Technology


Technology05 Sep 2008 12:40 pm

Since upgrading to Mac OS X Leopard 10.5.4 and then buying my iPhone 3G I have been having tons of issues with my work wireless internet connection. Immediately after upgrading to Leopard I could no longer access my work wireless connection. With 10.4 I had no issues with my WIFI connection but with Leopard I had TONS and Ditto with my iPhone 3G.

First off my Laptop & OS X Leopard WIFI Trials:

After upgrading to Leopard I tried to connect to my WEP protected work wireless connection and Airport asked me for a Login and Password. HUH? Login and Password are WPA requirements. WEP is a simple password. I tried all kinds of combinations of passwords with a preceeding # etc etc to no success. I then tried creating my own connection to the router and specified WEP security and still no success. I tried deleting the Airport Network Adapter (FYI: TERRIBLE IDEA) which only caused me hours of pain trying to get it to added back with still no success.

My final solution: Now each time I connect, I open up the Network Preferences pane, click on Assist Me, Select Diagnostics, Click on Default Location, Select my WIFI router name, and then it magically prompts me for my WEP password. Once entered it connects to our work WEP protected access point with no problems. WHY? I have no idea. This is a huge pain and disappointing that Leopard requires this kind of hack to connect to a simple wireless router.

Notes: I had NO problems with Tiger, we regularly connect tons of different computers (we are a tech company after all) all with no problems, I can NOT change the access since this is a corporate network and I have no control or input into this, and Leopard for some reason will still not save the WEP key in my keychain.

Any ideas? They would be greatly appreciated in the comments! My idea is that for some reason OS X is seeing the router as a WPA router instead of WEP. According to the info I can find WEP is still supported and indeed by using the Diagnostics Hack I can connect (as I am now).

Second, My iPhone 3G WIFI Trials

Same network, same issue, no work around. I have not been able to connect to the network at work with my iPhone. I have tried manually configuring it, setting the password with the preceeding # etc etc and no luck. My boss has an iPhone and the same issue so here if someone can come up with a solution for me I might be able to make the necessary changes happen 🙂

Anybody else not able to connect to a WEP enabled WIFI network with their iPhone 3G and know of a solution other than disabling WEP?

Thanks-
Richard

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Technology23 Jun 2008 01:01 pm

Doing anything productive with a multi page tiff document is difficult. Windows Picture Viewer does a great job at displaying and printing the multiple page tiff but that is where the productivity ends. I had scanned an article using a multi function copy/san/print machine which scans documents to email. This one happend to scan the document to a multiple page tiff. Some quick looking on the interwebs found a few tiff splitting programs. One of which I found for free on download.com and which crashed with no functionality.

Here is my hack for splitting a multiple page tiff into single images. Warning, this is ugly but functional. First off you must have Adobe Acrobat PDF Creator and some kind of image editor.

1) Right Click on the Multi-Page .Tiff Document and Select Convert to Adobe PDF
2) Open the created PDF File.
3) Using the Graphic Select Tool Draw a Square around one of the Pages
4) Select Copy from the Edit Menu or press Control-C (Apple-C on a Mac)
5) Paste this into your graphic editor of choice
6) Rinse and Repeat for the other pages in yoru Multi-Page Tiff

I am not sure why Adobe Acrobat Creator understands Multiple Page Tiffs and Adobe Photoshop doesn’t but this hack at least worked for me. If you know how to get to the extra pages using just Adobe Photoshop or even the CorelDraw suite then let me know.

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Software and Technology20 Jun 2008 12:01 pm

Recently Lifehacker turned me on to an awesome hulu browser written in one of my favorite platforms Adobe Air. My Media Player works very well and as a great way to watch hulu on the desktop.

For those who haven’t had much exposure to hulu (as I really haven’t had yet) hulu offers free high-quality tv shows and movies streamed over the wire. Hulu was setup by NBC and News Corp (FOX) and is rockign the online video world. The content is pretty extensive and has many popular shows such as The Colbert Report, The Daily Show, and tons of others.

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Software and Technology19 Jun 2008 12:38 pm

The Windows Media Encoder 9 application available free from Microsoft is a great free application for those needing to encode Windows Media Video (.WMV) videos.

Windows Media Encoder 9 supports many set encoding profiles as well as allowing custom settings and is available in 32 or 64 bit versions. It is pretty limited on input video file formats (avi, asf, mpg) it will encode from but the output is excellent and the application is free.

