Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Vista JPEG rotation may not be lossless

I just rotated a JPEG and the new file was almost twice as large as the original. I thought that the rotation was probably not lossless and was instead a re-encode, and I was right. According to a forum thread I found, rotation is lossless when possible, but if lossless rotation isn't possible you get lossy rotation without warning. Like many of the people in that thread, I find this to be unacceptable. I recommend Jpegcrop for lossless JPEG manipulation.

Windows XP warns if rotation isn't lossless, and I think this is another example of how XP is sometimes better. In the forum thread someone from Microsoft said that they removed the warning for usability reasons. I think the right thing to do would be to have a "don't show this again" checkbox and a preference checkbox somewhere to enable the warning.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Accounts on various sites

Not long ago I deleted a few accounts I wasn't using:
  • Friendster, because I wasn't using it and it didn't seem like anyone else I know was using it either. I hadn't even done much work on that account.
  • Multiply, for pretty much the same reasons. I had actually done some work there uploading content and I had more contacts, but I wasn't using it and I was actually sharing better and more up to date content elsewhere. I always liked Multiply for some reason but that didn't seem like good reason to keep an account I don't use.
  • Photobucket, because I wasn't using it, and I thought the interface was ugly (for example lacking album thumbnails). I find it kind of funny that aesthetically it's a bit like dumping photos in a bucket. I did have a lot of photos uploaded there, but I prefer to share a few of my best photos instead of all the photos I take, and I want to share them on a site I actually like.
  • 43 Things because I didn't find it useful for tracking and for tracking and accomplishing goals, I wasn't using it, and it came with accounts on other sites which I didn't want.
  • I'm also trying to delete my Web1000 free web hosting account because I don't need it and it doesn't work, but support doesn't respond. If I remember correctly, I liked Web1000's free hosting, but because of how I haven't gotten responses now I wouldn't recommend it.
Here are some social sites I actually like and use:
  • Panoramio is my favourite site for sharing photos of scenery. I enjoy the process of mapping photos and I like how the photos are presented on a map. I certainly don't miss folders/albums. I use Panoramio for sharing my best photos which I feel fit their Google Earth acceptance criteria.
  • Reddit, because it is the best way to find new and interesting things online. When I started using it I noticed that generally when friends sent me a link I had already seen it on Reddit. Reddit is also unfortunately a great way to waste time. I've recently customized my account so I only subscribe to certain reddits which are of special interest to me.
  • Blogger, obviously. This is a post on my blog made using Blogger.
  • Facebook, where I recently created an account. I'm not sure how useful I find that site. At least more people I know are on there (compared to Friendster and Multiply). However, there doesn't seem to be much to do on there, or maybe there isn't much to do other than doing stuff with silly viral applications.
  • I'm not sure why I use but I keep using it. I haven't really gotten much out of it, but I also think I haven't really explored it, and it seems like it should theoretically have potential in terms of finding new music and meeting new people.
  • Digg, which I really liked in the past but which has now been superseded by Reddit. I'm still active there from time to time but I don't know why.
I also deleted my saved e-mail on Gmail and Yahoo. In retrospect I'm not sure what's the point of keeping my e-mail. I've almost never used it to retrieve information I needed, and it was never the only possible source for something I really needed. The only purpose it seemed to have was nostalgia, and even there it wasn't particularly useful and it certainly wasn't productive. It could even be a risk; for example if someone gained access to my Gmail account they could have used it to find various accounts linked to that account and steal them. Also, I'm not sure I can trust a corporation with large quantities of private information like that. Most importantly, I can't say I've really missed the saved e-mail

Are spambots adding me as a friend on Digg?

Nowadays whenever I'm active on Digg I usually get notified that I have a new fan. Generally the fan has recently added many friends and they have very many friends. Three recent examples are Damian86, Madrid Design and muzicman. The sheer number of friends and the speed with which I get added after I do something on Digg make me think that bots are at work, perhaps using real-time data from Digg Labs.

I want to be cautious about accusing users of being bots but the same sort of thing keeps happening and I'm becoming more and more convinced that I am dealing with bots. Earlier I contacted abuse at digg dot com and I just disabled e-mail notifications for these events. I hope something will be done about this issue.

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Defect in Sony DVD+RW Ver. 1.2/1X-4X

I was wondering why I kept getting read errors when verifying writes to a particular DVD+RW. Now I know why. There is a sort of black dashed arc, concentric with the DVD. It is below the surface and it is not a scratch. Here is a photo:

The defective area is in the middle. Near it you can also see two pieces of dust. Note how dust leads to double images because you see both the dust and its reflection on the recording surface. The defective area doesn't have double images because the dark bits are at the recording surface itself. The black circle at the bottom is a shadow from the camera lens. At the bottom right you can see the centre of the DVD. Note how the curvature is parallel to the curvature of the defective area. The entire image also shows a reflection of the lamp that provided illumination.

Edit: I guess the Sony lifetime limited warranty is pretty much worthless in a case like this. The only contact number isn't toll free and the warranty instructions say I should mail in the disc. Buying a replacement is probably cheaper and easier.