Random Tech

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Take a Screenshot of DVD Player in OS X

Ever since OS X came out, Apple made sure that it would not be possible to take a screenshot of a DVD. When DVD Player is open, you can't capture the screen with Grab. Command-Shift-3 and Command-Shift-4 both do not work when DVD Player is open. This makes no sense at all (If you own the DVD, you should have every right to do whatever you want with it! But that's another story). However, Apple forgot one thing...

1) Put your DVD in your computer and open DVD Player (Applications -> DVD Player) if it does not open automatically. Go to Video -> Maximum Size, or hit Command-3. Fast forward to the frame you want to capture, or select the scene to start at.

2) Open the Terminal (Applications -> Utilities -> Terminal). Type this, or copy / paste it right in the Terminal:

screencapture -i ~/Desktop/dvd.png

Your mouse should turn into crosshairs. Now hit the space bar. Your mouse should now be a camera. Click the window the DVD is playing in. A file called "dvd.png" will appear on your desktop.

3) Sweet! If you want, you can go into Photoshop or another image editing application and trim off the window part of the capture.

More Screencapture Options

Feel free to adjust the code to your likings. Here are all the options for the Unix command 'screencapture':
usage: screencapture [-icmwsWx] [files]
-i capture screen interactively, by selection or window
control key - causes screen shot to go to clipboard
space key - toggle between mouse selection and window selection modes
escape key - cancels interactive screen shot
-c force screen capture to go to the clipboard
-m only capture the main monitor, undefined if -i is set
-w only allow window selection mode
-s only allow mouse selection mode
-W start interaction in window selection mode
-x do not play sounds
-S in window capture mode, capture the screen not the window
-C capture the cursor as well as the screen. only in non-interactive modes
-t image format to create, default is png
files where to save the screen capture, 1 file per screen


Why does this work? Did Apple simply forget about screencapture and taking screenshots with Unix commands? Or maybe they thought that it wasn't worth the hassle to fix? Perhaps something else? What do you think?

digg story

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Merchant Accounts

You should get one. Seriously. You can make a lot of money! Click here to get a Merchant Account with PayPal.

Monday, November 28, 2005

iPhoto Facial Recognition

Well, not really, but it seems like it!

Have you ever wanted to see how many photos of someone you have? Now it's a breeze, thanks to keywords. Wait! You're probably thinking "This is dumb, I'm not going to type in all the names of everyone in my whole library over and over!" This is a common misconception. You do not have to type their names repeatedly! Keywording may be something you overlooked because a) maybe you couldn't find the Keywords Palette or b) you thought it would be too tedious. Well, let me tell you, I keyworded my entire 2 week trip to Europe (800 photos) in just less than 1 hour. Afterwards, it feels like you have a whole new library! Recall pictures in iPhoto just as easily as songs in iTunes, no extra shareware apps needed. Here's the most efficient way to keyword your entire library:

1) The Setup. Open iPhoto. Select View -> Keywords to see any keywords that may already exist. Now, go to iPhoto -> Preferences and click the Keywords icon at the top. Hit "Add" to add a new keyword. Type in a name of someone that you have a lot of pictures of in your library (probably yourself, you egotist you). Do this for everyone in your library (if you want, you can only input the names of the people who you have a lot of pictures of, like your close family and friends). This may sound time consuming, but it isn't, since you only need to type their name once. Just their first name is sufficient. If you know you have pictures of different people with the same first name, type their last names as well. You can come back to this window if you remember new people down the line.

2) Start Keywording. Select the first photo in your library and go to Photos -> Get Info, or hit command i. Hit the keywords tab. You should see all of the names you entered. Click the checkbox of everyone's face you see in the first picture. If no one is in a photo (say, just landscape), you can completely skip this picture and move on to the next. You never have to close this window and reopen it since it is dynamic; the data displayed will change depending on which photo(s) is/are selected.

3) Repeat!

That's all! Test out your work by typing their name in the lower right hand corner. Type more than one name to find picture combinations. You can even refine your search by clicking Albums first and then typing, to see who is in, for example, your album of your trip to Australia. Go on, show off to your friends, they'll be amazed!

Productivity Tips

1) If you have some group shots, I recommend making a keyword called "Group". This way, you do not have to check every single name of everyone who is in that picture. Unless you want to do that.

2) If you have multiple pictures with the same people in them, command-click those pictures. Shift-click if they are adjacent. Once you assign a keyword, they will apply for all the photos selected.

3) Listen to iTunes while you keyword. It's your digital hub, treat it like one!

digg story

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Mac OS X Services (the menu you never go to)

(Note: Numbers 1 through 3 require WordService -- read the article to understand)

There's a whole hidden side of text modification that is stashed away, yet right at your fingertips. If you go to the Application menu (if you're in Safari, click the menu 'Safari') -> Services, a whole list pops down. You've probably disregarded this in the past (if you've ever seen it) because most of the options are grayed out, or unclickable. All you need to do is highlight some text. Go back to the menu and there are so many to choose from! Here are my favorites:

1) Have you ever typed something and then realized you were in caps lock? You probably deleted it and typed it again all in lowercase. You could be more efficient. If you go to Services -> Convert -> Lowercase, it solves the problem without you having to type it all again! You could even do Convert -> Initial Caps of Sentences to have every letter lowercase except the first letter of the first word in a sentence. Nifty!

