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FitBit and WebOC Application Compatibility Errors

2013 Aug 29, 7:17
I just got a FitBit One from my wife. Unfortunately I had issues running their app on my Windows 8.1 Preview machine. But I recognized the errors as IE compatibility issues, for instance an IE dialog popup from the FitBit app telling me about an error in the app's JavaScript. Given my previous post on WebOC versioning you may guess what I tried next. I went into the registry and tried out different browser mode and document mode versions until I got the FitBit software running without error. Ultimately I found the following registry value to work well ('FitBit connect.exe' set to DWORD decimal 8888).
Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00

[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Main\FeatureControl\FEATURE_BROWSER_EMULATION]
"Fitbit Connect.exe"=dword:000022b8

For those familiar with the Windows registry the above should be enough. For those not familiar, copy and paste the above into notepad, save as a file named "fitbit.reg", and then double click the reg file and say 'Yes' to the prompt. Hopefully in the final release of Windows 8.1 this won't be an issue.
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SIGGRAPH 2013 : Technical Papers Preview Trailer (by...

2013 May 24, 4:46


SIGGRAPH 2013 : Technical Papers Preview Trailer (by ACMSIGGRAPH)

PermalinkCommentstechnical video cgi

Favorite Windows 8 Feature: Intra-Line Tab Completion

2012 May 9, 3:30

Fixed in Windows 8 is intra-line tab completion - you can try it out on the Windows 8 Consumer Preview now. If you open a command prompt, type a command, then move your cursor back into a token in the middle of the command and tab complete, the tab completion works on that whitespace delimited token and doesn't erase all text following the cursor. Like it does in pre Windows 8. And annoys the hell out of me. Yay!

PermalinkCommentscli technical windows cmd32.exe

Another Comedy Bang Bang preview clip this time with Zach...

2012 Apr 18, 6:02


Another Comedy Bang Bang preview clip this time with Zach Galifianakis.

PermalinkCommentszach-galifianakis comedy-bang-bang video humor preview scott-aukerman tv clip

Comedy Bang Bang preview and story.  Exciting!

2012 Mar 18, 1:57PermalinkCommentshumor comedy-bang-bang video ifc

Rule 34 - Charlie's Diary

2011 Jun 12, 3:48Charles Stross puts parts of his new book Rule 34 on his blog: "By kind consent of the publishers, I'm able to give you a sneak preview of the first few chapters. So I'm going to roll them out on consecutive Fridays. Here's the opening."

Sneak previews in parts: PermalinkCommentscharles-stross rule-34 fiction scifi

Creating Accelerators for Other People's Web Services

2009 Aug 18, 4:19

Before we shipped IE8 there were no Accelerators, so we had some fun making our own for our favorite web services. I've got a small set of tips for creating Accelerators for other people's web services. I was planning on writing this up as an IE blog post, but Jon wrote a post covering a similar area so rather than write a full and coherent blog post I'll just list a few points:

PermalinkCommentstechnical accelerator ie8 ie

Hot Tub Time Machine | Film | A.V. Club

2009 Jul 24, 11:56New movie Hot Tub Time Machine: "Craig Robinson, John Cusack, Rob Corddry, and Clark Duke are transported back to 1986 in a magical hot tub. So crazy it just might work? Elaborate joke?"PermalinkCommentshumor time-travel hot-tub movie video preview

PowerShell Scanning Script

2009 Jun 27, 3:42

I've hooked up the printer/scanner to the Media Center PC since I leave that on all the time anyway so we can have a networked printer. I wanted to hook up the scanner in a somewhat similar fashion but I didn't want to install HP's software (other than the drivers of course). So I've written my own script for scanning in PowerShell that does the following:

  1. Scans using the Windows Image Acquisition APIs via COM
  2. Runs OCR on the image using Microsoft Office Document Imaging via COM (which may already be on your PC if you have Office installed)
  3. Converts the image to JPEG using .NET Image APIs
  4. Stores the OCR text into the EXIF comment field using .NET Image APIs (which means Windows Search can index the image by the text in the image)
  5. Moves the image to the public share

Here's the actual code from my scan.ps1 file:

param([Switch] $ShowProgress, [switch] $OpenCompletedResult)

$filePathTemplate = "C:\users\public\pictures\scanned\scan {0} {1}.{2}";
$time = get-date -uformat "%Y-%m-%d";

[void]([reflection.assembly]::loadfile( "C:\Windows\Microsoft.NET\Framework\v2.0.50727\System.Drawing.dll"))

