Tag: Reviews

Making Panoramas With Hugin

August 17, 2010 » Consume, Geek, Life

We recently got back from a visit to Colorado and I had taken a few sets of photos that I intended to stitch into panoramas. This was new to me, but I figured it couldn’t be too hard, right?

With the help of Hugin, I figured right.

There is all sorts of cool tweaks you can do with Hugin, but I’m just going to touch on the basic process. There is a much more complete set of tutorials here.

The process boils down to these steps:

  1. Load Images
  2. Match Points
  3. Tweak Exposure (if you want)
  4. Render

Matching Points

Matching points is just a matter of clicking on a recognizable spot in one photo and then the matching spot on the next photo. You don’t have to be spot on, it will guess the right spot for you. Pretty cool. I did about four per photo pair.

Matching Points

Tweak Exposure

I used auto-exposure on my photos and, as a bonus, took a few pictures with direct sunlight. Not good for clean overlaps. Here’s my initial preview image.


Yuck, it’s all washed out and ugly. No problem, we can do some tweaking on the exposure tab and it should be all better.



Once everything is set up, rendering is a snap, it just takes a while.



Once it’s done (not more than a few minutes) you should have your panorama. It’s going to be big though, my un-cropped panorama was 14587×2416 and weighed in at a hefty 19 megs as a high quality JPEG. Wow.


Overall Hugin is a super-easy and fun way to make awesome panoramic photos with any digital camera.

Review: Canon Pixma MX320

July 14, 2010 » Consume, Geek

A Pixma MX320A week or two ago I bought this mutli-function to replace the loathsome Lexmark I’d had for several years. I didn’t have a chance to try it out until today. Since I’m home sick I drug it into the bedroom (yes, it is big and heavy) and tinkered from the comfort of bed.

All around it’s a nice machine. It copies fine without a computer attached, and it works like a dream with Kubuntu; scans and prints. It even shows up as an image source in Gimp. Nice.

For those you wanting to get it going on Linux, don’t bother looking for the drivers on the US support site, you have to hit the Europe one. Don’t ask me why, just go here: http://software.canon-europe.com/products/0010697.asp. They offer deb’s, rpm’s and source, so it should work pretty universally on a modern system. The debs went in flawlessly for me, and poof, the thing worked.

Print quality is good, crisp and clean. Scanning is another matter. I ran through some prints I got back the other day, and there is grain everywhere. It’s not unbearable, but check the next post to see what I mean.

All in all and good Linux compatible printer/scanner, for only $49 at Wal-Mart (oh the shame)

Also it has this weird thing called a “fax”. I’ve yet to figure out what that is or why you would want one.

Review: Skullcandy Lowrider Headphones

July 8, 2010 » Consume, Geek

Last week I had two sets of headphones go bad on me in the space of three days. The first pair was my set of Sony Pysc over-the-ear headphones.

Pretty nice, I’ve had them for years and I really love them. Planning on giving it a shot to bring them back to life with the soldering iron.

The second pair was some cheap Wal-Mart replacements for the Pysc’s.

After those died I decided to suck it up and grab a new pair of good headphones. I headed over to The Mart over lunch and picked out a pair of Skullcandy Lowrider headphones for sub-$30 before tax.

Good Looking Headphones

They aren’t bad, especially for a quick buy. Snazzy looks, 40mm driver, comfy padding, good isolation and they fold up nice. They are a bit floppy in the joints until you get them on your head, which feels (and probably looks) pretty silly. Cord is a bit shorter than I would expect too.

The unfortunate surprise came when I hooked them up. They sounded great in the store, but back at the office they were flat. Too much bass and mids. My guess is that they are optimized for hip-hop or something else. Either way, it wasn’t what I liked.

No problem though, after some experimentation I found an EQ curve to make up for the difference. This is what I worked out in Amarok. It feels right to me, I ran it through some Say Anything, Pedro The Lion, and Showbread. Reasonably diverse and fits my music taste.

1.2 dB 1.9 dB 0.0 dB 0.5 dB 1.9 dB 1.2 dB 0.0 dB 2.3 dB 4.2 dB 4.2 dB
60 Hz 170 Hz 310 Hz 600 Hz 1 kHz 3 kHz 6 kHz 12 kHz 14 kHz 16 kHz

End result? I like them, probably won’t take them to the coffee shop for fear of looking goofy, but they are pretty good for home or work listening.

Bonus Review – Skullcandy Warranty Registration

The Skullcandy website says it takes “only 10 minutes” to register your headphones for warranty. Plus you have to register on their site. Really Skullcandy? That’s the best you can do? No thanks, I’ll take my chances without a warranty.

Tags: , ,

Great Movie: 9

January 7, 2010 » Consume


I had heard about 9 a while back, from one of my rss feeds, and I threw it on the Netflix cue. We watched it the other night and it is stunning. Honestly, it takes a lot for me to want to write about something this much, and 9 pushed me clear over the edge.

Two things I was not expecting.
1) It’s not the happiest story ever written.
2) It’s definitely not a kids movie.

I suppose I would have suspected both of those points if I had known Tim Burton was involved.

What stunned me the most were the graphics. The amount of emotion that they put into rag dolls was incredible. Neither of us made a sound for the first 5-10 minutes at least, it was just stunning. Some of the “enemies” that show up are truly creepy (i.e. snake thing), and everything is creative and well designed.

The plot was fairly predictable once it got going, and progressed very quickly. The only downside of the movie was the dialog. Really pretty shoddy compared to the rest of it. It was all delivered fairly well, but none of it was written that well.

Go rent it. Right now.

Tags: ,

Fate/stay night

November 15, 2007 » Consume, Geek

So I finished Fate/stay night a few evenings ago. It’s 24 episodes and I really, really enjoyed it. Definitely in my top three.

The art varied a little bit, with some stellar work and some average fare, but overall it tended towards good I thought. Some things in the storyline went a bit under-explained, but that’s really to be expected from an anime made after a detailed game.

What made this show so great were the characters and how they interacted and grew. Really great relationships, even if the dialog was a bit spotty. I also had the fan sub version, so that might have contributed to weak dialog as they tend to be in a rush to publish. Make no mistake though, very good storyline and very good character development.

The only thing I outright didn’t like was the ending. It wasn’t necessarily a bad ending, it was quite powerful and brought closure to the sotry, but it just wasn’t the one I would have preferred. A follow up series would be awesome, and could fix the ending for me, but as far as I know isn’t really in the works.

Overall a great show, I give it an A.

Tags: ,