Friday, June 30, 2006

[+/-] show/hide text
If you can read this and click on this hyperlink to get to the Build 52 prelude, then you have proven that the coding works.

Testing Build 52

[+/-] show/hide text
Realized I was working backwards with the drag and resize scripts I was analyzing, So I got the job done from another angle. Layers can be moved with the cursor, but I need to add mousedown conditions to give it a "drag" feel. Next step will be to set the dial controls to appear and stay at the bottom of the window.

Build 52 Status 2006-06-29

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

[+/-] show/hide text
It started with a comment from Cheryl. It evolved with a request from Hugh. It grew with a question from Silver. So what exactly is "it" and how did the inklings get involved?

"It" is a little something I'm calling Build 52, which will replace the Rollover Link in Ink Generator interface I just designed. Turns out I unknowingly answered a query posed by Silver when I built the leftie version of the interface which will simplify the posting process. In addition, I found a drag and resize script that I believe I can adapt to the interface.

Unfortunately, this will further delay the tutorial, since I'm planning on making the current interface obsolete. On the plus side, if all goes as planned, the system will be very "wheelchair. accessible".

Prelude to Build 52

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

[+/-] show/hide text
Noticed Craig added ink smilies to his blog. Reminds me of some custom smilies I made for a forum a while back. Free to copy, but I think I'll stick with my own.

Craig Pringle Adds a Touch of Ink

[+/-] show/hide text
Unauthorized sneakshot from the set of the upcoming live-action Transformers movie! Freakin' sweet!Popped by the Wacom site and saw their section devoted to Vista and all the ink that's built-in. Note-taking, handwriting, gestures, just plug in your Wacom tablet and you've got a Tablet PC minus the mobility. Might do a bit to raise awareness and interest in Tablet PCs.
>> Gizmodo >> Jalopnik

"More Than Meets The Eye" Meets the Eye

[+/-] show/hide text
Popped by the Wacom site and saw their section devoted to Vista and all the ink that's built-in. Note-taking, handwriting, gestures, just plug in your Wacom tablet and you've got a Tablet PC minus the mobility. Might do a bit to raise awareness and interest in Tablet PCs.

Wacom's Looking Forward to Vista

Monday, June 26, 2006

[+/-] show/hide text

Okay, the coding is still rough but no one needs to look at that junk because the interface is now prettier and works like a champ! As promised, the generator now features graphic dials with directional control and I've coded a southpaw version too! Tutorial to come.
Leftie version [zip w/all files]
Rightie version [zip w/all files]

Rollover Link in Ink Generator 1.0

[+/-] show/hide text

Lest anyone assume I've been slacking off on this project (which I have, but you still shouldn't assume), I spent a few hours this weekend refining the dial interface. First, I made an actual dial graphic that rotates with the cursor. Second, I made the rotational direction useful, clockwise to increase, counter-clockwise to decrease. I borrowed code and inspiration from Jog-Shuttle Dial to get this done. While the JSD uses positioned layers for the dials, this looked impractical for my purpose. I use an image map and swapped dial images instead.

The next step will be to recode the interface to integrate the new dial control. And while I'm at it, I should modify a version for southpaws too. Noticed my interface has a distinctly right-handed design and I seem to recall that Hugh Sung, who motivated this venture, is a leftie. Would be a shame if he got left out (pun intended).

Rollover Link in Ink Generator Update

Sunday, June 25, 2006

[+/-] show/hide text

Invariably, whenever someone complains about the rising price of gasoline, some oil company stockholder or gullible chump will argue that the rate of increase has been much lower than the rate of inflation. If you look strictly at dollars and gallons, this is correct. However, this is simply the mathematic perspective. What about history?

When I was growing up in the 70's and 80's, gas stations had these people called "attendants". When you drove up to the pump, one of these "attendants" would walk over, pump the gas into your car, clean your windshield and, if you wanted "full service'', they would check your fluids and tire pressure and top off if needed.

