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June 2009

Written By: Gary on June 28, 2009 2 Comments

It’s a shame to become so popular after someone dies. I guess in Michael’s case so extra popular (since he was so much more famous in the past and not so much lately).

And it’s always shame for someone to die so young.

michael-jackson-itunes
This is from just a few minutes ago at the iTunes store.

Rest in Peace Michael!

Written By: Gary on June 26, 2009 One Comment

Last Saturday night I went downtown to see the Detroit Symphony Orchestra and Project Bandaloop. Here’s the description (from the web site):

A late-night outdoor concert held on the lawn adjacent to The Ellington parking structure, across from Orchestra Hall. San Francisco’s extraordinary aerial dance troupe, Project Bandaloop, will add their beautiful, gravity-defying vertical choreography, performing to the dulcet sounds of the celebrated hometown orchestra.

Here’s a photo of them with the garage (the lighting wasn’t the best for photos).

Project Bandaloop

So here’s several clips I shot with my pocket digital camera, my Canon 1100, it worked way better than I thought it would have.

A really short clip of showing the grace of Project Bandaloop as they “dance” on the side of a building accompanied by the Detroit Symphony Orchestra.

Direct link to the HQ version of the clip.

Forgive the quality of the middle of this clip, I zoom in on one of the Project Bandaloop performers as she dances on the side of a building accompanied by the Detroit Symphony Orchestra.

It’s noisy as the baby plays with it’s rattle (not my baby, but he was adorable).

Direct link to the HQ version of the clip.

A 23 second clip of showing six of the Project Bandaloop crew “dance” on the side of a building accompanied by the Detroit Symphony Orchestra. There were probably 12 people going at the same time.

Direct link to the HQ version of the clip.

This is a long clip, almost 2 minutes, but I wanted you to see a chunk of the act instead of the little snippits I posted separately. You can really hear the baby play along with the music, I’d pretty much tuned it out by then.

Direct link to the HQ version of the clip.

After a while you sort of turn everything 90-degrees in your head and can see what they’re doing as if on a dance floor (in low gravity).

Here’s a blurry zoomed in shot of a group of four Project Bandaloop members.

bandaloop-IMG_1050-crop.jpg

This was great, I wish I could have been on top of the parking garage to have shot straight down at them so it would have looked like they were on a flat surface.

Written By: Gary on June 22, 2009 No Comment

Went to the Red Bull Air Races this year, it was fun. A bit of waiting here and there but it was great. Don’t really know anything about airplanes or races, but it was cool to see on the river.

Direct link to the high quality version.

We were down by Hart Plaza on the Detroit side. Lots of people, we had tickets, I I’d thought you could have just wandered down there to watch, but it was all cordoned off.

Direct link to the high quality video.

The sky could have been sunnier, but then I’d have complained it was too hot, but my video would have been nicer in that case. This video was just shot on my Canon 1100 digital still camera.

I’ve got some other photos (and zoomed in video) but I can’t find what I need to get them on my Sony camcorder….

Written By: Gary on June 21, 2009 No Comment

I’ve had a few people just happy that the iPhone phone dropped to $99 (for 8GB) and are tempted to get that instead of the $199 model with more features (and 16 GB). They want to know if it’s really worth the $100 more.

Here’s why it’s worth it (and I’m not even going to point out the things that you think I will):
3gornor3g.pngJust a few weeks ago there was $100 difference between the $199 (8 GB) and $299 (16 GB) iPhone 3g models and the only difference was 8GB of storage. Right now the $99 model is 8 GB and $199 is 16 GB so it’s the same $99 for 8 GB. The 8 GB iPod Touch (it’s an iPhone with no phone, no GPS, no camera, no microphone and lots of other stuff too) is $229 and you don’t get much at all! Here’s my countdown list on why to get the 3gs, please note that compass, video and better photos are the last three reasons, not the top three. This list is really for those who are making a purchase that think they don’t want the compass or better camera w/ video; this is not a reason to upgrade from the iPhone 3g, that’s expensive.

