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the past few years I have followed this approach but instead of tapes I’m using old hard disk drives recovered from superseded computers.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 merge 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.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Here is a bit of AIart fun

image This is a fun little side AI project from google, called quick draw. The idea is to sketch something and see if the AI neural network can guess what you have drawn, Further by playing youare training the network to make better guesses.

Sunday, November 12, 2017

12 Apostles in the Morning Light

12 Apostles in morning light

A much more enjoyable time for a photograph. The name 12 apostle is a bit of a misnomer as there are now only parts of 8 sea stacks left, most not visible in this photo the others surrendering to the sea. Not sea level rise and global warning just strong swells, currents and harsh weather from the southern ocean combined with the natural erosion of the friable sandy limestone.

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Stairway to Heaven :: Bass straight style

Stairyway to Heaven :: Senset Swim at Port Campbell

Broom, in WA, make a fairly big deal of the reflections of the rising full moon over waves, which creates a series of reflected steps. Well much the same phenomena occurs each night on any beach that faces west. here a coupl of girls where enjoy a sunset swim (I bet the water was cold) and making a wonderful backlight scene.

The Great Wall of China :: Bass Straight Style

_IGP6156 Pano

I’m a bit taken aback at the “bun-fight” of overseas tourist taking photos, mainly selfies with their back to the vista.I was jostled and pushed out of position several time by Chinese in a hurry to get yet another photo of his colleagues. Clearly it the wrong time of the day, as the sea stacks are in shade and I really need to get here when the tourist Busses are not here either.

Selfies overload @12 Apostles

This is such a sad thing, even sadder is the number of folk that ignore the plentiful signs that the cliff are very unstable and squirm through the fence for that ubiquitous selfie.

Wednesday, November 08, 2017

BIG #FAIL Microsoft & HP over update KB4041676

IMAG1167Unfortunately I have been complaining about the endless update and undoing changes loop that two of my computers go though everytime they are restarted sometimes they initial it themselves it all to do with the fact that windows cummulative update KB4041676) can not be installed on either of my new HP computers. Also my HP photosmart printer has decide to stop working in sympathy!

Sure a month of problems and hundreds reporting similar problems across every forum of the numerous I checked would force either HP or Microsoft to do something about it. Also Looking through all the (user supported) help forums has not bought to light any sensible explanation of satisfactory solution. Infact it has convinced me that most posts are really uniformed and these are dangerous places to seek advice. So where is the place I can actually Email my problems and expect to get a reply from a real person who might know where to find the answer or better still help me with a simple solution. Note I am not trying any more of those Chat supports places, with workers following a script which does include the problem I wish to discuss, so they quickly get stuck in a loop, that’s if I even understand their accent over all the background noise and chatter in there remote offshore bunker (aka call center). Asking to speak with their supervisor just means getting put on infinite hold if not disconnected, This is a mess that needs attention

I think you should be ashamed Microsoft, and HP how about helping out your (once) loyal customers, if you don’t have a fix put pressure on microsoft. Just do it!

Sunday, November 05, 2017

The Never Ending story


The frustration continues as the update KB4041676 insist on being installed, then fails, then undoes the changes (35 times and still hasn’t realised!)


Thursday, November 02, 2017

Surely its Time to Move On (maybe better not to panic)

Despite the hype, it is really clear to me that Adobe have done a google style deprecate with lightroom as we know it. That desktop program that most photographers rely on, but wish it was faster, multi-computer LAN compatible shared catalogue, and better still multi-user to mention a few wishes from the many that have gone unanswered for the past 4 or 5 years. I actually think the rot set in before the creative cloud subscription, which has only delivered a few feature that most other software already had, I think the writing was on the wall when version LR5 was first release. In fact I have not upgraded since version LR4.4 (mainly because I haven’t bought a new or different camera camera system, so I don’t need upgrade). I just had to buy a SSD drive to get lightroom running (more like limp along) at a reasonable pace.

Lightroom has always seemed a High Maintenance Mistress to me. She has to control everything, and often just for no sensible reason. I still can not forgive her for loosing so many of my collections (once my favourite way to organize my chaotic digital photo universe). Which is probably why I have been open to trying different and new software from third party to plug ins to alternative programs. Well there isn’t a magic answer to the best program. I doubt it will every exist. Yet with something to manage your growing collection (like Lightroom,Picasa, VnView, ACDsee, Aftershot pro, On1 Photo RAW or even Photo Mechanic) and a good collections of editing tools (too many to mention in one sentence, yet Luminar is clearly a rising star) everyone will be able to get by. Albeit with the frustration or round tripping between different packages and learning different short cut keys etc,. Such is the keen digital photographer’s lot.

It appears from my remote view outside the Adobe Creative cloud Juggernaut, that adobe is the mobile and portable tablet or lightweigh browser (cloud) applications (aka consumer new shinny toys) rather than powerful computer environments. Surely even the fan boys can see that the new Lightroom cc is pretty much a single image at a time thing that needs a lot of extra bits to make it useful for serious users. Even then it will require a fast internet with plenty of band width. At least those serious will still have Lightroom Classic CC, which is the old Lightroom you can speed up by using the jpeg thumbnails embedded in your RAW files (like Photo Mechanic and On1 RAW Photo 2018). Excise me for suggesting this sounds a lot like “buying the emperor new cloths”

However Don’t Panic, read the Lightoom Queen’s recent blog post. Just keep using what ever you have now and only look for something new when you get that new camera!

Wednesday, November 01, 2017

#SnapMelbourne on again

imageAn interesting photographic project coming up again on November 22nd. is the #SnapMelbourne project, promoted by the Local Leader Newspapers and the Herald Sun. This year it has the theme Memory Lane, so they are looking for photos of my neighbourhood, local characters. my family, my home, etc. The prizes are the opportunity to participant in an undisclosed photographers workshop (other sponsors are Canon and Harvey Norman so I’m guessing the workshops might be somewhat sales oriented) BUT the real opportunity is to get your photo published.

I don’t usually recommended photo “”contests”, because so many of them are borderline scams, but I’ve checked the TOS (term of entry) and they don’t pretend to own the rights to anything you submit, copyright remains yours). So this one is safe to enter.