Gallery Builder with the DnD and File API

HTML5 bring with it a native Drag and Drop API and a File API which makes it possible to read local files into the browser. Previously it was only possible to read local files to upload to the server.

I’ve put together a simple demo which lets you build a photo gallery completely on the client side. You can drag and drop images or animated gifs from your desktop into the demo. The images are read and embedded into the webpage, becoming a part of the webpage.  This means that if you save the page as a complete webpage, you will be able to reload the entire gallery into the browser. This demo is based on original code found at

DnD and File API Demo: Gallery Builder.


DEFECTIVE PRODUCT: Realspace PRO Quantum Mesh Mid-Back Task Chair

I’ve had the Realspace PRO Quantum Mesh Mid-Back Task Chair for 2 to 3 years now. Our relationship has finally come to an end.

When I first discovered this chair at Office Depot, I had already looked at a lot of different chairs and decided that I would want a mesh chair since it is usually pretty hot, here in Texas. The Herman Miller Aeron was a bit pricey. The Realspace chair, at less than half the price, was fully adjustable and comfortable to sit in. It was not big and bulky like some of the other chairs in the same price range, which was fine with me since I’m under 150 lb. It does have a heavy base, which keeps it well grounded. It had been a great chair for me until the day it broke.

I was at my desk working on the computer, when I decided to lean back. In a split second, the chair back broke off from the chair base.  I started to fall back.  My legs flew up and caught the underside of the desk, preventing me from falling completely off the chair. The back of my head was about a foot from the ground. It was the most exciting thing to happen to me all week.

Broken Realspace Mesh Chair

Chair back broke off the chair base.

I took a closer look at the chair.  The chair base has a metal stub with 2 screw holes in it. The bottom portion of the chair back is made of plastic. It’s like a sleeve that fits over the metal stub.  Once  attached, the two parts are held together by 2 screw that go in from the back of the chair.

Chair base

Metal stub on chair base. Screws had sheared off.

What caused the back of the chair to break off was that the two screws holding the back and the chair base together had sheared off. Then the plastic sleeve at the bottom of the chair back cracked and entire back fell off. It all happened instantly.

Chair Back

Plastic sleeve at the bottom of chair back cracked.

This is a pretty dangerous design flaw. I was lucky to be working at a desk, which held down my legs and kept me from falling off. Someone leaning back while not at a desk, and on a concrete floor could be serious injured when this chair fails. That the chair was designed for the user to lean back in, and that it broke for a user weighing under 150 lbs is a really bad sign! It is an unsafe product that should be recalled. I would not recommended this chair to anyone unless the design flaw is addressed.

[Update: 11/08/2011]
I sent an email to to let Office Depot know what happened to my chair.  They apologized and asked if I still had the receipt.  I didn’t so I sent them photos of the chair.  Based on that, they mailed me an Office Depot gift card for $300, which is the price that I had paid for the chair 2 to 3 years ago.  I’m very happy with the way in which they handled the whole thing.  It was not a hassle at all.

They didn’t answer my question about whether there has been a recall on this chair. My guess is that it’s still a money maker for them (it’s still on their website), the payout to people who complained like I did, is still too small, and they probably have not had a lawsuit yet…

An Office Depot gift card to make up for the defective chair that I had purchased.


Wi-fi Hotspots and Libraries in Taiwan

Over the summer, I worked remotedly from Taoyuan, Taiwan. If you’ve been to Taiwan during the summer, you’ll know that it’s very warm and humid. Worse yet, people tend not to use AC or to not use much of it.  Partly for this reason, I set out to find cafes and public places with wi-fi connections, strong ACs, and comfortable chairs. There are a couple of ways that you can get wi-fi when you’re out and about in Taiwan.

Paid Access

You can buy a Wifly card at a Starbucks or 7-Eleven.  Wifly claims to have thousands of hotspots throughout Taiwan. The cards are available for 24 hour unlimit use (for $100 NT, which is about $3.50 USD), or for 30 days unlimited use (for $500 NT, under $20 USD).