Microsoft’s newly released Microsoft Expression Encoder 2 is a much more powerful encoding program but alas is not free. They do offer a generous 30 day trial of Expression Encoder 2 so if you have a project you must get done on the cheap give it a try.

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Programming and Technology18 Jun 2008 12:32 pm

I was recently working on a new gallery display using a flash interpretation of the Apple Cover Flow view. The problem I had was the flash movie swf content was displaying infront of the css drop down on the site. The css dropdown was built using divs and the flash content was in a div but it didn’t seem to matter the settings on those divs.

To get the flash to display behind the css drop down menu you just have to set the wmode property to transparent. This setting must be made both in the AC_FL_RunContent call and in the Flash Object or by choosing Transparent Window in the Publish Settings menu in flash.

[tags]flash,css[\tags]

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Technology17 Jun 2008 09:50 am

Firefox Website Down During Version 3 World Record Attempt

Today 6/17/2008 was supposed to be the huge download day for the Firefox web browser’s newest version, 3.0. The only problem has thus far been … their website is DOWN! I can only assume this is from too much interest but no matter it isn’t looking too good for that world record attempt.

UPDATE: Looks like Firefox finally got their act together around 11:30AM PST and were able to get that record with a whopping 8million plus downloads. Congrats Firefox!

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Software and Technology10 Jun 2008 11:48 am

For a project I have been working on I needed to incorporate videos. I found perfect videos at my favorite stock photo site iStockphoto (although much more pricey than the good old days). Here is where my complete lack of video knowledge starts to come into play!

The videos I found I wanted to use said they included an Alpha Channel Mask or Alpha Matte which I had found from a few great tutorials would cut out the video from the background and allow me to use the videos as overlays or talking heads with the rest of the video background being completly transparent.

I downloaded the video and proceeded to import it directly into Flash (it was a FLV already after all) but alas not only was it just a normal video without the Alpha Channel effect there was this black and white cutout section after the video. Going back to my complete lack of video knowledge I was really lost. I figured it was just because I didn’t have the actual file and just a proof. So, I downloaded an original file and imported that using the Flash Encode Alpha Channel setting. Still no Alpha Channel and Video Transparency (just now better quality and without the iStockPhoto watermark).

Below is the final workflow I arrived at to turn iStockphoto Video comps with attached Alpha Masks into Quick Time (.mov) movies with alpha channels and ultimately Flash Video (.flv) files with the alpha channel. I will be using Sony’s Vegas Movie Studio Platinum Version 8 and FLV to AVI MPEG WMV 3GP MP4 iPod Converter to make the magic happen. I will also go through how to transform the Green Screen (Chroma Key) videos into videos with alpha channels along the way.

STEP 1: Find your video on iStockphoto. You can search for “Alpha Channel” “Alpha Mask” or “Chroma Key” to find videos that contain the attached Alpha Masks or were shot on a Green/Blue Screen.
STEP 2: Click on the Video and then Select The Download a Comp link.
MPEG Converter
STEP 3: Follow my previous tutorial on converting Flash Video files to MPEG or MOV files.
STEP 4: Open Sony Vegas Movie Studio and Create a New Project. In the project setup select to match the project a video file and select the video file you created in Step 3.
Drag Video to Stage
STEP 5: Using the Explorer Window (one of the tabs at the bottom of the screen) find the movie file you created in Step 3 and drag the video file to the Video Timeline (The 3rd One Down).
STEP 6: If your Video has an Alpha Mask at the end of the video we next need to pull that out to use it. Drag the PlayHead to the last frame that has the video and the frame right before the Black and White Alpha Mask Section. Then Press the “S” key or select Edit – Split. You now have two clip pieces.
Split Mask From Video
STEP 7: Drag the Alpha Mask Clip (the one on the right) Up to the Video Overlay Stage Layer (one above the Video Layer).
STEP 8: Click on the Double Green Box and Change the Mode to “Mask”
Luminance Mask Selection
STEP 9: Click on the Video FX tab at the bottom of the page. Select “Mask Generator” From the list box on the left. Drag the Luminance Mask Effect up to the Alpha Mask Clip (the one in the Video Overlay Stage) then close the Popup Window
Luminance Alpha Channel Mask

At this point you now have your Alpha Mask and background of your video is transparent. If your video was shot on Green Screen sometimes the mask is off a bit and the Green Screen can show through. At this point you can through in a Chroma Key to get rid of the Green Screen

Chroma Key Green Screen
IF YOU HAVE A GREEN SCREEN: On the Video FX tab Select “Chroma Keyer”. Drag the Pure Green Screen Chroma Key effect to the Video Stage (the one with the main video … and the green screen)

STEP 10: Render the Video. Select “Render As” from the File Menu. I extracted it as a Quick Time 7 (*.mov) and set the quality to best. NOTE: You need to make sure that your CODEC supports Alpha Channels before you export otherwise … you are back to where you started.

