Posts

Decoding 10,000 files in 12 seconds???

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I got a chance to try the pre-release version of this base64 encoding/decoding macOS app, "OEDcoder" last week.  This company released 2 free mobile games last year.  I thought they were into mobile games and design but they surprised me with a high performance macOS app. Investigating production issues to decode those base64 encoded images from logs and databases manually was a pain.  We couldn't use online decoding services (obviously) while CLI was slow and clumsy.  Any decent developers could script it for simple decoding tasks but we ran into different problems when handling large file sizes or bulk processing.  I wish I could have this app when I used to get calls reviewing those damn base64 encoded production snapshots.  For $5, this app solves both image decoding and bulk processing for web development.   I would pay my entire team and PM, PdM, BA ... etc. a license out of my pocket so they could view any images themselves.  Using CLI is not difficult but try doin

Using mobile games for eye and mental health exercises

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It was just a few years ago when we were still debating the use of mobile games for cognitive and visual exercise especially among seniors.  It has now been very clear more seniors have access and have adapted to a relatively small mobile screen for the convenience of communication, accessing information, and for entertainment such as gaming.  I have been following this company, BumbleMeow (I like and have permission to use their CookieAMA images for my blog's illustration) and I am glad to see they posted a tech talk for this exact topic.  If you are interested in or have work related to cognitive and visual exercises, I highly recommend you spend a few minutes to check out this tech talk ( Alternative uses of BebeBoop beyond a mobile game ).  K nowing how to leverage this mobile game, users may use it for mind refreshing, stress relief, hand-eye coordination, pattern recognition, eye strain relief among other cognitive and visual trainings.   It is very hard to find mobile games,

Is the most wonderful time of the year ... for scammers 😖

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The holiday season is in full swing, so are scammers unfortunately.  I wish I could visit more community centers helping seniors and other more vulnerable groups.  It is shameful for scammers to target seniors (you will grow old one day too, dip s*).  It is frustrating seeing people, especially seniors, keep getting scammed compromising their identities, personal information, safety, and savings.   Old school scammers used to be easily identified and still spamming low effort scams through email accounts with hideous typos and low quality images.  However, we now have to deal with more sophisticated scammers with high quality images, realistic looking fake web-sites, spoofed email senders ... etc.   It is extremely challenging to help others avoid being the next victim. 1.   Too much time, too little things to do We know not to open or read spam emails.  Who has time for it anyway? Bingo!  No matter how many times you warn them not to open or click on any unknown emails and links, seni

The 'IFC' of mobile games - good apps that did not sell

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 Image credit: CookieAMA mobile app IFC ("Independent Film Channel") used to joke about themselves that they present good 'artsy' movies that did not sell.  'IFC' mobile games/apps are those with good and original designs built by independent developers neither AAA companies nor funded by AAA companies, who often go against the trend (aka starving artists) providing unique designs and experiences.   How to define a good mobile game? I want to say a fun game with good design and story but let's be realistic, people jump into a mobile game not for fun but for a conversation, a bragging right and to feel superior in a digital world, the 'alternative' world they live in.  It is not about a game but 'I am in'.   While people continue to complain about micro-transactions and data privacy concerns, they continue to play those games and take a blind eye on how their personal data are being exploited everyday.  Some may consider it as a small 'p

How to create iMessage stickers in iOS 17 with tips and tricks

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One of the cool features of iOS 17 is creating your own iMessage stickers using photos.  The edge detection is not perfect but good enough for adding a personal touch to spice things up.   It is a new feature so as always, typical confusion how things work, how to get started and somewhat ... buggy.  Apple claims it works on both iPad and iPhone; however, there is no option to create stickers on iPad 'yet'.  You may create stickers either from your photo album or accessing your photo album through iMessage directly but both have some issues. What we know so far:  1.  The edge detection seems to conflicting with its OCR especially with lower resolution photos.  Photos with text have issues to be recognized and added as a sticker (well, at least we know OCR works well 😅).  We tried to turn off live text under Language and Region but it does not solve the detection issue (higher resolution photos seem to be ok without turning off live text either way). 2.  Direct access to photo

Wasps are unsung heroes with a badass outfit

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Image Credit: BebeBoop Mobile Game   Seriously, how ignorant can one get still denying wasps are beneficial insects with a badass outfit?  They are the best natural pest control, the generous pollinators (aka pollen junkie), and the soil aerators!  No matter how hard we tried to explain to our neighbors, they had already made up their mind wasps are bad and should be eliminated, period!  The wasps massacre happens every year whether professionally done or 'IED' by my neighbors.  Yet wasps come back every year while they keep complaining fleas and ticks in their backyard.  And you wonder why? We never had ticks and fleas problems in our backyard because we never went crazy killing wasps who meant to help the ecosystem including pest control naturally. We couldn't stop our neighbors from killing wasps at their property but the owner dropped an 'IED' to our front yard years ago at least 10ft away from their property line.  I was furious and made sure they knew it was n

Chili Garlic Hot Sauce (aka Sriracha Hot Sauce) Recipe

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  Precaution: PPE (not a joke), you need a pair of goggles and wear a mask if you intend to make real deal hot sauce 1.  In a saucepan, medium roast some chili flakes until you start smelling the spice (I use Sichuan chili flakes, this part is optional but will give better flavor).  Never use high heat as it will burn the chili flakes.  The ratio to fresh chilis is around 1:10 (i.e. 1 part of chili flakes to 10 part of fresh chilis) 2.  Add a batch of good chilis into a saucepan with just enough water to cover the chilis+ 10% more, bring it to boil and simmer it until softened.   3. Lower to medium heat and based on the cooked down chili 'soup', add approximately 50-60% of rice vinegar*, 10%-18% sugar, 5% salt, 12%-18% garlic powder.  I use garlic powder as it gives a bit of garlic sweet to it.  Fresh garlic may not have the right balance of flavor and consistency which often over power the chili sauce.  I may add 5%-10% fresh garlic when I can find good garlic from a produce