Archive for the 'Posted by:' Category

Presenting: The Literal Music Video

Jun 05, 2009 in Funny, Kamil

Here’s a short list of the “latest” trend in music video… we tried to pick the best :)

Recent short trips – South Lake Tahoe, Half Moon Bay

Dec 24, 2008 in Family, Kamil, Travel

View from Heavenly gondolaTwo weeks ago before the first major snowstorm hit the Sierra Mountains we spent 3 nights in South Lake Tahoe with Ania. We had booked this trip a few months ago hoping that we’d be locking good rates in the middle of a prime skiing season, you know Sierras and DECEMBER. We were staying in the Heaveanly Village hotel about 20 yards from the gondola entrance and we left San Jose with our ski gear in the roof carrier (I even managed to stuff sleigh in there despite Ania’s protests :)) aware of the poor skiing conditions yet hoping for a freak snowfall. Unfortunately nothing like that happened and there were only 4 lifts open at Heavenly… so instead of skiing we spent our time exploring the area that we thought we knew pretty well already and enjoying good local food and coffee in towns around LT. The first evening we hit a local bar that has survived the “yuppification” of the South Lake Tahoe where a local band was celebrating the birthday of one of its members. They had a guest saxophone player and despite there being only about 20 people at the bar a good time was had by all. We saw the same band 2 days later playing at the Hard Rock Cafe in one of the casinos and I think the singer did recognize us but we were on our way out having just finished dinner so we didn’t get a chance to stay and listen, plus I find the Reno/Tahoe casinos somewhat depressing and not worth permeating your clothes and hair with the cigarette smoke.

We did not get to ski this trip but we did end up with two lift tickets to Heavenly so we will use them during a next trip with the kids. This time he kids stayed at home with my parents Maria and Joe occupying their time with some plays at the local kids theatre and baking cookies for Christmas :)


Sunset at Half Moon BayThe second trip was a complete surprise to me (Ania secretly packed an overnight bag for us and the kids using the kids’ ice skating with the grandparents as an excuse for taking the bag with us… clever) . I thought we were going out for dinner in Half Moon Bay with my parents and instead we spent a family weekend together. When we got there Ania directed me to a small hotel on the coast where it turned out we had a couple rooms booked to spend some quality family time to celebrate my birthday :) The room had a nice view of the ocean and I took a few shots of a sunset that I will post in the gallery soon (one of them is on the left here). After sunset we had a wine and cheese party at the hotel lobby and then headed out to a local restaurant in Pescadero. The restaurant was special because many months ago I had seen it on one of the programs on Food Network and it being local (more or less) I had noted its name and given it to my parents as a possible place for them to take visiting friends or family members when they are showing them the coast. Well, we all ended up at this place on Friday enjoying their famous artichoke soup and seafood :)

DELL ULTRASHARP 2408WFP

Dec 24, 2008 in Kamil, Tech

Dell 2408WFP LCD MonitorI’ve been using this monitor since October now and I couldn’t be happier. This is a fairly inexpensive pro color reproducing monitor. It is based on S-PVA panel so it offers 8-bit color plus the viewing angles are so much better than the TN panels that are the most popular type used in LCDs these days. (6-bit vs 8-bit comparison article) I have tried Samsung and Gateway 24in panels which were TN based and I just could not live with the color shifting every single time my head moved a fraction of an inch. As I edit photographs and I sit fairly close to a monitor the color shift on a large screen is very noticeable. The CRTs do not suffer from that issue and a good CRT is still better at color reproduction than the cheaper LCDs. Also, unfortunately at this time there are no 120Hz LCDs offered for sale as computer monitors, so fast gaming performance is going to be Ok at best with any LCD, yes I have tried several and there is just no comparison between a LCD and a CRT that can be set to 120Hz refresh rate. Since I could not find a CRT anywhere online or in the brick and mortar shops anymore, and my gaming years are mostly behind me I opted for the best quality/value compromise I could find. Also the built in card readers mean the end of the flimsy dongle I used until now to transfer photos from my camera :) Sure there are $1200+ 24in LCDs out there that are based on the IPS panels that provide very good color reproduction but response time on those hovers at around 12ms which is quite a bit higher than the 2ms TN panels and the 6ms PVA panels.

