Our Jack-o-Lanterns

Halloween is due in a few weeks and we had the time to cut our Jack-o-Lanterns today. After buying them last weekend at the “Kürbisfest Alterndorf” (see pictures of this at my wifes site) we decided to do 3 different ones this year.

So… here are the three Jack-o-Lanterns of this year:

IMG_3267

and in the dark at the house entrance:

IMG_3273

IMG_3274

Source: Kürbisfest Altendorf at dreikiel.de

the perfect working environment part 5

Since the good old mac mini is gone and a new mac arrived – and since I moved to a new place I think it’s time to share my current desktop with you:

workplace

If you want to know how it looked in the old place an 9 months ago take a look at the fourth part of this series.

Source: the perfect working environment part 4

Using the Exchange 2007 Web Service for Mail retrieval…

exchange07

So here’s the problem I had: There is an Exchange 2007 server I am forced to use for some of my daily work and that’s where the problems start: Due to the work of some evil geniuses there’s a load of user and security policies associated with that server. That’s not a problem per se: It’s just that things like “forward all mails to this account” don’t work. You have to use Outlook Web Access or the heavyweight Outlook to get to your mails… Till today I had an Outlook 2007 running on my private IMAP mailserver machine just for the purpose of downloading all the mail from the Exchange server to the local harddisk. I had setup a client-rule to copy all the mail to my IMAP server but despite the fact Outlook is running on the exact same machine as the IMAP server it just did not work for more than 1-20 messages… connections were lost and stuff screwed up. So I had to move all the messages manually (Select-All -> Drag-n-Drop onto the IMAP folder inside Outlook) which took me quite some time each month.

Two days ago I read an article where namenlos wrote about his journey with his employers Exchange server. He wrote a Python script that did the job for Exchange 2003 by using the WebDAV features. These features unfortunatly are deprecated in the current 2007 release of Exchange. So I decided to write a tool in C# that does the trick and uses the brand-spanking new Exchange 2007 Web Service.

The Exchange 2007 SDK is a wasteland to say the least when it comes to documentation. It took me some time and a good search engine to get to something useful out of it. But I think it’s worth the pain: When you got over the first annoying steps you’ll just like me will start to love the possibilities this Web Services give you.

In my case I am using the webservices to do these things:

  1. allocate my inbox and obtain a listing of messageIDs
  2. get the complete messages out of my inbox
  3. reformat the messages and send them via smtp to my own mail server

What I’ve written is not feature complete (as in: no attachements, …) but it’s a great and working start and does the 3 point-trick from above quite well. I will refine the code and add the missing features (e.g. attachements and stuff) in the future… or maybe you are faster than me. In that case it would be well appreciated if you send me your code/a link to the code (find my email in the sourcefile…)

code
get the code here. (90 kbytes)

Source 1: http://blog.slash-me.net/archives/235-fetchmail-fuer-MS-Exchange.html
Source 2: http://msdn2.microsoft.com/en-us/library/aa562613.aspx
Source 3: http://www.schrankmonster.de/content/binary/Exchange2IMAP.zip

YAPS Update

For me YAPS becomes more and more the vcr application I was always searching for. I’ve fixed a lot of bugs since the last article about YAPS and added a lot of features. It did not crash for about a month on my production system and the daily build access seems to work better than I thought it would (since it’s only a quick .cmd script).

Since the settings page is quite hard to implement I started with some other things that lead their way to get the settings page done – one of which is the dynamic template keyword feature where you can add options to .html pages which can be used in the page itself. (documentation to be written).

The settings page should be ready within this week hopefully as all the needed parts are coming together right now (like those options and stuff).

What I want from you:

  1. Feedback! – Keep the feedback coming. It’s good to hear from people using this software. It’s even better to hear feature wishes.
  2. HELP! – If you are a HTML guru, graphic artist, .net coder or TVR car dealer, then write a comment, leave your contact data and you’re in the team. I need help in every mentioned way and in some not mentioned…hrm…

Here’s the changelog since the last version I wrote about…oh..we do have a build version now…it’s 1.0.30 for the Processor and 1.0.2474.1263 for the application as I am writing this.

