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  • ASP, sorting database with conditions using multiple columns...

    - by Mitch
    First of all, I'm still working in classic ASP (vbScript) with an MS Access Database. And, yes I know its archaic, but I'm still hopeful I can do this! So now to my problem: Take the following table as an example: PROJECTS ContactName StartDate EndDate Complete Mitch 2009-02-13 2011-04-23 No Eric 2006-10-01 2008-11-15 Yes Mike 2007-05-04 2009-03-30 Yes Kyle 2009-03-07 2012-07-08 No Using ASP (with VBScript), and an MS Access Database as the backend, I’d like to be able to sort this table with the following logic: I would like to sort this table by date, however, depending on whether a given project is complete or not I would like it to use either the “StartDate” or “EndDate” as the reference for a particular row. So to break it down further, this is what I’m hoping to achieve: For PROJECTS where Complete = “Yes”, reference “EndDate” for the purpose of sorting. For PROJECTS where Complete = “No”, reference “StartDate” for the purpose of sorting. So, if I were to sort the above table following these rules, the output would be: PROJECTS ContactName StartDate EndDate Complete 1 Eric 2006-10-01 2008-11-15* Yes 2 Mitch 2009-02-13* 2011-04-23 No 3 Kyle 2009-03-07* 2012-07-08 No 4 Mike 2007-05-04 2009-03-30* Yes *I’ve put a star next to the date that should be used for the sort in the table above. NOTE: This is actually a simplified version of what I really need to do, but I think that if I could just figure this out, I’ll be able to do the rest on my own. ANY HELP IS GREATLY APPRECIATED; I’VE BEEN STRUGGLING WITH THIS FOR FAR TOO LONG NOW! Thank you!

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  • Detect marker with opencv and python

    - by Mitch
    Hi im trying to detect a marker in a webcam video feed and overlay it with a 3d object - pretty much exactly like this: http://www.morethantechnical.com/2009/06/28/augmented-reality-with-nyartoolkit-opencv-opengl/ i know artoolkit is the best module for this, but i was hoping to just use opencv in python since i dont know nearly enough c/c++ to be able to use artoolkit. im hoping someone will be able to get me on the right track towards detecting the marker and determining its location and orientation etc since i have no idea how best to go about this or what functions i should be using thanks mitch

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  • Options for small windows network setup without dedicated server?

    - by Mitch
    I'm very weak on networking and hope someone can point me in the right direction: I have written some windows client/server software which incorporates a database which is located on a windows server. I have a test installation running at a customer's office where the server has a static IP address. In this case its easy for the clients to access the database because of the fixed IP address. Also, customers with network servers generally have specialist support staff to set up my software, so its not such a problem for me. However I also need to offer the software to customers who have small offices with less than 10 PCs and no dedicated network server. In this case I want the customer to be able to nominate one PC as the database "server" and install my software and have the clients access it. But in this situation I believe the "server" PC may not have a dedicated IP address. Q1: What is the best way to set this up simply and make it work? Can I reliably reference the "server" by using its name, or is there a way to assign dummy fixed IP addresses? Ideally this needs to be workable on small networks running a mixture of XP/Vista/Windows7 as my target market may well have mixed OSes etc. I guess this would be akin to home networking? Many thanks Mitch

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  • links for 2010-04-02

    - by Bob Rhubart
    Jeff Victor: Solaris Virtualization Book Jeff Victor with an update on the status of the book, "Oracle Solaris 10 System Virtualization Essentials." (tags: sun solaris virtualization) Mitch Denny: Architecture vs. Design It's an old post but it still resonates: "In the consumer electronics business, some people are actually hired to go through a system and remove components until it stops working – they do this to remove the cost before they go into mass production. We need more of this in the software business." -- Mitch Denny (tags: architecture design development) @vambenepe: Enterprise application integration patterns for IT management: a blast from the past or from the future? "In a recent blog post, Don Ferguson (CTO at CA) describes CA Catalyst, a major architectural overall which “applies enterprise application integration patterns to the problem of integrating IT management systems”. Reading this was fascinating to me. Not because the content was some kind of revelation, but exactly for the opposite reason. Because it is so familiar." -- William Vambenepe (tags: otn oracle eai)

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  • List of Upcoming Appearances

    - by Chris Gardner
    Greetings. I know I have been in work sponsored hiding lately. We are working furiously on a beta project to secure a contract, and I can't really talk about it yet. Hopefully, the contracts will be soon signed. Not only will we then have money, but I can talk about all this really cool tech with which I have been playing. However, since the contract is not signed, I need to bring you people up to date with where I will be during the summer. Let's face it, you can't be a speaker / blogger without pandering to shameless self-promotion. First, I will, once again, be staffing the Hands-on-Labs at TechEd North America. Unfortunately, TechEd North America is already sold out for this year. However, if you're already going, drop by the labs and say Hi. Also, keep an eye on Twitter to track me throughout the event. Also, look for a post in a few hours with my specific picks for what content I'm looking forward to seeing this year. Immediately following TechEd North America, I will be flying into Knoxville to speak at CodeStock. I will be presenting my introduction and intermediate Xbox 360 development talks. There are a TON of great content at CodeStock this year, but there are only about 50 tickets left. After that whirlwind of work, things settle for awhile. That means I'm available to speak at your User Group, luncheon, bowling league, birthday party, anniversary, or bat mitzvah. Mid August brings us to That Conference. This one is going to be a blast. If you haven't heard of That Conference yet, you should really check it out. This will also be my introduction and intermediate Xbox 360 development talks. This is a new conference, and it looks like it will be a great one. Finally, we will turn our attention to DevLink. DevLink has the distinction of picking up my newest talk, Creating Stereoscopic 3D Graphics in XNA. On top of that, I'm giving an general Xbox 360 and Windows Phone 7 talk. DevLink has added an new "XNA and Kinect" track, so there will me a ton of great game content. That should bring us through the summer. As I solidify the Stereoscopic talk, look for some content on that to creep up on here. I will say it's the first topic I've played around with that is easier in 3D than 2D. Also, the organizers of Alabama Code Camp are still trying to reschedule the event. When that happens, I'll get that information out. Also, we are looking to expand our development team. If you are interested in working for / with me, keep an eye on the T & W Operations website. I know we're immediately looking for a junior level developer, but I think a few higher level position may come up soon. You MUST apply through the website, but drop me a personal line if you do apply. I'll keep an eye out for the application.

