Saturday, 3 March 2012

Monday, 2 November 2009

Mac-like keyboard switcher in Windows

As I use english and russian keyboard layouts both in XP and Mac OS, I've designed the following AutoHotKey script to enable Alt-Space layout switching in Windows XP:

SetKeyDelay, 1, 1, Play

; For Control-Shift layout combination

; For Alt-Shift layout combination

What it does -- it waits for Alt-Space and then sends combination of the keystrokes into Windows, so it mimic either Control-Shift or Alt-Shift.

Enjoy! :-)

Tuesday, 27 October 2009

How to configure Push-to-Talk in Skype

Well, there were some discussions in blogs regarding Push-to-Talk feature in Skype. Though it is possible to configure a key shortcut to mute-unmute in Skype, it is not actually a PTT as such.

The solution is again to use MorphVOX Jr. This time however it is plain and straight forward, you just disable Morph and Listen in it's main window (click on small green buttons) and set 'Screaming Bee Audio Driver' in Skype as Sound Source (see pics in previous post).

Of course you should configure Push-to-Talk button in MorphVOX Jr options (I use Left Control).


How to play music into Skype conversation

Ok, if you need to playback something into your Skype conversation (i.e. SkypeCast), the easiest way is to bridge the sound output (what you hear) into Skype input (which is normally -- microphone). For happy Mac users there is a freeware sound router 'Soundflowerbed', but for Windows it is not so simple. Sure you can use 'Virtual Audio Cable', but it's not free. So I came with the following solution:

You will need to install MorphVOX Jr'. The software which intended to change voice... which is funny things too, but we need it's ability to pass sound unchanged. After installation it will add a virtual sound source into your Windows -- 'Screaming Bee Audio Driver'.

After initial calibration configure MorphVOX Jr this way:

Make sure you have no Push-to-Talk enabled:

And you have Morph and Listen switched OFF:

In Windows Sound Mixer set the following in Recording options:

And finally in Skype set Screaming Bee Audio Driver as source:

Done :-)

One side note: Please be aware that until you close MorphVOX Settings dialog it will not pass audio to the Skype (actually to it's driver).

Obviously, you have to have MorphVOX running in background to make SkypeCast working.


Wednesday, 9 September 2009

How to create a water reflection in GIMP

This tutorial describes how to create realistic water reflection in GIMP. You will need a script (download).

The original photo:

Now step-by-step for GIMP 2.6

1. I usually work with copy of image, so I duplicate it and add a mask:

2. Using scissors select the area in bottom part of image which you want to have a "coast". Fill with black in mask.

3. Using Clone tool remove unnecessary objects (people in this case):

4. Increase canvas by 200% vertically Image -> Canvas Size...

5. Copy layer and mirror it vertically. Move it down so it will touch just the very tip of image.

6. Use black brush on mask to remove transparent areas:

7. Lock the alpha and run Gauss Blur on reflection layer

8. Check exact size of reflection layer: Layer -> Layer Boundary Size

9. Run script to build the map: Script-Fu -> Map -> Water reflection map. Put size from #8:

10. Wait... :)

11. The result should be like this:

12. Back in reflection layer run Displace :

13. Set the parameters (Y=2*X, "Smear", X and Y maps from image generated by script)

14. Adjust "Hue and Saturation"

15. Make it little bit bluish:

16. Adjust contrast:

17. To avoid sharp border use smear tool on mask in original (top) layer.

18. Crop and save as JPG.

P.s. To find out where to put the script, please check Gimp settings:

The final result:

Tuesday, 14 October 2008

Tell me your name!

Today I have had another conversation with 3 support. The support engineer told me that they have no records in their system regarding any request (no previous phone calls, no e-mail) from me about possible compensation for the extremely bad mobile service. When it became apparent to me that I will not get anywhere without clear evidences, I've pushed "record" button on my phone and... that's what happened next:

Just to give you a background, below is the mail I've sent to the 3 support from their web site ( on 7th of October (numbers removed due to privacy restrictions):

Dear Sir/Madam,

On 27th of September I've bought new phone from one of the 'Three' shops. Together with the new phone I've decided to switch from pay-as-you-go to the monthly payment plan.

At that time I've been using number 07906-xxx-xxx. The new monthly plan came with different number 07868-yyy-yyy. I've requested my old PAYG number to be transferred to the new SIM card, so I will be using old number and pay monthly. This has been requested in store on 27th of September. Today is the 7th of October, yet the transfer has not been completed.

But this is not all. On 29th of September I received an SMS saying that my old PAYG number will be transferred to my new (monthly plan) SIM card. At that moment my PAYG number has been disconnected. I was no longer able to use old SIM card. However, the new SIM card was given with completely different new number. Worst of all is the fact that the number belong to somebody else. Yes, it was somebody's else's number!

I started to receive calls and SMSs' from unknown people who believed they call somebody on that number. You can imagine my frustration after such a call in the middle of the night!

After 24 hours of such a disastrous situation I called the 3 support on 333 and asked to fix it. I've been told that it will be fixed in 24-48 hours. Needless to say that next day nothing was fixed. And after two days either. I finally decided to switch the phone off, because it was unbearable!

Last Sunday (5th of October) I called 3 support again and asked why it wasn't fixed and when I will get my original number on my new phone? The person told me that he escalated the issue to the "High" priority, but it will take 72 hours to just investigate it! 72 hours for investigation after a week of fault!

At that time I requested the compensation because the service from 3 was completely unacceptable in any respect. I've been told that it will be discussed later when the phone number will be transferred.

Today is 7th of October. I decided to check with 3 support how the progress of the solving the issue goes and called 333. After the conversation with the person I realized that transfer didn't take place and technical team transferred the wrong number and I have to wait 48 hours AGAIN !!!

I have no words to describe my frustration.
Just let me ask you, how often YOU receive such a "service"?


Wednesday, 8 October 2008

BBC: Russians 'leave Georgian areas'

The fighting in the region began on 7 August when Georgia tried to retake South Ossetia by force after a series of lower-level clashes.

More about it here

Russian troops have left "buffer zones" around Georgia's breakaway regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, Georgia's interior ministry said...