10.10.2006

  • added the %settings_*% keywords to the TemplateProcessor
  • changed the MapNames Class to ChannelMapper
  • added ChannelAddress Settings, Settingsfile
  • added %buildversion% template keyword
  • added Misc Settings and Channel Adress Mapping Settings Icon
  • added Misc and Channel Settings to the Settings HTML Page
  • some cosmetic changes to index.html and the LoadSettings console output
  • added automatic categories to the To-Be-Recorded Listing

09.10.2006

  • changed the HTTP Servers file buffer size to 20480 bytes; increased the HTTP performance by factor 4
  • changed the Multicast Cached Reader/Writer buffer size to 150 RTP packets per client-loop-run

07.10.2006

  • implemented AddSearchTerm and DelSearchTerm functionality
  • added editcategory_step4.html for Searchterm deletion (changing that in future versions!!!)
  • added AutomaticCategoriesForRecording functionality to the CategoryProcessor
  • added Category Listing to the RecordedListing Template Processor
  • added RenderOneLine Method to the RecordedListing Template Processor
  • added CategoryFilter functionality, just click on the category in the Recorded Listing to filter
  • added SortAscending/SortDescending Keywords to recordings.html handling – you can now switch between those sorting schemes; default is Descending
  • added Querystring.cs
  • known bug -> when CategoryFilter is active SortAscending/SortDescending wouldn’t work; currently fixing

03.10.2006

  • fixed a bug in the http method calling tree

29.09.2006

  • fixed a bug in the Managerecording-Deleterecording methods
  • changed the RemoveRecordingFile Forwarder to the /recordings.html instead of the last page in browser history
  • fixed a bug in the ForwardToPage method
  • updated the TV Browser Capture Plugin Configuration (/Documentation and Misc/TV Browser Capture Plugin)
  • added settings page
  • added settings_categories page
  • added settings category and addcategory icons
  • changed Design Vector file format to CorelDraw! X3
  • added Category Adding functionality
  • added Category deleting functionality
  • added Searchterm adding functionality (partly)

28.09.2006

  • added the deleterecording functionality for managerecordings (delete recording without knowing the ID)
  • changes to the Category data structure
  • added category.cs to the repository
  • added CategoryProcessor
  • added AddCategory HTML Page
  • added EditCategory HTML Pages
  • added Category listing Template Processor
  • added ForwardToLastPage HTTP Response
  • added ForwardToPage HTTP Response

21.09.2006

  • changed the Settings data structures
  • fixed a spelling error in the DoneRecordings table
  • added category listing to the RecordedListing table
  • added channel image for german br
  • added several category management specific changes

Dailybuild (Microsoft.NET): http://www.slow-backward.de/yaps_daily_build.zip
Dailysource: http://www.slow-backward.de/yaps_daily_source.zip

switching to dvorak keyboard layout

While cleaning my keyboards the idea came up to actually use dvorak keyboard layout I wrote about more than a year ago.

After creating the “dovrak german type 2” keyboard layout file with Ukelele I am now slowly learning the new layout… quite hard after more than 16 years on QWERTZ/QWERTY…

Well… both Apple Keyboards are now dvorak-layouted… looks a bit strange when you’re only known to QWERTZ/QWERTY

If you like you can download the OS X keyboard layout here.

Source 1: dvorak article(german)
Source 2: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dvorak_Simplified_Key…
Source 3: Ukelele
Source 4: btk_Dvorak.zip (3,21 KB)

YAPS bug fixing and daily build access

I just configured the build system to generate daily builds straight of the subversion repository. You can grab the daily build archive here.

Dailybuild (Microsoft.NET): http://www.slow-backward.de/yaps_daily_build.zip

Dailybuild (MONO): working on that

Dailysource: http://www.slow-backward.de/yaps_daily_source.zip

The changelog since I wrote the last YAPS news:

04.09.2006

  • fixed a PlayCount bug
  • removed unnecessary files for Daily Build support

03.09.2006

  • changed all text messages and web-templates to english
  • added correct mimetype handling to the http server
  • fixed a bug in the 404 error handling when a file was not found
  • aded a verbose mode to the ConsoleOutputLogger – disabled by default; only logging to console html page
  • fixed a bug that caused a complete crash when a wrong/unknown adress/channel was requested for streaming
  • added more error handling to the http server (streaming and vcr)
  • added license.txt (BSD license)
  • added Settings Loading and Saving (to be extended…)

01.09.2006

  • fixed a bug in the Usage_Bar HTML Template Processor that could cause a lockup in the HTML page rendering process
  • fixed a bug in the HTTP Server error handling that caused “Saving Settings” everytime a 404 occured…
  • added a startup check to the VCRScheduler that sets unfinished recordings after a YAPS restart to done

You can find the changelog in the daily build archive “Documentation and Misc” folder. Also a build logfile and svn checkout logfile can be found in the “logs” folder.

In the next days I am going to implement the Settings System and GUI.

