Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Roomba-style efficiency

I've always wanted a Roomba, but I've decided to spare my neighbors the daily annoyance of it's whirring, buzzing, and banging into things. Plus, the wires connecting everything in my room create a rats-nest that would certainly ensnare any hapless robot that tried to traverse them.

Their algorithm for (essentially) blindly wandering around a room and managing to cover every area has always been a mystery, and this long-exposure photo of a Roomba at work sheds no light on it.

Chekov vas undervaited...

What do a bunch of nerds who develop powerful face-recognition technology at Carnegie Mellon do with it? Run it on all of the Star Trek original series episodes, of course! One of the results was the graph below, showing the proportional amount of screen-time of each main character in each episode.

I had no idea Kirk, Spock, and McCoy dominated the episodes what much, or that Chekov was only added in the second season, and barely had a role after that (except for a couple little blips).

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Hidden iFeatures

Apple has a nasty habit of not documenting all of the features of their products, and leaving it to the user to explore the programs and, if all goes as planned, find the features they're looking for in the logical place.

I manged to stumble across some gems lately.

At the recent Evo Christmas party, and at other events, I wanted to merge my photos and those of other cameras. This should be an easy task, except the other cameras never have their clocks set correctly, so that when the photos are sorted by time-stamp, they're out of sync. There are utilities to batch-correct this, but they're expensive. In the past, I've painstakingly done it manually. Lots of google searching on how to do it easier turned up zilch.

And yet, just select the event in iPhoto, click the "Photos" menu, and select 'Adjust Date and Time". A great little menu pops up, that lets you set a new time, and even tells you how much it's going to change each photo.

I'm incredibly impressed Apple thought to include this feature, but I wish I knew about this years ago.
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