Thursday, 24 April 2008
If you haven't seen the Tech-Recipies site yet, you should check it out. Nice compact, useful and interesting posts about how to do useful and cool things. I found it via my Twitter account feed. I'm finding lots of good stuff via Twitter these days.

I just finished reading a post at Tech-Recipies that describes how to use QuickTime Pro to remove the dead space often seen in videos that are letterboxed or have the side curtain bars (pillars). Essentially you use a simple image mask to define and remove the extra space, nice and simple.

Check out the tutorial at this link, or watch the hi-res screencast here.



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Tech
Thursday, 24 April 2008 10:41:07 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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 Friday, 18 April 2008
IPv6 has been around for something on the order of 15 years, yet it has yet to see widespread adoption. It was recently enabled on Internet core DNS infrastructure, and had been adopted in some network like those operated by certain mobile carriers. The current IP addressing and allocation scheme, dubbed IPv4, will eventually run out of IP addresses. There's been a sort of boy-called-wolf debate over whether we're really going to allocate the entire IPv4 address space anytime soon or not. But eventually we'll run out - some say in 2010.

Sean Siler, Program Manager responsible for IPv6, joined Richard Campbell and me for a RunAs Radio show. Sean really knows his stuff and did a terrific job of describing IPv6, comparing it to IPv4, and other useful information.

IPv6 enables a lot more than just additional addresses, though. Sean discusses what's the same, what's different and what's new (hint: IPSEC and multicasting everywhere). He also offers a great analogy to describe the enormous size of the IPv6 address space. It's mind-boggling, really.

If you don't understand or know much about IPv6, this interview is a great place to start learning, and you truly need to be doing so if you do network design or other work in your job. The change is significant, but not impossible - so go listen to the show and get learning!

Other resources:



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IT Security | RunAs Radio | Tech
Friday, 18 April 2008 10:06:20 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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 Thursday, 17 April 2008

One of the main reasons I decided I would buy the MacBook Air recently was that I knew I would be able to run Windows on it, either in a bootable install or in a virtual machine. In fact there is really one main app that I use all the time on Windows that I just can't get for the Mac, but that's a topic for another post. I'm quite happy with the Air - It's a great machine and  I have to admit that OS X has grown on me.

I bought a copy of VMWare Fusion after doing my required research. Compatibility with OSes and a variety of different features/capabilities put it at the top of my list for a virtualization host. I have a couple copies of Windows Server 2003 lying around here that I never broke the shrink wrap on, so I built a trimmed down virtual machine for use on the Mac.

In fact, I built three of them. But every time I installed a new VM and got it up and running, every time I restarted the machine VMWare would simply quit, die, crash - console and all. No running process and nothing on the screen.

Long story short, I searched and searched and searched and then went to the VMWare user forums, where I found a note about issues people have been having with Fusion and the MacBook Air when using the Air's external DVD drive. Apparently because I was unplugging the DVD drive and then restarting the machine without it attached, Fusion was somehow wigging out (my term) and closing unexpectedly.

After reconfiguring the VM in Fusion's control panel to no longer show the missing drive as "connected," the VM fires right up and works. Hopefully this is something VMWare will address in it's next Fusion update. It's tough keeping up with the nuances of new hardware, to be sure, so looking forward to a fix. In the meanwhile, manually removing the DVD drive in the VM's settings works like a charm.



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Blogging | Tech
Thursday, 17 April 2008 14:16:56 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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 Monday, 14 April 2008
I'm not a huge fan of using credit cards, but with that caveat I discovered something last night that I thought was a great idea and service offered by Capital One for their US-based customer's credit cards: Use your own images.

Under the program, every 30 days you can create a replacement card using your own pictures (provided your account qualifies and you have the rights to the images you use, of course). You go to the web site, provide some information, upload your picture (or choose from one in their library if you're dull and boring like that, heh), and submit your design. Once approved, they send you the card in the mail. Pretty simple and cool.