But then a new "service", was introduced. It was called Self Serve. Instead of having someone else put gas in your car, this allowed you to do it yourself. It became very popular because it was cheaper for the consumer and most people didn't mind pumping their own gas in order to save a buck or two. For the station owner it meant lower overhead and wider profit margins. All was good... Or was it?

At some point marketers realized that people pumping their own gas were likely to look at the pump. Thus, they put ads there. Furthermore, they noticed that people like to make as few stops as possible. Since you were forced to stop and get out of your car to buy gas, the station was a perfect place to sell convenience goods. Another win-win for consumers and station owners.

But over time, a funny thing happened: gasoline profits disappeared. Instead of providing a station owner with his bread and butter, gasoline is now a zero-profit draw, a means to attract customers to the convenience store. Despite rising prices, stations have seen gas profits shrink to nearly nothing.

Furthermore, the decline in services has continued unabated. Air for your tires, once provided at no extra charge and filled by an attendant, can cost more than a dollar to fill yourself. Windshield cleaning supplies are marketed as a selling point for it can no longer be assumed they are available. How long until we pay for that too?

Thus, the price of gasoline has stayed below the rate of inflation through sacrifice of both service to the customer and profit to the station owner, to the point that neither exists, anymore. Meanwhile, oil companies are enjoying record profits. Think they'll sacrifice profits to keep prices down? Not according to recent history.

Gasoline Prices Exceed Inflation

Saturday, June 24, 2006

[+/-] show/hide text

First, condolences, I mean, congratulations on getting hitched. Remember, it doesn't matter if it's yours or not, if you are walking while holding a purse (which you have just committed to doing at some point), you are technically carrying a purse.

Second, I want everyone to know that Josh, knowing I was using Outlook 2002 sent me an email informing me that the new TEO 3.0 Beta would work with 2002.

Naturally, this came just shortly after I upgraded to Office 2003 (this all happened a couple months ago, thus this is quite a "belated" shout-out), but it's the thought that counts and Josh Einstein, though accessibility and community interaction, clearly thinks about his customers. And he makes one hell of a useful product to boot.

Belated shout-outs to Josh Einstein

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

[+/-] show/hide text
Gizmodo links to a little app called Theremin that translates motion and pressure on a Wacom tablet into sound. Functional on my Tablet PC, but it treats my digitizer as a Wacom tablet, so the cursor does not sync with the pen. Still a fun idea.

Theremin - Music through Wacom

[+/-] show/hide text
I'm not a big anti-gun nut, but if there's one group that proves we need to be more selective about who should own a gun, it's gun owners...

Why we need fewer guns

[+/-] show/hide text

I'd been imagining a more paper-like interface for my Tablet PC for a while now. Specifically, I think a layered note-taking app, in which you can stick notes on top of each other, would be quite fun.

But these guys working on Bumptop are taking the idea two steps beyond. At first glance, the interface may not seem useful, but skip to the 4:45 point in the video and tell me that's not a killer way to work with photos.


Bumptop 3D Desktop interface

I don't know what's crazier: this laptop bursting into flames...
...or this guy still typing away on his notebook.
>> >> The Inquirer

When Good Laptops Go Bad

[+/-] show/hide text
Ran across this little devil at Whole Foods. Don't really care for peaches, but it was on sale and I'm a cheap bastard.
Turned out to be pretty good and it went well with my coffee.

Ginger Peach Poundcake Demon

Monday, June 19, 2006

[+/-] show/hide text

Warner Crocker, Center of the Tabletscape, gives us a guided tour of his gadget bag in a twenty minute video that is better than anything on TV (to be fair though, we are in summer reruns on a Monday night). First thing out of his gadget bag proves he is the man.... depending on how you interpret it. Quite a view into Warner's world, as my wife pointed out.

What's in Warner's Gadget Bag

[+/-] show/hide text
Enjoyed lunch with my wife today (man, we spend a lot of time together :p) and took advantage of the moment to show off the "scout mode" of my gadget set-up. Basically, I take that Velcro strap off my pack and wear it on my arm, along with the pouches for my Pocket PC and digital camera, as shown in the photos below. Ideal for those times when I need to run light.