2) Are you space bar trigger happy? Ever typed more than 1 space in between words? Services -> Format -> Remove Multiple Spaces takes care of that.

3) This one's really helpful. Have you ever needed a long list to be alphabetized? Maybe not even just words, but how about lines of text? At Services -> Format -> Sort Lines Ascending, your entire selection becomes alphabetized. No shareware programs necessary!

4) Don't feel like reading this whole article, but you still want to get an idea of what it's about? Perfect! Select all of it and go to Services -> Summarize. Works well with reviews and book reports!

And this doesn't only work with Safari - it works with every application on your Mac! There are several you can download from the internet. They're called Services and you put them in your home folder -> Library -> Services, if they don't get installed there already.

What are some of your favorites?

digg story

Saturday, November 26, 2005

Search Google Differently (or freak out your friends!)

We all know about Google's tools, services, and languages, but did you know that Google (as well as a few others) immitated their own search engine's results to be displayed as the style of other people / groups? These are also known as "fake" languages. If you don't know what I mean, click the links below.

If you know of any other that are not posted here, please comment!

Friday, November 25, 2005

My iPod Killed my Grandma

Last night at Thanksgiving dinner I decided to bring my new video iPod to show my 90 year old Grandmother. She bought it for me for my birthday which was a week ago, even though she didn't really understand what an iPod was. So after dinner I pulled my 30gig out of the sleeve, scrolled for a song, and handed her the headphones. Well, being the teenager that I am, I like to blast my music, so when I handed her my new Bose TriPort headphones, I forgot to turn the volume back down. The song started (Best of You by the Foo Fighters, for those interested), Grandma jumped an inch in her seat, and keeled over.

We called 911 and the ambulance came promptly. But she had already passed. The medic said she suffered from a heart attack. My guess was she wasn't expecting such a loud bang.

I'm going to be so humiliated at the funeral because the whole family knows I was the cause. Even though she was already old, I'm sure several stern glances will be casted my way. Even this morning my dad wanted to throw my iPod and headphones away because he didn't want me to touch something that killed his mother.

I'm not going to press charges against Apple or Bose because her death really wasn't their fault. I guess it was her time to go anyway. Please be conscious of your volume levels so the same doesn't happen to you or a loved one. Thanks, maybe this can save a life.

Note: The story above was completely fictional and meant for humorous purposes only. Fooled you! Don't believe everything you read...

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Residual Income on the Web

We all know that the best way anyone can make money is simply by sitting on their fat ass watching the Benjamins flow in. Unfortunately, not many know where to start. Here is a list of the best websites.

1. Donations - (Putting a donation button on your website, widget, software, etc)
  • PayPal - The standard for online monetary exchange

2. Ads - (Putting advertisements on your website)
3. Stock Photography - (Uploading your pictures that many people can buy)
4. Selling - (A garage sale that the whole world can see)
  • eBay - Auction off the stuff you don't want anymore
  • Amazon - Sell the stuff you don't want anymore

5. Affiliates - (Companies pay you to promote their website)
6. Pay to blank - (Sites that pay you to click ads, read emails, surf, or just sign up)
BEWARE! Do not become a slave to these methods! This is good income for a student, but if you are expecting quadruple digit figures, I suggest you look somewhere else, unless you have a really good idea. All it takes is one good idea to become rich, so get thinking. And if something doesn't work out for you, just drop it and move onto something else.

You can comment on any more that you have and I will be glad to post them.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Speed Comparison: [ Xbox 360 / Playstation 3 / Revolution ]

Speed is the utmost importance when it comes to gaming. The speed makes or breaks the console. Who wants to play a laggy game? Here are the specs of the 3 new consoles coming to market in the near future. Note: Some of these statistics are rumored / not necessarily true / inexistent at this point in time; however, I will update this table as soon as new data becomes available.

ConsoleXbox 360Playstation 3Revolution
Release DateNovember 20052006Unknown
Processor3 PowerPC cores @ 3.2GHz1 Cell core @ 3.2GHzDual 1.8GHz PowerPC
Front Side BusUnknownUnknown1.2GHz
Graphics Card512MB at 500MHz512MB at 550MHz600MHz
Memory512MB UMA256MB of XDR RAM at 3.2GHz
256MB GDDR3 VRAM at 700MHz
L2 Cache1MB512KB512KB
Triangles per Second500 millionUnknownUnknown
Shader Operations per Second48 million100 billionUnknown
Frames per SecondUnknown120Unknown
Overall System Floating-Point Performance1 teraflop2.1 teraflopsUnknown

If you have information that is not listed in this table, please comment your data below!

Monday, November 21, 2005

A Taste of What this Site will be Like

Hey there, I'm new to this whole blogging thing, but what I had in mind for this site was to post interesting / controversial essays about kids in highschool, written by a kid in highschool. Cheating, popularity, grades, drugs, and of course hopefully one day I will enlighten you with the almighty question: "Why we go to school in the first place?", but only if I can find out for myself. Overall, school blows, and I, along with my peers, don't know whether to bite the bullet and stay in prison school or rebel and live a fun childhood but suffer in my later years.

I dunno. Highschool Blows.

Edit: 11/28/05: Due to the increase of general interest, this site is now called Random Tech. The articles were about tech stuff before anyway, so now hopefully people won't be confused when they see the headline.