To sum it up I’ll quote from hothardware.com review that I have found just now trying to look up the specifications for this monitor:

If you’re a photographer, digital artist, or just someone who really, really cares about image quality, there is unlikely to be many choices on the market which can provide you with a better experience than the Dell 2408WFP – simple as that.

and here are the specs:


Dell Ultrasharp 2408WFP
  • 24″ Display, 22.0″ x 8.17″ x 19.56″
  • 21.74 Pounds
  • 1920 x 1200 Resolution (WUGXA)
  • 6ms Pixel Refresh Rate (GtG)
  • 400 cd/m2 Brightness Level
  • 3000:1 Constrast Ratio
  • 110% Color Gamut
  • 178º (Horizontal/Vertical) Viewing Area
  • 2 x DVI-D, 1 x HD-15 Connectors
  • 1 x DisplayPort, 1 x HDMI 2.1 Connectors
  • Composite, Component, S-Video Connectors
  • 1 x Upstream, 4 x Downstream 2.0 Ports
  • Side Mounted 9-in-2 Memory Card Reader
  • VESA 100mm Support
  • Height Adjustment, Tilt, Swivel


Updated to version 2.7

Dec 12, 2008 in Administrative Messages(ENG), Kamil, Tech

Wordpress Version 2.7I just completed the update to the latest version of WordPress. I apologize for not posting in a while but it is more due to overwhelming topics rather than due to the lack of them. I must have some 20+ drafts saved and I will try to get to them in the near future.

I have been working on a photo site that allows for ordering prints online, including metallic prints which look stunning. Keep an eye out for announcement soon.

Also I have been testing another version of a gallery software for some time now called ZenPhoto which can be seen here: http://www.matyska.org/gallery/

This is going to go away with the launch of studioMATYSKA.com where all the photos are going to be better organized as well as photos from events will be available for ordering. So please enjoy what is here for now.

Obama vs McCain Dance Off with a Palin surprise.

Oct 30, 2008 in Funny, Kamil

Just found this while I was looking up information on internet marketing. It’s not related to what I was reading but too funny and too well done not to share:

Added Google Apps backend

Sep 26, 2008 in Administrative Messages(ENG), Kamil, Tech

Matyska.org mail logoA couple of weeks ago I have set up the Google Apps as the back end on this domain. I was fed up with the poor web mail that my hosting provides and using Google Apps gives me Gmail accounts hosted by Google on my own domain along with a lot more services (Google Docs, Shared Contacts, shared calendars and more). If you are family member please let me know and I can set you up with an 8GB Gmail account yourname@matyska.org . Sorry friends, this is only open to family members, besides if your last name is not Matyska why would you want an address on here anyway, I can help you set up your own on your domain name if you want :)

If you have your own domain name it is really easy to set up your own Google Apps. You will need to change a the MX records and some CNAME records with your host so make sure you are listed as the technical contact for your domain and have the ability to change that info. All of the instructions you need are available here: http://www.google.com/support/a/

I think this is  a great service for smaller companies as it offers a large mailbox and other applications for each employee at a fraction of the cost of Microsoft solution (There is also a free version available with a limit of 100 accounts, currently 8Gb instead of 25Gb storage per account and no phone support). I do not think that larger companies will go for it yet as they tend to be a lot more paranoid about security (whether their fears are justified can only be answered after careful analysis of  each individual situation).

Smaller companies however may be worried that they will need a faster internet connection to use Google Apps with more than just a handful of users but even considering this additional expense it is still cheaper than hosting your own Exchange server, paying for MS Office licenses and paying support for the hardware and the software. You also get that faster link for anything else you may want to do, your e-mail and documents can be accessed easily from anywhere without additional cost of remote access and you do not have to worry about maintaining your own infrastructure as you would in case of in house solution built on Windows or Linux. There is a tool available that will transfer your e-mail from Outlook to your new Google account if you are worried about keeping your old e-mails. You can use Google Apps as an e-mail only solution and the 25GB mailbox is something that a lot of corporate users would kill for (not literally :) ). The cost effectiveness of SaaS solutions will vary depending on the number of users and the type of services purchased but I believe it to be a better choice in almost every situation if security is not the primary focus of providing the service but rather cost and quality is.

