Here’s a quick guide I wrote on how to use Photoshop to easily measure an area on a Map using Photoshop.
In this guide I’m using Photoshop CS5 for Mac, most of the concepts will be similar for the other versions.
First up: Scan your map and get it into Photoshop
Working out the Scale
1. If you’ve got a scale marker on your map, use that, otherwise you’ll need to measure a distance that you know, in this case I used a basketball court (marked as 20mx33m).
2. Use the Ruler Tool in Photoshop (hidden under the eyedropper tool) and select the distance for your scale.
3. In the ruler tool options (top of the screen usually), make sure “Use Measurement Scale” is unticked. Then look at the L1 value. Write this number down!
4. In my example I got the value 246.88px. So from this we can work out that there’s 246.88 pixels in 20 meters.
This gives us 12.344 pixels per meter and if we square it we get 152.374px per square meter.
Highlighting the Area
1. Make a new layer, and using a wonderful bright colour, paint over the area you want to calculate the size of. Make sure you set the brush to have a hardness of 100%.
2. Use the Magic Wand Selection Tool to select the area you just painted. Set the tolerance to 1 and untick Antialias and Contiguous (it should select everything you’ve painted).
3. Go to the Window Menu and bring up the Histogram. If it doesn’t have the numbers underneath it, click the drop down box in the top right hand corner of it and go to Expanded View.
4. Change the “Source” dropdown box in the Histogram window to Selected Layer and write down the number under Pixels. I got 157,529px.
Doing the math
So we know that one square meter is 152.374px and our selected area is 157,529px.
So we do some quick division: 157529/152.374 and we get 1033.83meters^2
If you used this or have any corrections, please leave a comment
Papercrafting with aluminium cans
I wanted to see if papercrafting was possible using aluminium cans (ie. Coke cans), I did a bit of a google around and there doesn’t seem to be a lot of information on the subject, so I figured I’d do some research and try a few techniques out to see what I could come up with. I’ve split this into sections to make it a little easier to read.
If you’ve never made anything out of papercraft before, I suggest you look elsewhere Papercraft Museum and make something out of paper, it takes a significant amount of more effort (and time) to work with aluminium.
Flattening the Cans
First up, I used a knife to cut the top and bottom off the can (you can use scissors, but you’ll need to use a knife to get a start to it) and then using scissors to chop the cans into a piece I can flatten. After you’ve cut them into sheets like that, neaten the edges by using a pair of scissors to cut them straight and make sure there’s no little sharp bits.
The method for flattening the cans that I’ve found works best is to use a sandwich maker (an old one, don’t ruin your good sandwich maker!!). Before turning it on, lay down a piece of baking paper on the bottom, put about 4 cans in, then add another layer of baking paper on the top (this should help prevent at least a little bit of damage to the sandwich maker).
Hold the cans down flat as you close the lid, once you’ve done that, turn the sandwich maker on.
I haven’t fully experimented with getting the best efficiency here, but I left it on for 10 minutes with 4 cans in there, then turned it off and let it cool before I opened it.
Taadaa! Flat cans!
Other methods I have tried are:
* Ironing (Does nothing)
* Ironing and bending at the same time. This method works, but you end up with your piece looking a little bit bent as it’s hard to get it as flat as you would in a sandwich maker.
* Clamping it between 2 pieces of wood. This does absolutely nothing, if you leave it for a day or a week, they bend right back to their natural shape.
It seems like heat is very important in getting these things to stay flat.
Cutting the Sheets
I printed my design out on paper first, cut the paper version out then used it to trace onto the sheet. You may end up with pieces that’re bigger than the can, so you’ll have to deal with this by splitting it into 2 pieces.
Also, because the cans are way thicker than paper, you’ll end up with parts that will fall short because the thickness of the paper messes it up. I just dealt with it as I went and it may have resulted in a less than perfect final product, the design would probably have to be altered to give a bit of room in some corners to account for the extra thickness.
Using a knife is practically useless, you just can’t drag a knife through aluminium like you can through paper.
Scissors on the other hand are brilliant, it’s just like cutting through paper. The only issue is the end of the scissors can cause the aluminium to bend a bit. To counter this, I use a knife to piece the corners, then use the scissors to cut up to them. It’s not perfect but does the trick nicely.
