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Panorama

Received my Nodal Ninja pano head on Friday. Stayed up much too late last night sorting things out. This is the 10 shot stitched 360 panorama of my front entryway. Click to see larger version.

360 pano

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360 pano

This is 8 shots around the 360 horizon combined with one shot up (zenith) and one shot down (nadir). You can see the tripod squished along the bottom of the image.

Taking this into another program I was able to generate this 3D interactive panorama. Click your mouse into the image and hold it. Then move the mouse around to scroll through the scene:

Click here for the full sized version

I’m having way too much fun!

My Screen Is Sideways

sidewaysscreen

This month marks 4 years since I posted the above Q&A for my Helpline Blog at The Houston Chonicle. Since that time, “My screen is sideways” has generated over 700 comments from all over the world from people who have encountered this problem.

I really thought the problem was too esoteric and almost didn’t publish it.

In reading the comments it would appear that the primary cause of this problem is cat ownership.

I wonder what other computer problems may be cat related?

New Toy

The old PC has become a little cumbersome for my image editing needs and I had pretty much come to the conclusion that a new computer was in order.

My current Windows box is a AMD Athlon 64 I purchased in February of 2006. Even when it was new it as not all that great a computer. It was on the low end both in price and performance. I had bought it to replace a AMD K6 400Mhz computer with a 40 gig hard drive I had bought in 1999 so it was an improvement and so far has served me pretty well.

I began shopping for a replacement and found myself looking to Apple as a possible option for my impending upgrade. I weighed the pros and cons and determined that it could only benefit me in both my IT career and my digital photography. Sure there would be a bit of a learning curve, but I know a lot of Mac users who are more than willing to assist me in my transition.

After some hemming and hawing I settled on a refurbished 2.8 GHz 24″ iMac from apple.com. The savings were pretty significant when compared to a brand new unit and the specs were more than suitable for my needs. I ordered it online on Friday and it was delivered to my office on Tuesday the following week.

I gotta say, this thing is pretty slick. Out of the box and on to the network in just about 5 minutes. I set it up at the office and poked around a little before I took it home. I then spent most of the evening working out the kinks of getting a program called Synergy loaded on the Mac and the PC so that I could control both computers with a single mouse and keyboard WITHOUTH the need for a KVM switch. It’s a nifty and elegant little program that, when installed, lets you move the mouse seamlessly from one desktop to another and back again. The keyboard works on whichever computer the mouse cursor is on. It’s like a dual display but with two computer instead of one.

Of course this sent me all over the place as I first tried to install the command line server utility on the Mac before I discovered SynergyKM which is a GUI wrapper around the synergy command line tool and makes the setup and configuration much, much easier.

My efforts led me to explore the network preferences and other “control panel” like items of the Mac as well as got me to a command line pretty quick as I struggled to get it installed and working properly.

In the end, I was triumphant and now I have the PC and the MAC working side by side on my desk.

Next step will be to get the 24″ PC monitor connected as a secondary monitor on the Mac. My 24″ Westinghouse has HDMI and VGA connectors. It is connected to the PC using the VGA so I plan to connect to the Mac using the HDMI and then be able to switch the monitor easily from PC primary to Mac secondary.

I have the mini-DVI to DVI to HDMI connectors and just need a HDMI cable which I am expecting to have in hand today.

Please feel free to comment with any suggestions as to applications or Web sites you think I might benefit from as I explore this new system! Keep in mind that anti-spam features in place on this blog may make posting a web link difficult. Just suggest the name of the site and I will find it.

Technology Expert?

I was asked if I was available for an interview for ABC 13 for a segment on social networking. In the piece that aired on the 4:00 pm news I briefly explained the basics of Facebook and Twitter.

This aired on ABC
http://abclocal.go.com/ktrk/video?id=6814053

These are the extended interviews that did not make the air but are on the ABC 13 Web site:

http://abclocal.go.com/ktrk/video?id=6814048
http://abclocal.go.com/ktrk/video?id=6814050

Implementing Video

I just got a Flip Mino HD to play with and am thinking of doing some video on the upcoming trip to Spain like I did in Belgium over Christmas. My first thought was to simply host the videos on my web site and embed them. I had this working more or less with the Podpress plugin but for some reason it’s gone all wonky on me.

In my search for options I found a variety of plug-ins for self hosting video, but they are convoluted and not one offers what I really need.

The other option was to upload to one of the video sharing sights and snag the embed code for publication here at baldheretic.com. Youtube doesn’t allow you to embed the HD version of your video into your own blog so that’s a waste. I was turned on to Vimeo by John Winters (aka @obscura) and it is impressive. The problem is that you are only allowed to upload 500mb a week, which is fine but they only allow ONE HD upload a week which is not so great. You can upgrade to Vimeo Plus for a fee of $59.95 a year. This account allows for 5 gigs of uploads in a week and unlimited HD uploads are included in that.

Kind of overkill for my purposes and too pricey.

I also checked out Flickr Video which is available to Pro account holders like myself, but they limit your videos to 90 seconds with no option to go longer. The call it “a long photograph.”

In my quest I stumble upon a post by WordPress founder Matthew Mullenweg where he was showing off a movie made from tilt-shift photos he had taken.

Doing a little digging I found out that if you have a pemium account at wordpress.com you can upload videos of many different formats and the site will crunch and convert and allow you to embed them rather seamlessly. The premium account is only $20 a year for 5 gig of storage. The cool thing is that once you upload the video you can then grab the embed code and place it in the blog of your choice making this a reasonable alternative to Vimeo for me personally.

It irks me that this functionality is not available for those of us who self host our own WordPress blogs. I suspect it has do with whatever is needed on the back end to process the videos, but still. I bet it could be implemented without much fuss. We’ll see what comes down the pike in the future.

In the mean time I have paid Mr. Mullenweg his thirty pieces of silver and acquired the upgrade. I do like the quality of the video.

If Matt reads this I would like him to know that donated wordpress.com account to Technology Bytes would be a tax write-off. Just wanted to put that out there.