01 Mar 2006

living in an alternate universe

for the last couple of weeks, i've been living in a different timezone, temporally, not physically. my waking hours are from 12pm to 7am. i can't quite nail down the timezone, i suppose that is more east coast US timezone than UTC.

as a result, i've not seen many people besides people in my lab. even my housemates i only see twice every week! it is turning into an alternative universe. today is the first day in many weeks that i've got back home before 12am, only because i left my powerbook's charger at home so i have to go back and get it.

i need to record this short video clip for a friend's wedding. i haven't seen or talked to him for a long time since i graduated and left australia, so its kinda hard to drum up something to say. right now i'm even battling with what language to say it in. cantonese or english? i don't even know who his finacee is. although a friend pointed out he has a wedding website that he (or his sister) made for his wedding which is really well done. not that i'm really a pink man.

so here's what i've got right now:

"hey mike, this is alastair. you know, that dorky guy who always fought with you for parking space at uni? anyway, as i'm all the way in uk, and only got wind of your pending doom (i mean happiness) of marriage. i just want to say congrads, and all the best to you. oh yeah, anson told me about your bucks night -- wooahh dude .. you guys are wild, i hope that video he took of you guys doesn't end up on google video or youtube!"

[jump to screenshot of some sleazy google video or something]

"nah .. i'm having you on, i haven't heard anything about your bucks night or anything, but knowing anson -- i think it'd been quite something. anyway, hope you have a great wedding and don't get too drunk that you don't remember your first night of blissful imprisonment! seeya!"

dunno if that is going to be the script or not. i'm relatively sure he's not going to see this blog post before his wedding because i didn't get an invitation ;P

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26 Feb 2006

most played songs on itunes

i just got this desire to put up some smart playlists that i have on itunes that are quite interesting. firstly the most played songs on itunes since the library got started (or reimported) and top songs in 2005.

this is a part of a rewrite of my album art inspector which will eventually do a bit more than that. but it was fun putting it up, didn't realised i started to ween myself off alot of chinese songs in 2005. although, there's a skew towards my purchased music on itunes because i thought i'd get a good run out of them to make it worth the money!

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25 Feb 2006

subclassing WebView

here's something i learned today after an hour of fiddling around with subclassing WebView (from WebKit) and by looking at the code inside open source webkit project.

to subclass WebView and draw stuff on top of it, you can't just override drawRect: because WebView (more specifically WebHTMLView) uses this NSView private function to prevent NSView iterating through the WebFrame hierarchy:

- (void)_recursiveDisplayRectIfNeededIgnoringOpacity:(NSRect)rect 
rectIsVisibleRectForView:(NSView *)visibleView

(read: WebKit/WebKit/WebView/WebHTMLView.m)

probably some people already know this, like the shiira or adium people, but i couldn't for the life of me get google to tell me. trawling the apple mailing lists didn't help at all either. there were some people suggesting that it would work on the lists, but no follow-up was ever made.

now i'll continue with my evil plans ..

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24 Feb 2006

itunes affiliate program earned me $2.54 for 5 months

yeah, didn't quite work out for me. haha .. thats the link on the album art widget page where i encourage ppl to just click it if they want to support me.

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24 Feb 2006

blogs you should read this weekend

so you have a weekend of nothing to do? lucky you.

well, you might enjoy reading about the following:

1. Wil Shipley (creator of Delicious Library) blogged about TED conference. it is very interesting what he has to say about celebs promoting a good cause. it does make you think twice about brushing off another attention grabbing celeb. also i'm feel very much the same as he does about Al Gore and calling him "Mr. President. check his blog posts out, TED Day 1 and TED 1.5.

2. MC Hammer has a blog. need i say more. are we having a 80s revival? with Macgyver, Knight Rider (don't "hassle the hoff"!) and other crazy crap on iTunes.

3. John Kricfalusi - the cartoon artist behind ren and stimpy. he has a great blog where he is obviously using it for his nefarious means, but its all in good fun, especially how he rewards his readers with various goodies like his own sketches and pre-release scripts. great stuff.

happy procastination!

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24 Feb 2006

slight change in theme

yeah, i toned down the colours on my site to be more web 2.0 -- muhahaha .. next i'll be putting on a beta badge and requiring everyone to register in order to see the posts. it'll be strictly invite only and will fall over at the slightest of load (crap, it already does that).

of course, all that will be backed up by a cute error message when the outages come such as the plumber is molesting the web server or that the web server is having a thai massage to help with that terrible uptime.

honestly, i just toned down the colours because they looked ugly. i just never got around to fixing it. i always liked lighter colours, but i'm not girly enough to go for pastels.


i actually had more to say but i forgot to. apart from the theme changes, i added some new feed buttons based on the ones from feedicons.com. they look alright but i like having two types of feeds on the site, so i modded them a bit for my evil purposes. also spent the half hour working on my site to add per page comment feeds so people can keep track of comments on a page.

i'm starting to clean up the rest of the site, starting from my bio page. i'm going to go for the expose of my life there. it serves its purpose more to remind me of what i've done rather than informing you. but i don't have many secrets to keep, so i might as well let them out. see how long it takes for someone to steal my identity.


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23 Feb 2006

elder wisdom circle

wow, this is pretty amazing. from npr's story of the day, there's a story about a bunch of over 60s who have grouped together and started dispensing advice to people who ask for it via the internet. the advice can be as mundane as a recipe or household tip to even social and personal problems.

its like reverse targetted google answers. pretty neat concept if you ask me. great way to encourage older people to join in a community on the internet. there should be more of this stuff. i can just imagine, a group of butchers who sit around and dispense advice about flower arrangement, or a group of plumbers who sit around and dispense advice about screw diameter and sizes.

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23 Feb 2006

frustrating exif problems with olympus and iphoto

exif isn't really an exact science, and the sub group of exif tags known as makernotes are even more annoying. makernotes are a group of manufacturer dependent tags that have their own undocumented format.

i'm running into a problem where photos from my olympus mju camera (and only that camera) have their makernotes tags corrupted when i rotate the photos in iphoto. lucky that iphoto saves the original. i only noticed with exiftool, but i'm not sure whether it is really because of iphoto, or just that exiftool's olympus makernotes support is kind of patchy. i can't find that behaviour on a couple of other photos that are taken with different cameras.

apart from exiftool, i'm struggling to find a program that will be the ground truth so i can determine whether exiftool or iphoto has this bug. luckily, there is way to just strip makernotes from those photos totally using exiftool:

exiftool -makernotes:all= someimage.jpg

cute feature i found in iphoto is that you make smart albums depending on what camera was used, i just realised i have over 12 different cameras contributing to my collection:


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21 Feb 2006

safari exploit! de ja vu?

hrmm, secunia has a report on a new exploit that allows someone to masquerade a shell script inside a zip file and have safari automatically open it.

i suppose this is slightly different from the automatically opening and installing of widgets when 10.4.0 was released. so if you use a mac, don't turn on "open safe files automatically" in safari's preference.

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21 Feb 2006

funny little gamers guestcomics

little gamers is one of my favourite comics on the net. however, recently they haven't been able to do any strips because of bloody imac failures! but worry not, their guestcomics are very funny, and very tongue in cheek. be sure to check it out on their site. the fav guest comics that rock are: somniloquism, theoutercircle and combustible orange.

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