Monthly Archives: December 2008

Twitterlicious 2.3

Happy holidays to everyone, this is my belated present to you all: Twitterlicious 2.3.

I know you’ve all been experiencing problems with using Twitterlicious recently due to a breaking API change. I was originally going to release a Microsoft style hotfix which just fixed that issue in the current version, but I couldn’t resist bundling in a few more features which I’ve been beta testing recently.

Changes in version 2.3:

  • Fixed 417 Bug — of course, the 417 Expect Header issue is solved in this.
  • Auto Updating — Twitterlicious can now automatically update itself, without you having to download a new version from Ejecutive every time. This is using the free version of AppLife Update which I’ve extended myself to get some functionality of the paid versions. If there’s enough interest in this then I might publish what I’ve got.
  • Full Object Storage Model — Twitterlicious can now store it’s current tweets list on your hard drive, so the next time you start up Twitterlicious it can restore exactly what you had before, making it quite a bit quicker. I’m still debating whether to cache profile images to make this even quicker, something which may appear in the next version.
  • Fixed Proxy Bug — in which certain situations Twitterlicious wouldn’t use the one specified by the user.
  • Improved Status Update — now immediately inserts the tweet the user has just entered.
  • 32-bit only — because of a limitation in the new auto updating feature, I can only release one version of Twitterlicious at a time. Sorry to all you x64 folks, I hope to have this one back ASAP.

Get it from the usual place.

417 Expect Header Issue With Twitterlicious

If you’re getting this error with Twitterlicious:

System.Net.WebException: The remote server returned an error: (417) Expectation Failed.

You are experiencing a new regression bug with the Twitter API has affected all .NET Twitter clients, including Twitterlicious.

Twitterlicious seems to be less affected than other clients: it can still get your main timeline but you can’t update your status. The stated workaround doesn’t work, so for now all .NET Twitter applications won’t work with the Twitter API.

It’s awfully nice of Twitter to make this breaking change to their API during the holiday season, and even though they know about this bug, they haven’t rolled back the changes they made. All sane .NET developers will use the HttpWebRequest class to query the API, rather than reinventing the wheel themselves. But as far as I can see, the only way to work around this is to extend the HttpWebRequest class yourself to modify the headers it sends, or handle the entire thing yourself.

This change should never have been made to the API in the first place. Whatever is the correct behaviour according to HTTP specification, whatever Twitter adopted in the first place, they should keep. APIs are supposed to be very stable, you can add new features to APIs, but the existing functions should be kept the same. Twitter’s casual attitude to their API not only shows a lack of respect for developers using their API, but also a lack of experience or expertise in the design and implementation of their entire platform.

I will continue to update Twitterlicious 2 for the foreseeable future, but I may have to re-evaluate the amount of time I’m going to spend on the next major revision.

Darwish Takes #1 Squash Ranking From Shabana

Squash world number two Karim Darwish beat fellow Egyptian and world number one Amr Shabana in the quarter-final stages of the Saudi International. According to Darwish’s calculations, this means that, come January, he will have enough points to topple Shabana’s 32 month reign at the top.

Fuji S5 Pro Review

I know I’m a bit late to the game here, but I bought a Fujifilm Finepix S5 Pro a few months ago and it has really paid off. So why would I buy a three-year-old previous generation camera, when there are so many more modern alternatives around?

I think the picture quality of the S5 Pro speaks for itself.

Thirsty Flamingo

Fuji have taken a completely different philosophy with their sensors. Instead of building ultra-high megapixel sensors, they focus on the aspects of a photograph that really matter. And it works.

The colours it produces have a subtle vibrancy that is both saturated but neutral. It looks like film, it looks like how you want real life to look like. No other camera manages it; Canon colours have a slightly unrealistic look to them, and Nikon colours are professional but dull.

It’s difficult to describe the quality of the colours the Fuji S5 Pro produces, especially if I don’t want to exhaust my supply of dreamy adjectives. They have to be seen to be believed.

