Wednesday, 31 December 2008

Keeping connected in Europe

We're planning to spend a few months this year travelling Europe before returning to NZ for the medium term future, after 7 years of living in the UK.

To keep 'connected' while we're away, I've been looking into 3G data plans, so we can jam a 3G USB stick into either the MacBook or the husbands new Dell Mini 9 'netbook', and upload photos, email, and skype family and friends. Sadly, the only slightly decent option I can see, is via Vodafone UK, who have a £15/month plan (3G allowance), and a 'capped' roaming charge at around £8.50 (tho I can't find it anywhere on their site, so this is just rumor!) /day in certian countries. That *might* be OK, but it's only on a 24 month plan... which is crazy money :(

A lot of hotels in France and other western European countries have free wifi, but I have a feeling we won't be staying in hotels with that many star ratings for most of the trip!

I've tried to have a look around Vodafone sites in other countries, to see if we can get a 3G prepay sim, but as soon as you switch to English language, all you get is info on roaming in their country.

The EU has been working on lowering roaming costs in member states, but if you don't pick up a 12 or 24 month contract, it doesn't apply, so I'm not too sure of our options!

If anyone has any tips on staying connected around Western and possibly parts of Eastern Europe without using dodgy cyber-cafes with their malware laden PC's, or getting totally ripped off using my iPhone as a modem at £3/MB in EU states, and £6/MB anywhere else (need to pwn the phone also to get that working which I haven't got around to yet), let me know in comments.

Tuesday, 23 December 2008

My MkII is here!

I ordered my 5D MK II last Tuesday from Calumet, and as promised it turned up (body only) on Friday. No waiting!

Weather has been a bit grim, and I was working on Saturday, so only a few shots so far at Richmond Park. What is dissapointing (or a blessing in disguise?!) is that my white Macbook can't play back the H264 video it shoots, so it looks like an upgrade is going to be on the books if I want to shoot much video.

JPG file size is pretty crazy - biggest one is 11MB at the moment. Couldn't imagine how much storage you'd need shooting RAW every day! Lightroom is having a bit of trouble rendering the images, so I think I need a new macbook with the GPU rendering stuff.

Full frame is cool tho, the 17-40L lens looks sooooo wide! And the viewfinder is HUGE compared to the 350D.

IMG_0135

IMG_0148

Tuesday, 25 November 2008

a slightly damp and cold holiday

Just got back from two weeks in Scotland and Ireland, watching some Rugby, drinking a lot of Guiness, and some sightseeing (through the rain!)

A few of my fav pics:

Urquhart Castle

All Blacks v Scotland

Highland Cattle, Loch Lomond

All Blacks v Scotland

Eilean Donan Castle

Saturday, 25 October 2008

getting email newsletters right

I have over the years subscribed (either intentionally, or been 'forcefully' subscribed) to a lot of email newsletters. Having also been involved in creating and sending out newsletters by email, I've recently been mulling over how to get them right - from both ends.

My ideas on keeping your subscribers happy:
  • Always provide multipart emails (a combo plain text and html email) - not everyone enables html emails, and a lot of people consume emails in multiple platforms as well, so make sure you provide both
  • Don't overdo it - site marketing only needs to come out every two weeks to once a month - any more than that, and I feel like I'm being spammed. If I want to know about every new deal or update to your site, I'll probabaly subscribe to your RSS feed
  • Set up some good tracking links if you're interested in tracking conversions or hits based on an email - google analytics is dead easy, and can track and report on most of the info you need. Either use this method from Think Vitamin of adding query string parameters to your links, or set up referral redirects, all depends on your setup - tho if you use redirects, make sure they either 'live forever', or get a process up and running to replace those redirects with something more relevant in the future
  • Make it timely - fine tune your sending mechanism to be fast, fast, fast! If you take a week to send out the mails, a lot of your content may now be out of date. Find the most efficient way to get those mails out fast
  • Find out what platforms your target audience uses, and go with a design that works for that platform - there isn't a perfect formula for doing HTML emails that work 100% of the time, but if 50% of your possible (or current!) subscribers use Lotus notes or other clients that don't support full css, you're probabaly stuck with the terror of the old HTML tables. If 80% are only consuming the plain text versions, then don't invest days of work on nice html or graphics. Put your css styles in the body of the mail to support Hotmail
  • Don't make the plain text consumers feel like the poor cousin! I've seen multipart emails that have a rich, content full HTML version, yet just a link to an on-line version of the mail for the plain text version
  • So you've lost their interest, let them go! Always provide a one-click unsubscribe link, or a unsubscribe email address, which is easy to find in your mail. Don't make your subscriber sign into a site they probabaly can't remember their password for, don't keep sending out 'why are you leaving' emails or three step unsubscriptions. Make sure your unsubscribe process works, and takes effect as soon as possible (I've had a lot of cases where an unsubscribe email either bounces, or is totally ignored), or you might get accused of spamming

Thursday, 16 October 2008

when fanboys go wrong

yep, I'm a mac fan. but not like this lot... slightly disturbing

http://www.macheadsthemovie.com/

Wednesday, 8 October 2008

What a difference a day makes...

