Les Promenades Gatineau donates a portion of our Santa picture sales to Centraide. This year $21,505.
In my event server Mac app, I prepare a lot of native cocoa composite images. I ran across a strange issue lately. My composite pictures when printed, seemed very dull compared with previous use of my cocoa app, which also were a bit on the dull side. I suspected the colour profile or image type of my starting templates to be the cause, but no matter what I did they appeared ok on the screen but dull when printed on my professional printer. Normal non-composite pictures printed perfectly. I discussed it with my Noritsu tech. We experimented with changes to the chroma, profile, brightness of a print channel of my printer. In the end we added chroma and contrast to the print channel of composite printer. A compromise.
Then on the last day of my 2 month event shoot, I noticed my Mac mini had an incorrect display profile. No big deal, so I changed it. Immediately the templates started coming out of my app, even brighter and darker. After some quick experimenting, the solution was wierd but obvious. For some reason the native cocoa app takes into account the display profile of the Mac it is running on. Oh well, I only spent countless hours and at least 50m of paper trying to figure it out in November/December. As good cocoa image documentation/examples can be rare, I actually had given up. Regardless, I am so happy to now have control of my templates again.
My script for OTACanada's Super Contours was removed this year as it used an older version of google map that was no longer supported. Super Contours is a widget I wrote that shows all the 36dbu service contours of local television stations that overlap your current position. It should indicate the minimum number of local television stations that you should be expected to receive with an indoor antenna and worst case a roof mounted one (excluding local obstructions).
I have revisited the code and now have my contour map KMLs working with the latest version of Google maps. The new widget can be run here:
In my investigation, I have also discovered that my super contours are not currently working in my IOS app as the FCC has recently changed the way individual station contour maps are accessed. I will do an update shortly to rectify this.
I have retired (removed) OCFetch,TTCFetch and LAFetch from the app store. They were fun to code but there is no point updating them. I may do something with TTCfetch next year.
Before the next renewal of the server services for these apps, I will delete the server software thus ending the functionality of existing apps currently in service.
I updated my OTACanada website. I removed old content, added new. Will be adding some new web tools and cleaning up some of the old. Most of my tools used an older version of the google maps API and no longer functioned.
Next I will revisit my contour mapping scripts.
For those waiting I am planning a few upgrades shortly. OTAMap will get a new feature or two. Also expect an upgrade to OTAOttawa to speed up its api with the server and a swap of servers. In addition in January, the WordAmaze App will be rewritten to be less "clunky" and server-free.
I have planned for a while to retire my transit apps this fall. Apple is doing a big clean up of older apps and it is the perfect time to retire them. Unfortunately I have done little maintenance or upgrading. I have lots of ideas and features that I could add, but the few sales will never justify the work. Currently the server/domain costs are much more than any sales. Another issue is that google is sure to totally take over transit mapping.
Apps to be retired this month. OCFetch,TTCFetch and LAFetch.
Oh well, they were fun to code at the time.
This last Christmas (2015) we did Santa Claus pictures at the Gatineau Mall
It was our most successful year yet at Gatineau and we are looking forward to next year. A portion of each package was donated to Charity by Les Promenades.
Started a new web site for our booming event photography business. Bokoo as in beaucoup! http://www.photobokoo.com
And in every other nook and cranny in Canada and the United States. For Northern Canada I use official IRC Canadian data.
The app had 3 5/5 ratings and suddenly someone rates the app as 1/5 because it doesn't work in Edmonton when it clearly does. Oh well.
I only wish they had bothered to email me or checked their preference options. Perhaps in the next upgrade I will automatically select "use IRC data" if further north than 200 miles of the US border.
For Northern Canada the following preference needs to be set (Include Industry Canada Data) and the result shown below.
Last year I experimented with a couple of HDHomerun units. I wrote some scripts to access the units to allow some DXing experiments. Scans are usually performed every hour on two HDHOMERUN units, with a total of 4 tuners. One unit is connected to a Delhi CYD-1430 UHF antenna. The other unit is connected to my homemade channel 21 yagi. The direction of the antennas varies as I move it around for testing, sometimes towards Plattsburg, occasionally Montreal, but usually Watertown. If both antennas receive the station the table will only show the last scan, which is with the Delhi.
My regular reception is with a third antenna (Winegard HD-8800) directly pointed towards South Coulton N.Y. and is not shown here, it receives 22 channels 24/7.
The results are available on this web page/widget.
The results are also available on a submenu in my free OTA Ottawa app.
A couple of years ago, I wrote an experimental tv listings widget. It lists all programs/stations currently available to OTA (Over-The-Air) users. It can be seen below. The program resides on my secondary server and may be down occasionally. The experimental listings widget can be directly accessed. It uses some of the same database as my OTA Ottawa app
In the past, I struggled for 2 evenings on this one, trying countless ways, some sort of worked some didn't. In the end, as usual it was less than 10 lines. Here is a simple way of doing it.
NSString *imageURL = [NSString stringWithFormat:@"http://www.website.com/images/%@",imagename];NSData* imageData = [NSData dataWithContentsOfURL:[NSURL URLWithString:imageURL]]; NSImage *imageFromWeb = [[NSImage alloc] initWithData:imageData]; NSString *body=@"A Word-A-Maze puzzle has been created for you. Enjoy."; NSArray *shareItems=@[body,imageFromWeb]; NSSharingService *service = [NSSharingService sharingServiceNamed:NSSharingServiceNameComposeEmail]; service.recipients=@[@""];service.subject= @"Your Word-A-Maze Puzzle"; [service performWithItems:shareItems];
After a very successful and busy Christmas season I spent some time catching up at home. Home projects on the go include installing a furnace, replacing an air exchanger, replacing a stovetop, installing a Hydrogen-Sulphide Iron filter, and making a child proof home office.
