Archive for category Media

Congratulations Mr. Heil!

I am very pleased to congratulate a good man and ex-colleague for his accomplished mission: He handed in his PhD thesis with the Subject (german): “Anwendungsentwicklun für intelligente Umgebungen im Web Engineering“:

“This book describes a holistic approach to develop complex software systems based on the WebComposition process model. It shows how to integrate soft- and hardware components in a cost efficient and effective way using  Web technologies and the Semantic Web. The WebComposition Concurrency System, a formal language to predict system dependencies and conflicts, allows efficient planing and monitoring of the development and operation process of the overall system.”

I had the pleasure to work with Andreas on several occasions. One that I remember with the strongest feelings is a 2 1/2 day around-the-clock hack-a-thon at Microsoft Research. We got it working back then!

For the last 8 years I am constantly trying to get him interested and convinced to work on things directly or remotely connected to some of the stuff I do – but up until now luck wasn’t on my side. Maybe someday 🙂

My sincere compliments on achieving his goal on this. Congratulations!

Source 1: http://www.aheil.de/books/
Source 2: http://blog.aheil.de
Source 3: http://www.schrankmonster.de/category/familyandfriends/aheil-de/

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home automation example: domotica

For several years now I am interested in this home automation thing – I even got a little bit of my own home automation going. But with websites like domotica you can get an idea of what is achieveable and how it might look for the people actually using it every day.

Source 1: http://www.hekkers.net/domotica/Default.aspx

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soothing rain

When music just does not cut it and you need to concentrate or sleep. Well you need rain. To the rescue comes an entire internet radio station dedicated to bring the best rain showers directly to your speakers:

Source 1: http://www.raining.fm

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automation to the people: download YouTube videos automatically

You know that: You have just stumbled upon a great and informative YouTube channel. It’s full of videos you would like to watch but to do that you need to have internet access in any case. And of course that internet access needs to be as fast as possible to cope with the video quality you would like to watch.

If only it would be possible to download a video from YouTube, store it locally and watch it whenever you got the time. Maybe you want to take that video with you on that great, internetless self-awareness trip…

Now there are a lot of tools that allow you to download YouTube clips manually. I used BYTubeD for that purpose. It is a nice and easy to use Firefox Add-On which can be started whenever a YouTube video appears in any page.

After you’ve started into BYTubeD you can select which of the videos on the page you would like to download and what quality you would like to get.

All this works very well if you only want to download something once every while. Problems come up if you want to download regular postings…

I’ve subscribed to several – to me – very interesting YouTube channels. These get updated almost every day. The only option for me to keep track with them is to take the time, surf YouTube and use BYTubeD to download manually if there is anything new. Now this was a waste of time for me so I automated it.

I wrote a small tool I call “YouTubeFeast” – because it allows you to feast on YouTube… yeah I know. Now this tool is designed to run on a linux or windows machine in the background and scan in configurable intervals for new videos. If it finds new videos it downloads them in the quality you pre-configured to a folder you configured. It couldn’t be easier.

It’s open-source (GPLv2) and I’ve made it publicly available on GitHub. You can even find a pre-compiled binary version there which is ready-to-run.

The configuration file “YouTubeFeast.configuration” is a plain and simple text file. Use your favourite text editor and obey some simple rules:

  • any line beginning with # is a comment
  • any line not beginning with a # is a download-job
  • any download job consists of the following, tabulator separated parameters:
    • the URL of the video page / channel homepage / overview
    • the desired quality (360p, 720p, 1080p)
    • the path to store the videos
    • the interval (in hours) to check for new stuff
  • don’t forget: tabulator separates parameters (take a look into the example configuration file…)

After configuring the only thing you need to do is to start YouTubeFeast. It will then go through all the jobs and download video files – as soon as it comes across an already downloaded file it stops that specific job.

That’s all about it. If you got any comment or suggestions for improvement please let me know.

Source 1: https://github.com/bietiekay/YouTubeFeast
Source 2: Download YouTubeFeast-March2013

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downloading the whole Jamendo catalog

Yesterday @simcup wrote on twitter about that he is currently downloading the whole Jamendo catalog of Creative Commons music. Capture

Although I already knew Jamendo it never occurred to be to download their whole catalog. Since I am a fan of choice I immediately thought about how I could download the catalog too. Since the only clue was a cryptic uri-like text how to achieve that it suddenly sounded like a great idea to write a universal tool and release it as open-source. This tool should allow users to download the whole catalog and keep their local jamendo mirror in sync with the server. So anytime new artists, albums or tracks are added the user does not need to download them all again.

So the only thing I had as a starting point was that cryptic uri pointing me to something I’ve never heard of called Rythmbox. Turns out that this is a GNOME music player application which has Jamendo integration. After some clueless poking around I decided to take a look at the source of Rythmbox, especially the Jamendo module.

