Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Hulu Plus for iOS TV Output (workaround)

Note: This is for those of you who are somewhat technically-savvy and have a clue as to what I'm referring to here. If you don't, I wouldn't attempt these instructions as they are somewhat involved and I don't have time to explain the details that are not in this post.

I just thought I'd share a workaround I found for playing Hulu Plus through the tv-out adapter on iOS devices such as iPhone and iPad with Apple's HDMI connector... should work on any iDevice, honestly. Those of you with jail-broken iPhones and the right software can probably even make this work on older devices/unsupported output cables.

Why am I posting this? Because when Hulu updated to 2.3 they removed a feature that already existed: tv-out. This is probably related to some backwards licensing agreement that helps pay lawyers while being unhelpful for everyone else. Either way, the fact is that you can already output from your computer to your television... so theoretically, this isn't much different

Now, for getting around this restriction (when you hook up a tv-adapter while playing Hulu a message pops up on screen instead of your video letting you know it's not supported), just follow these instructions:

1. Launch Hulu and select a video... leave Hulu and perform following steps...

2. Get filesystem access to your device... this is outside the scope of these instructions. There are numerous different ways to accomplish this. You don't need to write to disk either, all you need is to be able to read the file in step #4.

3. Browse to the /var/mobile/Applications/[some unique identifier for your hulu app]/tmp/MediaCache/ folder.

4. Open diskcacherepository.plist using a text editor, or optionally a plist editor and copy/paste the last URL (as you click on additional videos, they are added below the previous ones, if my observation is correct)  in the middle of the XML/plist code from the file into Safari. You'll need the entire string between the <key> and </key> tags.

5. After pasting into mobile Safari, hit enter and Quicktime will launch to play the file normally. You can click to expand the video if you have it connected to a tv and it will switch to TV-output mode.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Silk Burgundy Ascot / Cravat Project

A couple of weeks ago I made myself a linen cravat for the summer, but at the same time as I bought the material for that, I also got a piece of silk to make one in silk. This here is all about making and wearing the new silk one. I chose a lovely color of burgundy to contrast nicely against my wardrobe. I think it works pretty well and is really comfortable. I also found that it didn't really get nearly as badly wrinkled at the end of the day like my linen one did. In this regard it is much ore like my original silk cravat / ascot from Brooks Brothers. 


As with the linen cravat, I used my original Brooks Brothers' cravat/ascot as a model. This time I folded the material in four to be more efficient in table space. Once along the eventual permanent fold and then in half so the length wouldn't go over the end of the counter. Correspondingly, I folded the Brooks Brothers' one in half as shown in this picture.

I used one pin on the end as a guide to keep the hem in place, I used my fingers for the rest

Here's how I was working the hem with one pin... after I shot this, I took the pin out and finished the hem

Second end hem... there are only two visible hems on this item and they are on the short ends

Time to add the long seam on the inside

Finished with seam stitching

After this, I decided to add a zigzag stitch on the end to keep the silk from unravelling. I'll let you know if this faux-serging technique works long-term.

Both ends completed after zig-zag addition

Next, I turned it right-side out

Almost the whole thing, as you can tell it's not flat... this is because I hadn't yet ironed it.

Next I pressed it with the iron

I was careful to use the silk setting on the iron and to place an old white shirt in between to protect the silk

Project completed!

Alternate view of completed project, notice how pressing helps give it the right flatness

I then wore it to the office... the lighting here is terrible, though

And then we had a meeting with Congressman Chris Van Hollen... :)

Discussing trade policy and foreign assistance with Congressman Chris Van Hollen, D-MD 8 
(btw, thank you Annie for the pictures!)

Around 1:30am after wearing the cravat / ascot all day, still looks great! (Although I was about ready to collapse!)

And same as before around 1:30am... trying to smile without falling asleep and posing with blazer back on :)

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Linen Bow Tie

I had just enough linen left over from the cravat/ascot project that I thought I'd create a bow tie from it. For this project I used a Brooks Brothers' bow tie as a model, but otherwise used no pattern or instructions. (For full disclosure, I did make a bow tie 4 years ago from a pattern and I remember some of the instructions... I may later post pictures of my first one to show what that looked like)

I'm too tired to write much of anything, so please enjoy the pictures and explanations along the way!

Cutting out fabric (4x identical halves, 2x identical non-fusible interfacing)
I started by sewing the end so that I would have a solid point from which to continue... I didn't pin this project very much, so this was essential

Completed first side of stitching, after this I flipped it over, which allowed me to make sure I was getting the fabric tension right on the other side as well

The hard part: turning it all right side out

Previewing finished product midway en route

Turned half vs. unturned half

Before turning, I trimmed the excess material

Also, I clipped the corners to allow them to be crisper

Part way through I realized that rolling the material appears to make it slide better in to the tube

Mostly done turning the second half

both sides turned, pre-flattening and ironing

I then compared it with the commercial bow tie

The mistake was assuming identical or longer length was necessary... as a result I built an extension...

Hemming unnecessary extension

Constructing extension

Finishing extension 
Testing the bow tie (I pinned the back tighter)

As you can see, I've pinned the material back to the pre-extension size... as a result, I cut the material, overlapped them and did a zig-zag to cover the rough edges... not terribly pretty, but it's not visible, so that's fine.
I then used the iron to flatten the bow tie

To protect the material I used an old shirt between the iron and the material

Comparison: Mine vs Brooks Brothers
Today wearing the bow tie in the office :)

Monday, August 22, 2011

My first Spotify playlist

I recently joined Spotify, which is a great music-in-the-cloud subscription service and one of the features is the possibility of creating playlists and sharing them with others. I thought I'd share my first 'best of/favorites' of Instrumental (mostly modern) music with my readers (truly this is very incomplete!).

It's organized in the order that I remembered the tracks(or accidentally discovered new ones while searching for other pieces), which is to say that there is very little logic to how it's laid out.

That said, if you find something you like, I encourage you to add it to your playlist/buy it from your favorite music distributor. Unfortunately, not every song I put in my playlist is available on Spotify, so I've included the full list here as well. I may also add additional titles later when I locate/remember them. :)

Have any good pieces you'd like to share? Let me know in the comments or on Facebook!

Two Steps From Hell – Freedom Fighters
Two Steps From Hell – Heart of Courage
Two Steps From Hell – Enigmatic Soul
Two Steps From Hell – Infinite Legends
Two Steps From Hell – After The Fall

The Academy of St. Martin in the Fields – Handel: Water Music Suite - Water Music Suite in D Major - Hornpipe
Academy Of St. Martin-In-The-Fields РMusic for the Royal Fireworks: II. Bour̩e - Music for the Royal Fireworks: II. Bour̩e
Academy Of St. Martin-In-The-Fields РWater Music Suite No. 1 in F Major: IX. Bour̩e - Water Music Suite No. 1 in F Major: IX. Bour̩e
Academy Of St. Martin-In-The-Fields – Water Music Suite No. 1 in F Major: X. Hornpipe - Water Music Suite No. 1 in F Major: X. Hornpipe
Academy Of St. Martin-In-The-Fields – Water Music Suite No. 1 in F Major: XI. Allegro - Water Music Suite No. 1 in F Major: XI. Allegro
Academy Of St. Martin-In-The-Fields – Water Music Suite No. 3 in G Major: III. Menuet - Water Music Suite No. 3 in G Major: III. Menuet
Academy Of St. Martin-In-The-Fields РWater Music Suite No. 3 in G Major: IV. Bourr̩e - Water Music Suite No. 3 in G Major: IV. Bourr̩e