Alex's Undercover Blog

The Trouble with Project 365

Posted: 2010-05-11T08:26:18Z[UTC] by Alex

For those of you that I'm close to you know that I recently picked up a camera and committed to doing Project 365. That is taking and sharing a picture a day for a year. So far the undertaking has been a lot of different things. At times it's been exciting and inspiring and at other times frustrating and desperate.

Unfortunately for the last few weeks (or month even) most of my "efforts" have been pure desperation to get photos for each day. At just over 100 days in this is, from what I understand, I pretty classic place for project-goers to get stuck. I've spent the first few months of this project exploring my neighborhood and around where I work. It's been really great to see these two areas from a different perspective but it's become more and more clear that, as far as my inspiration is concerned, I've almost completely exhausted the possibilities of this limited scope. At least for the time being.

And All of a Sudden I'm an (Amateur) Photographer

Posted: 2009-12-31T16:11:53Z[UTC] by Alex

I've always loved photography. I got some of that love from my father and sister who are both incredible photographers. Until just recently however 100% of what I've done has been simple point and shoot. I've been able to get some great quality pictures but really wanted to take it to the next level.

A couple of months ago Chase Jarvis, a professional photographer, came to Amazon to promote his latest book "The Best Camera is the One You Have With You". He was clearly very passionate about his work and wanted to get everybody else in the room fired up about photography too. That's really when I started to\u00a0 give photography a bit more consideration.

Rejoining The World Of Warcraft

Posted: 2009-03-27T15:43Z[UTC] by Alex

I've been playing World of Warcraft off and on since before it's initial release in 2004. I've never been a huge fan of MMORPG's in the past either because they require far too much grinding or they place too much of a focus on the multi-player aspect and essentially ignoring the solo player (because I have such a busy schedule I tend to be more of a solo player in general). When WoW came along I was intrigued by the small barrier to entry, it's simple and effective questing system and it of course had the advantage of the Warcraft history built in.

The Historian

Posted: 2009-01-23T21:46Z[UTC] by Alex

Based on a recommendation I got at a party I recently picked up a copy of The Historian at the library. All I really knew about the book going into it was that it was a story about people attempting to ascertain the true origin of Vlad the Impaler (Dracula). I've been really into vampire/zombie books lately so I though it might be a good read.

It turns out the book is more historical fiction than science-fiction. The reader is left on many a precipice of unknowns. As one question is answered many more are left unanswered and you are "forced" to venture through more of the book if you want to get at those answers.

Interplay relaunches site, rehires original Fallout dev

Posted: 2008-09-24T19:10Z[UTC] by Alex

Say what now? How cool is this?! I worked for both Babbages and Egghead Software during and after high school and played just about all of the games that Interplay published. It seems to have taken quite an effort on their part but hopefully this is just the beginning of the good news for this company.

The first project to be an MMORPG based on the Fallout universe is very exciting. It certainly has a ton of potential. Hiring Chris Taylor was a great move also.

Backfilling Flickr Data in Aperture

Posted: 2008-09-21T12:52Z[UTC] by Alex

This is a follow-up post to the Scripting OS X with Ruby post from the other day.

Step 1: Determine Flickr ID mappings

With the knowledge from that post I started to write some code which would help me get my photos' Flickr ids from my old data into my new data. I started by writing some Java code to export the photo name to Flickr id mappings using the Photoshop Elements library I wrote about. Because I had very rarely changed the titles of the photos it was easy to make the mapping from the base file name to Aperture version name (base file name: P1000243.JPG, Aperture version name: P1000243). The code I wrote simply output the expected version name and the Flickr id with a colon as the delimiter between them on each line of a file. Because of the work I had done previously it took about 10 minutes to write, debug and get my simple mapping file together.

Scripting OS X Software with Ruby

Posted: 2008-09-19T08:43Z[UTC] by Alex

Ever since I discovered Flickr a few years ago I've wanted to develop an application to synchronize the data between it and whatever desktop application I was using. At the time I was using Photoshop Elements on Windows and was able to "decode" the data model used in the Access database that stores all of it's data. Using that knowledge I created a library in Java to read the data into Java objects. On top of that I was able to throw together some simple code to upload images and add metadata in Flickr using the Flickrj library. It was inefficient but got the job done... eventually. Since it worked well enough I pretty much abandoned further development in favor of other projects.

iPhone Madness

Posted: 2008-07-12T05:34Z[UTC] by Alex

Crazy, crazy, crazy!

I've been waiting to buy an iPhone for ages. The day finally arrived so I went down to U. Village around 7:30am, only 30 minutes before they opened, to stand inline with the other crazed Apple fans. It turns out that people started to wait in line the night before and had wrapped through U. Village all the way back to Office Depot. The Apple employees estimated that they would be able to get through 100 customers an hour. At that rate I would be out of the store by 11ish. Come 9:45a the line had hardly moved so I gave up for the time being.

Trouble with Maven

Posted: 2008-03-11T07:32Z[UTC] by Alex

I've tried to use Maven during my Java development but have found it rather frustrating for a few reasons.

The documentation is a bit sparse - Most of what you need is represented but setting up your own settings, deploying artifacts a repository and other more advanced subjects are under represented.

Deploying artifacts is painful - This mostly goes along with the first point. The syntax, once figured out is far from obvious and much to verbose for my taste. That's one of the drawbacks of extreme flexibility... extreme complexity.

Google Reader for Your Wii

Posted: 2007-05-11T09:22Z[UTC] by Alex

Now Wii users not only have the ability to browse the web but Google has released a Wii-specific version of Google-Reader (for RSS Aggregation) which takes advantage of the buttons on the Wii-Remote. I can't wait to give this a try!