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Google Chrome PDF

Google Chrome browser is probably the best PDF viewer I’ve used.  If you have Adobe Reader installed–as most PC users do, since it’s often included with other software, or even installed by your PC manufacturer at the factory–there’s a good chance it’s left you open to serious security risks.  I won’t bother linking to all the security issues it has going for it because a) I don’t feel like wasting so much time, because b) your security is your job, not mine.  But I will suggest you do a Google search for Adobe Reader security issues and do some reading.

One alternative many people began using after the Reader security flaws were made very public, is Foxit Reader.  It’s a great PDF reader, but also has a few security concerns, often the same ones as Adobe Reader.

So, why not get rid of both of those, and just use Google Chrome browser instead?  Late in 2010, Google announced every future version of Chrome would have PDF viewing built in:  http://chrome.blogspot.com/2010/11/pdf-goodness-in-chrome.html

A few versions later, it’s working better than ever, and I’ve yet to find a PDF it doesn’t render perfectly.  There’s just one small issue that we have to look at when it comes to setting Chrome as your default viewer:  how the hell do you do it?  Unlike most programs, Chrome isn’t in the Program Files folder of Windows.  Instead, it’s hidden way down in the AppData folder, which is, by default, invisible.  So, what I’m here to do is show you how to find the Chrome.exe file, and then set it as your default PDF viewer.

Obviously, before you proceed, you need to install Google Chrome, so do it here:  http://www.google.com/chrome/

Once you’ve install Chrome, proceed…

First, open up My Computer (or just ‘Computer‘ on later versions of Windows), and click on Local Disc (C:).  Next, click on Users, and then on your name (or whatever you’ve named your account).  Inside this folder is AppData, but you probably can’t see it.

In Windows 7, click on Organize at the top-left of the window.  Next, click on Folder and search options, which will cause another small window to open.  Click the View tab, and then click the small circle next to Show hidden files, folders and drives.  Click OK and a bunch of folders will now appear in the window that were never visible before.

Find the folder called AppData, and right-click on it, then select Properties.  On the General tab, near the bottom, you’ll see there’s a checkmark next to Hidden.  Uncheck it, and hit OK.  A smaller window will open that gives you the option to apply this unhide action to all subfolders and files.  Make sure you click the small circle next to it, then hit OK.  Now, go back to Organize > Folder and search options > View tab > and click the small circle next to Don’t show hidden files, folders or drives.  All the other hidden folders will disappear again, but the AppData folder will remain.

Now, you need to go find a PDF file saved on your computer.  When you find one, right-click on it, then hover over Open with, and click on Choose default program.  You’ll see a Browse button at the bottom of this window, so click it.  Now, it’s time to find the Chrome.exe file, so you can set it as the defaul.

Click on Local Disc (C:) > Users > your name > AppData > Local > Google > Chrome > Application > chrome

Click on chrome and hit OK.  That window will close, leaving you back at the Open with window.  Be sure to put a checkmark next to Always use the selected program to open this kind of file, and hit OK.  That PDF will now open inside of Chrome browser, and the icons for all other PDFs will change to reflect that Chrome is now their default program.  You’re done.

We’ve all seen HDR photography by now.  Some of it looks absolutely awesome, while a lot is ridiculously over-processed.  Many photographers actually put time and effort into getting multiple exposures, while a lot of others (me) just take one shot and then fake it.  Why?  ‘Cause fuck it, that’s why.  I don’t have all day to edit a single photo, and I often take 10s or 100s at a time.  Fortunately, I just accidentally figured out a way to get more dynamic range, without the photo looking too horribly over-processed (in some cases).

When editing my photos, I typically use the Smart Sharpen tool in Photoshop, set to a value of 20, while leaving all other settings at default.  It works well for its intended purpose of compensating for a digital camera’s inherent lack of sharpness.  Then the other day, I decided to change a single value:  Radius.  I don’t remember the default setting, but it was fairly low.  I adjusted the slider to a value of 50.0, and suddenly my photo looked a crap-ton better.

Smart Sharpen

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I didn’t mess with brightness or contrast, curves, or even adjust colors.  I was so pleased with the results, I made a default action, so now I can just apply it to any photo with one click.  However, today I discovered something else… what if I do it a second time to the same photo?  The result is an HDR-ish(y) look, without all the effort.

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Unfortunately, it doesn’t work equally well for all photos; in fact, many come out looking completely retarded.  But for some, it works extremely well, without the super-over-processed look that some HDR photos end up with.  Obviously, opinions and results will vary, so use it at your own risk.

