture would then recognize them as belonging together. Didn’t work. In the end it turns out that Aperture only creates a combined master if the modification date of both files is exactly the same.

This can of course easily be done in Terminal (my RAW files were still unmodified and thus had the original date, so I used those as the reference date, it would of course also work the other way round):

for f in `ls *.CR2`; do touch -r $f `basename $f .CR2`.JPG; done

I’m still glad that I don’t have years of such files to re-combine, but at least it is a lot less annoying than using stacks for them. If anyone knows of a better way, please let me know πŸ™‚

Clueless New Year

Two years ago, I posted a Happy New Year greeting shortly past midnight on January 1. I attached a picture of fireworks I had taken just that night. Not even a particularly good one, but for some reason I still decided to include a link to a high resolution version of the picture.

Over the coming year, that high res version of the fireworks photo shot up to be search result number 3 on Google Images for the search terms “Happy New Year”.

Google Image Search Results

Then, one year later, “the clueless” started to flock in. Or should I say “hot-link in”? People started including the photo in their new year’s greetings on MySpace and other sites. And they didn’t just go and copy it, but they hot-linked the full resolution version, using <img> tag attributes to scale it down to about 300 pixels width (what a shame!). While guestbooks and forums were certainly the worst offenders, people also hot-linked it from official city web sites and in their emails to their office mates. I often got 100 or 200 downloads from the same company with an email referrer.

Email

The first year, I tried to decrease bandwidth use (and the level of fun for the clueless πŸ˜‰ ) by serving a 30 pixel black and white version of the image to the worst hot-linking offenders. It didn’t help, so this year I tried serving an image with a polite message to please not hot-link. It seems people just don’t care. In fact, there’s websites out there that consist of nothing more than an endless list of hot-linked images taking forever to load. I now removed the high-resolution version entirely, after my usage graph looked like this for two New Year’s straight.

Oops, I graduated

So much has happened since I last blogged here. I passed my last exam and turned in my thesis … and since some people asked: yep, I passed and may now call myself “Diplom-Informatikerin” πŸ™‚

Right now I’m busy applying for jobs, finishing some final things for university and working on delicious2safari, so stay tuned πŸ™‚

I love deadlines :-)

So, here it is. Given that del.icio.us has just announced that their API URL will move permanently to a new location July 1st (and get SSL support … wooohoo), delicious2safari 2.0 will be released before that, no matter what …

delicious2safari 2.0 aka “the release that keeps getting buried …

… under a pile of other work” is finally getting close to where I want it to be, though slowly, as my diploma thesis takes up most of my time these days. Thanks for your incredible patience and all those nice emails πŸ™‚

Screenshot of 2.0

And since my website troubles are now sorted out too, here’s a universal binary of delicious2safari 1.2 to get you through the remaining short (I hope) wait for 2.0 πŸ™‚

Robo Rally is Back!

Robo Rally is finally back in stores. Apparently it has been out since last summer, though I’ve only discovered it last weekend. If you’ve never played Robo Rally: Each player ‘programs’ a robot that needs to capture one or more flags on a factory floor. Each turn, five movements/rotations are programmed, and the robots then execute each program step simultaneously. There are all sorts of obstacles on the floors (traps, lasers, conveyer belts etc.) and the robots also interfere with each other, so there’s plenty of room for surprises, in particular since the program can no longer be modified once the robots begin executing the first instruction πŸ™‚

The new edition is fully compatible with the old one and its extensions, all the new rules are optional. The robots are plastic now, but they look very nice and finally have a clearly visible direction indicator. I am actually not sure if the boards themselves have changed since I’ve always played with the ‘Armed and Dangerous’ extension mixed in.

New rules and features:

  • No more virtual robots at the beginning of a game: A dedicated ‘docking bay’ board is put next to the regular playing boards and has individual starting points for each robot.
  • The last player still programming their robot gets a 30-second limit to finish programming (a sand timer comes with the game).
  • There is a program sheet for each robot to hold its current program, damage tokens, life tokens and power down marker.

The whole thing comes with a new course manual that contains a selection of courses sorted by difficulty and length. While this is a great addition for the days you just don’t feel creative to design your own course, the manual itself looks a lot less robust than the old one and seems a bit chaotic. People who have never seen the game played before will probably have a harder time understanding how it works. So if you are planning to give the game to someone who has never played, be sure to play a game with them, or at least point them to the web site which includes tutorials. Same goes if you are a new player yourself.

Anyway, it’s really cool that Robo Rally is finally available again, so if you always wanted your own copy or are searching for the perfect geek game, go out and get it. Oh, and while you’re buying robot games, you might want to check out Ricochet Robots (online version here) as well.