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Showing posts from February, 2009

Blender Announces Open Source Games

You may remember, I previously mentioned Blender in reference to making 3D images and stuff. Well, the institute has released (around December last year, I think) an open source game to demonstrate their (and the software's) capabilities. This game is called Yo Frankie! as is released under the Creative Common license.

Any budding game developer can freely download all the code and sprites, to see how a game is put together. A great way to learn and if you would like to support Blender (or just the game), you can purchase a DVD of the game from here.

Not only that, they've only gone and made some quality cartoons to enjoy - Elephants Dream and Big Buck Bunny. They are really Pixar quality and can be downloaded in HD format. Or you can just watch Big Buck Bunny on YouTube.

Who says you need expensive software to contend against the big boys in the industry.

Working with the Date in Excel

I was just asked by my colleague how to turn 20080101 (in a file provided by a client) to 01/01/2008 (to be used in our system) in Excel where the cell is presented as text. We can easily recognise the date, but computers are not so intelligent to put up with these variations of how we operate.

There are a number of ways, but mine relies on certain assumptions, that numbers below 10 are pre-padded with a zero (0), ie. the 9th is represented as 09. This method uses the VB functions in Excel, but for simpilicity's sake I will break this down into stages.

For this example, I will use the above date (20080101) which is in cell A1.

Firstly, we need to split the date in and use cells A4, B4, and C4:

So we need to use a formula in A4 to get the year, B4 to get the month and C4 to get the day:
Year =LEFT(A1,4)Month =MID(A1,5,2)Day = RIGHT(A1,2)The LEFT function is to get the first four digits. The MID function is to get the middle 2 digits starting from the 5th position. The RIGHT functi…

IE8 - 1

Aaargghh! I just hate it. While IE8 is still in Beta, Microsoft still has not addressed the problem that some websites (or applications) appear as a blank page, even though they appear correctly in IE7 and other browsers.

Microsoft's excuse is that the engine has be re-written from the ground up. But it's not excusable when those sites are standards compliant. Anyway, at the start they did provide an undocumented feature for IE8 to simulate IE7 to ensure pages render correctly (and show at all).

Just add:
<equiv="”X-UA-Compatible”" content="”IE="7">
to your page header. Not exactly ideal, but a necessary work around till Microsoft gets its act together.

Microsoft bows to Firefox

OK. Not really, but I'm sure certain techy people will have a field day when that happens. However, their web browser's (Internet Explorer) market share has been constantly falling like nobody's business lately.

Some believe that the catalyst for this is when IE appeared in the news for a severe security flaw, which is pretty much the time frame for when (the ever popular) Google released it's own browser - Google Chrome (Just over 1% of the market - according to NetAppliance). Then again, Firefox is a proven web browser and has seen an increased market share (over 21% of the market).

What's more interesting that Apple's Safari browser is being used by more than 8% of computer users. There's no surprise there since Apple built up its image with the iPod and the iPhone. Plus the fact that this company also bundles a web browser with its Operating System.

With this weaking stance in the browser market, Microsoft has finally released an official Live Search …

Panoramic Image Stitcher from Microsoft

For those who cannot afford to shellout for Photoshop and, thus, benefit from its photomerge feature Microsoft has saved the day with a free alternative.

It's been a while since I looked at the Microsoft Research site, so it came as a surprise to see that they have released Microsoft Image Composite Editor (ICE). It really is a neat package and can export your image in various formats (TIF, JPEG, PNG, etc).

While AutoPano leads in the field of photostitchers, it's not free so Microsoft deserves a mention.

Here's my attempt at producing a panoramic shot from my bedroom window and using Microsoft ICE.