Photos: Gadget Bag Part 3 - Scout Mode

Sunday, June 18, 2006

[+/-] show/hide text
I would say I am enjoying my day at the Potomac Celtic Festival, except that it is a hot, humid summer day. Despite the climate though, it is a great festival.

Lot of music and dancing. Sat down for a dance troupe, a contemporary Celtic music group, and a rock folk band. Also met a guy who designs jewelry and made his own card game. Looked too fun to resist, so we picked an edition of Skallywags. Worth a look if you like pirates. [website seems to be down]

Been guzzling a good amount of fresh squeezed lemonade, while the wife has been tapping a good chunk of our cash. Still, I do love to support independent craftspeople, so I can't complain.

Potomac Celtic Festival

[+/-] show/hide text
Need to see the whole computer to appreciate my new desktop wallpaper. Thanks to the missus for the idea.

New Desktop Background

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

[+/-] show/hide text
As wary as I am of the US ethanol movement, I am impressed that Brazil had the foresight to get into ethanol thirty years ago so that they would be on the path to energy self-sufficiency today.

[ About three decades ago, Brazil decided to use its overabundance of sugarcane to decrease its overdependence on foreign oil. It created an industry of sugarcane-based ethanol, a grain alcohol fuel. That effort kicked into high gear a few years ago, when "flex-fuel" vehicles that can run on up to 100 percent sugarcane ethanol reached a critical mass in Brazil. The alternative to gasoline took off.

Now, the fifth largest country in the world is producing enough home-grown sugarcane-based ethanol to equal 300,000 barrels of oil per day. Ethanol currently supplies half of the fuel needs of Brazilian vehicles, and the government is expected to announce energy self-sufficiency within a year. ]
-- Barry Levine,

Nice to see a country thinking ahead. Perhaps we'll catch up in thirty years too. Maybe we'll even have fuel efficiency standards close to those of China.

Sweet Energy Deal

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

[+/-] show/hide text
Okay, first, before anyone goes ballistic, let me qualify that statement by stating it is based on the assumption that James Kendrick is the All-Father of mobile computing, of which tablet computing is a subset.

Now then, following his alliance with GottaBeMobile, I have concluded that Warner Crocker has become the Center of the Tabletscape. Make no mistake, there are Tableteers of equal and arguably greater importance.

However, as a central figure in the Tablet PC online network, Warner has no peers, as I am demonstrating in a mindmap linking the various accomplishments and connections he has obtained.

Warner is the Center of the Tabletscape

[+/-] show/hide text
Enjoying my lunch in yet another office park that is free of wifi. My wife was kind enough to pack me a portobello garlic veggie burger. Very mobile meal. Allows me to sit on a bench as I write this. I may convert entirely to sandwiches for lunch. Also, I seem to recall seeing something about an ice cream event here. Might made up for the lack of wifi.

Mobile Lunch

Monday, June 12, 2006

[+/-] show/hide text
Warner refers to them as my "ink progeny". Well, the latest one has taken part of my name too. Sumi is the fresh ink blog from Susy Doyle. Doesn't say why she picked the name, but I like it. Glad to scribble that name on the list.

New Inkling, Great Blog Name

[+/-] show/hide text
Kevin Tofel (one half of the fugitive Men In Black - jkOnTheRun) lays down the law against yet another reviewer who apparently can't hold a UMPC in one hand. Funny considering I logged on to Internet at Starbucks while standing in line.

Better yet, GottaBeMobile just gotta bit better with the addition of Warner Crocker to their line-up. Guess he needs a way to spend all his free time between managing a theatre, directing shows, and posting blog entries on his own blog, as well as news on TabletPCBuzz. He needs a blog interface that can shoot entries to multiple blogs.

Kudos and bravo to you both.

Midday Reading

Sunday, June 11, 2006

[+/-] show/hide text
Okay Inklings, not only am I sharing the secrets of rollover Links in Ink (TM), but I've gift wrapped it in an HTML interface. Like my hide/show tag generator, this interface requires pasting the code into a text editor. However, the interface itself requires no coding knowledge (at least I don't think it does). It only works in IE, but seems fine in the Firefox IE Tab.

