Photo Organization

After installing Leopard and playing with everything it's got, I got bored so I decided it might be time to take a look at Aperture.

For people who don't know, or who haven't had the latest updates, I've nowgot more than 12,000 total photos, not including versions. (That number does include one or two events that were accidentally duplicated when I started my Bridge-Photoshop organizing system last year. I am going to be working at some point on eliminating those.)

What this means is that photos are difficult to find, especially since I haven't been tagging or keywoarding them at all, so I can't exactly go through and search for "Megan" or "7300." Tonight I've just started surveying the damage, but as I have more free moments, I'm going to start finding the best photos and starring them, as well as creating smaller projects out of my initial two groupings. For those who don't know, when I first switched back to Aperture, I had one folder, with many smaller folders, totaling about 10,500 photos.

The maximum amount of images an Aperture project can hold is 10,000 images, so I just split the groups of photos down into "older" (Kodak-era) photos and "newer" (dSLR Era) photos. It was a good approximate grouping, and now I'm going through and taking out specific events, and seasons. Right now for example, I have a project for Fall 2007, for KHS Graduation, for the 2006 talent show, for 2007 summer in Kingman, plus my August trip to Flag, my October trip to Tucson, my Summer trip to Tucson, and I'm going to start putting some of my Real Estate adventures into a folder, and I'm sure as soon as I get done with seasons, I'm going to be making albums for individual events.

Another part of this project is to find more of my older photos that I'd like to share with the world. Believe it or not, there are good photos that I took either before I signed up for Flickr, or during periods where I was not paying attention to it.

Also worth mentioning is that I've given thought to getting a pro Flickr account. It's $25/year, and the bandwidth limit goes away, my photostream will show an unlimited number of photos, and I can show really big, archival-quality JPEGs. I'm currently at about 300 or 400 photos total on Flickr, and I have reached 97% of my bandwidth limit for October, uploading some of those nice archival-quality JPEGs that I do so love. I'll probably get Flickr for a year or two once I actually get that RAID1 hard disc for my Aperture library.


Using Leopard

Well, I received my Leopard on Friday and ran the standard Upgrade installer. Everything went off without a hitch, it's almost as though I've been running Leopard this whole time. Spaces, the unified interface, and Time Machine are all great. The only problem I've experienced is an issue with the BOINC client, which I use to do SETI@Home, but that's not a big deal at all.

Spaces is amazing, I currently have six of them, one for file management and music, the next for chatting, the next for web browsing, the next for eMail, the next for "productivity" and the next for "creative" type apps. Although, I may rearrange all of those again at some point, to put web/email back with chat, and break down creativity a bit, or return to only four spaces. For now, I've got bigger chat and Internet windows than I've had before, and I don't feel the need to

I am very happy about the unification of the interface too; it is something I was complaining about for a very long time. Yeah, a few people's visual cues are gone, but as somebody who uses Windows as well as Mac OS X on a regular basis, my visual cues (and indeed, keyboard shortcut usage) are already out the window.

Time Machine is my new main backup scheme; I went ahead and formatted my 200gigabyte "backup" volume for use as a Time Machine volume. I may eventually get another drive to do the superduper backups to, on a weekly or monthly basis, but for now the time machine has got me covered well enough that I'm comfortable. (Now all I need is the raid1 box for my Aperture library…)

Now we just need to see how this thing holds up in heavy use. It looks like it was optimized for leaving big/heavy apps open on a regular basis, especially since the "new, brighter app-is-running indicator" is so difficult to see under normal conditions. Plus with Spaces, not everything is necessarily immediately visible. Earlier today I had Aperture running for several hours when it didn't need to be, because it was in another space, and the app running indicator didn't stand out very well.

Overall, a great new release, they've tidied up a lot of things, and there are significantly more things in this release that make me happy than unhappy, which is pretty good.


Prepping for NaNo!

It's almost here! It's the end of October, and I'm comfortable with using my ThinkPad in a variety of situations, and I've got an amazing word processor, and I'm ready.

