Tuesday, December 12, 2017

More Upgrade angst

There haven’t been many blog post of late, any free computer time I have available has been spent just patching up, re-installing or watching with fingers crossed yet another update. Somewhat fortunately I think I am finally moving forward.

imageThat was until I wanted to do a bit of work on my studio computer (more that just listen to music, or control a chromecast). I wanted to change the display (to suit an old TV, a Sony Bravia, it has nice natural colour, good resolution and a big screen). Well it might be easy if I can change the settings (and the setting tab no longer works, thanks microsoft!)

After a while I manage to get to the settings (by doing a right click on the start menu) and the settings seemed to be working. Then I got a notification about an update status, so I went and had a look. Damn its still trying to update, at least now it realize it can't, before I have to go through that frustrating upgrade loop. I wonder if it will ever realize I really don’t want to upgrade , I’d rather  just fix what I have now.

When will this madness end? 

Damn I can’t find a display setting that takes advantage of the Bravia big screen

Monday, December 04, 2017

Windows 10 Update woes continue :: Catch 22

After struggling through a couple of weeks with three of my computers effectively unusable because of the windows 10 update loops and related update problem, I bought out and old HP desktop (old being about 5 years , its 64 bit has 8GB of RAM) and was using it to give me capability top work email and do some photographic work. It did update itself twice without any problem to 1703, then the dreaded update loop started and it lost access to the setting app. Which was a pain as I wanted to print something and could set up a printer. I got over that issue by writing my word document to my google drive converting it to a google doc and printing it to the printer from my android phone via WiFi.

Please note Microsoft : the lack of microsoft tools used in this totally unnecessary work-around.image

In the last days of last week I was able to nursed my newer computer back into usefulness, I had my computer access back so I should have quit while I was ahead. Instead before I put my old reliable computer back in the studio driving my copy stand and sometimes a music playlist I figured I should to should try an “in place” reset, which turned into a Windows fall update (version 1709) and took over 9 hours (at one stage it may have been waiting up to 30 minutes for me to hit return n “the update now” prompt). It finished late last night and I had a quick look and it seemed ok. So I shut it down and went to bed.

It wasn’t Ok of course, now I have a different problem a lot of the standard apps are greyed out on the start up menu.  They can’t be run from the all apps list either. That sounds easy enough to fix just download them again from the App Store. Wait the app store doesn’t work either. Oh Dear, Yet another Catch 22!

Where is your Shame Microsoft?

Friday, December 01, 2017

Did Windows 10 have an accomplice?

imageI have slowly got my two very sick Windows 10 computers back to health (one by a full reset and the hassle of reloading all my software and data and the other by a in place reset). Its taken the best part of four days and a decent amount of angst. I’m none the wiser of the cause, but I’m slightly worried one of the software packages I’ve recently installed (or more particularly related drivers) might have cause some incompatibility. I had really only installed a number of photo software Luminar (as a windows beta version) On1 RAW Photo 2018 (as a trial version) and Aurora HDR 2018.

The Windows beta of Luminar didn’t seem a real candidate because I had been using it for a while and it was installed on the another windows 10 computer that didn’t exhibit the update problem. Aurora hadn’t been installed on this computer and when I tried to install On1 Photo RAW 2018 it reported that the computer was not compatible with Open GL 3.3 (yet I use mining software on that machine that relies on Open GL and currently uses version 3.3). On1 Photo Raw also proved essentially unusable on the HP spectre small screen and frequently froze in tablet mode. Frustration overload

I have purchase Aurora HDR and love it, so I’ll be making sure it works fine before I try reloading either of the other programs. I do like Luminar but it doesn’t yet do any file management or cataloguing so I’m still stuck with lightroom for the time being. I also like On1’s stuff, especially its layering, masking including great luminosity masking tools and blending, but if it only works on one of the three machines that I will be using, it is definitely off the potential purchase list for now (so I’ll stick with On1 Photo 10.5 for now)

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Fun with MacPhun


The Macphun blog was a fun test to test some basic photography knowledge.

Follw this link to see whether you are a 10/10 Photographer!

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Thus begins a major Backup & Archive Overhaul 1. Archiving

The Suspended animation Windows10 Death By upgrade of two of my three current computers, plus another taken out of retirement really frustrates me but it has also forced me to carefully rethink my Archive and backup systems

First Archiving

I have often made claims in this blog that Backup and Archiving is different but haven’t really explained why and what I do?

I use a really old fashion 3 generation approach, Grand Father > Father > Son which originally came from using large real Magnetic Tape as the archive of mainframe data on larger installations.

