Friday, July 31, 2009

What to Go See This Weekend at the Movies

This weekend brings one must-see movie, Funny People. The latest flick from Judd Apatow (The 40 Year Old Virgin and Knocked Up) takes a turn for the darker and dramatic. Adam Sandler, Seth Rogen, and Leslie Mann star in the bittersweet dramedy about a famous comedian who is diagnosed with cancer. He's forced to reevaluate his world. He becomes the mentor to a young, amateur comedian, and, in turn, learns a lot about life.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Emulating multi-touch using two tablets

Kaj Grönholm's post about multi-touch motivated me to implement my previous idea of using two tablets to emulate multi-touch input (which should allow for 2 "real" multi-touch cursors). So, I quickly hacked together a modified version of the SimpleSimulator from TUIO_CPP and loaded it on a N800 and a N810. The result works quite well: (link to the video)

Again, the multitouch version of NumptyPhysics uses two cursors for dragging and three cursors for deleting, which works nicely on a multitouch table. Oh, and if you crank up the volume on that video, you will hear the sounds that we have added to NumptyPhysics recently in order to give some audible feedback about the user actions. Stay tuned for more in a few days.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Jodi Lyn O'Keefe's Breakout Role

Anyone who regularly watched Prison Break the last two seasons might find it hard to believe that Jodi Lyn O’Keefe considers herself a mild-mannered pacifist.

“I’m really non-confrontational... I don’t even like to argue,” said O’Keefe, who played to perfection the ruthlessly homicidal operative Gretchen Morgan, aka Susan B. Anthony, on the nail-biting serial drama. The blue-eyed beauty regularly doled out punishment as if ice water coursed through her veins -- until Fox cancelled the series after four seasons of surprise and suspense.

It turns out, however, that Prison Break’s death sentence has gotten a very temporary stay of execution. Fans of Michael Scofield and his felonious cohorts will be treated to one last adventure in the form of a direct-to-DVD movie entitled Prison Break: The Final Break. And as fate would have it, the recently incarcerated Gretchen plays a major role in Scofield’s final caper, which, true to formula, involves yet another prison escape.

The movie, comprised of two additional unaired episodes and released as of July 21, will answer any lingering questions surrounding what happened to the characters in the four years between the demise of the insidious “Company” and Michael’s tragic death, which left many grieving viewers angry or in flat-out denial.

Upon learning Michael’s fate, “I kinda had the same reaction as everybody else,” said O’Keefe. “So we think he’s dead, but he’s not really dead and now they’re going to explain how he’s not really dead.” Since the series finale aired this past May, fans have been peppering her with theories on the show’s controversial ending, even proposing that perhaps Michael faked his death for reasons yet to be explained.

While she wouldn’t reveal any plot secrets, O’Keefe understands why some people are inclined to believe that the finale was a fake-out. After all, she recalled, “I cut off Sara’s head and put in a box -- and all of a sudden, I didn’t,” referring to how Gretchen decapitated Michael’s love interest in season three, only to reveal in season four that it was all a ruse and she was very much alive.

Speaking of severed body parts, was there ever a better pairing of TV villains than when Gretchen reluctantly partnered up with vile, one-armed sex offender Theodore “T-Bag” Bagwell? Together, these two baddies could do no right.
“He’s so good at being so bad,” said O’Keefe of Robert Knepper, who returns as T-Bag in the movie. “I was actually nervous for the first couple of scenes we worked together. I was thinking to myself, ‘Can I live up to how creepy he is?’”

Previously best known for playing Chuck Norris’ daughter on Nash Bridges, O’Keefe not only delivered more than her fair share of malevolence, but she also discovered that she was a lot tougher than she thought.

As it turns out, “I’m pretty good at fighting. I did a lot of the stunt work myself,” said O’Keefe, who once allowed herself to be waterboarded in a torture scene because she thought it would look less genuine if her stunt double stepped in. “Then I’m thinking, ‘This is not such a good idea,’ as they put the plastic wrap on my face,” she admitted. “That gave me nightmares for I can’t tell you how long.”

Despite the occasional nightmare, O’Keefe has been living a dream for the last two years. “The most memorable thing about this whole experience is learning that I can actually do this,” she said. “Because I had my doubts in the beginning.”

--Brad Barth

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

gPodder: Waiting for the "final" Fremantle SDK

The summer season is finally here after a bunch of exams. Time to think about how to spend a part of my free time working on some open source projects that have been on the back-burner for some weeks now.

Since my last post, the thing about Qt has been announced, and the Fremantle SDK beta 2 has been published. Last time I tailored gPodder to run on Fremantle, everything worked in the SDK, but reportedly not on the devices - it's very difficult for developers to really test and develop for Fremantle with different versions in both the SDK and on the device (it works fine in the SDK!).

So, instead of spending time on the Fremantle version that might not be really worth it after all, I decided to improve the core of gPodder and make it work fast and reliable on both Desktop computers and N8x0 devices. When the final version of the SDK is released, I can always re-evaluate and get the code running in a few days, depending on how much has changed in comparison to the beta SDK.

Even though I'm not actively working on gPodder for Fremantle, keep reporting bugs so that I know what to start working on when I decide to continue development on it in case the first "stable" version of the SDK is released or a device is announced. Again, the time will be better spent working on improving gPodder for both the N800 and N810 until that happens.