Friday, February 29, 2008

A JuVCé DooVDé player ready for HooD

This video is hilarious:


Portal: I'm still alive (live)

WARNING: For those of you who don't know what Portal is (OMG!!) or haven't reached the end of the game yet, please ignore this post (spoilers).

If you continued reading the post because the warning doesn't apply to you (and you are a fan of Portal), then you know how this next video is really special.

This is the final score of the Portal game, "I'm still alive", played live by its creator , Jonathan Coulton, and a bunch of well-known Internet faces: Veronica Belmont (from Mahalo Daily), Leo Laporte and Merlin Mann (from 43Folders).

Now the twist is that this was played on Rock Band. And yes, there is cake in the end :-)

Enjoy the video:

Source: Vimeo

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

"More infinite" GMail addresses

Remember when I posted about having infinite GMail addresses? Well, now you can have even more :-)

Apparently, if you have a GMail e-mail address such as, then the e-mail will also be sent to you.

This can be used to have separate e-mail addresses: for example, one for business, which you only provide to colleagues and business clients; and another one for personal use and/or registration in suspicious websites (but for this last one, maybe you should use the '+' tip I gave before).

Source: Digital Inspiration

Friday, February 22, 2008

A different kind of "Guitar" Hero

I know we're way past Christmas time, but this is to compensate those of you who didn't receive the Guitar Hero game for Christmas.

Hand Bell Hero is 4 key-based music game (like Guitar Hero) where you have to keep up with the bells and play Christmas tunes. Check it out and have fun!

How to obfuscate an "Hello World" program


int x=0,y[14],*z=&y;*(z++)=0x48;*(z++)=y[x++]+0x1D;

Are you wondering about what this code outputs?
This is a simple Hello World application, coded (in the C programming Language) in a very complicated way :-)

And to imagine that there are people who do this as a hobby :-)

Blu-ray vs. HD-DVD: the was is over!

For those of you who didn't follow the news on the High-definition battle between Blu-Ray and HD-DVD, here's an animated GIF that sums it all up (click on it):


Tuesday, February 19, 2008

How to remove a bunch of people from a photo of a landmark with photoshop

One of the most annoying things when you are visiting an interesting city or country is when you are trying to take a picture of a landmark and there are always people passing by. And no matter how long you wait, it's impossible to take that one picture that will show only the landmark and no people.

Well, by using a set of different photos (to collect enough information) and this neat Photoshop trick, you'll be able to turn photos like these:

into this:

You can find some interesting and free Photoshop tutorials here.

iCrap: the worst accessories for your iPod

The iPod is in fact the gadget that revolutionized the MP3 generation. Due to that status, the iPod mania has generated a whole wave of accessories that you can use to "improve" your usage of the iPod. However, not all of those accessories ended up being good ideas:

Source: PodcastingNews

3 degrees of porn

I couldn't believe this story when I read it, but it seems that an on-campus police officer for a Florida middle school is facing a criminal investigation over his MySpace account, because a person linked to one of his friends on MySpace has a link to a porn site on his profile. In other words, it is possible for you to navigate from this police officer's MySpace profile to a porn site in just 3 clicks.

Now my question is: is everyone insane??? Why is this police officer responsible for links that other people (that are not even connected directly to him...and even if they were) put on their profile?

This kind of reminds me of the "small-word networks" phenomenon, a theory that states that in general a person is connected to any other person in the world by just six-degrees of separation.

It makes me wonder if the same phenomenom applies to the Internet. In fact, it is my conviction that everyone that has a MySpace, Hi5, Facebook or any other social network account is somehow linked to a porn site in just a few clicks.

So, in solidarity to this police officer that is being wrongfully accused of linking to a porn site, take the challenge and shout out to the world your degrees of separation to a porn site.

I did take the challenge and these are the results:

  • On this blog there are some Google ads. I clicked on the following one:
  • From that ad I went to this site, which had the following banner
  • Thinking that this banner may lead me to somewhere interesting, I go to this page where I can find images such as this one:
This is definitely some questionable content to be "linked" to my site, but it is not explicit enough to be considered porn, so I'll let it sly. But now I know that my blog has only 3-degrees of separation to some nude :-)

In another test, you can go from my blog to here and then to here, where you can find this video:

Or this one:

There's definitely some nude action there, but should I be blamed? I don't think so.

And what about this one that you can access from my blog, and where you can find pictures like this one, this one, this one or this one?

These are just some examples of what you can get by clicking on your mouse 3 times starting from my blog. Imagine what happens if you decide to click 4, 5, 6 or more times? And should I be responsible for what you can access starting from my blog? Nope, and neither should this guy.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Stuff's predictions for 2008

Engadget posted on the new gadget from Sony Ericsson that is supposed to run PSP games. They did this based on a scan from the Portuguese version of the Stuff magazine. What they didn't know was that this was a part of a "predictions" article for the new year from Stuff (on the January 2008 issue). Which basically means that the gadgets presented on the article are not real. Instead these are merely wild guests from Stuff's editors based on the evolution of gadget's market. They even used the expression "probability of existence" to denote the probability of these gadgets ever seeing the light of day.