Tell us what you are YAPS using for, which features are great, which ones not, which ones do you you need in the future? What would make YAPS a great tool for you?

forage fish tank

Since my girlfriend had a spare aquarium to offer we decided to put one into my residence (yeah!)… What fish species to take wasn’t a real question: they should taste great when eaten by a turtle… And since the species Poecilia reticulata aka Guppy is quite reproductive and is known to taste great (Wilma knows best) it is the species of choice.

First the basics: Testing the water.

Everything looks fine…so.. here’s the final tank:

live sign… and visiting the zoo…

Yes I am alive… I took some days off so here we are back in business. There will be some articles about the things I did the last days…and of course as usual: many pictures.

I start the series with the visit to the Zoo of Erfurt:







Of course I made some panoramic views:



this and the next one show the enclosure where the turtles and the cows live :-)




the monkeys live here…(no island)

Here are the three movies I made:

get me a Cerbera or a Sagaris…you decide

I do like two car manufacturers (well, their cars to be precise) more than all the others. One of them is Mercedes-Benz and the other is…TVR. Yes, the brits.

They make great looking powerful sports cars and I hope one day one will be mine ;) They are quite affordable compared to other supercars – for example you can get a brand new TVR Sagaris (4l V6) for 80k EURO…a pre owned 2004 Cerbera (4.5l V8) comes for about 48k EURO…did I mention they do not come below 380 bhp and weigh as much as two packs of chewing gum? (I’ll have to pay royalties to Jeremy Clarkson for that…damn!).

The fact is that the Cerbera has gone out of official production in 2004. But now TVR is auctioning the last made Cerbera on the Internet:

Yes, you can get that brand new, pepper white, 420 bhp supercar…just sign up and bid…well if you have the money (which I don’t)…

Beside the Cerbera I fell in love with the Sagaris…look how gorgeous it is:


raaawwrrr!!

I just found the sagaris video:

If you want to buy me one…contact me :-)

Source 1: http://www.thelastcerbera.com/
Source 2: http://www.tvr.co.uk/overview_sagaris.php

revisited: what’s the size of the earth compared to…and why earth needs a haircut…

A couple of days ago I wrote about a website that has some interesting pictures of the planets of our solar system compared to each other in size. The idea was great but the quality of the pictures was bad. So we decided to push our knowledge about 3D tools a bit and render our own high-quality version.

But first a before-after comparision:


before

Aaaaaand:


after

Tell us what you think of it!

We will add some more pictures in the next hours, beside that a short movie in 720p is in the rendering process at the moment.

Last time I worked with 3D tools they were called “3D Studio Max 3.0″…which is quite a while ago. 3D Studios current version number is 8… You can grab your own trial version here.

We actually experimented a lot with the tools…look what earth became after just seconds of play:


yes,we even hair-styled earth!

Source 1: original article and picture
Source 2: 3D Studio MAX trial

High Dynamic Range Imaging… my first steps…

I don’t own a 600 Euro digital camera. Mine was cheap and does the job well so far. And now I’ve found something more to play with. I like to do panoramic views, as you might have mentioned before. But the technique I am now discovering is far more interesting. It’s called High Dynamic Range imaging.

Here’s an excerpt of the wikipedia article on that subject:

In computer graphics and cinematography, high dynamic range imaging (HDRI for short) is a set of techniques that allow a far greater dynamic range of exposures than normal digital imaging techniques. The intention is to accurately represent the wide range of intensity levels found in real scenes, ranging from direct sunlight to the deepest shadows.”

Since it’s night here at the moment I could only experiment in the dark, where my camera creates, beside dark pictures, very much picture noise.

So, what to do, you may ask. Well grab a camera where you can control at least the exposure time. Than take at least 2 (the more the better) pictures with different exposure times. I started with 3 pictures per HDR image. As you can see above:

When you have those pictures you need a software to combine them to an HDR image. There are many sites that can provide such tools, I recommend hdrsoft.com. They provide a tool called “Photomatix” which is specialized on HDR imaging. If you have a Photoshop CS2 available, well, that will do the job as well. Just go to the “File->Automate->Create HDR” dialog.

If you downloaded the tools, throw the pictures inside and let the magic happen. You get a 16 or 32 Bit per pixel image. You can control the exposure and saturation, the white and the black levels and so on. To save the picture as a standard-JPG like I did, you have to do some Tone-Mapping. Photomatix can do that as well.

Expect more on that subject here tomorrow. Then with some pictures of the sunny nature…well if there is sun tomorrow…Till than: Enjoy the HDR images I’ve got so far:

First the 3 source pictures:

And then the HDRI:

First the 3 source pictures:

And then the HDRI:

Source 1: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/High_dynamic_range_imaging

Source 2: http://www.hdrsoft.com