You should also score the pieces using whatever you normally use to score, I use a thing that’s a bit like a needle on the end of a knife handle.
Folding is pretty simple, just do as you normally do. Be careful about bending too much though, as the metal will weaken the more you bend it!
This part is rather difficult, I tried a whole bunch of glues to work out how to get it to stick properly, I ended up settling on Contact Cement. (Contact Cement is the sort that you apply to both surfaces, let sit for ~20minutes then push them together).
This part is going to take the majority of your time, I suggest you glue 1-2 pieces at a time, put the contact cement on them, let them sit the full 20 minutes, then push together (hold for ~10 seconds or so to make sure it’s solid) before moving onto gluing 2 more pieces. Get a movie out, play some games… It’ll take a while.
The contact cement wasn’t the greatest however, as if the metal is trying to flex against the glue, it’ll pull itself apart unless you sit there holding it for at least 30 seconds, even then it doesn’t feel as strong as one would hope.
I didn’t end up trying Epoxy however, so that would be a good thing to experiment with.
Other glues I tried:
* Aleene’s Original Tacky Glue (the metal surface was too shiny for the glue to stick once it dried). This is the glue of Papercrafting gods that I had to import from the US to Australia. It’s very similar to PVA/Wood Glue, just slightly tackier making it awesome for papercraft. Just not for… Aluminiumcraft
* “Hobby Cement” – Same deal as the Tacky Glue above
* Bostik Multi Bond – Same deal as above, it just can’t stick to the metal as well as it should.
And here’s my end result! Would I do it again? Nope, it took me about 3 days to get the whole thing done when the paper version took closer to a couple hours….
The design I got from: Tenpepakura Translated
And thanks to: Build Totodile for showing me where to get it
So it appears that Microsoft removed the ability to scan directly into a document in Office 2007.
It’s a pretty silly move I suppose, so I tried to work out a way to bring the functionality back, first of all, here’s how Microsoft suggests you should do it: http://support.microsoft.com/kb/924462
Step 1: Use the software that was included with your scanner to scan and save the image to your computer.
… Yeah, no thanks.
Here’s two actual solutions to the problem:
Option 1: Using a Key Combo
Install your scanner drivers as per normal.
In Word, press the alt key and type ips (note: don’t hold them down or it won’t work, just type out ips).
Word will then pop up asking you what scanner you want to use. It didn’t bring up the scanner interface on the machine I was working with, it just went right ahead and scanned the whole document, so this may not be the best solution for some. Note that the next solution is more difficult and does exactly the same thing as this one.
Source: Comments on this page: http://www.pcpro.co.uk/realworld/360373/how-to-scan-into-word-2010
Option 2: Creating a button on the Ribbon
This option is a lot more complicated, make sure you get all the steps right and in order! When you’re done you’ll have a button on your Insert tab of the Ribbon.
- Open Word and go to the View Tab then click on Macros.
- Give the macro a name (eg. Scan)
- Enter the following text EXACTLY: Application.WordBasic.InsertImagerScan
- Save and Close the Window
- Right click anywhere on the Ribbon and Select “Customise the Ribbon”
- On the right hand pane, click on the Insert category and click New Group.
- Rename the Group to anything you like (eg. Scan)
- On the Left Hand Pane, Change the drop down box at the top to Macros then select the Macro you made in step 2-4 and click the Add button (so it appears underneath the scan group you made in Step 6.
- Rename it to something better like “Scan Document” and pick a pretty picture for it.
- Click Okay and you’re done!
Now you can just click the button to Scan a document. It’s exactly the same as the alt-ips option above though, but might be easier for people to remember so they can click the button.
If this helped you, please leave a comment to say thanks
Here’s a link to a little article I found about getting the Xerox Phaser 3123, 3124 and Xerox Docuprint 203/204a’s working on a Mac (including Lion).
Basically: the Xerox printers are just rebranded Brother/Samsung printers, so you can go to the Brother/Samsung website and download the drivers to make it work.
The Xerox Phaser 3123 and 3124 are the same as the Samsung ML 2510.
If you’re using the network on the 3124, then it just works as a generic postscript printer.
The Xerox DocuPrint 203a/204a use the Brother HL-2040 driver.
EDIT: If you’re looking for a qualified driver for the Xerox 204A, use the Brother HL-2040 driver linked above. The driver on the the Xerox site for the 204A is not a Windows Qualified driver and was having issues with iPrint for us.