This module is written in python and quite clean to read. And just by looking at the first lines I came across the interesting fact that there is a almost daily updated XML dump of the Jamendo catalog available from Jamendo. Hurray! Since Jamendo wants developers to interact with the platform they decided to put a documentation online which allows anyone to write tools and stream and download tracks. After all the clues I found I finally ended up on this page.

So there are the catalog download, track stream and torrent uris necessary to download the catalog. Now the only thing that is needed is a tool which parses the XML and creates a nice folder structure for us.

folderstructure

Parsing XML in C# (my prefered programming language) is easy. Basically you can use a tool called XSD.exe and let it generate first the XSD from the XML and then ready-to-use C# classes from that XSD.

generating_xsd_and_csharp

After doing all that actually reading the whole catalog into a useable form breaks down to just three lines of code:

parsingxml

Isn’t it great how modern frameworks take away the complexity of such tasks. At this point I’ve already parsed the whole catalog into my tool and only wrote three lines of code. The rest was generated automatically for me. The best of all – this also works on non-windows operating systems when you use mono.

When the XML data is parsed and available in a nice data structure it’s easy to iterate through all artists, all albums and all tracks and then download the actual mp3 or ogg. And that’s basically what my tool does. It takes the XML, parses it, and downloads. It will check before downloading if the track already exists and will only download those added since the last run.

Additionally since I am deeply involved into the development of the GraphDB graph database at sones I want to make use of the Jamendo data and the graph structure it poses. Since the directory structure my tool is generating is only one aspect how you could possibly look at the data it’s quite interesting to demonstrate the capabilities of GraphDB based on that data.

The idea behind the graph representation of the data is that you could start from almost any starting point imaginable. No matter if you you start from a single track and drill up into genre and artists, or if you start at a location and drill down to tracks.

So what the Downloader does in matters of GraphDB integration is that it outputs a GraphQL script which can be imported into an instance of GraphDB.

The sourcecode of my tool is available on github and released unter the BSD license – feel free to play with it and to contribute.

Source 1: http://www.jamendo.com
Source 2: https://github.com/bietiekay/JAMENDOwnloader

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Boogie Board

Two weeks ago I had read an article about a “replacement for papernotes” product called “Boogie Board”. The company behind the product claims to replace paper with the bold slogan of “say goodby to paper”.

Well what is it? Basically it’s a liquid crystal display without the logic to adress specific pixels. So think of it like taking the liquid crystal part and leaving out all the transistors and logic to actually display something. Then add a pen or even your finger nail and you can “write” on that display – what’s happening is that obviously the crystals get pushed aside and the background of the “display” shines through – this background is white so when you write on the boogie board everything is white on black…

_MG_9156

_MG_9160

_MG_9162

The only button on the tablet is named “erase” – and that’s what the button does: the whole display flashes two times, one white, and then black and everything is back to where we started. You cannot save. You just press erase and start over. It’s truly a replacement for post-it-notes…

Of course there’s a battery inside, and it’s said to hold for tens of thousands of erases. You cannot change the battery when it’s empty, but on the other hand this gadget is less than 30 Euros and it does look like you can break it up and try your best to exchange the battery yourself. Since the battery isn’t needed to display anything I don’t think I will run out of juice just yet.

Source: http://www.improvelectronics.com

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der letzte Flug des Space Shuttle Endeavour

Am kommenden Freitag soll das Space Shuttle Endeavour zum letzen Mal und ein Space Shuttle zum vorletzten Mal abheben. Da will man dabei sein 🙂

Ich habe glücklicherweise gerade die Herren (und Damen?) von SpaceLiveCast entdeckt. Offenbar machen die schon eine ganze Weile Livestreams zu den verschiedenen Raumfahrt-Events.

P.S.: Wenn ich einen Wunsch frei hätte, wäre das, dass die Seite einen Video Podcast Feed anbietet….(wird Hilfe benötigt?)

Source 1: http://spacelivecast.de/
Source 2: http://www.raumfahrer.net
Source 3: http://spacelivecast.de/2011/04/29-04-ab-1900-uhr-sts-134-letzter-endeavour-flug/

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type to win

In the dusk of Flash it’s nice to see that HTML 5 and JavaScript are here to bring small and fun games to our browsers.

“Z-Type was specifically created for Mozilla’s Game On. I immediately wanted to participate in the competition when I first heard of it, but the deadline seemed so far away that I didn’t bother to begin working on a game back then. Fast forward to this tweet announcing that the deadline was only one week away – it took me by surprise. I still hadn’t even began working on anything. The thought of just submitting my earlier game Biolab Disaster crossed my mind but was immediately dismissed again.”

Great sound, great graphics and in the higher levels quite difficult.

Source 1: http://www.phoboslab.org/ztype/

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Photosynth now mobile…

It’s been some months years since the once Microsoft Research Project got public and Microsoft started offering it’s great Photosynth service to the public.