The video now includes the Alpha Channel and you can use it in your Project. I imported my videos into Flash. If you are importing them into Flash you need to make sure you select Encode Alpha Channel in the video import properties.

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Technology04 Jun 2008 11:53 am

For a recent project I have been working on I needed to include videos in it. I found lots of great stock video at iStock Photo. Their selection is fairly extensive, high quality, and reasonably priced. Once you find a video you want to use you can click on it and download a comp. If you are like me you need to work with this comp to create your comp lest you spend tons of money buying videos that don’t end up making the final version. The problem is the iStockPhoto video comps are FLV flash file formats that don’t work in video editing programs.

I found a program called “FLV to AVI MPEG WMV 3GP MP4 iPod Converter” from AONE Software that works great to take those FLV iStock Video comps from the flash video format to multiple other more usable formats such as MPEG, WMV, AVI. Once you have your video comp in a usable format you can place them into your project.

Check out my follow-up post to see how to work with the iStockPhoto Video Alpha Channels and Chroma Keys.

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Technology27 May 2008 11:51 am

Order Photos With Automator Action by Date Taken
I recently needed to order and rename some photos my dad and I had taken on vacation. I did a quick google search to come up with a way to do this and found my own blog post…DOH. I downloaded m own Automator Script, ran it, and photo renaming by date magic happened.

SO, since that post is on my own blogger platform blog, I am reposting it here (mostly so next time I can find it easier).

Problem: I had a directory of 115 photos which I wanted to upload to my picture gallery in the order they were taken but they were taken with three different cameras so the filenames meant nothing. With the Firefox/Apple finder you are unable to order by Date Created very easily in the dialog that pops up when you click to upload a photo to the web.

Solution: I created an Automator Action to first take Selected Finder Items then copy them just in case, then order the items by Date Taken, then rename the files in that order to 1-115.jpg. I also added a string so I could use this script for multiple directories I needed to order like this. You can download the action: Order Photos Automator Action.

To use this Automator Action, first select your photos in the finder, the double click on the Automator Script (after unpacking it from the ZIP). You will need to edit the location to save the copied items to to fit your needs and edit the filename settings if you want in to be different. Then just hightlight the items you want to rename in any finder window, go back to automator, and click the Automator Play button.

This script is nothing special or perfect but hopefully it gets you thinking about harnessing Automator to quickly perform menial tasks on your Apple.

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Programming and Software and Technology19 May 2008 12:45 pm

When I first tried to get PicLens enabled on my website photogallery I could not get the PicLens plugin to recognise my pictures rss feed. I had created my pictures.rss feed and instructed by the PicLens webmaster guide and pointed the page to the rss file using the link call at the top of my page.

<link id="gallery" rel="alternate" href="photos.rss" type="application/rss+xml">

I double checked the format of my photos.rss page but I still could not get PicLens to recognize it, and instead kept getting the error:

“This site does not yet support PicLens.”

The Cause: I discovered was that my web host (GoDaddy Shared Hosting Plan) was not correctly serving the rss file.

The Solution: Rename the photos.rss feed to photos.xml. Since the rss file is an XML file I knew it would be correctly served and would be hopefully be discovered by PicLens. For me changing the rss file to an xml file extension solved my “This site does not yet support PicLens” Error.

The second issue I discovered was that the webmaster guide does not list the guid field in the spec yet it is seems to be necessary for PicLens to match images on your site to the declarations in the rss feed. The guid field is included in the example photos.rss fied that comes with the downloadable webmaster guide which seemed to work unlike mine was so it was my clue the rss guid field was necessary. The rss spec clasifies the guid field as a unique identifier. I chose to use the filename as the guid for my photos.rss (photos.xml field as is the case for my setup) since it is unique and change the isPermaLink field to be true since it is. I could have also used the ID field of that row in my Database but I figured the PermaLink provided me with more information.

<guid isPermaLink="true">picture_214_2_1211225557.jpg</guid>

Let me know if this solves your PicLens error or if you have any others I may be able to help with.

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