Archive for the 'Software Hacking' Category

Frakencamera or Camera 2.0

Marc Levoy and his graduate students at Stanford are creating an open source camera platform for researchers in digtital photography and computational photography to write code on top of. Proprietary cameras make it difficult or impossible to write custom software to take advantages of new advances in fields like computational photography.

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Embedding YouTube videos in PowerPoint 2007

In preparing for a class on PowerPoint 2007, I ran across a little tutorial on YouTube outlining how to embed a YouTube video in a PowerPoint 2007 presentation. Unfortunately, the audio in the tutorial is really poor, so I thought I’d list the steps here and create a Captivate animation for it as well.

To embed a YouTube video in PowerPoint 2007 follow these simple steps:

  1. First turn on the Developer Tab on the Ribbon by clicking on the Microsoft logo at the top left of the window and selecting PowerPoint Options all the way at the bottom of the menu. Next put a check next to the unchecked item to show the Developer Tab
  2. Go to YouTube and select a video to embed
  3. Copy the URL
  4. On the Developer menu choose “More Controls”
  5. Select Shockwave Flash Object
  6. Click and drag on the PowerPoint slide to add the Flash object
  7. Right Click the object placeholder and select properties
  8. Set the Movie property to the URL you copied
  9. In the URL delete “watch?” and change the “=” sign to a ⁄
  10. Adjust the options for Looping or AutoPlay if desired

Make sure to test the presentation and keep in mind that the video is streaming from YouTube, so an Internet connection is required at the time of presentation.

Multi-Touch Displays Redux

In an earlier post, I wrote about Microsoft’s Surface technology and work done at NYU on multi-touch display technology. Peter Hutterer at the University of South Australia’s Wearable Computer Lab has just demoed a new version of his MPX, Multi-Pointer X Server under Linux. There’s an article on his blog and a video of his multi-touch extension of MPX under Ubuntu. Here are the hardware details. Now I just need to get my hands on a compatible touch screen and try this out

Dual Booting Tiger and Ubuntu 6.10 (Edgy Eft) on PowerBook G4

So I recently inherited a PowerBook G4. I had to wipe the drive and install Tiger from scratch, which ended up being a real pain in the ass because this PowerBook only has a CD drive and our copy of Tiger is on DVD. I finally got a working set of CDs to install from and got it up and running. After which I thought, why not setup Ubuntu on this machine. It’ll probably run faster than OSX Tiger on this old hardware.
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Ripping and Encoding DVDs Redux

So, I know some of my readers have used my original DVD ripping and encoding guide to get setup with the right software. But some of the recommendations are stale. At the very least I wanted to recommend a product to take the place of DVD Decrypter which has been abandoned by its creators under legal threats from the MPAA and their minions.

I have been using an inexpensive tool from Slysoft to help with copying DVDs. AnyDVD is a lightweight driver that removes CSS, Macrovision, and Region Codes from DVDs making them directly accessible for conversion using any encoding utility such as Nero Recode 2, 1ClickDVDCopy, and others. For $30 it is well worth the price. The application is updated frequently to keep up with new encryption/copy protection schemes used by movie studios who want to tell you where and when you can watch a DVD you have purchased. Highly recommended.

Tulane Phonebook Firefox Quick Search

Here’s a simple little trick you can do with Firefox.

Step 1. Create a new bookmark in Firefox with this in the URL field:

Step 2. In the "Keyword" field put a single word like phone

Step 3. Save the bookmark.

Now type "phone cowen" in the Firefox address bar. Voila! You can now autosearch the Tulane Phonebook from the address bar.

Re-Purposing That Stupid CueCat Optical Reader

Back in the early days of the Internet boom, a nasty little company created a piece of hardware and software called the CueCat. If you were a Wired or Forbes subscriber, or if you were a frequent RadioShack shopper, you may still have one of these little kitties laying around your home or office. I did.I had read some years ago that the little scanner had been reverse engineered allowing it’s use on a personal computer as a free barcode reader. If you are lucky enough to still have yours, all you need is bit of freely available software that decrypts the information read from the scanner and outputs it to any text entry area on the machine. More on why you might want that in a second. Read more »

Reading eBooks on Your PSP

The Sony PlayStation Portable is an amazing mobile device that has uses well beyond it’s gaming roots. With the inclusion of a version of the Mozilla Firefox browser in recent firmware updates, the PSP has now become a very convenient eBook reader with a nice high-resolution screen.

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