Saturday, October 16, 2010

Could we ever learn to love driverless cars?

Could we ever learn to love driverless cars?, article.

You may have heard that Google, of all companies, are working with research in driverless cars. This struck me though:
"By 1994, scientists had developed a vehicle that was able to negotiate its way through three lanes of Paris traffic."

Me, I'm all for it. I would be way more likely to travel if I could just give a destination and then hunker down in the back seat with a soft throw blanket and my iPad. Heck, I might even black out the windows.

Capstan Ilona expanding table

Friday, October 15, 2010

Sergio Aragones iPad wallpaper

It occurred to me that the old Sergio Aragones old Mad Magazine margin-crawler gags were perfect to go between icons of the iPad. So I hand-constructed such a wallpaper! Might as well have fun with Photoshop (and lots of layers!) now we've learned to use it. 

(Click for big pic.)

By the way, the shadows and the darkening toward the bottom is what the iPad does to all wallpapers. Hmm.

Get the pure background here. (It's in the resolution of the iPad 1.)

Update: here it is in the iPad3/4 resolution.
(Hmm, they seem to slightly have changed the vertical position of the icons now. Well, it's still close enough. Aragones was never about great precision!)

Feel free to use it on your own iPad, and tell me if you do.     :-)

Dl speeds

It's lovely how download speeds keep going up. I just bought an movie for digital delivery (a highly cultural movie called Mums and Daughters), and when I saw it was two gigabytes, I thought "oh great, I'll have to wait all night for this". But whoo-hoo, the download speed is 2.2MB/second! Holy mofo. A year ago I was highly impressed by having moved up to 1/5th of that speed.

Another new thing is that after half of the download (less than ten minutes), it is keeping steady at 2.2MB. Very nice, I guess we all knows about big downloads which start great and then get slower and slower...

Blood tastes irony

[Thanks to Mark F]

Thursday, October 14, 2010

New photos from today

(Click for big pic and more detail.)
Photography by Eolake Stobblehouse. iPhone 4 and Photoshop.

John Pugh's 3-D Murals

[Thanks to Lou]
John Pugh's new 3-D Murals.

Apparently the statue, the stairs, and the customer are all painted. Good trompe l'oeil there.

A high job

[Thanks to James]

Stairway to Heaven (climbing towers) from Joe LaGreca.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Acrobat Pro question

I have pulled a web site with Acrobat Pro 9, and made a PDF document of it. But the lines are very long, so I'd like to make the text bigger (for screen reading). But amongst the hundreds of tools I find in Acrobat Pro, I don't see anything to change font or text size! Very puzzling. Can anybody help? (A googling did not help much.)

(I guess a side question is, what methods are there for taking a large site and save the whole thing in a handy package, in a universal format.)

Reflowing PDF files

GoodReader for the iPad and iPhone, apart from many other great capabilities, can reflow the text in a PDF file, often making a file much more readable since many PDF files have too long or too short lines. Does anybody know of a PDF reading app for Mac (and perhaps Windows) which can do this?

Skull USB hub

I think that if they wanted to go for it really, they should use real skulls, not resin.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

SF Bags (updated)

I'm just trying to digest an overview of what SFBags/WaterfieldDesigns have. It's challenging, because it's such a broad spectrum, and it all seem to be unusually nice and well produced and designed. And even just their Muzetto bag alone has four different sizes! (Three of them shown below.) (You can get it in black leather too, something not clear from the site.)
They are certainly not the most economical bags you can find, but quality is not cheap to make, and they are nowhere near the crazy prices of fashion bags (like $900 or $1900 for a simple handbag).

They also have bags, cases, and sleeves for phones and iPad, keyboards, laptops, cameras, even for the Kindle! I'm spinning, I guess I'll just have to order one of everything. In all colors! Ouch!

Update: These guys are totally insane, they even have several sleeves just for the Apple Wireless Keyboard. And the trackpad! I will have to back on my bed with my iPad in the bookholder, and explore at leisure.
I'll have to select like a dozen must-have products from their site, make a list, and then get in really good and friendly contact with my whole family from now til Christmas...

One thing fits perfectly for what I'd been looking for, a compact bag for both iPad and keyboard: the iPad Wallet. If you order it with a strap, it can serve as a bag as well as a case.

Also they have various sleeves both for iPad and keyboard and other things, all lovely, at different prices and strengths.

Update three hours later:
OK, I couldn't bring myself to just buy "everything", but I definitely sinned against propriety, and contributed to a good day at the office there.
It's true that their customer service really is excellent too.

I even did buy two colors of one thing: their cute li'll wallet, which I somehow suspect, despite the simple design, will work even better for me than my trusty 13-year-old trooper which is holding up remarkably well.

Content *is* king

Nobody got anywhere in the world by simply being content.
           -- Louis L'Amour

Mmmm, true. On the other hand, if you're content, why would you want to go anywhere?

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Van Gogh's Paintings Get Tilt-Shifted (updated)

Van Gogh's Paintings Get Tilt-Shifted, picture post.

Tilt-shift refers (here) to the popular method of artificially making a seeming very shallow depth-of-field in images, which gives the impression that the landscapes are very tiny, because you do get that effect when you photograph up very close. You can do it when photographing with large cameras which can tilt the lens.  You can even do it in Photoshop to already existing photos. And to add insult to injury, even to paintings!

I feel a deep connection with ol' Vincent, so I'm not sure what to think of this, to be honest. :-)

Sam said:
This reinterpretation brought me into action: I thought about the original, I looked for it, and I now have a different view. That's great. 
And here's something else that's great: Picasso's Guernica rendered in 3D.
Have you seen the original? I've stood in front of it and looked at it for a long time in Madrid's Reina Sofia museum. It's very, very impressive and watching this 3D rendering has only deepened my feelings for it. 

File handling trick

Here is a file handling trick I had to find for myself. It works in OS X, I haven't tried on Windows.

Say you have folders A and B. All the files in folder A are also in folder B, but not vice versa. And you need to isolate the files in folder B which are *not* in folder A. How to do it? Manually is tedious and error-prone.

1: Make sure you have backups of both folders.
2: Select all the files in folder A, and drag them to folder B.
3: When Finder asks you if you want to replace the files, select "apply to all" and click "replace".
4: Use Edit--->undo.

This last bit is the smart part. It will put the files back in folder A, but it will *not* replace the deleted files in folder B! (I think we can call that an error in the OS.) So you now have a folder of what you wanted, all the files which were in folder B but not in A.

Scrivener, a writer tool

I think I will try Scrivener. It's a sort of combination of a word processor and an outline tool and a research tool... It has many glowing testimonials, including from many professional writers who have tried many other apps, so it seems it works right. (It needs OS X. They say a windows version will come in 2011.)

Vibrating chess set

Like Ferrari and Hasselblad, another function cross-over which has me scratch my head. It seems that the actions of chess playing and of dildo play could hardly be more different, or less compatible.

But  I always welcome things which are a bit quaint. Seminal ideas. And things which disregard the braindead taboo on anything sexual. So what the heck. I won't even go into the question of: If that's an about-normal-sized set of chess, won't the pieces be, uhm, kind of small for real enjoyment in the other capacity? Unless of course they have really powerful vibrators and you can just insert one, dress and put on your face, and go have a relaxed day at the upscale lawyer's office you work at.

Oh, and by the way, apart from the fact that the two sides are supposed to have two different colors (it must be confusing to play, seriously), I must say this thing is really very nice looking.