Here’s everything between the $99 iPhone 3g and the iPhone $199 3gs:

  • 8 GB of storage (flash) memory – twice as much storage memory for apps and videos and music and audiobooks.
  • 256 MB of RAM – twice as much memory for applications to run in (more efficiently which makes it seem faster).
  • Faster Processor – The main processor is 50% faster and a faster graphics chip, Apple says this gives you up to twice the speed.
  • Better battery life – For just about everything but phone calls and 3g network use.
  • Faster network – This will utilize AT&T’s faster network (once it gets installed) which should improve battery life according to Apple.
  • Oleophobic coating on screen – more fingerprint resistant (geeky oleophobic details from Bill Nye
  • Photos – 3.2 MP with tap to focus (instead of 2 MP).
  • Video Recording – This is new, not on the other models. You can directly upload to YouTube, MobileMe and (I assume) email to someone.
  • Compass – Maps will orient the right way and I think people will come out with some cool applications utilizing this. I think thinking astronomy applications first, point at the sky and it identifies what you are viewing and offers links to more information or you ask it for a star or planet and it points it out for you (I predict this won’t take long at all, scroll down on this page to see this for G1); maybe even point out satellites as they travel across the sky. Then I’m counting on being at a national park or a big city and point my phone at something and it will supply all sorts of information about that landmark. See this page for a sample tourist image or imagine this (see video) but overlaid on top of live images of where you are. Or this interactive view of Wimbeldon.

Did I leave anything out? How far did you have to go down the list before you decided it was worth $99?

The first four are really the biggest value: Twice the storage, twice the memory (this will help), faster processor and better battery life!

Notes: I do understand that Apple is only charging $100 for 16 GB more memory in the $299, but since you don’t want to spend that much, we’re really not going go there.

Written By: Gary on June 20, 2009 No Comment

If you’re not a Watchmen fan you probably won’t find it very funny.

Here’s the direct link to Dr. Manhattan’s Pants.

Written By: Gary on June 16, 2009 One Comment

tweetdeckiphone.gifSo in my attempt to start using Twitter more I installed TweetDeck today. Coincidentally, later on today they also released a free iPhone/Touch version of TweetDeck today which will sync with your columns (you need to download the new desktop version for the syncing). Syncs with multiple desktop clients too.

It seems like a great iPhone/Touch client even on it’s own: Take photos and immediately post to Twitter (via TwitPic etc.), shake to refresh, reorder columns.

tweetdeck.pngAnd TweetDeck appears to support multiple Twitter accounts (I don’t think that feature was in there earlier today).

Later: Looks like it only syncs columns you create after installing the new version. At least that’s the only way I can get it to work. And I manually had to sync, it doesn’t seem to be persistent, but I’m not changing my columns that often so no problem for me. (I relaunched to test but still no joy, maybe I just need to wait?)Not getting any syncing between my “columns”. I think I’m doing something wrong(?).

Even Later: So the iPhone version is syncing when it loads today (it was not doing this yesterday); it actually asks before adding a column. But the desktop version (for Mac) isn’t asking me to do this.

Written By: Gary on June 15, 2009 2 Comments

feed-icon.pngDoes anyone really care if their feed is RSS 2.0 or RSS 0.92 or Atom 0.3?

I’m assuming most people’s concern is full feed or partial feed? (I like full feeds with images).

I’m also assuming most feed readers handle all types these days?

My experience is most Atom feeds are full feeds, does anyone use partial feeds with atom?

Just looking for some opinions. Deep feedback / technical feedback is optional :)

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Written By: Gary on June 14, 2009 No Comment

So I’ve seen a lot of people confused about the new Star Trek universe. It’s pretty simple, it gets explained to you in the new movie several times.

Warning if you haven’t seen the movie, there are big spoilers below:

st-timeline.jpgIt’s explained with Spock with Kirk and again with Spock and Uhura. When Nero and (old) Spock came back in time, they changed the future. Kirk’s father dies and Vulcan is destroyed, this changes the Star Trek universe (at least the parts we care about). None of the stories that take place on Vulcan will happen again in this universe.