That's right, it's nearly NaNoWriMo again! Although I've got to admit, I'm starting this year with a tad bit fewer ideas than I had last year, but hopefully this means I'll be able to get more. I've got a few ideas, a few character names and of course some locations, as well as a lot of dares I'll be doing this year – I just need to start writing on November first, and hopefully not stop (more than 50,000 words later!) until the end of November. This December/January, I may even take on the task of editing my creation!


Avenue Q

So, I know that this post is very late, but it's worth noting anyway that Megan and I went to Tucson last weekend to see some of her friends and watch Avenue Q. The show was basically amazing, there was more and better music than on the CD, as well as some plot points that you really don't get just from listening to the cd. It was really cool to see the show in person with the other people, arranged very similarly to the original Broadway setup too, just with different actors.

Before the show, was Donald's football game, which was a decent photography opportunity, and after the show was a trip to Takamatzu (sp?), which is one of Megan's favorite foot spots in Tucson. The ways there and back were okay, except for the whole thing about the traffic in phoenix, and on the way there when Megan and Glenn freaked out at each other because of a stop we had to make in Casa Grande.

One thing I noticed is that whenever Glenn wants to do anything with friends, he has to have them come get him, and they bring him home. I'm giving Megan's mom points for noticing this, but I've got to admit that in my universe, it's always been a given that the parental units of both parties share the responsibilities of child transport. And while Glenn, Megan and I aren't exactly children anymore, it's worth noting that over the weekend, doing that would really have helped us, especially when on Sunday we were running late and Glenn's mother freaked out because he left without warning.

Overall, it was a great weekend, aside from the whole thing about "almost no sleep." Megan experienced the very-little-sleep even harder than I did, because she was apparently faced with a few more than normal adverse conditions at work. (That is, of course, to say nothing of my busiest-shift-ever at the helpdesk.) Oh, and there was the carpal tunnel, which Megan seems to be getting really hard, I need to teach her how to fix that, the wrist massaging thing really does work.



Sometimes I wonder whether or not any given piece of technology will actually be worth my time, will actually be something into which I should look for good qualities and useful abilities.

Not today however; as I'll admit I've dived right into pre-ordering Mac OS X 10.5, "Leopard." I can't say what I do and don't like about it yet, it's very early for that. I can however, say that I'm not impressed by Apple's pricing scheme. Retail Leopard is $129 as always, and Educational Leopard is $116, which is about twice what Apple has charged for Educational copies of Mac OS X in the past.

Could I get it for less at the NAU Bookstore? Probably, like iWork and iLife, I could get it for much less if I waited for it to be in stock at the NAU Bookstore. But when will that be? Purportedly, with having preordered it, I'll get Leopard on October 26th, the day it will be released. Not too bad given my existing track record, where I purchased Mac OS X 10.3 Panther only the day after it was released. Just that this time, there will be no cool giveaways or Apple Store bag for Cory.

I'm going to admit, some of the features of Leopard to which I am most looking forward are Time Machine and Spaces. I'm looking forward to Time machine because of my awful track record with data preservation, and Spaces because of my awful track record with window management. The potential to keep every application or group of application in its own area is great. I can already imagine having a UTV62.com space, a chatting space, a music space, etc.

I'm also interested in the new iChat, Mail, and iCal applications, and would also love to see more of the integration between the Leopard client OS and the Leopard Server system. I've heard that setting up managed workgroups is much easier this time around, but I'm only going to consider it significantly so if it's actually easier than using Windows NT 4.0 or Windows XP and Server 2003.

Anyway, I'm writing about it as though I already have it, or like I'll have enough machines to test its group capabilities, which isn't true in either respect. I did preorder it though, so I will have it eventually.


Best Buy

Last night, Megan and I went to Best Buy, where I was basically in wonder-joy land for a nearly an hour. We looked at such things as blu-ray players and high definition televisions, as well as hard disc and high def camcorders (but not too many high def hard disc camcorders), computers with monitors that can rotate, and some video games.

Megan seemed to enjoy the camcorders, the iPods and the video games the most; I'll admit it's certainly entertaining to see Megan play the singing game. I did try the singing game "singstar" but I don't think I'm very good at it. I actually think I did very badly at it, but that's just because the game can tell you whether or not you're "above" or below" the proper level, note, or whatever. I was fairly consistently above or below.

