“23 Hours Remaining”

Warning: Tech joke ahead.

“I’ve gotten FAT.”

OK, that’s not exactly true, since I’m on NTFS and haven’t used FAT for years but I do have a lot of files.

I don’t make a living at photography but I do shoot to sell and that means I have what we call in the trade a “lot of shutter actuations.”

Three of my cameras since the 1980s really stand out: a Canon A-1, a Kodak DC-4800, and the new Canon 6D. Two of those are digital and I’ve scanned at least some of the film I shot before the turn of the Century.

That means my hard disk has gotten fat.

Every new photo from the new camera makes a 21MB file.

Some of those older photos are snapshots. Nice memories. Good for the refrigerator door. Not something I’ll put in a frame in the gallery. The rest are artistic or commercial.

I have probably 4,700 snapshots (there are about 10GB in 9,300 files) shot through 2000. The 3,800 images for printing or show from 2001-11 take another 16.7GB on the drive. I’ve never used 96% of those but I mean to.

2,127 shots in the 12 weeks since I bought the new camera, and another 300 keepers (576 files) out of those for 8.3GB. I’m ‘shopping and printing a far higher percentage of the originals than I did with any of the other cameras.

Assuming I might realistically keep 1,000 photos/year and print 200 of them, I’ll need 30 or 35 GB of new file storage each year just for gallery photos. That’s not as bad as I first thought but it’s still a lot to fit on my local drive so I went looking for online storage.

Google charges $0.085/GB/month for the first 0-1 TB which doesn’t sound like much until you multiply it by 12,000. Dropbox has an annual fee of $500 (OK, $499) for ½ TB.

Hmmm. Justcloud.com (something I’d never heard of), Backblaze (ditto) and a couple of others are under $50/year for unlimited storage with file versioning and more stars in reliability than Sugarsync or Carbonite.

Meanwhile, I ordered a 2 TB external drive because I need room for my next shoot. I did that because I still haven’t figured out how to install a non-RAID second drive in the second drive bay on my laptop. I’d RTM if Lenovo would give me one. I spent a while googling for one and nada.

The FedEx guy snuck the new drive onto the porch the very next day.

It’s amazing how 2 TB appears to fit in the same size box that used to hold 2 MB. The Quick Start guide has three pictures: one of de stuff in de box. One showing how to plug the wall wart into the wall and the drive. One showing the USB cable going into the drive and the computer.

I started copying files. Gonna take a long time.

Copying Files - 23 Hours Remaining

Copying 20,230 items in 792 folders (38.3 GB)
from Local Disk (G:\Original_Images) to External Disk (J:\Original_Images)
About 23 Hours Remaining

It turns out 22,163 (56GB) in image files of various descriptions transferred overnight the first night. 2,125 are in the dodged-and-burned-and-ready-to-sell category and the rest are originals.

This is becoming a gallery problem as well. About 180 of my fine art photos have moved over to the gallery.northpuffin.com site so far. I could have ten times that many online by the end of the year and that’s simply too too many for visitors (and buyers) to process.

The new camera can shoot production quality, HD video. I dunno what I’ll do if I start shooting video but I think my new hard drive will disown me.


New Look

My web host made a change last week to bring their supplied-with-the-package blogging up to more-or-less modern standards. Along with a new database, a new look, and new themes, we lost the much loved plug-in, Can You Do Math. That means we have gained something else.

Spammers are TurkeysSpam.

I investigated the replacements for the little adding two numbers app. I closed comments on articles more than 30 days old. That’s not too much of a burden since many pieces here are topical. And I turned on moderation. That’s a burden because your startling, fascinating response gets delayed until the moderator notices it.

There were nine (9) new messages waiting this morning. That’s been about average since we made the change. Plenty of sites get hit by more. A lot more.

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beats by dre wants us to buy some noise canceling headphones. “These have a microphone within on every earpiece that perform with an electronic circuitry that creates an opposite audio breaker to scale back breaker.”

Yeppers, I’m definitely clicking on that one.

How about the Viagra 150 mg for which I can get an advance payday loan?


Do they really, really think I’m going to click there?

I read all about the Top 10 WordPress Anti Spam Plugins. That article was published in 2007 and about half the apps offered were out of date.

Akismet is by far the most popular anti-spam plugin; Some 12 million peeps have downloaded it. This Automattic program is completely free for personal use. I don’t want to use it for two reasons. One is that it has to confer with the mother ship; the other is that, as one reviewer noted, “it can get a little overzealous.” In a two week test, he found that Akismet blocked 653 spam comments of which five were not spam. I don’t want to lose any genuine comments, particularly if they come from first time readers.

