generated design and visually pleasing things

Internet killed the video star: Mvsic 2012-04-02

Not much up-to-date information here, but we are working on our latest project Mvsic.net, which brings back some kind of music television. Just on a computer. Or on TV with internet access. Or a mobile phone. Tablet computers. Washing machines, soon, I bet. With a much larger audience. And lots of different channels. And no ringtone commercials.

Back for good 2010-09-05

Hey guys. I’m back. This time for real! That means I will try and update this blog on an almost regular schedule again. The reason is that I’m finally(!) starting to work on my bachelor thesis and my subject is a fun one: Generated interactive design/art. Thus, I figured, I could use this site again and post some interesting things I find during my research. Or while randomly browsing the web for cool visuals during breaks, whatever you call it.

You have seen this stuff many times before, mostly known as video games, but during the last couple of years this has become an interesting playground for designers and artists.

Tools like Processing, VVVV, or OpenFrameworks have emerged and try to help get your ideas onto the screen really quickly and today’s computer performance allows thrilling home-grown productions. Ok, you don’t really need a lot of horse power to create something fun, but… sometimes it helps. Personally, I’m thrilled by the ease of use and speed of Apple’s Quartz Composer, a graphical editor that even lets the novice create interesting animations in a matter of minutes.

The real fun begins, when you add touch interfaces, audio and video input, or interfaces like MIDI controllers, Wiimotes – basically whatever device you can plug a cable into or connect via Bluetooth or Wi-Fi can become a controller these days.

All this also means, that if you have anything cool looking, you could and should let me know so we can share the beauty with others.

Back in action 2007-09-20

Your favourite Berlin-based webdeveloper is available for hiring again.

Over the past couple of years I primarely focused on my studies (yeah, right…) and only worked on web projects for myself, friends and some of theirs. As demand seemed to have risen, I decided to become active in the business again.

So, if you have some jobs that are related to LAMP-based webdevelopment, CSS-tuning and alike, I might be very interested, so don’t hesitate to contact me. Right now, I’m cleaning up my portfolio to show some things that are not 4 years old. :)

Oh, and yes, this site looks crap and doesn’t even really work in IE. Will fix some time.

MacFusion: mounting FTP/SFTP with integration into the Finder (OS X) 2007-07-31

This is fun: MacFusion mounts FTP/SFTP connections so they appear in the Finder and are accessible by any application. This means you can move files from and to the server just like with any other drive.

A great thing: This way you can edit files directly on your server with your favourite text editor (just in case VI is NOT your favourite editor; otherwise you’ve been doing this for 30 years).

MacFusion is just the GUI for FUSE ported to the Mac by Google. In order to run MacFusion you need to install MacFUSE (and SSHfs for SSH-support) first.

Did I mention it is free?

Oh and one thing to know: The OS X finder will automatically create hidden .DS_STORE files in each directory (for saving the view settings), which is pretty annoying, but you should know about.

1 spam mail a day... 2007-07-28

means the spam guys have gone on summer holidays away?

Remote desktop on Windows 2003 terminal server: Logs on and off again 2007-07-16

I’ve had this weird behaviour the other day: I tried to log on to my Windows 2003 terminal server via remote desktop and it would log on, show the desktop for a split second and log me off again. Over and over. Uh? My username was in the “Remote Desktop Users” group, the “Terminal Services” was running, the log file didn’ t give an error (just normal log on, log off), so everything seemed ok.

Now, thanks to the great invention of this thing called internet, I found out people have heard about this strangeness happening sometimes, when running NVIDIA graphic cards. After stopping the NVIDIA Display Driver Service” (which is just there to annoy you on a server anyway; stopping it doesn’t remove the drivers), everything works like a charm again.

Now I can go and mess up my machine with service pack 2, so it dosn’t get boring. ;)

FileVault benchmark: Encrypting personal folders on OS X 2007-07-14

With my setup I measured the performance of FileVault vs no encryption.

Conclusion: FileFault slows down the system by about 4%

Today I activated FileVault for protecting my private data in case (hope it never ever happens!) my MacBook gets stolen (or lost by stupidity).

