Techcrunch/Blippy invites exhausted in 3 minutes

Very excited about Blippy. Saw their tweet today, but within 3 minutes the invites had gone. When I arrived on the register page there were 4 left. By the time I entered my details, they'd gone.

Windows 7 features animated icons in task switcher

Just noticed a really cool Windows 7 feature. If you're running a video application, such as Media Player or WinTV, the icon that shows in the task switcher is animated. You can watch mini-TV while flicking between programs. This is of course almost completely useless, but very cool! The image below shows Terratec Home Cinema screening the Muppets Christmas Carol.

Getting Open CV projects setup in Visual Studio

I've been playing with (formerly Intel's) Open Computer Vision API (OpenCV). Here are some notes I put together for building OpenCV apps in Visual Studio.

New project
Win32 Console application 'freqtest'
Delete existing sources
Copy files into freqtest project
Copy opencv_lib files into freqtest project
Right click 'Source files', add existing item, select all files from 'src'
Right click 'Header files', add existing item, select all files from 'include'
Right click 'freqtest', select Properties
Change output directory to '.\'
Select 'C/C++'

UGC marches on

With Sidewiki, Google is opening up a new channel for user generated content (UGC). Users are empowered to comment on anything. I'm not sure if I'd want to see those comments all the time, but I know that it could help restore balance to one sided, biassed content. I'm really interested to see how Sidewiki interacts with highly branded content. The seller's marketing message can now be critiqued by anyone and those opinions shared in a truly egalitarian fashion.

Windows 7 high ping times

Update 21/12/09: This is now sorted. See below for solution.

Ah, the agony of invisible Operating System behaviours! I noticed my browser experience slowing down. After running a gamut of tests, the cause seemed to be a slow ping time, but it didn't seem to affect all my computers. Ping times seemed fine until I ran Dropbox (v0.6.557) on Windows 7 (build 7600).

Ping to
Reply from bytes=32 time=18ms TTL=54
Reply from bytes=32 time=25ms TTL=54
Reply from bytes=32 time=20ms TTL=54

3 types of backup, not one

There are three types of data maintenance that I should be doing on a regular basis:

  1. Backup - duplicating the current version of my active documents
  2. Cloning - cloning my entire main harddisk to backup drive that is a similar size and format. This copies the operating system files and applications in such a way that they 'just work' on the backup drive. In the event of a main disk error or crash, I simply slot in the backup drive, restore to it my latest working files and carry on working.

Drawing 2D primitives in a browser


Action Script 3.0 (as3) has native functions to draw basic 2D primitives. In AS2 you had to calculate all the points on, say a circle, then draw it using line segments. I've written a little demo which draws circles. This time trial aims to complete in roughly 100ms.

In order to view this Flash content your browser must support Javascript and Flash.

Avisynth time delayed compositing

I recently spent some time messing with the Microsoft DirectX SDK with a view to making a simple video player. I wanted to show a video in the main window, with two smaller preview windows looking t+2 and t+5 seconds out respectively.

BMW Z4 on your real-world desktop

BMW have recently launched their new Z4, but as well as a glossy TV spot, the company are deploying a complex social media campaign.

Is 1/1000th of a second at Sepang equivalent to the width of a matchstick

On Saturday morning Jenson Button qualified in first place for the Malaysian Grand Prix ahead of Jarno Trulli. At one stage the gap separating pole and second place was just 1/1000th of a second. I was watching the BBC's Eddie Jordan explain what that meant in real terms. He said it equated to the width of match.

Bored waiting for the Grand Prix to begin on Sunday morning, I thought I'd check.

Length of the circuit: 3.444 km
Truli qualifying time: 1:35.273 or 95.273s
Average speed: 3444/95.273 = 36.149 m/s

Distance covered each 1/1000th of a second: 0.036m = 3.61cm

Alex Stanhope is a Technology consultant to the UK Creative Industries and Venture Catalyst. This is my personal website.
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