The bottom line seems to be that most of the plug-ins will weed out the spambots but even the math programs can’t intercept all the human spammers.

Bear with me. We’ll be experimenting with juggling fruit and writing equations in the coming weeks.



First rule of writing: write what you know.

I write a blog which means I do occasionally read OPB (Other People’s Blogs). And when I read, I often comment.

order screenSo.

I seem to have a couple-three logins at different blogging softwares but they all come back to the gmail account associated with the No Puffin Perspective™. They display my own name and everything, since I don’t snipe anonymously.

A friend sent me a link to a LiveJournal blog today. It started an interesting discussion about ownership and privilege; I logged in to make a comment. LiveJournal gave me a couple of options: LiveJournal itself, Facebook, Twitter, Openid, Google, MailRu, Vkontakte, or Anonymously. I won’t autolink my blogging to Facebook or Twitter because you never know what might end up tweeted on your wall. MailRu, founded by Yuri Milner, is the largest Internet company in the Russian-speaking world. I don’t speak Russian. Ditto for Vkontakte. I’ve never bothered to get an Openid because, well, I have gmail.

So I clicked the GooglePaw and gave LiveJournal my email address, fully expecting to see my name and the North Puffin avatar show up. I saw “ext_1649750” and a crash test dummy.

Went looking for a way to change the avatar. Did so.

Google Plus now probably has a low res bird on my page instead of my smiling mug.

Went looking for a way to change the user name. And that’s where the story gets interesting. LiveJournal is perfectly happy to change my public name from what they assigned to what every other account uses. For $15.

I have a better idea.

I deleted my LiveJournal account and I recommend everyone else do the same.


Have a little whine with your cheese and crackers? I have mine right here:

Rufus is fond of believing he knows everything and that anything anyone else says is wrong. Period. Paragraph.

That’s healthy.

Except when the anyone else is, well, me.

Rufus particularly likes to dispute pronouncements on technology, on God, and on history. He insists, for example, that there’s no advantage to increasing the sensor size in a digital camera. Doesn’t matter that I’m a pretty knowledgeable daylight photographer. Doesn’t matter that most other digital camera experts agree with me. Doesn’t matter that large format film cameras have already won the “size” battle. Rufus knows better.

The most recent example comes from the very large (about 800 million population and growing) world of very small issues (Facebook). Our mutual friend Brock posted a note about why a cop should take a gun to a knife fight; I added an anecdote about the army adopting the .45 Colt after Philippine-American War. Brockley Mann is the chief of the South Puffin Police Department.

The “suspect’s momentum may continue forward with enough force for the edged weapon to end up injuring the officer” even after the suspect has been shot, Brock posted.

I recalled that the reason the army switched from a .38 to the Model 1911 Colt was to stop the Filipino Moros running full tilt (a “bolo rush”) with their 18″ machete-like swords at the officers who had only side-arms. Even a dead running man can decapitate a soldier on sheer momentum. Experiments showed the .45 caliber punch could almost stop that rush. Almost.

Unfortunately, the M1911 design wasn’t finished and it never saw service in the Philippines.

Rufus responded that he “thought the ‘service .45’ was ALWAYS a .45 starting with the original Colt revolver. But you say the Army had a dalliance, for a time, with a little .38. How long did that last? (I could Google it, but YOU brought it up…)”

Let’s keep that thought. Rufus could Google it, but I brought it up…

Another poster commented, “I can’t imagine the Army using .38s. I have a .38 and it is really small.”

I might note that it’s not the size. OK, it’s the size.

Thanks to Liza Arden who spent the 30 seconds on Google that Rufus had no time to do, there is plenty of firearms history available:

I cited these examples not (just) to pick on Rufus. OK, maybe to pick on Rufus, but also to talk about how so few people are willing to reach out to the sources we have to store our history even when it is crucial.

You might have a problem reconciling your checking account and need to look for calculation tools. You might need to know when Louisville Slugger first produced a bat with a knob on it (Babe Ruth ordered the first one in 1919). You might have a leaking PVC sink drain and need to look for repair techniques.

I mostly enjoy researching, but I don’t enjoy doing your research. Or Rufus’.

Google Is Your Friend.

