There are some great panoramic tools out there that enable photographers to create images far larger than any lens is capable of capturing. However, Hugin is not only one of the most powerful panorama applications I’ve used, but it’s also completely free and cross platform. It can create everything from simple two image panos right up to hugely complicated mosaic blends of photos taken at widely differing angles and even on different cameras.
As someone who splits his time equally between the Mac and Windows worlds, I’m genuinely excited by this release. Download the Preview Setup file (5Mb) to see if your PC’s up to the task of running Windows 8.
Rome2Rio is an awesome website that takes travel data from airlines, buses and trains and combines it with mapping capabilities to produce a simple answer to the age old A to B problem. All you have to do is type in your origin and your destination and the site will compute the quickest route and display timing and pricing information for every stage.
Back in the early days of computers, programmers had to write incredibly efficient code in order to cram their programs into miniscule digital spaces. This, coupled with the fact that there was no Internet over which to distribute instant fixes, meant that programmers were, on the whole, a bloody sight better at their jobs than the current crop.
As the price of memory dropped and the humble PC’s RAM rose from single digits into gigabytes, so programmers made the most of the space. They no longer had to write space-efficient code because there was plenty of room to spare. This lead to coding bloat, best typified by operating systems like Windows which went from 4million lines of code in NT3.1 to 45 million in Windows XP. However while bloated inefficient coding is a pain, it can be mitigated by topping out your system’s memory. What can’t be mitigated is software that exhibits memory leaks.
Memory leaks happen when an application utilises some memory and fails to release it back to the operating system so that other applications or processes can use it. If this happens on a cyclical basis, with the same error repeating over and over, then you can get one application consuming all system memory and a huge number of processor cycles to boot. When this happens your computer will become incredibly sluggish and may even freeze up completely.
Recent versions of Firefox had a persistent memory leak that the developers didn’t seem to care too much about fixing. After only half an hour’s usage the memory footprint for Firefox on my Macbook Pro would go from 400Mb to 2Gb. I had similar problems with Skype where it would slowly consume all CPU cycles to the point where my Mac was practically frozen.
Apart from extreme sluggishness of your computer, a sure sign that an app’s running out of control is when your PC’s fans spin up to full speed and sound like a vacuum cleaner. The app that’s at fault is using so many CPU cycles that it causes your entire system to heat up and the fans need to run at full speed to keep the system from frying. It’s also worth bearing in mind that CPU intensive tasks place a greater drain on batteries, so if you’re using a laptop on the road you’ll need to be particularly mindful of rogue apps.
If you suspect that one of your applications has a memory leak then you need to check the active prosesses running. To do this on a Mac run the Activity Monitor (located in Utilities) and then click the column header for CPU% to see which app’s eating up all those CPU cycles or the real memory column to see how’s taking up all that space. Using this information you can either quit the app normally or, if it has become unresponsive, highlight the app in question and click the big red Quit Process button.
On a Windows system it’s a pretty similar process. Simply right click on the taskbar and select Start Task Manager from the context menu. Now click the column header for CPU to see which app’s monpolosing the CPU and click the column header for Memory to see who’s squatting in all that RAM. Highlight an application or process and click the End Process button to shut it down.
Travelling is great, particularly in this age of cheap international jet flights. However finding a flight that fits your budget in this age of international austerity, is not easy. FlightFox aims to improve on the usual trawl through airline websites with a service that crowd-sources the search for cheap flights. Using a network of over 500 travel experts, you can get them to battle against each other to find the cheapest flight and the cost to you is a flat fee of $29 for simple hops to $49 for more complex trips.
While it’s not a complete solution to the geographic blocking of IP addresses by companies like Hulu, ProxMate is certainly a step in the right direction. It’s a proxy service that comes in Chrome or Firefox add-on or extension format and enables you to quickly circumvent annoying messages on YouTube about a video being blocked in your country and the USA-only service of Hulu.
Using ProxMate to view a Hulu video isn’t the slickest experience but it does work and it is free. To view a Hulu video you enable the service from your browser’s toolbar and then go to view the video in question on Hulu. When you get the region block message you click on the ‘Details’ link and click the Unblock button. It worked perfectly for me first time, though it’s hard to tell how the service will scale once thousands of people start using it at once.