The system is simple, once a month (or at some routine time, fortnightly, bi-monthly, quarterly, yearly) a new master archive tape (or Tapes) is written and it sticky labelled SON (on the outside not magnetically). The next month a new master is written on a fresh tape. The SON Label is removed from the old tape and affixed to the new master (it could be a new label). The older Master is now labelled FATHER. The Next month a new tape  is written and label SON the old son becomes FATHER and the old father becomes GRANDFATHER.3 Generation Archive System It was common to keep either the Father or Grandfather versions offsite. On the forth and subsequent months of the cycle the GRANDFATHER tape is overwritten with a fresh new full archive and becomes the SON. This approach means that you can recovered items up to 3 months old even if the where corrupted (or lost) on recent archive. It also Has the Advantage that the tapes are being regularly exercise and not slowly magnetically leaking data/corruption across the layers of the tape.

USB SATA HHD adaptorFor the past few years I have followed this approach but instead of tapes I’m using old hard disk drives recovered from superseded computers. I have a simple USB plug in SATA HDD adaptor (they are not expensive) and the old mechanical hard disk are essentially free and reformatting then re-using them stops your data falling into the hands of unscrupulous computer recycles and being sold to hackers or phishing schemers. Two years ago now in my first set of frustrations with Windows 10 update I gave up trying to install windows 10 of a small Toshiba netbook (and instead installed LINUX on it and it works fine). It is now forms the key component of my Air Gapped Archive, its not top secret spy style setup, just a way to try and keep viruses and normal mechanical malfunction that might affect my normal computer network away from my archive files (and I’m well away from any internet connections).

I have dropped back to doing the full archive update quarterly but I do maintain a candidates for latest archive area on one of the disks on my local area network that all computer can copy to. Each quarter I transfer this to my Linux computer via an external USB drive and sneaker net (ie I unplug it from one and plug it into the other). This external drive is itself a backup of the latest SON Archive (perhaps recreate then and there) and so begins the process of cleaning and deduplication etc). This can take a from a few minutes to many hours if not days for poorly organized collections of everything!

Just have everything fully backed up does not constitute and archive. An Archive needs to be organised so things are easily found (keywords are not enough). This is a big topic and will be the subject of a few post to come.

Once I am happy with the new additions to the archive I meagre then into the full son set of directories, I then get the grandfather drive which is normally keep offsite so I need to collect it or tale my Linux laptop to the offsite location. I then reformat the grandfather so it is basically a fresh clean disk. Exercising (aka user) a mechanical hard drive actually improves their life span and significantly reduces the likelihood of data loss. This reformatted and empty now gets a full copy of the working son archive labelled SON. the old son become FATHER and old father gets labelled GRANDFATHER and retired offsite.

This might sound complex but it is easy, and extra reliable. Despite being 2 out of 3 computers down I know my archive is safe.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Time to get your act together Microsoft

stating the obvious

Yes I do know this computer (which is less that 6 months old and came with windows 10 is not able to update itself. I am painfully aware that in fact it has trained and fail  over 36 times. Further my poor little HP spectre had tried 49 times before it died, that is stop being able to be used in Windows 10.

my recent update history of failures

After 6 weeks of  fruitless trying Microsoft’s Windows update trouble shooter and then searching of apparently sanctioned microsoft user forums (and convincing myself most of the advice was bogus, microsoft really need to moderate this drivel better, and carefully trying the advice that seemed safe and logical but just didn’t work either. I started asking around the technical folk I trust and the only suggestion was to find “Windows update assistant” on the official microsoft site. Yes I an cautious enough to check which links I follow and what I download.

So In anticipation of finding the right solution I downloaded and ran the assistant. It told me about my installation and that I should update, So I started the update and several hours and many restarts later My system started and reported that the fall update was loaded and try to get me to use edge (which I really think is still very ordinary compared with chrome still. I also got a message to register the computer with HP (obviously windows 10 thought this was a brand new computer but I did re-register it anyway). Then I noticed I was left with a plenty blank screen, just the first time install blue window background.

example of my new screen after windows 10 fall update

There is no start menu, I can get the tool bar to appear but the start menu and cortana search panel don’t work only the file manger icon seems to still be work, and the only Icon on the screen Windows Update Assistant tells me my system is up to date! it doesn’t mention the computer is effectively unusable

Welcome to the NEW Windows 10 Blue Screen of Death by frustrations.

Have you No Shame Microsoft?

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Adobe Really?

recent adobe email

I received a marketing email from Adobe with the tittle “Get over your ex. Photoshop can help.” and the graphite above.

My first reaction was how inappropriate, I assumed it was the girl to be removed. Given all the “me too” and chauvinistic harassment outcries on social media. It struck me trying to rewrite history was not appropriate here.

Ok I clicked on learn more and saw that it is supposedly the girl getting rid the guy. This is probably an even cheaper shot, an over reaction to the Nikon Asia debacle. It might placate some of the social media noise but most potential photoshop users are not the selfie obsessed me too celebrity wanna bees, nor the self appointed fashionista elite who probably already have. The potential new clients are more likely to be normal folk. Probably ordinary dads and mums.They will be more interested in hoe to remove the telephone poll coming out of john’s head, or that nosey neighbor photo bombing the background in a family snap shot that they want to remember. Content aware erasure and “patch drop” (adobe term) are wonderful tools, they deserve more than such trivialized promotion.