Torsten Curdt’s weblog

Spy Lens Review

IMG_0668In January when my Spy Lens finally arrived I promised a review. I figured I need a better opportunity to really try it out extensively. This opportunity came up with my recent trip to Marrakech. So here it goes…

The Spy Lens is a really intriguing idea. Many people behave very differently with a camera pointed at them. That is – when they realize a camera is pointed at them. So quite often you get the most authentic pictures when the people are not aware. There a few things that help taking such pictures: being lucky, being quick, a long lens and… the Spy Lens. This lens comes with a mirror inside and lets you shoot around corners in an angle of 90 degrees. As you are not pointing a big lens directly at the person, it should be easy to catch the pristine and authentic moments we are after.
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Marrakech, City of Spice

IMG_0234Last weekend I got back from a trip to Marrakech. Unfortunately these days you have to do some traveling when you want some sunshine for your birthday in March. But both Ryanair and Easyjet provide you with good deals for a trip to the doorstep of Africa. And fair enough we arrived just after the big rain. For the whole 9 days we had beautiful weather only interrupted by two thunderstorms. As it turns out March/April seems to be quite a good time to visit. While it still gets a little chilly at night you are also not melting away at about 27-30 degrees during the day. Read the rest of this entry »

Back from the Ranch

IMG_9925Last week I finally had the opportunity to attend one of the classes at the Big Nerd Ranch. I cannot say I’ve seen many cows during the week, but Mark Dalrymple certainly led the herd safely through some of the valleys of advanced Mac OS X. No big surprise, he is the author of Advanced Mac Programming and part of the team responsible for the Mac products at Google. He is one of the authors of Update Engine and also contributed to e.g. Google Earth.

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Full-text search with Cocoa

When in java land the answer to searching is usually Lucene. When building a Mac OSX or iPhone application unfortunately the answer is not that simple.

Recently I had the need to build a search index of some data for an iPhone project and was a little surprised about the lack of options. Again my first thought was Lucene – more specifically the C port of it. But unfortunately it was abandoned somewhere along the way. A new try has not even reached the alpha phase. So what to do? Port the Lucene java code to Objective-C? That sounded like a bit out of scope for the iPhone project. I found two options.
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More recent Macports

I have never been a big fan of manually compiling and installing packages – especially on OSX. It just can’t be a good thing to scatter files around like that. This is probably just one of the reasons why thousands of other Mac users also chose to use fink or macports to install custom packages. Coming from the debian world I started out with fink and it’s apt-get install. Later I’ve switched to macports because it seem to provide more recent packages. Unfortunately sometimes even macports is a little outdated. But with a few commands you might be able to install a new port anyway.
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