$deviceManager = new-object -ComObject WIA.DeviceManager
$device = $deviceManager.DeviceInfos.Item(1).Connect();

foreach ($item in $device.Items) {
        $fileIdx = 0;
        while (test-path ($filePathTemplate -f $time,$fileIdx,"*")) {
                [void](++$fileIdx);
        }

        if ($ShowProgress) { "Scanning..." }

        $image = $item.Transfer();
        $fileName = ($filePathTemplate -f $time,$fileIdx,$image.FileExtension);
        $image.SaveFile($fileName);
        clear-variable image

        if ($ShowProgress) { "Running OCR..." }

        $modiDocument = new-object -comobject modi.document;
        $modiDocument.Create($fileName);
        $modiDocument.OCR();
        if ($modiDocument.Images.Count -gt 0) {
                $ocrText = $modiDocument.Images.Item(0).Layout.Text.ToString().Trim();
                $modiDocument.Close();
                clear-variable modiDocument

                if (!($ocrText.Equals(""))) {
                        $fileAsImage = New-Object -TypeName system.drawing.bitmap -ArgumentList $fileName
                        if (!($fileName.EndsWith(".jpg") -or $fileName.EndsWith(".jpeg"))) {
                                if ($ShowProgress) { "Converting to JPEG..." }

                                $newFileName = ($filePathTemplate -f $time,$fileIdx,"jpg");
                                $fileAsImage.Save($newFileName, [System.Drawing.Imaging.ImageFormat]::Jpeg);
                                $fileAsImage.Dispose();
                                del $fileName;

                                $fileAsImage = New-Object -TypeName system.drawing.bitmap -ArgumentList $newFileName 
                                $fileName = $newFileName
                        }

                        if ($ShowProgress) { "Saving OCR Text..." }

                        $property = $fileAsImage.PropertyItems[0];
                        $property.Id = 40092;
                        $property.Type = 1;
                        $property.Value = [system.text.encoding]::Unicode.GetBytes($ocrText);
                        $property.Len = $property.Value.Count;
                        $fileAsImage.SetPropertyItem($property);
                        $fileAsImage.Save(($fileName + ".new"));
                        $fileAsImage.Dispose();
                        del $fileName;
                        ren ($fileName + ".new") $fileName
                }
        }
        else {
                $modiDocument.Close();
                clear-variable modiDocument
        }

        if ($ShowProgress) { "Done." }

        if ($OpenCompletedResult) {
                . $fileName;
        }
        else {
                $result = dir $fileName;
                $result | add-member -membertype noteproperty -name OCRText -value $ocrText
                $result
        }
}

I ran into a few issues:

PermalinkCommentstechnical scanner ocr .net modi powershell office wia

Fallout 3 'Broken Steel' DLC Preview - Shacknews - PC Games, PlayStation, Xbox 360 and Wii video game news, previews and downloads

2009 Apr 21, 1:28Fallout 3's May 5th DLC removes old ending, adds new quests, new levels, new perks. Sounds good! "In a nutshell, Broken Steel will remove the game's ending entirely, with Bethesda's Pete Hines saying simply to fans that called for an open-ended resolution, "We got the idea." Players will still have to make the final choice, but following that climax the game will continue, presenting new epilogue quests, another 10 levels to gain, and new perks, monsters and achievements to keep the climb interesting."PermalinkCommentsgame videogame news fallout3 fallout

Send URL to Cellphone - QR Encode Accelerator

2009 Apr 14, 9:26

I've made a QR Encode accelerator around Google Chart's QR code generator. QR codes are 2D bar-codes that can store (among other things) URLs and have good support on mobile phones. The accelerator I've written lets you generate a QR code for a selected link and view it in the preview window. In combination with the ZXing bar-code scanner app for my Android cellphone, its easy for me to right click on a link in IE8 on my desktop PC, hover over the QR Encode accelerator to have the link's associated QR code displayed, and then with my phone read that QR code to open my phone's browser to the URL contained inside. Its much easier to browse around in the comfort of my desktop and only send particular URLs to my cellphone as necessary.

PermalinkCommentstechnical boring accelerator android barcode ie8 google qr code

Flickr Visual Search in IE8

2009 Apr 10, 9:48

A while ago I promised to say how an xsltproc Meddler script would be useful and the general answer is its useful for hooking up a client application that wants data from the web in a particular XML format and the data is available on the web but in another XML format. The specific case for this post is a Flickr Search service that includes IE8 Visual Search Suggestions. IE8 wants the Visual Search Suggestions XML format and Flickr gives out search data in their Flickr web API XML format.

So I wrote an XSLT to convert from Flickr Search XML to Visual Suggestions XML and used my xsltproc Meddler script to actually apply this xslt.

After getting this all working I've placed the result in two places: (1) I've updated the xsltproc Meddler script to include this XSLT and an XML file to install it as a search provider - although you'll need to edit the XML to include your own Flickr API key. (2) I've created a service for this so you can just install the Flickr search provider if you're interested in having the functionality and don't care about the implementation. Additionally, to the search provider I've added accelerator preview support to show the Flickr slideshow which I think looks snazzy.

Doing a quick search for this it looks like there's at least one other such implementation, but mine has the distinction of being done through XSLT which I provide, updated XML namespaces to work with the released version of IE8, and I made it so you know its good.