 

The Nervous Wreckords

On November - 16 - 2010ADD COMMENTS  [print]

http://www.myspace.com/thenervouswreckords

Louis XIV may have broken up and gone separate ways for the time being, but all is not lost.  Singer/guitarist Brian Karscig has started a new band, called The Nervous Wreckords.  Not ironically, the song I have playing right now, Similar But Not the Same, is a great description of the sound compared to Louis XIV.  In other words, it has the overall nuance of classic rock, with an updated sound.  It’s not quite Rolling Stones meets Led Zeppelin meets Pink Floyd meets The Beatles, like Louis XIV had going on, but it’s good stuff nonetheless.

Their first album is called Valuminium, and you can pick up the MP3 download version on Amazon right now for less than six bucks.

Ferrari F40 in Carbon

On October - 29 - 20101 COMMENT  [print]

Faux carbon fiber is lame.

Vinyl is generally lame, too.

But a Ferrari F40 wrapped in faux carbon fiber vinyl is just about the most awesomest thing ever (short of an authentic bare carbon fiber body).  Click the link below to see it in all it’s glory.

Ferrari F40 Carbon Wrap

And if that’s not enough for you, here’s a legitimately flat-black Ferrari F50, the often forgotten successor to the F40.

Farrari F50 flat-black

Sources:  Autoguide.com and Jonsibal Design Works

I have a ton of old radio shows that I put on my iPod, only they always go straight to the music section.  The only issue with this is, music tracks don’t hold their place when you’re in the middle of a track and skip to something else.  Starting over at the beginning of an hour-and-a-half track and skipping somewhere to the middle not only wastes time, but also puts extra stress on the battery.  Fortunately, I found a very simple way to turn those MP3 tracks into podcasts, so now I can stop in the middle of one and return later on in the same place.

(click the images below for a larger view, since it’s difficult to make them out at a small resolution)

The first thing you do is select all the files you want to convert.

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Right-click, and select ‘Get Info’ from the drop-down menu.

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If you’ve selected more than one, a prompt may come up asking you if you’re sure you want to edit more than one track at a time.  Click ‘Yes’ to continue.

In the window that opens, click the ‘Options’ tab.  Look for ‘Media Kind’.  It’ll be set to Music, so click it, and in the drop-down menu, select ‘Podcast’, then hit ‘OK’.

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That’s all there is to it.  Now go to the Podcast section of iTunes and you’ll see your tracks over there.  Sync with your iPod and you’re ready to go.

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Gaming in HTML5

On September - 15 - 2010ADD COMMENTS  [print]

Google has already shown us that creating games in HTML5 and Javascript can be done very well, but now a programmer named Dominic Szablewski has created something even more fun.

Biolab Disaster is a Mario-esque game, written entirely in HTML5 and Javascript, and works in most browsers.  It’s only a 3-level game, and not very difficult, but it’s a) a great time waster and, b) an excellent example of what a game can look like written in HTML5, without the use of Adobe Flash.

Biolab Disaster - http://www.phoboslab.org/biolab/

Link:  http://www.phoboslab.org/biolab/

It’s rare that adding two negatives gives you a positive, but as someone I know always says, ugly parents make beautiful babies.  In this case, you have the lovechild of a 1970 Oldsmobile Piece-of-Poo and the good ol’ American RV.

Yes, it’s a bit difficult to look at, but screw that–this just may be one of the coolest cars of all time!  This baby rides looooow, has a front-wheel-drive, small-block Chevy drivetrain, and a cabin in the rear so big that you could practically live in it full-time.

As of this post, it sits on eBay Motors with a But It Now price of only $15,000.  That’s not bad for a roomy 2-seat interior, plus  sleeping for 4, a full bathroom with shower, kitchen with stove, and two A/C units.  Not to mention it’s more rare than many Ferraris…  there’s only the one!

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Changing the Future

On August - 20 - 2010ADD COMMENTS  [print]

I’ve seen Back to the Future about a hundred times, and I never once noticed this.  Props to whoever figured it out.

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Artwork in CoMO

On August - 15 - 2010ADD COMMENTS  [print]

I saw this hanging on a mostly-duct-taped-together Ford Aerostar minivan in a Wal-Mart parking lot.  The guy has a good point, but needs to work on not appearing like a whack job.

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This beauty was seen on a stop sign near MU campus on 9th St.  Dubya would be proud.

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While I was in NYC, I went to the top of Rockefeller Plaza to take photos over the city.  I had my Fuji S5200 with me, with it’s 10x optical zoom.  It doesn’t sound like much, considering you can get as much as 26x now with some point-and-shoots, but it’s still pretty decent.

The following photos were taken pointed in the very same direction, looking South over Mid-town.  The first is without the use of zoom, the second is at full 10x.  You’ll have to look closely at the first one to make out the building that’s in the second.

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I’d love to go back with a 26x Nikon Coolpix P100 sometime, although I doubt I’d be able to hold it as stable as the Fuji at 10x.

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