It was not always thus. I grew up before the Internet so I had to use the books in the house, the books in friend’s houses, the books in the library. Remember e-n-c-y-c-l-o-p-e-d-i-as? Me, too. I still have a Marks’ Handbook that I rarely use and a Machinery’s Handbook that I use all the time. Mine is the 18th Edition, printed in 1968, because tap drill hole sizes haven’t changed much in the intervening years. I don’t have the CD version but I do look up work gear temperatures online more often than in the Handbook. And I’m more likely to find the mechanical engineering facts, figures, standards, and practices of the Marks’ online. On the other hand, my favorite reference book here is the Oxford English Dictionary my folks gave me more than 30 years ago.

See, it doesn’t matter if you use an Internet search engine or the local library to find your answer. It just matters that you find the answer.

Of course, where ever one reads the data, there remains the small problem of remembering what you read.

(I found that 2010 essay by Googling.)

Chester Gould Would Be Proud

Dick Tracy, eat your heart out!

Chester Gould created the hard-hitting, fast-shooting police detective who used forensic science, high tech gimmicks, and his wits to track down the bad guys Sunday after Sunday. There have been many (not terribly successful) incarnations of Tracy’s famous two-way wrist radio and his later two-way wrist TV.

Cell phones, particularly the push-to-talk varieties, may have outshone that clunky cartoon version but Skype is the real Amen, boys, hitch up two-way wrist TV.

Amsterdam has about 20 times
the average Internet speed of North Puffin.

Hold that thought.

I really didn’t want to Skype. See, I didn’t much want to put on clothes just to answer the phone. I never understood why women in my mother’s generation checked their hair in the hall mirror before picking up the receiver.

The patio stone deliberately has no built in web cam, so I bought a video cam when I needed to pack up the seven tons of astro gear Rufus left in my little house in South Puffin. I got a deal, see, on a pair of [famous brand] clip on bugs that sit atop my monitor. The two of them, in OEM packaging cost a little less than one good one from anyone else. And the quality wasn’t too too bad once I figured out how to turn the darned things on.

No, I don’t use them both at once for 3-D. I have one each in North and South Puffin.

The more we Skype, the more I’m liking this Skyping thing. I’ve been hanging out a bit.

Skype is addictive. On Saturday, I watched Liza Arden eat a Bagel-Shaped-Object as we puttered and hung out and Skyped the morning away.

Skype is addictive. The mobile app works on both Android and iPhones. Unfortunately, the fine print shows it restricts U.S. users to Wi-Fi only calls. Naturally, a developer hacked the app within days of its release to work over 3G. Still pretty clunky there.

Skype is addictive. Seventh graders in Calgary, Alberta, participated in the year-long “Cigar Box Project.” The kids learned Canadian history by using technology to blend historical images and artifacts into their own creations. And they Skyped with National Museum curator Sheldon Posen.

Skype is addictive. Berkshire Healthcare Foundation Trust in Reading, England, is working on giving the people the option of using Skype to speak to their relatives in hospital rather than visiting them each day. The next best thing to being there and, so far, bacteria haven’t figured out how to travel over fiber-optic cables.

We’re sorry. Your Internet Connection Speed
is too slow to support decent video.

Ms. Arden and I have experienced that pop-up recently as her cable provider switched her from her previously rocketing reach to dial-up speeds. She put in a trouble ticket but our North American infrastructure lags the European fiber-optic networks with their gigabit speeds. The company Level 3 now has ultra-low-latency routes with circuit speeds of up to 10 gigabits per second on some city-to-city cables.

Facebook has announced the launch of
video calling in partnership with Skype.
Can Google Plus be far behind?

Skype is addictive but does Skype — now the face of Facebook — toll the end of social networking? Whether we FOOF or FOOG, the “normal” use of those pages is slightly delayed conversations between a potentially big number of peeps (how many FB friends do you have?). The social part works because we can time slice a little piece out of our other activities to stay in touch.

Video conferencing is real time in a way a traditional phone call never has been.

I’ve written before that time is a finite resource. Balancing expectations remains the hardest part of our juggling lives.

“I do enjoy seeing what we’re doing, but find it tethers me too too much,” Rufus said. “It (can be) a good, clear connection, but I prefer being able to move around and do other stuff while we yatter, so hanging out doesn’t eat into my ability to get other things done.”

The next great addition to our communications arsenal may be a (wait for it) cordless phone. Actually it will be a cordless remote for the computer-with-the-Skype-connection that makes at least the talking and listening from afar easier. Or Skype on the tablet. Or on a two-way wrist TV.

And a faster Internet connection.

FOOF /v intransitive/: Faffing Off On Facebook
FOOG (formerly “GOOF”) /v intransitive/: Doing the same on Google Plus
Gigabit /n/ Really really fast. For now.