The Star Trek on-ine game (which I’ve never seen) wanted to explain where it fits into everything so they created an image of the new timeline. But they help explain the new timelines here. They actually call the “originl” ST universe Star Trek Prime (and the on-line game takes place after Romulus is destroyed in the universe’s future) and it consists of everything Star Trek before 2008 (original series, movies, next generation, deep space-9, enterprise, voyager). The game chose to take place in the prime established universe, otherwise it doesn’t have much ‘history’ to work with…

So we’ve got a whole new universe. Kirk never found Khan, Spock never died (we’ve got two Spock’s now!) but similar too Pike was the Captain of the Enterprise still ended up in a wheelchair. Everything from 2233 on changes a little and from 2258 on, there is no Vulcan. FYI, the math on that seems off, it makes Kirk 25 when Vulcan is destroyed, I would have guessed he was younger than that.

Bottom line – I thought it was a nice timeline chart…

Written By: Gary on June 13, 2009 No Comment

It’s 5:43 EST, if anything’s wonky it’s because I’m upgrading for the next few minutes. Unless I break something, then it’ll be longer…

I backed up everything yesterday, so I should be good :)

5 minutes later: Everything seems to be working fine!

Written By: Gary on June 13, 2009 One Comment

At WordCamp Chicago last weekend Darryl Markette kicked off the day playing a song called BlogStar, it was based on a song called RockStar. He finally recorded it as a video, so here I am sharing it with you!

Here’s the direct link to the HD video of BlogStar.

Written By: Gary on June 12, 2009 No Comment

Starting tonight (at 9PM Pacific) you can reserve your own Facebook vanity id. This means (hopefully) I’ll be “http://facebook.com/GaryLaPointe ” instead of “http://facebook.com/profile.php?id=736138968“.

You should be able to just go to http://www.facebook.com/username/ to get your name.

As always, you’re welcome to add me as a friend…

SUCCESS! I did manage to get my name (as above). It’s not case sensitive but I like the caps capitalized. And there is no trailing slash (“/”), it causes an error.

Written By: Gary on June 12, 2009 No Comment

It’s finally the end of Analog TV at the end of today. If you haven’t seen the PSAs announcing this, then you probably haven’t really been watching the TV so you won’t care. This is after they moved the date from January because they didn’t think people were ready..

One tip – I heard that some stations that are broadcasting in digital may change the frequency that they are broadcasting at, so you may need to have your box/TV re-scan for digital stations.

I’m in the Detroit area, I wonder how many fans might lose their signal for the Detroit Red Wings game tonight (last game of the Stanley Cup). And and I guess the same goes for Pittsburgh Penguins fans too.

dtv-coupon.pngIf you have satellite or a cable box, you don’t have a problem, the box will convert to your TV.

If you have cable, you don’t care, they’re still giving analog signals for another year or two (or three).

If you have a digital TV with a tuner you don’t care.

If you have an antenna hooked up to your TV (on the roof or rabbit ears), you care. You need that antenna hooked up to a digital convertor box (generally very cheap only $0-$20 with a coupon)

I don’t think stations have to stop broadcasting in analog, they just have to be broadcasting in digital. I’m wondering if anyone will hang on for a bit.

Written By: Gary on June 10, 2009 No Comment

So you can now download WordPress 2.8, it’s named after Chet Baker; all WordPress releases are named after Jazz greats.

I’m not sure when it’s going to show up in our admin consoles for automatic upgrade though. It’s there now!


Watch the video for all the new 2.8 features.

Don’t worry, the video doesn’t cover all 180 new features.

Written By: Gary on June 10, 2009 One Comment

So I’ve got a new theme. I figure I have to mention it because if you just read the RSS feed, you’ll never see it.

themejune2009.pngIt’s pretty much the Simple Indy theme by India Fascinates. It really reminds me of a few other themes out there, but it handles my long categories, works well on Mac, was easy to modify, it’s zippy and it works really well.

