How to stop the zero day cams of movies?

I dunno if this would work across the board, but here is how I would short-term thwart people camcording movies in the theater. I’m not in the habit of bringing camcorders to the theater, so this is theory only, totally untested.

One of the challenges to the movie industry is people brining camcorders into the theaters, filiming the movie, then uploading to the internet.

My Sony camcorder is sensitive to Infrared light. This means, for example, that if I were to point a remote control at the camera and press a button, I can see the LED inside the remote light up. Could you, therefore, hook an array of bright infrared lights placed right behind pinholes in the screen, and tie the operation of the projector to the lights, such that the projector won’t work if the lights are not engaged. As long as the reels are turning. an array of these infrared lights would twinkle away pulsing randomly all over the screen. The in-theaters viewers would never see it, because our eyes are not sensitive to intrared. It could just play havoc with the camcorder version, though.

Are most camcorders sensitive to Infrared, or is that unique to Sony nightshot?

Using Picasa and AutoHotKey to scan Photo Albums Part 2

As I mentioned in Part 1, I am currently digitizing all my family’s photo albums. This is to try and stop the deterioration process, and so that each of my siblings can have ca copy of the albums. In Part 1 we covered how to get the full page scans into Picasa, and eased our repetition a bit using a macro recorded with AutoHotKey.

Now that we have full pages of albums scanned, we need to separate each of the photos into individual shots.

In Picasa, that would involve the following steps in the individual photo screen

  1. Click Crop
  2. Click and Drag the outline of the individual scrop
  3. Apply the crop
  4. File, Save A Copy
  5. Undo the Crop.
  6. Repeat.

Many of those steps can be easily automated. Pretty much everything but the click and drag portion. Let’s see how.

Step 1: Create the Macro.

To make this easier, we are going to record our macro beginning at step 3, then record all the way back around to step 1, make sense?

Here is a little video to show what I mean

  1. Open AutoScriptWriter
  2. Set up Picasa by getting to the individual photo screen, clicking crop, then clicking and dragging around one of the photos.
  3. Click Record on Auto Script Writer.
  4. Click “Apply” on the Picasa crop function.
  5. When the cropped photo appears in the photo screen, click File then Save A copy. This automatically makes a copy of the cropped area and saves it to a new file in the same directory.
  6. Click “Undo Crop” to get the full album page back.
  7. Click the “Recrop” button to get you back the crop screen ready to click and drag the next photo.
  8. Click “Stop” on AutoScriptWriter.

Step 2: Associate with a Key Combination.

Once you have recorded the macro, associate your macro to a particular key stroke. I use Ctrl+Alt+\ for mine (so that I can keep pne hand on the mouse, and one hand ready to crop.)

  1. In the Auto Script Writer window, where you see the steps the
    script recorded, place your cursor on the the First line, and hist
    enter to create a new blank line.
  2. On this new line, type “^!\::” (without the quotes). This is the syntax
    to associate with a keystroke. Here the ^ is for Ctrl, and ! is for
    Alt, \ is for the \ key, and :: indicates the end of the sequence.
  3. Save the Script in a memorable place (I have created a folder in my
    Documents called “My Hot Keys”) and save it with a memorable name like
    “Picasa Crop”

Now whenever you are cropping photo albums, go to this folder, and double click the script to load in the the system tray.

Step 3: Start Cropping

The first photo you want to crop, you will need to start by clicking “crop” then clicking and dragging. (Remember our macro starts with clicking “Apply”, right?)

Then press Ctrl+Alt+\ To kick off the macro.

Watch in stunned satisfaction as AutoHotKey performs it’s miracle, and sets you up to click and drag the next photo.

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Using Picasa and AutoHotKey to scan Photo Albums Part 1

I’m in the process of digitizing my family’s photo albums, and since I really hate repetitive processes, I was looking for a way that I could make the process go a little faster.

I also prefer using Picasa as my photo management software. It has just the right combination of power and ease of use that allow me to fix up most pictures quickly. Reserving the more time consuming photoshop for the tougher retouching / color correcting jobs.

Since scanning photo albums is such a time-consuming and repeptitive task, I used AutoHotKey to record many of the mouse clicks and keystrokes needed to perform the scan. In this post we’ll concentrate on getting the full-page scans into the computer, in part 2 we’ll look at how to get the full pages into individual pictures.

Best of all both PIcasa and Autohotkey are free (as in beer)!

You’ll also need a flatbed scanner. You could probably use a camera an tripod to photograph that pages, but then you’ll just need to go to Part 2.

I’ll assume you have downloaded and installed Picasa, Autohot key, attached your scanner, installed it’s drivers and have confirmed you can actually scan with it.

Step 1: Record your Autohotkey Macro.

  1. Open Picasa, select File > Import From.
  2. Open AutoScriptWriter from your Start menu
  3. Click the “Record” button in Auto Script writer.
  4. Return to picasa and scan the picture.

Here is a little video of the process:

In my script, I prefer to click the close button on my scanner software
window, which returns to Picasa. You may prefer to include that step in
your recorded macro. Up to you. YMMV.

Step 2: Associate with a Key Combination.
Once you have recorded the macro, associate your macro to a particular key stroke. I use Ctrl+Alt+S for mine.

  1. In the Auto Script Writer window, where you see the steps the script recorded, place your cursor on the the First line, and hist enter to create a new blank line.
  2. On this new line, type “^!s::” (without the quotes). This is the syntax to associate with a keystroke. Here the ^ is for Ctrl, and ! is for Alt, S is for the S key, and :: indicates the end of the sequence.
  3. Save the Script in a memorable place (I have created a folder in my Documents called “My Hot Keys”) and save it with a memorable name like “Scan”

Now whenever you are scanning photo albums, go to this folder, and double click the script to load in the the system tray.

