A southern U.S. New Years tradition: blackeye peas and cornbread

Blackeye peas. Cornbread.

full disclosure

Interns need food too

Sign on refrigerator: Please use labels on items left in refrigerator. Items not labeled will be thrown out. Added in handwriting: Or Eaten. Added again: by internsTaken at Grace Bible Church


surfing properly

Readability. You want this

When you try to read a website, you want to avoid ad clutter, landmines and stuff that flies across the screen. The free Readability bookmarklet for Firefox, Safari and Chrome may be the best way.

Before Readability:

newspaper obscured by ads and other distractions

After Readability:


Huerta’s Taqueria

Taco truck

plate of taco truck food in foreground. feet of people in line for theirs in backgound

Much flavor. Much food. Located behind the under-construction Agrilife Headquarters building around lunchtime. (See approximate location on Google Maps.) It may be helpful to beat the construction workers by getting there around 11:45 or so. Note that they leave at 12:10-12:20 once everyone’s served.

Then, enjoy your meal on the nice tables in the Texas A&M Holistic Garden.

Once the Agrilife building is completed, of course, Huerta’s will no longer be in this location. But the Garden will still be there.

food motorcycles


Harley. 1200. Low. *smiles*

nachosShot using ShakeItPhoto, a cool iPhone Polaroid emulator. This app mimics that old camera’s style right down to the sound, having to shake it to speed up its “development”, and the color effect.


Industry info Software

AIR: what is it good for?

Still trying to figure out the practical usefulness of the Adobe Integrated Runtime (AIR). Interesting points in the second paragraph of this Adobe blog: AIR as “PDF of the Web 2.0”. He’s proposing that AIR do for all (other) mobile devices what the App Store is doing for the iPhone.

AIR bascially lets you take anything you’ve created for online (HTML and/or JavaScript and/or Flash) and, fairly easily, turn it into a cross-platform (Win/OSX/Linux) desktop app. I went through the tutorials at the Adobe Community Summit in May ’07. As a former long-time Director user, it seemed useful but maybe late to the party.

Plus, for CD delivery to a client (we still get these jobs), they still need to download the AIR runtime itself. I’m thinking that from an end user’s point of view, this is one too many steps.

Flash free resources Software

Good free, online video utilities

Even though we use all the high-dollar professional video editors and encoders at my work, for personal stuff and recommendations I always try to watch for what’s out there free, keeping track of them in my Google Notebook. A recent article on this subject on Lifehacker reminded me of some of these, and the comments on the article added some more good links. When my wife wanted to download some videos from YouTube (non-copyrighted, of course) and edit them in iMovie, here’s some of the things we used:

Desktop FLV Players

For anyone who works with Flash video, the annoying lack of a proper Adobe FLV desktop player has not been relieved by the Adobe Media Player. AMP is more of a sell-TV-show software than a simple FLV player. The VideoLAN VLC Media Player is a good, simple FLV desktop video player. For Mac users, even better, installing the Perian QuickTime component lets you open and view FLVs, and a bunch of other formats, directly in QuickTime Player.

Format converters

We tried’s Online FLV Converter first, but the server was always busy. So we used the excellent free desktop video format converter, and alternative to the $30 QuickTime Pro, MPEG Streamclip for Mac and Windows. This does all kind of quick and dirty conversions, including converting FLVs back to MOV and other formats too. We found that using the inpoint/outpoint keyboard shortcuts (I and O) made it simple to convert just the clips we wanted to bring into the editing software without having to convert entire long videos.

Downloading from YouTube

For downloading FLVs from YouTube etc., there’s a bunch of ways, but I’m liking, a simple online tool done in Flash.


A while ago we impulse-bought a $99 video camera. It’s amazingly good for the price in every way but one—it shoots in ASF, an old Windows streaming format. Still keeping an eye out for a simple, free way to convert these into an editable format.

ActionScript Flash free resources links online training

Learning Flash/ActionScript

We had some discussion at the last meeting re. Flash and its scripting language, ActionScript. Flash started as an animation program, using a keyframe/timeline model, and it can still be used this way. But to achieve the full power of the modern Flash, you’ll want to learn some ActionScript.

ActionScript is now at version 3.0, which came out about two years ago. I still use AS v.2 but will move to v.3 as soon as practical, project-wise (the only Flash project I’m working on now is an extension of a two-year old AS2 project). I’ve also delayed because I’m careful about forcing users to upgrade Flash Player versions (AS3 requires FP9, now almost two years old) unless really required.

I’ve recently read some discussion of the ‘difficulty’ of learning AS3 as compared to previous versions. What’s the difference between v.2 and v.3? Short description heard at last fall’s Adobe MAX conference in a session titled Intro to ActionScript 3: “AS3 is harder to learn at first but easier to work with once you do.” So, check the links in this post and dive in to one or the other.

BVAUG meeting notes free resources

Ubuntu LAMP Server Installation: thanks Karsten!

At the April meeting, Karsten Pearce walked us through the steps for an Ubuntu LAMP (Linux, Apache, MySQL, PHP) installation. Here are the notes he used for this presentation, which he compiled from various online sources: LAMP Setup (PDF).

One thing he recommended is, that if you’re planning to do a dual-boot setup with Windows, to install Windows first. This is my situation since I have a PC with a wiped hard drive I’m planning to try this on.

Thank you Karsten!

Industry info

Interesting web stats

If the global web stats from this site are close to right:

  • less than half the people still use IE6
  • one in five uses IE7
  • one in four uses Firefox
  • one in 50 uses Safari
  • only one in twelve still have 800×600 resolution
  • eleven of twelve search with Google
I first saw these linked from