Friday, December 31, 2010

Dead Nation Metagame

Dead Nation Metagame - Your country needs you!
Article on the EU Playstation blog about the world-zombie-kill-championship that's built in to Dead Nation, a recent game for the PS3.
I plan to get it as soon as I get back to the US.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Ruby programming for beginners

Found this article on Lifehacker about Hackety Hack, a Ruby programming/learning tool for beginners.

In the comments of this article, someone mentioned Why the lucky stiff, the person behind Hackety Hack, and pointed to this article that tells a bit of background information on him.

Friday, December 17, 2010


Yahoo decided to shut down soon, so to be on the safe side, I was looking for a way to export all my bookmarks. Here's a how-to.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Friday, November 26, 2010

Four Lions

Four Lions: Chris Morris' Jiha-ha-had movie

rsync & backups

I've been using this backup-method for a while now and it works well for me.
After upgrading OSX to Snow Leopard, though, rsync would start to do its thing and then it would get stuck at
for no apparent reason.
After looking around a bit, I read that the version of rsync that OSX brings with it is fairly old and a newer version might behave better. Using this tutorial, I installed/compiled rsync 3.0.7 and it solved the problem.

Some articles on the same topic that are interesting as well:

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Japan time-lapse video

inter // states from Samuel Cockedey on Vimeo.


Cat parkour:

(found here)

Downward facing kitteh:

(found here)

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Friday, August 27, 2010

DIY PC build

Kotaku has a nice article about building your own PC vs. buying it pre-built.

YouTube Movies

YouTube now has a "Movies" section where they stream full-length movies (with commercials) for free. (well, most are free, for some others they ask for a fee)

Friday, August 13, 2010

How to add an Avatar-videolog-like overlay to a movie-clip

Watching the movie Avatar, I was wondering whether it was possible to add an overlay similar to the one visible in the movie during Jake's videologs to home-made movies using simple tools like iMovie 09. I wouldn't want to shell out the money for pro-tools like Final Cut or Adobe After Effects.
I figured I wouldn't get the full realtime-time-display and blinking "REC"-tag, but a static picture should be possible.

I found a PNG-file somebody created and posted here which looks exactly like the one from Avatar. (He also created an After Effects file for those who have that software, which displays the dynamic effects)
(in case the link ever dies, here are mirrors of the PNG and AE file)

Now, how to overlay the PNG into a movie? I tried iMovie and while it is possible to insert a picture into a movie-clip, overlay doesn't seem to be an option. The image is just statically displayed wherever it's pasted in.

I found another solution here, which suggests using Quicktime Pro. That worked perfectly.

Here are the steps that worked for me:

- I exported my movie-clip from iMovie 09 by going to Share - Export Movie - and I chose the HD option (which creates a 1280x720 video)
- I opened the exported video in Quicktime (Pro)
- In Quicktime, go to File - Open and open the PNG file
- In the open PNG file, go to Edit - Select All and then Edit - Copy
- Back to the movie-file, go to Edit - Add to Selection & Scale
- Now, in my case, my movie was 1280x720 but my PNG file was 1920x1080
- Go to Window - Show movie properties
- There are now 2 video tracks in the list. Video Track 2 should be the PNG picture.
- I selected Video Track 2 and changed the Scaled Size to 1280x720. This brought the size of the video back down to what I wanted it to be
- In the dropdown-menu Transparency, I selected Straight Alpha Blend and set it down to 0%.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Ubuntu Upgrade to 10.04 - Problems with MKV playback

Today I decided to upgrade my HTPC from Ubuntu 9.10 to 10.04. (The Update Manager has been offering me to upgrade for a few months now)
I figured that, as 10.04 has been out for a while now, the little annoyances and bugs had probably been worked out and I should be able to run everything that I need (XBMC for MKV video playback). Turns out I was wrong. Never *EVER* touch a running system! You'd think I'd have learned that by now.

The upgrade completed successfully but it turned out that HD video playback of MKV files does not work so well with Ubuntu 10.04 on my Acer Aspire Revo AR1600. XBMC started fine, but HD video playback was choppy as hell.
I searched around a bit and while other people have the same problem, there doesn't seem to be a solution. I think the problem is not XBMC, but either Ubuntu or the Nvidia drivers in conjunction with Ubuntu. Either way, it's screwed up now.

I'm now backing up the files I need from the box to an external drive so that I can do a re-install of Ubuntu 9.10 and have everything just like it was 2 hours ago.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Monday, June 28, 2010

The last hours of Looking Glass

Found this article on Kotaku about the last day at developer studio Looking Glass before it was shut down.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Banksy Film: Exit through the gift shop

I'll probably have the opportunity to see it this week-end. :)

Monday, April 26, 2010

Living with John Choi, a funny blog by John Choi's roommate.

RZA art

Found this article on which shows the above artwork. Turns out RZA has a series of artworks, see here.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Monday, March 15, 2010

Street Fighter Art

An artist named BossLogic has done some nice Street Fighter fan-art. Here's a gallery on and here's his DeviantArt page.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Cult Raw Energy commercial

If this ever gets deleted on YouTube, here's a downloadable version.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Kevin Mitnick's business card

Best business card ever.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Portal Puzzle

Valve pushed out an update to Portal recently and people found that there was some hidden code in there which they proceeded to decrypt. Here's a summary of what happened so far.

