Is anyone else having a problem with spam e-mail crashing Mail.app? For some reason, messages that have a lot of links cause Mail to lock up and eat CPU time while loading messages, or to simply not quit. After several “delete message, force quit” cycles, it goes away. It also happens when I receive en amil containing links intended to be comment spam on this site. Very odd.
I ran across this little gem on digg, and it’s one of those things ideas you think of but never act on, then kick yourself for later. Years ago, I had the idea of putting small LCD screens inside each key on a keyboard so that when you hold down a modifier key, such as control or option (alt), the entire keyboard pattern changes to show you what symbols are revealed. It’s everything the ridiculous Windows Alt-key combinations could ever hope to be, and what the Mac key combos could have been if the technology was available. Several years ago, though, I had neither the skills nor the technology to create such a keyboard, much less the inclination to patent the idea. Fast forward to today and you’ll find the Optimus keyboard — a brilliantly executed piece of engineering, combing sleek Apple-like style with low-power Organic LED screens in each key. Not only can the tiny displays change to show character mappings, they can also show color graphics such as icons or representations of actions, handy for Photoshop or other such applications. Designed by Art Lebedev (you may know them for their clever and popular bar code posters), the Optimus keyboard is not yet in production. However, I know this much: I want one. See some more photos of it on their site.
Update: Read an interview with the creators.
One of the coolest new technology sites, digg, recently launched the second revision of their site, and it looks killer. Complete with AJAX story digg-ing and a slick new interface, digg is up there with the best of them. Check out the new site, or digg my submissions.
It’s been a while since I posted some Photoshop files here, so I’ll add two this time, as they go hand in hand. First up is a 350 pixel Xbox jewel logo found on game covers and packaging. In hindsight, I should have created it much larger, but this is as big as it gets. It’s made up of tons of layers, but they’re all labeled well enough so you can figure out what each accomplishes. The only part of this file I didn’t create from scratch is the actual Xbox “X” symbol in the middle.
The second Photoshop file is a 256×256 pixel image representing a game cover, originally created for Xbox Media Center usage (which makes use of the jewel logo above). The Halo 2 cover is a scan of the game jacket itself, and the header and Xbox Live strip are also separate layers. Under the cover layer is a “Place Game Cover Here” drop zone-looking area, possibly for a drag-and-drop style cover creation program.
You can see both images in the preview JPEG image, or download both Photoshop files as a zip archive (1.2 MB). Feel free to modify either however you see fit — all I ask is that you drop me an email if you do end up using them in a project. Both files were created in Adobe Creative Suite 2 with compatibility mode on. While I haven’t tested it, these files should open with at least Photoshop 7.0 or greater.
Jon finally posted his Flickr plugin for Xbox Media Center, and it is awesome. After filling in your email address, the script pulls in your Flickr photo gallery from the net and displays them within the Project Mayhem III theme. You can also browse through your photosets and the public Flickr photos as well. As stated on Jon’s site, this is a natural addition for XBMC — You share your photos with the world via Flickr, and share them in your livingroom via best (and most affordable!) media center available. To install, just drop the Flickr folder into your XBMC “scripts” folder via FTP, and launch it. More info is available in the ReadMe which accompanies the script. Get it here.
Seeing the teaser for the next FromTheShadows video reminded me of another iPod “hack” I did not too long ago. The image at right is also shamelessly taken from that video, as I no longer have anything to show for my efforts.
While using a RadTech case for my iPod, a small grain of sand managed to get trapped between the window-cling-like screen cover and the glassy iPod screen itself. I didn’t notice it’s presence until it started to gouge an awful scratch into my beloved audio player’s crystal clear screen. After doing a little research, I wound up back at RadTech, buying their IceCreme scratch removal abrasive.
After shelling out the $21 for the polishing solution from RadTech (which I suspect is some common polishing solution), I started out following their directions, attempting to remove the scratch. They suggest 30 to 45 minutes using one solution, then another 10 to 15 with the second. That’s a rather large chunk of time, and I wasn’t sure I’d be up to that. So, I fired up my standard tool of choice — the Dremel. With the included polishing wheel attached, I put a tiny bit of the “A” abrasive on the iPod screen and set the Dremel to it’s lowest rotation speed. Too high a rotation speed would cause heat to build up because of friction, and possibly melt the iPod screen to an even more unusable point. After only a minute or so of using the polishing wheel, the scratch was nearly gone. The next step was to wash the wheel and clean off the iPod screen, per the instructions. Follow up with another Dremel run, this time using the “B” polishing solution, and the iPod screen was good as new. I wish I had taken before and after photos, because the difference was unbelievable…but that iPod has since been dropped, hacked, and sold for parts. The upshot is that I learned a lot doing all these mods and have become quite proficient at iPod repair. I hope someone can make use of this information for their own hacks or fixes.
And, despite my mishap, I still think that RadTech’s iPod “sleevz” are the best cases out there. They come in plenty of colors and fit iPods of all flavors. Just watch out for that beach sand.
Update: Following the comments, I’ve since tried Brasso and found that it works quite well, too.
This is the last Google Maps related post for a while, I swear! I just couldn’t resist bringing this widget to others’ attention, as I find it incredibly useful. The Google Maps Widget provides “in-widget” maps of whatever location you specify, as opposed to opening a browser window with your query. It looks and works much like the Dictionary widget provided by Apple. Check out the details at Apple’s widget page.