I’m severely disappointed in Unity

Let’s count the ways:

  • Maximizing windows when moving them might be neat, but why not get rid of the button then and use the screen real estate for something useful?
  • Apple wrote the book on usability, but they screwed up when they skipped their own advice and put the minimize, maximize and close buttons right next to each other. That’s fine if closing an app doesn’t actually close the program, but in GNOME it makes absolutely no sense.
  • I just added my Minecraft shortcut to the side bar thingie, but some minutes later something went belly-up and not even a Java process was started when clicking on it. After a restart the shortcut was gone from the side bar.
  • Keyboard layouts have driven me crazy the last couple days. I can’t type “programmer quotes” (actually, single and double tick) without, for some reason, clicking the compose key once. After that it continues working, and it didn’t seem to realize that I had pressed the compose key at all.
  • Where did my freaking weather reports go? Did nobody else use that? There’s not even an option for it anymore.
  • Mystery meat navigation was never fun – Why would a sane person want to hide the main menu of each application?
  • Grouping applications by function was one of the best things about leaving Windows for Ubuntu 8.04.

Fortunately Ubuntu Classic is still available in the login menu. Yay for real backward compatibility!

Creating time-lapse videos

This guide shows you how to create high-definition time-lapse videos from series of still pictures, tailored towards Flickr, and using only free and open source tools available on most operating systems (although I’m not sure about Windows). If you’re just here for the meat, or you’re already photographing in 1280×720, you can go straight to the code or example.

Cropping

High resolution is not everything, but it’s a useful substitute for a good zoom lens if you’re going to show the final result in a lower resolution than your camera produces. This is very common, and will probably continue to be common for a while. CCDs quickly surpassed desktop screens in resolution (and are likely to continue that way), and showing a full-screen, full-resolution video without stuttering is more than many desktop computers are able to do today.

Flickr staff recommend 640×480 (SD) or 1280×720 (HD) resolution with 25/30 FPS. Anything else I presume will be resized and slowed/speeded up. Since most digital cameras nowadays have much higher resolutions than these, I’ll base the instructions on 1280×720, 30 FPS, but it should be easy to adapt them if you want.

If you want to have as much surface area as possible for your video, you should crop it to fit the aspect ratio (16:9 for 1280×720). This is easy in GIMP:

  1. Open the image
  2. Select the crop tool
  3. Set fixed aspect ratio 16:9
  4. Move and resize the crop field until it fits your purpose. This is where you have the chance to get rid of that random stuff in the corners that you don’t want to leave in the finished movie.
  5. Note the crop position (e.g., x=0, y=495) and size (e.g., 4752×2673) in pixels for later.

Resizing

Your images are probably still larger than 1280×720 pixels, so we’ll need to resize them as well. We’ll force the aspect ratio (! below) to avoid any rounding errors which might occur since our image size is most likely not a multiple of 1280×720 pixels.

Do it!

Now make sure you have a backup! Then replace the crop values with your own, using the geometry <width>x<height>+<x position>+<y position>:

mogrify -monitor -crop 4752x2673+0+495 -resize 1280x720! /path/to/*.jpg
mencoder -nosound mf:///path/to/*.jpg -mf w=1280:h=720:type=jpg:fps=30 -ovc lavc -lavcopts vcodec=mpeg4:vbitrate=9000000:mbd=2:keyint=132:v4mv -o time-lapse.avi

Example

Facebook won’t work with NoScript extension

Looks like they’re doing something retarded when detecting NoScript: Some links (for example, other people’s profiles) have an extra ?_fb_noscript=1 at the end, and the page includes a <meta http-equiv=refresh content="0; URL=/people/JohnDoe/12345678?_fb_noscript=1" />, which results in an endless loop of reloading the same page :/