Author Archive

Touch Camera ….

August 14, 2008

This looks like a very interesting concept: Touch Sight a camera for blind people.

It reminds me on the Bach y Rita Experiments. There they mounted a small array of vibrating sticks on the thong of people. The array was hooked up to a camera, mounted on their head. Eyes were closed. After a while, people could ‘see’ with the device, developed a rough idea of 3D, could avoid obstacles.

Lit: P. Bach-y-Rita, C. C. Collins, F. Sauders, B. White, and L. Scadden. Vision substitution by tactile image projection. Nature, 221:963-964, 1969.

mobileme *and* gmail?

August 12, 2008

We have been discussing that off and on, but here is a piece from someone, who actually tried it … and seemingly abandoned the idea after a few hours. Nice detailed listing what’s possible, and what’s not:

MobileMe and Gmail: Pick one or expect frustration

Use all fonts in the internet!

July 30, 2008

Everyone who has designed a web site, knows about this: you choose a nice font, build the web-site, put it online … and your buddy calls, and says: ‘why on earth did you use courier???’, and you answer: ‘get a mac, man!’ …

… not satisfying.

The reason for this: the set of fonts, that are available on all systems is relatively small, so if the font on your website is not available on the receivers computer, it will be rendered with something different. Now fonts are certainly not the most important part of a web-site … but I think fonts are an important part of publishing, and eventually there has to be some way, to accomplish the richness of printed media in the web.

The effort behind @font-face might be a big step in this direction. The basic idea, is to store font faces on a central repository, to which everybody has access. It will be incorporated in Firefox 3.1, which is a very good sign.

Here is a piece on @font-face on

The Future of Web Fonts looks Brighter

google and apple: mobiles, me and the cloud

June 29, 2008

Thinking about buying an iPhone2 is one of the things to do lately, and with the upcoming mobileme there is a whole new dimension to the pondering: should you go for an open standard like Android, and the google side of the street, or for a seemingly open, but appearantly pretty controlled environment like the iphone and mobileme?

I honestly don’t know. I was in favor of an iphone until very recently, when mobileme turned out to be a pretty restrictive thing in terms of interoperability with other online services, that I use (like gmail).

I am a fan of the apple-philosophy – to build few but very good things – and to make your computer run with a well integrated and spectacularly useful user interface. But now I have doubts, whether this approach scales up to web based systems. The apple experience is about a box with perfectly tuned stuff inside. What is the cloud about?

I think it is about integration beyond hardware, and far beyond sticking with a single company to provide you with everything – especially since you trust a lot of stuff into their hands. Unlike for hardware, and my computer box, which just has to run, I would like to be able to use web-based services by lots of different providers in a convenient fashion. I just can’t see a single provider having all exiting ideas – and I would like to try all of them.

So I might as well wait for the second iteration of android phones, and hope that they come with decent hardware.

A piece in Wired describes the story behind Android.

mobileme or gmail?

June 27, 2008

… that is the question. I am happy with my gmail account, so should I buy a mobileme one? Can I use them both at the same time in some streamlined convenient integrated fashion? MobileMe is sexy, but gmail is convenient. What shall we do? Where can we go? Where is my stressbollen … I have to go.

A nice piece on that on cult of mac.

HD tapeless video and MACs

June 6, 2008

So ever eager to stay informed on purchase options that are not going to materialize – because A. I don’t really need the stuff, and B. it’s actually pretty expensive – lately I am getting a pro in tapeless HD camcorders.

It turns out, that even-though you can plug these camcorders in the computer, and usually can see the videos as files, the importing is by no means trivial. It seems that the codecs are far beyond the capabilities of the software one would usually use, and well what can I say: everybody seems to love their own proprieteriness a tad to much.

In this spirit here is a piece on 5 tapeless camcorders and how they work (or don’t) with a MAC. Good thing: the canon, which is on the top of my virtual ‘I would buy it if I would need it’ list, seems to cooperate smoothly.

Tapeless camcorders are not a Mac’s best friend at MacWorld

Versions … subversion

June 4, 2008

This seems to be pretty interesting. … especially the free hosted repositories for quick and dirty collaborations. On the other hand, how can you trust someone with your data?

Anyway, I will keep Versions on the radar, because a handy subversion client that keeps track of all the working copies on my harddisc looks … promising.

Big file transfers:

May 23, 2008

Occasionally I have to transfer large amounts of data, or just distribute data, or slides to students.


Until now I did it by checking out for a free space somewhere on the server, fiddling with htaccess files, if it was not meant for public access, distributing the URL, rechecking it, if it really worked … for which I sometimes had to log in via ssh, and change the settings with chmod … this was cool, because it looked fancy to have data on your server. All the rest of the procedure … sucked, and the sysadmin did not like my 50MB files a lot.


I just go to and upload the stuff. I choose a nice URL e.g.,, choose a password – or not, choose a separate admin password for me – or not. bamm. done. 15min work reduced to 1min. No registering, no signup, the only downside I found is the 100MB limit – but well, I can live with that.

Apple users are productive -> have lots of time at their disposal

February 6, 2008

Seriously, how far ahead of schedule do you have to be to copy-past preference list entries into your ‘favorite’ base64 converter, and check whether there is something interesting to find.

Assuming they used up all other interesting stuff available, before engaging in this … aham, that is pretty impressive:

Super Tuesday Easter Egg in iPod touch


Most useful hack: how to get your mail

December 20, 2007

Ever eager to supply you with the most useful how-tos, we couldn’t withhold this: simplicity, availability, beauty: