Sunday, September 17, 2006

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Action icons for Domino applications

Why use stock icons instead of standard Domino images?
Icons deliver the first impression when someone experiences your application or visits your website. Adding stock icons can be the difference between giving an impression of merely functional, or looking professional.

Designing professional-quality icons ranges from time-consuming (if you're artistic) to virtually impossible (if you’re not artistic - witness the shopping cart on the left).

For a fraction of the cost of having a graphics design professional on staff, the solution is to acquire a set of stock icons. A stock icon collection typically contains 100 or more icons that represents the functionality common to most applications and websites (help, copy, paste, shopping carts, flags, locks).

Here is a review and list of many web sites offering free and commercial icons:

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Mac video ads -VS- HP video ads

Have you seen those fraudulent video ads that Apple produced for the Mac computers?
You can see them here: Warning: you must install the latest QuickTime video codec before trying to watch, otherwise the crap won't start. You should not have heavy objects near you as throwing them at the screen can damage the monitor. In short, the ads are about PC computers being boring and infected with viruses; Mac computers on the other hand are cool and are for creative people who don't want to bother about technical details and who use Mac to show their great design skills to other (Mac?) people. Some of the video ads are pretty funny, but the only people they can fool are stay-at-home moms with no technical background wanting to surf the Internet for cookie recepies and school kids who are mistakenly thinking they will somehow instantly raise their creativity level and become able to create cool pics to show their friends. Just look at their ad ("Accident") about a PC which fell down because someone tripped over the cords. What a joke! I woudn't be surprised if they did an ad where a PC user was strike by a lightning because of erhh... hmmm... LED lamp on CD-rom attracting electricity from the air.

But don't be in despair, my PC friends! No need to sue Apple for false advertising, they have enough problems without us, converting to Intel platform so people can finally do something useful with their new Unix-based OS X. We have got something better! HP produced several video ads that kick Apple's butt into the space! The ads are obviously more expensive than Apple's, and web campaign has some additional cool multimedia features. You can include your own picture in a video and send it to your friends. Check out my video here: Link. No comments about how I look in the rock video please :)
Here you can see the professional video ads and create your own video email using your picture:

I am not sure if HP's computers are really that good as shown in the ads, but the video ads themself are way better than Apple's brain dead dialog between a hippie and an office guy.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

I want to believe

Finally an invention which can change the history of mankind, and you can follow it's course day-by-day!
A claim of this size happens only once in about 10 years, so don't miss it, otherwise who knows when you have a possibility to see something similar next time. It's not every day someone makes a claim to have a WORKING prototype of Perpetuum Mobile.

Here is what the company says:
- We have developed a technology that produces free, clean and constant energy.

- This means never having to recharge your phone, never having to refuel your car. A world with an infinite supply of clean energy for all.

- Our technology has been independently validated by engineers and scientists - always off the record, always proven to work.

"What we have developed is a way to construct magnetic fields so that when you travel round the magnetic fields, starting and stopping at the same position, you have gained energy," Sean McCarthy (Steorn's chief executive officer) said.
"The energy isn't being converted from any other source such as the energy within the magnet. It's literally created. Once the technology operates it provides a constant stream of clean energy," he told Ireland's RTE radio.

Many people think that it's a hoax or some kind of PR trick. As the company does not show it's device publicly, I am somewhat sceptical too.
Their claim to put the energy-producing device in mobile phones to make them work without batteries sounds also somewhat unrealistic, I have hard to see how would they fit the device inside the cell phone and how it would manage to produce that much energy. With all the shakings, falls and hot/moisture/dust environments the cell phone experiences, it would be higly impractical to implement a free energy producing thingy inside a cell phone. Is it their give-away that the device does not exist, or is it just an unfortunate example of usage area?

The main difference of Steorn's invention with other similar claims is that they say that they already have a working machine. 98% of other claimers had only drawings of how such machine would look like. They also say that several independent professionals have verified that the machine works. The fact that ALL of those experts have chosen to remain anonymous raises some suspicion.
Even if the experts couldn't explain why the machine works, according to Steorn they all aknowledged that it does work.
Another difference is that Steorn does not ask for investments. If it was a hoax, they would want to get the investor's money and dissapear before the bluff is exposed. But they challenged 12 scientists to verify the results before any investments are accepted. The fact of not asking for investments does not however exclude it from being a PR trick. As the Steorn itself is too insignificant to gain something from this kind of publicity, maybe some larger company stands behind it as uses Steorn as a marionett. Maybe it's some kind of ad campaign for electricity-driven Toyota Prius? Some people think it's an ad campaign for the next release of HALO video game.

So hold your breath, the new age of human civilization is coming soon! Hmmm.. or maybe the end of the world? Anyway, some kind of result (positive or negative) should be available before the end of the year.
Ad in "The Economist":

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Export inline Notes pictures to disk as GIF files

Have you tried to export an inline picture from Notes database to hard drive? You can of course select the picture, copy it to clipboard, paste it to Paintbrush and then save the new picture to disk. But what if there are more than thousand pictures to process? The manual procedure would take several hours.
Fortunately you can programmatically export pictures using Notes DXL classes. The code below takes the first picture in a richtext field named PictureRT and saves it to disk as a GIF file.

The code uses a LotusScript library for BASE64 decoding, which you can download from Julian Robichaux's web site:

Example does not use Notes classes for handling XML (NotesDOMParser), it parses the string using it's own logic. In many cases NotesDOMParser processing is to prefer, and I might later create a version which uses NotesDOMParser.

Option Public
Use "base64encdec"

Sub Initialize
Dim session as New NotesSession
Dim db as NotesDatabase
Dim doc as NotesDocument
Dim picdata As String
Dim decstr As String

set db=session.CurrentDatabase
set doc=db.GetDocumentByUNID("1EC1508B08428D4385256E00004B0D3F")

Set exporter = session.CreateDXLExporter
exporter.ConvertNotesBitmapsToGIF = True
out = exporter.Export(pdoc)

find1="<item name='PersonPicture'"
rtstart=Instr(out, find1)
rtstart2=Instr(rtstart, out, findpic1)
rtfinish2=Instr(rtstart2, out, findpic2)
purepic= Mid(out, rtstart2, rtfinish2-rtstart2+Len(findpic2))

finddata1="<gif originalformat="'notesbitmap'">"
picdatastart=Instr(purepic, finddata1)
picdatafinish=Instr(picdatastart, purepic, finddata2)
picdata=Mid(purepic, picdatastart+Len(finddata1), picdatafinish-picdatastart-Len(finddata2))

fout = Freefile
Open "c:\testgif.gif" For Output As fout
Print #fout, decstr
Close #fout
End Sub

Friday, September 01, 2006

Christmas for OS junkies

With free VMWare player it's possible to test your Java and web applications in almost any OS.

Here you can download different Linux OS distributions pre-configured with different software, such as CRM, firewall, web browsers, free web/email/collaboration servers, SSL VPN, security tools:

My favorite is Linux OS configured with several web browsers, which makes it possible to see how web (Domino) applications look like in Linux's browsers:

I've heard (blink blink ;)) that there is even a way to run Mac OS X in VMWare in Windows. If it was true, that would be a great way to test how web (or Java) applications work in Mac OS.

List of 25 PDF converters

Here is a list of 25 programs which can convert text files to PDF format.

Personally I use OpenOffice to save from Word to PDF, but there might be cases where some extra features are needed not available in OpenOffice. I also have PDF995 and PDFCreator as printer drivers which enable me to save output to PDF file from any program which allows to print out to printer.
A PDF printer driver is the easiest way to save any Notes document to PDF format.