Here are two photos I took in NZ earlier this year on a 2 day kayaking trip, that highlight the total change in an image that can be had on different times of day.

The first is a late afternoon shot - prob 4-5pm


(Buy from Shutterstock)

The second is a early morning shot - 7amish? Just as the sun started coming over the top of the Fijord - no wind, and a eerie mist on the water


(Buy from Shutterstock)

So... same view, slightly different composition, different time of day. I love the morning shot (think I was actually wading about in the water to take it as the tide had come in overnight), but I'm not a morning person! Lucky the early morning birds woke us up in time to take this one.

Tuesday, 7 October 2008

my first automator script

I was getting bored of going to all the hassle of copying stuff onto our network server where we store our music files, then in iTunes having to navigate back to the folder to add the new beats to the library, and thought there must be an easier way... now I have it!

So... I created an Automator workflow in about 2 minutes that:
  • Grabs the current selected directory
  • Recursivley grabs all files from recursive directories
  • Adds them to the iTunes library (note - I have 'Copy files to iTunes Music folder when adding to library' turned off in the iTunes Preferences | Advanced pane, to stop the files copying back to my local disk)
  • Adds the beats to my iPhone playlist (as we manage a couple of iPods and iPhones off the same library)
  • Syncs the attached device
And I saved it as a Finder Plugin, so it activates on right-click of the folder in Finder. Hurray, one click add-and-sync :) (yep, it's basic, but it does the job for me!)

ringing the bell

Was just reading this boing-boing post on a wireless bell for a restaurant (http://www.boingboing.net/2008/10/02/restaurant-features.html), and it reminded me of our first trip to Yo Sushi! in London, and ringing the bell there.

For anyone that hasn't been, it's a chain of Sushi restaurants, and there is always a bell you can push to grab attention of a waiter (to order some yummy hot food or more miso or green tea mmm). At some branches, the bell is a nice quiet ding thing with a light, but at the first one we visited (at The Brunswick, Russell Square, London, I think), it was a huge jarring noise with a big flashing light, that totally made us jump! Very embarrassing, until you realise everyone else has a big noisy one too, and it's not really *that* loud...

Monday, 6 October 2008

carpark for rent!

Montreaux apts - motorway viewA carpark we own in Wellington, NZ has just come up for rent again...
Great location in the Montreaux Apartment building on The Terrace, secure, covered and only $70/week. Handy for Lambton Quay, Willis St and Parliament.

See the ad here if anyone is interested!

Thursday, 2 October 2008

The revolution is slowly building...

AppleInsider posted some stats today showing that mac usage is steadily growing on the web.
Good to see! I checked my blog stats, and unsurprisingly almost 50% of hits are from Macs, however as I post a lot about mac related stuff, and hit the blog myself (haven't figured out how to remove my stats from feedburner yet) it's not all that big a surprise.

I wish there was some way to filter out 'corporate' usage from the stats - as the consumer market is much more interesting seeing as you get to use what you choose, not what your workplace forces you to use. I have worked in one place where developers got the choice, and were actually encouraged to have a Linux build PC rather than Windows - coding was all Java on Apache and Tomcat, and the prod servers were Unix/Linux anyway. And there is usually a few Macs hanging about in the design departments of most companies, but I get the feeling they are just tolerated (use at your own risk!) and don't get a lot of support from operations desks, which is probably just a knowledge issue - Mac OSX is getting more and more 'compatible' with LDAP etc, and the average Mac user is probably willing to dig around in the shell and work out how to get up and running...

With the enterprise moving more and more towards Web based applications (which I have mixed feelings about!), the dependance on windows thin/thick client apps is slowly decreasing - I think I have about two or three non web based apps installed at work currently, and I barely use them at all.

Would be interesting to hear from some sys admins as to how easy it is to integrate Linux and Mac desktops into traditional windows based networks.

Monday, 29 September 2008

scandanavia trip

have uploaded a few pictures from our trip to Copenhagen and Stockholm - more to come over the next few days as I get around to processing them! Gone for a rather hdr inspired processing on most of them at the moment.

IMG_0647

IMG_0625

IMG_0506

Wednesday, 17 September 2008

evolution


The new canon 5D mk II has been finally announced... and it looks rather tasty. The rumor mill has got most of the specs about right - go read up the specs here: http://www.canon.co.uk/For_Home/Product_Finder/Cameras/Digital_SLR/EOS_5D_Mark_II/index.asp

Not too sure about the HD movie recording , might be a nice 'gimmick', but if it can compete with the current HD recorders out there I might be convinced!

21.1MP sounds rather nice. Does 'environmental protection' mean fully weather sealed?

Current RRP seems to be running at £2,299 for body only, and avail Nov 08. I will be in the queue!

