All posts by Douglas

The New Wikipedia Beta

Wikipedia launched, a couple of days ago, a Beta version of the highly popular online encyclopedia. The update focuses around enhancing usability and thus stimulate more to edit and create new content.
Wikipedia Beta usability navigation
Wikipedia Beta usability toolbar
Images taken from Wikipedia itself, showing off some bits of the new design.

The Coffee Desk has an article about the Wikipedia Beta, highlighting the design, the search function, the use of AJAX and the new text-editor. As I have been unable to test this Beta myself, I leave you to read that article!

The AutoISO Feature – How Does It Work?

The AutoISO-feature, available on most modern DSLR cameras (digital system cameras), enables the camera to set its own ISO-values. The user selects a shutter speed as the “minimum speed”, telling the camera that it should attempt to keep the shutter-speed at this level or faster. Based on the amount of light in the picture, the size of the aperture (the f-stop) and the selected minimum shutter-speed, the camera carefully chooses a custom ISO-sensitivity. By “custom ISO-sensitivity” I mean a value that’s not limited to ISO200, ISO400, ISO800 or ISO1600 but a value that can be set anywhere on the scale (ISO240, ISO530, ISO670). The maximum ISO-sensitivity can also be defined to lower noise, meaning that the camera never goes past this ISO-value but instead lowers the shutter speed.

How does AutoISO help you then? Well, imagine you’re shooting indoors. The lighting conditions can change rapidly and you need to take well-exposed shots all the time. Keeping a firm ISO is not flexible enough whilst constantly changing the ISO-sensitivity is not time-efficient. The AutoISO-feature keeps you shooting at a fast shutter speed all the time by making much faster and more accurate changes to the ISO-sensitivity on-the-fly.

All-in-all the AutoISO-feature is a great tool and is well worth the time to try it out!
Nikon logo
Canon logo
Olympus logo
Sony logo

Interesting New Anti-Virus Software – VIPRE

Recently, the company behind a host of security- and storage-related programs, Sunbelt Software, released its Antivirus Software called VIPRE.
The software has been designed to efficiently cure and prevent viruses, spywares, trojans, etc. But the interesting part here is that it has been built to be faster than Norton, McAffee, NOD32 and other currently popular antiviruses.

VIPRE Antivirus features, other than its very intuitive and sleek design, advanced anti-rootkit technology, real-time monitoring with its Active Protection™ and a unique and very resource-friendly anti-virus and spyware engine.
VIPRE is highly worth a try, whether you’re satisfied with your current antivirus or not, and you can now download the free working 15-day trial to do so now!

Facebook Usernames – Finally!

The clock ticks at 5:59, 6:00 and then reaches 6:01AM. What a thrill! The adrenaline pumping, the eyes flickering, the fingers rapidly pressing the keyboard trying to get that special username…

After trying /douglas and actually getting a message that the name was available – miliseconds later chaning status to taken – I finally rested my mind on /dstridsberg. Not too bad, but perhaps /douglas.stridsberg would have been better?

I don’t know, and I sure was way too fired up to think about anything else at the very moment…

I did, though, have a chat with the Douglas that received /douglas and in his timezone (6 hours behind mine) he only just had to stay up till 12AM (which isn’t that late considering its a Friday night). Life’s unfair – isn’t it?

Anyway, I’m still rather happy with my new facebook username, Douglas Stridsberg! Perhaps this will in some way or another favor my Google search rankings?

My First Google Error Ever

On the 1st of June 2009 at around 6PM GMT I received the following Google Server Error:
Google Server Error
I was rather tempted to mail error@google.com

Have you ever encountered such an error on Google?

Mac MSN Messenger Loses Focus – Solved!

The problem with MSN losing focus after sending a message derives from the latest beta of Safari, believe it or not. Safari Beta 4 installed a version of WebKit which apparently caused the text-area inside MSN Messenger to behave erratically.
Just uninstalling Safari from Applications does not resolve the problem, nor does an uninstall of WebKit nightly builds do the trick. What you need to do is download the Safari .dmg file and run the uninstaller – here’s how:

#1

Download the Safari Beta from Apple’s homepage and mount it or unpack it anywhere.

#2

Safari 4
Open the Safari4.0BetaUninstall.pkg file and complete the steps necessary to uninstall the software. Note that after the uninstall, you will not have a working web browser unless you install another browser!

After these steps and a restart your MSN Messenger should be working fine!

Satellite TV on your PC – Does It Work?

This guide involves acquiring a piece of software (PCSatelliteTV) that is not free – either you buy it or you get hold of it in some other way. I will not be held liable for your choice.

