Robot Attacked Factory Worker! Judgement Day Coming Soon?

29 04 2009

Terminator Salvation PosterIn one of the most true to life Terminator experience ever, this guy almost got killed by a rock lifting machine! Here is a quote from the news article:

The incident took place in June 2007 at a factory in Bålsta, north of Stockholm, when the industrial worker was trying to carry out maintenance on a defective machine generally used to lift heavy rocks. Thinking he had cut off the power supply, the man approached the robot with no sense of trepidation.

But the robot suddenly came to life and grabbed a tight hold of the victim’s head. The man succeeded in defending himself but not before suffering serious injuries.

“The man was very lucky. He broke four ribs and came close to losing his life,” said Leif Johansson.

To read more regarding this robot attacking news, click here.

Don’t you think this news seems to be written in anticipation of the next Terminator movie, entitled Terminator Salvation, due to be released next month? The next news we might hear would be a gang of robots teaming up to attack humans soon.

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Setting up a Home Theater PC

20 04 2009

Home Theater PCs, also known as HTPC is something which is not new in the States, but more so in Malaysia. With a HTPC, you can play high definition videos, games and music all in the comfort of your living hall. As I have some old components to spare, I have decided to come up with my own HTPC at home. It serves as a temporary distraction from me getting a PS3 or a XBox 360 that I have been craving for quite some time already!

My Home Theater PC Running Windows 7

My Home Theater PC Running Windows 7

So some of you might be wondering, what do I need in order to create a HTPC? Here are some of the general requirements:

  • A PC with at least a Dual-Core processor, 2GB of RAM and a 256MB Graphic Card preferably from NVidia or ATI which supports at least component output or HDMI. (These specs are important to play high-definition videos on the PC).
  • A Media Center OS. I would recommend Windows XP Media Center Edition 2005, Windows Vista or Windows 7. This is because these OSes contains dedicated software for playing media files.
  • Wireless HTPC remote or a Wireless Keyboard/Mouse set (I chose the latter)
  • A television, preferably a LCD or plasma TV with minimum specs of 720p, 1080i or 1080p. You may still use a usual CRT based television as long as your graphic card supports it.
  • And last but not least, you will need a HTPC casing which would look presentable to be placed in the living hall. I was fortunate enough to get one from a local computer store for just RM120 without power supply.

Once you are done, just hook up the cables for to both your TV and amplifier and play around with the settings of your graphic card driver. The best resolutions to select would be either 1280×720 or 1920×1080. These resolutions will of course depend on whether your TV supports them or not. To ensure that the TV can support these resolutions, ensure that your HDTV has the specifications of at least 720p, 1080i or 1080p.

Once you are done, thats all to it for an all in once media center in your living room. I have even connected a wireless XBox 360 controller to the PC to further enhance my gaming experience. So what are you waiting for? Start building your HTPC today!





Silverlight Slide.Show for your Site!

13 04 2009

Fancy creating a cool slide show for your uploaded photos to be viewed online? Use Slide.Show, a Silverlight slideshow viewer created by Vertigo. Want to know why its nice? Just have a look at the screenshots below and view a sample done by me here on my toy collection. You may also check out a generic sample here.

As they say, “A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words”! It would have been more interesting if I could place the Silverlight control directly into this post. Unfortunately, I can’t do so on WordPress.com’s blog. 😦

My Toys Photo Gallery in Vertigo's Slide.Show

My Toys Photo Gallery in Vertigo's Slide.Show

A Set of Generic Photos using Vertigo's Slide.Show

A Set of Generic Photos using Vertigo's Slide.Show

Vertigo's Slide.Show Photo Gallery and Categorization

Vertigo's Slide.Show Photo Gallery and Categorization

To learn more on how to use Vertigo’s Silverlight Slide.Show, click here to visit Vertigo’s official Slide.Show page. You can place all your pictures in by just editing the data.xml file.





Spice up Your Desktop with Bump3D!

9 04 2009

This cool video below shows how Bump3D can change the way you manage your desktop. By implementing 3D and some physics, you can now control your desktop magically with your fingers (with Windows 7 that is) or your mouse. And the best part is, you can try it right now by downloading it right here.

Have already installed and tried it and I must say that I was pretty impressed and awed by it!