Another Edit: If you’re having issues with the Xerox 204A printers, you can do a full factory reset on them by doing the following:
1. Turn the printer off
2. Hold down the Go button and turn the printer on. The lights will go solid after a few seconds with the Ready light off.
3. Let go of the go button, then press it 6 times. The printer will then start normally and be reset.
I got this info from the Brother HL-2040 tech manual here (this doubles as the Xerox 204A Tech Manual too): http://welcome.solutions.brother.com/BSC/Public/files/dlf/doc000360/HL2070N_NUG_ENG_1.pdf
If any of this has helped you, please leave a comment with how things worked out for you!
There’s a surprising amount of information that people don’t know about USB Sticks, a lot of people have wrong information about it. I’d like to write this post to explain to everyone some common misconceptions about USB sticks, what to look for when buying a USB stick and some cool tips for making them better.
Also, I just bought myself a new USB Stick and it took me a few days to find the one I wanted (yes, days, days of hunting to find the best one for me).
Common Misconceptions about USB Sticks
You don’t need to Safely Remove (or Eject) a USB Stick.
When you go to Safely Remove a USB Stick, your computer will make sure that nothing is doing anything with the drive. If you’re copying data to the USB Stick, it could corrupt files that are transferring to it. But here’s the big one: USB Drives typically use a thing called FAT32 to store their data, this is so the drive will work on both Macs and PCs. 99% of the time when you don’t safely eject, everything is fine, but there’s a special part of the drive that stores where all the files on your drive are, if this gets corrupted (by unplugging it at just the wrong moment), all your data will be lost.
USB Sticks have no moving parts, so they can’t break.
I’ve seen many USB Sticks fail, sometimes it’s quite sudden and your drive will simply just stop working. There’s nothing you can do to save the data. If you’re really lucky and have a lot of money, you could get a professional to try to recover the data (costing you upwards of $10,000).
If you notice your USB Stick doing something odd like not being recognised by the computer or suddenly dropping out and not working until you unplug/replug it in, stop using it and buy a new one.
USB Sticks can’t survive a trip through the washing machine
They totally can (usually). If yours ends up through the wash, let it dry out for at least a few days (don’t even dare plugging it in until it’s 100% dry, inside and out). If you’ve got some silica gel (those little anti moisture packets), put it in an air tight tupperware container with it. Rice works too.
You can also get waterproof USB Sticks.
Buying a USB Stick
There’s a lot of different USB Sticks you can buy. Try to steer clear of the novelty ones firstly, they’re pretty much the cheapest USB Stick whacked into a fancy case.
USB Sticks range from very slow (2-3MB/s transfer speed) to really quick (over 100MB/s). Most USB Drives on the market are USB2, this means they’ve got a theoretical maximum speed of about 60MB/s (480mbit USB2), but you’ll most likely never see any over 35MB/s. The latest USB sticks coming out now are USB3 sticks, these ones have speeds of over 100MB/s (in theory) but you must have USB3 on your computer to use it (not all new computers even have this yet, so it’s unlikely you would have USB3).
Does the speed really matter? Yes. Take one of the better Kingston USB Sticks for example, it has 20MB/s read and 10MB/s Write. To copy a 1gb Movie onto the drive, it will take you almost 2 minutes. On the other hand, the Patriot SuperSonic at 70MB/s Write speed: 15 seconds (or, at USB2 speeds: 31seconds).
Basically: There are a lot of really slow drives out there, ones that make you want to tear your eyes out as it trudges along at 2-3MB/s (yes, there are a lot of drives this slow out there).
At the moment (June 2011), USB Drives go up to 128GB, this is pretty cool, but really expensive at the same time. The sweet spot is around 16gb ($35) or if you need something a bit bigger, 32gb to 64gb ($100 and $200).
This one is more important than you think. The USB Drive has to fit with other USB devices plugged in next to it (this is really, really important). There’s nothing more annoying than having to unplug a bunch of other devices so you can plug in your USB Drive.
Keep an eye out for the USB3 drives, I’ve only seen one that has a small enough footprint to fit next to other drives (the Patriot Supersonic Drive – See Image on Right).
There’s a whole heap of different ways they build these things, fancy caps on the end, flip out covers, cool clicky bits to make it click into place… Most of them suck though.