Satellite TV to PC logo

Introduction

This guide will cover just how easy it is to play TV on your computer using nothing but software and internet. I was amazed at how well it worked, and although the quality could have been better the choice of channels makes up for it.
This guide involves, as stated above, an acquisition of PCSatelliteTV and you may choose in which way you do this.

Install

Install the program using custom or standard settings, either way works well. No crucial configuration is needed during the installation process. I found some trouble with NOD32 giving virus warnings however I found that the warnings were only issued to the temporary files that were extracted – not the final product.

Scan for channels (optional)

Before opening the program you may want to scan for channels. This extremely slow process (can take hours) scans a directory for any channel available. I have as of now not fully completed a scan like this, so I can’t tell you whether it’s useful or not.
Scan for channels
To start the scan, open the Scan Channels.exe file in your installation directory (the one you specified during installation), press the Scan For Available Channels and let it sit for a long time. A progress bar will tell you how much is left.

Conclusion

After all of this it’s time to enjoy your TV! Open up the main PCSatelliteTV application and doubleclick on any channel to start playing. The quality could be much better and some channels fail to work entirely, but at least it’s TV – and not only free channels but also paid ones.
It does its job – it works, but of course it can be made much better.

Screenshots

ESPN Nascar
Al Jazeera

Five Reaons Not to use Live View in a Camera

Battery power – why waste it?

Using Live View drastically shortens the time you’re able to use your camera on its batteries, unless you plug it in to a charger. As new images constantly have to be rendered on the screen – many frames per second and often a high brightness – this easily drains your batteries.

Accuracy? – I don’t think so…

What Live View shows cannot in any way reflect what the viewfinder shows, nor how your subject really looks. A lot of times you can be lead into believing that colors, brightness and even sharpness is correctly tuned – after taking the picture you see that none of this corresponds to what was taken.

Unnecessary icons and information

A display is usually cluttered with icons, information and lots of other things that really can disturb when taking photos. A good viewfinder has all the information placed outside the actual image, and only the focus is actually shown.

Stability is lost

Imagine yourself holding your camera so that you can see the Live View. This requires most people to hold the camera away from the body and head to be able to see anything. Although you might be holding with two hands there is still a lack of stability and you will often encounter unsharp images – simply due to shaking. Looking through a viewfinder eliminates this as your head is helping to keep the camera stable.

You have to look cool when taking photos!

Look at someone taking a picture using the Live View and compare it with someone who is using the viewfinder. Go figure, viewfinder is a lot cooler. End of discussion.

Selling a Newly-Built Computer

Specifications

  • Intel Pentium 4, 3.0GHz (15 x 200) dualcore
  • MSI PT8 Neo-V (5 PCI, 1 AGP, 2 DDR DIMM, Audio, LAN) VIA Apollo P4X533
  • 1024 MB (DDR SDRAM)
  • ATI Radeon HD 2400 Series (256 MB)
  • MAXTOR S TM3160211AS (160 GB, 7200 RPM, SATA-II)
  • DVD-RW Drive
  • FireWire-1934 Connections

Description

PC Project
A newly built PC with a fast Intel processor and a robust motherboard from MSI gives you all the performance you need for surfing the web, playing less intense games or watching HD-videos on large screens.
The ATI GPU-card is one of the more modern and faster AGP cards and can handle high resolutions and intense action. FireWire and USB2.0 ports are added for your convenience.
The Operating System installed is an original Windows Vista Ultimate with all updates and drivers pre-installed!

I published this computer on a buy-and-sell-site in Sweden and set the price to about €234, hoping to attract people looking for a cheap alternative to expensive powerhouses – which still can run most games and act as a great media-computer.

And after a few weeks I finally did manage to get it sold – for €234, a very good price if you ask me!

What do you think? Opinions? Suggestions?

Organic Chemistry – Hydrocarbons

Definition

The study of organic chemistry is the study of the chemistry of carbon compounds. Not all carbon compounds are counted as organic, the rule excludes carbonates (x-CO₃), carbon monoxide (CO) and carbon dioxide (CO₂).
Hydrocarbons contain hydrogen (H) and carbon only. They are divided into groups such as alkanes, alkynes, alkenes and alcohols, and are homologous series. Homologous series are, accodring to tiscali.co.uk, “any of a number of series of organic compounds with similar chemical properties in which members can be described by a general formula and ofen differ by a constant relative molecular mass”.

Alkanes

Alkanes are, thanks to their purely single carbon bonds (C-C), saturated. Physical properties include low melting- and boiling points considering the molar mass. They do not conduct, have low densities and do not solve in water.

Examples

  • Methane – CHâ‚„
  • Ethane – Câ‚‚Hâ‚