Rant about life in Japan

Found this rant about life in Japan on

Saturday, February 27, 2010

HTPC / Media Center - Acer Aspire Revo AR1600 w/ Ubuntu & XBMC

After looking at different HTPCs, I bought an Acer Aspire Revo AR1600 (200 $, comes with keyboard and mouse (wired), Atom N230 CPU, 1 GB of RAM, 6 USB ports, eSATA port, HDMI port, ethernet (no WiFi) and nvidia ION LE graphics).

According to several reviews and reports I read, this model was said to be sufficient to watch even 1080p MKV videos. The load is taken off the CPU and put on the GPU, which reportedly allows the playback to work flawlessly, without stuttering or lagging.
There is a newer model of this nettop, the AR3610, which comes with a newer and faster CPU (N330), 2 GB of RAM, WiFi and wireless keyboard/mouse and costs 330 $. I was tempted to get this one at first, but then I thought that if the older model does the job, it's really a steal at 200 $.

I downloaded Ubuntu 9.10, put it on a USB stick (using unetbootin), booted from it, installed it on the HD (using the option "wipe the whole drive first").
Ubuntu booted without problems, the only thing that was (and still is) weird is that the outer pixels of what should be displayed on the screen are cut off. I tried different settings on the computer as well as on the TV, but it doesn't help. It's a bit annoying but it's not a dealbreaker. I probably won't notice these black bars when watching movies. (Update on that: The problem is caused by my TV, not by the computer. If I hook up my laptop to the TV's HDMI port, the problem is the exact same.)

I then ran the system update. (System --> Administration --> Update Manager)
Then I installed the nvidia drivers. The system asked me right from the start if I wanted to install the proprietary nvidia drivers, which I did. (System --> Administration --> Hardware Drivers)

The XBMC documentation says that compiz visual effects should be disabled in order for XBMC to work properly, so I did that. (System -> Preferences -> Appearance -> Visual Effects. Make sure "None" is selected.)

Then installed the Flash Plugin 10.1 beta release which supports the GPU (important for watching HD videos on Youtube for instance, without putting all the load on the weak CPU).

After all that was done, I installed XBMC:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:team-xbmc
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install xbmc xbmc-standalone
sudo apt-get update

(how-to found here)

This worked like a charm. XBMC has a very sleek and sexy interface and 1080p MKVs do indeed run without problems.
All in all: Thumbs up! 200 $ for a media center, small, quiet, nicely designed, I couldn't have asked for more.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Friday, February 12, 2010

Monday, February 1, 2010

Hack a wireless WEP connection

Flew back to the US on thursday, jetlag kicked in pretty hard this time.

Recent videogame purchases:
Demon's Souls (game incl. artbook & soundtrack) x3 from Play Asia as well as 1 Deluxe Edition (game incl. guide, artbook & soundtrack). Was able to sell the 3 regular editions for profit so that my Deluxe edition became free.

I also bought 2 Hori Real Arcade Pro V3 SA sticks. I wanted to sell the second one with a bit of profit so that my own stick would become less expensive. That hasn't worked out so well, so far I wasn't able to find a buyer. If I can just get rid of it for the price I paid, I'll be happy.

Just ordered Army of Two: The 40th day and am thinking about MAG. So many games, so little time...

Friday, January 29, 2010

iPhone: DFU and Recovery Mode

I got confused between DFU and recovery mode on the iPhone while trying to restore a custom 3.1.2 firmware.

So here's the breakdown:

Recovery mode:
To put your iPhone into recovery mode, first disconnect your iPhone from USB cable and power off your iPhone. Then hold the Home button and connect USB cable again. Keep holding the Home button until you see a dock cable pointing to the iTunes icon (or yellow triangle for older version of iPhone or Steve Job logo for pwned iPhone). Now you are in recovery mode.
(found here)

DFU mode:
Connect the phone to the USB cable and turn it off. Then hold the Home and Power buttons for 10 seconds. Then let go of the Power button but keep the Home button pressed for another 10 seconds. If done right, iTunes should start automatically and tell you that the phone is in DFU mode and that it needs to restore.
(found here)

In order to restore the custom 3.1.2 firmware I had created using Pwnage Tool, I had to use Recovery mode. In principle, DFU mode should have worked as well, but I always got an error from iTunes when trying that. Recovery mode worked, though.

Flight security

I few from the US to Europe and back in the past 2 weeks and here's what changed, security-check-wise:

- On the flight out of the US, nothing changed. Everything is at is has been in the past years (take your shoes off and put them through the X-ray machine, along with your coat and carry-on).

- On the flight into the US, things have changed. They now manually search through your carry-on bag and look at every single thing in there. They also search through every single pocket of your coat/jacket. If one has a laptop or other electronics, they will ask to come to a room in the back where they run a check for explosives. They do this procedure for every single person.
Interestingly, they don't ask everybody to take their shoes off and put them through the X-ray. They seemed to only ask that randomly.
I was lucky that there weren't many people in line when I came there, but I can imagine that even an average amount of people will incur an annoyingly-long waiting-time.

Friday, January 8, 2010