Tuesday, September 30, 2008

iPhone: Adobe confirms Flash for iPhone in dev

untitledfrom : Flash Magazine

Paul Betlem for the first time publicly confirmed that Adobe is actively developing a Flash Player for Apple's popular phone. He said (not direct quote) "My team is working on Flash on the iPhone, but it's a closed platform." He noted that Apple makes all the decisions, so in other words, the ball is in Apple's yard at this time. If Apple says yes, Adobe will have the player available in a very short time.

Looks like Apple is again calling the shots on what users really want and crave to see on their iPhones. It remains to be seen how responsive Apple will be to its user base and release it to the public. Flash on iPhone will take iPhone web-apps and website to whole new level.

iPhone: Make your own stand from a paper clip

Make your own iPhone stand from a paper clip!


Dean and Ying's Blog - iPhone Paper Clip Stand

Microsoft Access: Error 3075 and Function is not available in expressions


If you get the "3075: Reserved Error" while opening a report in Access, then here is one probable cause for it:

The references in your project might be bad.

This is especially true if you experience the error only with MDE files running on production machines but doesnt occur on development machines.

In my case, a reference to a missing DAO library was causing a query that was being used by the report to fail with the following error "Function is not available in expressions in query expression ....":


To diagnose the issue here are the instructions of what you need to do:

  1. Open the MDB file. (MDE files wont allow you to browse the references in a project).
  2. Press CTRL + G. This will bring up the Visual Basic code window
  3. Go to Tools -> References.
  4. Check to see whether any of the references are listed as missing.
  5. If not compare the list of references to what you see when performing the above steps on a machine where you dont get this error. Make sure that both machines are using the same set of references.

Here is an example of what you might see... image

I fixed my issue by making sure that both development and production machines were using DAO 3.7 libraries.

Here is some more information about the "Function is not available..." error from Microsoft. (KB 194374). And even though the page says that it is a problem in Access 97, I found this problem in Access 2003.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Free Download: Microsoft Pro Photo Tools 2

Microsoft Pro Photo Tools provides a set of tools for photographers to perform various tasks with their images—including RAW captures. The current version enables you to quickly geotag your photos, view and edit metadata, and more, leveraging the power of Windows and Microsoft Live Local.

New in Microsoft Pro Photo Tools 2

  • Support for reading and writing metadata to/from XMP side cars so that metadata will interoperate with Adobe products. This is in addition to reading and writing from the file.
  • Users can convert from RAW to JPEG, TIFF, and HD Photo using "As Shot" settings. This includes the ability to resize the image.
  • Users can view actual RAW image in addition to thumbnails
  • Support for 64-bit Windows
  • Support for international locales
  • Improved UI for geotagging


Microsoft Professional Photography: Microsoft Pro Photo Tools 2

Other links from Microsoft:


Professional Photo Downloads

Montana GIS Portal

Montana state government launches a GIS portal.

The GIS Portal is Montana's primary catalog of GIS data. Its focus is to facilitate access by GIS professionals to data for their mapping and spatial analysis applications.   It also has a map viewer that allows anyone to view online map services.

Montana GIS Portal

via - New State Geographic Information Portal Launched

ArcGIS - ESRI API Evaluator

From ArcGIS Engine.NET

This utility scans exe or dll files of your choosing and detects usage of .NET types released by ESRI. It then generates a report of this usage for your review. Among other things, you can use the information provided to verify that you are not using types from assemblies that require licenses beyond your target license level or to generate a
list of types that you can compare against ESRI's Type Changes report when upgrading your application to support a new version of ArcGIS.

If desired, you can also upload your scan to ESRI. Any results you upload will be evaluated to determine trends in developer utilization of our current APIs that will in turn inform the design of future ESRI products for GIS developers. Help for using this utility is available at link.