FileVault works quite different in contrast to the Windows-like encryption, which works on the filesystem-level of NTFS. With FileVault on OS X you have no options on what directories or files to encrypt or not. It’s all (of your user folders) or nothing. OS X will take your whole user directory and put it in an encrypted sparse file which will be mounted as your user directory. This means, everything in your users’s folder is in there, including your media (iTunes library, GB-large video files), cache-files for applications. This also means, it will take some time — and as much free diskspace as you have data to encrypt. Same deal the other way around: You will need lots of free space if you once decide to turn FileVault off. If you don’t have enough, it won’t be possible, so think twice.

Now, since everything is encrypted and put into one single file, I was somewhat concerned about performance. Especially on a notebook, you don’t want to give performance = battery time away. So, I’ve done a very simple benchmark.

The benchmark

The setup

  • 2006 MacBook Core 2 Duo @ 2 GHz, 1 GB RAM, 160 GB WD Scorpio harddisk, OS X 10.4.10 (Tiger)
  • Personal files (and thus the FileVault file) about 40 GB

What I measured

I took a rared iso image (about 710 Mb, which extracts to about 2,1 GB), copied it to the (unencrypted) shared folder and a folder within the FileVault. This means the archives each were read and then unpacked to an unencrypted, respectively encrypted directory.

I unpacked each a couple of times with rar from the shell, afterwards deleted the unpacked folder, removed from trash and did it again.

Why did I chose this method? The file to be read and the files to be written are large and many enough to show some impact on the performance that is only based on the read/write performance, plus it puts some load on the cpu, which I think simulates real life application usage very well. After all, you don’t only copy files from here to there but it’s your application that writes and reads files while you use it, right?

How I measured

I turned off ClamAV and Spotlight, closed all windowed apps but one finder window and the process manager to minimize external factors. From the shell, I told rar to extract the archive, then switched to the already open process monitor, looked for the running rar process and opened the “information” window about that given process. This way it would stay open after the process finished and give the exact amount of time it took. Then minimized the activity monitor and focused the desktop to leave the unpacking alone.

This is no rocket science, but the numbers don’t go off by a lot, so I think they are somewhat meaningful.

The results

Here are the times it took for extracting each rar file.

Non-encrypted directory:

  • 2:26.74 (146.74 secs)
  • 2:26.19 (146.19 secs)
  • 2:26.67 (146.67 secs)

The biggest difference is 0.55 seconds, which is about 0,37 % and thus neglectable small, I think.

FileVault directory:

  • 2:32.08 (152.08 secs)
  • 2:33.48 (153.48 secs)
  • 2:32.46 (152.46 secs)

The biggest difference here is 1.4 seconds which is about 0,92%, which I believe is ok to use.

The difference between the two medians is 5.79 seconds, which means using FileVault encryption is about 3.9% slower than no encryption. On a brand new dual core. I expect this to be even more crucial on older machines.

Drupal: Workflow and Revision Moderation modules don't play together 2007-07-02

Besides the Revisions Moderation module of Drupal needing a fix before it works, it won’t work with the Workflow module as most people would like or expect:

The Workflow module will only work for the most recent/approved revision. So if you, for example, have a “live” and a “draft” status in your workflow, where the move from “live” to “draft” will unpublish the node, it will become inaccessible for everyone else; not only the revision, as you might expect or hope.

Someone might need to work on this.

Drag-and-drop attachments in Thunderbird 2006-12-21

Oh, it always annoyed me, that you can’t simply drag-and-drop attachments into the message part of the window in Mozilla Thunderbird as you can in Outlook. Especially if it’s a couple more files, it is pretty tiring to always click “add” and select each one.

Now, completely by accident, I found out, that you actually can add files by drag-and-drop, even multiple ones!

In Thunderbird, you have to drop it either onto the attachment button, the subject field, or the receiver field. That is months after my first use and I don’t consider myself a computer noob. Now, let’s talk about usability again. ;)

Adobe Reader, formerly know as Acrobat Reader annoys me 2006-10-20

... because after every update, it will put an icon on the desktop, even after it has been deleted.
Go away. Stay away.