Archive for November, 2009

Refreshed the Sidebar

Wednesday, November 25th, 2009

I finally figured out how to tailor the theme template files to include some widgets in the sidebar so there’s now a search box as well as some weather forecasts which are unlikely to be of interest to many folks. However now I’ve got it working I can actually insert some useful dynamic content into the sidebar.

I’ve also started populating the sidebar with links to my favourite blogs which are typically associated with podcasts to which I subscribe.

Another Autumn Image

Monday, November 23rd, 2009

This was taken on a short walk on Saturday, through the Haagse Bos. As with other photographs on this blog it has been only lightly post-processed. Typically I adjust the white and black points to get good dynamic range, and then sometimes a little push on colour saturation and sometimes a little lift to the shadows.

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Picture of a Heron

Monday, November 23rd, 2009

I was rather pleased with this picture of a heron taken this weekend. I just need to work out what precise species it is.
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Gnucash on Mac OS X

Sunday, November 8th, 2009

I’ve already posted here and here about challenges with getting GnuCash to work on Mac OS X. Previously as described in the posts above, I’ve compiled GnuCash myself from source code. Back in 2007 I did this via Fink, but back in the summer of 2009 used MacPorts as a basis.

I’ve been thinking about installing Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard (and already have the family pack DVD), but the thought of rebuilding GnuCash was seriously putting me off.

I’ve now discovered that there is a ready compiled Mac OS X version of GnuCash. It’s available at SourceForge — Gnucash. I’ve installed it and it appears to work fine — in fact it is precisely the same version that I compiled myself back in the summer. The stable version works on 10.4 (Tiger), 10.5 (Leopard) and 10.6 (Snow Leopard). There is also a build of the unstable 2.3.7 version for Leopard and Snow Leopard. Thanks to the team responsible.

Test of Mars Edit

Sunday, November 8th, 2009

I’ve just downloaded MarsEdit to see how it works as a blog editor, and in particular, how it works with images and the like.

I went for a walk this afternoon and took a few photographs on my compact digital camera of some of the autumn colours here in the Netherlands. Here are a couple of the photographs.

Autumn Image

These have both been lightly processed to adjust the levels and also to slightly boost the saturation. I particularly like the colour in the middle of the above picture which almost makes it look like a fire in the woods.

Autumn Image

I shall need to do some more posts to see if Mars Edit is my tool of choice, but it definitely looks promising.

Time Machine

Tuesday, November 3rd, 2009

Ever since Apple introduced Time Machine in Mac OS 10.5 Leopard, I have been using it with all three of my Mac machines. In the Apple community, Time Machine seems to create a split between those who use it and come to rely on it (although often with other back up strategies as well) and those who find it doesn’t work for them or has other side effects.

Like many others my initial back up took a long time — as I recall it took about two weeks for my initial back up to complete to an attached Firewire drive on my MacBook back in January 2008. Part of the reason for the time taken was that the laptop is not permanently connected to the drive, but nevertheless it was an exceptionally long time even by comparison with a SuperDuper! full backup. However, once the initial back up was complete, the subsequent incremental backups in my case are generally quick and unnoticeable, even when my laptop has been travelling with me for 10 days and I return and plug in the Time Machine drive.

It does take some care to make sure that if you are doing something which creates lots of temporary files that these don’t get backed up every hour. If you are doing something like video editing you could fill your Time Machine very quickly. I exclude a number of directories for this reason.

Time Machine stores the backup and the increments such that unchanged files are not re-written, but links are created to them. On my iMac I have a 700GB drive which is barely half full holding Time Machine backups from December 2007. For my laptop which gets somewhat more use I had a partition of about 350GB which Time Machine eventually filled earlier this year after about 18 months of use. One of the consequences of the structure of the Time Machine drive is that all of the cross links cause Disk Utility to have a lot of work to do to verify a drive. I have accidentally unplugged Time Machine drives on my laptop and had power cuts on my iMac where for my own peace of mind I’ve chosen to do a Disk Utility verify disk afterwards. This takes a long time. On my iMac with 312 GB on my 700GB drive, the last time I did a verify disk it took over 70 minutes! Definitely an incentive to be careful when unplugging drives!