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Transparent Telephony - Part 1 - An Introduction

So you've probably heard the word telephony thrown around from time to time. Maybe you were hanging out in a certain IRC channel, wanted to root your cell phone, or maybe, just maybe, you were actually interested in doing something cool with your computers and phones.

This article is the first of a series. I'm going to try my best to explain what telephony is, how it works, and how to write cool programs that integrate voice and data. Telephony is a huge market, and used everywhere (think cell phones). We are living in a time when telephony is casual, common, and popular. While being so huge, it often astounds me to think of how few programmers and tech people ever get around to learning about it, or playing with it. There are very few telephony programmers, and even less proper documentation. My hopes are that these articles will give you a solid foundation in telephony and inspire you to play around with it on your own, and do cool things.

Now that we've got the basics out of the way, let's get down to business...

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All the video-DSLR's are broken

Discussing the current state of video-capable DSLR cameras

Note: There's a summary for the impatient!

In August 2008 Nikon released the D90, the video DSLR that shot HD video.

The concept was apparently aimed at news-gathering, where reporters who would usually have to carry both a DSLR for photos and a separate video camera, could instead carry a single device capable of both shooting stills and, at the press of a button, shoot HD video.

For completely different reasons, these VDSLRs also appealed to film makers - a wide range of changeable, affordable lenses and large sensors capable of creating "filmic" shallow depth of field.. but, film-makers and news-gatherers have very different needs, and all VDSLR's thus far have been, in various ways, broken..

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Conky configuration

I spent a bit of time making a nice conky configuration for my amusement. I thought I'd share.

Preview:

Conky Preview

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Hiding OS X system directories

After restoring a backup, the various OS X system folders became visible again (such as /bin /mach_kernel etc)

The following command (adapted from this post by Wowzera) will hide them again:

# Hide sym-links
SETFILECMD="/Developer/Tools/SetFile"
for cdir in /etc /tmp /var;
    do sudo $SETFILECMD -P -a V $cdir;
done
 
# Hide directories
for cdir in /bin /cores /mach_kernel /private /sbin /usr /Volumes; do
    sudo $SETFILECMD -a V $cdir;
done

Launch Terminal (in Applications, then Utilities), and paste the above script.

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Hashing: the whats and the hows

Introduction

Hashing normally makes people think of cryptographic hashing often used to store passwords. Understandable considering this is what users might more familiar with. However, the principles of hashing are used for more than simply preventing retrieval of certain data.

What I'm referring to is hashing for the purposes of efficient data referencing. This is better known to developers rather than users.

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Simpletons guide to git

Simpletons guide to git

This is simply a "click these buttons" guide to git. See the last section of the article for more advanced/better guides and resources.

Installing

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Utility to create executable Python scripts for Microsoft Windows

This file is a utility script for building an executable script that users of the Windows operating system can double click on to start their Python application. This utility can be especially useful if your Python application does not need to display the command prompt.

I hope somebody will find this useful :-)

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A neater way to print something every x iterations in Python

To print some information every 10 loop iterations can be a bit messy. Given the following, simple loop:

for x in lots_of_stuff:
    process(x)

The "dumbest" way would be:

i = 0
for x in lots_of_stuff:
    process(x)
    if i % 10 == 0:
        print "Some progress info"
    i += 1

A more elegant solution would be to use the enumerate built-in:

for i, x in enumerate(lots_of_stuff):
    process(x)
    if i % 20 == 0:
        print "Some progress info"

Much nicer, but this doesn't work with while loops

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New site!

After a frustrating development cycle we're back. With a new site. You may not notice many if any changes. It's mostly been fixing problems back-end with the system and putting in new features for our members. We do now have some public features that should make things more interesting. Including the projects pages!

The site layout will remain the same for the time being as I have too many other projects to be getting on with.

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Coming soon: New site.. version 3!

The redevelopment of this site and it's mini-site is nearly finished.

Hopefully over the next couple weeks we'll finish up and we can start the roll out. Stay tuned.

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