Tuesday, July 31, 2012

long filename problems

One of our filenames was too long, and probably because of that, had multiple entries in the website database. Renamed it on the servers, changed database entries to reflect the shorter name.

one more bug

I'd listed some bugs in the MFD in my last post, and had posted about Mac OS X Lion's flawed SMB implementation. P contributes one more:
Yesterday we were trying to take a print in Landscape from a Mac computer through Libre office app to the new HP printer. There was no option to change the orientation from Portrait to Landscape. Did a bit of google and found this workaround.

The solution is to use TextEdit to change the orientation, save it (like A4 Landscape) an then use it with other apps. While using the TextEdit to change the orientation, keep all other apps closed to enable it later to pick the new printer settings.

labour-saving with ADF

The Studio recently got a multi-function device (MFD) - the scanner - copier - network printer HP MFP 400 series M425 and I had the pleasure of using the automatic document feeder (ADF) for scanning a book. The job which would have taken me around 20 minutes per page of typing - 50 hours - or at least 10 hours of scanning and OCR using my old flatbed scanner, was over in just 1 hour. Proof-reading for corrections took another 5 hours or so for the 150 page Octavo sized book.

Just a word about this particular MFD - the driver software is quite buggy. Noticed so far:
  1. Printing from Windows, there seems to be no way to over-ride the printing on both sides of the paper. Even though the single-side printing is chosen in the print dialog box, printer prints on both sides. While printing from Mac, this issue is not seen.
  2. Scanning with OCR - when done with 'Greyscale' mode and scanning of both sides of the paper is chosen, scanning fails after the first side with an error. Probably the scanning of both sides of the paper with ADF is supported only in 'Black and White' mode.
  3. Device doesn't respond when it is in power-saving mode. Have to remove paper or do something to make the printer "wake up" after which it responds to print (or scan) commands from the network.
  4. Printer is very sensitive to paper jams. The earlier MFD in the Studio was able to print on a wide variety of paper, even thin paper. This one is finicky, jams with paper thinner than "copier paper".

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

manual changes to schedule page

P contributed this nugget - he manually edited the csv file to create an entry into Thursday's schedule, with the description having a link to the live schedule page. The filename could be fictitious, since the downloadable and streamable flags were set to zero.

Friday, July 20, 2012

procedure for UPS turn on and off

The  APC SmartUPS RT 5000 which was lent to Planetarium by P has some slightly unintuitive on-off procedure.

When there is mains power:
Switch on - First switch on input power, if not already on. Wait for 10 seconds or so for various relays to click, with the fan spinning up immediately. Only then press the ON button, for output to appear.

When there is no mains power:

Switch on - If the inverter and fans are off, first press (and release) ON button to start the fans spinning. After 5 seconds, keep ON button pressed till it emits a long beep after 4 seconds or so. Release the ON button during the long beep in order to cold start UPS output.

Switch off - Pressing the OFF button just stops the output - doesn't stop charging or the fans. There doesn't seem to be any way of turning off the fans when the UPS is connected to power - probably the charging circuits need the fans. So, if you want the UPS to be quiet and the fans switched off, you need to switch off inputs mains AC power, then long press the OFF button for completely switching off.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

smb issues on Mac OS X Lion

P reported that on the machines which he upgraded to Mac OS X Lion, password-less access to guest SMB shares was no longer happening.

According to this page,
Lion dropped support for SMB1 and supports only SMB2. Maybe this is the reason?

This thread describes the same problem - guest user not working.

More discussions on this topic....

Finally, P got it working with SMBup. A much more elegant solution than installing Xcode and installing samba via macports etc etc.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

projector upgrade

A conversation with AB led to some research on possible projector upgrades for the Planetarium. Our current projector has around 2 megapixel count. For doubling the resolution, currently the only projector seen is this Sony 4k projector which costs 20 times as much as our projector. Even if we get our hands on that projector, it does not have the ability to focus at the distances we want.

And then there are the dedicated planetarium projectors, which give really good displays, but which cost in crores, like this one at page 11/13.
Some more projector info came from the E&S page - which gave info about this JVC model and searching for that one led to this one for "just" $8K. And a review too.

Friday, July 13, 2012

screen capture with video annotation​s

There was a conversation by email regarding this. S asked the question, K replied.

The question:
Have you used any screen capture s/w other than camstudio.. camstudio is great but its video annotation feature doesnt work..so while creating a video tutorial, if i want the webcam to also show my face in a small window in a corner of the screen, the video annotations under tools menu is supposed to work..but for some reason doesn't...

The answer:
I am assuming you are using the free version from techsmith called Camstudio. There is a commercial version called Camtasia Studio. I am currently using version 3.0 in my office.

Camtasia (the commercial version) is by far one of the best tools for screen recording. Is there a specific reason you want full motion video captured via your webcam? The reason I am asking is this:

Screen recording is done at a much lower frame rate than full motion video. A typical camtasia recording will be at 5 frames per second while full motion video is 25 frames per second. Even the 5 frames per second is further reduced when the recording tool detects that there has been no change to the screen for more than 5 seconds. I would suggest not using a built in webcam recording unless absolutely essential.

These are some good alternatives I have tried:

ViewletCam (http://www.qarbon.co.in/presentation-software/viewletcam/) - Affordable and excellent after sales service.

Adobe Presenter (Powerpoint specific). 
Adobe Captivate - Generic elearning authoring tool from Adobe. This not as good as Camtasia Studio or Viewletcam. It is known to be buggy and I have had issues with rendering after a successful recording. It fails to detect changes in the screen and hence misses out some important activity on the screen.