A journal of questionable quality

Monday, September 27, 2004

webcams - all in a row

In the middle of the chaos of changing machines arrives an unexpected gift - Director MX 2004, thank you, you know who you are.

Long my absolute favourite application for multimedia - but almost always trounced by Flash for ease of use and plugin availability, the new Director 2004 has finally got it right, with suppport for everything, including DVD content, Javascript as well as the native Lingo, all together in one bundle that now creates projector exes for both Windows and Mac, something you needed two copies of Director for previously.

An interesting, and possibly even exciting application is the new webcam Xtra ( Director users will already know that the plugins for Director are called Xtras) available from http://webcamxtra.sourceforge.net/ - an open source project that was initiated by Josh Nimoy.

It seems the webcam Xtra is a method of creating webcam - sprite interaction, something that we will obviously have to look into as soon as possible.

What does all this mean to the average bloke about the place?

Nothing. Go back to your can of beer.

What does all this mean to me - the addition of this new webcam xtra opens new options in the display of web cam comtent, to the point of being able to run multifeeds live and interactive, with tracking. Not bad for a free xtra.

Expect to see a new Shockwave presentation in due course - not before the holidays - (Yvonne made me say that), but sometime.

We have after all been promising a new interactive CD/DVD for about a year now, and this may be the catalyst.

I still have to do the photography for the panoramic walkthrough we intended to include, so don't hold your breath, now we have to look at a use for this new ability - the mind is already overflowing with ideas.

It's almost enough to make me stay inside.



reload - reboot

Another week gone, closer to being able to sit back and relax. Our holidays start the minute the school holidays end - kids to their Father, us alone.

Closer to being able to declare the great machine swap almost over as well. The wireless setup will have to wait until after the holidays, I'm having enough trouble keeping up with new operating systems as well as new/updated software - all combining to make it feel uncomfortable and unusual.

Buggying hasn't been an option - the chances of children being in the favourite park are high, the chances of me getting pissed off and driving over one of them are high - better to stay in and get this swap done.

it has been reasonably smooth - there is always some drama with something, but it's usually straightforward once everything has been put in the right place so I find it when I want it.

Using a bigger screen has some drawbacks - including forcing me to look a bit closer at the window positioning on the site when I noticed that some of the positioning was relying on being viewed in a 800 x 600 browser - bad mistake, one I don't make on client sites because we test them at full resolution - something I didn't bother with on our own.

Having to do some immediate coding wasn't too easy with a new version of Dreamweaver on board - may yet have to look at downgrading to the old, comfortable version, but we have 30 days to try this one - maybe we can get used to it, maybe not. I'm not big on change.

Upsides in life? It's well in to Spring now - the days are getting hotter, storm clouds building all day for a finale in the early evening, hopefully a full electrical display when it happens.

Days to be outside, not buggering about with 'puters inside, not coding out other peoples problems, outside is the place to be at this time of the year.

And, that's where I'm heading.



Tuesday, September 21, 2004

Still loading software...

This is a process that seems to be taking far more time than I remember. CD's all over the desk, all containing purportedly must have software, all about to try and give me trouble.

XP Pro - what can you say? It's a change forced on us by time and software publishers. Programs change, get updated, but now days they force you to change you operating system as well - is this supposed to be the way?

Lucky indeed that we had to update an entire machine, or I would have been happy to stay with the 'pre XP' versions.
The comfortable versions of things we use every day. Saved the drama of having to learn where everything is in a fresh program.

Turns out now that some of the early programs - Poser 3 for example - won't run at all with 1Gb of ram, faulting out with an out of memory message.

Pleased indeed to have one of the old 98 machines beside me, newly formatted and reinstalled, so as to be able to run these things.

Possibly one of the best feelings you can get with a Microsoft machine is when you get to type the 'format' command. A feeling of having some control, the ability to kill an entire drive should the urge strike.

Missed out on what looks like an excellent day of wind today by continuing with this process, but better to have it done than to have to install stuff as I need it.

The urge to go and find some wind diluted somewhat after finding that my newly imported Libre harness was designed for someone about 3 times the size of me - just what I needed this close to holidays.

Had hoped to be using it while we are day tripping about the beaches. Not a happening idea now. Instead we will continue a fractured English / German dialog trying to get someone on the other side of the World to get us the right product.

It's not a hard day - it's just a tiresome one.



