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151  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Intel vs AMD processors on: December 17, 2011, 08:01:47 PM
And as it happens, the i7 2600k is going to be about 30% faster than the Phenom II X6 1100T in many cases, so it kind of works out. cheesy
http://www.tomshardware.c...ldozer-990fx,3043-12.html
Tasks that are heavily multithreaded like 3D rendering and media encoding (some) are a bit more equal, but the 2600k still wins out, despite having 2 fewer cores.
http://www.tomshardware.c...ldozer-990fx,3043-15.html

- Oshyan
152  Main Area and Open Discussion / General Software Discussion / Re: Creating thumbnails from AVCHD .mts files? on: December 14, 2011, 04:54:13 PM
I believe Media Player Classic - Home Cinema can do this. You can have it output either a JPG of the current frame or a "contact sheet" of frames if I recall correctly. Splayer, based on MPC, has similar options. Both should support MTS playback and have playlist options which should make it fairly easy to achieve batch-like output. If you want a commandline utility, Avisynth may be able to handle it (not sure though). Also Media Coder has a commandline option, though beware it uses Open Candy.

- Oshyan
153  Main Area and Open Discussion / General Software Discussion / Re: Software to make image collages, film strips, and other multi-image compositions on: December 14, 2011, 04:40:16 PM
You can try Picasa. It has a collage making function. I use it often.

 ohmy  embarassed How did I not think to even explore the options in Picasa?? I've commented on its face recognition in the past and I still use it for that purpose and a few other utility functions. I have actually even played with some of its other "create" functions like "face movies" and "time lapse", both of which work quite nicely (in a limited but super easy to use way). Indeed, looking at the collage functions, it seems to be almost *exactly* what I wanted! I could quibble about some missing control in some of the varying-size modes (mosaic), but really it will work for 90% of my needs in this area, which is awesome, especially since it's both free and a tool I already have and know how to use. Thanks for showing me what was right in front of my nose! cheesy

For the sake of completeness, Picture Collage Maker doesn't show any examples that are as simple as what I'm trying to achieve. I didn't test it since it's not free anyway and I'm not going to pay $30 for a program just to do this (especially when I now know Picasa does it, heh), but I suspect it might make simplicity more difficult than it needs to be in its efforts to make fancy (and nice) looking collages for people who want more going on in their creations.

Photoscape is a good find. It actually has some options that Picasa doesn't and while it's a bit clunkier, I think it's worth keeping in the toolbox for when I want to do things a that Picasa's collage system just won't do. Rounded corners is an example of a feature that, while small, is something I've done occasionally in the past and is very easy to achieve in Photoscape.

Thanks to everyone who pitched in with suggestions, I've got several great options now! Another DC success. smiley In fact, with how easy Picasa and Photoscape make this, I might be using this effect a lot more as I quite like it!

- Oshyan
154  Main Area and Open Discussion / General Software Discussion / Re: Software to make image collages, film strips, and other multi-image compositions on: December 14, 2011, 03:12:14 AM
Thanks for the quick suggestion. Foto Mosaik Edda is an interesting (and cool) app, but there are definitely some problems with it for my needs. The most significant is that it requires an additional input image that it will base the arrangement of your multi-images on (in order to construct a likeness of it). I did not find a way around this but since it is a fundamental part of the app's purpose I suspect it may not be optional. The other issue is related which is that photos cannot be manually arranged at all (from what I can see).

I should look up one of the Arcsoft-type apps, if nothing else then for a demo of the kind of thing I mean (but like I said not part of a bloated suite, and ideally free).

I guess Canon Photorecord is what I was thinking, but man Canon's website for it is crappy:
http://www.photorecord.co...en/usingphotorecord.html#
And, mind you, it is not ideal for my needs either, being much more focused on crappy themes, borders, etc. I usually want something very simple and clean, more valuable would simply be the alignment and arrangement controls and arbitrary layout canvas.

- Oshyan
155  Main Area and Open Discussion / General Software Discussion / Software to make image collages, film strips, and other multi-image compositions on: December 14, 2011, 02:02:16 AM
I have an infrequent but still significant need to make images like this:

[attachthumb=1]

By which I mean a single image composed of several separate ones, often in a sequence, or otherwise related, usually with borders between, sometimes with more creative blending (e.g. edges faded into each other).

I want a simple app that makes this super easy to do. The above was created with XnView, which is great as I love XnView. The problem is it's an iterative and imprecise process, this one took me 5 or 6 tries, and the control I had over the end results, while adequate, is limited. What I really want is something that can produce results like that, or like this, easily and quickly:

[attachthumb=2]

Or this:

[attachthumb=3]

Note the varying sizes and different border, etc. Caption capability per-picture as well as for the whole image would be nice but isn't a fundamental requirement.