I have starting back to my coding projects. I currently have a new IOS app half finished and will start another to program concurrently. Also when bored I am tinkering with my Kiosk Mac app so that it will work with all printers, not just my industrial printer.
Child Proof Home office
My office was displaced from room to room, so many times, since my twins arrived. All I was left with was a desk the kids loved to crawl on and mess up. I hoped to find some cheap ikea wardrobes and make an "wall" office. Luckily ikea was redoing their kitchen line so I snagged two deep Akurum cabinets for $15 and bought 56$ in shelves.
I wanted secure doors on the cabinets to keep the kids out so I decided to buy a PAX sliding door. After three different IKEA associates told me it wouldn't fit, I bought the cheapest PAX doors HASVIK. The PAX door went on easily.
Knowing how well it worked I wished I had bought a nicer sliding PAX door. I left the bottom open to allow easy access to containers. I found 2 sliding child proof locks from Lowes. It effectively keeps the curious twins out.
If you are experiencing any issues downloading the LoRes pictures with the iPhone app or don't have an IOS device just send us an email and we will send it to you ASAP.
All requests (both sites) can be sent to:
or just for Gatineau (during Santa hours this could be quicker)
You need to include your order number and password in the request.
The NP2 App pictures are available again I have moved the server to my home server. Pictures are available anywhere from immediately to next day after taken.
In addition, low res pictures can be emailed to any customer. Please send your order number and password to PereNoelGatineau@gmail.com and we will email you the low res pictures. The low res pictures are more than suitable for social media and screen savers/desktops etc.....
There is a slight problem at the moment making our server visible beyond Les Promenades. Thus the NP2 app is unable to see the pictures. I call it the Great Videotron Firewall. I the meantime feel free to email us (firstname.lastname@example.org) with order# and password and I will email the pictures to you.
This year we are doing the Santa Pictures in 2 of the largest malls in the Ottawa-Hull area - Bayshore and Les Promenades Gatineau. Gatineau starts tomorrow and Bayshore is late this year starting on the 23rd. I'll post more screen shots and photos as we go along.
The HiRes version of the North Pole 2 App (NP2 HiRes) is now available in the app store. This app was in the app store exactly 36 hours after my submission. Apple is really doing a good job of turning these around these days.
NP2 version 2 contains the changes required to support the Santa Photo Events for 2014 in The Bayshore Shopping Centre and Les Promenades Gatineau.
My nearly perfect submit percentage with Apple continues as this upgrade was weirdly approved by Apple within 3 days.
Here are some screen shoots....
I followed my own advice and removed all use of imagemagick calls in my latest mac app. I am now doing all the image manipulation natively with cocoa. It slowed me down a day or two but was worth it. Makes for a much more robust app in the end. All my image manipulations - thumbnails/multilayer christmas cards/gift tags/wallet sets/text annotation/cd image etc for a typical 4 session photos seems to take only 5 seconds, whereas imagemagick was 10X+ longer. Now I don't care about making imagemagick work across operating system upgrades anymore!!!
Finally updated my primary router on my home network from a second generation Airport express to the latest generation version. Download speed is much quicker. Hopefully there will be an upload speed increase from my server as I am often disappointed with the delays on "OTAOttawa","WordAMaze" and my various web sites (which were down this morning - and I don't know what happened).
The neat thing about the upgrade was the ease, as I expected it would take at least 20 minutes of me mucking around. However when I plugged in the new router, after it did a quick scan, it asked me if I wanted to replace my old one with the newer. I said yes and it was done in 2 minutes. Even as a faithful Mac user for many years, this did surprise me.
To add text to an image in cocoa I ended up starting with a PNG image and ending with a PNG. Note: I used cocoa instead of imagemagick annotation command due to an odd decoder issue with fonts. Also it is always best to use native code when available.
NSDictionary* attributes = [NSDictionary dictionaryWithObjectsAndKeys:
[NSFont fontWithName:@"Times" size:42], NSFontAttributeName, nil ];
NSImage *cdimage = [[NSImage alloc] initWithContentsOfFile:cd_image_path];
[pword_msg drawAtPoint:NSMakePoint(55,90) withAttributes:attributes];
//create a NSBitmapImageRep
NSBitmapImageRep *bmpImageRep = [[NSBitmapImageRep alloc]initWithData:[cdimage TIFFRepresentation]];
//add the NSBitmapImage to the representation list of the target
//get the data from the representation
NSData *data = [bmpImageRep representationUsingType: NSPNGFileType properties: nil];
//write the data to a file
[data writeToFile:cd_image_path atomically: NO];
Addendum : see new post - Cocoa Native Image Manipulation
For the last ten years I have ran my event server software using my PERL based server. Every year I have lovingly upgrading this software. I upgraded the client side from browser based to IOS app based three years ago. This year I am totally rewriting the server software once again. It will the first year (sadly), I will not be using Perl. Every OS upgrade, I seem to have some issues with Perlmagick and since my goal is to productize the event server software, I decided to try to write it as a 100% Mac App. First I tried cocoa photo manipulation routines - too basic. Next I discovered SIPS. Cool but still not flexible enough. Then the obvious hit me why not just use a basic install of ImageMagick (not perlmagick) with the Mac app. The iPad client app communicates with the server app using Bonjour as opposed to calling perl scripts and receiving XML back like last year. It simplifies the IOS app immensely. So far so good, should be finished within a week. After Christmas I will make a marketable version that will work with both advanced photo lab printers such a Noritsu or standard event printers such as a DNP DS40.