ArcGIS Engine .NET

Other useful links:

Programming with .NET

ArcGIS Community

Code Gallery

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Boulder Needs More Kickass Developers


Want a FREE trip to beautiful Boulder, Colorado? The Boulder tech scene is growing like crazy. Twenty of our top tech startups have banded together to fly in one hundred top software developers, programmers and engineers from across the country, all expenses paid. You can apply to be one of the hundred.

Boulder Colorado Job Fair » Boulder Needs More Kickass Developers

IE 8 - Sandboxing works - but behavior is weird!

I was looking for some tips on how to use GMAIL more efficiently. So did a quick search in Google and found the following MakeUseOf page (link). I quickly opened the page in a new tab. And IE 8 ground to a halt.

I opened up the task manager and found that the CPU was being hit like crazy.


Tabbed over to the Processes page and found that IE 8 was using the CPU like crazy.


This obviously was a good place to test the sand-boxing capabilities of IE8. In theory, I should be able to shutdown the offending IE8 process and all my other IE8 tabs should still be up (living happily as though nothing happened to this way-ward sibling tab of theirs). That way - I wouldn't have lost the work I had done in the other tabs (finding links is a hard job - my friend).

So I sorted the CPU column to find the IE8 processes that was making the most use of the CPU. And found one that was constantly using more than 90% of the CPU. This had to be the offending IE8 process.


I ordered a hit on the offender. So I right clicked on the iexplore.exe process and hit "End Process". Viola! the offending page was taken out of circulation.

IE8 sand-boxing works great. Did exactly what I expected it to do - it shut down the tab that had started misbehaving and still the other tabs were alive and usable.

Unfortunately, here is where a weird quirk of IE8 comes into play. IE8 detects that something happened to that tab and automatically resurrects it. And as it resurrects the misbehaving web-page - it puts me back in the same place I was, before I killed off the processes.


In my opinion - IE 8 should have asked me if it should respawn the IE8 tab with the link that was causing problems. By not doing so - I was put in never ending cycle of kill process, process respawns to open same link, CPU spikes to 90%, kill process again. Finally I had to choose "End Process Tree" - which resulted in the entire IE 8 shutting down and I lost all the "work" I was doing on the other pages.

So Microsoft - here is a feature suggestion: check with the user if they would like to reopen a tab that just went down because of a "problem with the webpage".

(Not sure what is weird about that page - but even in Chrome - it spikes the CPU usage graph - but not for as long as it occurs in IE 8.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Best practices for working with DEMs

etna_demA good article from ESRI’s mapping center on best practices for working with raster elevation data-sets (DEMs). Mapping Center.

  1. Manage DEMs in their native geographic coordinate system
  2. Standardize names of your DEM files so that it is easy to determine units and point spacing
  3. Always keep an original copy of the DEM .in the original geographic coordinate system. Use this to create any derived data-sets in a new projected coordinate system.

Some points that I would add:

  1. Get your provider to provide you with meta-data about the DEM data-set. One of the most important pieces of information that you should get is the point spacing that was used to capture the data-set. Knowing what the point spacing was, allows you to determine what sort of work you can do with the DEM. (eg: you cannot get buildings out of DEM that was captured with a point spacing of 2 meters).
  2. When creating tiles – try and cut the tiles such that they are homogenous in the kind of features that they contain:
    eg: don't cut a tile such that one portion contains an urban center and the other contains mountainous terrain or dense forests. This is because when you perform geo-spatial analysis – extracting features will become difficult as you will need to use different settings on these different types of geographic features.
  3. If you are going to get elevation data – then try and get it with the original point cloud. Having the original data from which the DEM was created will allow you to use the widest set of tools for processing your data. (Also, most new algorithms that come out are based on processing point clouds as they have a lot more precision).
    But remember, just because you have a DEM, or you are using a raster based algorithm for feature extraction – you aren’t working with less precise data. Precision in derived data from your elevation datasets is based on the features you are trying to extract. (eg: bare-earth and most building footprints can be extracted from DEMs with a comparable precision to that of bare-earth and building footprints extracted from point clouds).
    LIDAR Analyst has proved time and again in many studies – that you can have a high degree of precision and accuracy when processing and extracting features from DEMs.
  4. If you are getting new data – attempt to get the lowest point spacing that you can afford. Even if you dont need it for your current application. I have seen many times where organizations get lower resolution data which is cheaper and maybe sufficient for the current work that they are doing, but useless a year later when they try to use the data for some other purpose. (Most often the case is that LIDAR data was acquired for performing flood modeling for which 2 meter point spacing or higher can work, and later when they try to extract building foot-prints – the data is pretty much useless except for the larger buildings).
  5. Learn to setup your DEM for visualization with a hill-shade layer in traditional GIS applications. (In ArcGIS, this involves setting the DEM layer to have a transparency and has a hill-shade layer below it). This can make a world of difference in being able to differentiate and find objects visually.