List of services currently available through Google Apps:

Google Apps Services
Starred Start page – Lets you easily create a unique, dynamic place for internal or external users to find relevant, essential information, preview their inboxes and calendars, and search the web. You customize the layout, header information and color scheme, as well as the page’s default content, which can include Google Personalized Homepage modules, your organization’s custom content and links, and RSS feeds. After users log in, they can further customize the start page so it’s just right. About Start page
Expand all Email – Built on the idea that users should never be forced to delete mail because of a storage quota, and that finding that long lost memo that someone sent last year should be effortless and instantaneous. We’ve added a lot of other handy features too, including the ability for your users to exchange IMs with their contacts right in the browser. Tour of Google Mail *No audio
Collapse all Chat – Enables your users to exchange instant text messages with their contacts and have voice conversations over the web, and it’s completely free – users can connect with friends, family and co-workers all over the world without spending a dime. About Google Talk
Attachment Calendar – Helps your users easily organize all of their event-related information, including personal schedules, friends’ and co-workers’ agendas and public calendars that contain events they think are interesting. Your users can view all this information side-by-side, making it easier than ever for them to make plans with each other. Your organization can publish a master list of events and important dates, too. Tour of Google Calendar
Starred Sites – Create sites to collaborate with teammates and organize all types of information as easily as you edit a document. Share calendars, docs, videos, photos and more with people at your domain, or publish them to everyone on the internet. Google Sites Overview
Print conversation Docs – Web-based word processing and spreadsheet program that makes collaboration more efficient. It lets you keep a document online that others in your organization can edit and update simultaneously right from their browsers, so you don’t need to keep track of attachments latest versions. Each revision is automatically saved for you, so you can see who changed what, and revert to an older version at any point. About Google Docs
Print conversation Web pages – Creating and publishing simple web pages should be quick, easy and free. Google Page Creator lets you choose from a host of templates and customize them with your organization’s content and images, all within a simple what-you-see-is-what-you-get online interface. When you’re happy with how things look, publish your pages to the web with a single click. About Google Page Creator
Print conversation Policy Management and Message Recovery – This package is provided by Postini, and allows administrators to have more granular control over spam, virus, and message filtering. Also, it gives administrators the ability to recover deleted mail. Learn more

And here’s a table from the Google 2008 Annual Communications Intelligence Report that I link to below showing a cost comparison between an in house solution and a Software as a Service (SaaS) solution for email filtering solution, keep in mind that Google is in business providing SaaS products and they are the ones that analyzed this research and published the results:

“The following table, based on this research, compares the estimated cost of an appliance- or software-based email filtering solution with that of a SaaS-based solution in a typical 1,000 employee organization. The critical takeaway here is that many organizations only look at the up-front costs of the solution, rather than factoring in the total cost of ownership (e.g., maintenance, support, training, and other overhead costs). When these items are factored into the cost comparison, the advantage clearly rests with SaaS-based solutions.”

Google SaaS cost comparison

The large downside is security but there are ways to make this solution more secure by using certificates. Here is more information on General Google Privacy and Security Policies: http://www.google.com/support/a/bin/answer.py?answer=60762&topic=14595 and the Google Apps FAQ: http://code.google.com/apis/apps/faq.html

Also a couple of white papers on the security topic:

If you are having any problems setting this up please feel free to contact me and I’ll help you out.

1st pictures from Australia

May 10, 2008 in Family, Kamil, Photos, Travel

Great Ocean RoadI added the first set of photos from our Australian trip in the Photo Gallery. I also changed the photo layout a little bit since we are going to have dozens of galleries. I took off the links to individual galleries from the first page menu (on the right) and created one album page instead where they all will be visible.

There are about 470 photos in this first set and they include some photos from the airport and the rest are already in Australia. A couple photos on the way from Melbourne to Ballarat where we stopped at an Wildlife Park that had all of the unique and native Aussie animals in one place and guaranteed that the kids will see everything from koala to wombat and kangoroo. Then there are some photos from the Great Ocean Road where we spent the night at a B&B in the town of Lorne.  At the very end a few photos from our return to Melbourne that night.  There are very few pictures of Melbourne as we left for the Great Ocean Road straight from the airport and then the next day we went to friends’ house for dinner straight from the road. So basically the only time we were able to spend in Melbourne was driving and the only pictures I took were from the car :) You can see some of the experiments with street lighting in the last photos of this set. I will add a decrtiption to the galleries to explain a bit about each of the stages of the trip and the places in the pictures.

