Category Archives: New World

Atlassian 555

Atlassian software has a great deal available for 5 days – you can get a 5 person license to Jira and Confluence for $5!

I have experience of both products and think Jira is a grea issue tracker, and Confluence is a great enterprise wiki product. Both have their weak points (maybe biggest one being the fact the software is so flexible you can really shoot yourself in the foot by taking the customization too far), but I don’t think there’s better products in their class in the market. Even better, Atlassian folks are very pleasant to deal with and they’re one of the most open companies in their communication to the customers, which I respect a great deal.

Best of all, the money made with the offer goes to charity! So, go get your licenses now!

Travelling to GDC from abroad? Registered for ESTA yet?

It seems some (most?) people traveling to GDC from abroad haven’t actually heard about ESTA, or Electronic System for Travel Authorization. It’s a new system where people travelling to US need to register on the web as incoming visitors prior to travel. There’s some scaremongering on the site that if you don’t do this 72 hours before flying in, it cannot be guaranteed that you’ll be let onto the plane.

So, if you haven’t already done it, go sign up for ESTA right now. Have your passport handy, you’ll need your passport number and issuance dates.

And even though this effectively duplicates one of the paper forms you’ve filled on the plane in the past, you still need to fill it in, even with this system in place. Getting into US is starting to be an interesting challenge! I wonder what’s the next change. :)

iPhoto 09 face recognition

Apple just shipped their new iLife package last week, which came with a new shiny upgrade to iPhoto, their photo management application. I haven’t used the app for a long time, but it now has something no other photo management application does – face recognition. I’ve played around with it for a couple hours and while the feature is very cool, it’s glaringly obvious this is their first iteration at the feature.

Good stuff first: Flagging people in photos is faster with the feature in place. Even the current iteration is useful, and fun. Adding metadata to my shots was never this enjoyable.

The the bad stuff: The interfaces to teach the classifier are slow to use and sorely lack features.

  • Faces preprocesses the images to find people in your library, but with no progress indicator telling how long it’ll continue the processing. And it takes a long time to do it. Classifying people while Faces is working processed crashes iPhoto. And if you add a face manually to a shot before iPhoto has automatically processed the shot, it destroys the manual classification.
  • If a face is pretty small or very large, iPhoto just doesn’t find it. I suspect this is done to speed up the detection, but is annoying, and I can’t configure the tolerance. There’s no button anywhere that says, “Really, there are faces in here, search for them goddammit!”
  • I can ask for a list of photos iPhoto thinks has someone I’ve taught it, but in this mode I can only confirm if that one person is/isn’t the person iPhoto thinks it is and not tell the app who is really in the photo.
  • There is no view for seeing all faces that haven’t yet been classified, you have to browse the whole library and search for photos that might contain people you haven’t taught the app before.
  • When telling iPhoto who is in a photo, you’re forced to use the keyboard, even if there’s only a couple people configured in the whole system.
  • When you start typing for a name and get a list of name suggestions based on people you’ve taught, you can’t use the keyboard to choose from the list, you have to click the suggestion with the mouse, which again slows down the interfaces considerably.
  • The user interface that shows people who’ve been classified seems to have been designed for users who only teach the app maybe five people or so. Listed people can’t be grouped, and they’re forcefully alphabetically ordered.
  • For whatever reason, Apple seems to have ignored using other metadata to help the Faces classifier. For example, in a burst of ten shots one second apart from each other, of the same people in the same location over the burst, Faces seems to ignore the fact that I’ve already taught it the people in the previous shots. Combining the time series data of the shots to the face recognition should help, but it doesn’t appear to be there.
  • Last up, for some reason Faces has trouble recognizing me. I dunno if it’s the eyeglasses, but I’ve gone through sets of shots of myself which are essentially the same, and teaching the app with five shots that are essentially identical doesn’t seem to make it understand I’m the guy in the sixth shot, that’s also essentially the same shot.

Feedburner Google account migration bugs

If you’re using Feedburner, you’ve maybe noticed they now prompt you to migrate to using a Google account. I did it last night and found the migration has a couple issues.

1) Feedburner re-scrapes any external feed data sources after the merge. You might have noticed my feed suddenly re-posted a couple photos from Flickr – this was FB crapping out.

2) Some of the feed settings are lost, and need to be re-enabled. Like, my feed suddenly stopped tracking individual item statistics. After re-enabling the setting, I noticed all historic data was lost for the item stats.

3) Site stats have disappeared, probably in favor of Google Analytics integration. However, the GA integration isn’t live yet (or at least I can’t find it).

So, the old wisdom of holding account migration until you’re forced to do it would have served me better. Sigh.

Edward Castronova committing social suicide in public

Writing about Seriosity seems to be all the rage right now.

I bumped onto this on Matt’s blog, and then noticed this long thread on Terra Nova. The thread is quite a hilarious read – I think Ted has committed a social suicide and will never stop being Mr Serio no matter whether Serios pick up or not. Makes me wonder if this can get any worse…

Update: Edward now retracted. Good move. I predict the Serio jokes will stop in about a year.

Lessig, remixing and Songsmith

Ok, so Joi Ito blogged about Lawrence Lessig appearing in Colbert show, resulting in a ton of remixes of the show, some of which are funny.

Unfortunately Lawrence didn’t have that good of a example about remixing in the show.

Microsoft to the rescue! Songsmith seems like a perfect tool for, well, something. At least for remixes. So someone took this, put it in Songsmith, resulting in what could be called the remix of all time.

The Songsmith ad had me in emotionally fragile state, so I certainly wasn’t prepared for this remix.