Category Archives: Internet

New Blog Theme!

Just finished installing the new theme I designed for my blog! I think it turned out pretty neat. I like it more than any previous one I have done to date!

In other news, I am currently a cashier at the Petro Iron Skillet. Mah dogs are killin me! But hey, a job is a job they say. And I got one. Now to search for one in my field!

Mechanical Turking for Amazon’s iPhone app

So a few days ago I saw a link to the HITs for the photo based product search in Amazon’s new iPhone app. And decided it might be fun to do some. And amazon was paying 10¢ a pop, so I thought it might be worth seeing how easy it was. I quickly started seeing patterns on what people were using to app to find many of them were obviously taken at the office and at their desk because trends appeared quickly.

Below is a list of some of the things I saw come up often and some notes about them.

For the watches, I was only able to find an exact match once. And for the coffee cups, never. I found every book someone took a photo of though. Only two photos appeared to come from inside a store.

Item # Notes
Phones 12 Three of them were Blackberries three were iPhones or iPhone boxes and 3 office phones
Watches 10 I was only able to identify one of them
Figurine / Toy 9 Was able to identify about three of them exactly
Mugs, Cups or Glasses 8 Not able to match any
Computers 8 Four were Mac Four were PC. All but one were laptops, the other was an old G4
Books 7 Was able to find them all
Appliances 6
Headphones 6
Candy 5
Water 4
Hard Drive 4 One WD, Two Lacie One Maxtor
Widget 4 Adapters, connectors, etc. was only able to find one audio connector
Household Supplies 3 Lysol, Cleaners, etc
Lotion or Soap 3
Monitors 3
Mouse 3 One Apple, Two Microsoft
Printer 3
Router/Switch 3 Two routers and one switch
Shoes 3
Coke 2 Regular and Coke Zero
Keyboard 2 HP and Logitec
Lamp 2
Other drinks 2 I think they were wine
Posters 2 Was not able to match either
Powertools 2 matched both
Speakers 2 Matched One
Sunglasses 2 No matches
Supliments 2
TV 2 Both HDTV
Video Game Accesories 2 Controller and Memory Card
Water Bottles 2 Found both
Bluetooth Headsets 1
Calculator 1
CDs 1 Portishead – Third
Chairs 1
Clocks 1
Clothing 1 Winter hat
Decoration 1
DVDs 1 It was the closeup of the back of one.
Fan 1
Food 1 Bananas (Amazon only had things made from bananas)
Jewelry 1 A blurry ring
Kleenex 1
Magnets 1
Mailbox 1 A blue Mailbox! It would be illegal for Amazon to sell one!
Memory Card Reader 1
Micrometer 1 Digital
Person 1 It was actually their tie, you could not see their face
Playing Cards 1
Scooter 1
Sculptures 1
Software 1 A Garageband Jam Pack
Stocking 1
Sun 1
Video Cameras 1
Video Games 1 Guitar Hero On Tour
Walkie Talkies 1
iPod Touch Screenshots 1

Plaxo is Eating Safari’s Cookies

Ok, for the past many months I have been having an issue with Safari losing all of it’s cookies randomly. The Cookies.plist file would go empty thus losing all my logins for websites. I was not able to figure out what was eating Safari’s cookies until just recently.

There never seemed to be a pattern to what was causing it. Not a specific site. Nothing l could seemingly track and reproduce. I always had a feeling it was caused by Mac OS X 10.5. The issue also appeared to be separate from a recent cookie issue that was fixed. But I might have found the real reason.

Plaxo.

The desktop software Plaxo provides to sync the Mac OS X Addressbook appears to set tracking cookies in the Cookies.plist. It does this without even visiting the site. And it seems to have a habbit of destroying the Cookies.plist when it tries to update sometimes. This might be due to not using the Cookies.plist API, or it might conflict with an update from a website happening at the same time, thus nuking the file.

Either way, for the longest time my cookies would disappear multiple times a day. But now after removing the Plaxo software (partly a seemingly evil input manager) no more cookie destruction. If you have Cookies disappearing, and Plaxo for Mac installed. Do an uninstall of Plaxo and see if your problem goes away.

View YouTube in H.264 with an Easy Bookmarklet

Rather recently people have figured out some ways to make YouTube display H.246 video on the site. That method is to add “&fmt=18” to the end of the URL. That works well, but wouldn’t it be better if it could be done with a simple click? For all those who don’t use addons like Greasemonkey or the like, a bookmarklet would be ideal.

Drag the following link up to your bookmarks bar:

YouTube H.264

Click on it when ever you are on a YouTube video page and want some H.264 goodness. Thanks go to Beermatt # for the code.

Update 4.18.08: Wow, the code in the script got eaten by my post, it is now fixed and does actually work.

A List of Cool Media I am Currently Consuming

Here is a list of some media I am regularly looking forward to consuming currently. I can’t stress enough how cool Skins is.

