Archive for October, 2010

Autumn Colours in the Japanese Garden, Clingendael, Den Haag, Netherlands

Saturday, October 23rd, 2010

Its a while since I’ve posted any photographs, so I thought I’d put a couple up this evening that were taken today on a very cold, wet and windy day.  These were taken in the Japanese Garden in The Hague.  A heron was in the park which provided an interesting alternative subject.

Heron in Japanese Garden.jpg

Heron 2.jpg



“I haven’t processed these shots yet”

Tuesday, October 19th, 2010

Back in the days of “proper” photography on photographic film, there was also the somewhat tiresome process on getting photos processed (and also printed in the case of negative film).  Those of us who used Kodachrome slide film would end up sending off the roll of film in the envelope provided putting it in the post box and hoping that it would get to Kodak (in Hemel Hempstead as I recall for those of us in the UK) and that it would arrive back dropping on the doormat about a week later.  Getting prints from negative film relied on much the same process for those of us who used processors via the post or else involved a visit to a local chemist or photographers who often sent off the film in any case.  Some places did do processing on the premises, and sometimes  at a higher cost you could get your prints back on the same day.

Some of us who enjoyed playing with chemicals did our own processing at home.  I used to process E6 slide film (usually Fujichrome).  To save mixing up chemicals and wasting them I invariably did at least three rolls of film at a time, so sometimes it could be a while between taking photographs and seeing them — although on other occasions I did process and project slides that had been taken the same day.

Now in the age of digital I thought we’d got away from this so that by taking the memory card out of the camera and plugging it in to the computer one had almost instant gratification.  This process is very smooth with an iPad and the camera connection kit, particularly if one is using a camera that takes SD cards.  That allows one to share pictures on a reasonable size screen even when out and about.    Indeed, the iPad becomes another storage device which when plugged in to a Mac (even though it is not the one that the iPad is synchronised with) allows one to import the photographs onto the computer.

For many of us with friends or relatives who only exposed about one roll of film a year, one often heard the phrase “I haven’t processed the holiday snaps yet” because they would be waiting to finish a roll of film.   I thought I’d never hear that phrase again.  However, recently a colleague used the phrase about his “once in a lifetime holiday” photographs because they were all in a RAW format and he was clearly going to spend a lot of time in Photoshop tweaking them all.  Thus photography becomes a branch of computing.

As discussed in my previous post I’m really beginning to wonder about the treadmill of using RAW and tweaking each photograph.  I’ve recently had a weekend away and almost everything was shot just in JPG.  It gave me a curious sense of freedom.   I knew I could take as many photographs as I wanted with little likelihood of filling the buffer on the camera or running out of memory at an inconvenient moment.   Taking photographs of people in this way meant one could take a lot of photographs and get a much better chance of catching the right moment with the right look.   I’ve had no problem with exposure (admittedly it was a gorgeous weekend with good light).  I was able to look at most of the photographs taken each evening on the iPad and in just a couple of hours last night import everything from two cameras to my iMac, combine them with location information from my handheld Garmin GPS, and do any minor tweaks to the best images that I want to share.

As I said before, there is a lot to be said for RAW but I’d really like to go places and take photographs rather than spending lots of time tweaking images.  Earlier this year we had a long weekend in Paris.  All of those images were RAW and I’ve still got several that I need to finish fiddling with.  In the future I’m probably going to stick mostly to JPEGs, occasionally taking RAW but only really as an insurance.

HTML Editors

Monday, October 11th, 2010

A few days ago I was talking to a colleague at work who was asking about HTML editors.  As I did a quick bit of research on available editors I thought I’d reproduce it as a blog post.

There are ten Mac (although many come in versions for Windows and Linux as well) HTML editors listed here.  Of the one’s listed I’ve used:

  • Eclipse (but that is the full environment for Java / SOA development so it is a bit overkill for simple HTML editing),
  • Amaya (although I don’t recall using this for long),
  • KompoZer (which I think I only tried out of curiosity),
  • Nvu (also probably only out of curiosity),
  • TextWrangler (which I have on my iMac and use), and 
  • Emacs (as I’m an old Emacs keyboard wizard).

For most HTML that I do these days I use Espresso but largely because it came with a bundle of other applications.  It is overkill for what I need and I probably wouldn’t have bought it directly.

The top one on the list referred to above is Komodo Edit.  I remember using ActivePerl from ActiveState in the past — although probably 15 or 20 years ago!  I downloaded Komodo Edit and it seems a pretty neat useful text editor that works with a Perl, Python, and Ruby as well as HTML, XML and XSLT files.  It does take a little while to load while it brings in all the syntax and tool tips information for each language.

Most of the sites I maintain I do through other third party tools so one can virtually avoid writing any HTML or Javascript directly and any site with more than a small number of pages requires discipline to keep tidy if you do it all by hand, particularly if one is included menus or links between pages.   RapidWeaver has been my tool of choice on the Mac for sometime as it is easy, quick to use, and has a vast community who generate plug-ins of various sorts.


More on Mobile Data Coverage

Friday, October 8th, 2010

Last Sunday my flight from Birmingham Airport in the UK was cancelled and as a result I found myself staying in a hotel on the airport just across from one of the car parks and the terminal buildings.  As the hotel only had wi-fi coverage in the public areas (i’m never quite sure what that means in hotels) it seemed an excellent time to use the cellular data on my iPad.  Using the O2 £2 for 24 hours for a limited data amount would be good value by comparison with almost any paid for wireless access at a hotel.  Well rather like the last time I wrote about this setting up the data access took quite a long time because the connection was only a GPRS connection, no EDGE, no 3G.  It probably took about 5 minutes to successfully navigate the O2 screens and enter my credit card number, and then when one has done this it always seems to immediately claim that one has used all one’s data, but eventually it gets itself sorted out and one can get e-mail.  As it was only a slow GPRS connection, collecting e-mail and sending off the necessary e-mail to say that I wouldn’t be at work until lunch time on Monday was pretty slow.   I then tried to use Feedler to read some RSS feeds which was pretty good until one attempted to access any actual website when news stories on the BBC would take around a minute or more to load.

The following morning I was over at the airport checked-in again (actually my colleague travelling with me had been bumped to an even later flight, but my frequent flyer status worked for a morning flight) and in the lounge — which, so far, has been the only place in the UK where I’ve successfully and reliably had a 3G connection now on a number of occasions.  Surely there must be more UK 3G coverage?

iPad RSS Readers

Monday, October 4th, 2010

One of the things I use my iPad for a lot, is following news stories through RSS feeds.   I’ve almost given up actually visiting web sites directly, but subscribe to the feeds and then go and read the stories that interest me.   This works well with technical news sites, although more general news sites seem rather more problematic unless they have multiple feeds.  I am extremely unlikely to read sports stories, but will read many business and political pieces.  However, I have a large number of technical and more general news feeds set up which I read on my Mac with NetNewsWire, on my iPod Touch usually by directly using the google reader and I’ve tried a number of applications on my iPad.

I started out with NewsRack which I bought on the basis of good reports from various sources, but prior to that I’d downloaded an early version of Feedler which at that time I found somewhat buggy.   Over the past couple of months though I’ve found that I’ve given up on NewsRack and moved almost totally over to Feedler, largely because I find the syncing with Feedler seems to work better.  It could be that I’ve got some settings not set optimally for NewsRack, but if I compare what is outstanding and available to read via the Google site, NetNewsWire, Feedler and Newsrack it would seem that Feedler seems as if its syncing is rather better.