I’ve been using the Microsoft panoramic and Photosynth tools for years now and I tend to say that they are the best tools one can get to create fast, easy and high-quality panoramic images.

There is photosynth.net to store all those panoramic pictures like this one from 2008:

The photosynth technology itself contains several other interesting technologies like SeaDragon which allows high quality image zooming on current internet connection speeds.

This awesome technology is as of now available on the iPhone (3GS and upwards) and it’s better than all the other panoramic tools I’ve used on a phone.

the process of taking the images

after the pictures are taken additional stitching is needed

after the stitching completed a fairly impressive panoramic images is the result

Source 1: Photosynth articles from the past
Source 2: Photosynth in Wikipedia
Source 3: Photosynth on iPhone App Store

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Shairport – someone reversed an AirPort Express

Low Latency Network Audio was a dream for the past years (see an article of 2005 and 2008) and with AirPlay it’s finally there.

I am using the Apple AirPlay technology for several years now… after it got implemented into iOS it’s just fantastic to have the option to have whatever sound source I want to playing loud and clear in any room I want to…

Okay it’s not quite as sophisticated as the sonos solution regarding the control of multiple music sources in multiple rooms but it get’s the job done in an apartment.

So back to the topic: Apple integrated the AirPlay technology into their wireless base station “AirPort Express”. Basically AirPlay is a piece of software which receives an encrypted audio stream over the network and outputs the stream to the SPDIF or audio jack.

Back in 2005 there already was an emulator of this protocol called “Fairport” but Apple decided to encrypt the AirPlay traffic. This led to the problem that the encryption key was unkown because it’s baked into the AirPort Express firmware. And this is where the good news start:

“My girlfriend moved house, and her Airport Express no longer made it with her wireless access point. I figured it’d be easy to find an ApEx emulator – there are several open source apps out there to play to them. However, I was disappointed to find that Apple used a public-key crypto scheme, and there’s a private key hiding inside the ApEx. So I took it apart (I still have scars from opening the glued case!), dumped the ROM, and reverse engineered the keys out of it.”

So to keep things short: Someone got an AirPort Express, dumped the firmware, extracted the AirPlay encryption keys and wrote an emulator of the AirPlay protocol which uses the key. Voilá!

ShairPort is available in source code on the site of the guy and obviously it’s unsure if Apple will react by changing the encryption key in the future. But for the time being it works as advertised:

I took one of my computers and followed the instructions to update perl, install Macports and then run ShairPort. So when ShairPort is run it looks not as appealing as expected:

Notably  it uses IPv6 to communicate between iTunes and ShairPort… Oh I almost forgot to show how it looks in iTunes:

On another side note: It works on Linux, Windows and Mac OS X 🙂

Source 1: Apple AirPlay
Source 2: Sonos
Source 3: Apple AirPort Express
Source 4: ShairPort

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great SIP Softphone for Linux and Windows

Thank goodness I can uninstall X-Lite! At sones we are using a SIP based telephony solution. And therefore some times a SIP softphone application is needed along with the obligatory hardware SIP telephones. Till today the only half-working software I knew for that task was X-Lite. But a colleague told me today that there is a better software which not even looks better but also works better than X-Lite.

It’s called “Ekiga” and it’s a GTK based open source application which can run on Windows and Linux. It looks clean and therefore nice and works great.

A special tip from me: Abort the Welcome Wizard because the only thing it does is registering you with ekigas’ own services.

Capture

Source: http://ekiga.org/

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Sintel:

After the last Open Movie Project “Bug Buck Bunny” – Sintel is the next short movie available for free download. Get it here.

“Sintel” is an independently produced short film, initiated by the Blender Foundation as a means to further improve and validate the free/open source 3D creation suite Blender. With initial funding provided by 1000s of donations via the internet community, it has again proven to be a viable development model for both open 3D technology as for independent animation film.
This 15 minute film has been realized in the studio of the Amsterdam Blender Institute, by an international team of artists and developers. In addition to that, several crucial technical and creative targets have been realized online, by developers and artists and teams all over the world.

“Sintel” commenced in May 2009, with producer Ton Roosendaal establishing a core team consisting of Colin Levy (director), David Revoy (concept art), Martin Lodewijk (story) and Jan Morgenstern (composer). In August script writer Esther Wouda was approached as a consultant, which resulted in her taking the responsibility for the entire screenplay. Esther then worked in close cooperation with Colin, David and Ton to deliver the final script early November. Meanwhile, Colin and David realized the first storyboards.

Based on a public call for artists – with over 150 respondents – the Durian artist team got established in July 2009. They first met in a pre-production week in Amsterdam in August, and all decided to join the project per October 1st. With the final movie budget still unknown, the target then still was to finish the film within 7 months, with a team of 6 artists and 2 developers. At that time the team still had the hopes to be able to realize the script in a 6-8 minute film.

