Fun with GIMP

While at work this past week and was helping a user figure out how to measure something in an image. We both knew Adobe’s Photoshop a measure tool built in, but that software is hundreds of dollars and overkill for the users purpose. I then thought of GIMP, the GNU Image Manipulation Program. It had many of the same features of Photoshop and was free. All of this eventually led to me going back home this week and playing around with GIMP… Again…

For what it is, GIMP is a great application: a complete image editing program with the ability to rival Adobe Photoshop. On top of that GIMP is free, open source, and available for many different operating systems. Personally, I have one issue with the current version of GIMP. Because I use OS X on my PowerBook GIMP has to be rendered in X11. That wouldn’t be a big problem if it wasn’t for the fact GIMP breaks the toolbox, image window, and layers/channel/paths into individual windows. The File, Edit, View menus also exist within the main window, which breaks the OS X GUI standards for having a unified menu bar at the stop of the screen. See the example of what I’m talking about below.

Screenshot of GIMP on OS X

Some would argue that OS X is the primary problem because its interface does not follow conventions used by other operating systems. While that may be true I do not want to get into the debate of the reasoning behind interface design. That’s something like the people at Ubuntu are thinking about as they decide which corner of a window the Exit button is placed. Rather, I would like to look at the three options available for Mac users who want to use GIMP and help with a few of the annoyances.
Continue reading “Fun with GIMP”

PlayStation 3 Jailbreaking is Here

The PS3 flew the coup

A lot can be said for the security features built into the PlayStation 3. It took almost four years for enthusiasts to find a way to run unapproved code on the PlayStation without the use of the “Other OS” feature. Sony quickly removed Other OS after hackers used it to gain low-level access to the system. Now there is a way new way to “jailbreak” the PS3 and run applications. All that is involved is a programmable USB device and source code. Other people have taken the code and ported it to devices so you can use your android phone or Linux PIM. Someone even managed to port the code to the TI-84 calculator. If working with DIY components and code isn’t your sort of thing, complete USB packages can be purchased from resellers online. Eventually all of this could lead to a homebrew community as large as the PSP with lots apps and mods. Personally, I’m waiting for the emulators to be ported over so I can get some SNES action.

Steps for jailbreaking a PS3 using a calculator after the break.
Continue reading “PlayStation 3 Jailbreaking is Here”

Make A Crappy Telescope Better Part 2

The parts for the telescope have arrived and I have to say I’m kind of excited. As you can see I have a Meade 4000 Super Plössl 9.7mm eyepiece and a 2″ to 1.25″ eyepiece adapter. My telescope came with a 12.5mm Huygenian eyepiece and I’m happy with the 93x magnification it produces. The 9.7mm eyepiece will create more magnified image, but really hope the resolution is better. I want to be able to see more that just one of Jupiter’s cloud bands.

I would like to say thanks to website First Telescope. That is where I purchased the parts for this project. Instructions for installing the new equipment can found after the break

Continue reading “Make A Crappy Telescope Better Part 2”

Make A Crappy Telescope Better Part 1

If anybody has ever been to Wal-Mart then you have probably seen the telescopes and musical instruments they keep next to the vision center. Well, several years ago I received one of those telescopes for Christmas. It was Meade DS114 reflective telescope with AutoStar Computer. I never used the scope much growing up, but now that I am out of college and working full time I have time to enjoy a few hobbies. One of those being astronomy. So now I have my telescope at my apartment and when the weather is good I can see some cool stuff like Saturn, Jupiter, and the Moon.

I knew I didn’t have the best telescope on the market, but after reading online and checking out some real telescopes I discovered I was working with some pretty low quality equipment. Here is a run down:

  1. The tripod is poorly supported with no bracing between the individual legs.
  2. The telescope has an AZ/ALT base meaning it swivels left/right and up/down. Great for easily moving and find stuff, but hard to track nighttime objects.
  3. No manual control. The base of the telescope is designed to be used with the Meade AutoStar computer. It takes care of all the object tracking.
  4. Only 0.965″ eyepieces are accepted. Higher quality telescopes accept the standard 1.25” eyepieces.
  5. The eyepieces supplied are marked with an “H”. The H stands for Huygenian and is considered one of the cheapest eyepieces produced

So what to do? A new telescope would cost at least $400-$500 dollars and that is something I’m not ready to commit to. Instead I think I can improve the current scope I have and get in a position to have better equipment for the future.

How? Replace the one piece that is easiest: the eyepieces. Switching to better eyepieces should, in my theory, improve the image quality of my telescope and allow me to see more detail. The only problem is my eyepiece mount only accepts 0.965″ eyepieces. Meade was nice enough to provide a 2” adapter ring with the telescope so I can use 2” eyepieces. Though the 2” eyepieces are more common, they can be considerably more expensive and therefore are still not ideal.

The plan? Install the 2” adapter ring into my telescope and then use a 2″ to 1.25″ adapter. That should allow me to use eyepieces like the Meade 4000 Super Plössl series. In the coming day’s I’ll see if my gamble to buy adapters and new eyepieces pays off.

Newton Posting Works

You will probably see a lot of posts like this. After much trial & error I have successfully posted a blog entry from my Apple Newton 2100. What is a Newton you ask? This should help answer your question.

Anyway, below are the steps and settings I had to use to get application, nblog, working:

1. Go to
2. Download and install XML-RPC.pkg, nBlog.pkg, and nHTML.PKG

I’m using WordPress 3.0.1 as my CMS with everything setup and hosted at Your settings may be slightly different.

Path: /xmlrpc.php
Port: 80
Weblog API: MovableType

*Note: you will need to go into your Word Press configuration and enable the XML-RPC option under Settings > Writing.

I would like give a shout out and say thanks to Tony Kan and his blog, Tony posts regular information about the Newton and the community that surrounds it. He has managed to get nblog to work with Blogger in the past so I asked myself why couldn’t I get it to work with WordPress.

Android App Works

Bear with me people. The last time I ever tried to manage a website I was manually coding the HTML with notepad. At the same time I had to learn CSS so I could get the webpages to earn validation. No, this wasn’t 1998, but more like 2007. I have to say that I am not very savvy when it comes to websites and CMS.

However, being able to create posts from my Droid is pretty cool.

Check One Check Two

Hello? Is this thing on?

Welcome everybody. If your reading this then you have stumbled upon another one of the millions of blogs, which exist on the Internet. But what makes this blog different? Nothing. It’s just a place to share ideas and opinions on anything I see fit. Who knows, maybe you will learn something.