Again, this is just an interface to create the code for a web page that has color-shifting links in ink. The code must be saved to an HTML document and uploaded to a directory on your server that contains the inkscript JavaScript file and the inkstyle stylesheet. Also, the ink must be saved as one image, preferably in the same directory, although not necessarily. Then you must link to the web page via an iframe on your blog.

I will hammer out a process when I can, but the rough draft is ready for use and experimentation. Needs to be prettied up (both visually and code-wise). I personally think it is ugly as sin, but as this post proves: it works. A zip containing the aforementioned necessary files is available here.

Rollover Links in Ink Generator BETA

Saturday, June 10, 2006

[+/-] show/hide text
Hmm.... Didn't take into account that not everyone knows that Ikea names their furniture. Usually it's some Swedish name, but the laptop table in my video has the English name Dave. So no, I don't name my furniture, but yes, I do call them by their given names. Except for The Big Yellow Chair, which is properly named Gustav Schingerhausen III.

The Thing About Dave...

[+/-] show/hide text
16-year-old girl from Michigan hopped a plane to meet a man in the West Bank she met on (where else) MySpace. Fortunately, she was caught at a stopover in Jordan and sent home. Her father had this reaction...

[Shawn Lester told The Saginaw News that her daughter has "never given me a day's trouble. ... I just don't understand with all these new laws protecting America how a 16-year-old kid could get out of the country." She said her daughter never had a boyfriend and seemed to be content with that.]

Sir, you gave your daughter a passport and enough money to fly to the West Bank. These "new laws" protect against foreign terror, not domestic ignorance.

Clueless Kids Come From Clueless Parents

[+/-] show/hide text
Small catch: Only valid from other islands in Hawai'i.
Ah, free product... Some might say "it defies the laws of nature''. I say "Sweet!"

Free flights to Maui

Friday, June 09, 2006

Warner: Sorry, not poundcake
Cheesecake Factory - cheesecake.mp3, 358kb, 2m:10s

Audio: Cheesecake Factory

Thursday, June 08, 2006

[+/-] show/hide text
The second video in my series on What's in my Gadget Bag focuses on the tablet part of my pack. Like part one, it is brief and focused. Greater detail will come in the photo part of the series, but the grab-and-go modularity of my set-up is hard to explain without motion. Bonus: You get to catch the Sumocat in its natural environment.
What's in My Gadget Bag Part 2 - small, 17.8MB, 320x240, 4m:13s
What's in My Gadget Bag Part 2 - smaller, 6.9MB, 320x240, 4m:13s


Video: Gadget Bag Part 2 Tabletize!

[+/-] show/hide text
From the response on jkOnTheRun, you'd think these things were new. I bought mine on eBay a year ago last week. June 1st 2005, to be precise. Less than $20 with shipping.

Too old to be SATA or eIDE compatible, but it works fine with my old drives. Plug and play acts like a flash drive. Cheap easy storage.

My USB Hard Drive Adapter

[+/-] show/hide text
Did a Google Blog Search yesterday and found a lot of new forays and chat about "ink blogging". Lot of back links to Silver's tutorial at INKINESS. Also some critics dismissing the concept because of lack of searchability, so I gave them links to Google searches to set them straight.

Lot of Buzz over Ink Blogging

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

[+/-] show/hide text
Found this on BlogMundi.
Unfortunately, I don't understand Spanish or should I say...

Ink breaks the language barrier

[+/-] show/hide text
Silver's dream of uniting the ink factions to form a mighty ink nation has taken a step forward with the launch of her ink blogging forum. Guess who's the first to spill ink there. And check out my sig! Forum up & running

[+/-] show/hide text
On the sixth day of the sixth month of the sixth year of the twenty-first century, the first video and audio blog entries on Sumocat's Scribbles were unleashed upon the unsuspecting world.

Apologies for the ramshackle approach. Again, it's a work-in-progress. I'll be posting more as the week goes on and refining the system as I go.