I decided to create my personal card from this image, which I took off my front porch a couple years ago one morning:



... and once I was done shifting the size and sliding the image around on the card for optimal fit, here is what I ended up with. It's almost like God created the view just to be put on a card (except of course that I'd bet God doesn't like credit cards one bit and the whole idea is just ridiculous):

XX

If you're a Capital One credit card holder, you can check out and use the Image Card service at http://www.capitaloneimagecard.com/.

Now I just have to wait 30 days to make another one, heh. I wonder if we can get the state DMV to let us do this with our license plates?



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Photography | Random Stuff
Monday, 14 April 2008 06:43:43 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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 Sunday, 13 April 2008

Richard Campbell and I sat down and discussed virtualization with Anil Desai. Released in beta with Windows Server 2008 and soon to be released in it's final form, Hyper-V is an interesting and worthwhile technology that leverages 64-bit computing and allows you to run different virtual OS'es on the server with full symmetrical multiprocessor support. Virtualization is a primary role of Windows Server 2008. The release candidate of Hyper-V is available now.

You can download and listen the MP3 version of our interview with Anil by clicking here, or click over to the RunAs Radio site for more formats (like WMA, AAC), which is where our weekly IT audio talk show "lives."

For more information from Microsoft about Hyper-V, check these links:



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RunAs Radio | Tech
Sunday, 13 April 2008 12:23:57 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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I downloaded a new iPhone native app this morning called Twinkle, which is a terrific Twitter client with integration to the iPhone's camera and the radio geolocation abilities. Even without those two enhancements, Twinkle would be - by a long shot - the best option for the iPhone when it comes to Twitter. To get Twinkle, you need to install it via the Installer.app program for jail-broken iPhones (see below for some more info).

Twinkle automatically figures out (approximately) where you are using Erica Sadun's FindMe utility, and uses that to label your Twitter posts with your location - very cool. It also allows you to cclick on a "near me" button to find posts from people located - you guessed it - near you. You can fine tune the distance and it's a nifty addition to Twitter.

A few observations:

  • Twinkle is a very fast app - which is welcome since web-based options tend to be very slow, to the point of painful. This app, however, races.
  • The UI design and usability to pretty darned terrific. It's quite well though-through.
  • I wish I could follow people from within Twinkle. That's one feature that's missing. I hear it's coming soon though.
  • Looks like I cannot click on URLs in tweets - that's certainly a missing feature (also coming soon).
  • Need links to pics that are posted in the tweet - Can't see a reference to the image in the web Twitter interface if I include a pic.
  • The app has has crashed on me a number of times while it's trying to do the geolocation, not sure if my fringe-area location has anything to do with that or not.

Of course, the app creator has a Twitter account, and you can see how popular it's becoming when you look at tweets that refer to Twinkle on TweetScan.

A few iPhone screen-grabs to show it off (click each one to view full-size):

Twinkle1
View of my followed peeps' tweets

Twinkle2
You wouldn't normally see this too often. My
fringe coverage area means I'm hard-to-locate.

Twinkle3 
Viewing an individual tweet, with ability to
reply, direct message, or go to the tweeter's
individual profile/post page.

Twinkle5 
Replying to myself. Yeah, that's a little weird.

Twinkle6
What you see when you view an individual
profile. Nice.

Twinkle7
Ah screen-door effect. Taking a picture
to attach to a tweet.

Twinkle8
Note the paperclip showing a picture is
attached. Also, the character count actually
works and is accurate, which is a weakness
of many twitter clients.

Twinkle9 
Clicking on the paperclip allows you to
view the attached image - a nice friendly
addition. You can also remove the image
from here, if you change your mind or
want to shoot a new one.

Note: In order to use Twinkle today, you have to "jailbreak" your iPhone, a modification that allows third-party applications to be installed on the device. In the future, you will hopefully be able to download Twinkle from the Apple app catalog (once it's made available). But not today. An obligatory word of warning... If you do the jailbreak process, Apple won't provide support on your phone in the event you need it (unless you restore the phone to non-jailbroken status of course). The ZiPhone jailbreak app is slick and simple - you can just download for Windows or Mac, plug in your iPhone, click a few times, wait a few seconds and you're done. Google it if you want, you'll find it.



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Apple | Mobile | Tech
Sunday, 13 April 2008 12:09:15 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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