Archive for 2007

Lem the Photog

Lem posted a pictorial walkthrough of his journey into the world of photography. A good read. I also like the term “photog.” I think I’ll call him that from now on.

iPhone Deluxe in Just Minutes

Well I finally broke down and took a risk. At the recommendation of my buddy Brandon, I went ahead and hacked my iPhone. Even though hacks have been circulating around the internet for a while now, up until a few days ago, I was really hesitant to do any hacks because I was pretty happy with my iPhone. I also had some notion in my head that it was going to be a crazy geeky process, that could break the iPhone and/or make it unstable. I was wrong–it was so easy I couldn’t believe I didn’t do it earlier. Here’s a quick tutorial on how to do this, coming from a “regular guy.”

  • Step 1: Download and install Installer.app. Make sure iTunes is closed and the iPhone is connected, then just let it do its thing.
  • Step 2: Make yourself a root beer float.
  • Step 3: Enjoy. (both the iPhone and the float)

Yup, it’s that easy. Absolutely no hacking skills required. An “Installer” icon will be on your home screen and when you open that up, there’s a smorgasbord of 3rd party apps available from the community. Just choose and install!

I don’t know what this says about me, but the first thing that I changed was my dock, using Dan Rubin’s dock image to change it to look like the new iPod touch docks:

iPhone homescreen

Other must-haves are Summerboard and rBST that allow you do some basic tweaks to your homescreen such as rearranging the icons, including the dock. I chose to keep mine exactly the same (for now) just because I’ve gotten familiar with the way it’s laid out. I then stuck all the third-party stuff hidden down below, only a finger-flick away to scroll down. Pretty slick.

iPhone third-party apps

My favorite app by far is the NES emulator, which allows you to play the original Nintendo games right on your iPhone. There are some sites out there that have the “ROM” files for every Nintendo game that ever existed. So I installed my favorite games from my childhood. The emulator isn’t perfect, and has some performance issues, but it’s still a lot of fun to relive these games that I enjoyed so much as a kid.

Nintendo ROMs Mario Bros

And Lem and Oliver, this is for you.

I also installed some stuff that is more on the geeky side of things: allowing me to ssh and sFTP in and a screenshot utility that allowed me to take these screenshots–actual sceen captures from my iPhone.

So there you have it. Proof that even for a guy who likes things to “just work” the way they are, iPhone hacking is simple with the tools that are available out there right now. Who knows if Apple will break these in future updates, but even if they do, all of this is so quick and easy that it’s no hassle at all to set it up again.

$100 to Alleviate the Pain

Steve gives iPhone early adopters who were screaming at the $200 price drop only two months after its release $100 credit at Apple Stores, retail and online.

Another Redesign…Just Be Cuz

Unlike the author of this blog, Chesney at least writes in her blog on a regular basis, so she should have a nicer-looking site. She gave me a rough idea of what she wanted, and I worked on it off and on in my spare time.

Chesney's New Blog Design

This is really the first design that I have ever done that is so heavy on graphics. I learned a few new Photoshop techniques such as creating the paper-tear look, and using brushes for the coffee stains. Usually I keep background images and decorative elements to a minimum, so it was challenging to do something different, but fun and rewarding.

It’s not quite finished, and is still a little rough around the edges, but check it out.

Ventura Weekend

We are so cool.
We impress the ladies.

One of the highlights of my summers is getting together with the guys in Ventura for a weekend for some licorice, hanging out, and good gaming. This year I stayed the whole weekend, instead of driving down Friday and driving back up the next morning–10 hours total driving time, 3 hours total sleep–not the best idea. One of the really fun things this year was dinner at Dargan’s, Lem’s favorite pub in Ventura. They had really good food, and apparently, really good Guinness–as confirmed by Andrew.

Other highlights included The Bourne Ultimatum, cake and ice cream for Matt’s birthday, insulting Lem, and impressing the waitresses at Carrows Saturday morning with our long discussions World of Warcraft Warrior specs.

Ventura friends, I salute you. You guys are awesome. I hope that one day I will be able to take Caleb–and someday–my grandchildren to these boy’s weekends.

Previous year’s LAN parties: 2005 and 2006

Targeted ads

As you may know, I play WoW and frequent wowhead.com, a popular WoW database. Currently, the ads look quite familiar.

CSS Off! Part 2

I missed the first CSS Off, but I was happy to take part in the second contest over the weekend. CSS Off is a contest where you are provided a Photoshop or Fireworks mockup of a design for a fictional website, and you then have to code it up to look as close as you can to the design. Not only that, but your code will be scrutinized against web standards. Not only that, but all within 24 hours. This time around, the fake-website we were supposed to code looked like this:

Early Bird CSS Off contest
The “Early Bird” design

Right at 10pm on Friday, I downloaded the psd and got to work. Thanks Phil and Brandon for keeping me company through the night. I got my 3 hours of sleep and worked on it on and off right up until an hour before the deadline. I also should say thanks to Chesney and Caleb for putting up with me and my obsession that day. It was hard for my perfectionist self to let go and finally submit it, but at 9:15 pm, it was as done as it was going to get, and I sent it in.