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  • My Tech Ed North America Preview - Content Edition

    - by Chris Gardner
    As I promised in my last post, I feel the need to give you a rundown on all the technical content I am looking forward to checking out at Tech Ed this year. We shall start with the content I know I'll be able to see. This would be some demo stations in the Technical Learning Center. I will DEFINITELY be checking out the Windows Phone Device Bar. I will admit that I am a bit of a phone snob, and I just want to manhandle all that sexy, sexy tech. I am also planning on talking to the Windows Phone team and the Azure team. Year after year, I end up spending more time in either the TLC or taking certification tests than anywhere else. This leads me to the one "Exam Cram" session I hope to attend. There is a session to cram for 70-599: Designing and Developing Windows Phone Applications. I know this seems odd. I'm (sort of) an XNA guru. However, I'm not that up on my Silverlight. I know enough to add Silverlight to an XNA project. Now, let's talk breakout sessions. We always need to keep track of where we're going. I know, I talk about solving problems over forcing buzz words. However, it is important to know what those buzz words before you tell people not to use them. For this, we will look to the "What's New in Visual Studio 11" and "What's New in Microsoft .NET Framework 4.5." Of course, we do talk bad about buzz words around here. For this, I'm really looking forward to "Visual C#/Visual Basic: Becoming a Guru with Existing Features." I still have .NET 2 tricks that are crucial to my internal libraries. In depth knowledge will NEVER trump shortcut libraries. There is a session in ASP.NET for phones and tablets. For those of you that have not tried to use ASP.NET on a mobile device, there is one thing you really need to understand. Mobile devices don't use scroll bars. That's right; the thing with the least screen real estate doesn't use scroll bars. Thus, I am hoping this session will give some good advice in having an ASP.NET site target both mobile and desktop. The last "business only" session "The Accidental Team Foundation Server Admin." T & W Operations is a VERY small business. As such, I am the TFS admin because I'm the developer that is also the SQL Guru. I keep my server up, but it'd be nice to know some really cool tricks for the part time guy. This leads us the the fun sessions. Coding4Fun has a Kinect session. The Twitter followers will remember that I now have a Kinect for Windows sitting on my desk at work. I have gotten pretty handy with the device, but I KNOW I'm missing some good stuff. Finally, we come to Brian Prince's session on "Making Crazy Money with Games and the Cloud." Never mind the fact that we're using Azure at work. Never mind the fact that I'm actually using the cloud in a game. Never mind the fact that the session has the terms "Crazy Money" and "Games" in the title. If you've never seen Brian Prince speak, you're missing out. In the Hands-on-Labs, we are not allowed to make our own schedule. Instead, we're asked what sessions we can't miss, and they try to schedule around those times. This was the one session I said I couldn't miss. This should complete the technical content for the conference. Coming soon, I'll dig into the certifications I hope to attain. Then, we'll talk about the social activities for the week. Here's a preview of that. I am a member of The Krewe...

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  • The Krewe App Post-Mortem

    - by Chris Gardner
    Originally posted on: http://geekswithblogs.net/freestylecoding/archive/2014/05/23/the-krewe-app-post-mortem.aspxNow that teched has come and gone, I thought I would use this opportunity to do a little post-mortem on The Krewe app. It is one thing to test the app at home. It is a completely different animal to see how it responds in the environment TechEd creates. At a future time, I will list all the things that I would like to change with the app. At this point, I will find some good way to get community feedback. I want to break all this down screen by screen. We'll start with the screen I got right. The first of these is the events calendar. This is the one screen that, to you guys, just worked. However, there was an issue here. When I wrote v1 for last year, I was lazy and placed everything in CST. This caused problems with the achievements, which I will explain later. Furthermore, the event locations were not check-in locations. This created another problem with the achievements. Next, we get to the Twitter page. For what this page does, it works great. For those that don't know, I have an Azure Worker Role that polls Twitter pretty close to the rate limit. I cache these results in my database, and serve them upon request. This gives me great control over the content. I just have to remember to flush past tweets after a period, to save database growth. The next screen is the check-in screen. This screen has been the bane of my existence since I first created the thing. Last year, I used a background task to check people out of locations after they traveled. This year, I removed the background task in favor of a foursquare model. You are checked out after 3 hours or when you check-in to some other location. This seemed to work well, until those pesky achievements came into the mix. Again, more on this later. Next, I want to address the Connect and Connections screens together. I wanted to use some of the capabilities of the phone, and NFC seemed a natural choice. From this, I came up with the gamification aspects of the app. Since we are, fundamentally, a networking organization, I wanted to encourage people to actually network. Users could make and share a profile, similar to a virtual business card. I just had to figure out how to get people to use the feature. Why not just give someone a business card? Thus, the achievements were born. This was such a good idea. It would have been a great idea, if I have come up with it about two months earlier... When I came up with these ideas, I had about 2 weeks to implement them. Version 1 of the app was, basically, a pure consumption app. We provided data and centralized it. With version 2, the app became a much more interactive experience. The API was not ready for this change in such a short period of time. Most of this became apparent when I started implementing the achievements. The achievements based on count and specific person when fairly easy. The problem came with tying them to locations and events. This took some true SQL kung fu. This also showed me the rookie mistake of putting CST, not UTC, in the database. Once I got all of that cleaned up, I had to find a way to get the achievement system to talk to the phone. I knew I needed to be able to dynamically add achievements. I wouldn't know the precise location of some things until I got to Houston. I wanted the server to approve the achievements. This, unfortunately, required a decent data connection. Some achievements required GPS levels of location accuracy in areas of network triangulation. All of this became a huge nightmare. My flagship feature was based on some silly assumptions. Still, I managed to get 31 people to get the first achievement (Make 1 Connection.) Quite a few of those managed to get to the higher levels. Soon, I will post a list of the feature and changes that need to happen to the API. This includes things like proper objects for communication, geo-fencing, and caching. However, that is for another day.

