iPad FTW?

iPad
iPad Promo Images

Yesterday Apple introduced their massively anticipated iPad tablet device. For those who haven’t yet heard about it, it’s basically a hudge iPhone (that doesn’t make phone calls). The iPad is meant to unlock a “new” market segment for small computing devices that is somehow not already met by the iPhone and netbooks.

What does it do, anything new?

The iPad doesn’t bring new functionality to the computing world, but it does consolidate and simplify use particularly of eBooks. There have long since been many very cool eBook readers out there built around providing simple means for people to read electronic books.

Amazon's Kindle eBook reader

With the release of iPad, iTunes will expand to include support for buying eBooks and of course that functionality will be easily available for regular computers and perhaps for the iPhone as well, unless Apple decides allowing that would result in you buying less stuff.

Beyond books, the iPad does all the stuff you expect from an iPhone. It runs the exact same applications (with rare exceptions), it will play back music and movies. Of course one major distinction is screen size. The iPhone’s screen is made up of 480×320 pixels where as the iPad provides 1024×768. So in the case of browsing documents, this will make a major difference. The iPad’s resolution however is like that of a standard TV – so all our new HD/widescreen content won’t fill the screen (unless you like cropping out much of the scene).

Like some of the better eBook readers, the high end iPad offers 3G connectivity. This enables those users to be connected to the internet via the cell phone network (like our smart phones). The sad part here is the extra ~$130USD for 3G is well on it’s way to paying for an Amazon Kindle or a Barnes & Noble Nook (both $260USD) which are optimized strictly for reading eBooks but both include 3G as well.

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YouTube Grabber App

I’ve whipped up this little YouTube video grabber for myself and I’ve opened it up for the moment. If I see it getting spammed or abused in some way, I’ll probably password protect it, nevertheless, you can check it out here.

YouTube Grabber ScreenshotWhat it does

This little app takes a YouTube video link and then adds the reference in a database. A seperate script then polls that database and looks for new URLs. It then uses another script (that I did not write), called yt-download, to fetch each video and dump it to my fileserver.

How it does it

I wrote this application using Django (and therefore Python). Django provides a lot of really helpful database abstraction along with various helpful tools for custom web administration of databases and tools for rapidly created very presentations.. I’m sure a true Django expert would say it’s even more yet.

In addition to Django, my little application runs on an Ubuntu Linux based webserver I run as a Virtual Machine.

The actual fetching of the videos is handled by a script I wrote that uses the Django database framework.. It’s just a few lines and is called by cron.

What it can do for you

Granted people don’t abuse this thing, I don’t mind them submitting videos for the purpose of getting at the mp4 links on the video pages. Of course you can also use it to point me to content that you think is awesome.

MakerBot Plastruder Modified For Slightly Enhanced Awesomeness

Hello world, so I’ve been working very hard at getting my most awesome MakerBot working. It’s been a patience invoking venture and also extremely educational. The MakerBot employs some rather brilliant little tricks that make it simple, strong and friggin cheap. It’s a great gadget to have, though it’s definitely NOT for those who want everything now and aren’t capable of taking their time to do the job correctly.

Meet My Mod

So, in trying to get my MakerBot rockin, I’ve had to debug some stuff in my assembly. The instructions given on assembly are outstanding considering how much stuff you need to do to build one. That said, they’re not flawlessly exhaustive either – and this isn’t yet an exact science. I found myself frustrated by the positioning of the circuit board (I’ll just call it a PCB for now) positioned on the thing that outputs the plastic (Plastruder/RepRap). As you can see in my included photos, I’ve moved the PCB off to the side and flipped it behind the Plastruder.

A Before & After View of my MakerBot/RepRap Mod

Yes, it’s awesome

So as you can probably tell I love this mod because now I can quite easily see the plastic as it moves through. I can see little (or rather massive) teeth marks in the plastic due to contact with the gear on the motor that pulls it through.. So I can watch those marks move down in to the heater barrel – this has been helpful for me in trying to decide if some other printing problems I’ve been having have been due to any of a number of factors that no long include questioning if it’s actually feeding in more plastic..

Wanna see more?

You can check out more of this stuff here

Upgrade Experience with Ubuntu 9.04

Ubuntu Logo
Ubuntu Logo

Hello World!

While, yesterday was Ubuntu 9.04 day! With the latest official release of Ubuntu Linux, I decided to put one foot in the water and give upgrading my mac pro from 8.10 a whirl. The process went fairly perfectly with one major flaw. Upon rebooting my upgraded system, my video driver for xorg was no longer functioning properly. The solution was to remotely login through ssh, download & install the latest driver (from here) and then reboot again. After that I was greeted with the beautiful new Ubuntu 9.04 login screen and the upgrade was nearly..

I did go on to find that flash wasn’t working for me properly anymore. I found an interesting post that offered some good suggestions here. Though I found following the preferred suggestion didn’t exactly work out for me. All I did was remove the nonfree flash package and then reinstalled the “flashplugin-installer” package.

I posted pretty much the same comments as above regarding the video issue, with a little more detail on the Ubuntu Forum.

My flash experience is reposted here, but whatever, cause I just said it all over again in this post.