Thursday, September 29, 2011

Popped Culture Mention

Well, well, looks like one of my paintings actually got posted on a popular website. Popped Culture is a new one to me, but they do have a Technorati authority of 486. That's 485 points better than me, so I guess it can't hurt. Maybe it's time to make those Matlock t shirts now.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Snooki and Her Pet Unicorn

a painting of Jersey Shore's Snooki with a baby unicorn

"Young Lady with Unicorn", 2011

24" x 26", oil on wood

I finally finished my copy of Raphael's "Young Lady with Unicorn" with its more contemporary young "lady". I always liked Raphael's teary-eyed baby unicorn, and I've had it in the back of my mind to try and do a copy of his painting for a while.

Contact Forms Part 1

Well, I've been fooling around with my website this week. I added a cute little redirect page from my old domain at to my new one at I had both domains pointing to the same webfolder, but I want to phase out the domain. For now the old domain still has a higher search engine ranking, so that's why I have the redirect page.

I also finally made a contact form for my site. Making a "simple" contact page has turned into the hardest thing I've ever done in building my new site. Since I have a Microsoft package with my hosting company, I had to try using ASP to send the completed email form. I had no experience with ASP, and I couldn't even get the script my hosting company provided me to work and neither could technical support. So it appears if I want a real functioning contact form I'm going to have to move my site to a Linux server and use PHP. That means my site will probably be down for a few days.

In the meantime, I have a simple html email form with a very simple mailto: function, which defeats the point of having a contact form in the first place (hiding your email address). This "simpler" version also doesn't work properly. As I have it now, people fill out the form fields, click send, and the form opens up their email client (if they even have one) and sends me a blank email. I tried both the "get" and "post" methods. With "post" it would show the completed form fields in the email client, and then it looks like it sent it. But I get nothing. At least with "get" I get a blank email with the sender's address.

Friday, September 9, 2011

The Blob From Brno

I just found out that Czech architect Jan Kaplicky's radical blob design for the Czech National Library in Prague will finally be built after all. But it won't be a library. It will be a bus stop. I wrote about Kaplicky's struggle to get his design built a couple years ago on this blog, so I was very interested when I heard that his blob design was finally going to see the light of day.

Apparently Pepsi sponsored some kind of design competition for public art in the Czech Republic, and the winner adapted Kaplicky's controversial design for a new national library into a simple bus stop. Petty bureaucrats in Prague may not have liked the design for the library, but it's alright with Pepsi. The Blob is the "choice of a new generation"!

The bus stop blob is supposed to be completed by the end of the month, and what makes it so interesting for me is that the new bus stop will be in an area I am personally very familiar with. The Blob will be among the blocks of apartment buildings in the Lesna suburb of Brno. I lived on Sramkova in Lesna for six months back in the winter and spring of 2005, and my wife still keeps her apartment there.

Below are pictures of the proposed Czech National Library, and the proposed new bus stop in Brno's Lesna estate:

And here is a map of Lesna with my wife Jasa's place marked, the walking route I always took to go buy groceries at Billa and the new home for the Blob:

Thursday, September 1, 2011

JCopia Review

I recently received a request via email to do a product review on my blog. I did one of these software reviews last year:, so I decided to try my hand at another one. This one is for Jiteco's JCopia 4.7.5466. JCopia 4.7 captures streaming video or audio and saves it as a file to your hard-drive.

I downloaded the program from the link in the email I got, and right off the bat, I was a little miffed. After the initial download of a very small (1.5Mb) file, JCopia required an additional download of .NET Framework 4.0 (48Mb) before it would install itself. Once I had allowed the .NET Framework download and JCopia had installed itself, I clicked on the icon to open it, and a little dialogue box came up and instructed me that I must now download the WinPCap library. What!

At this point I gave up. It always makes me a little suspicious when a new program keeps asking me to download more large files before it will operate. I know that JCopia probably runs on the .NET Framework, and it probably just needs a packet capture application like WinPCap to capture that audio and video streaming over a network, but WinPCap can also be used to gather and analyze all network traffic. I just don't know enough about Jiteco, the creators of JCopia, to give their little application anymore powerful controls over my system or network, and their official video doesn't give me anymore confidence. Who's narrating this? Borat?

Okay, this guy obviously has a heavy Russian accent. I'm sorry to be prejudiced, but Russia still has a terrible reputation for malware, spam and botnets. I'm always wary of anything on the web that looks like it originates from Russia. They still have a ways to go to live down their cybercrime image.

Besides, when it comes to capturing streaming video, I already have a great application, and it's free. RealPlayer. Since RealPlayer 11 they have added the ability to capture streaming video from tube sites and the like. If you have version 11 or later (I think 14 is the latest), you automatically have a free streaming video downloader as an addon to your browser. I know it works well in IE and Firefox. When I recently upgraded to Firefox 6.0 Firefox said the RealPlayer Downloader addon would no longer work, but it does. When a streaming video loads in my browser a "download this video" option pops up in the corner of the video, and if I want I can click on it.

RealPlayer has worked great for me so far. And there are many other free options. Youtube even gives you the option to download any of their non-protected videos. You just type save in front of the youtube address of the video you are watching and youtube gives you the option to save the streaming content as an .flv or an .Mp4. For instance: lets you download a cool video of singing kittens. Actually, on second thought, I don't think is affiliated with Youtube, but even though it doesn't supply identity info, it appears to be safe.