Thursday, 24 December 2009

New Gadget — Wireless IP Camera with Night Vision

Has finally treated myself with a new gadget, which is an extremely cool home CCTV with a night vision:

There're probably so many valid uses for it that I can't really come out with anything right now (apart of, obviously, keeping an eye on what's going at home while we're somewhere on holidays and receiving some notifications when something is moving in the flat while it obviously shouldn't), but hey, it's an incredibly cool gadget after all!

This specific model is a 3rd generation of Y-Cam's cameras and is finally 100% compatible with Macs, is able to transmit sound using industry-standard G.726. Furthermore, after a bit of hacking (on the client side) this cam's stream can even be viewed on the iPhone! (however, without the sound and in rubbish quality, but it's still better than nothing). 

Of course, I told Natalie that this is our New Year gift (as obviously it's a bit too late for Christmas) but she somehow didn't sound convinced. However, she didn't sound annoyed too — after all, it's a useful gadget, unlike the great many we already have in our household :-)

Anyway, here's a link to this particular model: http://www.y-cam.com/y-cam-knight-sd#Specification. This is a nice promo video — also worth viewing.  And finally, an all-excited review from one of my most trusted review websites (ironically, it's somehow found the way to it's name) — although it's a pre-previous model, it still gives some idea about what it is. 

A downside is — I will probably get the order only after New Year. Yeah, it's bad, I know, but it's better than nothing and this idea just happened to me this morning. So let's wait and see, and I promise a full detailed review with photographs and videos as soon as I get this cam into my hands.

Tuesday, 22 December 2009

Saturday, 19 December 2009

Reading (fan)fiction off-line in Stanza (and other ebook readers)


Some of us love fanfiction. Again, some of us don’t — so if you happen to be one of those, you probably won’t find this post of any interest to you. On the other hand, if you are interested — read on.


Today, will all these fancy ebook reading devices it’s really hard to keep yourself sticked to your monitor and reading from the websites such as fictionpress.com, fanfiction.net and so on. I felt that it is rather annoying too, so that’s why I’ve developed a fanficdownloader — a library, which helps to download fanfiction stories from multiple websites (list includes fictionpress.com, fanfiction.net, fanfictionauthors.net and others). Well, it was cool and all that stuff, but people didn’t like it (which is by no means surprising as end-users tend to like GUI applications rather than Python libraries with a clumsy CLI interface). So I went a step further…


… and developed fanfictionloader. Shortly, this is a web service, which does two things:



  1. Allows to download stories from all these different websites and convert them to industry-standard ePub or good old HTML using a very simple web interface

  2. Stores these stories for you (and you only) so you can always download them later.


So, if you want to read stories, say, in Stanza (which, surprisingly, supports ePub and supports it really well), your actions are pretty simple:



  1. Go to fanfictionloader and paste a URL of the first chapter of the story (only multi-chapter stories are supported at the moment). Before you get to the application, you must need to log in using your Google account (why you need it — you’ll understand later on).

  2. Click “Download” (you may need to provide your login and password for the website you’re downloading from).

  3. After link appears, don’t click on it but rather click on Previously downloaded fanfics link and make sure, that your story has appeared in the list. This list contains stories which were downloaded by you — and only by you.

  4. Go to your Stanza iPhone app, and add a new Source (like it is described in Stanza FAQ — for example, in bookworm section) with URL fanfictionloader.appspot.com

  5. Go to your newly added sources, login (again) with your Google account and click on the Previously downloaded fanfics. All your books are here. Download them.


Beauty of this approach is that you can download stories while you’re at your computer — and add them to Stanza later on, when you actually need them. Anyway, if you feel that something doesn’t work in the way it should — just ping me a mail/comment/tweet, I’ll be right here.


P.S. It's been my pet project for a long while and finally I decided to make it public. If you find it interesting and want to contribute to it, please let me know. Please also let me know if you terribly miss some functionality (say, you want to support some other website which isn't supported yet) — let me know too.