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  • My Thoughts On the Xbox 180

    - by Chris Gardner
    Originally posted on: http://geekswithblogs.net/freestylecoding/archive/2013/06/21/my-thoughts-on-the-xbox-180.aspx Everyone seems to be putting their 0.00237 cents into the wishing well over Microsoft's recent decision to reverse the DRM policy on the Xbox One. However, there have been a few issues that nobody has touched. As such, I have decided to dig 0.00237 cents out of my pocket. First, let me be clear about this point. I do not support the decision to reverse the DRM policy on the Xbox One. I wanted that point to be expressed first and unambiguously. I will say it again. I do not support the decision to reverse the DRM policy on the Xbox One. Now that I have that out of the way, let me go into my rationale. This decision removes most of the cool features that enticed me to pre-order the console. No, I didn't cancel my pre-order. There is still five months before the release of the console, and there is still a plethora of information that we, as consumers, do not have. With that, it should be noted that much of the talk in this post is speculation and rhetoric. I do not have any insider information that you do not possess. The persistent connection would have allowed the console to do many of the functions for which we have been begging. That demo where someone was playing Ryse, seamlessly accepted a multiplayer challenge in Killer Instinct, played the match (and a rematch,) and then jumped back into Ryse. That's gone, if you bought the game on disc. The new, DRM free system will require the disc in the system to play a game. That bullet point where one Xbox Live account could have up to 10 slave accounts so families could play together, no matter where they were located. That's gone as well. The promise of huge, expansive, dynamically changing worlds that was brought to us with the power of cloud computing. Well, "the people" didn't want there to be a forced, persistent connection. As such, developers can't rely on a connection and, as such, that feature is gone. This is akin to the removal of the hard drive on the Xbox 360. The list continues, but the enthusiast press has enumerated the list far better than I wish. All of this is because the Xbox team saw the HUGE success of Steam and decided to borrow a few ideas. Yes, Steam. The service that everyone hated for the first six months (for the same reasons the Xbox One is getting flack.) There was an initial growing pain. However, it is now lauded as the way games distribution should be handled. Unless you are Microsoft. I do find it curious that many of the features were originally announced for the PS4 during its unveiling. However, much of that was left strangely absent for Sony's E3 press conference. Instead, we received a single, static slide that basically said the exact opposite of Microsoft's plans. It is not farfetched to believe that slide came into existence during the approximately seven hours between the two media briefings. The thing that majorly annoys me over this whole kerfuffle is that the single thing that caused the call to arms is, really, not an issue. Microsoft never said they were going to block used sales. They said it was up to the publisher to make that decision. This would have allowed publishers to reclaim some of the costs of development in subsequent sales of the product. If you sell your game to GameStop for 7 USD, GameStop is going to sell it for 55 USD. That is 48 USD pure profit for them. Some publishers asked GameStop for a small cut. Was this a huge, money grubbing scheme? Well, yes, but the idea was that they have to handle server infrastructure for dormant accounts, etc. Of course, GameStop flatly refused, and the Online Pass was born. Fortunately, this trend didn’t last, and most publishers have stopped the practice. The ability to sell "licenses" has already begun to be challenged. Are you living in the EU? If so, companies must allow you to sell digital property. With this precedent in place, it's only a matter of time before other areas follow suit. If GameStop were smart, they should have immediately contacted every publisher out there to get the rights to become a clearing house for these licenses. Then, they keep their business model and could reduce their brick and mortar footprint. The digital landscape is changing. We need to not block this process. As Seth MacFarlane best said "Some issues are so important that you should drag people kicking and screaming." I believe this was said on an episode of Real Time with Bill Maher about the issue of Gay Marriages. Much like the original source, this is an issue that we need to drag people to the correct, progressive position. Microsoft, as a company, actually has the resources to weather the transition period. They have a great pool of first and second party developers that can leverage this new framework to prove the validity. Over time, the third party developers will get excited to use these tools. As an old C++ guy, I resisted C# for years. Now, I think it's one of the best languages I've ever used. I have a server room and a Co-Lo full of servers, so I originally didn't see the value in Azure. Now, I wish I could move every one of my projects into the cloud. I still LOVE getting physical packaging, which my music and games collection will proudly attest. However, I have started to see the value in pure digital, and have found ways to integrate this into the ways I consume those products. I can, honestly, understand how some parts of the population would be very apprehensive about this new landscape. There were valid arguments about people with no internet access. There are ways to combat these problems. These methods do not require us to throw the baby out with the bathwater. However, the number of people in the computer industry that I have seen cry foul is truly appalling. We are the forward looking people that help show how technology can improve people's lives. If we can't see the value of the brief pain involved with an exciting new ecosystem, than who will?

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  • Microphone not recognised on my TekNmotion Intruder headset?

    - by Mitch Gardner
    I own a TekNmotion Intruder headset and Ubuntu 12.04 doesn't seem to even notice that my mic exists. I just re-installed Ubuntu and that doesn't seem to help either. They are a bit of a no-name brand and I can't find drivers for them. The audio plays clearly through the head phones but my mic wont record using "Record my desktop", Works rarely with Skype, and doesn't even show up when I go to Sound Settings ---- Input. Help please!

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  • My Tech Ed North America Preview - Certification Edition

    - by Chris Gardner
    In my previous TechEd North America Preview, I addressed all the content I wanted to see at the show. This time, we shall turn our attention to the certifications I might try to pick up. If you have never been to TechEd North America before, one of the greatest things about the event is an on-site certification center. If you have a couple hours to spare, you can walk up to a test. The first test on my agenda is 70-5231. I took this update test once, but did not do well on the MVC portion2. A few practice tests later, and I think I'm ready to fake that section. After that, I need to complete my road to being a master. The good folks here at work have been having a real love / hate relationship with the idea of me become an MCM in SQL Server3. Of course, before I do that, I need to finally take the SQL Administration tests. Thus, we shall add 70-4324 and 70-4505 to the list. Speaking of MCM, TechEd North America will have a special on test 88-9706. This test is normally $500, and you have to find a place to take it7. However, there is a special 50% off rate for people who take it on location. With those kind of prices, I may just take it as a form of study guide. As a final push, I may take some Windows Phone exams. I mentioned in my previous post that I may attend the 70-5998 Exam Cram session. Unfortunately, I will be staffing the Hands-On-Lab at that time. As we know, this has never stopped me from taking a test. This may lead to fits of 70-5069, but after we've come this far... That should complete my list. Do I really think I'll find time to take 6 tests at TechEd North America? Probably not. I have done it at TechEd North America before, but that was before I was TechEd North America staff. I also had a co-worker pass 9 in one year, but he basically did nothing but travel to Orlando in 2007 to take tests. And what's the point of attending a HUGE conference if you don't network? Of course, networking will have to wait for Friday's post... 1 Upgrade: Transition Your MCPD .NET Framework 3.5 Web Developer Skills to MCPD .NET Framework 4 Web Developer 2Because I never have used, nor do I really think I ever will use, MVC... 3By that, I mean they love the idea, and they hate the price 4Microsoft SQL Server 2008, Implementation and Maintenance 5PRO: Designing, Optimizing and Maintaining a Database Administrative Solution Using Microsoft SQL Server 2008 6SQL Server 2008 Microsoft Certified Master: Knowledge Exam 7Which isn't nearly as expensive as the Lab Exam, nor as difficult to find a location. However, it is not offered at every testing facility. 8PRO: Designing and Developing Windows Phone Applications 9TS: Silverlight 4, Development

