link of the day: NEF plugin for gimp 2.0

I’m thinking about getting a new digital camera, and one of the modes many of the better cameras have is RAW mode. The camera records data in 12-bit-per-channel or even greater color space, and also saves data like white-balance adjustment.

When brought into a photo editor, there’s much more room in the color space to adjust levels and color, reducing the grain and corruption that stems from pushing the curves too much.

I was worried that linux wouldn’t have up-to-date support for RAW mode files, but I was wrong! A little googling, and I found the RawPhoto GIMP-2.0 plug-in which puts a nice face on David Craw’s raw photo decoder. All I had to do was compile David’s program (he provides the gcc line on his site) and run gimptool-2.1 –install on the rawphoto program.

Now I can open up raw photos and play with the brightness and contrast in 48-bit colorspace before I bring it into the 24-bit land of the gimp.

Extreme Engineering

The show I’ve been working on starts airing next week! I was in charge of Online Editing, which is to say I converted the edited show from low-quality standard definition to pristine HDTV which no one will see anywhere. I get an Assistant Editor credit for this first one, but I’ll get the full credit starting with show three. 🙂

Here’s a little flyer they had me make up for the announcement:

Debian: ahead of the curve

Slashdot has a link to a preview of Debian’s next-generation installer.

Let’s see what amazing new interface and strides in usability the debian project has made since their last stable release in December 2002!

To be fair they are working on a gtk version: “The developers can stick almost any front-end on it they like … , and if you really wanted to you could build a front-end using anything from a Braille device to Macromedia Flash. … but for now it’s text.” But, for now, it’s text. Yes, from the open source community who brought you “let’s never ever make a stable release so people have to use the ‘unstable’ version just to get anything done” comes: the installer that could be written in Flash and Braille but for now it’s text!!!

This is what happens when you focus on stupid nerdy goals like “let’s make an installer that could have any front end” instead of “let’s have a graphics frontend and text just in case and make it work.” Next you’ll see a selection option at the front screen for next-generation debian installer in GTK or QT, because you know it would totally ruin my day if I had to install a distribution in anything other than my preferred toolkit.

To debian, I give my big :Rolleyes: Of The Day:

The Cost of Cellphone Portability

Now that the government has (wisely) told cell phone carriers that they must allow customers to keep their numbers when they change companies, the carriers have decided the best way to make the best of a bad situation is to charge their customers fees in case they switch. In other words, as long as you don’t switch carriers, you will be charged a monthly fee to pay for the people who do switch. So the longer you stay with your carrier, the more fees you pay.

Note that this does not hold with all carriers. T-Mobile, for instance, isn’t charging a cent. And with others it varies by state. But you could be paying $0.32 – $2.83 for the right to change your number. Check your bill for exact amounts, and check the link for what other people are paying.

Buying a new mobile phone

When I was looking to buy my new phone, I found it very difficult to do research on features, quality, models available, etc. Google is not what it used to be, and performing a basic search like “buy gsm phone” doesn’t return very good results. It should return such sites as mobilefly,, or bongowireless, which are all good places to buy unlocked phones, but it doesn’t. There are also a lot of buzzwords relating to features that phones can have, and it’s tough to figure out exactly what they mean.

I ended up buying the Sony-Ericsson T610 direct from T-Mobile, and I’m happy with it. But now I can more intelligently talk about the features my phone has, and if they are worth considering.

  • Polyphonic sounds: This means that your ringtone can be a MIDI file. It does not mean it can be a wave file! Some phones do support wave file ringtones, like the nokia 3650/3660.
  • EMS: a standard unique to sony ericsson, now obsoleted by…
  • MMS: the new standard for rich messaging, with pictures and sounds and videos and stuff. So I can take a photo and send it to someone else whose phone has MMS. Or I can use email to send it to an email address.
  • Downloadable games, Mophun: DOWNLOADABLE GAMES ARE WORTHLESS. They are slow, suck battery life, are on a tiny screen, are impossible to locate online, and aren’t fun. I’ve tried a bunch of different games, and they aren’t very enjoyable. Maybe phones with bigger screens and faster processors will make gaming possible, but on my phone, it’s not worth it
  • Ringtones can be assigned to phonebook entries: This is cool. Char’s ringtone is unique from everyone else’s, so I know right away when she’s calling
  • Built-in digital camera (288×352 pixels): A camera at this resolution isn’t too great. Check out my pictures for an idea of the quality you’re going to get
  • Java: only used for games and useless apps. worthless.
  • Bluetooth: extremely cool. If I get a bluetooth connector (it’s wireless) for my laptop, I could use my phone as a modem whereever I get a signal, even under linux. This is good
  • WAP 2.0: This refers to the web browsing standard your phone supports. Phones can’t browse regular web pages (since the screen is small and regular pages are so big), so they use a standard called WAP to browse a subset of the web. WAP 2.0 is actually important, since it’s a big step over wap 1.2, the other standard you see everywhere. For instance, it allows for color. It also can browse simple web pages, so you don’t need to retool for WML and figure out the right mimetypes to make it work. This allows me to transfer files from my computer to the phone using the wireless web capability
  • T9: predictive text input. this is a must
  • POP3 email client with attachments: some people might like this
  • Calculator: good for tip calculation I guess
  • Scheduler: good for setting alarms in the future, but mostly useless
  • Voice memo: I don’t use it, maybe some people like it
  • Themability: The t610 is fully themeable, down to text color and such. Most phones only let you change the wallpaper. I like this a lot
  • Symbian: Some phones (nokia 36**, sony-ericsson p8/900, and more soon) run a software platform called Symbian. These phones are generally called “smartphones,” and have more pda-like functionality. They tend to have more memory, more programs, bigger screens, better cameras. Some can play videos. I have no experience with these in real life.

    So I would have gotten the Samsung V200 from tmobile, but it only has wap 1.2.1, and I think that’s a dealbreaker for me. I use WAP a lot, for news, movie listings, weather, and sports updates, so having the latest version is important to me. I was also considering getting the Nokia 7250i, but other than twice as much memory and an FM radio, the t610 beats it feature for feature.

    Anyway hopefully someone will benefit from this information. Paying a ton of money for a new phone is a big deal, and the lack of a good site out there to explain what everything means is a shame. One last good resource is the Howard Forums, which practically have one forum for every phone in existence. It’s good stuff.

It’s moblog time!

As you can see by the entry below, I got a new cameraphone and can now post entries wirelessly. I used an edited version of this perl script, which you can download here. My edits (thanks peter) are hacky and ugly, so don’t expect it to be perfect. But, as you can see, it works for me.

Site Update

I finally noticed that you can edit the rdf template in movabletype, and I’ve done so. Now all you RSS feed-readers (‘sup Peter) will see the full entry in your rdf reader. I’ve also tweaked my image-publishing template, so in the feed the caption appears directly under the image size options instead of way below. This will only apply to future entries, as I’m not going to tweak the html of all my previous entries.

For people wondering what the heck RSS feed readers and rdf are, they are programs that download blog entries from many different sites and display them in one window so you don’t have to load twenty web pages to read everything.

I use Straw, which of course is linux-only. Under windows, I really don’t know what’s good. There’s a plugin for mozilla called NewsMonster that is popular with some people, but I like the lightweight nature of a separate program. I just stumbled across a list of more rss readers than I ever knew existed.

Using straw’s export feature, I’ve created a little file that lists all my subscriptions. I’m not sure if any other program can read this file, but here’s hoping!