Standing Desk

I decided to try working standing up. I wasn't ready to invest in something like a geekdesk, and I wanted something that would be easily reversible if I ended up hating it.

So I wanted something that would build on top of my existing regular desk.

I found 3-tier wire shelving units at Lowes for $19.99 each. They are 30" high, 24" wide and 14" deep and each shelf is adjustable in about 1" increments. I bought two of these, and two 4' long 16" deep MDF bullnose shelving boards for $6 each. I adjusted the middle shelf of the shelving units at the height I want the keyboard/mouse at, and the top shelf about 6" above that to hold the monitor and laptop display. Then just laid the two shelving boards across - the keyboard shelf towards the front and the monitor shelf towards the back (the wire units are 24" wide and the MDF board is 16" so there is room to move the top board back and the bottom board forward - so my view of the keyboard isn't blocked by the top shelving board).

I put some foam rubber scraps beneath each board...

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Free Calls with Google Voice

If you don't have a Gizmo5 account, you can still make and receive free calls using a SIP softphone.

  1. Register for a free SIP account with IPTel. This will give you a SIP URI like sip:[email protected]
  2. Register for a free WA state PSTN phone number with IPKall. This will give you a PSTN phone number like (206) 555-1212.
  3. Configure your IPKall account with your IPTel sip information.
  4. Download a free SIP softphone, e.g. X-Lite and configure it with your IPTel sip information.
  5. Add your WA state PSTN number to your Google Voice account and verify it by answering the call Google Voice makes with your softphone.

Now any time your softphone is running you can use it to answer incoming Google Voice calls, and can place free calls using the Google Voice site.

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Stereoscopic 3D Rig with Steadicam

See my previous post on a different 3D rig design, and a discussion of how to postprocess the videos in QuickTime Pro. I decided to build a Steadicam to help reduce jerkiness when recording while walking. I used the design from steadycam.org. This steadicam works with any camera with a tripod mount. So to mount two stereoscopic cameras, I found an 8" doorjamb striker plate that had two holes 6.5cm apart and a third hole for mounting on the steadicam.

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I covered this with a thin layer of foam rubber, then attached the two cameras with 1/4" X 20 bolts, and attached the plate to the steadicam using a washer and toggle bolt. The cameras need to be slightly rotated to stay coplanar - because the screw holes in the plate are staggered.

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So the cameras mounted on the steadicam look like this:

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Here is a sample video shot with this rig.

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Stereoscopic 3D Video Rig

I have access to two identical Flip Video camcorders.

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I built a cheap $3 mounting bracket system so I could use them to shoot stereoscopic 3D video. I used two 1/4" X 20 screws (these fit the tripod mount on the cameras) and a couple of nuts and washers.

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Also a bracket, I used some plumbing bracket. It was too large so I had to squeeze it smaller. You want the distance between the camera lenses to be about 6.5cm once they are screwed onto the bracket.

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So the result looks like this.

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When you shoot video, try to start both cameras at the same time. After shooting, you can use QuickTime 7 Pro to edit the videos, you will need Perian on Mac to handle the Flip DiVX AVIs. Trim each video so they start at the same time (use a clap board or something so you have a visual event to synchronize on) - use Edit | Trim to Selection in QuickTime. Open a new empty QuickTime movie (File | New Player), Edit...

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PhotoCloth

My iPhone app, PhotoCloth, is finally available in the app store. PhotoCloth can turn any photo into a realistic 3D interactive cloth simulation. See demo videos and appstore link here.

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Fixed Width Fonts in Gmail

I like to compose and read email with a fixed width font. Gmail now supports reading a message with a fixed width font using the Show in fixed width font option - but you have to do that on each message as you read it.

If you use Firefox, you can create a user stylesheet that is domain specific to force all non-HTML messages and the message composition textarea to display in fixed width.

The user stylesheet should contain:

@-moz-document domain(mail.google.com) {
    /* GMail messages and textarea should use fixed-width font */
    textarea.dV, div.ii.gt {
        font-family: MonoSpace !important;
        font-size: 9pt !important;
    }
}

Place the stylesheet (on MacOS) under your Firefox profile directory e.g. ~/Library/Application Support/Firefox/Profiles/XXXXXXXX.default/chrome/userContent.css

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