Posted by & filed under Personal. 4,088 views

Last month, I bought a Dect Skype/Landline phone system, the VOIP8411B from Philips and I must say I am very happy with it. The price has been going up and down on Amazon, I don’t understand why. I bought it around $160, saw it drop to $140 or so recently and now it’s around $220 ?

I mainly use it for international calls but I’ve been toying with the idea of getting a skype-in phone number as well. I didn’t hook it up to a land-line, simply because I just don’t have one. The sound quality for skype-out is very good IMHO and I like the handset size, it’s very comfortable. We’re quick to forget how awkward those cell phones are for long phone calls when we let go of our landlines and use the tiny plastic bricks exclusively.

The UI for skype login and such is very good though I’d like to be able to actually save my password as well as alternate between Skype logins. I don’t have multiple ones yet but I could see having one for skype-in and out and one for computer use mainly.

I know there are alternative and you can find a PC-less wireless (not mobile, not 11b, home wireless) phone on ebay for much less but this is the first one I could find from a reliable manufacturer that didn’t seem to be hastily put together. Photos to follow soon.

Update: Amazon just can’t figure out how to price this. I saw it at $220 recently, at the time of writing this it’s priced at $170. A reader saw it for $200 ? What’s going on ?

Posted by & filed under Personal, Photography. 1,793 views

So Olive trees are tough to photograph, I think. I played with HDR a little while walking around the grove. Haven’t captured the essence of olive trees yet, they’re so beautiful I think.

IMG_7820_19_18 IMG_7815_6_7 IMG_7823_2_1 Oliver's trunk

Posted by & filed under France, Personal, Photography. 3,594 views

I am in the south of France for a week and took some time to walk around with a sturdy tripod, my DSLR and an electronic trigger to shoot some HDR and Infrared photos. I have only processed half a dozen out of a hundred or so (three hundred shots) photos so more are on their way:

Vieille Ruine

Update: Out of 300 or so [-2/0/+2] EV shots, about twenty were good enough to upload. I still have to sift through the IR shots.

Posted by & filed under BzzAgent, Java, Personal. 2,217 views

This week-end, our engineering team deployed the new version of the BzzAgent application (the BzzEngine). Lots of changes in this new version, some under the covers some more apparent.

BzzAgent V3

The deployment environment seems to be holding up and the developers love the new Intelli-J. My job is not as coding intensive, I use TextMate, what a great editor.

I see an update to the Mac OS X page coming soon.

Posted by & filed under Linux, Mac OS X, Mono, Open-source. 38,179 views

I find it interesting that the most common search that take people to my site is some variation on Tomboy+Mac. The second most common search group has to do with Open Source Session Initiation Protocol phones (SIP) but more on that later.

I wonder what it is in Tomboy that Mac OS X users crave and that they can’t find in the available applications (from Stickies to more advanced note taking applications).

Tomboy is simple, has small wiki-like features (basic hypertext, some level of rich text formatting), includes a decent search mechanism and a few other nice to have. But doesn’t Voodoopad and others do most of that ?

I believe the reason I liked Tomboy (I no longer use it since I don’t _have to_ run a Linux desktop anymore) is that it was always immediately available to jot down a note or search for something. It felt like you were not changing context and switching out applications to write down a thought. Also and because Tomboy had a very simple file based repository (the .tomboy folder if I recall) I would use the now defunct iFolder to sync up and back up my notes.

Something I do now with Exchange, Outlook, Entourage and my Blackberry. Yes, I am ashamed.

P.S. I wonder how far the Coca based port of GTK+ to Mac OS X is. Haven’t heard much from those guys lately. Is the project DOA ? That would allow Mac OS X users to run Tomboy using Mono without X11.

Update on iFolder: as mentioned by a reader, iFolder has a new lease on life there

Posted by & filed under Personal. 14,949 views

Dear Lazyweb,

it seems that one of my next challenges is to solve a street address normalization problem. I found a few commercial solutions that seem to be overkill and server based (coupled with credit card verification usually), an open source one that has many shortcoming (including being written in PHP) but nothing that seems clean, simple and in Java. It doesn’t need to be open sourced but it would be nice.

They’d need to deal with things such as:

  • 4905 Bonbon Lane 4 / 4905 Bonbon Lane #4 / 4905 Bonbon LN
  • 409 Natlie Drive / 409 Natalie Drivee /409 Natalie Dr / 409 Natalie Drive
  • 520 Seymour Ave Unit 2 /Unit 2 520 Seymour Road / Room 2 520 Seymour Garden / 520 Seymour Way Rm 2

And things of that sort. I realize it might be impossible, that it might rely on a US/CD address database but at this point, I’d like to figure out what all the solutions could be.

Any idea ?

Posted by & filed under Personal, Photography, Scuba-diving. 1,877 views

Though most of it can be blamed on the general murkiness of the waters those days, I am not very happy about the reef photos I took with my small underwater rig (Canon S50, underwater housing, ISO 400). Sure there are some decent ones but I feel like my setup is now limiting me a bit and I have gear lust.

Southern Stingray

(This is a Southern Stingray on the deck of the Bentwood ship wreck. They have been in the news a lot lately)