For some techincal info. One I figure out how to extract the EXIF data from the images and include them as part of the description you will be able to see the exact camera settings that were used to take each picture. As to the presentation, this is not yet the final look and I will be changin the CSS as well as the presentation method soon. I am also in the process of creating a favorites as well as “other media” galleries that will include movies and quicktime panoramas and will be presented using Adobe Flash. For now, enjoy the photos :)

Microsoft (MSFT) walks away from Yahoo! (YHOO) offer

May 05, 2008 in Kamil, news, Tech

I think what makes this news more interesting is the following letter sent from Steve Ballmer to Jerry Yang that seems to indicate J.Y. basically threatened to sell off Yahoo’s most valuable parts if MS pursues hostile takeover so that MS ends up with a shell for $35+billions … nice:

May 3, 2008

Mr. Jerry Yang
CEO and Chief Yahoo
Yahoo! Inc.
701 First Avenue
Sunnyvale, CA 94089

Dear Jerry:

After over three months, we have reached the conclusion of the process regarding a possible combination of Microsoft and Yahoo!.

I first want to convey my personal thanks to you, your management team, and Yahoo!’s Board of Directors for your consideration of our proposal. I appreciate the time and attention all of you have given to this matter, and I especially appreciate the time that you have invested personally. I feel that our discussions this week have been particularly useful, providing me for the first time with real clarity on what is and is not possible.

I am disappointed that Yahoo! has not moved towards accepting our offer. I first called you with our offer on January 31 because I believed that a combination of our two companies would have created real value for our respective shareholders and would have provided consumers, publishers, and advertisers with greater innovation and choice in the marketplace. Our decision to offer a 62 percent premium at that time reflected the strength of these convictions.

In our conversations this week, we conveyed our willingness to raise our offer to $33.00 per share, reflecting again our belief in this collective opportunity. This increase would have added approximately another $5 billion of value to your shareholders, compared to the current value of our initial offer. It also would have reflected a premium of over 70 percent compared to the price at which your stock closed on January 31. Yet it has proven insufficient, as your final position insisted on Microsoft paying yet another $5 billion or more, or at least another $4 per share above our $33.00 offer.

Also, after giving this week’s conversations further thought, it is clear to me that it is not sensible for Microsoft to take our offer directly to your shareholders. This approach would necessarily involve a protracted proxy contest and eventually an exchange offer. Our discussions with you have led us to conclude that, in the interim, you would take steps that would make Yahoo! undesirable as an acquisition for Microsoft.

We regard with particular concern your apparent planning to respond to a “hostile” bid by pursuing a new arrangement that would involve or lead to the outsourcing to Google of key paid Internet search terms offered by Yahoo! today. In our view, such an arrangement with the dominant search provider would make an acquisition of Yahoo! undesirable to us for a number of reasons:

•First, it would fundamentally undermine Yahoo!’s own strategy and long-term viability by encouraging advertisers to use Google as opposed to your Panama paid search system. This would also fragment your search advertising and display advertising strategies and the ecosystem surrounding them. This would undermine the reliance on your display advertising business to fuel future growth.

•Given this, it would impair Yahoo’s ability to retain the talented engineers working on advertising systems that are important to our interest in a combination of our companies.

•In addition, it would raise a host of regulatory and legal problems that no acquirer, including Microsoft, would want to inherit. Among other things, this would consolidate market share with the already-dominant paid search provider in a manner that would reduce competition and choice in the marketplace.

•This would also effectively enable Google to set the prices for key search terms on both their and your search platforms and, in the process, raise prices charged to advertisers on Yahoo. In addition to whatever resulting legal problems, this seems unwise from a business perspective unless in fact one simply wishes to use this as a vehicle to exit the paid search business in favor of Google.

•It could foreclose any chance of a combination with any other search provider that is not already relying on Google’s search services.

Accordingly, your apparent plan to pursue such an arrangement in the event of a proxy contest or exchange offer leads me to the firm decision not to pursue such a path. Instead, I hereby formally withdraw Microsoft’s proposal to acquire Yahoo!.

We will move forward and will continue to innovate and grow our business at Microsoft with the talented team we have in place and potentially through strategic transactions with other business partners.