The ones that click (you push the end until the USB bit is clicked into place) seem fine at first, but if you’re trying to get it into a tight USB port, it’ll click back.
The other thing to look at is the physical toughness of the drive, most of them are plastic, but you can buy rubber ones that are more shock proof and waterproof and metal ones as well.
You can get some USB Sticks that use Hardware Encryption to encrypt the data on the drive.
In short: Don’t bother, unless you’re a crazy encryption nuthead, the encryption will only slow the drive down and increase the cost. I would suggest getting any USB drive and using something like Truecrypt (http://www.truecrypt.org/) to encrypt the data on the drive.
If you’re going to spend over $100 on a USB drive, check the warranty! Most come with 3-5 year warranties.
Some USB Sticks ship with a thing called the U3 System (or something else, there’s a couple different ones), supposedly trying to make your life easier. 95% of the time it slows you down and annoys the crap out of you. If you’ve got U3 installed on the drive, go here for instructions on how to remove it (http://kb.sandisk.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/2550/~/removing-u3-launchpad-on-a-pc). If it’s not U3 and something else, google something like: Remove <insert name of thing here>
There should be some results on how to get rid of it
Where to buy
I typically get my USB drives online from places like PC Case Gear (http://www.pccasegear.com/) or UMart (http://www.umart.com.au).
Avoid getting ones from eBay, especially if they’re strangely cheaper than the other ones. There has been a lot of scams where they will sell you a USB stick saying 128gb, when it’s actually a 128mb drive with 128gb written on it (and some crazy tricks to even make the computer think it’s 128gb). See this page for more details on the scam (http://reviews.ebay.com.au/BEWARE-of-FAKE-1GB-2GB-4GB-8GB-USB-Flash-Drives-on-eBay_W0QQugidZ10000000000706427)
Cool Tricks for USB Sticks
USB Sticks are really easy to lose and very hard to work out who owns it. Make a text file called “If Lost Open Me!.txt” and leave it on the USB Drive, include your contact details and phone number so whoever finds the stick can return it to you!
Autorun File Trickery
On Windows Machines, they will read a file called autorun.inf when you plug a USB Stick in, inside this file you can include details like the default action (Windows XP only), the icon and the name of the USB Stick (this is separate from the name of the drive and lets you give it longer, case sensitive names).
Note that this doesn’t work on fully up to date machines as Microsoft have disabled the functionality (what a buzz kill).
This has the added bonus of working as an indication that a virus is on your USB Stick: If you notice that your fancy icon and all that is missing, it’s likely that a virus has replaced your autorun.inf file. Go check it and make sure it’s not trying to run something else!
Also: If you don’t use this trick and you see a file on your USB called autorun.inf, get rid of it. Alternately, a folder called “System” is also a part of a virus, delete that too!
To make an autorun file for yourself, download this file and edit the autorun.inf file in your favourite text editor (leave a comment if you need help!).
BACK UP YOUR USB STICK
Seriously, if your only copy of your thesis, photos or any other important documents is on your USB Stick BACK IT UP NOW.
Always Always Always keep multiple copies of your data.
Things will fail, you are not an exception to the rule. If you’ve never had a data failure before, that doesn’t make you immune to them later.
Think I missed something? Got something to share? Liked the Article? Leave a Comment below!
We’ve deployed 6 iPads in our school as a trial run, I used these 6 to work out how we can handle and manage many iOS devices in a primarily Windows based school. Here are my findings.
This article explains how to run a ping test on a Mac and save it to a file so you can pass the file onto another person or to your ISP. It was originally written for people living in Australia, but will work fine for anyone anywhere around the world (just replace pacific.net.au for another website that’s closer to you).
Also note that this information only applies to Mac computers and will not work on a Windows machine.
Tired of looking at the words Novell plastered all over the screens of your computer when they’re not logged in? This guide will show you how to change both the banner for the “Press Ctrl-Alt-Del” screen as well as the screen where you enter your login details.
We signed up for this service called ClickView which allows us to stream videos to any machine on the school network. The idea is quite good, they worry about the Copyright (as long as you get their videos) and all you have to do is install the software on your server, load in the videos and then install the client on all the machines you want to use it on.
It hasn’t all been without issues though, here’s my experiences with it:
Here’s a nice quick post on how to boot a USB stick in VMWare Fusion.