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Showing posts from April, 2008

Adobe's Lightroom

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A friend of mine brought to my attention this great software tool from Adobe. There is a new version 2 on development and I've tried both 1.3 and 2.0 beta.

One of the reasons I've bought a Digital SLR camera was to be able to shot in RAW mode. Doing so gives you more choice in terms of development options than shooting JPEG.

Lightroom software allows you to give a similar treatment to your photos, no matter your shoot RAW or JPEG. The software main aim is to help you make your good photos great.

You may wonder why don't you just use Photoshop or GIMP instead. These other tools are just not designed to help you do that easily. However Lightroom has a simple but yet very powerful interface with an astonishing fast calculation that make it very pleasant to use. You can always easily compare the "Before" and "After" pictures.

You can get a trial version from Adobe website so you may try by yourself.

Running circles with Ipod Touch

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I've recently bought one iPod Touch 16GB for my wife. A few days later I bought another one for my youngest kid (a clear case of iPod envy).

I was quite dissapointed when I've learned that the Touch did not support enterprise WPA nor it does include a VPN client. This renders it useless for any serious network use (so I'm not buying one for me till this is corrected). After the initial excitement my kid was kind of bored with the lack of new applications for his iPod Touch so he asked me to do something about it.

I was not eager to get into that fight, but I was told that Ziphone was a safe bet to install an application installer on the iPod Touch so new applications can be installed. They even claimed on their website that even a caveman can do it with Ziphone. So I decided to give it a go. 
I dowloaded the application to our iMac and selected Jailbreak. A few messages indicated that files were copied to the Touch and a message told me to wait 1'10''. Nothing hap…

Cool OCR software

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I'm trying out new tools all the time. Many times this action is triggered by the need of doing something new, better and faster.

Some days ago I needed to get the text of some book pages typed in at the computer. Old fashion was is likely faster but not very exciting (it was not much more than a thousand words). However I do like challenges. First stop was to use my old Acer S2W 3300U Scanner. It is working nicely with Ubuntu (well, it was last time I used with Feisty, but now with Gutsy it was not working). The trouble with this in Linux scanner is that, although it works nicely, it uses proprietary firmware that cannot be included in Linux distributions. That means every time you update your Linux distribution you need to copy the new firmware (and to add the proper line to /etc/sane.d/snapscan.conf file).

Once the first problem was fixed I tried to OCR the scanned page: It did not work. I needed to install gocr (that unfortunately was not installed by default). Not a big problem…

rdesktop missunderstanding

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Every now and then I need to use Windows-only software for a project. I try to avoid it as much as I can but sometimes there is not other way.

Over the years I've tried different approaches with mixed success:
Dual-boot machine.A virtual machine running the second OS (i.e: using VMware).Running Windows applications over Wine or even better CrossOver Office.Recently I tried a new approach (not that I claim it is any type of innovation though) which is the use of a Windows 2003 server and Terminal Services. This way you can connect a remote terminal over the network. This is similar to Windows XP remote desktop but multiuser.

While you can use a thin-client to access your new desktop I am using rdesktop client software. It is very responsive even over the Internet and it allows you to share folders with the remote desktop. This way you can exchange files securely and easily.

The feature that was driving me mad was remote audio. You can also import audio output from the remote desktop. H…

iPod Touch trouble

I'll first start telling you that I just love it: The iPod Touch is the coolest PDA-like device I've used. The size seems just right and though it's a bit pricey I ended up buying a couple of them as one of my kids wanted to get rid of his Creative ZEN-V that needs to be reseted every few songs (crap).

However I am really disappointed to discover that while the iPod works nicely with WEP or WPA-PSK wifi protected networks, it does not support Enterprise WPA (that uses a Radius server for user authentication). That renders the unit almost useless in our campus.

I've been told that if I pay $20 for an additional software then I'll be able to use a VPN client software that comes with it, but still no Enterprise WPA. Unfortunately I am not in the mood of shelling out a dollar more to Apple. I do think that they are too driven to make even more money out of us, unsuspecting customers, which does not improve their brand image in my mind.

I am afraid I'll have to do this…