Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Importing actions into Facebook

Yesterday, when looking through my Google Reader I noticed a Facebook entry about a new feature: A new way to share with friends

Basically, Facebook is now going to allow content from external sites to be directly injected into the Mini Feed. This is great because it doesn't require an application be installed. I have added my Flickr and Digg account into my mini feed. I will likely add once I start using it.

This is really great because my Facebook profile is really the combination where all of my online activities meet. Even this blog post on Blogger will be automatically turned into a Facebook Note, which is the only way many of my friends ever see my blog posts.

I am glad my Flickr posts and Diggs will now appear in my Mini Feed and therefore appear on some of my friends News Feeds. As Facebook will undergo major updates to the profile pages soon, I hope this will be a major part of that process. I know many of my friends do not use Digg or Flickr and by having this content appear seamlessly inside of Facebook makes it a powerful social networking tool.

Overall I am really pleased with the direction that Facebook is taking in developing the platform.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Thunder over Louisville 2008 Fireworks Pictures

I have been taking pictures of fireworks for a few years now (mostly at the WEBN Fireworks in Cincinnati) but this is the first year I have taken pictures using my Canon Rebel XTi.  I have to say, using an SLR is a lot nicer.  I only had my mono-pod (not a tripod) to stabilize the camera so they are a little bit wobbly at times, but they still look awesome.  After deleting some of the particularly bad pictures, I ended up with 404 pictures total from last night.  I've already written a blog post about my long exposure pictures, so this one is dedicated just to those fireworks pictures that I took.  Also, it will be limited to my favorites.


The biggest difference between WEBN and Thunder is the opening. Thunder really starts with a bang!






It really isn't easy to take good pictures of fireworks.  A lot of my pictures look better as thumbnails and don't really look that good at full resolution, but I might be too critical on myself.  I will admit, my XTi really has the detailed settings needed to take good quality pictures.  I was fiddling with the settings the entire time.


I really don't have the time to go through all of my pictures and pick out the really amazing ones.  If you want to look through them all I have them in my Thunder over Louisville 2008 Flickr Set.


Even though this was my first time going to Thunder, I have a feeling I will be going back next year.  It was awesome!

Fun with Long Exposures at Thunder over Louisville

If you haven't figured out that I tend to take a lot of pictures yet, you really don't know me very well.  I have a Canon Rebel XTi and tend to just amass a massive amount of pictures.  I tried to be a little artistic from time to time, but yesterday just proved to be a lot of fun when my friends discovered the fun of long exposure pictures and lights.

The main person at fault here was Alex, he really just went crazy, but everyone there was enjoying the pictures.  Here are a few of my favorites:


I think Travis did the best job making the blue light saber look the best.


First off, I have no clue why, but Alex purchased a light saber / light stick while we were at Thunder.  The $6 price tag didn't make much sense, but it was fun taking pictures with it!


This was the first long exposure picture that I took.  The funny thing was that it really impressed everyone a little more than I thought it would.  Once this picture was taken, things just went crazy.  I was using my mono-pod to take the pictures, so they don't shake very much.  However, my hands were absolutely freezing after a few minutes of taking pictures!


Apparently Thunber is the place were everyone is going to watch the fireworks!


At least he got it right the second time.  It is a really cool picture.  I think I moved the camera a little too much on this one though.  And he really took his time making that "n".


We got a little too ambitious here.  It worked but it was just too much to write without any reference points.  In case you can't tell it says, "Thunder over Louisville!"


There is no way I could blog this without including this picture.  Side note: I didn't tell him to write that.


This is where the attempts at writing ended and the having fun began.  It is a lightning bolt/ball as you can clearly tell from the picture.  My favorite part of this picture is how it looks like one of the beams actually went through his body.


This one is a poor attempt at simulating laser vision.  Either Michael has a lot of eyes or he has something wrong with his laser vision.  Maybe he should consult Superman for some lessons.  Also, what is with the random few green streaks lower down?


This one took a few tries, but it just reinforces my decision in not drinking soft drinks.  That Mountain Dew has something crazy in it! ;)


That about covers it for the long exposure pictures that I took during Thunder. You can see all of the pictures, including all of the above pictures, in my Flickr set for Thunder over Louisville 2008.  This summer if I remember or have the time, it might be worth it to get some more long exposure pictures.  Maybe with some other colors or multiple colors at the same time!  If we do this again, I should probably invest in a tripod.  Just a thought...