In november, the Netherlands Film Fund approved on a substantial subsidy for Sintel, enough to extend the project to 10 months, with possible 1 or 2 extra artist seats in the final months. It was also by this time that breakdowns and animatic edits showed that the script had to be revised to become more compact, with a story structure using a flashback.

In the months after, Colin’s work on the Director’s Layout – 3D animatic shots – and final designs on the grand finale gradually made the movie longer, from 9 minutes in november, to almost 12 in May. Proper story telling, to absorb an audience with convincing characters and action just takes time!

With the highly anticipated extra funding from the Amsterdam Cinegrid – also funding a 4k resolution version – Ton finally could extend the team with 5 artists and a developer in March 2010. With 14 people the film then was completed for a first screening on July 18th in cinema Studio K in Amsterdam.
Three artists then stayed in Amsterdam working on final shot edits, lighting design, compositing, and on the impressive 2 minute film credits. The movie ended up with a total duration of 14m:48s, 888 seconds!

Watch it now:

Sintel

Source 1: Elephants Dream
Source 2: Big Buck Bunny 
Source 3: Sintel
Source 3: Sintel Download

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Windows Live Writer 2011 is available…

I am a huge fan of the Windows Live Writer. It’s been some years now since Microsoft made this free tool available to bloggers who want to blog on Windows. And in a bold move Microsoft announced the other week that they will be moving all Windows Live Spaces weblogs (a free weblog hosting service) to WordPress.

In an accompanying step they just released the 2011 version of the Windows Live Writer. Actually I think it’s a shame that there is no comparable tool on Mac OS X … which is quite unusual since those types of tools in that quality are more common on the apple platform.

The new Window Live Writer 2011 comes with the Ribbon UI already known from Office 2007 and 2010 (and 2011 now).

wlw2011

Source 1: http://wordpress.visitmix.com/
Source 2: http://explore.live.com/windows-live-essentials

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visualize your source control

There’s a great tool available to create impressive visualizations of source code repositories:

“Software projects are displayed by Gource as an animated tree with the root directory of the project at its centre. Directories appear as branches with files as leaves. Developers can be seen working on the tree at the times they contributed to the project.

Currently there is first party support for Git, Mercurial and Bazaar, and third party (using additional steps) for CVS and SVN. “

 

Source: http://code.google.com/p/gource/

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Still 9 days to go till SXSW 2010

Since there are still 9 days to go till SXSW 2010 it’s a pleasure to give out a link to the completely unofficial torrents which old all mp3 files of almost all songs which are to be presented at this years SXSW:

“The SXSW® Music and Media Conference showcases hundreds of musical acts from around the globe on over eighty stages in downtown Austin. By day, conference registrants do business in the SXSW® Trade Show in the Austin Convention Center and partake of a full agenda of informative, provocative panel discussions featuring hundreds of speakers of international stature.”

sxsw 

Source 1: http://www.sxsw.com/music
Source 2: http://sites.google.com/site/sxswtorrent/2010

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137 years of Popular Science is available now

That’s great news for everyone interested in science and history. As it turns out Google and PopSci just made their entire 137-year archive available online… good times!

“We’ve partnered with Google to offer our entire 137-year archive for free browsing. Each issue appears just as it did at its original time of publication, complete with period advertisements. It’s an amazing resource that beautifully encapsulates our ongoing fascination with the future, and science and technology’s incredible potential to improve our lives. We hope you enjoy it as much as we do.”

137years

Source: http://www.popsci.com/archives

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CeBIT started and we have a demo!

The effort of 10 days materializes in a Microsoft Surface demo. And you can see it at MSDN Developer Kino every day during CeBIT.

 

IMG_0733

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Developing on a Microsoft Surface Table

At sones I am involved in a project that works with a piece of hardware I wanted to work with for about 3 years now: the Microsoft Surface Table.

I was able to play with some tables every now and then but I never had a “business case” which contained a Surface. Now that case just came to us: sones is at the CeBIT fair this year – we were invited by Microsoft Germany to join them and present our cool technology along with theirs.

Since we already had a graph visualisation tool the idea was to bring that tool to Surface and use the platform specific touch controls and gestures.

surface_visualgraph
the VisualGraph application that gave the initial idea

The good news was that it’s easier than thought to develop an application for Surface and all parties are highly committed to the project. The bad news is that we were short on time right from the start: less than 10 days from concept to live presentation isn’t the definition of “comfortable time schedule”. And since we’re currently in the process of development it’s a continueing race.

Thankfully Microsoft is committed to a degree they even made it possible to have two great Surface and WPF ninjas who enable is to get up to speed with the project (thanks to Frank Fischer, Andrea Kohlbauer-Hug, Rainer Nasch and Denis Bauer, you guys rock!).

surface_simulator
a Surface simulator

I was able to convice UID to jump in and contribute their designing and user interface knowledge to our little project (thanks to Franz Koller and Cristian Acevedo).