Tuesday, September 14, 2004

good wind, sore legs and a tow licence

So many things to do, so very lazy. So, the first order of a busy day? Go out to the bay and get some serious wind. Serious wind equates to serious strain - legs, arms and abs. Sunburn to boot - must mean that Spring is here.

The 'absolute, must keep, must always have ready' tow operator licence is due for it's annual renewal. By midnight tomorrow night.

The annual renewal requirement is DOT's thing - they figure that all tow truck drivers will have offended within the space of a year. You got an offence, you got no licence - without a fight.

'Absolute, must have' - only in my mind. I haven't driven in years. I just like to know that I can if I feel the need.

It's a 'Bruce' thing - ask anyone, they'll tell you - 'it's a Bruce thing'. True.

Must be the flashing lights, or the dead burnt bodies, or the screams of pain from a good solid accident, entrapped people hollering shit, not knowing what's just happened to them, not knowing anything. Fact is someone made a mistake - that's the only way vehicles crash - someone must make a mistake first.

Maybe it's just the camaraderie - there's some good people in towing, although most everyone out there has some private bitch about 'the time....'
Perhaps if they hadn't fucked up so badly at the time they wouldn't have had a bad experience.

Fact is I get peace of mind from having the thing - sitting there ready to go, any time I need a job, any time I need the interaction, get away form the screen, the bleaters, the whining, bitching HTML consuming public, the 'but I just wanted it to look like this', the 'surely, it won't take you THAT long', get away from all the web dreamers.

Probably meet them at an intersection near their place, having run a red light and totaled themselves.



Thursday, September 09, 2004

clouds, harnesses and wap content..

...are all that I seem to have been looking at these last few days.

Clouds everywhere - the introduction to Spring hasn't been smooth - we are suffering a last blast of winter here at the moment, and unhappy about it for arriving on a designated buggy day.

Confined to the indoors I have been forced to take my excess energy out on the WAP content of the site, making it even bigger and more unwieldy (some 50 pages of content there now), and hopefully making it easier to navigate through.

Testing WAP is mind numbing - having fallen out with Nokia over their attempts to have everyone update their operating systems to accommodate their 'developer kit', a bloated, java driven piece of shit at best - I am now forced to test live rather than via virtual gateway.

Result - hours of messing about with the poor old phone of mine, testing each page, testing each link, each image, testing everything, which will only confirm that it all works on a Motorola, so anyone on something different may well experience a drama.

Point of it all? None. I don't know anyone, I hope, who feels the need to surf the web on a mobile, fact is the service has to exist just in case someone does decide to.

In between forays into the world of WAP I have been harassing the kite maker Libre for a new kite harness. The difficulties are that I am unable to read German, and the value of the Euro, a feisty little currency that seems to be climbing against the Aust dollar. Result - much expense for things supplied ex Europe.

Seems we have managed, (well maybe not 'we' - more like Yvonne)to get everything sorted out and should see, sometime soon, a brand new purpose designed harness arrive. That will be about the time that Customs turn up and demand their share.

I could have saved all this money if the weather had been fine, so it's not my fault - it's the weathers. If it had been fine I would have been too busy buggying to be sitting here ordering stuff from the other side of the World.

What can you do?



Monday, September 06, 2004

the biking starts...

September and we're looking at Spring. It's not quite here, but it's getting closer.

Time to dump a few excess kilos gained by sitting on my arse all winter, time to get out and smell the flowers a bit too.

Preferred weight loss method - biking, my beloved bike, dusted off after all that time in the garage, ready and willing to propel me around my favorite circuit, resplendent in skin tight knicks and jersey.

Not a sight that many would find anything other than repellent, but what do you do.

Started Sunday with a shakedown cruise lasting a mere 22klm before my legs packed it in on the steepest of the hills. My fault for not staying in shape - doesn't alter the fact that I hurt like hell today.

The thing about age that I notice is that recovery time seems to be a bit slower, instead of feeling rough the next day it stretches over to day two - something that never happened before.

The other thing about age is that it seems to take a lot more kilometers to get the weight to start to fall off. Once it starts to move it goes at an average of 1 kg per 100 klm, but that takes some getting to.

It's a good ride - something that manages, for reasons unknown, to render me calm and almost manageable after a few klms - the feel good boots in at anything over about 25 Klm and stays until I lose my legs, which is sometime after 40 klm.

Biking aside, the arrival of Spring always makes me feel better after the dark days of Winter, the winds are better for kiting, the water is warmer and the place is generally 'happier'. Well, I am, and that's all that counts.