My favorite parts were the camcorders, the cameras and the computers. Luckily I didn't accidentally buy another computer, but it's always interesting to see what the vendors are doing, and it was nice to see their products in a retail setting, because most of the vendors have websites awful enough that it's not even worth trying to check up on their pricing, and the peripherals they offer like monitors and keyboards/mice.

Anyway, I bought a PC card adapter for CF cards and a 2 gig CF card, upon arriving home after spending a few hours with Megan in Wilson, I tried them out to find that they worked gloriously in the ThinkPad 760CD. Now the issue is just finding the best way to transfer data to/from the card and my newer computers. What I may need/want to do is find a DOS program that can create .img files based on the entire hard disc, and write them back out from the CF card, it would be a fairly easy way to switch back and forth between a few different hard disc setups. Plus, they don't even all need to be Windows – it would be awesome to get OPENSTEP 4.2 or a Linux/BSD variant set up and handy. I don't know, once I find an OS setup that I really like, how often I'll change – but it's nice to know that I could use a different OS on the 760CD every day if I really wanted to.


Overnight Considerations

Third and final random note for tonight's sting at the Cowden Hall Lab. The main thing is that I need to make sure I've properly cleaned myself, and that I've gotten enough sleep the day before to stay awake the whole time. I'm currently in here, with a bit of a headache, but luckily it was a pretty slow night. I've given myself permission to play music and that's helped a lot, especially since I'm playing some of John Tesh's more exciting stuff.

Bringing a mobile computer was an excellent idea, it allowed me to get my own things done at my own pace, although I'm not so sure I'll actually want to bring both mobiles next time, unless I'm certain I'll be able to accomplish more on that front. Although, I think next time I'd be able to get more done with that, purely as a result of having made more progress with it in my non-working hours.

Not the best time I've ever had staying up late, but worth my while given the pay that's involved, and definitely interesting, as something to say I've done and blogged about.

ThinkPad Install Disks

I've got to admit that it's kind of annoying to create operating system reinstallation media. I'm currently doing that for the ThinkPad 760CD, in an effort to eventually reformat the system and hopefully be able to upgrade the operating system to Windows 95. In theory, I should just be able to "make the install set" by writing an image out to floppy, then copying that floppy to my flash drive using the other computer. Unfortunately, it seems that mid-set failures in creating the floppy are happening. I'll get it eventually, which just doesn't happen to be coinciding with "today" right now.

Another thing I've noticed today is that all of the users seem to want to use the computers in the little hidden room by default. There are only three working machines in there, although I'll admit that 4 of the 5 machines back there have the nicest monitors in this lab. I was extraordinarily tempted earlier today to swap one of those monitors with the monitor we've got at the lab desk here, which I'll admit isn't that great.

There's also the one monitor here in the lab that doesn't match the other student machines. It's unbelievably annoying, actually. Ah well, there are inconsistencies like that all over South Lab, I suppose I'm just paying less attention down there, since there are more machines, and I don't have to look at most of the student machines anyway.

… and I've got four more hours yet!


This is one of potentially many blog entries from tonight's overnight shift, just as an advanced warning. I found a small stash of old students' floppies here in the Cowden lab, and after looking at least one of them up in LDAP (degree completed status), I decided it would probably be safe to take a look at some of them, and format them so I can work on transferring data to and from the ThinkPad 760CD.

Unfortunately though, it turns out that most of these floppies are old and impossible to use, I started the night thinking that the OptiPlex GX520 here next to me might have a bad floppy drive, but quickly moved to thinking it might've been the TP760CD, Although I am now favoring the possibility that the floppies themselves are bad – It's possible that I'll just have to get my own floppies.

The only real bad thing about that is that I just need one good floppy for tonight, to install the PCMCIA tools on the ThinkPad so I can format the MicroDrive I got today, with the intent of actually using it to backup the data from the 760CD onto the R61i. Failing that, I may just buy some new floppies, or a null serial cable and one of those USB to Serial adapters.

Instead of backing up the data from the ThinkPad's hard disc, I would love to be able to just pop in an alternate drive, but since I'm not made of money-for-eBay (yet) I'll just work on backing up the important stuff the old fashioned way.