QCoherent Software announces the release of LP360/Classify Version 1.6

lp360_dvd_adQCoherent Software, announced the release of LP360 v1.6 and LP360 Classify v1.6 today.toolbelt

New features in LP360 v1.6 include:

  • LAS 1.2 Support
  • Enhanced Export Features
  • Quick Display Filters and Copy Legend Options
  • Draped Profile Lines by Point Source (flight line) attribute
  • Integrated ArcGIS Breakline Digitizing tools
  • On-The-Fly Topology Corrections for Breaklines


If you process large amounts of LIDAR data then in my opinion I think you should have both LIDAR Analyst and LP360 in your tool-belt.

vls  LIDAR Analyst provides you with automated tools to perform classification on large elevation data-sets (both point clouds and DEMs). But as we all know - any automated tool, will make mistakes. It is for those cases that a tool such as LP360 becomes extremely useful. As an interactive editing and QA/QC tool - LP360 is one of the best I have seen. It handles the display of really huge point cloud efficiently and provides you with an awesome set of tools that allow you to leverage your classified data (that LIDAR Analyst output).

And now with the release of LPObjectsT (their API into LP360), you can create new tools that use both LIDAR Analyst features (through the Feature Analyst API) and LP360 features using their new API.

Patented – a Latte artwork printer

This was presented at the SIGGraph conference this year. It is a Latte printer! and here are some creations using it.

OnLatte Blog



Wednesday, September 24, 2008

SQL Server 2008 error on Vista “failed to generate a SQL Server instance”

If you get a “failed to generate a SQL Server instance” on your Vista machine – try this first:

Go to the following folder “C:\Users\[user name]\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Microsoft SQL Server Data\SQLEXPRESS” and delete all the files. Restart your machine. I was able to add SQL Server 2008 databases to my Visual Studio project after that.

On XP machines – you need to delete the files in the following folder: “C:\Documents and Settings\[user name]\Local Settings\Application Data\Microsoft\Microsoft SQL Server Data\SQLEXPRESS”

note: More information based on SQL Server 2005 is available here: http://forums.microsoft.com/msdn/showpost.aspx?postid=98346&siteid=1

Monday, September 22, 2008

Have Twitter – Become a political analyst

The following post - Twitter Presidential Debates: Sept 26 – provides information on anyone with a Twitter account can become a political analyst and can rate the candidates on their performance in the upcoming debates.

Here are the rules – reproduced from Jeremiah’s blog.

You’re the judge! In your opinion, score points to the two candidates and tweet it

A) Score the candidates ability to debate
Using twitter, you can score the candidates with this handy scoring guide.

-3 for a personal attack
-2 for a false statement
-1 for avoiding the issue, or not answering the question
+1 for a successful assertion
+2 for a successful counterpoint to opponents assertion
+3 Quotable sound bite

B) Use Twitter to tell the world (use the hash tag)

Example: A proper tweet is: “Mccain +1 for articulating his energy policy #tweetdebate”

Example: A proper tweet is: “Obama -3 for calling McCain an old fart #tweetdebate”

Example: A proper tweet is: “Mccain +3 for great line: “It’s the economy stupid” #tweetdebate”

C) See what everyone else is saying

A good practice is to open another tab on your browser, and watch what others are saying on twitter search, tagged with the keyword #tweetdebate.