During the process of development I made some pictures which will be used here and there promoting the demonstration. To give you an idea of the progress we made here’s a before and after picture:

Surface_Finger2
We started with a simple port of VisualGraph to the surface table…

Surface_Finger
…and had something better working and looking at the end of that day.

I think everyone did a great job so far and will continue to do so – a lot work to be done till CeBIT! 🙂

Source 1: http://www.sones.com
Source 2: http://www.microsoft.de
Source 3: http://www.uid.com/

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draw Sequence Diagrams by writing them on a website

Since we are developers we do need tools to note and draw what we think would solve the problems of this planet.

One way to draw a sequence of actions would be a sequence diagram. There are a nbumber of tools to draw them but now I came across a web service that would allow me to write my sequence diagram in a easy textual representation and then it draws the diagram for me. Great stuff!

webseqdiagram

Source 1: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sequence_diagram
Source 2: http://websequencediagrams.com/

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Nine Inch Nails – another version of the truth – fan blu-ray release

“12 months,
a core team of dozens (with a network of thousands)
spanning 3 continents,
4 languages,
5 specialist teams,
countless sleepless nights…

It’s finally here.

Filmed in Sacramento, Portland, and Victoria by the Nine Inch Nails team, edited and produced by their fans, The Gift is a stunning work in 1080p High Definition video with 5.1 Surround Sound, multi-language subtitles, and artistically-driven ethics.”

You’re reading it right: the final production is ready to be downloaded. I am downloading it right now.

Capture

It’s a complete Nine Inch Nails live concert in full-hd. Free for all / Not for sale. Get it while it’s hot!

Source: http://thisoneisonus.org

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One step closer to digital nirvana…

Thanks to a podcast I found a great software for my iPhone and iPod touch. It’s a small tool which does cost less than 3 Euro and it’s served by a server tool which runs on Windows and Mac OS X.

It’s called Air Video and it’s frikin’ awesome! ™

What you do is you install the server software and point it to all your directories / drives that might contain video material. You then take your iPhone and install the client app. If you configured the server to be available over the internet you can now connect from anywhere you want using a pass-pin (which is generated) and a password (which is set by you). And by “from anywhere” they mean “anywhere”. WLAN or 3g didn’t make any difference in my test. You start the client, point to a video file and most of the time you are asked if you a) want to directly play is (if the file is ipod-compatible) or b) if you want to live-convert it and play it (when the file isn’t compatible and needs to be re-encoded live for you) or c) if you want to add the file to a conversion queue which will off-line convert the video for you.

In terms of “finding your video” it does look like this:

Air Video

Simple, eh? Taping a video will bring up this screen:

IMG_0388

As I said – Play directoy, Play with Live Conversion and Offline-Conversion-Queue…

It did work with EVERY Video I tried. When I tried Full-HD Movies my serving PC wasn’t able to handle the load but everyhing in SD worked great which is perfect for me.

onwindows

Therefore I can highly recommend this tool – it really does work better than anything I’ve seen before.

Source: http://www.inmethod.com/air-video/index.html

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So what exactly is Microsoft Research doing?

I am proud to anounce that there’s a video publicly available which shows parts and projects Microsoft Research is working on currently. It’s great to see theses projects, concepts and ideas become publicly available one by one:

“Craig Mundie, chief research and strategy officer of Microsoft, presents “Rethinking Computing,” a look a how software and information technology can help solve the most pressing global challenges we face today. Part of UW’s Computer Science and Engineering’s Distinguished Lecture Series, Mundie demonstrates a number of current and future-looking technologies that show how computer science is changing scientific exploration and discovery in exciting ways. He discusses the role of new science in solving the global energy crisis, and answer questions from the audience.”

uwtv

Source: http://www.uwtv.org/programs/displayevent.aspx?rID=30363&fID=6021

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How to unleash the “Virtual WiFi” feature in Windows 7 in C#

Great stuff ahead – this is just the thing I would want to write if it’s not been written already. This tool is free and open source and it’s the perfect workaround for those usual cases when you want to download a podcast in your holiday and your apple branded device tells you “You can only download files up to 10 Megabyte over 3G connections” – You take your notebook, log into 3G, create a WiFi Hotspot with this tool and off you go.

“Over the last week some of you may have heard about Connectify. It’s an app that unleashes the “Virtual WiFi” and Wireless Hosted Network features of Windows 7 to turn a PC into a Wireless Access Point or Hot Spot. Well, I looked into what it would take to build such an app, and it really wasn’t that difficult since Windows 7 has all the API’s built in to do it. After some time of looking things up and referencing the “Wireless Hosted Network” C++ sample within the WIndows 7 SDK, I now have a nice working version of the application to release. I’m calling this project “Virtual Router” since it essentially allows you to host a software based wireless router from your laptop or other PC with a Wifi card. Oh, and did I mention that this is FREE and OPEN SOURCE!”