So, being a Stuff subscriber, I decided to read the article again and present here some of those interesting gadgets that Stuff thinks will come up on 2008 (the given percentage is the probability of existence):

  • Asus EcoBook - a wood-based (bambu) laptop from Asus (95%)
  • iPhone 3G - the 3G version of the Apple touch phone (60%)
  • Sony Play TV - Tivo-like service for the PS3 (87%)
  • Multi-mouse Apple - mighty mouse with multi-touch technology (62%)
  • Casio Hi-Speed - a digital camera capable of capturing 60 (6 Megapixel) pictures per second (84%)
  • GPS 3D - GPS devices with 3D satellite/airplane photo maps (100% - a Portuguese company already released a product with this technology)
  • Your music follows you - a small robot that follows you around the house playing your music (which is accessed from your PC through WiFi) (89%)
  • GPS cameras - digital cameras equipped with a GPS sensor to help geo-tag your photos (66%)
  • Apple Macbook Nano - A (iPhone-like) multi-touch tablet MacBook with a Blu-Ray recorder (64%)
And for more, check out Stuff magazine :-)

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Pirate Bay to create the "P2P paradise island"

Pirate Bay, the notorious torrent-based P2P file-sharing website, has responded to all the attacks made to them by copyright holders' representatives: they are going to buy their own island and turn it into a copyright-free piracy paradise.

With that in mind, they launched Buy Sealand website (currently down for maintenance), a campaign to buy the former World War 2 gun platform now known as the Principality of Sealand, located six miles southeast off the UK coast. Hopefully, with the help of their users' donations, Pirate Bay will be able to raise the $ needed to buy the entire island.

"It should be a great place for everybody, with high-speed Internets access, no copyright laws and VIP accounts to The Pirate Bay," the group said in a statement on the website.

Source: WebUser

A funny way to describe innovating technology

Check out this flash animation from Hitachi that explains how they're able to increase hard disks capacity by 10x. It's all about getting "perpendicular" :-)

Friday, February 08, 2008

iPod's Russian Roulette


10 things you can do yourself at home...if you have the time

I barely have the time to do some blogging, let alone do any of these things on the list. But if you do have the time (and patience and skills) Lifehacker has posted a very interesting list of the Top 10 DIY Home Projects.

These include a CD Stack Lamp, a Hands-Free Toilet Flusher, a Secret Bookshelf Door and a Remote Control Deadbolt.

Enjoy your weekend :-)

The "working" logo

Can you capture the irony between the logo and the message?


Strange gadget of the day: inflatable mouse

Just when you think computer mouses can't be further innovated, a new mouse appears that will change the way you think about portability (and work stress).

The Jelly Click is an inflatable optical mouse that you can carry anywhere and just inflate whenever you need it. Once you're finished with it, just remove all the air inside and just store it on any small pocket.

It takes portability to a whole new level :-)
Other mouses by the same designers include the Plushy Mouse and the Heartbeat Indicator Mouse.

Source: Gadget News

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

iMovie and iDVD: the apps that could be excellent, but aren't

I recently needed to make a small movie and I decided to give my first real try on iMovie and iDVD.

My idea was simple: merge a bunch of videos that I had of my friends all together, put some nice effects and background music and burn it to a nice semi-professional DVD. But accomplishing this was not so simple. And it was not because of the lack of features of the applications or because of my newbie experience on a Mac. The applications have the potential (but not the ability) to be great, but the frequent crashes and system hangs can really make it unbearable to work with them.

But let me tell you about my experience so you can draw your own conclusions.

The iMovie experience

On a first note, I used the iMovie HD from iLife'06 because iMovie'08 was crashing too many times with just some simple editing features. If you feel the same about iMovie'08, don't worry. You can download and install the previous version and keep both versions running on your Mac.

So first of all, I needed to collect all the videos and get them into iMovie so that I could make all the editing in one place. This task was really painless, whether it meant importing videos or recording them with the iSight.

Editing the movies (to get only the parts that I wanted) was really simple too, but sometimes the application would crash and exit without any warning and would put the unsaved files on the Trash. And sometimes I wasn't able to restore the videos back from the Trash, which meant that I had to import and edit them again.

When all the editing was finished, adding some background music was very simple and no problems occurred. Managing the volume between the parts where people were talking during the movies was really simple and the final result was amazing.

Adding some subtitles or text effects was also very easy and problem-free. Adding special effects was not that easy, however. At this point, I decided to add some effects to the movies to make them look a little bit more professional.

I wanted to add a "white point adjust" effect to give the movies a "warmer" look but this revealed to be an impossible task since iMovie crashed everytime I tried this.

Since I was going to use iDVD for making the DVD, I decided to use the iMovie "Chapters" tab to add some chapters' anchors to help people navigate the movies. This presented no problems.