The Best is Yet to Come

When I had my Nikon D80, the biggest problem I had with it was it’s overexposing meter. When it overexposed, bright areas of the photo would burn out, leaving washed out skies. Digital sensors have always had a small dynamic range (the amount of detail it can capture between pure black and pure white).

The Fuji, with it’s SR sensors, manages to capture a huge amount of dynamic range. This is because the photocells aren’t arranged in a standard checkerboard pattern, but diagonally grid instead, and also they have more than one photocell at each site, the larger ‘S’ cell that captures the main images information, and the smaller ‘R’ cell that captures only the dynamic range.

This large dynamic range lets you recover overexposed photographs back to something that’s doesn’t resemble a piece of white paper. This means that, unlike with any other DSLR, I tend to overexpose the S5 Pro, rather than underexposing. This means shadow areas are well exposed and low on noise, and the bright areas can be brought back in post-processing.

The downside to this dynamic range is that you have to deal with the huge raw files the S5 produces. If you have the ‘R’ cell active, then each raw file is 25MB in size, for only 6MP of real photographic data. On my 8GB compact flash card, this means I can only get around 230 RAW + JPEG photographs on there. The average day shooting will yield close to 8GB of data! So make sure you have enough storage afterwards to keep up with this camera.

The other downside is a side effect of the RAW file size, the camera is fairly slow at processing all this data. Three frames-per-second is the best you can expect, when shooting RAW with the ‘R’ cells inactive. Shooting full RAW + JPEG with the extra dynamic range, you’ll be lucky to get one frame-per-second. So not a camera for the speed freaks.

Building It Up

But once you use the S5 and see the photographs it’s capable of producing, you’ll get over all it’s shortcomings. It’s based on one of the best DX camera bodies around, the Nikon D200. Handling wise, it’s the best camera I’ve ever used. Fuji have crippled it slightly by fitting their inferior UI to the menu system (the Nikon D200 one is considerably better), but again you’ll get over this.

You’ll especially get over all of these issues once you look at how much you paid for it. £485 is the average you’ll pay, down to £385 when the Fujifilm refurb store has their seasonal discount vouchers.

So, if you have £500 to spend on a DSLR this christmas, and you’re wondering on what to spend it on, forget the Nikon D60, or the Canon 450D, or even the alternatives from Sony, or Olympus. The S5 Pro will give you something truly unique to spend your money on.

WordPress 2.7

This is the first release of WordPress since 2.0 that I have been impressed with. The administration interface has been considerably overhauled, and as a result everything looks much more polished. This is the kind of polish that is often lacking from open source software, and I gladly (finally) welcome it to WordPress.

The scale of improvement is good enough to be a 3.0 release. My hat’s off to the developers and designers.

Amazon MP3 Store Launches in UK

Amazon has quietly launched their MP3 store in the UK, a great alternatives to iTunes for a legal way to download DRM-free music.

Looks like they have lots of albums for only £3 each too.

Nikon D3X

Nikon announced it’s worst kept secret today, the D3X, with a whopping MSRP of £5,499.

Nikon is effectively charging £3,000 for a sensor with 12 million more pixels that costs no more to make than the standard D3 sensor.

They have this completely wrong.

The market doesn’t want another professional level DSLR with a price tag to match, what’s needed now is something like Canon’s 5D Mark II, which with 21 megapixels and costing under £1,750, seems like a comparative bargain.

Even if Nikon did make a D700X with this new sensor, would it have the same £3000 price premium over the D700, as the new parts would be the same as the D3x.

It seems Nikon have priced itself out of contention.

If At First You Don’t Succeed

Then try and try again, at least with submitting your iPhone application to Apple’s App Store.

World Squash Championships 2008 Highlights

For those of you too cheap to buy the full replays from PSALive.tv, Channel M have highlights of the World Squash Championships in Manchester this year that you can watch online for free.

Currently only the women’s highlights on available for view, although the men’s should be up soon.

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