I still believe even today that our offer remains the only alternative put forward that provides your stockholders full and fair value for their shares. By failing to reach an agreement with us, you and your stockholders have left significant value on the table.

But clearly a deal is not to be.

Thank you again for the time we have spent together discussing this.

Sincerely yours,

/s/ Steven A. Ballmer

Steven A. Ballmer
Chief Executive Officer
Microsoft Corporation

Back from Australia

Apr 21, 2008 in Family, Kamil, Travel

Uluru SunsetWe came back from our Australian vacation on Monday… and I was finally able to get enough sleep today (slept 14 hours?). We had a great time and there is a lot I am going to be writing about in the next few weeks as well as posting some photos and quicktime panoramas. But first things first. I am going to try and upgrade to WordPress 2.5 which has been out for about a month. Then upgrade the NextGen gallery plugin to version 0.94 which introduces some very helpful features for the image gallery. THEN provided nothing goes wrong in the upgrade process I will start posting our day to day diary from the trip. We spent time in Melbourne, Alice Springs, Ayers Rock, Darwin and Sydney so there is plenty to write about and some 6000 ( 5777 jpgs + some 200 RAW) photos that I have to go through. I promise to be quicker than with the pictures from the European trip we went on in June 2007 (they are still not up) as there are others looking for these pictures to appear on the site (guys and girls from the 3 day Kakadu trip). I took the first step and resized all the jpg photos to 1024×768 (size that I post them in on here) yesterday and I started to go through them throwing out the really bad photos and the under/over exposed ones I took for HDR purposes.

We were flying on April 1st from LAX to Melbourne and here are a couple of pictures from the gate that was next to the Quantas gate we were boarding at. The good: It’s funny. The bad: That’s when I realized that I BOOKED THE WRONG FLIGHT … Funny thing is out of the 300+ passangers waiting for the Quantas flight that had to go by this sign I was the first one to notice that something was off, nice way to set the mood for the rest of the trip :-) since people on the flight were having a good laugh about this rather than getting offended:

Nice Flight

LAX Gate 115 April 1st 2008 around 4PM :-)

Nice Flight 3

the last line was blinking that’s why it’s only in the second photo

Just one quick observation before I forget, so we land at SFO at around 10AM, get to our car parked at the long term parking and start heading home on 101 South. All is great, we are tired from the flight but mentally rested and happy mostly due to great Aussie attitude and overall friendliness and free spirit. Then we turn on the radio (KGO which has the label of a liberal station) … They are taking angry calls about Osama bin Laden and why have they not caught him and whom the US should kill next etc etc, then the news is all about the election and some comments Obama made over the weekend about bitter people in small towns in Pennsylvania clinging to guns and religion because they are doing bad economically …  I really regreted coming back at this moment. I was so glad not to have to listen to this bs for two weeks. Even going to Australia I felt like an idiot at the airport in Auckland, New Zeland where we had a stop and had to leave the plane. Going through security I start taking off my shoes and getting the laptop out of the backpack and trust me with two kids travelling with you it’s not easy nor quick so you tend to stress out a bit. Then one of the security people smiles at me and says “You can keep your shoes on here mate, don’t need to take them off”. Same treatment at all airports in Australia, relaxed but watchful, my camera backpack spent a long time in each of the x-ray machines because of the number of batteries and cables I carry in it and got the chemical sniffer treatment once, yet you are not humiliated and reminded of a “threat” by taking off your shoes, you can carry water (or beer or other fluids) through the security and people waiting for passangers are allowed in the gate area on the national flights.  Of course being conditioned in the US I kept thinking that it’s not secured and that they are making it easy for the terrorists but when you think about it all it really does is keeps security out of the traveller’s mind rather than smear it in your face. Like when you’re walking barefoot on nasty floor trying to down that open bottle of water you might have brought with you or bought at the airport as you pass a security person frantically handing out the proper quart size zip top bags (not an ounce larger and DEFINATELY NOT THE FOLD OVER KIND (from FAA site) – those are not allowed) to everyone like water to marathon runners. At the Alice Springs airport I saw a British kid with a sixpack of Fosters (yea he was not Aussie) in his carry-on backpack. At the Darwin airport I sent a coffee in a cup through the x-ray machine and it was fine. Scared populace is obidient populace I guess so America please WAKE UP … Here’s why I don’t think taking shoes off does not have a real security objective but rather intimidation and only serves to remind peple of “THE THREAT”: If you can fit a bomb that is not detectable by the metal detector in a heel of a shoe you will be able to fit it in a bra or a jock strap or just your pocket or sew it into your pant leg so I really see no point in sending just the shoes through the x-ray while the rest of your person is not searched/scanned with anything more than a simple metal detector. Untill the Backscatter X-ray machines are available everywhere (or other similiar technology) you are not doing any real prevention x-raying shoes only … (Can you tell this really got to me? :-). It actually got to me many years ago but I decided to voice it now)

