Sunday, June 29, 2008

ScreenFlow and ScreenSharing

I wanted to make a little Screen Cast about discovering how to make .vncloc files for quick screen sharing access, and in the process I found ScreenFlow. $100 is a lot of cash for an app, but this is pro-level screen casting software. I could have manually done it by using Snapz (which I already own), but Snaps cost something like $75 anyway. For a bit more you can have some amazing features in ScreenFlow.

Anyway, here's my little screen cast.

(Postscript: I ended up redoing it in Snapz Pro X.)

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Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Mmmm... that's geeky!



This is exactly the type of geekiness I most enjoy (and probably that I myself often display about my passions of choice). This guy draws, draws well, and is very knowledgeable about his tools and tips to work and maintain those tools. From auto mechanics to graphic artists, I really can appreciate this level of competence and joy in one's work.

(A twitter post from Dave Kellet led me to this video.)

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Thursday, June 12, 2008

Newer Technology USB 2.0 Universal Drive Adapter

This has to be one of the best purchases I've made in a long, long time.

Newer Technology USB 2.0 Universal Drive Adapter

I have two defunct macs sitting in a closet along with two defunct FireWire Hard Drives for a total of 7 IDE hard drives floating around, unused. My running macs are all SATA, though, so I had no way of utilizing all these drives. The inventory ended up being a 20GB, 2x40GB, 3x80GB and a 200GB. Plus an IDE SuperDrive (DVD R/W).

What I didn't consider is that there was still recoverable data on almost all of them. One of the 80s is dead, but so far the rest are mounting up fine and I'm finding all sorts of lost treasure on them. A couple of years ago, when I was migrating my data from my old G4 to the G5, about a third of my music library got corrupted, and I never found out until after the G4 was no longer functioning. All the files were MP4s that I'd ripped from my own CD collection, and I was able to re-rip some of it, but it turned out that when I sold my Miata, I left a 40 CD case in the car that had my absolute favorites. So I still had jewel cases for all these fantastic albums, but no longer had the disks and therefore no way to get those songs back into my library.

Well, last night I found a 4 year old back up of the G4 on one of the drives that had all the missing music on it. I stayed up way too late listening to Soul Coughing and Nine Inch Nails and Violent Femmes songs I hadn't heard in years.

And I've just now plugged in the last 80GB drive only to discover some old Final Cut movies I made of the kids a few years back and an iDVD build I'd made for sending out to grandparents and relatives. I'd assumed they were also lost forever.

I've always been a big fan of Other World Computing for their FireWire drives, but this adapter is fantastic. It's worth way more than the $30 they're charging.

Post Script:

One of these is the old startup drive for the G4 and I found a ton of installed games on it - Jedi Knight, Jedi Academy, Halo, Elite Force, Elite Force II, Neverwinter Nights, Myth III, Quake, Quake 3, WoW (version 1.10!) and even a 10GB full install of EverQuest for Mac.

That last is very tempting. EQ can't hold a candle to WoW, technologically, but there's something about the world of Norrath and it's various environs that totally captured me when I played it. I have memories about places in EQ and even dreams about them as if they were places I'd really experienced. I had many gripes about the game, but I also loved it dearly. Of course, one of my main gripes was that this was the Macintosh version of EQ and the server (Al'Kabor) was mac-only. That made it a small player base of mac elitists. I love Macs and won't use anything else, but I'm not the biggest fan of old-style mac users. It's gotten better in recent years as the growth in market share has diversified the user base, but back in the old days mac users were a pretty monolithic crowd. Either artists or teachers and almost all with a superiority complex that drove me crazy. I had some great friends in EQ, but most of them were from the small niche of tech-savvy mac people where I was. Sadly most of them had PCs, too, and I lost quite a few over time to EQII or Eve before WoW came along and solved just about every problem I had with MacEQ.

I still dream of it, though, from time to time...

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Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Why did we find Nemo, again?

Over the years, my kids have loved the various Pixar movies. Unfortunately, since my son is typically in charge of the kids DVDs, we've lost not a few. A couple of days ago, I re-purchased some DVDs we'd owned, before, but no longer had: Bugs Life, Monsters, Inc. and Finding Nemo. My son just put Nemo on and now I'm remembering why I never enjoyed this movie much. I'd been a widower for less than a year when we got the DVD, and I remember now how much it shocked and hurt me to see the Marlin character have to lose his loving spouse and have to struggle on and raise his kid as best he could, alone. Ugh. It still twists me up, inside. Six years out from the accident, now, and I'm doing pretty alright, but also I just don't think about it much.

This movie makes me think about it.

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Monday, June 2, 2008

Today's Ctl+Alt+Del Comic

First, read the comic in question, then come back and see if I make any sense:

http://www.ctrlaltdel-online.com/comic.php?d=20080602

My first reaction was, “Does he have kids? A wife? Has he been through this?” I have, and it’s something I almost never talk about. My third child (a little boy we’d already named) was on the cusp of the third trimester when my wife was in a car accident. I lost them both. The joy of my two older children made me feel the loss of this almost-little-boy so strongly because I already knew what I was losing. It’s scary how much you love your kids, and I knew I’d never get to know him and love him. Just mourn for the life he never got to have.

It took me almost three years before I was done grieving for them, and it’s now close to six since the accident and I’m only writing about it because it’s upsetting to see people (even fictional characters) in this situation. At first, I thought that Tim Buckley (the creator of CTL+ALT+DEL) must just be tossing this in for drama and not have any real experience with it from his own life. How could he? If you’ve been through it, blithely tossing it into your gaming webcomic to “stress test” (his words) his characters’ relationship is just not something you’d do.

Except he says he has been through this (though, he manages to sound extremely ego-centric and self-aggrandizing and oddly flippant when he does talk about it).

Some many years ago, long before I started the comic, I was in a relationship and we suffered a miscarriage. Now, this relationship was toxic to begin with and doomed to fail regardless, so that the miscarriage was the straw that broke the camel's back came as no surprise. It was a pregnancy neither of us wanted in the first place, so the event didn't effect me nearly as much as it would, say, a couple who was trying for a child. Still, I saw the emotions it can bring up first hand, and I saw how it could truly hurt someone.

Someone. Just not him, obviously. I’m sure somebody could write about this in a meaningful and profound way, but, again, just not him.

I already don’t read this comic. I tried, years ago, when I first encountered it, but it’s always been too vapid and shallow and almost too masturbatory (his real audience is himself - other readers are just incidental). I saw a twitter about it, this morning, or it would’ve gone completely under my radar. So I’m not trying to start controversy or shame the writer or cost him readers (I don’t think his typical readers would understand either, to be honest). I’m just saddened by the associations this particular comic dredged up, and and disappointed that Buckley’s not deep enough to truly grasp the emotional depth of his current subject matter.

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