Wednesday, 25 February 2009

Fish with Transparent Head

Just when you thought you'd seen everything, out comes pictures of an incredible fish called the barreleye or to give it it's scientific name Macropinna microstoma. As you can see from the pictures below, the barreleye fish has a transparent head and face.

The fish was caught on camera off the coast of California by researchers Bruce Robison and Kim Reisenbichler using a remote operated vehicle. Although the fish was known as far back as 1939, only now do we have pictures and videos of it.

Scientists from the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI) observed that the fish stays motionless most of the time with its greenish eyes pointed upwards to detect the silhouette of prey. Previously, it was believed that eyes, which are extremely sensitive to light, was fixed in place giving the fish only the view of what's above it. But, the researchers from MBARI have discovered that the eyes can rotate within its transparent forehead allowing the fish to see forwards.

"Beneath the shield is a fluid-filled chamber that surrounds or protects the eyes. Scales are present just behind the eyes at the nape of the back, within this chamber. Separating the eyes is a thin, bony septum that expands posteriorly to enclose the brain. In living specimens, eye lenses are a vivid green colour."

I have seen transparent animals before, like jellyfish, but nothing as impressive looking as this. Check out the video below.



Monday, 23 February 2009

Use Your Ipod in Ubuntu

I recently bought an ipod shuffle, mainly because the price was good and because it would be ideal for use while jogging. However, I nearly returned it the same day because I couldn't put music on it from Ubuntu. Whether it would be compatible didn't even enter my mind as I bought it, I just assumed It would work like a mass storage device and I could drag and drop music on to it. But I immediately realised it did not play any of the mp3 files I dragged on to it. Luckily, a quick search on Google led me to an application called gtkpod. The program provides a very simple graphical interface for you to add and manage your music.

Some of the things gtkpod can do includes:
  • Read your existing iTunesDB (i.e. import the existing contents of your iPod including playcounts, ratings and on-the-go playlists).
  • Add MP3, WAV, M4A (non-protected AAC), M4B (audio book), podcasts, and various video files (single files, directories or existing playlists) to the iPod. You need a third party product to download podcasts, like 'bashpodder' or 'gpodder'
  • View, add and modify Cover Art
  • Browse the contents of your local harddisk by album/artist/genre by adding all your songs to the 'local' database. From there the tracks can be dragged over to the iPod/Shuffle easily.
  • Create and modify playlists, including smart playlists.
  • You can choose the charset the ID3 tags are encoded in from within gtkpod. The default is the charset currently used by your locale setting.
  • Extract tag information (artist, album, title...) from the filename if you supply a template.
  • Detect duplicates when adding songs (optional).
  • Remove and export tracks from your iPod.
  • Modify ID3 tags -- changes are also updated in the original file (optional).
  • Refresh ID3 tags from file (if you have changed the tags in the original file).
  • Sync directories.
  • Normalize the volume of your tracks (uses mp3gain or the replay-gain tag)
  • Write the updated iTunesDB and added songs to your iPod.
  • Work offline and synchronize your new playlists / songs with the iPod at a later time.
  • Export your korganizer/kaddressbook/thunderbird/evocalendar/evolution/webcalendar... data to the iPod (scripts for other programs can be added).
To install gtkpod, simply search for it using Synaptics. Once installed the application is located under the 'Sound and Video' menu.

When you run gtkpod you'll be presented with the following window. Make sure your ipod is plugged in and then click on the 'Load iPod(s)' button.

You may be asked if you want to create a directory structure, if so just click yes. You'll now be asked to enter the location of your ipod and select its model number.

Typically, the ipod is mounted at '/media/IPOD', but if for whatever reason it's not then you can just browse to the location. My ipod is the second generation shuffle, I'm not sure if I've entered the right model number but it seems to work. If you cant find the model number then go to Apples website. Once you've entered the details just click ok. You may get a warning message but you can safely ignore that and also click ok. Now you are ready to start adding your music files. Simply drag them to the main window and remember to click on the save button when your done.

To get gtkpod to start every time you plug in your ipod follow these steps:

When you plug in your ipod you should get the following window presented:

Click on the combo box and select to add a new application.

Using the 'custom command' option at the bottom type in /usr/bin/gtkpod. Click 'Add' and then select to open using gtkpod from the next window that appears.

Make sure you check the 'Always perform this action' box. Click ok and gtkpod will open. You will get an error pop up but you can again ignore that and click ok. To start managing your music you'll need to click on the 'New iPod' on the left panel of gtkpod.

And that's it. Hopefully everything worked ok and so now you can enjoy using your ipod from Ubuntu.


Saturday, 21 February 2009

The Crisis of Credit Visualized

A very good video explaining how we got into this mess. It seems as though greed is the biggest reason behind it all. People just wanted to make lots of money as fast as possible, which resulted in more and more risks being taken. Safeguards and regulation to stop things from getting out of control either didn't exist or weren't being enforced by the authorities. So it's not just the banks at fault here, the government needs to take some responsibility too.

The Crisis of Credit Visualized from Jonathan Jarvis on Vimeo.

Monday, 16 February 2009

Saturday, 14 February 2009

Friday, 6 February 2009

Blogger: Error

Sometimes I feel like it was an error choosing Blogger in the first place. Then again it's free so I guess I can't complain. It seems to not like having its 'Expand Widgets Template' Box checked because it's giving me a different error every time I try to preview, even when I haven't made any changes to the code. Was working fine yesterday.

Blogger is possibly the most buggy software I have ever used, sometimes I think they put in bugs for fun because blogging can get pretty boring sometimes. I think I've left it too late to migrate to Wordpress, don't really want the hassle so I guess I'll just moan about it every so often.

Samsung i8910 with HD Video Recording

Meet the i8910, also known as the ACME is the first phone to be able to record video in HD (1280 x 720 pixels). It can do this with the help from its 8 megapixel camera. Camera phones have been increasingly packing on the mega pixels, specially recently with loads of 8 megapixel camera phones being announced. However, video quality has typically been very poor, but hopefully this phone will start changing all that.

As you can see it's a large touchscreen phone with a 3.8 inch screen( not sure if it's capacitive). Not a lot is known at the moment but rumour has it that this phone will have GPS, wifi, DivX support, 3.5mm jack, come in 8 and 16 GB versions and possibly run on the latest version of the Symbian S60 5th edition OS.

Thursday, 5 February 2009

Sunday, 1 February 2009

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