Far Cry had incredible graphics when it came out xx years ago and Crytek then released the game engine for other software developers to buy and use. Now they’re showing off the latest iteration of that gaming core – the revolutionary soft-body physics based CryEngine3. Check out the video and prepare to be amazed.
There’s an expression I hear a fair bit, that’s associated primarily (but not exclusively) with big budget action movies which is, the willing suspension of disbelief. What this means is that we all know the story couldn’t actually happen, but we are asked to hit pause on those parts of our brain that suggest something is not sensible. My wife finds this particularly hard and will often say something like, “that’s ridiculous, there’s no way you could fall off a building that high and walk away.”
And now I feel that there’s another phrase we need to get into common circulation, which is the the willing surrender of privacy. What I mean by this is that we all know that Facebook and Google are earning billions from our most intimate personal information, but we choose to let them, because we get globe-spanning social networks out of the deal. The number crunching that advertising agencies are now using to profile us in incredible detail is all thanks to Facebook and Google and the other wannabe social networks.
At this moment in time I’m aware of the way my likes, dislikes and gossip are being used to create commercials for companies that produce flavoured sugary carbonated water but because it all goes on behind the curtain, I let it persist. However there may come a day and it may come soon, where I decide that enough is enough. If and when I decide to pull the plug on the social media sites I’d like to know that there is an exit strategy.
With all that in mind, we’ve had a look at the account deletion protocols for the big social networking sites. So if you decide to stop prostituting yourself at the alter of Zuckerberg’s glorified births, deaths and marriages register and you’ve had enough of Google reading your email over your shoulder, here’s how to opt out.
That pixelated retro 8bit look is well and truly in vogue at the moment. If you’d ever fancied creating your own 8bit facsimile but lacked the ability to shunt crude primary coloured squares around the screen in Photoshop, then fear no more. Eightbit.me is a neat site that enables you to create your own 8bit avatar, in much the same way that you generate a character in an RPG game. It’s a free service and you can instantly upload your masterpiece to your Twitter profile direct from the site.
While I personally have the fashion sense of a crack addict, my better half enjoys dressing stylishly and appreciates feedback from her friends on what she’s wearing. She’d appreciate MySocialStylist, which is an ‘interactive social shopping iPhone app’ that enables you to get honest advice on your outfits, give advice yourself and track fashion ‘finds’ on your shopping sprees. The app’s free and available now.
Mindjet have some well established popular mind mapping products in the app stores that enable you to brainstorm using an inter-connected mesh of ideas. Now the company are taking their product to the next level by adding advanced project management tools with an entirely cloud-based service called Mindjet Connect. It’s a comprehensive looking set-up that encourages idea collaboration.
The WordPress CMS has gained a lot of traction with artists and photographers due, in part, to some excellent portfolio plugins. Now Raygun Design have produced an app that hooks into their Portfolio Framework plugin and reproduces it on an iPhone or iPad. The clear advantage of this is that you can concentrate on building a cool portfolio on your website and not have to worry about syncing your work to your iPad when you want to show it off to someone. The WordPress plugin is $28, but the Mobile Gallery app that displays everything on iOS is free.
Didn’t see this one coming, but it’s great that it did. Short while ago I entered this blog in the Blogster awards based here in Australia. I’ve now been informed that the site’s been picked as a finalist in the Tech, Media and Culture category. If you could spare 10 seconds to go and vote for the site, please do so here, because a portion of the vote is garnered from ‘Likes’. Voting closes on Monday the 4th of June and the awards ceremony itself takes place on Friday the 8th of June.
HydraCoach; calculates your need for hydration (don't know if I need this but it's a nifty gadget).
This is a hybrid bike with not only exceptional performance but stunning aesthetics as well. The motor power and battery capacity is well over the industry standard and a truly futuristic look will sure attract some eyeballs around you. The Terminus is the ultimate trail-machine for the ones who appreciate the best availa
Camalien LED concept watch changes its colors depending on your surroundings - Designers Peter and Sam have come up with a concept watch they’ve dubbed the Camalien. It’s an LED watch with a sleek design that also comes with a camera built into it that will record your surroundings and will change the watch’s color accordingly. | #Design #Watches |