VirtualRouterScreensshot

“The Wireless Network create/shared with Virtual Router uses WPA2 Encryption, and there is not way to turn off that encryption. This is actually a feature of the Wireless Hosted Network API’s built into Windows 7 and 2008 R2 to ensure the best security possible.
You can give your "virtual" wireless network any name you want, and also set the password to anything. Just make sure the password is at least 8 characters.”

Source: http://virtualrouter.codeplex.com/

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Forza Motorsport 3 arrived!

After a very very long wait finally Forza 3 arrived! The first panoramic view of a 1-series BMW in Forza 3:

forza_stitch

Finally a game where I can drive that car!

Source: http://www.forzaclans.com

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music of the weekend: Ladyhawke

Great find this weekend. I haven’t heard of Ladyhawke until Saturday. Now it’s the soundtrack of this weekend and the upcoming week!

ladyhawke

Great pop music with a touch of rock. Powerful and fast. One of my favourites in the album is “My Delirium” – a song that has a subtle feeling of the Cardigans song “My Favourite Game”.

Ladyhawke writes in her blog about it:

“I wrote the song a year and a half ago after days of no sleep due to terrible jetlag. I felt like I was going out of my mind. I was missing my friends and family back home, and I was basically living to hear my phone ring in hope that it would be one of them calling. So my delirium came out of me thinking I was going crazy from lack of sleep!

I always knew this song had the potential for a really imaginative video, considering the general theme of the song is me going crazy. So when I read the treatment sent in by the Frater guys, a duo of London based directors who specialise inanimation, I knew it was the one!”



Source: http://www.ladyhawkemusic.com/

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Microsoft Press offers a free eBook “Deploying Windows 7”

Just in time for the launch of Windows 7 Microsoft Press offers a free eBook download. These 332 pages are there to give you the essential guidance regarding topics like Planning the Deployment, actually Deploying the Platform and additional Applications, Migration, Windows PE and a ton of stuff I did not mention here.

deploying-windows-7

Source: Download

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If you ever needed Box-Shots of your product for a presentation…

If you – like us – need a picture of a shiny product box of a soon-to-be-released product for your presentation you may want to consider buying several tools to create such shots. But you can also just use a small tool and Windows Presentation Foundation.

There’s a great article on CodeProject where a almost everything is pre-set-up for our needs. And everything is written in C# – great stuff!

In action it looks like this:

sones-boxshot

Source: http://www.codeproject.com/KB/WPF/BoxShot.aspx?display=Print

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what would you do with 1 million frames per second?

This is just beautiful:

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newly found artist

Imogen Heap is obviously an artist I have missed in the past years. More precisely Imogen Heap is a singer-songwriter whose newest album just became available. I found it due to one very special song called “Bad Body Double” which was played in an episode of the tv show “Heroes”.

imogenheap-ellipse

Imogen Heap - Ellipse

Great thing is that it’s available right now. And it’s available in two flavours. You can have the single-cd version which holds all the great songs. And you can have the deluxe version which holds all great songs + the instrumental version of each song.

Great stuff! It seems I have to catch up some great tunes from this artist in the near future!

UPDATE: Before you need to buy that album, just listen to it first:

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Jugendhelden

Es ist schon extrem erstaunlich was in einem vorgeht und welch erstauntes Gesicht man macht wenn man durch Zufall einmal ein Video von den Sprechern der “Drei Fragezeichen” findet.

Hand aufs Herz: Klingen die Stimmen so wie die Personen aussehen? Also ich komm immer wieder aus dem Staunen nicht heraus wenn ich die Stimmen höre und die Gesicher dazu sprechen sehe. Da muss doch ein Trick dabei sein!

Ach übrigends sind heute auch noch zwei neue Folgen der “drei Fragezeichen” erschienen…

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Musik zum Piratenpartei-Wahlkampf 2009

cover

“Und ein weiterer Schritt im Free! Music! Contest wurde getan: Der Sampler steht nun zum Download zur Verfügung! Da die Rückfrage kam: Natürlich sind alle Stücke unter Creative Commons lizenziert.

Fast vier Stunden Musik waren eingereicht worden und am Ende stand eines fest: Mit einer einzelnen CD wären wir nicht in der Lage gewesen, die Qualität der Einsendungen entsprechend zu würdigen. Also verzichten wir auf ungefähr 70% des Gewinns und haben dafür 100% mehr feinste freie Musik. :)”

Capture Track-Listing

Source: musik.klarmachen-zum-aendern.de

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Oh my gosh! How could I miss that?

The news: Amanda MacKinnon aka Mandarin is back! After BIS and Data Panik it’s time for some more internet coverage and new songs!

Brave young Manda has moved out to once again fill our music players with great songs.

mandarin

 

Source 1: http://www.planetmanda.com/

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Is it Exel or Excel?