I’ve modified it a bit here and there to fit my needs but it’s pretty close to the original code. I like titles on all my archive pages and added my header image. I also changed the way it marked posts with the tags and categories. I also like full posts, if it’s the main page, archive or search results. And I like error messages to come with a search box. So other than that a few other minor changes it’s 99% the original theme. I still need to integrate my old logo into it…

If you see any problems, please let me know.

The photo will probably be changed soon, but it was one of the first ones I tried that fit okay. Currently it’s a view of the Pacific from Quepos, Costa Rica. I think maybe December of 2006 (New Years Eve,I think). If it’s not a picture of the coast with two tree trunks (like the thumbnail), then I changed it to something else ;)

I liked my old theme but it just loaded too slow and it had been bugging me for a while.

Written By: Gary on June 10, 2009 No Comment

My blog is going to be a little wonky from 4:30PM-6PM EST on Wednesday…

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Written By: Gary on June 9, 2009 2 Comments

mms3.pngMost of the iPhone OS 3.0 features aren’t anything new, they were announced months ago. So much of yesterday’s keynote dealing with the iPhone was not a surprise. What was a surprise was how stupid that AT&T looked when they weren’t ready for tethering or MMS!

I think 29 countries are ready for MMS but not AT&T in the United States and 22 countries are ready for tethering but not AT&T in the United States. What does this say about contracts and exclusivity with they way they are marketing this phone? If some other carriers had this phone they’d be selling like hot cakes as people would be trying to get away from AT&T…

tether3.pngPersonally, I don’t see me ever using the MMS (especially if it costs more), I just send my attachments as an e-mail. But the tethering is what’s holding me up from getting the iPhone.

FYI, when the 3.0 beta came out, it had the tethering in it and some people were able to turn it on, so this works. It’s just a matter of AT&T selling it to the customers.

Written By: Gary on June 7, 2009 No Comment

twitter.pngTwitter is neat but I’ve never gotten into to it enough. I just don’t have the time to watch it 24/7, or even close (not like some people), to get the full benefit. I do have a few things I really don’t like that cross my mind every time I use it.

1) Twitter used to have the ability to send you a text message based on keywords and at some point that went away. I can understand that some people abused that. But I just want it to alert me when someone tweets a “@GaryLaPointe” so I don’t miss some feedback on something I said. Seems like it’d been simple to have kept that as a simple feature.

If someone knows if that’s back or a different site I can use, it’d be great.

2) When I view someone’s profile, it says if I’m following them but it doesn’t say if they are following me. Since I can’t DM (Direct Message) someone unless they are following me, it’s kind of important. It really seems like that should be easier to check. The same goes for the my followers page and the who I’m following pages.

I think if I could do these two things, it’d motivate me to tweet a little more…

Written By: Gary on June 6, 2009 One Comment

Just some photos and video of the Chicago area while I was rollerblading around the Grant Park area. Just some free time before WordCamp Chicago 2009 starts

grant park aquarium

lake michigan chicago

chicago train

jersey dinosaur
We do this in Michigan when Detroit sports teams are in the championships.

Nothing really exciting in the video other than it’s a nice bridge and it’s a nice day. You can see I’m getting pretty tired as I near the top of the hill.

Direct link to the HQ video.

This might be a good test of the new Image Stabablization features in the iMovie ’09…

#wcchicago

Written By: Gary on June 3, 2009 No Comment

So as I’ve mentioned before, I’m really counting on a new iPhone announcement next week. Actually, I’m counting on a new release…

Here’s a sign that’s been hung at the WWDC (World-Wide Developer’s Conference) for next week.

Another big bonus would be Steve Jobs showing up at the end of the keynote for “just one more thing”.

I think they’re going to have lots of surprises for us next week. Apple’s good at that.

wwdcsign2009.png

Banners (WWDC 2009), originally uploaded by adamjackson1984.

And when Apple makes announcements, they usually have time lines and actually come through. Unlike (as I heard the other day) Microsoft who does demo’s of whatever shiny object has their attention at the time (releasing it in a timely manner is a whole different matter).

FYI – Here’s a graphical iPhone image with all the rumors on it that someone put together.

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