Step 3: Start Scanning.

  1. Place your photo album on the scanner bed, and press “Ctrl+Alt+S” and watch in amazement as AutoHotKey clicks all the right buttons.
  2. Once the scan is complete click “Import All” in Picasa (again, you could have this as part of your recorded script if you want. )
  3. In the “Finish importing” window that appears, select a photo to drop the scan.

Repeat Step three until the photo album has been completely scanned. You can right click the Autohotkey icon in your tray and close down the macro if you are finised your scanning duties for the day.

In the next part, we’ll look at how to separate all the photos on the scanned album page into individual photos.

I always back up the scanned photos right away, too. I have no interest in rescanning the albums. See my post on how to do this with Picasa.

Live versus installed on Unbuntu.

So, all is not well, unfortunately in my Ubuntu installation. But it is a great mystery why.

When I run the Live version of ubuntu, my network card works great. I get right out to the web and all is right witht he world. After I run the installation the network card won’t let me out. I sought help in this thread on ubuntufourms.org but to no avail.

Here is the unfortunate thing. At this point, if the experts are stumped, where does that leave me? Out in the open I guess. Or paying for help.

So. The ubuntu machine is back on the shelf. The real bummer? when it was a windows box, the network card worked.

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Safe mode and Ubuntu

OK, so right away, newbie hacking in Ubuntu resulted in an unusable, unvisible desktop.

I read an article from Linux.org, with Ten tips for new Ubuntu Users. And saw this tip:

7. How to reconfigure X.org

Most of the time, X.org — that’s the software that drives your
video card and provides the foundation for the GUI, whether you’re
running GNOME, KDE, Xfce, or another window manager — “just works”
when you install Ubuntu. In fact, I’d wager that most Ubuntu users
never even have to think about their video settings.

But, sometimes you need to reconfigure X.org because Ubuntu hasn’t
detected your video card and monitor properly, or maybe you’ve just
purchased a shiny new video card and need to get it working with
Ubuntu. Whatever the reason, it’s good to know how to reconfigure X
without having to edit your /etc/X11/xorg.conf by hand.

To run through the configuration, use dpkg-reconfigure xserver-xorg
at the console or in a terminal window. Then you’ll have a chance to
specify your monitor and video card, the resolutions and color depths
you want to run the server at, and so forth.

Since every setup is different, it’s hard to give concrete advice
for configuring X, but it’s generally OK to accept the configuration
defaults. Also, you’ll be given a choice between Advanced, Medium, and
Simple methods for giving your monitor’s specifications. As a rule,
it’s probably best to go with Simple unless you really know what you’re
doing, or the Simple method doesn’t work for you.

Aha! I think. Maybe I can get to the right resolution for my screen, instead of this jaggie 800×600.

I went thru the many questions the reconfigure process asked for, but clearly answered one or more questions wrong, because when I robooted, there was no display at all. When the GUI should have appeared, there was nothin. Just plain black void. Uh oh.

So I crossed my fingers and powered down, then powered up.

Luckily, right after the bios came up a message reading
“GRUB Loading, please wait…
Press ‘ESC’ to enter the menu. “

What the hell, I figure. I pressed it, and got the option to enter the Ubuntu Kernel in Recovery mode.
When it finished it left me at a \root prompt.

I carefully navigated to /etc/x11/ and used to “mv” command to rename the broken xorg.conf file, then used the “cp” command to make a copy of the backup version of the file into the xorg.conf file. Thanks to itcsdocs for this one.

I issued “shutdown -r now” to shutdown and reboot. (Thanks to computerhope)

Ubuntu came back just the way it was before I started diddling with it. 

whew! Maybe I should actually figure out what the RIGHT answers are before reconfiguring, huh?

Ubuntu, Sound and the Dell Inspiron 3200

I’ve been trying to get to know Ubuntu, on an old Dell Inspiron 3200 Laptop. So far the installation has been pretty good. Only the soundcard is not working.

But according to this document, and my level of knowledge, it looks like I’m gonna have a silent computer. Bummer.

Printing and Ubuntu and the Gimp

I’m afraid this one might end poorly.

My printer is a Canon i850 photo printer, for which there appears to be no linux driver.

I can install a printer, from “System” “administration” then “Printers”. According to this document I can designate the Canon BJC 7004 as a close cousin — in Debian, another flavor of Linux. After giving that a try, I am able to print help documents from Ubuntu.

When trying to test the photo printing capabilities using “The GIMP” the Canon i850 and BJC 7004 are nowhere to be seen in the printer list. The GIMP, a photo editor, seems to use its own printing system apart from the printer driver I installed earlier. Trying to print from the Gimp just give me an error “lp:Error- no default destination available.”

Reasearching futher the following works, or seems to — I get printouts anyway.  Here is what I did:
From the Gimp, choose “File” then “Print”
In the print dialog box, click “Setup Printer” Choose “Canon” as printer make, “Canon BJC 7000” as the model (this was a wild-ass guess) maybe another choice would work too,
Then in Printer Queue, select the named printer I created earlier. Not the “Default Printer”
I was able to print, but at a pretty low resolution, maybe 300×300. Color dithering is apparent in the printout.
But, Hey, I have a printout, so that is good, right?

Way back in the darkest recesses of my basement, there lurks an old — VERY OLD — HP 540 color printer. I might just have to drag that out to see what happens. Assuming it still works.