Sleeping Schedules

I've noticed lately that I'm having a problem adhering to any kind of real sleeping schedule. It hasn't been a big problem in the past, but it is now starting to become a little bit of a problem. Thursday morning I overslept a bit, and although I did make it fine to my class, I am worried that if this gets any further out of whack, I'll not only have issues waking up, but I'll have issues actually making it to classes, and I wouldn't want to ruin my record of having extraordinarily good attendance, or in cases where the attendance isn't perfect, being nearly dead.

Aside from that, the sleeping schedule being messed up also causes me general discomfort during the day, wherein I'm generally not very good at doing my job, or I start nodding off between calls. Luckily after some water and a few calls, I'm not doing too bad, so at least that wasn't too bad. Although I'll admit to having been so out of it this morning that I actually got my door code wrong on just one digit, not even a trailing one.

As with many other things, I'll figure it out eventually. It may not improve for a short while though, what with my first-ever overnight shift coming this Saturday night. I'll have to post a blog entry about that one, for sure.


Film & Digital

I recently got the opportunity to shoot an assignment for my PHO285 class in digital form. I still had to turn in a print in black and white, but I was definitely excited for the opportunity to do something with the digital camera, and I must say that I did immensely enjoy working in the studio, with the digital camera.

I brought both ThinkPads along. The 760CD was my subject, and the R61i was my helperPuter. I did the tethered shooting thing where RAW files are recorded right onto the hard disc of the ThinkPad, instead of shooting and gathering later. It's actually a rather nice way to get it done, since I can see the histograms of everything I'm shooting, and make a decision about whether or not I'll need to re-shoot. Add to that niceness, is the fact that the studio has amazing tripods and nice lighting capabilities, so I can do some good lighting without having to burn anything. Plus, as a result of the amazing tripods, I can do really long exposures with the aperture closed down, to get great depth of field.

Another great relief comes from the fact that I've already got the assignment done, even though it isn't due until the 9th. I may even start the next assignment early, or use some of my new extra time to go to the photo lab and reprint one of my earlier assignments.

Relieved as I may be about my Photo assignments right now, I do have to take some time to consider exactly how I've been storing my digital photos up to this point. Right now, they are on XIMETA, the 80-Gigabyte external hard disc that I formerly used as a cold storage drive. Over the summer, this drive had a few scares, so I've got most of the collection also duped over onto the 200gig drive that I intended to use as a full-drive backup for the iMac.

I'll have to take a look at that situation again, but I think I will probably get a new external drive for photos, and use the 200gig drive for full-system backups of the iMac, and then for time machine when Leopard comes out. If my understanding of Time Machine is correct then it will be a good idea to have some extra space on the time machine volume, so I can keep a full-system backup, as well as the versions of files that Time Machine is purportedly purposed for. I will also be thinking about potential backup options for the ThinkPad. I need to try out the ThinkVantage setup, because it supposedly has a function that lets you back up the entire system to DVDs, but I'm not certain of the best process for this. Sounds like a good time to read the documents.

Yellow Bikes

Today, on the way from the Student Union to Wilson, Megan had to walk her bike, so an NAU staff member pointed out to me that I could ride the yellow bike with her. So I did. The particular bike was very tall, but it was about the right size for me anyway.

It's actually a very cool idea, and a good mode of transport for those of us who either don't have our own bicycles here, or don't feel the need to futz around with our own bicycles just for getting places on-campus. I left the bike in front of Wilson today while visiting Megan, although I am thinking of riding it further to the Wettaw building so I can get to BIO100L quickly.

My only complaint so far is that the first bike I tried was actually missing its chain and the red sign informing of the purpose of the bike, but I suppose it's to be expected so early in the program, especially with less than 100 bikes in circulation, that some of 'em would develop such problems. The other thing is that they're all used bikes to begin with, so they've got their own problems of various sorts.

It's not perfect, but sometimes, it's more convenient than waiting for a bus, and it's faster than walking up or down Cardiac Hill to get to or from some of the popular South Campus locations, such as the Business, SBS and Engineering buildings.