Ideally the app would load an arbitrary number of files and then offer me an arbitrarily sized canvas on which to arrange them, with guides and snap-points to make it easy to achieve alignment or random arrangement, resizing, etc. with optional borders. Then it would generate a single image with a resolution of my choice, maximum maybe based on the native resolution of the loaded files. It should be able to deal with lots of high resolution photos at once, and ideally be able to handle RAW formats.

I've seen programs like maybe Arcsoft Photosuite or something similar that do seem to have similar capability, but they're not free, and more importantly they're usually bloated piles of crap with gimmicky features and poorly implemented core functionality. I want something that is hopefully simple, lean, efficient, and has very strong core capability to create these kind of sequence/collage images.

In the past I've used Photoshop to do this type of thing manually but it's laborious. It's even possible that Photoshop has a function in it that does this, or makes my normal process easier (basically just cut/paste and canvas enlargement, then manual border styles and stuff - pain in the butt). So if you've got suggestions for alternate workflow with the apps I already have and use, that's welcome too (Lightroom, XnView, Photoshop, Sagelight basically).

Thanks!

-  Oshyan
156  Main Area and Open Discussion / General Software Discussion / Re: AdBlock Plus To Not Block All Ads on: December 13, 2011, 10:49:54 PM
I see your points app, and you're right the comparison is not entirely apt. But let's look at this another way. Ad blocking is likely to have an inherently limited life span. Over a long enough period one of 3 things must happen. 1: The websites that rely on ads for revenue die due to lack of revenue. 2: They find an alternate revenue stream, one which people who use ad blockers may not like either. 3: The war between advertisers and ad blockers rages on with ever-escalating and sneaky methods on both sides, on the one to get around blocking measures, on the other to block sneaky content. None of those things sound good to me, maybe they do to you. To my mind the best outcome, short of figuring out a totally different way for sites to support themselves that is also not subscription-based, would be for ads to be "good" ads. Either that or we pay for content. Right now there aren't really any options if we want these sites to continue producing content we like.

So, given the situation as I've described it (which you may well disagree with, but that's how I see it), I think this is a potentially positive move which, while not ending the advertising/blocker war, at least provides some potential relief. Better that advertisers be given incentive to make less obtrusive ads than that they be given incentive to work around the blockers.

Ultimately as it's an option so it does seem to be a lot of noise about the philosophy while ignoring the far less significant and scandalous reality (uncheck the box, all is back to how it is now).

- Oshyan
157  Main Area and Open Discussion / General Software Discussion / Re: AdBlock Plus To Not Block All Ads on: December 13, 2011, 03:54:47 PM
You wouldn't put up with a word processing application that only saved some documents, not saving the ones that the developer finds objectionable.

You wouldn't put up with a media player that refuses to play your favorite mp3's because the developer hates your taste in music.

Many people seem just fine with the default save formats of both MS Office and OpenOffice, both of which are *optional*. And many media players don't play or associate with all media formats by default. These don't seem that much different to me. That's the critical thing here, as far as I understand, it's going to be the default to not block some ads, but it will still be *able* to block all ads if desired. It's a preference, just like changing your default save format for MS Office or enabling loading of more media formats in your media player.

It's a change in functionality, which I think is causing the majority of the uproar, but imagine if it had been like this since the beginning. People would still love AdBlock, they would just know they have to configure it right to block everything. Heck that's *already* the case as it won't block all ads by default (through omission rather than design, thus far). This just makes it explicit and intended, but again still leaves the out. I don't think it's a great move, but it's hardly deplorable or unjustifiable in my view.

- Oshyan
158  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: google queries re new "2-step verification" / new style, etc on: December 13, 2011, 02:22:22 AM
Yeah, Message Sneak Peak also seemed potentially useful. I haven't played with either enough to decide between them.

- Oshyan
159  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Google-Funded Study Says Firefox Less Secure than Internet Explorer on: December 11, 2011, 04:14:22 PM
Security is in an Extension. Duh! Wink

Seriously though, they do have plugins running in separate containers now, and I think per-tab protected memory or something. Both things that I do believe Chrome has had for ages, not sure about IE. But I'm pretty confident both IE and Chrome do have more built-in security measures. Most people responding to this report cite NoScript or other extensions as being FF's security ace in the hole, but it's pretty stupid to say that an extension makes FF secure so it's ok that the base browser isn't.