Sixty-six minutes after six o'clock...

My first audio blog entry...

The Race to Zero

[+/-] show/hide text
Built a little web app to add the "hide/show" tags to my text. Only works in IE, but it works in the IE Tab extension in Firefox. Specifically designed for me, but it is easily modified.
Hide/Show Tag Generator

Hide/Show Tag Generator

[+/-] show/hide text
Kicking off the new format of the blog is part one in my multimedia examination of what is in my gadget bag. It is available in two sizes: small and smaller, both in Windows Media format. Rest assured, more is to come!No Hugh, I haven't forgotten about it but I have run into a wall with tire "slow wheelchair" aspect. The process, as it currently exists, requires a bit more coding than a simple tutorial can explain. Thus, I've decided to take a different approach. No promises, but my hide/show tag generator may be a precursor of things to come.
What's in My Gadget Bag Part 1 - smaller, 3.7MB, 320x240, 2m:10s
What's in My Gadget Bag Part 1 - small, 28.7MB, 320x240, 2m:10s


What's in My Gadget Bag Part 1

[+/-] show/hide text
No Hugh, I haven't forgotten about it but I have run into a wall with tire "slow wheelchair" aspect. The process, as it currently exists, requires a bit more coding than a simple tutorial can explain. Thus, I've decided to take a different approach. No promises, but my hide/show tag generator may be a precursor of things to come.

Links in Ink tutorial status

Monday, June 05, 2006

[+/-] show/hide text
Check it out! Loren's got ink in Firefox working! Outstanding!

Loren's got ink in Firefox working!

Saturday, June 03, 2006

As Ed Hardy has discovered, it's a Tablet PC! Sharp observation, sir. What he hasn't found though is a word to describe it. Certainly can't argue with the sentiment, but the word I use to describe the freedom and empowerment provided by the Tablet PC is enabling. In short, my tablet enables me to work or play where I want, when I want. Here's a little something I wrote on GottaBeMobile in response to another commenter.

[Gotta love how the anonymous guy who's tied to a flat surface has the audacity to call my computer "crippled".

From my slate Tablet PC, I maintain a blog that is handwritten in ink, has *searchable* text and hyperlinks, and sports the occasional link in ink. And I blog from anywhere, anytime, such as waiting in the dentist's office (last week) or outside on the grass enjoying my lunch (yesterday). That's not "crippled"; it's enabled.

Plus, I've got useful mobile features such as access to online maps, email, and note-taking. I can take notes and schedule tasks without tapping on the keyboard or the rude obstruction of a screen.]

Enabling, empowering, life-expanding, no matter what you call it, the Tablet PC is definitely better than useful... assuming you know how to use it.

What's Better Than Useful?

Thursday, June 01, 2006

[+/-] show/hide text
I need some free time to get my act together regarding the blog revamp, but the goal ultimately is to retool the blog so I'm not reliant on large chunks of free time. My free time has been coming in bits and pieces lately. For example, I'm eating my lunch right now. What I want to do is record my thoughts when and where they happen and post the stuff I like in whatever format it's in.

More about the revamp

[+/-] show/hide text
When 7-up started promoting their new "all-natural" formula, I was pretty excited. For several months now, I've been making a concerted effort to limit my intake of high fructose corn syrup, the chief ingredient in most soft drinks next to water. I was disappointed then to learn that 7-up was trying to pawn off HFCS as a "natural" ingredient.

Yes, HFCS comes from corn, but that alone does not qualify if as natural, any more than Frankenstein's monster would be because it was made from humans. By name alone, it is clearly unnatural. Fructose is fruit sugar. Corn is not a fruit. Turning corn into fruit sugar is about as natural as turning chicken into beef.

Yes, I know normal sugar is refined. But when I bite into a piece of sugar cane, I can taste the sugar. I think "this would be good to sweeten my iced tea or lemonade." I never bit into a cob of corn and thought "I could go for a corn-flavored soft drink." Yet, that is what most Americans are drinking. By contrast, Mexican Coca-Cola is still made with actual sugar.

7-up redefines all-natural