Just stumbled upon this funny context-menu entry:

exel

Well… it should be spelled: Excel

excel

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BOMB IT

It’s been quite a few years (since 2005) when elGono came up with the “Obey the Giant” stuff.

This campaign was subject (not only this campaing…) to a documentation called “BOMB IT The Movie”

BOMB IT BANNER1

“Featuring street artist and top graffiti writers from 5 continents the acclaimed documentary.
Bomb It is the first film to update the story of graffity with a truly international perspective. Each month we will presenting portraits of the artists from around the world in never before seen footage and interviews.”

You can watch the whole documentation online now! For free!

Source 1: http://www.babelgum.com/bombit
Source 2: Obey the GIANT

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this is the kind of musicians the world needs…

I just found out that Jason Mraz – this singer songwriter guy with the nice smooth melodies – is doing some things different.

For example Jason and his management encourage bootleg recordings by even offering several spots near the mixing desk. Yes you’re reading it right: You can go to his concert and record it! You can even download several concerts in excellent quality (flac’n’stuff) on archive.org. How cool is this!

I just have to go to a record shop and buy something made by this guy!

By the way: his current album isn’t bad at all… it’s great!

Source 1: http://www.archive.org/details/JasonMraz
Source 2: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jason_Mraz

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Welcome to the world of tomorrow!

So here we are on a new blog engine. It took me the better part of two days to do the Migration of 2,869 posts and 2,732 comments, a lot of pictures and movie files.

I will write an article on this but for now only two captures images from the migration:

php-xpath
yeah PHP rocks!

regex-magic 
had to do some regex action to do the url rewrites

2 Comments

maybe I should…

…switch this website to another weblog software in the future. The dasBlog development isn’t exactly what I would call fast-paced. It even seems that there was no movement at all for the last year at all regarding new features.

I took a short look at a current WordPress installation we did for our Developer Website at sones – and I have to admit that feature-wise this WordPress is way beyond anything I could achieve in dasBlog anytime soon.

sonesdev 

Additionally the fact that the skin of this site seems to be broken (especially for older browsers) I would have to do a skin-redesign – turns out that this is way easier in WordPress than it is in dasBlog.

1 Comment

iTunes 9 is Windows 7 compatible

Hey it’s great to see that Apple thinks some of the ideas of the new Windows 7 UI (like the new Task Bar). With iTunes 9 you get things like this:

jumplist

1 Comment

Useful tools: OnTopReplica

Normally I am using a notebook and a 24” Widescreen TFT as a Dual-Monitor solution. In fact I am mostly using the 24” TFT for work and the notebook 14” TFT for all the things that don’t need to be in focus right now like Instant Messengers.

Now in those few cases when a video needs to be played I want it on the main monitor but I want it to take as little of space as possible. And I want it On Top of everything else… maybe sometimes I even want to control it’s opacity a bit…

Now there’s this cool tool called “OnTopReplica” – It’s available for free on Codeplex and works out of the box without installation.

After you start it you’ll end with a small glas window where you can right-click to get a menu. You choose a Window which needs to be replaces – for example the YouTube Browser Window. After that you can even control which region of this Window should be displayed. You can resize, move and of course control the opacity of this window.

ontopreplica 

It’s also great for presentations because it allows you to simply resize any window you like. It will resize it and while it does that the window always is “live” – so everything you’re doing in the original window will be displayed in the replica.

ontopreplica2 

Source: http://ontopreplica.codeplex.com/

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rule the world

“Welcome to your life
There’s no turning back
Even while sleep
We will find you
Acting on your best behaviour
Turn your back on mother nature
Everybody wants to rule the world”

Tears for Fears,

Everybody wants to rule the world

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making things up…

While trying out the new Mozilla Weave I came across the nice interface the guys built into their sync service. Funny messages included.

tehcloud 

Source: http://labs.mozilla.com/weave/

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what’s the problem with this name?

kirstenpfad

What’s the matter with my last name?

1 Comment

Canon 50mm f/1.8 II lens arrived

Today the new lens for our Canon DSLR arrived – just in time when we need it. Hopefully the polarizing filters will arrive also this week.

Behold the beauty of the first picture! *narf*… Awwww

IMG_7504

IMG_7524

IMG_7527

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Twittern von der GamesCon

Sascha von Gawom ist heute auf der GamesCon in Köln unterwegs. Er twittert von dort sodass auf diese Weise der ein oder andere Einblick gewonnen werden kann.

twitter

Source: http://twitter.com/gawom

2 Comments

Mash-Up Charts FTW!

If you want to completely destroy your productivity for today, just go ahead and visit this great Mash-Up Charts website.

“A mashup, bootleg or blend (also mash up and mash-up) is a song or composition created by blending two or more songs, usually by overlaying the vocal track of one song seamlessly over the music track of another.