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  • Challenge Accepted

    - by Chris Gardner
    Originally posted on: http://geekswithblogs.net/freestylecoding/archive/2014/05/20/challenge-accepted.aspxIt appears my good buddies in The Krewe have created The Krewe Summer Blogging Challenge. The challenge is to write at least two blog posts a week for 12 weeks over the summer. Consider this challenge accepted. So, what can we expect coming up? I still have the Kinect v2 Alpha kit. Some of you may have seen me use it in talks. I need to make some major API changes in The Krewe WP8 App. Plus, I may have Xamarin on board to help with getting the app to the other platforms. I am determined to learn F#, and I'm taking all of you with me. I am teaching a college course this summer. I want to post some commentary on that side of training. I am sure some biometric stuff will come up. Anything else you guys may want. I have created tasks on my schedule to get a new blog post up no later than every Tuesday and Friday. We'll see how that goes. Wish me luck.

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  • Bing Maps WPF Hack

    - by Chris Gardner
    I've spent the past couple of days adding the Bing Maps WFP Control to an application I'm developing. I kept running into a strange thing that was driving me crazy. I have the control in the bottom of a StackPanel, under a Grid. No matter how hard I tried, setting the Height of the Bing control to Auto would cause the ActualHeight to always be 60.93. Now, I still don't know why this is happening. Truth be told, I'm not too sure I care. I did, however, find a reasonable hack around the problem. I do know the size of everything else. As such, I tied into the SizeChanged Event of the StackPanel. Using this, I could set the Height to the correct size based on the new size of the panel. private void ResizeMap( object sender, SizeChangedEventArgs e ) { myMap.Height = ((StackPanel)sender).ActualHeight - 75.0; } The hard-coded number is was because I had a fixed height of controls above my map. If you have dynamic elements, you could easily iterate through them and delete out the portions. So, there you have it. It's not much, but it annoyed the Smurf out of me for a brief period of time. Since I never found an answer, I figured I'd share.

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  • If not now, then when?

    - by Chris Gardner
    Originally posted on: http://geekswithblogs.net/freestylecoding/archive/2013/10/25/if-not-now-then-when.aspx The time has been flying by this year. It seems like only yesterday that I mentioned the gorillagator, a simple construct of confusion to try to draw attention to my message. In reality, that message was sent over a month ago. During that time, the hours slipped to days and days to weeks. Many exciting things have happened to myself; I'm sure many exciting things have happened to you. I'm also sure that many terrifying things have happened to children and their families. 62 children enter treatment at a Children's Miracle Network Hospital every minute. That's nearly 60,000 children since I sent the last email. To put that number in perspective, that is more than the population of Greenland. If we expand that to the past year, they have been nearly 550,000 children treated. That is almost the population of Huntsville, Decatur, and all their suburbs combined. Over the past 4 years, I have raised a little more than $3,000 for Children's Hospital of Alabama. As a result, I received a call from the organizers of Extra Life thanking me for my dedicated work and informing me that I was the top supporters for Children's Hospital of Alabama ... with my measly three grand. We can do much better than that. It may sound like I'm trying to have fun by playing games for 24 hours. It is more than that. It is me using my time and body as a catalyst. It is me putting my passion to work for a cause. It is me turning my love into something tangible. I have been campaigning and fighting to give these children a chance for years. I have been asking you to help me support these children and families. I've been putting in countless hours of talking to people, impassioned emails, and carefully constructed tweets. I have been fighting with cutting edge, and sometimes expensive, technology to try to provide live streams of my marathons. I yearly put my body through 24 (and, this year, 25) hours of no sleep. I do this to represent the countless hours these families sit awake at their children's side. All I ask is a few minutes on a website and a few dollars. These few minutes and few dollars go a long way help people that are experiencing circumstances that only occur in our nightmares. I also ask that you take one extra step. Forward this plea to those that you know. I can only reach a small fraction of a percentage of the people that may be able to help. Together, we can reach the world. I raise money for Children's Hospital of Alabama. As this message branches out, people may wish to support a hospital closer to their area. I have included a link to the list of people that have dedicated their time and have received no donations. Find someone on the list supporting your local hospital and give them a donation. Let them know that their time and effort are appreciated. Together, we can do something great. Together, we can make a difference. Together, we all stand tall. Thank you. You can get more information at http://www.extra-life.org and http://childrensmiraclenetworkhospitals.org/" My donation page is http://www.extra-life.org/participant/cgardner The list of participants without donations is http://www.extra-life.org/index.cfm?fuseaction=donorDrive.eventParticipantList&page=629&eventID=512

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  • Installing Ubuntu Desktop on usb stick

    - by Tobias Gårdner
    trying to install Ubuntu Desktop on a USB stick but I do not succeed. First time I tried, the USB stick contained an installation of USB server and I wanted to start over again. However, it complained about partioning. Removed all the partitions from the stick and tried again, hoping that the installer would help me out with partioning... But now the USB stick did not show up at all... Created one partion NTFS on the USB stick and tried again but the only "automated" alternative I get for installing is to overwrite or add Ubuntu to my HDD which already contains Windows, something that I do not want... Do I need to manually create partions on the stick in the installer? Which partitions should I create? The USB stick is 8GB and the machine that I will test it on has 8GB memory. Helpful for any support here. Regards, Tobbe G

