Monday, October 24, 2011

Scribblenauts Remix

Scribblenauts Remix for the iPhone/iPod is an amazing creative and fun game. Give it a try.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

iPhone 4S and Siri

Like a technology zombie I stumbled to my computer and pre-ordered the iPhone 4S as soon as I was able to.  I used the excuse that I'm gonna do more iOS app development and it will be good to have the latest phone for testing.  But, the real reason is that I'm a nut.

Was it worth it. For people with an iPhone 4, probably not.  iOS 5 is a major upgrade that will keep the iPhone 4 users happy for a long time.

The one major reason to get the iPhone 4S is for the camera upgrade. The improved resolution and performance combined with the Camera improvements in iOS 5 are all great reasons to get the new phone.

What about Siri?  It's freaking wonderful. It does a great job of recognizing voice and converting it to text.  And I hope that once it leaves Beta it will become available to more Apple devices (crosses fingers for iPad 2 support).  Apple will most likely add support to many more applications.  Siri's syntax will improve and include many more things you can ask it to do.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Super Easy Custom iPhone RingTones

Using the Macs built-in text to speech functionality it is super easy to create custom ringtones for the iPhone.

You Need:

  • A Mac
  • An iPhone
  • iTunes
Open Terminal and create a ringtone audio file using the say command.

For example:
say -v Trinoids "Incoming Transmission" -o incoming.m4r

Pay attention to the folder you are in when you make this file, this will normally be your home folder. 

Now go to iTunes and chose the menu option [File->Add To Library]. Navigate to the file you just created  and select it.  The audio file should be added to the Ringtones section of iTunes where you should be able to play it.  Connect your iPhone or make sure it's on the same wifi network and appears in iTunes.  Select your phone in iTunes and choose the Ringtones section.  Make sure the new file is being synced by choosing "All Ringtones" or "Selected Ringtones" and checking the one you just added.

Now Sync your iPhone and TADA.  The new ringtone should now be available for whichever alert you want to use it with.

For more information about the say command you can use man in the Terminal:

man say 

for instance:

say -v ?

will give you a list of the available voices you can use.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Creepy Clay Creeper

Made this a while back for a friend of mine.  No idea why I never posted it on the Blog.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Broken Images

I imported blog posts from our older Wordpress blog, but have not fixed the image links yet - I'll be doing this as I can, so be patient please.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

iPhone 4S

Excited about the new iPhone 4S announced yesterday. The changes are incremental and for the most part totally expected.  Better camera, faster processor, iOS 5, and then theres the one more thing, integration of Siri into the OS.  Voice assistance on previous versions of the iPhone felt like an afterthought. The addition of Siri may result in a big change to my daily use of the iPhone.

So, will I get it?  The answer is a very strong YES.  what I should do is wait till my AT&T contract allows me to get the lower price, but what I'll most likely do is take the hit and pre-order the phone on Friday.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Arduino Fun

Wow I have not updated here in a long long time.  Been spending too much time on Twitter. :)

Recently I have been spending a bunch of time working with an Arduino Uno. It's a simple Mini Computer that you can program yourself.  You can built completely independent circuits, robots, sensor reading devices, anything you can think of.

I have a bunch of grandiose ideas for future projects, but for my first project I wanted to keep things simple.

Big Box O' Stuff
  • USB (serial) connection to computer, power and commands are sent from the computer.
  • LCD display to show messages. Show IM messages, new Mail notification, Calendar event notification, etc..
  • RGB LED Sphere to display colors and patterns sent from the Computer. Flash Red when I get new mail, etc...
  • Temperature Sensor and Simple button. When the button is pressed show the current Temperature for some period of time.
  • Enclosure to keep everything safe so I can use this at work or at home.

I have everything but the Temperature sensor working.  I should get the temperature sensor and additional supplies I need to mount everything in a box soon.  For now I have a breadboard prototype running.

The current firmware lets me do everything I want with a simple Perl based control program.  I ran into one issue that was driving me crazy.  I'm trying to use the programming port for communication.  This way I can use one cable to program the Arduino and to communicate with it while it's running.  However, the Arduino Uno does an automatic reset every time you connect to the port.  This forum post gave me the info I needed to disable this feature. If I need to update the program I will need to undo this change either via a jumper or with a switch.

I still need to find a sphere to use as a light diffuser. I'll probably just end up using a ping pong ball. I would like to have one thats larger than normal, but that has so far been difficult to find.  I also need to work out all the details to mount everything in the plastic project box that I purchased.  I have a Dremel tool that I haven't used in ages, it should come in handy soon.

More pics to come as I attempt to complete the project.