TV

Podcasts

How to Get a YouTube video onto Your Verizon Phone

Today in class I figured out how to Get a YouTube video on a Verizon Cell Phone for Sam. I thought I would create a little tutorial for him, and others and place it on my site. So here it is.



Requirements for this specific tutorial:

Part one
Get the video from YouTube.

  1. Using safari go to the page for the video you want.
    A screenshot of a YouTube page
  2. Open up the activity monitor in Safari. (Command-Option-A)
  3. Find the file in the list that is the biggest. This should be the only file that is over 1mb in the list.
    A screenshot of a YouTube page
  4. Hold down option and double click the link in the list. This will download the file to your default download location. It will be named “get_video”.
  5. Go into the Finder and rename the file to something ending in flv.
    A screenshot of a YouTube page

Part Two
Convert the file to a format you can use on your phone.

  1. Open the newly renamed .flv file in Quicktime Player.
    A screenshot of a YouTube page
  2. Using the timeline select 29 seconds of the video you want to use. (I say 29 since the limit is 30 seconds, and just 1 frame extra over that limit will cause it to be too long. Thus 29 seconds keeps you safe.
  3. Copy this selection (Command C)
  4. Create a new player from the file menu (Command-N) and paste (Command-V) the video into it. Go to the end of the video and verify that the time is indeed 29 seconds or less.
  5. Choose export from the file menu. (Command-E)
  6. From the Export format menu select “3G”. And then click options.
    A screenshot of a YouTube page
  7. Now you need to set up the specs for the video. I found that the default bit-rates and formats worked on the phone I was doing this with, so I recommend using those. I also found that the newest version of Quicktime updated the 3G capabilities and formats. So if you are using a version below 7.4 the dialogs might look a bit different than mine.
  8. Select ‘3GP’ or ‘3GPP (Mobile MP4)’ (depending on your quicktime version) from the File format menu at the top of the 3G Export Settings dialog. This should in both cases set all the default settings needed to export. Below I have a screenshot of the settings just incase.
    A screenshot of a YouTube page
  9. Click OK and then Click Save. Once finished encoding you should have a video file ready to send to the phone.

Part Three
Send the video to the phone.

  1. Head over to https://picture.vzw.com/ and click “Send a Message” over on the left.
    A screenshot of a YouTube page
  2. Click ‘Upload Media’ located at the bottom of the left column of the interface.
  3. Follow the dialogs to pick your exported video and upload it.
  4. Once uploaded drag the preview of your video over to the area on the right and enter any text you want to send along with it. Click Preview & send.
  5. On the next dialog you will enter the number of the phone you are sending to and an optional additional text message.
  6. Click send and it should send.

Part Four
The disclaimers and notes.

  • This might work for sending to other carriers phones. You would have to test to see. It might be verizon only. And if that is the case there might be other services out there that let you send 3GP videos to phones on those carriers.
  • This will work with other settings and 3g2 videos. Though this depends on the phone you are sending to some can’t play all file types, or bit-rates. So play with increasing the bit-rates and sizes and 3g formats to see what works and what don’t. Remember the Verizon site limits the file size to 3mb. So you might be able to get some clips looking really good. You never know. I just don’t have any phones handy to test with.
  • There are other ways to get the FLV from YouTube. The method shown here is just a quick and easy one all Mac users can do. KeepVid.com is another way to download the FLV.
  • There are other ways to encode to 3g other than Quicktime with Quicktime Pro. I don’t know them off hand, but this will work with those too as long as the produced 3g videos are of the proper specs.
  • Remember there are fees related to messages and data on phones. So don’t go crazy with this unless you know what your rates are, or the rates of the person receiving the video.

I hope this tutorial is found to be useful in some way. Apologies if something is unclear. Ask in the comments and I might be able to help.
Remember that Perian is the only way you can open the FLV in Quicktime, and it needs ‘.flv’ at the end of the file to open it.

RSS feed of your Xbox 360 Achievements.

yahoo pipe layoutThis Yahoo! Pipes pipe will look at the rss feed for your gamertag from 360voice.com and spit out just the entries where achievements occoured. And it will filter out weekly recaps. This is not an original idea, but it worked out well. And I set up the pipe to accept easy input of your gamertag to use. It is good for places on your own site where you want to bring in a feed of your XBox 360 achievements.

It requires that you are registered with 360voice.com.

Link: Pipes: 360voice Achievements Only

OwlBoy.com- Now More Valid

Just spent some time fixing errors causing my site to not be Valid XHTML. I found lots of tiny things all over, and was able to go from 145+ errors down to about 5. Those last 5 I just can’t quite get. This is not to say that is true for my whole site. I did the work with the front page of the blog.

Why did the dudes in charge of XHTML not include a simple alternative to the center tag?