D) After the Debate, Tally your score
At the end of the debate, count up your score, your twitter handle, then leave a comment on this post.

My twitter handle is http://twitter.com/jowyang

Obama scored a total +25 and McCain scored a total of +26

Then soak in your glory of being a true armchair political analyst (and argue the scoring of the other twitter pundits)

Use a WiiMote to control PowerPoint presentations.

Wii Presenter is a project that allows remote controlling of Powerpoint using the Wiimote. Also includes a built in zoom and panning utility. Wii Presenter – Home.

More information about the tool is available at - http://www.indyproject.org/WiiKey/index.en.aspx. (Source code is available on CodePlex and IndyProject for you to play with).

A taste of things to come in the digital camera market

Canon is going to soon release its Mark II 5D digital SLR camera. One of the coolest features is that it allows you to capture movies. (The first digital SLR that I know of that allows you to do this). At close to $3000, it is being aimed at the professional photographer’s market. But, I am sure we will begin seeing this feature appear on lower end SLRs soon.

Check out this video that was taken using the EOS 5D Mark II. It is amazing for the amount of detail that is captured by a camera that is not a specialized video camera.


And here is a link to the creators blog. Vincent Laforet’s Blog

Apple’s AppStore Restricts User Choice

Apple used to complain about Microsoft not being open about it’s technologies and acting as a monopoly. Microsoft has come a long way from those days. But Apple – has definitely degenerated into a shop that believes in severely restricting user options so as to protect their revenue streams. I am sure that at some point – users are going to be fed up with Apple’s policies and look to other phones to move to. (unfortunately at this point – in my opinion – there is no other phone that provides an experience similar to the iPhone)

Check out the stories in the following post by Tim Heuer. Apple’s AppStore Restricts User Choice

Very useful VS tip from Sara Ford... You can add $exception to the Watch window to see the caught exception

$exception – allows you to quickly view the currently caught exception in the Visual Studio watch window.

Sara Ford's WebLog : Did you know... You can add $exception to the Watch window to see the caught exception - #318

iPhone – SpeedTest – my results

Here are the results of testing Internet connection speeds from my iPhone.

photo photo2

3G network
Download: 1.78 Mbps
Upload: 0.14 Mbps

EDGE network
Download: 0.13 Mbps
Upload: 0.03 Mbps



Download: 1.28 Mbps
Upload: 0.35 Mbps

What surprised me about the results was that download speeds on the AT&T 3G network was higher than the WiFi connection. (And my sympathies to those first gen iPhone users who have to live with EDGE network speeds – the wait must be killing you guys.)

iPhone – test the speed of your iPhone’s connections

www.Testmyiphone.com allows you to test your iPhone’s internet connections (WiFi, 3G and Edge). The results are then uploaded to GoogleMaps using ZeeMaps.


Here are in depth instructions on how to perform the test. http://blog.wired.com/gadgets/2008/08/iphone-global.html

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Installing Microsoft SQL Server 2008 Express

Trying to install SQL Server 2008 Express on my Vista laptop and it is being a pain. (get the installer here)

The first time it complained that I needed to install the .NET framework 3.5 SP1 (get it here)

The next time it complained that I needed Windows Installer 4.5 (get it here)

And each of those installers required me to restart my computer. I just wish the SQL Server 2008 Express installer would have specified what pre-requisites were needed before I could begin installing it.

And all this is before the SQL Server Installation Center comes up.


Once the SQL Server Installation Center came up, I was able to run the “Install Upgrade Advisor” which told me that I needed “Windows Power Shell” (which you can get from here). Windows Power Shell installation luckily did not require a restart.

