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TinEye – the reverse image search engine.

June 6th, 2012 5 comments

I’ve recently noticed that a number of photos from my blog have been copied and this got me thinking about how to find where they might have been reused on other websites. A quick search for a tool to do this revealed TinEye. From their About page:

TinEye is a reverse image search engine. It finds out where an image came from, how it is being used, if modified versions of the image exist, or if there is a higher resolution version.

I have found that the browser plugins provided are much more convenient when searching for already online content, just right click on an image to perform a search from the context menu. For offline images, you’ll need to go to the website and use the uploader there.

Since my own images don’t appear to be popular enough, let’s take a look at a real world example with mate Leonid’s Starbucks caramel waffle. And as I cannot link to the current results (they expire after 72 hours), here is a screenshot of what to expect:

Starbucks caramel waffle

As you can see, TinEye does a very good job of locating copies of the images, even resized ones and provides links to the new images, as well as to where they have been used. Nice tool to have in your toolbox!

Clickatell Outage

March 13th, 2012 1 comment

Clickatell have had an outage and have sent their clients an e-mail about it, the beef of which I paste here:

We regret to inform you that Clickatell’s system experienced a total outage due to complete power failure at the data centre which hosts Clickatell’s services. The outage occurred on Sunday the 11th of March 2012 from 09:50 GMT+2 and was resolved at 15:00 GMT+2. During this time all Clickatell services were unavailable. No messages were accepted for delivery and the system was unreachable.

Root Cause:
Clickatell’s services are hosted at a third party data centre. Electrical contractors caused a power outage throughout the data centre’s building while performing routine investigative maintenance on the UPS systems.

As part of their maintenance they bypassed the entire UPS system in order to safely work on it, and powered all infrastructure through one of their standby generators. During the maintenance this generator failed, and the entire building lost power. This meant both our live and standby systems lost power simultaneously.

Clickatell have never struck me as a small company and I was always under the impression that they are used by the largest corporations of the world, such as Google for example. In light of that, how on earth could they have allowed for such a thing to happen?

Quadrotors go to TED2012, but will they come to Cyprus?

March 12th, 2012 No comments

In the beginning of February, I posted a YouTube clip about a swarm of Nano Quadrotors. Here they are again, presented by Vijay Kumar at the TED2012 conference, this time performing the James Bond theme.

 

Unfortunately, I missed the TEDxNicosia event last year. Many friends, colleagues and acquaintances made it there however and I hopefully look forward to being lucky enough to attend next time round.

Sources:

  1. Vijay’s full presentation: Robots that fly … and cooperate
  2. Pennsylvania School of Engineering and Applied Science
Categories: All, Technology

Totally awesome » A Swarm of Nano Quadrotors.

February 1st, 2012 No comments

You must watch this, especially from 00:26 onwards… so don’t just click and run!

 

 

Epson Stylus Photo PX830FWD

January 24th, 2012 No comments

I’ve recently purchased an Epson Stylus Photo PX830FWD which doesn’t seem to want to stop impressing me. Following the death of my last desktop PC, I needed a way to be able to scan again since there’s no way I’d ever be able to use my SCSI scanner. Wireless was the way to go as our lives are surrounded by laptops, tablets and smartphones not to mention the whole internet. Yes, this is a Google Cloud Print enabled printer which means I can print to it from my Android devices, or from Chrome, etc… wherever I am in the world. Epson have their own cloud print service if you prefer, but I haven’t tested it yet.

I was very happy to learn that I can use this device wirelessly from my Fedora machines as well since booting Windows just to scan wirelessly was not something that I was looking forward to have to do. If you do use Windows, the Scan-to-PC feature is pretty cool. It means that you can scan a bunch of documents at the scanner without touching a PC. I stuck Windows inside a VirtualBox guest, mounted a folder on my Synology NAS and scan to that directly. This way my scans are immediately accessible on my local network, remotely via scp/sshfs and even via the NAS’ web interface.

I haven’t tested the fax capabilities yet, but over and above manual mode there is a Print-to-Fax driver under Windows with it’s own address book. And if you ever run out of ruled or graph paper, stick a blank A4 sheet in it, press a button and hey presto. Stick in an SD card with pictures and it will even use a photo as a background. The 32GB Transcend Class 10 SDHC which I bought for my Canon EOS 550D Rebel T2i worked no problem with the printer.

