Monthly Archives: April 2007

Yard Work

YardIt’s that time of year again to do yard work. This year, I’m trying something a little different. The photo to the right show blue green stuff all over my yard. That’s “Scotts® PatchMaster® Sun & Shade Mix” which is Grass seed with fertilizer and recycled paper as a mulch. It’s a simple idea: Any places that need patching, rake the dirt, put this down on it and watter for a few weeks.

In actuality, It’s a lot of work. My backyard lawn is better than last year, but that’s not saying too much. Since the Mrs. and I like to occasionally entertain with a BBQ, I figured I better do something about it. The Patch mix has to be watered every day for at least a couple of weeks in order to get it to take. When the grass is thick enough, the paper should be absorbed into the ground.

In the mean time. it looks really weird…

I’ve also planted vegetables again. This year:

  • 9 broccoli plants
  • 2 sweet basil plants
  • 2 Greek oregano plants
  • 1 cherry tomato plant
  • 2 rows of Mesclun mixed salad
  • 1 row of regular lettuce
  • 1 Strawberry plant

Should be good when done. This photo is just opposite the one above.

Music I’m listening to right Now:
Counting The Days” by Collective Soul from the “Youth” Album.

Thor is dead, Long Live Thor!

Dell XPS T600"Thor" being the host name of my server. What an educational rebuild that was, I really should document rebuilding the server as this is the third time I've done it in a year and a half.

Long story short: I dug up an old Dell Pentium 3 and sank a SATA HD and host adapter in it.  That was the easy part as rebuilding the web server to support my needs was a bit of a chore. Each time I've done this it was with a different version of the DB, PHP, Apache and the OS as well. Naturally, I've never fully documented it….

Slight Update: Other FW products spoil me silly; IPTABLES is a *pain* to configure.

Music I'm listening to right Now:
"Big Bang Baby" by Stone Temple Pilots from the "Tiny Music…Songs From The Vatican Gift Shop" Album. It seemed apropos…

Bad timing…

Proliant Naturally, after I painlessly finish an upgrade of Movable Type, I wake up this morning to my server making a horrible noise from it's power supply. I could replace it, but the power supply probably cost more than I paid for the server in the first place. I'm thinking of using an old PC, but frankly, I like that the disk is a RAID array and the PC isn't equipped for RAID.

With any luck I'll price out the power supply to something acceptable or, open the Power supply and replace the Fan. As it has high voltage capacitors in it, I'm not looking forward to that option. With any luck, I'll find an old Proliant 5000 chassis on Ebay. Another idea I'm bouncing around is to make a Drive array from the PC, put in a copper Gigabit card into the PC and server for a Home made NAS device.

This might actually be an oportunity as I've been meaning to move it out of my office and into my basement. In the mean time, I'm backing up everything to GZiped TAR files and using SCP to get it onto my PC.

As a reference to myself, the TAR command in question is:
$ tar -gzip -v -c -f webserver.tgz ./*

I seem to forget that every time I need it. After I post this, I'll backup the DB again.


Music I'm listening to right Now:
"Into The Ocean" by Blue October from the "Foiled" Album.


Upgraded MT…

Movable TypeNot so painful as last time I upgraded. In fact, other than backing up my DB and BLOG, it was fairly painless and done via a command line.

All the plugins I care about seem to be working ok. So far…

Music I’m listening to right Now:

Good Morning Britain by Aztec Camera from the “Stray” Album.

Backing up data and stuff

DVD DL packOne of my biggest tasks is backing up data to DVD. The Nikon D80 is a 10.2 mega pixels camera and I shoot in RAW. Each raw file averages about 7.8 megabytes and with over 10,000 photo's I've taken since August, that adds up to a lot of disk space. With double layer DVD blanks getting cheaper, it's easier to archive my photo's to DL DVD.

As a programmer, I try to make my life easier by writing programs for specific tasks. I wrote a PERL program that copies images off my SD card onto the hard disk in directories based on date and camera model. In the D80's case an image taken today would be copied into "d:StuffStefanNikond802007-04-09". In the D70s case, the program would copy files onto "d:StuffStefanNikond70s2007-04-09". This isn't magic, I'm just using the Image::ExifTool Perl Library Module written by Phil Harvey to read the EXIF info embedded into the NEF Raw files to create the directory structure I want. Right now, I'm trying to automate it so that I can login to my PC, put
a blank DVD into the drive, type a command and go for coffee. 

I  used to have a utility that would do this to CD's on Windows 2000, but for the life of me, I can't remember what it was.

Music I'm listening to right Now:

"Holly" by Republica from the "Republica" Album.

Again, Been very busy

Been very busy these last few weeks, so I thought I'd post an update while I have some free time. Besides, it's been over a month since I managed to post something.

Spring is here, so I cleaned up my backyard, mowed the lawn and prepped my vegetable garden. This year, we'll have 9 broccoli plants, 2 grape tomato plant, assorted lettuce, and 2 basil plants. As a bonus, I also planted a strawberry plant. Naturally, after I plant these it goes to 32 degree's Fahrenheit. With any luck, they'll be ok.

On the photography front, I purchased a used Sigma 24-70mm f/2.8 EX DG Macro (That's it on the right) from a co-worker who upgraded to a Nikkor 17-55mm f/2.8G ED-IF AF-S DX Zoom. So far, I'm really enjoying it and recommend it to anyone looking for an affordable zoom that opens up to f/2.8. You can see my photos I took with it here. At this time, my favorite is this one I took of a friend of mine. At f/2.8 he's in focus and the background has a soft feel to it. To make life better, at f/2.8 with my Nikon SB-800 flash on my D80, it's perfectly lit. At 24-70mm, It is, IMO, a perfect indoor party lens. For daylight Walkabouts, I'll still use my Nikon 18-200mm VR DX lens.

On a related topic, I'm using DXO Photo Optics pro more often. I find that for batch processing of photo's It's very convenient and often does a better job than I would in a shorter amount of time. It doesn't have my new lens listed yet, but I'm hopeful they'll add it to the list of supported lens. I'm not giving up on Adobe Photoshop, but I think DXO Photo Optics is an excellent addition to my tool set. Also, I've been backing up my photo's to DVD's. Since the beginning of August 2006, I've taken in excess of 10,000 photos. At 10 megapixels and in RAW NEF format, that adds up to a lot of disk space.

Music I'm listening to right Now:

"Shimmer" by Fuel from the "Sunburn" Album.