Add colors to your tag cloud for readability

I’m using the A better tag cloud WordPress widget to be able to configure the tag cloud on my blog. It’s a nice widget that I really recommend!

I wanted to make it easier (and prettier) to use by adding colors to the tags. A darker color means a more used tag, a lighter means that the tag is less used. I based my colors on the Tango palette.

The tag cloud with the original CSS to the left and my customized to the right

All different sizes in A better tag cloud already had their different CSS classes so adding colors were easy. All I had to do was to add the following CSS to the bottom of my styles.css file.

/* Add colors to A better tag cloud */
.nktagcloud-8 {
  background-color:#fce94f;
}
.nktagcloud-9 {
  background-color:#edd400;
}
.nktagcloud-10 {
  background-color:#fcaf3e;
}
.nktagcloud-11 {
  background-color:#f57900;
}
.nktagcloud-12 {
  background-color:#ce5c00;
}
.nktagcloud-13 {
  background-color:#e9b96e;
}
.nktagcloud-14 {
  background-color:#8ae234;
}
.nktagcloud-15 {
  background-color:#73d216;
}
.nktagcloud-16 {
  background-color:#4e9a06;
}
.nktagcloud-17 {
  background-color:#729fcf;
}
.nktagcloud-18 {
  background-color:#3465a4;
}
.nktagcloud-19 {
  background-color:#204a87;
}
.nktagcloud-20 {
  background-color:#ad7fa8;
}
.nktagcloud-21 {
  background-color:#ef2929;
}
.nktagcloud-22 {
  background-color:#cc0000;
}

Enjoy!

Logitech QuickCam mod to fit a standard tripod

I have a Logitech QuickCam Communicate Deluxe webcam. It’s a decent webcam apart from the non standard mounting holes. I wanted it to fit a standard tripod so I did some modding. Here is how.

Webcam before mod
Logitechs "flexible clip" - not flexible at all if you ask me...

I started out by splitting the screen clip from the cam. It’s a bit scary but I pulled until it released.

Split clip from cam
Split clip and cam

We will going to use the plastic part with the screws so just unscrew it from the screen clip.

Removed the plastic part from the clip
Removed the plastic part from the clip

A standard tripod is just a 1/4″ screw. I found the following two.

I found the following two 1/4" screws that could work
One of these two could work

Here is how they would look. Not sure what the right one was used for but I think it would be easier to attach to the plastic part so I chose that one.

Trying out my options
Trying out my options

I’ll glue the plastic part with the metallic part so I’ll polish both to make the glue stick better.

Polish to make the glue stick
Polish to make the glue stick

Time to glue. I used a double sided tape but glue would work just as well.

Glue together
Glued together

Put the plastic part back to the webcam attach it to you tripod and we are done.

My modded webcam attached to a Gorillapod
My modded webcam attached to a Gorillapod

Computer ergonomics and pair programming

I’m a big fan of pair programming. The one issue I have is that it’s a bit harder to set up the ergonomics for two persons with one computer.

At work I have one computer with two keyboards, two mice and two monitors. It works pretty nice. It makes you not have to crawl over each other but it still doesn’t allow for individual adjustments of the desk height.

setup-at-work

At home I have no dual monitor setup but instead I have two computers (one is mine, the other my girlfriends). I figured that it would be great if I could attach one computer to the other and enable a dual monitor feature. I installed VNC server on one of the machines and VNC client on the other. Started the server and connected. It works fine even though one runs Windows and the other Ubuntu!

Dual computer home setup. Two computers with VNC.

Both setups works pretty nice! I hope I can try my home setup via internet with webcams, microphones etc to enable (some) pair programming when not in the same room.

Firefox hides tabs and fails

I while ago I introduced a friend to Firefox. I didn’t want to push it but just show it and I hoped it would stick. After some weeks I asked if she liked it and she said it was nice but that she missed the tabs that IE had. I was amazed… Firefox were years before IE with tabs but still it fails… Look at the screen shot from Firefox 3. Nothing tells you the interface is tabbed.

Firefox fails to show how to open new tabs. Internet Explorer leads the way!
Firefox fails to show how to open new tabs. Internet Explorer leads the way!

Luckily Firefox 3.5 seems to address the issue. Firefox 3.5 also makes it even clearer than Internet Explorer with a + in the new tab button. Way to go Firefox!

Firefox 3.5 introduces new tab button!
Firefox 3.5 introduces new tab button!

AutoHotkey: Swedish Dvorak (Svorak) in Windows

Update: I’ve added the layouts I use to MyDvorakLayouts at Github

I have been using Svorak (a Swedish variant of the Dvorak keyboard layout) for some years, so I’ve had the chance to use it under some different operative systems. The standard Dvorak layout is available in all (?) operative systems but the Swedish variant is available out of the box in Linux only. Luckily there are ways to install a layout, that you then can select from your keyboard settings, it in both Windows and Mac OS X. It works fine for the most part.