PermalinkCommentsmeddler xml ie8 xslt flickr technical boring search suggestions

Hands on: Google leaps forward with Chrome 2.0 dev. preview

2009 Jan 10, 1:32I'm looking forward to hearing about Chrome's new HTTP stack: "The Chrome developers are moving away from using the WinHTTP library and are working on a platform-neutral alternative that will make Chrome easier to port to other operating systems."PermalinkCommentschrome google http arstechnica web webbrowser browser

Mozilla Labs launches geolocation extension

2008 Oct 13, 2:21Neat geolocation API for web apps: "Mozilla Labs has announced the availability of Geode, an experimental Firefox extension that implements the W3C Geolocation Specification. Geode provides an early preview of the same location-aware functionality that will be included in both Fennec and Firefox 3.1."PermalinkCommentsgeolocation geo w3c mozilla javascript web

Dark Knight and Mariners Baseball

2008 Aug 4, 8:39

The weekend before last I saw Dark Knight with some friends from work and then we all ate at Z'Tejas after. Like everyone has said and as the name implies Dark Knight is... dark. Dark Knight was a little over the top at times as compared to Batman Begins but I really enjoyed it. Two times during the movie I thought it had ended but I was wrong. The Joker is both frightening (Cringe inducing line "Wanna know how I got these scars?") and humorous ("Where is Harvey Dent? ... You know where Harvey is? You know who he is?", as well as the pencil magic trick). I can certainly recommend it to anyone who enjoyed Batman Begins. The previews included Burn After Reading a new Coen Brother's comedy that I look forward to, and Quantum of Solace which hopefully does the same thing Dark Knight has, keep up the new direction on the refreshed franchise.

Safeco Field Suite photoThis past weekend Sarah and I went to a Mariners baseball game. I think this is the first MLB baseball game I've seen in person. Sarah's company gave out tickets for the game and the use of a suite. Its a room half way up the stadium with comfortable chairs, a mini-fridge built-in to the marble counter-topped center table, and a big flat screen television with the game on it. I suppose that's in case you don't want to turn to the right and sit at the window, or walk out onto the balcony which features three rows of comfy chairs overlooking the field. Anyway there was free food and drinks and I met some of the people Sarah works with.

PermalinkCommentsbaseball batman nontechnical

Microsoft Typography - Font embedding for the Web

2008 May 9, 9:31"In 1997, we released the preview version of Microsoft Web Embedding Fonts Tool (WEFT), which allows you to create font objects that can be linked to your Web pages."PermalinkCommentsmicrosoft msdn font web webdesign text

Internet Explorer 8 Beta 1 Released with Activities

2008 Mar 5, 11:36

Internet Explorer 8 Beta 1 is available now. I can finally talk about some of the stuff I've been working on for the past year or so: activities. Activities let you select a document, some text on a document, or a link to a document and run that selection through a web service. For example, you could select a word on a webpage and look it up in Wikipedia, select an address and map it on Yahoo Maps, select a webpage and translate it into English with Windows Live Translator, or select a link and add it to Digg.

IE8 comes installed with some activities based on Microsoft web services but there's a page you can go to to install other activities. However, that page is missing some of my favorites that I use all the time, like del.icio.us. Accordingly, I've put together a page of the activities I use. MSDN has all the info on creating Activities.

Activities are very similar to other existing features in other browsers including the ability to add context menu items to IE. There's two important differences which make activities better. Activities have a preview window that pops out when you hover over an activity, which is useful to get in place information easily provided by developers. The other is that the interface is explicit and takes after HTML FORMs and OpenSearch descriptions. Because the interface is explicitly described in XML (unlike the context menu additions described above which run arbitrary script) we have the ability to use activities in places other than on a webpage in the future. And because activity definitions are similar to HTML FORMs, if your webservice has an HTML FORM describing it you can easily create an activity.

PermalinkCommentsmicrosoft technical activity openservice ie8 ie activities msdn

frequency decoder ~ Link Preview V2

2008 Feb 11, 8:51A rather lovely webpage screenshot link preview implementation.PermalinkCommentslink-preview web script client-side browser snapshot screenshot webpage

Zune Software Update

2007 Nov 19, 3:47I really appreciate that the first gen Zune's get the new Zune's firmware and software. I like the updated Zune software personally because its faster and simpler, has better podcast support, and the whole social thing has is on their website now. So, I guess I like the software because it has new features that should have been there in the first place.

The social thing is like a Zune social network. It uses your Xbox Live friends to seed your Zune friends list, lets you do the expected social network stuff, lets you preview songs, and unlike first gen Zunes which required face to face time with other Zune owners, allows you to send songs to people. It also lets you display your recently played tracks and your favorite tracks, similar to what Last.FM has, via a Zune Card. I like the Zune Card from a technical perspective because it separates the Zune Card view, written in flash from the User Card data which is in XML. I hope they intend to keep the XML available via this UserCard Service because I think there's potential to easily do cool things.PermalinkCommentsmicrosoft technical music zune social

Internet Explorer 7: Beta 2 Preview - released on March 20th - checklists

2006 Mar 20, 5:06PermalinkCommentsie ie7 web internet beta tools free
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