In full swing at the end of the 20th century, mashups have been described positively as “ultimate post-modern pop song[s]” or “‘culture jamming in its purest form'” They have also been described negatively as “the logical extension of the sampling fever of the ’80s taken to its dumbest extreme”. Due to the questionable legal status of mash ups and little chance of profits “there’s a real punk rock attitude attached to the movement”.” (Source)

mashupcharts

Oh… by the way: This is not the first time I am writing about Mash-Ups… be sure to have a look here and here.

Source 1: http://www.mashup-charts.com/
Source 2: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mashup_%28music%29

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Killer .NET 4 feature: Memory Mapped files

“So what is it? A memory mapped file allows you to reserve a region of address space and commit physical storage to a region (hmmm, sounds like virtual memory, isn’t it?) but the main difference is that the physical storage comes from a file that is already on the disk instead of the memory manager. I will say that it has two main purposes:

  • It is ideal to access a data file on disk without performing file I/O operations and from buffering the file’s content. This works great when you deal with large data files.
  • You can use memory mapped files to allow multiple processes running on the same machine to share data with each other.“

OMG! You can even specifiy views on a memory mapped file… from different processes… .NET 4 FTW!

Source: http://blogs.msdn.com/salvapatuel/archive/2009/06/08/working-with-memory-mapped-files-in-net-4.aspx

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That’s what I call customer support

One of our two DSL lines in the office is provided by QSC. So far the decision to go with QSC was one of the best since I deal with Internet providers. These guys at QSC are just brilliant. Great support, great service, great pricing!

They even sent me a notice that there will be a planned maintenance downtime in more than a week. They do the maintenance on a saturday morning. When it’s unlikely that anyone will miss the uplink. (Since we got two, we won’t actually miss it… it’s just slower)

qscroxx

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Many 0x00s in the test run results…

We have this network share where each build from all the build-servers is dropped, including it’s test run results. It seems that we’re producing a huge number of almost empty filesystem test images which lead to astounding compression ratios:

efficiency

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Plain-Text Username Password Authentification with WCF

If you got it, it’s easy. If you’re starting from scratch it ain’t as easy. We were in need of such a Username+Password Authentification so I started googling around.

I found several articles but had to mash it all together in a trial-and-error session. Now that I am enlightened I want to share my knowledge:

Step 1: Implement an UserNamePasswordValidator class and override the Validate method.

using System;
using System.Collections.Generic;
using System.Linq;
using System.Text;
using System.IdentityModel.Tokens;
using System.IdentityModel.Selectors;

namespace sones.Pandora.Database.Hosting
{
    public class UserNamePasswordAuthentification: UserNamePasswordValidator
    {

        public override void Validate(string userName, string password)
        {
            if ((userName != "Username") || (password != "Password"))
            {
                throw new SecurityTokenException("Validation Failed!");
            }
        }
    }
}

Step 2: Edit the App.config file to enable the previously implemented UsernamePasswordValidator.

    <bindings>
      <basicHttpBinding>
        <binding name="CustomAuthentication">
          <security mode="TransportCredentialOnly">
            <transport clientCredentialType="Basic" proxyCredentialType="Basic"/>
          security>
        binding>
      basicHttpBinding>
    bindings>
    <behaviors>
      <serviceBehaviors>
        <behavior name="SecurityBehavior">
          <serviceCredentials>
            <userNameAuthentication
            userNamePasswordValidationMode="Custom"
            customUserNamePasswordValidatorType="sones.Pandora.Database.Hosting.UserNamePasswordAuthentification, PandoraDB_WebServiceHost_UsernamePasswordAuth"/>
          serviceCredentials>
        behavior>
      serviceBehaviors>
    behaviors>
    <services>
      <service behaviorConfiguration="SecurityBehavior" name="sones.Pandora.Database.Hosting.PandoraDatabaseHost">
        <endpoint address="" binding="basicHttpBinding" bindingConfiguration="CustomAuthentication"
          name="ep1" contract="sones.Pandora.Database.Hosting.IPandoraDatabaseHost" />
      service>
    services>

In this example the ServiceHost will use no server SSL certificate and therefor allow normal http access instead of just using https ssl. You can configure that behavior with the <security mode=”TransportCredentialOnly”> line. Just change there and define an apropriate certificate and you’re good to go with https / ssl.

2 Comments

farewell popfly

I’ve seen the launch of PopFly two years ago. And now I am going to see the landing 🙁

popfly

“Unfortunately, on August 24, 2009 the Popfly service will be discontinued and all sites, references, and resources will be taken down. At that time, your access to your Popfly account, including any games and mashups that you have created, will be discontinued.”

Now somebody please tell the world that the code of popfly will be released in some way so that other people can learn and work with it. That would be great. Oh if we just wouldn’t have that many lawyers on this planet.

Source 1: http://popflyteam.spaces.live.com/blog/cns!51018025071FD37F!336.entry
Source 2: http://www.popfly.com/

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