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  • Extra Life 2012

    - by Chris Gardner
    Greetings, It's that time of year again. The time when I beg you for money for charity. See, unlike those bell ringers outside Wal-Mart, I don't do it when you have ten bazillion holiday obligations... Once again, I will be enduring a 24-hour marathon of gaming to raise money for Children Hospital in Birmingham. All the money goes straight to them, and you get to tell Uncie Samual that you're good for that money. I'd REALLY like to break $1000 this year, as I have come REALLY close for the past 2 year to doing so. Don't live near me? Live closer to a children's hospital in the Children's Miracle Network? It's OK. Go find a participant that is working for your hospital and hook them up. Just left me know, I will will join in with the karmic love you will already receive. This year, the event will take place on October 20th, beginning at 8 A.M. Once again, I will try to provide some web streams, etc, if you want to point and laugh (especially if I have to result to playing Dance Central at 4 AM to stay awake for the last part.) Look at it this way, I'm going to badger you about this for the next month. You might as well donate some money so you can righteously tell me to shut the Smurf up. You can place your bid at the link below. Feel free to spread the word to anyone and everyone. I thank you. The children thank you. Several breeds of feral platypus thank you. Maybe, just maybe, doing so will will help you feel the love felt by re-fried beans when lovingly hugged in a warm tortilla. Enjoy your burrito. http://www.extra-life.org/participant/cgardner

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  • Extra Life 2012 - The Final Plea ... Until the Next One

    - by Chris Gardner
    I thought I'd share the email stream that my friends and family get about the event.So, here we are again. We scream closer to the event, and the goal is not met.I was approached by the ghost of feral platypii past last night. Well, approached is putting it lightly. I was mugged by the ghost of platypii past last night. He reminded me, in no uncertain terms that I have only reached the midway point of my fundraising goal. He then reminded me, in even less uncertain terms, that we are one week away from the event. There were other reminders past that, but this is a family broadcast. *shudder*Now, let us be serious for a moment. The event organizers claim a personal story helps to tug heart strings, whatever those are...I've been to Children's Hospital of Birmingham. I had to take Spawn, the Latter, there to verify she was not going to die. Instead, she's just a ticking time bomb for the next generation, but I digress.While I was there, I saw things. I saw child after child after child waiting for their appointment. I saw the most sublime displays of children's art juxtaposed with hospital sterilization that I could ever possibly imagine. I saw and heard things that only occur in the nightmares of parents, and I was only in the waiting rooms.But I will never forget the 10-ish year old girl that came in for her regularly scheduled dialysis appointment ... as if it was just another Friday afternoon. She had her school books, a little snack, a book to read for pleasure, and a DVD, in case she finished her homework a little early. You know, everything you'd need for an afternoon hooked up to a huge medical machine that going to clean out all the toxins in your blood. As she entered the secured area, she warmly greeted all the doctors and nurses with the same familiarity that I would greet the staff of my favorite coffee shop as I stopped in for my morning cup of coffee.I don't know the status of that little girl. I don't know if she's healthy or, quite frankly, alive. I don't even know her name, as I only heard it in passing for the 37 seconds our paths crossed. However, I do remember being incredibly moved and touched by her upbeat attitude about the situations, and I hope that my efforts last two Octobers got her, in some way, a little comfort.And, if she is still with us, I hope we can get her a little more.=== PREVIOUS MESSAGE FOLLOWS ===Greetings (Again),If you are receiving this updated message, then you didn't feel generous the first time. Now, I tried to be nice the first time. I tried to send a simple, unobtrusive email message to get you into the spirit. Well, much like the bell ringers that I ignore in front of the Wal-Mart, you ignored me.I probably should have seen that coming...However, unlike those poor souls, I know how to contact you. And I can find out where you live. So, so, so, you better feel lucky that I'm too lazy to terrorize you people, but cause I could do it.Remember, it's not for me, it's for those poor kids... and the feral platypii.  Because, we can make more children, but platypii are hard to come by.=== ORIGINAL MESSAGE FOLLOWS ===It's that time of year again. The time when I beg you for money for charity. See, unlike those bell ringers outside Wal-Mart, I don't do it when you have ten bazillion holiday obligations...Once again, I will be enduring a 24-hour marathon of gaming to raise money for Children Hospital in Birmingham. All the money goes straight to them, and you get to tell Uncie Samuel that you're good for that money. I'd REALLY like to break $1000 this year, as I have come REALLY close for the past 2 year to doing so.This year, the event will take place on October 20th, beginning at 8 A.M. Once again, I will try to provide some web streams, etc, if you want to point and laugh (especially if I have to result to playing Dance Central at 4 AM to stay awake for the last part.)Look at it this way, I'm going to badger you about this for the next month. You might as well donate some money so you can righteously tell me to shut the Smurf up.You can place your bid at the link below. Feel free to spread the word to anyone and everyone.I thank you. The children thank you. Several breeds of feral platypus thank you. Maybe, just maybe, doing so will help you feel the love felt by re-fried beans when lovingly hugged in a warm tortilla.Enjoy your burrito.http://www.extra-life.org/participant/cgardner

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  • ".ts " files not recognised

    - by Keith Gardner
    I have some .ts files (programs recorded from my Sharp TV on USB stick) that I want to store/play on my PC. However, although they are listed on the stick when its plugged in the PC nothing will recognize the files. I have tried VLC (the "slider" moves but there's no sound or video) and changed the extension to MPEG, MP2, etc. but no joy. I have tried converting the files with file converters and demuxers but none of these recognize the files. Are the files corrupted (they play on the TV) or do Sharp have a unique file structure? Any help would be greatly appreciated.

