Monday, December 31, 2007


Milton, originally uploaded by smithco.

I got a Sock Monkey kit for Christmas. It contained a pair of socks, some thread, needles, some fabric and sewing instructions.

He's named for the Top Banana, Milton Berle. He's a little lumpy, his ears uneven and his hat's a bit too large. But, he's my monkey.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

The Wii and the D-Link WBR-2310 (error code 52040)

Hooray! Santa brought me a Wii for Christmas. Boo! Attempting to connect to the internet gave me error code 52030.

The set up I have is a Wii and a D-Link WBR-2310 wireless router. Usually, this router just works without any problems. But, it sure didn't like my Wii. I went through a whole swath of experiments with the settings, but I could not find a solution.

However, after a while, it occurred to me that I should try a firmware update for the router. And, Hurray! the firmware upgrade fixed it all. Now, I can enjoy the best weather forecast available and participate in odd polls.

So the lesson is, the D-Link WBR-2310 with firmware 1.02 does not work with the Wii, but upgrading to 1.04 does.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Quicksilver Tip: Fix a Slow Quicksilver

Over the last week or so, my much beloved Quicksilver has gotten very, very slow and sluggish. I'd hit the hot key (option-space in my case) and start typing. And then I'd wait. After a few seconds, the command would register and the action would take place.

After snooping around for what the problem is, I found a few web pages that suggested reducing the catalog size. Yes, I did have a large number of items in my catalogue. Therefore, I promptly unchecked many of the items in my catalogue and issued a rescan command. However, contrary to my expectations, this had no noticeable effect.

Apparently deselecting items does not actually remove them. The whole lot is still sitting in memory. They are only cleared out after Quicksilver is shut down and restarted. Ugh. That's the way I had to fix things on my old operating system.

Gripe aside, here's the lesson. To really fix a dawdling Quicksilver, pare down your catalogue and restart the application.

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Movie Tip: Rotate Movies With BitPlayer

I've run into a rather simple problem. When taking short movies with a digital camera, it is sometimes nice to film in a portrait orientation. However, digital cameras always assume movies are in a landscape orientation.

It turns out that there are a number of available tools to rotate movies. I'm sure that most top-end movie editors can do this, but iMovie doesn't. QuickTime Pro can, but I don't want to shell out for the pro tools just for a simple edit.

The solution I found is to use BitPlayer, a simple video player with the abilities to apply some transformations and re-encodings. All we have to do is rotate the video in the playback display and export it with the current settings applied. All very simple!

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Calgary 33 - Toronto 10

Yahoo! The Stamps stomped down the Argos with a solid victory. After the last two games, I was worried about our favourite CFL team, but today's game was a nice reasurance. It was especially nice to have Burris turn in such a well-tuned peformance. He seemed to have the team hitting all the right plays. In the end, a very good game.

Go Stamps!

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Solar Insect

Solar Insect, originally uploaded by smithco.

Now this is an interesting little thing. Somehow this cool little photo of a nifty tiny robot shot up to be the most viewed photo on my Flickr stream. I have no idea how that happened. I never promoted this photo, sent it to any groups. It's yet to be favourited or showcased anywhere. But somehow, it is my most viewed photo.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Trip to Disneyland

A Weekend With Friends

It's always good to spend a weekend with an old friend. I spent this passed weekend with my old friend, Mark J. Matthews. I'll post photos and movies of the weekend in some posts to follow.

Sunday, July 01, 2007

What's your CFL 2007 outlook?

The new CFL season is underway.

The Stamps took a nice 37-9 victory over the Ti-Cats yesterday. Looks like Calgary is off to a fine start and Hamilton still has to work out their issues from last year. Meanwhile, BC squeaked past Toronto, the Pegs tied Deadmonton and Sask beat Montreal. All in all, an interesting first set of matches.

So, what's your outlook on this season?

Sunday, June 03, 2007


iWoz, originally uploaded by smithco.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Thank you Lombardi!


Lombardi just made the Flames-Wings game 1-0, and now the our boys are playing better than they have in far too long.

Go Flames!

Saturday, March 03, 2007

A Mac Desktop Picture Changer Using Flickr

My recent switch to Mac has so far been nothing but awesome. Generally, Macs are just better at everything. But, there is one application that I miss from the Windows world: a wallpaper changer that uses photos from Flickr. John's Background Switcher did exactly what I wanted, but that only exists on windows.

There is photocast trick over on Mac OS X Hints, but that has the limitation of only using recent photos out of a Flickr stream. I would really like to pull random photos out of my Flickr photostream, just like John's Background Switcher does. I'd also like to have some specific Flickr interaction, like jumping to the displayed photo, or showing the most interesting photos.

Unfortunately, I just can't find a good application on the Mac to do this. Thus, my only solution is to write one! I think that this should be a relatively simple application when it's done; however, discovering the most elegant way to put this together will be a small adventure. It should be fun and a good way to explore some of the principles of Mac development.

We'll all just have to see how this develops.

To keep the information about this project separate from the miscellaneous clutter of this blog, I've started a new blog specifically to journal my progress. You can visit this project journal at http://flickrdesktop.blogspot.com.

Friday, March 02, 2007

Off to California Soon

It's set. I'll be moving to California soon for a short contract at UC Davis to do a bit of research on the hydrocarbon distribution in peach trees. I'll be there March through July. Davis is right next to Sacramento, or about an hour from San Francisco (aside from certain bars, it's a fun town), or a bit less time from the Napa Valley (no, i won't refuse the merlot). It's unfortunately a bit too far from San Jose (I would have loved to go see the Sharks-Flames game on April 5th at the Shark Tank), and it's definitely too far from San Diego (I love the zoo there). It's also not far enough from Los Angeles; but, nothing is really far enough from Los Angeles. It should be fun!

Friday, January 05, 2007

4-1! and the game's only half done

Nuts, Russia just scored, But, our boys are still three up on Russia, and the game's only half over. It looks like they'll easily take the win and have a perfect record this time round. This is definitely one of those "great to be Canadian" games.

Update: Final score of 4-2. A great victory for our boys. The fantastic work by Pryce had a lot to do with it.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

A Moment From My Visit Home For Christmas

Emacs Tip: Install Ispell on Windows

One little hiccup with running Emacs on Windows is that, by default, the spell checker does not work. The reason is simple enough, Emacs relies on an external program called ispell to do the spell checking work, and ispell is typically not installed on Windows.

Installing ispell isn't too difficult, though it's not trivial either. The first requirement is that Cygwin needs to be installed, or at least, the cygwin1.dll shared library needs to be somewhere accessible. Once Cygwin is installed, you can download ispell. See the README file for instructions. Do make sure to follow the instructions! Especially, do not forget to set the variable DICTDIR. It's easy with the instructions, but skipping a step can result in odd errors.

Afterwards, ispell can be invoked on the current Emacs buffer with the simple command M-x ispell.