Monthly Archives: December 2004

Mars on Earth

Mars on EarthIs this shot evidence of water on Mars or a piece of Utah desert from 38,000 feet? Should I sell it to The National Inquirer? It’s amazing how barren pieces of this country are and how abstract they can look when you get far enough away from them.

Clouds moving in (or out)

Clouds Moving In or OutIn all of my flying I’ve rarely witnessed such a stark interface between landscape and cloud cover. We were flying west to east and I was shooting down and left but but doesn’t mean that this “weather” was necessarily moving from left to right (as weather usually does: west to east). In reality, I have no idea which way these clouds were moving but I caught the demarcation line and it was pretty amazing as the clouds were low enough so they covered the hills like a blanket. In places they were lower than the hills and seemed to be flowing like water into the gullies. Actually, I’ll bet a scene like this is quite common in the bay area, I’ve just not seen it from a plane with camera in hand yet.

Note: the out of focus bottom half of the larger image may be me bumping up against the plane window and catching a bit of its dirt rather than shallow depth of field. Not quite sure.

Updating Mac OS X

Software Update Tips and Voodoo is john Gruber’s (Daring Fireball) reply to a post by Jeffrey Zeldman called Mac OS X safe update tip.

All of the discussion is excellent and useful, especially Gruber’s discussion of some of Zeldman’s “voodoo” steps.

I plan to change some of my ways after reading this.

Wait a day
I sometimes do updates as they come out or as my system reminds me (weekly) and I do read Macintouch daily (actually, I get their feed but it’s the same thing). I do, however, sometimes go ahead with minor updates without waiting a day or a weekend to see if others report major problems. Macintouch does report whining from people running obscure system stuff so sometimes reading it is like “reading wolf” but still, this is a good, conservative idea and there is little if any downside to it.

Backup
I always do a complete backup before a system update although typically not for application updates. I use SuperDuper! and am very happy with it although after reading Gruber I’m going to turn off the checkbox to repair permissions each time I update.

The Update
I’ve never logged out and back in with the Shift key held down to disable login items as Gruber recommends to make sure the update is happening to a pristine system. Good idea. I can do that and will.

I almost always keep working during software updates. Not sure what I’ll do after reading that Gruber goes out to lunch (or stops what he’s doing and doesn’t keep things running) so as not to interfere with any processes going on. To be fair, he does state that he’s not sure it’s meaningful to stop working but he does it anyway. Maybe voodoo but good voodoo.

I do not always restart unless software update asks me to. But, there is no downside to doing this so why not? Might be voodoo but hey, I used to rebuild the desktop a lot and that was voodoo too.

Grand Canyon from 38,000 feet

Grand Canyon, South Rim 1I flew Delta from LA to Atlanta earlier this month and sat on the left side, behind the wing so I could shoot landscapes. Little did I know that the pilot picked a course that took us just south of the south rim of the Grand Canyon. When he announced it I scrambled to get my long 70-200mm lens on the camera and then proceeded to bump it into the window trying to get shots. I got a lot of them, none all that great but some useable in an amateur kind of way.

Grand Canyon, South Rim 2I have a new appreciation for people who do this kind of thing professionally as it’s quite hard. Not to mention, the guy sitting next to me thought I was nuts for going so wild about the Grand Canyon. After we passed I told him that I’d hiked it rim to rim, slept at Phantom Ranch, been down it on a raft, and even liked the movie, Grand Canyon. He rolled his eyes, unimpressed. I consider his attitude un-American and told him so.

Wikipedia on 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake

2004 Indian Ocean earthquake is Wikipedia’s ongoing coverage of a world event happening in real time.

What’s great about this is that when you combine the capabilities of a “wiki” (an open source compilation of information that anyone can contribute to and edit), the internet, and an event like this one, there can be a paradigm shift in the way information is produced and shared.

In a sense, the way Wikipedia is covering this is better than the google method of aggregating news in that here there is a different kind of end than commercial news coverage(s) all converged into one spot.

Santy Worm

browser screen with santy worm

As some of you may have noticed, this site and all of the others on the server it sits on went down just before Christmas and stayed down for over 24 hours, then came up and went down again a few times before things settled out.

The culprit was a worm that prayed on a vulnerability in the scripting language that this site is built on, php and one of the many threaded discussion boards that runs on it, phpBB.

A very big thank you goes to David Clark, my web host and guru and partner in crime for getting this all worked out while his web host, Verio seemed to be working against him.

I’m sure we have not seen the end of worms like this but hopefully we’ll be able to recover a bit more quickly next time, if there is one.

Man, some people really need to get a life.

One question remains for me and its this: we can continue to patch holes, build walls, and keep trying to outsmart comment spammers and hackers who send worms out to do damage. I’m not taking a George Bush approach here but maybe we ought to try to pass some legislation that makes it illegal to do these kinds of things, then work hard at tracking the folks doing it, then make them pay for what they’ve done. Would that solve the problem? I’m not sure. If it would, I’m up for it.

Happy Holidays

Anne and RichardJust a quick post before I pack it in for this evening. My wife Anne and I wish all of you and yours our best for this holiday season and for the coming new year.

Thanks to Gary Sharp for recommending that I get a fast 50mm lens. It’s a pleasure to shoot with. One note though: I used an IR remote for this shot and one thing you have to be careful of is that you do not move much backward or forward of the focal plane once you compose the shot. The 50mm lens is sharp as a tack and I focused it before I walked over next to Anne and hit the remote but I might have nudged us a bit from the focal plane, just enough to knock us out of focus. No big deal, I’m usually out of focus and seem to look better that way in pictures!

Sunset from the Getty Museum

sunset from the Getty MuseumI was out in LA a few weeks ago and took a lot of pictures at the Getty Museum, which, if you’ve not been there I highly recommend visiting; it’s one of the most interesting museums I’ve ever been to (I’ve been to many).

This sunset shot was looking northwest toward Malibu. I decided to crop it like this because it has a geologic/strata feel to it with the various colors of sky, ocean, and local hills.

Ice in stream with bubbles

Ice on Stream with bubblesIt was cold yesterday so I went out with the camera to shoot ice formations on the stream. I was playing with shutter preferred (Tv on my 300D dial) to stop the water or show it’s motion and forgot to just look at ice and bubbles. Luckily I got a few nice pictures in all of my novice exposure experimentation. Dang, I need a course with a pro like Gary Sharp.