Then when I was ready to install – Installation rules said it wanted “Visual Studio 2008 SP1”. (which you can get from here)


Visual Studio 2008 SP1, in turn needs “VS service pack preparation tool” (link). Both of these luckily didn’t require a restart.

And all I was trying to do was take SQL Server 2008 Express for a test drive. After almost 6 hours since I first started downloading the SQL Server 2008 installer, I think it is safe to say that this was probably my worst experience with an installer so far.

But, I guess the important point is that I did get it installed.

David S. Rose on pitching to VCs | Video on TED.com

A very good video on how to picth to Vecture Capitalists (V.C.s). David gives the most important aspects about you and your company that VCs are looking for in your presentation.

David S. Rose on pitching to VCs | Video on TED.com

The eternal question of “What are MVP and MVC and what is the difference” is asked again

And this time it is on StackOverflow:

What are MVP and MVC and what is the difference? - Stack Overflow


According to one of the posts: Here are the key differences between the patterns:

MVP Pattern

  • View is more loosely coupled to the model. The presenter is responsible for binding the model to the view.
  • Easier to unit test because interaction with the view is through an interface
  • Usually view to presenter map one to one. Complex views may have multi presenters.

MVC Pattern

  • Controller are based on behaviors and can be shared across views
  • Can be responsible for determining which view to display

Canceled Bill Gates and Sienfeld Ad

This is a rather long ad. But much better than the other ones that they released. This one is actually funny.

First ever computer bug


The first ever computer bug was literally a real bug.

The story goes that Grace Hopper (who later became the first lady Admiral of the U.S. Navy) was working on the Mark II computer. The computer was malfunctioning and when she looked inside the machine they found that a moth had shorted some electronics out. So there was a bug in their system. And when they De-bugged the system - it started working again. Grace removed the moth and tapped it to her log book. (Which can now be seen at the Smithsonian).


Take a Stanford Course - from anywhere...


Stanford is offering some of its most popular engineering classes free of charge to students and educators around the world. SEE launches its programming by offering one of Stanford’s most popular sequences: the three-course Introduction to Computer Science taken by the majority of Stanford’s undergraduates and seven more advanced courses in artificial intelligence and electrical engineering.

Course currently available:

Introduction to Computer Science

Programming Methodology CS106A

Programming Abstractions CS106B

Programming Paradigms CS107

Artificial Intelligence

Introduction to Robotics CS223A

Natural Language Processing CS224N

Machine Learning CS229

Linear Systems and Optimization

The Fourier Transform and its Applications EE261

Introduction to Linear Dynamical Systems EE263

Convex Optimization I EE364A

Convex Optimization II EE364B

And here is a link to the Stanford University Channel on YouTube. http://www.youtube.com/user/stanforduniversity

The future of telecommuting - Tele-presence Robots

Very cool video of teleprescence robotics from a startup company called RoboDynamics

Saturday, September 20, 2008

iPhone - Recall - Power Adapter

Apple announced last week that it will be recalling the ultra-compact power adapter that is provided with the iPhone. It turns out that with the current design, the metal prongs can break off and remain in the power outlet, turning into an electric shock hazard. (These adapters were sold in United States, Japan, Canada, Mexico and certain Latin American countries).

The recall begins on October 10th in the U.S., at which time you will either be able to go to the Apple store or order a replacement via the web.

Here is the official press release from Apple.

adapter-views2  The old adapters. If you have one that looks like this - there is a risk that the metal prongs might break off.

replacement_adapter This is how the replacement adapter looks. If you have one that already looks like this - you don't need to participate in the recall program. (Notice the green dot. It represents the redesigned adapters.)

Thursday, September 18, 2008

New Microsoft Windows Ad

Microsoft just released its newest ad that takes on the Mac ads. This one makes more sense then the Bill Gates, Jerry Sienfeld ads. (Though I like the Apple ads more – as they are funny and memorable).

 sean_540x303 shark_huner_i'mapc


More information about the ads: