The intricacies of the Gimp

Posted in blawging on September 18th, 2006 by fabienne

gimp toilet paper option

I love the Gimp, don’t get me wrong, but why is there a preset size for Toilet Paper and none for Business Card? Why is this toilet paper size a US standard? Are toilet paper rolls wider or skinnier in other countries? Also, why would you want to print toilet paper in 300 dpi? Isn’t that sort of wasteful? (and yes this is GimpShop running on OS X [on my pimped out g4 tower], I also run plain old Gimp on my FreeBSD laptop).

How-To: Break a toaster

Posted in gadgets, hardware hacking on September 17th, 2006 by fabienne

Step 1: Stick a metal object into it while it is toasting something. You will see a flash of sparks. Don’t Panic, this is normal during the death of a toaster.

Step 2: There is no Step 2.

Working on the Magic Phone

Posted in conferences, hardware hacking, projects on September 13th, 2006 by fabienne

working on the magic phone

The Magic Phone is one of those projects that seems to either mystify people or make them say: Cool! Make me one too!

Basically, it’s two phones mounted into a vintage rotary phone. One of the phones is a wireless home phone that works on the DECT standard and the other is a cellphone. The rotary mechanism’s switches are decoded by a custom-designed circuit which then “pushes” the buttons on either of the two phones inside. The circuit is compact because it uses surface mount components and therefore can leave plenty of room inside the rotary phone for the original bells which are rung using the vibrating function of the cellphone. The DECT phone’s battery powers the circuit and the cellphone uses its own battery. If you are at O’Reilly’s EuroOSCON in Brussels next week, I will have the phone with me for the Make event on Wednesday night. I have quite a few photos up of the Magic Phone and the first part of a detailed how-to can be found on Engadget here and the second part here.

Apple Quicktake 100

Posted in gadgets on September 13th, 2006 by fabienne

raised apple logo

I found this Apple QuickTake 100 at a flea market in Berlin while visiting Germany for the IFA conference last week. It was piled under crockery and rusty whisks on a very long series of folding tables all covered with boxes and boxes of loot. The vendor thought I really wanted the Rollei camera I had in my hand so he threw in the QuickTake and another Soviet era made-in-the-GDR standard film camera with my asking price. The QuickTake powers on and takes photos after some serious cleaning on my part of the corroded battery terminals. Now all I need is a serial cable and a copy of OS 7 or a unix port of the drivers to make it work. It has 1mb of internal memory, and no slot for memory cards. This adds up to 12 photos at the high resolution of 640×480 and 24 at the lower resolution of half that I believe. Steve missed out yesterday by not announcing an update to the QuickTake.

fits in your hand

Rummaging through backups for my thoughts

Posted in blawging on September 11th, 2006 by fabienne

I wrote this a few days after September 11th, 2001. It was buried in a backup of a backup:

There are so many people in this world. I never thought I’d witness extreme sadness and horror mirrored in those “so many people.” When I moved to New York City in June I felt overwhelmed by the hugeness of the city and the number of talented people just like me in close proximity. In the afternoon of that Tuesday when I ventured for the first time outside, I saw three young firefighters in their yellow rubber pants, their jackets off. One of them—burly, strapping, manly—had tears dripping quietly down his face. I turned away, looked the other way. How had my city changed from fend-for-yourself faces to thousands of faces showing their sorrow, quiet anger, betrayal and fear? Manhattan became eerily quiet.

I returned to that island of people, buildings, artists, mixed cultures, dirty streets on Friday—three days after that day. My three days of sanctuary and sorrow in Brooklyn are an experience I wish to forget. They were filled with nightmares, periods of shock, panic attacks when the fighter jets would fly overhead, the sounds of sirens, my tears mirrored in every person on the street, the horror of the television showing my war-torn neighborhood, my white footbridge with the reporter in front of it. Even the reporter was in shock. She was filled with a tired sort of emotion, fear of another attack, and pain from the loss and ugliness behind her. Her interviews of people on the street were disgusting because they only conveyed the surface of the pain and left out so much.

No words can describe the feelings of evil, of ugliness, of wrongness when viewing that pile of steel with ones’ own eyes. It hangs in your stomach to resurface later. I walk by the MISSING posters on Canal Street. Pictures of loyal husbands, beautiful daughters, and kooky best friends hang on the graffiti-plastered warehouse walls. I feel like my new friend Olivia. She discusses the posters sadly, “I want to tell them [the families of the victims] that they aren’t missing. They’re dead.” To get to my apartment in Manhattan I walk many blocks from the few subways that are left running downtown. The streets are quiet—barricades are up to let only authorized vehicles into TriBeCa and lower Manhattan. Some of the people that live in my neighborhood have moved back. I walk through the plastic smelling smoke. I don’t turn to look at the pile. I show the army man my identification, my checkbook showing I live in the building at the end of the block. He smiles when I walk back around the corner of the building with my pillow and various bags. “At least you’ve got your favorite pillow now,” he says. “Yeah,” I comment quietly. I turn away from him and walk in an uptown direction to avoid the view south of my apartment.

Getting Second Life to work on a Linux box

Posted in code on September 10th, 2006 by fabienne

Apparently Linden Labs has an alpha out for Linux. What they fail to mention is that the compiled version is linked against specific versions of openssl and requires a ton of libs I didn’t have installed on my basic Debian install. Window resizing didn’t work either, it crashed the running app but didn’t kill it. A few minutes of lag-tastic blue eyebrow creation later I finally thought to look at top to discover that I was running the whole virtual world twice. That said, once that was resolved, it runs fairly smoothly on a souped up linux box: a 2ghz p4 with 2 gigs of ram and a halfway decent video card.

brownie yumminess

Posted in food on September 10th, 2006 by fabienne

This is to test the rss functionality with some html tags like italic and bold and a pic of a brownie with some sliced nectarine:
brownie + nectarine macro

first post omg

Posted in blawging, food on September 9th, 2006 by fabienne

i’m taking advantage of this first post to show you a yummy and tasty pizza i made:
the only thing i love more than breaded eggplant