One issue I have been dabbling with a lot is that when switching between layouts, both OS X and Windows, it changes per application. This means that if you have Firefox and Notepad opened you’ll have to switch layout twice to get it in both applications. It’s really annoying if you switch a lot (for example if you do pair programming and switch every 10 minutes). Other annoiances are that multiple layouts sometimes seems to cause problems with inconsistent shortcuts between the layouts (i.e. ctrl-c means ctrl-c in one layout but not in the other).

Svorak with AutoHotkey

Instead of installing a keyboard layout I’m now running AutoHotkey to remap my keys. It’s a tool that allows you to create macros, so I have one (big) macro that remaps my layout from Swedish to Svorak. It works perfectly! It also makes it easy to customizatie my layout (e.g. swap CapsLock with the Left Shift key). AutoHotkey also allows to generate an executable file that’s easy to put on a USB stick and bring to other computers. Just start it and it remaps the keys. Close (or pause) it and you’ll get the Swedish layout back.

The Svorak A1 layout extended for the Kinesis Contoured
The Svorak A1 layout extended for the Kinesis Contoured


Since I’m using the Kinesis Contoured keyborad I wanted a layout optimized for that. My modifications to the Svorak A1 layout are:

  • Swap CapsLock and Left Shift. It made Shift much easier to reach.
  • Duplicate all AltGr key compinations from the right hand to the left. I did this to be able to write for example curly brackets with two hands instead of stretching one. (There is one layout called Svorak A5 that also have the AltGr combinations on the left side similar to mine so check that out as well)
  • I’ll probably remapp the Insert key to some better location than the standard (for the Contoured keyboard); Keypad + < combination.

I created different tray icons for Swedish and Svorak but I couldn’t get AutoHotkey to change between them. Hopefully I’ll be able to fix that later.

Download my Svorak A1 (extended for the Kinesis Contoured) AutoHotkey script file (you’ll need to install AutoHotkey as well). Download icon and layout files dvorak-icons

Svorak with PortableKeyboardLayout

Another flexible way of remapping the keyboard layout is to use the tool PortableKeyboardLayout. It currently supports several different layouts but not Svorak so you’ll need to install both the program and then add the layout by copying it to the layouts folder. You’ll also need to change the layouts definition in pkl.ini to: layout = dvorak-svorak-a1:Svorak A1 (Extended). Several different configuration possibilities are available, unfortunately I couldn’t find any documentation (the project is really new so that’s probably change soon!).

I ran this for a while and it worked fine! I had some issues with some GTK applications (i.e. Inkscape) but try it out. It’s really nice!

Download my Svorak A1 (Extended for Kinesis Contoured) PortableKeyboardLayout (you’ll need to install PortableKeyboardLayout). This file also contains the layout (SvorakA1Extended.klc) for the Microsoft Keyboard Layout Creator. This file was used to generate the PortableKeyboardLayout file but it can also be used as a native keyboard driver. See Microsoft KeyboardLayout Creator help for more information about that.

PortableKeyboardLayout has the possibility to display an image of the layout you are using. Unfortunately couldn’t I manage to generate the image in the correct format so there aren’t any such image for the Svorak A1 layout.

Picasa Microsoft ICE Button

I have been playing around with Microsoft ICE (Image Composite Editor) some days and it’s really great for stitching several images to a panorama! The only thing missing is a way to open images in ICE from Picasa without needing to locate them in Explorer.

I created a button that you can add to Picasa that opens the selected images in ICE. It’s available for automatic installation or manual installation. If you choose manual installation copy the file to <your user folder>AppDataLocalGooglePicasa2buttons. If you want to remove it from Picasa you can delete the file from that directory. The pbz file contains two zipped files; one XML-file and one icon file. See Picasa Button API for more information about Picasa Buttons.

Prerequisites:

  • Picasa Installed. I used the version 3 beta.
  • Microsoft ICE installed. Note! It must be installed to the following folder: C:Program FilesMicrosoft ResearchImage Composite Editor

Issues / TODOs:

  • There are a hard coded path for the ICE executable. I tried to find a registry key for ICE but I found none so you must install Microsoft ICE to the following folder: C:Program FilesMicrosoft ResearchImage Composite Editor
  • The icon and text on the button doesn’t look quite alright. It works but looks a bit lame.
  • Try to send a path where ICE should save the stitched image so it defaults to the same location as the unstitched.

I’ll try to fix the above issues. See my post in ICEs forum.

If you are using Flickr you might also want to check out picasa2flickr and if your are using Gimp the Gimp Picasa Button!