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  • Data Binding to Attached Properties

    - by Chris Gardner
    Originally posted on: http://geekswithblogs.net/freestylecoding/archive/2013/06/14/data-binding-to-attached-properties.aspx When I was working on my C#/XAML game framework, I discovered I wanted to try to data bind my sprites to background objects. That way, I could update my objects and the draw functionality would take care of the work for me. After a little experimenting and web searching, it appeared this concept was an impossible dream. Of course, when has that ever stopped me? In my typical way, I started to massively dive down the rabbit hole. I created a sprite on a canvas, and I bound it to a background object. <Canvas Name="GameField" Background="Black"> <Image Name="PlayerStrite" Source="Assets/Ship.png" Width="50" Height="50" Canvas.Left="{Binding X}" Canvas.Top="{Binding Y}"/> </Canvas> Now, we wire the UI item to the background item. public MainPage() { this.InitializeComponent(); this.Loaded += StartGame; }   void StartGame( object sender, RoutedEventArgs e ) { BindingPlayer _Player = new BindingPlayer(); _Player.X = Window.Current.Bounds.Height - PlayerSprite.Height; _Player.X = ( Window.Current.Bounds.Width - PlayerSprite.Width ) / 2.0; } Of course, now we need to actually have our background object. public class BindingPlayer : INotifyPropertyChanged { private double m_X; public double X { get { return m_X; } set { m_X = value; NotifyPropertyChanged(); } }   private double m_Y; public double Y { get { return m_Y; } set { m_Y = value; NotifyPropertyChanged(); } }   public event PropertyChangedEventHandler PropertyChanged; protected void NotifyPropertyChanged( [CallerMemberName] string p_PropertyName = null ) { if( PropertyChanged != null ) PropertyChanged( this, new PropertyChangedEventArgs( p_PropertyName ) ); } } I fired this baby up, and my sprite was correctly positioned on the screen. Maybe the sky wasn't falling after all. Wouldn't it be great if that was the case? I created some code to allow me to move the sprite, but nothing happened. This seems odd. So, I start debugging the application and stepping through code. Everything appears to be working. Time to dig a little deeper. After much profanity was spewed, I stumbled upon a breakthrough. The code only looked like it was working. What was really happening is that there was an exception being thrown in the background thread that I never saw. Apparently, the key call was the one to PropertyChanged. If PropertyChanged is not called on the UI thread, the UI thread ignores the call. Actually, it throws an exception and the background thread silently crashes. Of course, you'll never see this unless you're looking REALLY carefully. This seemed to be a simple problem. I just need to marshal this to the UI thread. Unfortunately, this object has no knowledge of this mythical UI Thread in which we speak. So, I had to pull the UI Thread out of thin air. Let's change our PropertyChanged call to look this. public event PropertyChangedEventHandler PropertyChanged; protected void NotifyPropertyChanged( [CallerMemberName] string p_PropertyName = null ) { if( PropertyChanged != null ) Windows.ApplicationModel.Core.CoreApplication.MainView.CoreWindow.Dispatcher.RunAsync( Windows.UI.Core.CoreDispatcherPriority.Normal, new Windows.UI.Core.DispatchedHandler( () => { PropertyChanged( this, new PropertyChangedEventArgs( p_PropertyName ) ); } ) ); } Now, we raised our notification on the UI thread. Everything is fine, people are happy, and the world moves on. You may have noticed that I didn't await my call to the dispatcher. This was intentional. If I am trying to update a slew of sprites, I don't want thread being hung while I wait my turn. Thus, I send the message and move on. It is worth nothing that this is NOT the most efficient way to do this for game programming. We'll get to that in another blog post. However, it is perfectly acceptable for a business app that is running a background task that would like to notify the UI thread of progress on a periodic basis. It is worth noting that this code was written for a Windows Store App. You can do the same thing with WP8 and WPF. The call to the marshaler changes, but it is the same idea.

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  • Training v. Teaching

    - by Chris Gardner
    Originally posted on: http://geekswithblogs.net/freestylecoding/archive/2014/05/28/training-v.-teaching.aspxAs some of you may know, I recently accepted a position to teach an undergraduate course at my alma mater. Yesterday, I had my first day in an academic classroom. I immediately noticed a difference with the interactions between the students. They don't act like students in a professional training or conference talk. I wanted to use this opportunity to enumerate some of those differences. The immediate thing I noticed was the lack of open environment. This is not to say the class was hostile towards me. I am used to entering the room, bantering with audience, loosening everyone a bit, and flowing into the discussion. A purely academic audience does not banter. At least, they do not banter on day one. I think I can attribute this to two factors. This first is a greater perception of authority. In a training or conference environment, I am an equal with the audience. This is true even if I am being a subject matter expert. We're all professionals. We're all there to learn from each other, share our stories, and enjoy the journey. In the academic classroom, there was a distinct class difference. I had forgotten about this distinction; I had the professional familiarity with the staff by the time I completed my masters. This leads to the other distinction. These was an expectation of performance. At conference and professional training, there is generally no (immediate) grading. This may be a preparation for a certification exam, but I'm not the one responsible for delivering the exam. This was not the case in the academic classroom. These students are battling for points, and I am the sole arbiter. These students are less likely to let the material wash over them, applying the material to their past experiences. They were down taking notes. I don't want to leave the impression that there was no interact in the classroom. I spent a good deal of time doing problems with the class on the whiteboard. I tried to get the class to help me work out the steps. This opened up a few of them. After every conference or training class, I always get a few people that will email me afterward to continue the conversation. I am very curious to see if anybody comes to my office hours tomorrow. However, that is a curiosity that will have to wait until tomorrow.

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  • Google Analytics: Do unique events report as unique visits when triggered on pages other than your own domain?

    - by Jesse Gardner
    We just recently attached a SWF to our Brightcove video player to report various events back to Google Analytics. We're also tracking page views with a standard GA snippet on the page where the player is embedded. As I understand it, because a unique has already been recorded for the page, any event being triggered by the player is getting associated with that unique. However, we allow people to embed the video player on other websites. All of the event data started pouring into the Events section as expected, but we noticed a dramatic uptick in unique visitors on the site (nearly double) while the pageview count stayed relatively unchanged. Disabling event tracking brought the traffic back down to average levels. I should also add that in the Pages section of Event tracking we're seeing URLs for other sites where the player has been embedded; but this data isn't showing up in the Content section. It seems counterintuitive, but does GA count an event fired as a unique visit even if it's triggered from some place other than your website? Is so, there any way to trigger an event in the events section without it reporting to the unique visitor count?

