Technology


31
May 11

Turning a webcam into an infrared camera

Turning a webcam into an infrared cameraThe sensors in digital cameras pick up more than just visible light. They pick up a lot of infrared too, that's light below red that we're not able to detect with our eyes.

This can make pictures look funny, so manufacturers add a filter to block the infrared and give you a more natural image. Actually the filters don't do a perfect job and if you fire a TV remote control at your camera phone you should see it light up on the screen.

All this means you can have a bit of fun with your old web cam. You can remove the infrared filter then add a visible light filter so your webcam only sees infrared!

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29
Apr 11

RSS feed for Reddit stories that score over 1000 (or any score you like)

RSS feed for Reddit stories that score over 1000 (or any score you like)I love Reddit but I don't get to visit every day and I worry about missing good stories. So I created this RSS feed of Reddit posts that score over 1000. Here's the feed link:

http://feeds.feedburner.com/RedditFeedWithAScoreThreshold

1000 won't work for everyone so you can customise the feed from the Yahoo Pipe I built:

http://pipes.yahoo.com/pipes/pipe.info?_id=4a3af06dcba612424a858ea79dd263db

You can also specify the subreddit.

"Features"

It feels a little grand to be calling these features but here we go: Continue reading →


24
Jan 11

How much phone battery can you save by switching to dark wallpapers and themes?

UPDATE 30/01/2011: I've had to correct the maths a little. Fortunately, the numbers that come out are almost identical.

How much phone battery can you save by switching to dark wallpapers and themes?Ever since the invention of flat panel monitors and screens, it didn't matter what colour your pixels were, you'd still consume the same amount of power. That's because these screens have a big flat light at the back that's always on. If a pixel wants to show you white it lets all the light through. If it wants to show you black it blocks all the light. Either way, the light behind is still on and still consuming the same power.

On a mobile phone that means the colour of your wallpaper doesn't affect battery life. But all that changed with the introduction of OLED screens (or more commonly AMOLED and Super AMOLED) and a lot of new phones have these. If your phone has an OLED screen keep reading, you might be able to improve the life of you battery.

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16
Jan 11

Use a Google Apps Account To Authenticate Outgoing Mail From Your Regular Gmail Account

I've been guest blogging over at Lifehacker. Here's a post about setting up a Google Apps account so you can use it to authenticate outgoing mail from your regular Gmail account:

Use a Google Apps Account To Authenticate Outgoing Mail From Your Regular Gmail Account


2
Aug 10

A tool I made for Londoners that makes journey planning quicker

TfL's Journey Planner is a great resource for figuring out the best way of getting from place to place in London.

I've created a tool the speeds up the process. Here's a bit of background... Continue reading →


15
May 10

3D pictures (of me and Ben Miller)

3D pictures (of me and Ben Miller)

I recently had the privilege of hosting a Q&A with Ben Miller, from double act Armstrong & Miller, at the Brighton Science Festival. There was a man there called Mark Bennett taking 3D pictures of us. He has very kindly let me have the originals so I thought I'd write a blog post about 3D photography using these images as examples. Continue reading →


14
Apr 10

Keyboard shortcut for Google’s “did you mean”

Update: This doesn't work since the introduction of Google Instant Search.

Keyboard shortcut for Google’s “did you mean”

This post could also be titled "My first Greasemonkey script"... Continue reading →


3
Mar 10

Interesting freecycle freebiejeebies scam and a dubious experiment

Interesting freecycle freebiejeebies scam and a dubious experiment

I love scams. They're often ingenious and involve a good bit of psychology. It's great fun figuring out how they work.

I saw an interesting misuse of freecycle recently which was a scam of sorts. I'll tell you how it worked then introduce my own dubious experiment. Continue reading →


15
Jan 10

How 3D cinema works

I recently saw Avatar in 3D and 'forgot' to hand my glasses back in at the end. I thought I knew how this technology worked so I was very surprised when I started doing some experiments.

I saw Avatar at a Vue cinema that recently had 3D installed and the way it works is quite different to the IMAX. Continue reading →


12
Dec 09

Use Gmail filters to get only the facebook notifications you care about

Use Gmail filters to get only the facebook notifications you care about

If you're a member of a lot of groups or have a lot of pending invites they probably generate a fair few messages in your facebook inbox that you don't really care about. The messages you DO care about tend to be the ones from an individual to you. Those are the ones you want to be notified about by email and not the rest.

At the moment facebook doesn't give you the option to be notified about one type of message but not the other. That means your email inbox can quickly fill up with facebook notifications that don't interest you.

One answer is to use email filters and in this post I'll explain how to set that up.

Continue reading →