- Oshyan
160  Main Area and Open Discussion / General Software Discussion / Re: Microsoft goes all Apple with a Kill Switch for Apps under Win8 on: December 11, 2011, 04:12:40 PM
Good point. (Apple has pulled many apps from their store after the fact - as for wiping, not sure...)

That was my point.  They've *never* used the killswitch.  But google has... and multiple times.

There seems to be significant debate about that. No confirmed "kill switching", but "Ndrive", "Hottest Girls", and other apps have disappeared from some - though not all - users phones. Is this a glitch? Poorly implemented "kill switch" tech? The reality of some people having jailbroken phones with disabled kill switch? Who knows. But I'm not so sure Apple hasn't exercised this right yet.

- Oshyan
161  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: google queries re new "2-step verification" / new style, etc on: December 11, 2011, 03:53:58 PM
One nice thing about the new look is that it's somewhat customizable, i.e. message list density. Along with a few choice Gmail Labs projects (or Greasemonkey scripts, if you must), Gmail can be almost whatever you want it to be.

I recently discovered the "split pane with preview" Labs option that makes it very much like a desktop email client and it's pretty interesting! I long ago got used to not having the preview pane, and I don't like everything about the behavior when it's enabled, but the quick toggle and easy switch between vertical and horizontal split is pretty cool. I haven't yet decided if I'll end up using it enough to leave it enabled but it's awesome to have the option.

- Oshyan
162  News and Reviews / Official Announcements / Re: Cody got into the electrical cables again .. Server went down on 12/8/11 on: December 11, 2011, 03:50:08 PM
Seriously, is down time enough of an issue that we need a *second forum* to "discuss DC stuff while the main forum is down"? Woah. That's... crazy in my opinion. Just get a reliable hosting service! The IRC channel is enough for those "in the know" (which is the only people who would know about and use an alternate forum when the main one is down anyway). I seriously don't think resources and time should be wasted on a secondary forum.

Anyway, has anyone ever heard of a data center power outage that *went well*, i.e. according to plan? Something like "At 3PM Pacific Time on December 11th, our San Jose data center lost power. Our UPS units kept all systems online while our backup generators kicked in and there was no interruption of service. Our backup generators powered all systems for 9 hours until the utility company could restore power. Thank you for your patronage." End of story. I think I've seen that maybe *once*, yet 10s of times I've seen "Our backup systems got overloaded and failed, then things went down for x amount of time. Sorry!" What good are backup systems that fail themselves?

What about switching to a different Softlayer data center?

- Oshyan
163  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: What were these architects thinking? on: December 11, 2011, 03:27:47 PM
I'm with many others here, didn't really get the association until it was pointed out. I personally feel many people are too quick to make such associations. I have sympathy for people who were actually there to experience it in NY that day, but anyone who wasn't and claims to carry around some huge weight 10+yrs after the fact really needs to examine their psyche I think. Why *let* such an event wound you so deeply, especially if you had no direct contact with it?

Anyway, my first thought was more along the lines of "woah, there's a glitch in the building routines!" hehe. Like some kind of scrambling or pixelation filter run on an architectural drawing. Kind of cool though...

- Oshyan
164  Other Software / Developer's Corner / Re: Overhead of cross platform development on: December 11, 2011, 03:24:25 PM
For GUI, consider Qt...

- Oshyan
165  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Tis the Season, to Spam on: December 11, 2011, 03:14:36 PM
Hehe, nice. I actually *do* have a Gmail label for amusing/interesting/strange/fun spam. I don't put stuff in there often, most I don't even look at, but there are a few items.

Here's a sample subject line: "We are too lazy to change subjects every day, please buy our viagraa"
Heheheh. Honesty. Love it!

Or: "Kids can help you save your marriage. Try producing them with Spermamax."
Wow, bold advice.

I once got one promising me a "proskerous futkre". It took me a while to figure that one out, but from the moment I saw it I thought it was funny somehow. When I realized they meant "prosperous future", well I giggled pretty good for a while. Grin

- Oshyan
166  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Community outsourcing... Awesome idea on: December 11, 2011, 03:08:52 PM
I'd heard of Zaarly and Task Rabbit recently and was also intrigued. I have no current need for that kind of work, but I think it's a nice option to have not only with this economy, but also for distributing the increasing task load of people more evenly. Those who are over-tasked can easily delegate some work, maybe the lower-cost/wage work, to someone who needs it. Maybe Joe isn't skilled enough to do the work that Jane does, but Jane doesn't have time to keep her office organized and shop for groceries, so Joe gets work (albeit lower paid than Jane) and Jane gets more free time, which she pays for with the higher wage she earns from her skilled work. Interesting...