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  • Processing Kinect v2 Color Streams in Parallel

    - by Chris Gardner
    Originally posted on: http://geekswithblogs.net/freestylecoding/archive/2014/08/20/processing-kinect-v2-color-streams-in-parallel.aspxProcessing Kinect v2 Color Streams in Parallel I've really been enjoying being a part of the Kinect for Windows Developer's Preview. The new hardware has some really impressive capabilities. However, with great power comes great system specs. Unfortunately, my little laptop that could is not 100% up to the task; I've had to get a little creative. The most disappointing thing I've run into is that I can't always cleanly display the color camera stream in managed code. I managed to strip the code down to what I believe is the bear minimum: using( ColorFrame _ColorFrame = e.FrameReference.AcquireFrame() ) { if( null == _ColorFrame ) return;   BitmapToDisplay.Lock(); _ColorFrame.CopyConvertedFrameDataToIntPtr( BitmapToDisplay.BackBuffer, Convert.ToUInt32( BitmapToDisplay.BackBufferStride * BitmapToDisplay.PixelHeight ), ColorImageFormat.Bgra ); BitmapToDisplay.AddDirtyRect( new Int32Rect( 0, 0, _ColorFrame.FrameDescription.Width, _ColorFrame.FrameDescription.Height ) ); BitmapToDisplay.Unlock(); } With this snippet, I'm placing the converted Bgra32 color stream directly on the BackBuffer of the WriteableBitmap. This gives me pretty smooth playback, but I still get the occasional freeze for half a second. After a bit of profiling, I discovered there were a few problems. The first problem is the size of the buffer along with the conversion on the buffer. At this time, the raw image format of the data from the Kinect is Yuy2. This is great for direct video processing. It would be ideal if I had a WriteableVideo object in WPF. However, this is not the case. Further digging led me to the real problem. It appears that the SDK is converting the input serially. Let's think about this for a second. The color camera is a 1080p camera. As we should all know, this give us a native resolution of 1920 x 1080. This produces 2,073,600 pixels. Yuy2 uses 4 bytes per 2 pixel, for a buffer size of 4,147,200 bytes. Bgra32 uses 4 bytes per pixel, for a buffer size of 8,294,400 bytes. The SDK appears to be doing this on one thread. I started wondering if I chould do this better myself. I mean, I have 8 cores in my system. Why can't I use them all? The first problem is converting a Yuy2 frame into a Bgra32 frame. It is NOT trivial. I spent a day of research of just how to do this. In the end, I didn't even produce the best algorithm possible, but it did work. After I managed to get that to work, I knew my next step was the get the conversion operation off the UI Thread. This was a simple process of throwing the work into a Task. Of course, this meant I had to marshal the final write to the WriteableBitmap back to the UI thread. Finally, I needed to vectorize the operation so I could run it safely in parallel. This was, mercifully, not quite as hard as I thought it would be. I had my loop return an index to a pair of pixels. From there, I had to tell the loop to do everything for this pair of pixels. If you're wondering why I did it for pairs of pixels, look back above at the specification for the Yuy2 format. I won't go into full detail on why each 4 bytes contains 2 pixels of information, but rest assured that there is a reason why the format is described in that way. The first working attempt at this algorithm successfully turned my poor laptop into a space heater. I very quickly brought and maintained all 8 cores up to about 97% usage. That's when I remembered that obscure option in the Task Parallel Library where you could limit the amount of parallelism used. After a little trial and error, I discovered 4 parallel tasks was enough for most cases. This yielded the follow code: private byte ClipToByte( int p_ValueToClip ) { return Convert.ToByte( ( p_ValueToClip < byte.MinValue ) ? byte.MinValue : ( ( p_ValueToClip > byte.MaxValue ) ? byte.MaxValue : p_ValueToClip ) ); }   private void ColorFrameArrived( object sender, ColorFrameArrivedEventArgs e ) { if( null == e.FrameReference ) return;   // If you do not dispose of the frame, you never get another one... using( ColorFrame _ColorFrame = e.FrameReference.AcquireFrame() ) { if( null == _ColorFrame ) return;   byte[] _InputImage = new byte[_ColorFrame.FrameDescription.LengthInPixels * _ColorFrame.FrameDescription.BytesPerPixel]; byte[] _OutputImage = new byte[BitmapToDisplay.BackBufferStride * BitmapToDisplay.PixelHeight]; _ColorFrame.CopyRawFrameDataToArray( _InputImage );   Task.Factory.StartNew( () => { ParallelOptions _ParallelOptions = new ParallelOptions(); _ParallelOptions.MaxDegreeOfParallelism = 4;   Parallel.For( 0, Sensor.ColorFrameSource.FrameDescription.LengthInPixels / 2, _ParallelOptions, ( _Index ) => { // See http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/windows/desktop/dd206750(v=vs.85).aspx int _Y0 = _InputImage[( _Index << 2 ) + 0] - 16; int _U = _InputImage[( _Index << 2 ) + 1] - 128; int _Y1 = _InputImage[( _Index << 2 ) + 2] - 16; int _V = _InputImage[( _Index << 2 ) + 3] - 128;   byte _R = ClipToByte( ( 298 * _Y0 + 409 * _V + 128 ) >> 8 ); byte _G = ClipToByte( ( 298 * _Y0 - 100 * _U - 208 * _V + 128 ) >> 8 ); byte _B = ClipToByte( ( 298 * _Y0 + 516 * _U + 128 ) >> 8 );   _OutputImage[( _Index << 3 ) + 0] = _B; _OutputImage[( _Index << 3 ) + 1] = _G; _OutputImage[( _Index << 3 ) + 2] = _R; _OutputImage[( _Index << 3 ) + 3] = 0xFF; // A   _R = ClipToByte( ( 298 * _Y1 + 409 * _V + 128 ) >> 8 ); _G = ClipToByte( ( 298 * _Y1 - 100 * _U - 208 * _V + 128 ) >> 8 ); _B = ClipToByte( ( 298 * _Y1 + 516 * _U + 128 ) >> 8 );   _OutputImage[( _Index << 3 ) + 4] = _B; _OutputImage[( _Index << 3 ) + 5] = _G; _OutputImage[( _Index << 3 ) + 6] = _R; _OutputImage[( _Index << 3 ) + 7] = 0xFF; } );   Application.Current.Dispatcher.Invoke( () => { BitmapToDisplay.WritePixels( new Int32Rect( 0, 0, Sensor.ColorFrameSource.FrameDescription.Width, Sensor.ColorFrameSource.FrameDescription.Height ), _OutputImage, BitmapToDisplay.BackBufferStride, 0 ); } ); } ); } } This seemed to yield a results I wanted, but there was still the occasional stutter. This lead to what I realized was the second problem. There is a race condition between the UI Thread and me locking the WriteableBitmap so I can write the next frame. Again, I'm writing approximately 8MB to the back buffer. Then, I started thinking I could cheat. The Kinect is running at 30 frames per second. The WPF UI Thread runs at 60 frames per second. This made me not feel bad about exploiting the Composition Thread. I moved the bulk of the code from the FrameArrived handler into CompositionTarget.Rendering. Once I was in there, I polled from a frame, and rendered it if it existed. Since, in theory, I'm only killing the Composition Thread every other hit, I decided I was ok with this for cases where silky smooth video performance REALLY mattered. This ode looked like this: private byte ClipToByte( int p_ValueToClip ) { return Convert.ToByte( ( p_ValueToClip < byte.MinValue ) ? byte.MinValue : ( ( p_ValueToClip > byte.MaxValue ) ? byte.MaxValue : p_ValueToClip ) ); }   void CompositionTarget_Rendering( object sender, EventArgs e ) { using( ColorFrame _ColorFrame = FrameReader.AcquireLatestFrame() ) { if( null == _ColorFrame ) return;   byte[] _InputImage = new byte[_ColorFrame.FrameDescription.LengthInPixels * _ColorFrame.FrameDescription.BytesPerPixel]; byte[] _OutputImage = new byte[BitmapToDisplay.BackBufferStride * BitmapToDisplay.PixelHeight]; _ColorFrame.CopyRawFrameDataToArray( _InputImage );   ParallelOptions _ParallelOptions = new ParallelOptions(); _ParallelOptions.MaxDegreeOfParallelism = 4;   Parallel.For( 0, Sensor.ColorFrameSource.FrameDescription.LengthInPixels / 2, _ParallelOptions, ( _Index ) => { // See http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/windows/desktop/dd206750(v=vs.85).aspx int _Y0 = _InputImage[( _Index << 2 ) + 0] - 16; int _U = _InputImage[( _Index << 2 ) + 1] - 128; int _Y1 = _InputImage[( _Index << 2 ) + 2] - 16; int _V = _InputImage[( _Index << 2 ) + 3] - 128;   byte _R = ClipToByte( ( 298 * _Y0 + 409 * _V + 128 ) >> 8 ); byte _G = ClipToByte( ( 298 * _Y0 - 100 * _U - 208 * _V + 128 ) >> 8 ); byte _B = ClipToByte( ( 298 * _Y0 + 516 * _U + 128 ) >> 8 );   _OutputImage[( _Index << 3 ) + 0] = _B; _OutputImage[( _Index << 3 ) + 1] = _G; _OutputImage[( _Index << 3 ) + 2] = _R; _OutputImage[( _Index << 3 ) + 3] = 0xFF; // A   _R = ClipToByte( ( 298 * _Y1 + 409 * _V + 128 ) >> 8 ); _G = ClipToByte( ( 298 * _Y1 - 100 * _U - 208 * _V + 128 ) >> 8 ); _B = ClipToByte( ( 298 * _Y1 + 516 * _U + 128 ) >> 8 );   _OutputImage[( _Index << 3 ) + 4] = _B; _OutputImage[( _Index << 3 ) + 5] = _G; _OutputImage[( _Index << 3 ) + 6] = _R; _OutputImage[( _Index << 3 ) + 7] = 0xFF; } );   BitmapToDisplay.WritePixels( new Int32Rect( 0, 0, Sensor.ColorFrameSource.FrameDescription.Width, Sensor.ColorFrameSource.FrameDescription.Height ), _OutputImage, BitmapToDisplay.BackBufferStride, 0 ); } }