Starbuck Wifly Front

Starbuck Wifly 30 day Card (Front)

Starbucks Wifly Back

Starbucks Wifly 30 day Card (Back)

To use this card, scratch off the back of card to reveal the password.  You will need a cell phone with which to activate the card. I did not have a cell phone with me at the time that I bought the card.  But the store was able to give me a special code to take the place of the one that would have been sent to my cell phone for activation.

Once you connect to the network with the “Wifly” SSID, follow the directions on the Wifly webpage to activate and log in to your account.

Another option for paid access to wi-fi hotspots is Hinet, which also has thousands of hotspots (cafes, McDonalds, etc) throughout Taiwan. They offer similar types of cards at comparable prices.

With both services, I noticed that I needed to manually log out of the account before I could use the same account with a different device. In other words, the services would not automatically log out the first device when the second device logs in.  Instead, they disallow the log in of the second device until the first device has logged out.

Free Access

After using Wifly for a few weeks, I discovered that my local library had free wi-fi. I visited two libraries in Taoyuan. One was within walking distance of where I was staying. The other was the main branch library in Taoyuan.  Both had free wi-fi.  Both had a study room with dozens of desk where student studied, used the wi-fi, or napped.

Taoyuan Library Study Room

Taoyuan Library Study Room

I was quite happy with the study rooms because the ACs there were stronger than the ones at the local indoor mall where I had been spending my afternoons working through a Wifly connection. Each library also had water dispensers that dispense hot and cold drinking water.

At the Taoyuan main library, I noticed this book sterilizer contraption, which uses UV-C light to disinfect library books. I didn’t get a chance to try it out. It’s definitely not something that you see in the states.

Book Sterilizer

Book Sterilizer at the Taoyuan main library

You can get more information about Taoyuan libraries and links to other Taiwan libraries at


Transferring text messages from your old iPhone to iPhone 4S

When I upgraded from my iPhone 3GS to the iPhone 4S, my phone was activated in the Apple store.  I then took it home to set up with iTune, but I was not given an opportunity to transfer data from my old iPhone to the new one.

I called AT&T, and they referred me to Apple Care (800) 676-2775 instead. This is what I had to do to transfer my text messages from my old iPhone to the iPhone 4S.

  • Download the latest iTune, which supports the iPhone 4S.
  • Connect the new iPhone to PC.
  • After iTune is done sync’ing. Right click on the iPhone under DEVICES on the left hand side and select “Restore from Backup”.
iTune Restore from Backup
Select ‘Restore from Backup’
  • There will be a popup window with a drop down menu of all backups that you can choose from.  Base on the time stamp of the backups and the device name, pick the last backup that was made with your old iPhone.
iTune Select Backup to Restore

Select the Backup to Restore to

  • The selected backup will be restored to the iPhone 4S.  It will reboot and go through the setup process, letting you decide if you’d like to enable location service, letting you select your wifi network, etc.
This process restored my all of my old text messages as well as the photos on my old iPhone. I had taken a few photos with my iPhone 4S prior to this restore. They were wiped out by the process. If you want the photos that you have already taken with your 4S, be sure to copy them to your computer before restoring your 4S to your old iPhone’s image.

CaseCrown Apple iPhone 4 case compatibility with the iPhone 4S

The iPhone 4S has the exact dimensions as the iPhone 4. But the mute button and the volume buttons are offset a bit from their positions in the iPhone 4, so I was initially worried about using an iPhone 4 case for the iPhone 4S. This turned out not to be an issue for the CaseCrown Glider Slim Fit Case. The opening for the audio buttons is wide enough that the buttons are easily accessible.

CaseCrown iPhone 4 case opening for audio buttons

CaseCrown iPhone 4 case opening for audio buttons

All of the other openings are fine for the 4S as well. This is the first time that I have own the CaseCrown case. It is slim, snug and very handsome. I’m very happy with it so far.

CaseCrown iPhone 4 case opening for power and headphone jack

CaseCrown iPhone 4 case opening for power and headphone jack

CaseCrown iPhone 4 case opening for USB power plug

CaseCrown iPhone 4 case opening for USB power plug