What Was I Thinking!

Don't ask me why, but Cassie decided to put my hair up in a web this Friday.  I kept it that way through Thunder (Saturday) before I painfully took it out.  You can see a few pictures of what it looked like.  All of the pictures were taken at Thunder.


From the front it really just looks like my hair is not going everywhere like it normally is.


If you look at it from the top, you can really see how crazy the entire thing was.


This is just a weird picture.  I was reaching to get my camera back and ended up getting my picture taken.  It looks a little creepy, but still a picture worth posting.


Lastly, this picture is probably going to be good blackmail some day if I don't post it, so I thought I would just post it now and get it over with.


Overall, it was a little painful, but it was interesting being able to see for a day.  I tried it out, but decided I like my hair the way it normally is.  I'll be getting a haircut soon, before I start co-op so at least I did something with my hair before it all went away.

Thunder over Louisville 2008

This was my first year attending Thunder.  It was definitely a lot of fun.  I took over 400 pictures there and thought I would post links to all of them right way.  Hopefully I'll find the time tomorrow to post a little more about my impressions of Thunder.  I definitely had a lot of fun.



That is definitely picture overload!  That took quite a while to upload all of those pictures.  I'm glad I still have UofL's fast connection to push all of that data through.

There are so many pictures.  I have a few favorites, and a little explaining to do if you look at the pictures of me.

That is it for now!  I really should get some sleep because tomorrow is a long day of homework.

Monday, April 7, 2008

UofL Less the Power

I didn't keep close track of the time, but we lost power at my dorm for about 3 hours yesterday. Being a geek, I have a few stories to tell about surviving a few hours without power. However, being a geek I really wasn't without power.

When the power first went out, I immediately switched my laptop to Power Saver with the screen at the lowest brightness so that I could conserve what little power I had. However, my laptop was plugged into my small UPS so it remained plugged in even after the power went out. My desktop is plugged into my large UPS so once the power went off I turned off my desktop. It took a minute to turn off and by the time a few people started to collect in the hall way, the power was back on. I waited a few seconds, and clicked the power button on my desktop. At that exact same second the power went off and I ended up shutting down my desktop improperly and turned off my UPS so that I could use it later.

The power attempted to turn itself back on a few times in the first half hour of the outage, but it didn't have much luck. After a little while of sitting in the dark, my and Steven decided it was a good idea to plug is CFL into my UPS so that we could have power. After a little math we decided that if I have my 75 watt laptop plugged in I could plug a 15 watt bulb in.


The problem with taking pictures when it is dark is exposure time. The above picture really doesn't convey what was going on. The emergency lights in the hallway were on, but the one little CFL in our room was far brighter than anything else including the flashlights.

After a little bit of gloating at being the hold room with light (and laptops that were charging) I decided that I needed to take a picture from outside of the dorm.


I went to the lobby and there were a lot of people collecting, waiting for the power to come back on. As you can tell from the above picture, all of the dorm was without power, except for that one room at the end. It was quite a funny sight knowing that the entire campus was without power. However, we were not alone because lots of the surrounding buildings had security lights. But looking at Stevenson and Threlkeld, my room was the only one that was lit up.

Eventually, I ended up turning off the light after looking at my UPS's battery meter using my laptop. About half way through the blackout my UPS was at 25%. I think that the light would have lasted about another hour but it wasn't worth it.

I ended up attempting to finish some homework and Steven was working on finishing homework as well. He actually used my Toshiba Slice to give his laptop a boost about 2 hours in. His strategy was to use his laptop's power until it was dead and then use his UPS, but by the time his laptop was dead his UPS was at 15%. My plan was to keep my laptop charging and plugged in until the UPS died and then go to battery.

Needless to say, last night was rather eventful.


Sunday, April 6, 2008

STUG: Tablet Tips Update

Tablet Tips is hoping to get a new camera, a room to set up as a mini studio, and has already received a new lighting rig.

Also, there will be upcoming Tablet Tips focusing on the incoming students for summer orientation.

Here is what STUG's lighting looks like. It was not that expensive, but it should really help out when we are filming.

We still don't have a camera, but we should be getting one soon. Once we get that there will be some major work done on orientation videos.

Student Tablet User Group - University of Louisville Speed School of Engineering

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