Sunday, December 26, 2010

Turn your TV into art with Flickr

I was tired of semi-bare walls in my apartment and a blank TV that I rarely watch.  Currently I'm too cheap to buy art for a place I might not live in for a long time.  What's the solution?  Let's get the best of Flickr's photos streamed to my TV using my mac mini and the internet connection.  RSS will do this for you in low quality.  Use the directions below to go high def.  To get started you''ll need a TV, internet and a mac mini.  There are ways to do this with a PC, but this blog post focuses on macs.
  • Use Photocastr to make a photocast for iphoto
  • Click the link created in the step above opening the photocast in iphoto.
  • In System preferences, Desktop & Screen Saver, select the photo-cast as a screen saver on your mac
  • There are several screen saver methods.  I prefer the mosaic.  
Here are the results:

Other thoughts:
  • Consider using your new photocast to also change the imagery for your desktop background. 
  • Save power and have your computer and TV wake up only when you are home. 
  • Eventually it would be cool to hook this up with a motion sensor so the art only "turns on" when I'm in the room, further saving power.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Why I hack my ipad/iphone

  1. Never plug into your computer again.  Use Wi-fi sync to connect/sync with itunes.
  2. Download cached maps and a free navigation tool called Xgps.  This is great for travel.(july 2011 update) 
  3. Mywi - Turns my phone & ipad into wifi hotspots when I need them
  4. Trick your apps into thinking you are on a high speed connection for better media quality using my3g.
  5. No roaming during international travel (Buy a local sim card when you get there)
  6. Full Force - Makes the small iphone apps go full screen on the ipad with no resolution loss.
  7. SBSettings - A quick popup for controlling apps that are running and basic functions like wifi, Bluetooth, GPS, screen brightness, quick reboot, ect.  Some plugins here.
  8. Longitude - Auto updates my GPS position for Google's latitude service
  9. Using VOIP (Voice over Internet) I sold my house from Russia.  The call quality was actually better than using land line phones.  siphon was the app I used.
  10. I spilled milk in my home button.  Now i can swipe my finger from right to left at the top of the screen to activate the home button.  I'm trying to hold out for a replacement phone until the iphone 5 update comes at the end of the summer. (july 2011 update) 
Other things you can do, that I don't with a hacked iphone/ipad:
  1. Use a bluetooth keyboard / mouse using btstack
  2. Do face time video conferencing over 3g using my3g
  3. The Cydia store was the only place to get a Google voice iphone app.  Apple has now allowed google to post their app.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Switching twitter names @robertdwray -> @wraydo


  1. I wanted something shorter for the RTs.  Character counts are precious.  @robertdwray vs wraydo  You can throw 2-3 words in there. 
  2. Wraydo - Radio?  I am tech geek. 
  3. Wraydo - I would like to think I am a doer
  4. My last name is Wray.  My middle initial is D for Douglas.  O is for out of the box thinking.
All you squatters out there with unused twitter names... you should be ashamed.   You know who you are. Shame on twitter for not having an auto prune policy. 

Thursday, March 18, 2010

The iPad's role in your car?

(originally written for and posted at

 At first glance, the idea of having a 7.5" x 9.5" iPad in or around my dash doesn't sound realistic or desirable at all.   The New York Times liked the concept.  Navigadget hates it.  I hated it, but the more I think about it the more I like it.   About a year ago we did a video of how the iphone was the death of the PND and the concept here is similar.  The iPad's size and a few other details aren't perfect but many people will find a way to mount these in their car.  Why?  Love it?  Hate it?  Let's get the debate rolling on the mp3Car forums.  Some key pieces of technology and features contained in the iPad are leapfrogging features currently available in the car:

Sunday, March 7, 2010


I have been spending a good bit of time on this project.  We have gotten great press coverage, support from the city and city data.    Read more at

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Grant clarifications

UPDATE 3-7-10 - I made a website called specifically for my bike project. You can track that project in detail there.

  • The map tracking and elevation information will be overlaid in a corner of the screen with the trail video filling up approximately 66% of the screen. 
  • The videos will be available to anyone who wants to use them at no cost.  There is almost no trail documentation so I imagine these movies will be posted at all relevant websites.  I will use social media, and e-mail communications to make relevant organizations aware of the existence of the videos.  

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Baltimore Ignition Grant Planning

UPDATE 3-7-10 - I made a website called specifically for my bike project. You can track that project in detail there.

What: Ignite Baltimore is offering a $1,500 grant to start a new idea.  If approved, this grant will utilize about $390 of funds from the 1st ignition grant.

Goal:  Increase usage, knowledge and appreciation of parks & trails in the Baltimore area.

Background:  Our city has invested millions on parks, but they continue to be underutilized.  Health care costs and obesity are ballooning out of control.   Our parks are a great free way to stay fit and enjoy the outdoors!

Method: 5 minute video clips of Baltimore trails
  • Accelerated video of entire trail  (example below)
  • Pauses to show highlights from the trail
  • Map overlay to help viewer understand geography (example below)
  • Help viewers understand trail difficulty through Elevation overlay

Monday, January 25, 2010

Stop playing facebook games. Learn how to help #haiti with no cash in 10 minutes.

This Saturday I went down to check out the Crisis Commons.  The event was a mind blowing collaboration of over 1,000 technical volunteers on three continents.   Crowd-sourced community-generated maps have become the official on the ground map resource in Haiti.  In this video, Fortiusone's CTO Andrew Turner explains how you can start helping Haiti in 10 minutes with no cash, just some of your time. Links talked about in the video are ushahidi - Haiti SMS disaster relief collaboration, Crisis Commons ,and ImapHaiti.

How you get started in less than 10 minutes: The event was also covered by internal media organizations such as CNNBBCWashington PostLA Times,  Wired and O'Reilly Media.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Monday PM Haiti Updates

I just posted this on my friend's Haiti Blog.  I thought I would post this here as well.

Carol and Tom tried to send me several pictures today.  The mobile network has been terrible.  I have gotten no updates.  Hopefully we will have some text and pictures tomorrow.

I had a 15 minute phone call with Tom tonight.  He has been made the "chief of staff" at the hospital.   There are a lot of amazing efforts happening here in Baltimore to raise money.   Tom hopes to get a chief of technology at the hospital tomorrow to handle communications issues.

A lot of you have been asking what to do.  The answer is send money to professional disaster relieve organization.  Just flying to Haiti and saying I am here to help is not a good idea.

UPS has also shut down all shipments in and out of Haiti until further notice, so 'care packages' are not an option.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Friends in Haiti

Two great friends are on their way to Haiti to help.  Check out their blog to see what things look like on the ground and how you can help.