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  • Displaying webcam feed using opencv and python

    - by Mitch
    Hi ive been trying to create a simple program with python which utilises opencv to get a video feed from my webcam and display it on the screen. I know im partly there because the window is created and the light on my webcam flicks on, but it just doesnt seem to show anything in the window. hopefully someone can explain what im doing wrong. import cv cv.NamedWindow("w1", cv.CV_WINDOW_AUTOSIZE) capture = cv.CaptureFromCAM(0) def repeat(): frame = cv.QueryFrame(capture) cv.ShowImage("w1", frame) while True: repeat() on an unrelated note, i have noticed that my webcam sometimes changes its index number in cv.CaptureFromCAM and sometimes i need to put in 0, 1 or 2 even though i only have one camera connected and i havnt unplugged it (i know because the light doesnt come on unless i change the index). is there a way to get python to determine the correct index? thanks Mitch

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  • Android Custom View Constructor

    - by Mitch
    I'm learning about using Custom Views from the following: http://developer.android.com/guide/topics/ui/custom-components.html#modifying The description says: Class Initialization As always, the super is called first. Furthermore, this is not a default constructor, but a parameterized one. The EditText is created with these parameters when it is inflated from an XML layout file, thus, our constructor needs to both take them and pass them to the superclass constructor as well. Is there a better description? I've been trying to figure out what the constructor(s) should look like and I've come up with 4 possible choices (see example at end of post). I'm not sure what these 4 choices do (or don't do), why I should implement them, or what the parameters mean. Is there a description of these? Thanks. Mitch public MyCustomView() { super(); } public MyCustomView(Context context) { super(context); } public MyCustomView(Context context, AttributeSet attrs) { super(context, attrs); } public MyCustomView(Context context, AttributeSet attrs, Map params) { super(context, attrs, params); }

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  • Why are all logins disabled in the virtual terminal after enabling root account from desktop?

    - by Mitch
    Just for testing purposes, I went a head and enabled the root account, by using the commands below: sudo passwd root [sudo] password for abed: Enter new UNIX password: Retype new UNIX password: passwd: password updated successfully Once that happened, I went ahead and did Ctrl+Alt+F1, to get to the first virtual console, and at the login prompt I try logging in as abed, su, root, all comeback with login incorrect. Why is that happening, and how can I fix it.

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  • One-line command to download Ubuntu ISO?

    - by James Mitch
    I want to download an Ubuntu ISO, preferably over bittorrent, and verify its integrity. Currently, the following steps are required: start web browser, go to ubuntu.com, find download link find gpg signature for the checksums get the gpg key to check gpg signature of the checksums wait until download finished gpg verifiy checksum verification Isn't there a simpler way? Just like apt-get install 12.04-64bit-ubuntu-iso apt-get install 12.04-32bit-server-iso etc.? Of course, apt-get (or whatever it would be called) should download over bittorrent to remove load from the servers. If it doesn't exist, it should probable post that at ubuntu brainstorm? Is there already such a tool? I wanted to ask before posting to brainstorm.

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