Me Grimlock is MP-08!

6 04 2009

After stressing myself out on work, I have decided to go over to Graffiti Toys to get myself a Master Piece Transformer. This is the very first time that I have got myself a Transformer which is of masterpiece quality. The MP that I got was none other than Dinobot Commander, Grimlock which was just release in Japan about 2 weeks ago! I was pretty lucky to get it for just RM360 (Original retail price: RM400).Below are some snapshots of the toy in robot mode and alternate mode.

MP08 Grimlock has quite a number of interesting features and tricks. By pushing his arm, you can get the gun/sword that he is holding to blink. Besides that, he also comes with a apron and drink tray to serve, a la the 1st generation Transformers cartoon! What an interesting toy… Now I am poisoned to get MP01 Optimus Prime… HELP!





Fixing Silverlight Applications that Requires East Asian Languages Installed

6 04 2009

Recently, when working on CRSM’s Computer-Based Training Silverlight application, I have encountered quite a big problem where people whose PC does not have East Asian Language installed are unable to view it. Basically, the problem started because we have used a video carousel control which has globalization applied. Globalization allows programmers to localize and create their software in multiple languages.

Upon the loading of the XAP file, if a file under certain language is not found, Silverlight somehow disable the showing of the application altogether unless East Asian languages are installed. The error which was displayed is  “Unhandled Error in Silverlight 2 Application” with code 2105 as shown below.

silverlighteastasianlanguageerror

As our application do not require Chinese language that has been utilized by the video carousel, the chinese language DLL file which should be loaded is unnecessary for PCs without East Asian languages installed. However, Silverlight 2 automatically loads it even after knowing that the computer do not have support for East Asian Languages. This is basically a bug which has already been fixed for the next version of Silverlight, which is Silverlight 3. To temporarily fix this problem, all we need to do is to ensure that Silverlight does not load other language’s DLL file.

To do so, simply use any zipping program (i.e. Winzip or Winrar) to open the XAP file. Inside the zipped XAP file, you should get a set of files which looks like this:

xapcontentWhat we would like to do is to edit the AppManifest.xml file which is located inside this XAP file (not the one which is located in the same folder as your XAP file). After opening it, all I did was to remove the languages DLL Assembly Parts which were causing me problems. i.e:

<AssemblyPart Source=”zh-Hans/System.Windows.Controls.resources.dll” />
<AssemblyPart Source=”zh-Hans/Cokkiy.Display.VideoCarousel.resources.dll” />

Once I have taken these 2 lines ouf of the AppManifest.xml file, my Silverlight application could now run on any system whether they have East Asian languages installed or not.

However, this temporary hack won’t help in globalization because what we have basically done above will delete any initialization to different language resources. As I have mentioned before above however, this will be fixed come Silverlight 3. There are more advanced hacks available out there to allow your AppManifest.xml to load based on the language that is available in the PC if you still require globalization to be done on your application. You can find it here at http://wpf-e.spaces.live.com/blog/cns!2B248D261D0E0035!407.entry





CRSM’s Silverlight Computer-Based Training Application

3 04 2009

Recently, I have supervised some students to come up with a Silverlight Computer-Based Training Portal for the Crisis Relief Squad of MCA. By using Microsoft Expression Blend for design and Microsoft Visual Studio 2008 for back-end coding, we have created quite a unique Silverlight UX for this application. Some of the effects used were Video Carousel, Slide Show and a little 3D. Check out the site here! Credits go to Kee Kok Foo and Kueh Tai Yong for creating such an interesting app!

Below are some of the screenshots of the application:

The Landing Page for CRSM's Silverlight Computer-Based Training

The Landing Page for CRSM

Welcome page for CRSM's Silverlight CBT

Welcome page for CRSM

Slide Viewer on CRSM's Silverlight CBT

Slide Viewer on CRSM

Video Carousel Viewer on CRSM's Silverlight CBT

Video Carousel Viewer on CRSM

Hopefully we can come up with some improvements on this system in terms of performance soon. Currently, the loading time is a little slow. It requires approximately 5 minutes of downloading to view at the moment. A custom loading screen would also be a good idea to replace the usual Silverlight loading screen, but we still need to learn how to do that!