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Archive for the ‘Hacks’ Category

LibraryLookup for Google Chrome

Hacks | July 24, 2011 ⋅ 7:14pm

I’ve written a new version of my LibraryLookup script for the San Francisco Public Library that works with Google’s Chrome browser. If you’re running Chrome, you can try it out by clicking this link. It should work regardless of your OS platform — in fact, it even works on Chromebooks! Note that this version of the script is a substantial rewrite from the Firefox version, so I’ll be especially interested to hear any bug reports. It works pretty well for me so far, but I still don’t use Chrome as my main browser.

Also, note that because LibraryLookup uses cross-site scripting, it has to run as a Background Page in Chrome, because of the way the browser was designed. That means it’s consuming some small amount of memory all the time, even when you’re not browsing Amazon. The amount of resources used should be negligible, but you should be aware of this before you install it. Enjoy!

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Comic Book Color Swatches for Photoshop

Hacks, News | July 9, 2011 ⋅ 4:50pm

Classic Comics Color GuideA recent blog post by Ed Piskor generated some interest in the old craft of coloring comic books in the days before comics were printed using full-process color. Ed created a chart showing all 64 colors available in most comics of the bygone era. I also enjoyed an article at the CO2 Comics Blog that went into depth on the classic comics coloring process and how it evolved over the years. What I thought was missing, however, was an easy way for folks to use the same colors to get a “Silver Age” effect in their own comics. To that end, I wrote a script to generate a swatch palette for use in Photoshop, Illustrator, or other graphics software. But I didn’t stop there! I also created palettes that recreated the even-more-limited Golden Age palette, as well as the expanded palettes that began to appear in the 1980s. You can download my palettes here. » More... » More »

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Eee PC 901 fan noise fixed

Hacks | June 1, 2010 ⋅ 9:27am

Some of you may remember my adventures disassembling my BlackBerry 8120 to repair a cracked LCD screen. I decided to dive into amateur electronics repair once more this morning, this time to address fan noise on my Eee PC 901.

The problem had been growing for some time, to the point that a loud, very noticeable buzzing would commence whenever my Eee PC’s fan kicked in. A Google search revealed a possible cause: a piece of plastic tape dipping into the fan blades as it spun. After cracking the case, disassembling, and reassembling the netbook, I can confirm that this was in fact what was happening. » More... » More »

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Search OneNote 2010 Beta in Windows x64

Hacks | January 21, 2010 ⋅ 6:47pm

An old bug seems to have resurfaced in the current build of Office 2010 Beta. Normally, you should be able to use Windows Desktop Search to return search results from your OneNote notebooks. But on 64-bit versions of Windows, while the search results show up, they have generic Explorer icons and clicking on them doesn’t do anything. The problem is that the system isn’t seeing the right version of the OneNote Search Connector DLL. If you’re seeing this problem, read on to find out how to get your searches working properly on Windows x64. » More... » More »


Greasemonkey fix for /. user page

Hacks | December 31, 2008 ⋅ 9:45pm

I’m singularly unimpressed with the Slashdot gang’s attempts to reinvent the site’s UI. Every new change seems to make the interface uglier, more bloated, and harder to use. I liked the mechanics of the old, pre-AJAX site just fine, thank you.

But the most recent insult was the sudden, unexpected change of the User page. Previously, if you clicked on your username in the upper lefthand corner, it would take you to a page that listed your recent comments. Now you get dumped to a Firehose page, forcing you to do an extra page load to get to where you’re going — and don’t get me started on Firehose.

So I decided to write a Greasemonkey script to fix it. You can download the script here. » More... » More »

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More changes to LibraryLookup

Hacks | October 12, 2008 ⋅ 5:15pm

My LibraryLookup script for the San Francisco Public Library has been returning a lot of false positives lately. I finally managed to sit down and address that issue, in addition to some other general maintenance. You can grab version 1.5 of the script at its new, permanent page under “Odd Bits.” » More... » More »

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Adventures in amateur BlackBerry repair

Hacks | October 5, 2008 ⋅ 8:58pm

Taking apart a BlackBerry PearlLast night as I was walking home I pulled my BlackBerry Pearl 8120 out of my back pocket and noticed that the LCD was cracked (image here). I have no idea how this happened — I didn’t drop it or anything. The phone is only two weeks old! Unfortunately, no matter how it happened I knew T-Mobile wasn’t going to have much sympathy for my plight. T-Mobile, like most carriers, considers any screen breakage to be the customer’s fault, and it’s not covered by warranty.

This particular Pearl, however, was a replacement for my old Pearl — an earlier model 8100 — which I accidentally dropped in the toilet about two weeks ago. And that gave me an idea: Why not swap out the broken screen in the new Pearl with the working screen from the old one? » More... » More »

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Inside Google’s Chrome browser

Hacks, Writing | September 11, 2008 ⋅ 1:44pm

Chromium logo

For the truly geeky among you: In the latest post to my Fatal Exception blog over at InfoWorld, I’m taking a look under the hood of Chrome, Google’s new Web browser. A lot of articles make mention of how Chrome is open source. I actually put it to the test, by building a custom copy of it myself.

Along the way I found out a lot of interesting information about Chrome’s internals and how Google built it. On the plus side, it’s very clean, well-organized code. On the minus side, it looks like it’s going to be Windows-only for a good while, yet.

Anyway, I had a lot of fun doing this piece (it’s been a long time since I had a legitimate excuse to pull out a compiler on Windows), so if you have the hobbyist spirit, drop on over and join the discussion.

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LibraryLookup for Firefox 3.0

Hacks | May 1, 2008 ⋅ 5:23pm

Another minor upgrade to my LibraryLookup Greasemonkey script; a couple of tweaks seem to be necessary to get the script to work in Firefox 3. This fix should have it working in either version of the browser.

As usual, you can download the script here. You should delete the old version by hand before installing this one, because I’ve updated the namespace to reflect my own site instead of Jon Udell’s (finally!).

If you don’t understand what this is all about, check my earlier post on the subject. (And if you don’t live in San Francisco it probably won’t be much use to you anyway. Try a Google search for a similar script that works with libraries in your area.)

If you have any questions or problems with the script, post here and I’ll try to address them.


Torrents for Ubuntu 8.04 “Hardy Heron”

Hacks | April 24, 2008 ⋅ 10:24am

Ubuntu 8.04, codenamed “Hardy Heron,” was released today. As usual, the download servers are experiencing heavy load due to high anticipation of this release. In the interest of doing my part, here are BitTorrent files for the server and desktop versions of the OS, in both the i386 and amd64 flavors. » More... » More »