I no longer have a need to print on CDs or DVDs myself, but it has it’s own built-in tray which sounds like a Transformer transforming as it moves around the internal parts of the printer during eject/insert. All in all, an excellent piece of kit which I would recommend any day. Now I need a good shredder (minimum DIN/Level 3). Any recommendations?

Do yourself a favour, move your domains tomorrow. #SOPA

December 28th, 2011 No comments

SOPASucks

That’s the word over on Namecheap today. Namecheap is my domain registrar of choice and I can therefore unreservedly recommend it to anyone and everyone. Especially godaddy clients who have to deal with all those annoying popups and keep asking whoever is sitting next to them how to do this and that and why can’t they do this or that, etc. But this post, isn’t about godaddy, it’s about SOPA (Stop Online Piracy Act). A recent incident of a friend of mine prompts me to quote:

SOPA, the Stop Online Piracy Act, is a proposed bill that would allow owners of intellectual property to block or disable any website that they consider infringes on their intellectual property.

Unfortunately, the bill takes a “carpet bombing” approach to piracy and gives intellectual property owners unprecedented powers in being able to take websites down without any sort of due process.

The bill goes so far that many people have renamed it the “Stop Online Privacy Act” because it infringes on both privacy and freedom.

Many people are worried, and rightly so, about how SOPA can hurt the internet. SOPA hurts consumers, SOPA hurts service providers, and SOPA hurts freedom of speech.

And I don’t think I have anything to add to that, it’s pretty clear. If you want to read more about it, head on over to Namecheap’s MoveYourDomainDay page. I have no gain whatsoever from your click but if you do choose to change registrar tomorrow, you can enjoy a $6.99 per transfer with coupon code SOPASucks and Namecheap will donate $1 to the Electronic Frontier Foundation to boot.

New Google Navigation Bar

December 1st, 2011 2 comments

Google have rolled out a new feature, the navigation bar. Basically the Google logo on whatever Google site you are currently on turns into a menu of other Google sites. I’ve noticed that some of the sites I’ve clicked through to don’t have it implemented yet, which makes it rather pointless in some ways and I hope that they will update all of them so that it works across the board. Here is a screenshot of it.

New Google Navigation

Categories: All, Technology

Synology adds MKV transcoding support for PS3 with firmware 3.2-1922

September 9th, 2011 3 comments

I don’t have an HTPC at home. Back when I bought my Synology DiskStation DS410 NAS in May, it was either that or an ASRock NetTop ION 330HT.

I bought the NAS over the HTPC as I had more use for it thinking that the NAS would stream anything to my PS3 anyway. Boy was I wrong. It took me a while to find the settings to enable FLAC and APE transcoding for music files, but MKV support was simply inexistant.

I tried many different workarounds, PS3 Media Server and MediaTomb mostly, but these struggled at best and therefore nothing was watchable. I had finally found a working solution by converting all mkv files to m2ts files, but this was a pain to have to do. Built-in transcoding from the NAS was what I needed. And now I have it!

Synology have added this in their latest firmware and I have tested two mkv files, one 12GB and one 8GB in size. Although they are slighty slower to start than say, an avi, they both played nice and smoothly. The scene search thumbnails didn’t work but that doesn’t bother me at all as I only use scene search to skip to a time where I know I stopped watching something.

So if you are missing mkv support on your Synology, head on over to the Synology Download Center and upgrade to the latest firmware. Alternatively, login to your unit and upgrade via DSM Update.

Read more…

Bluetooth

August 18th, 2011 No comments

Warning: There is swearing in this video clip.

Lee Evans brilliantly reminds me of a recent ex “boss” and makes me laugh no matter how many times I watch it.

WOWee ONE Portable Speaker

July 29th, 2011 1 comment

This looks pretty cool.

The WOWee ONE is a compact portable speaker that delivers incredible quality sound, including low-end bass frequencies and handles a dynamic range of signal inputs. Compatible with iPod, iPad, iPhone, and mobile phones. Includes built in rechargeable battery.

Might buy myself one!