The iDVD experience

With my movies ready, I used the "export to iDVD" feature of iMovie (Share->iDVD) to start a new iDVD project. The transfer was amazing and iDVD even created a menu view with all the chapters I created before on iMovie, so no work was needed to make these. I also added some extra menus and sections to show other movies (such as bloopers).

I then chose a nice theme (from one of those that come with iDVD) and used the "drop zones" to choose the appropriate videos that I wanted to show on the DVD title. The "drop zones" are areas on the DVD title where you can place videos or photos that will appear when you put the DVD on your DVD player. The effect is amazing and I couldn't wait to show these to my friends. However, actually creating a DVD with these effects was a different problem.

After trying countless times to create the DVD with no success (the computer would hang after an hour and a half of rendering menus) I decided to look over on the Internet if somebody else was having the same problem. That's when I found this thread with a bunch of people having similar experiences with iDVD.

It seems that, from what I've read in the thread, iDVD is really buggy when it comes to MacBook Pros (lucky me, huumm???). And Apple doesn't seem to be doing anything about it. And in the meantime, MacBook Pro users have these powerful computers that can be used with anything else, but not Mac OS X's own video and DVD editing tools.

The reported bugs include using dynamic drop zones (such as videos), background encoding and burning directly to DVD. So I decided to change my DVD to avoid these bugs:

  • Used only static drop zones (photos) and themes
  • Disabled background encoding (Advance -> Encode in Background)
  • Burned to DVD image instead of DVD drive
Once I got the DVD image ready, I used Burn to finally burn the DVD. The resulting DVD was not that amazing and sadly, to get these results, I could've easily used other simpler applications. I don't know which one of the settings was blocking my success on iDVD (or if all of them together) but this was the configuration that worked for me.

Final conclusions

These applications have a great potential, mainly because of the available features and the simplicity to use, but their unstable behavior and never-ending bugs can really turn movie/DVD-making into a nasty job. So, Apple if you're reading this... Please, please, give us a nice patch to solve these issues on our powerful MacBook Pros, because there's nothing worse than see such good potential go to waste.

What about you? Are you having the same problems? Any suggestions for solutions or other applications that are the same/better for making movies/dvds on a Mac?

Retro-blogging: best posts of February 2007

Previously on the Tech in Me:

Avoid Apple Remote's evil twins

If you're a teacher or have to do a lot of presentations using your mac, chances are that you already got stuck to a presentation that looks like it has been possessed by the devil, going back and forth in the slides and presenting other strange behaviors. But later on, you discover that this is only caused by a wise guy using another Apple Remote that is clicking the buttons to ruin your keynote.

To avoid these embarrassing moments (especially if you're doing a very important presentation to your boss or a client) you must "pair" your Apple Remote with your mac. To do so, follow these instructions:

  1. Log in as an administrator user
  2. Hold the remote close to the mac and press simultaneously the keys "Menu" and ">>|" (Fast-forward) for a few seconds
  3. The screen will fade to black and an image with the remote and a chain link will appear, indicating that the Apple Remote is now paired to your mac
Later on, if you decide to turn off the pairing for a specific Apple Remote or if you want to disable remote controlling with the Apple Remote at all:
  1. Log in as an administrator user
  2. Go to "System Preferences"
  3. Go to "Security"
  4. On the bottom of the dialog you'll find the options you need
    1. Mark "Disable remote control infrared receiver" to disable all contact between your mac and any Apple Remote
    2. Or click the "Unpair" button to remove only the previously paired Apple Remote

Tip from MacTips

How to burn MP3s to a CD with folders on iTunes

Whenever I needed to make a mix CD with some of my MP3s, I would always get pissed off because iTunes always puts the files directly on the root folder of the CD and ignores the folder structure that exists in the original music folder. This is very annoying especially because some MP3 players (like the ones built-in on car stereos) need that folder structure to organize the musics by artists or albums.

But now I discovered a small trick on iTunes that allows you to burn an MP3 CD maintaining all the original folder structure. All you have to do is to build a playlist with the songs you want to burn (as you would normally do on iTunes) and then in the top bar in the musics list, click the "Album" tab until this one turns into "Album by Artist".

And that's it. Then all you have to do is click the "Burn MP3 CD" button on the lower right side of iTunes and your new MP3 CD will include the original folder structure.

You can also use a year-based folder structure on the MP3 CD. Just keep clicking that same tab until a "Album by Year" column appears.

Tip from Internet Duct Tape

Strange gadget of the day: stress-reading mouse

The fast-pacing work environments of our time make stress (and all accompanying issues) the disease of this century and you should avoid (certain levels of) it.

And what better way than to do so by using your everyday tool: the computer's mouse. This mouse can read your current levels of stress and warn you when those levels are becoming dangerous. It even comes with a special-purposed stress-relieving software to help you ease the tension at work.

Source: Gadget News