- Oshyan
167  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: I Have an Itch for a Video Camera... on: December 07, 2011, 04:59:38 AM
Exactly!

- Oshyan
168  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Paypal vs. Regretsy on: December 06, 2011, 06:29:40 PM
This is just one of many, many past examples of similar behavior by Paypal. On the bright side I think this is one of the first where they've actually backed down and apologized! Maybe they're learning...

- Oshyan
169  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: I Have an Itch for a Video Camera... on: December 06, 2011, 06:05:01 PM
Cool, good to hear first-hand experience! My only worry with it is I'll have to get into all kinds of extreme sports to really fit in with the user base. Wink

- Oshyan
170  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: I Have an Itch for a Video Camera... on: December 06, 2011, 01:04:41 AM
Yeah, likewise on the time lapse and wide-angle! I've been looking at getting a wide-angle for my dSLR and have already done some experiments with time-lapse, but frankly the results from that thing are as good - if not better than - my dSLR results so far, it's easier to use (I have to have an external intervalometer for the dSLR to do time-lapse), and it's a helluvalot smaller! I would be surprised if I don't end up with one of these things by early next year. Grin

- Oshyan
171  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: I Have an Itch for a Video Camera... on: December 05, 2011, 04:09:04 PM
I'm not into 3D myself at this point - the tech is still too immature, if nothing else - but it's cool to see yet another demo of how versatile these little cameras are. I think one of the things that really appeals to me about their approach is it is very "techie" in nature, it's not like your typical consumer camera, there are tons of options and accessories and stuff, and it's designed to be *used* (almost "abused" some would say). Yet despite all that it's not very expensive.

- Oshyan
172  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: silly humor - post 'em here! [warning some NSFW and adult content] on: December 05, 2011, 12:19:40 AM
Lonely Island is brilliant. Their latest album is almost entirely awesome. The not awesome parts are still rad, so... still pretty good. cheesy

For example:

<a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GI6CfKcMhjY" target="_blank">http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GI6CfKcMhjY</a>

 Thmbsup

- Oshyan
173  Main Area and Open Discussion / General Software Discussion / Re: change image dimensions on: December 05, 2011, 12:03:34 AM
This is a very common and simple image manipulation problem solved by most image editors, as far as I'm aware. So the better question is do you need to automate it, do it programatically, or batch-process, or something else complicated? Otherwise many applications should do what you want with a simple Resize function. For example XnView handles this easily. Just open the resize dialog, make sure it's set to preserve aspect ratio and *not* preserve print size (which would change DPI as you changed resolution), and then enter your new Y value, the X will adjust automatically. Note also that XnView has a batch processing function and I think there is even a commandline version and/or a library that you could access in code to do things programatically.

- Oshyan
174  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: I Have an Itch for a Video Camera... on: December 04, 2011, 11:59:48 PM
Yeah, it's not necessarily what I was looking for either, but I *want* it!! Hehe.

They offer several models, but the latest HD Hero 2 is what I want. This page has a handy comparison and all the major specs on the Hero 2:
http://gopro.com/product-...hd-hero2-hd-hero-cameras/

As far as how it compares to a standard "Digital HD Camcorder" type thing, well video quality is going to be similar, lens quality maybe slightly lower on the HD Hero - *maybe* - and you have no zoom on the Hero, whereas many HD Camcorders have a lot of zoom, which can be handy. However the Hero has got high speed, up to 120fps at lower resolutions, plus time-lapse modes, and a much wider angle lense (FOV) than any standard HD camcorder. Also waterproof housing and other fun, cool stuff. Basically I think the Hero is ideal for capturing outdoor stuff, sports, action, nature/landscapes. A standard camcorder would be better for people, shots of the kids, etc.

For my purposes the HD Hero 2 is pretty awesome.

- Oshyan
175  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: I Have an Itch for a Video Camera... on: December 03, 2011, 12:58:47 PM
That still leaves a pretty broad range of options, and I'll admit I'm no expert with video-specific cameras. But let me ask you, is zoom important to you? This is not an exact fit to what I think you're asking for, but I have to tell you this has got *me* excited and I'm nearly set on getting one before the year is out:
http://gopro.com/cameras/hd-hero2-outdoor-edition/
Watch the video:
http://gopro.com/cameras/...oor-edition/#videoTabArea (apparently filmed entirely on the camera)

Now again I know that's not exactly what you're looking for, but maybe better than stating exactly what specs you want would be to describe what you intend to use it for. Personally the HD Hero 2 is a really exciting device, but it may not be so for you. cheesy

- Oshyan
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