 Some other quick items: due to jet lag I spent long hours at night surfing but at least I tried to make use of it, I found the family coat of arms that my great grandparents and grandparents were using (not in this sense) and here’s what it looked like (This should be peacock’s tail not ostrich feathers in the crest in the first image but otherwise it’s accurate):

Herb Niezgoda

Herb Niezgoda 3

I will write a separate post on the coat of arms and the intersting story behind it as it needs a lot more explanation than just a quick mention.
In other news … Wouldn’t you hate to be the owner of this car… get up in the morning to find it’s turned into a submarine:

Malucha Pochlonela Ziemia

11th Annual Interactive Achievement Awards

Feb 10, 2008 in Games, Kamil

Interactive Achievement AwardsGaming is a multi-billion dollar industry in fact it has been bigger than the movie industry since around 2004 in terms of revenue. Yet this award show has been done and covered in a pretty non-spectacular almost an amateur way that I think actually works as the event seems rather genuine and natural unlike the film industry’s awards ceremony, the Oscars. After all who’d take a bunch of computer geeks walking the red carpet wearing latest designer fashion being interviewed by plastic women and obnoxious men seriously… people still seem genuine in this business which adds to its appeal and makes recruiting easier. I believe it also lowers the perceived barriers to entry and encourages people with new ideas to try them as they may feel that it’s easier to approach the industry insiders, just check out the Independent Games Festival at each year’s Game Developers Conference for some of the most unusual games you’ll ever see. This leads to more innovation from smaller developers and more people getting involved in the business despite all the problems that the industry overall faces such as the growing graphical and programming complexities which leads to balooning budgets and development times. Also the people involved in the computer game business will tell you that it’s not all fun and games but that there are some rather serious problems, just look at the lawsuits against Electronic Arts  that came about as a response to a blog post criticizing EA’s practices a few years ago. But enough on that.

The host of the award ceremony for the third year in a row was Jay Mohr an less known actor with a familiar face that you will probably remember from Jerry Maguire as the agent that fires and competes with Tom Cruise’s character.

Check out the fulll video coverage of the February 7th event here.

Here are the Game of the Year winners for the past events. To find out more or to see all winners in individual categories go to the AIAA Wikipedia page.

Game of the Year

Out of 11 Game of the Year winners named by the AIAS, seven are shooters, and all except Ocarina of Time were developed by game studios based in the United States and Western Europe.

Year Game Genre Platform(s) Developer(s)
2008 (11th) Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare First-person shooter PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Windows, Mac OS X Infinity Ward
2007 (10th) Gears of War Third-person shooter Xbox 360, Windows, Mac OS X Epic Games
2006 (9th) God of War Action-adventure game PlayStation 2 SCE Studios Santa Monica
2005 (8th) Half-Life 2 First-person shooter PlayStation 3, Xbox, Xbox 360, Windows Valve Corporation
2004 (7th) Call of Duty First-person shooter N-Gage, Windows, Mac OS X Infinity Ward
2003 (6th) Battlefield 1942 First-person shooter Windows 98, Mac OS Digital Illusions CE
2002 (5th) Halo: Combat Evolved First-person shooter Xbox, Windows, Mac OS X Bungie Studios
2001 (4th) Diablo II Hack and slash Windows, Mac OS, Mac OS X Blizzard North
2000 (3rd) The Sims Life simulation game Windows, Mac OS, Linux Maxis
1999 (2nd) The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time Action-adventure Nintendo 64 Nintendo EAD
1998 (1st) GoldenEye 007 First-person shooter Nintendo 64 Rareware