Mar 13

Several months ago I wrote about the best support experience I’ve ever had. One of my Samsung monitors was deteriorating. I called Samsung support, and within two days they had a new monitor waiting for me at the UPS store (I merely brought my faulty monitor in to be shipped back and took the new one home).

Well, those days are gone. Another of my monitors is now failing. I called support and was told that their policies have changed. I now have to ship my monitor back to them and wait up to two weeks for repair and return (they’ll replace only if it cannot be repaired). Which means I am without the monitor for two weeks. Which means I need to buy a new monitor. This time it will not be a Samsung. And that’s a shame. I love their products and have been buying them exclusively for years. Maybe this is normal policy for the industry, but their old policy had me publicly singing their praises, while the new policy has me publicly deriding them. Wonder how that will play out for them.

written by Christopher Murray

Nov 19

We’re huge fans of animation at my house. This short is remarkable for its detail and beautiful renderings, but is even more fantastic because it’s made by a guy who simply loves animation as a hobby, not by a huge house like Pixar. Its’ also very funny.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jEjUAnPc2VA[/youtube]

written by Christopher Murray

Nov 18

I’m noticing a growing number of sites giving play to cell phone photography (there’s even awards for this now). Obviously, the quality is less than that of a good digital camera, but you might be surprised to see what a good eye can do with an inferior lens.

I’ve been playing with this on my iPhone a lot lately, and also have discovered some tools to make image calibration right on the phone easier. The photos below were taken on my phone and then worked with Photoshop.com which provides a very friendly interface for filters, cropping, and even uploading. In some these photos I’m also experimenting with some tilt-shift effects (to varying degrees of success).

Here are some cool links:

http://iphonephoto.us/
http://www.ippawards.com/
http://www.philcoffman.com/blog/photography/iphone-photography/

And some cool tools:

Camera Bag
Best Camera
TiltShift Generator

written by Christopher Murray

Nov 15

Just because it’s really cool ;-) Enjoy!

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PLmZKsWRL9E[/youtube]

written by Christopher Murray

Oct 28

From BoingBoing.net:

This is an outstanding cartoon (by Chris Ware) depicting a This American Life story about kids who started a fake TV camera craze at their elementary school. As Graham says, “It’s so amazing. Why can’t there be more of this? I could watch HOURS of this.”

written by Christopher Murray

Oct 15

I have been really digging the WordPress iPhone app for a while now. Today, while waiting for my car to be worked on, I installed and configured Wordbook to publish my blog posts to Facebook, all from the little screen on my phone. This is a test.

written by Christopher Murray

Oct 05

I recently stayed at a Red Roof Inn up in Nashua, New Hampshire. My preference would have been to stay at the Radisson up the road, but because we were there only one night and coming in late and leaving very early, we decided to save the cash and go bare bones. We won’t do that again.

We had left my daughters with my brother and his family for the weekend but had brought with us a laptop so that we could Skype with them at night, say our prayers together and all that. We got to the room late and I immediately fired up the laptop because I knew they were waiting for us. No internet. I rebooted and tried again. No internet. I called the front desk after fiddling a while longer, and their suggestion was that I call Verizon. Well, it’s 9:30PM and my daughters are waiting; I’m not going to start talking with Verizon. We have to give up, and we eventually speak with the girls using the speaker on my cell. Very disappointing.

Done with the call, my wife goes in to use the restroom, which promptly overflows from the top of the tank when flushed. It does the same after I go in, and continues this throughout our stay.

I’m not going to make a big deal about the little bug we found on our bed. I don’t know what it was. It seemed friendly enough.

So, early the next morning after cleaning up and leaving towels on the bathroom floor, we go and check out. The front desk guy asks how our stay was. I tell him I plan to stay elsewhere next time and tell him why. He wishes me a good day anyway.

I get a survey from Red Roof in my email this morning and decide to take the time to fill it out. It didn’t ask for my name or email, just my answers to questions. I was honest, explained what the issues were, and hit submit. End of story. I felt a little better about having had my little say.

But then this afternoon I get a very friendly and apologetic email from Ted, the manager of that franchise. He tells me he is concerned about my stay, assures me it is not the norm for them, and credits my account back the entire cost of our stay. I was pleased, obviously, about being comped, but I was mostly impressed that he bothered to find out who I was (again, no name or email on the survey) and that he would write back and then also to refund my rate.

I wrote Ted an email back thanking him for being a good person ahead of being an efficient manager. Because that’s all it takes to stand out above the crowd. And you don’t get too many opportunities to make things right once you’ve screwed them up.

written by Christopher Murray

Sep 30

This is big news (if you’re a geek like me). “Dropbox is the easiest way to store, sync, and, share files online. There’s no complicated interface to learn. Dropbox works seamlessly with your operating system and automatically makes sure your files are up-to-date. Available for Windows, Mac, and Linux.”

It really is that simple. Dropbox places a folder on your desktop. Anytime you drag another folder or file into the Dropbox folder it is instantly synchronized and available to your other machines running Dropbox. In addition, you can also right-click on any file or folder and create a private URL to that resource. Sending that URL to someone gives them instant access to that resource. In addition, and by default, if a folder contains images, they are displayed in a very cool gallery format.

Signing up for an account gives you 2GB storage. If you recommend friends and they sign up, you get additional free storage. Larger storage options are available for a reasonable fee.

I now have Dropbox running on my workstation, my Windows laptop, my Mac laptop, and now my iPhone. Brilliant.

written by Christopher Murray

Sep 05

This is going to be of interest to only a very small, select crowd.

Here’s the deal. I do all of my design and development work on my local PC. Once I have finished a piece of work, I upload it to a staging server where it can be reviewed by the client. Once the client approves of the new work, it is uploaded to the live, production server.

The problem is my local machine, which runs WinXP and Apache, is painfully slow. Not because the machine itself is slow (it’s souped up with lots of speed, CPU, and Memory), but something else. When I load a page locally, it seems to take forever; the same page on either of the external servers loads within seconds. I should note also that this slowness appears primarily on Firefox.

I’d been Googling for this for a while until I came across this (http://weblogs.asp.net/dwahlin/archive/2007/06/17/fixing-firefox-slowness-with-localhost-on-vista.aspx):

It turns out that the slowness is caused by an IPv6 issue with DNS and can easily be resolved by turning IPv6 support off in Firefox while doing localhost testing.  To make the change, type about:config in the address bar, locate the network.dns.disableIPv6 setting and double-click on it to set it to true.  This does the trick for the Firefox localhost issue on Vista and everything is running fast again.

Kudos to the guy who figured this out. My pages load beautifully now. I went the extra step and disabled IPv6 on the whole machine.

Oy, when I read this I realize how truly geeky I am.

written by Christopher Murray

Aug 28

Enjoy!

written by Christopher Murray