It was a challenge, but a fun one. I learned a lot in those 24 hours. If any web geeks out there are interested, this is my finished entry.

  • It was harder than it looked. When I first looked at the design, I didn’t think it would take me more than a few hours to finish. I was wrong. CSS Off did a good job in creating a design that made you really think about how to best lay out the structures and which tags to use.
  • I don’t know javascript very well. A lot of the time was taken up learning some simple javascript.
  • The death of IE 6 can’t come fast enough for me. I really, really hope that people upgrade to Windows Vista just for the reason that it that means they would get off IE 6 and start using IE 7.

We’ll see the results of the contest in a couple weeks. Maybe, just maybe, it will go as well as the last contest I entered in…

New Sharks Logo

The new Sharks logo has been leaked before it’s official announcement (thanks for the link, Andrew). I like it. They didn’t do a radical redesign, and it definitely pays homage to the original. I don’t know if people were looking for something totally different though. …Figures. I finally get a Sharks jersey and they change the logo the very next year.

The Sharks logo comparison
The old logo vs the (possible) new logo

FileMaker 9 Launch

FileMaker 9 home page
How Apple.com-esque of us.

I got up at 5 this morning to be ready for the FileMaker 9 product launch. Several months of hard work by the entire organization led to the best-selling launch to date (and it’s only 2:30!). For my part, even though it wasn’t a site redesign (I wish), I probably made a thousand or two changes to the website. It was a nice chance to clean up some of the existing pages, both visually and code-wise. Legacy code is not pretty.

Now for some sleep.

More than Meets the Eye

AutobotsMore than meets the eye, indeed. I was so oooh’d and awe’d by the special effects that I came out of the movie wondering how good the actual movie was. (Aaron assured me it was pretty good) It was some of the most impressive CG in a movie that I have seen yet. I have a very (very, very) tiny slice of experience in animating something, so even the transformations, which were probably the easier sequences in the movie, just had me in awe of technical feat these guys have pulled off in this film. The battle sequences were spectacular. Everyone walked out with a big grin on their faces. Maybe it was because they finally saw this battle on the big screen like this.

The movie’s plot was far-fetched…but it had to be in order to bring the Transformers to earth in at least a semi-believable story. The good thing is that you don’t need to be a fan of the Transformers cartoon of the 80’s in order enjoy the movie. But for the fans, there were some nice touches: Optimus’ voice is done by the same Peter Cullen of the cartoon (they couldn’t have done this movie without him) and there were a few familiar lines.

In short, a good summer movie filled with crazy robots beating up on each other. What more could you want from Transformers?

As I got in my 4Runner to drive home from the movie theater, I really wanted it to Transform…

Back. Sort of.

Well this blog has taken a back-seat to life. Life kind of ramped up starting with our Philippines vacation and still hasn’t calmed down. We had been looking to purchase a new home for a couple of months prior to leaving for the Philippines, but when we came back, we found some places that we really liked, which kicked off a whirlwind of preparation to get our current home ready to put on the market. With summer activities taking up most of our weekends, we’re packing, cleaning, and fixing up after getting home from work. For the last couple weeks, when our heads hit the pillow we’re out.

So here’s an update. We really enjoyed our trip to the Philippines. Caleb surprised us again with his exceptionally good behavior on the long 10+ hours flights (It helped that we all had our own personal TV screens to watch whatever we wanted). We had a great time with family, and I’m reminded again of what it’s like to spend quality time together. Whenever my family gets together here in California, it’s always for a day–two at the most. It was nice to relax and enjoy time together without having to cram it all in.

The extended family reunion was fun too. Unlike my parents, brothers and sister, I hadn’t seen my extended Manila family since 2000, so I didn’t even recognize some of my cousins! Together, we toured beaches, tourist spots, and had feasts of mangoes, various seafood, and most importantly, halo-halo!

If you want to see pictures from our trip to the Philippines, there’s plenty on timches.com, and Lem wrote a couple entries on his own blog. One on Oliver’s, too.

When I got back, a lot of things had changed in the Apple world. More of Leopard was shown, the iPhone news was even more out of control than when I left (happy iPhone day, by the way), and stock had skyrocketed (yesssss!). And yesterday, at the town-hall meeting, Steve dropped this on us! Yes, it’s good to be back at work in some ways.

When things calm down a little, I’ll get back to blogging. Pray for our house situation…we have a house in mind, but it may not happen. We’ll be happy wherever God leads us.