Tuesday, 16 September 2008

streaming HD content to PS3

it took literally HOURS of googling last night to find the solution to this, so I'm going to help the google hits by posting a link :: mediatomb transcoding settings to get H264/AVC encoded mkv (matroska - the enclosure of choice it seems for HD content) files streaming via mediatomb/DLNA to the PS3:

http://kdl.nobugware.com/post/2008/07/05/PS3-video-playing-via-DLNA-streaming-with-firmware-240
(via http://disorganism.com/journal/)

Enjoy!

Tho note - as mediatomb is transcoding, the file can't be paused, restarted or skipped through, so be prepared to watch your movie/show in one sitting!

Sunday, 14 September 2008

web development 101

I've seen so many sites recently guilty of the two most annoying (to me!) sins of web development:

ServerAlias for 'www'
Not having a http alias set up (so you can type http://blogger.com OR http://www.blogger.com to hit your site) - this one is really frustrating, as I'm usually lazy and don't type the 'www'. Quick snippet from my alternativecontext setup on Apache (as a virtual host):
<virtualhost>
ServerName alternativecontext.com
ServerAlias alternativecontext.com
ServerName www.alternativecontext.com
...
</virtualhost>
Directory Index pages
Not setting up default pages (ie index.html, index.php etc) - going to a site and seeing 'index.blah' after the domain name just annoys me! Solved in Apache by setting up the DirectoryIndex correctly, can't remember what it's called in IIS - we set it in the httpd.conf file, but can probably be overridden in virtual host configs too:
<IfModule dir_module>
DirectoryIndex index.html index.jsp index.php
</IfModule dir_module>

Friday, 12 September 2008

easiest hard drive upgrade ever!

I just upgraded my macbook hard drive, and doubled my disk space, and it was stupidly easy!

Could have gone down the route of a full clean install, but thats a bit of a hassle.

I started out using this tutorial from MacInstruct, but for some reason they involve a third hard drive in the process... I took out the 'middleman' and used the 'new' drive as my backup location for the superduper copy, then swapped that disk straight in. Not too sure why the tutorial uses a third hard drive, but whatever works I guess!

El macbook is running faster now too - guess it likes having some room to stretch out a bit :)

Wednesday, 10 September 2008

new tv - true blood



Looks like this series from HBO might be good. Stars Anna Paquin the NZ actor (remember her winning an oscar for the piano when she was about 9?). Tho it might go a bit Buffy from the looks of the trailer.

Tuesday, 9 September 2008

the bones of a good (web) app


When testing a web application, there are a number of 'basic' things a web app should always have. If I can come up with them as a tester, why don't developers put these in the bare bones right at the start? Or should application frameworks have them in place already, so they can just extend and pretty them up? It's pretty rare a web app won't need to implement or consider the items below:

My list:
- Good error pages (http 404 and 500 pages as a start)
- Sensible logging (exceptions, user interactions etc for walking back through a user action to find a problem)
- A good exception handling process to make the two items above useful! ie dealing with bad underlying data, bad user input, bad submissions etc - and giving enough info to the end user and any automated support processes, so the error can be quickly tracked down and rectified
- An 'about' page or footer with the deployment and/or versioning details (turn off in prod if ya want via a config file)
- Standard layouts for forms and data tables
- Some kind of standard CRUD functionality
- Validation schemes (both client side AND server side for when the client side fails!)
- Configuration files that store screen labels and messages (for easy localization and application-wide consistency)
- Page analytics - great for usability studies to follow paths through sites, and see how the users interact with the application (if done right, a LOT of info can be gleaned from even basic analytics packages), and just seeing who and what users are up to, EVEN in a intranet/enterprise app

Anyone got anything I've missed?

Mega-panorama!

Mega-panorama!
Mega-panorama!
Originally uploaded by rachaelr

This is the biggest panaroma I've ever done... tiff file comes out at around 400MB.

Done using the Lightroom - Edit in PS/Merge as Panorama - about six or seven source images, and had PS do auto perspective corrections.

Image is of the Grand Place, Brussels. Taken on a recent weekend trip.

Saturday, 6 September 2008

brrr!

brrr!
brrr!
Originally uploaded by rachaelr

that's not a job i'ld like to be doing... almost raining, about 16 deg C, and having to hassle a bunch of suits to have free drinks, when they all just want to get home on friday night

Shot from our lounge room window :)
I love my 70-200L!

Wednesday, 3 September 2008

Wednesday, 27 August 2008

Newcastle Millenium Bridge

Newcastle Aug 08
Newcastle Aug 08
Originally uploaded by rachaelr

From a trip away this weekend to Newcastle. A shot of the Millennium bridge 'tilting' - it tips right up to let ships pass underneath.

Ironically, none of the pubs we visited in Newcastle had any Newcastle Brown in stock....

Thursday, 21 August 2008

wft?


just had a rather funny email from contractor UK, which contains two articles - where the titles totally contradict each other! wtf?! click on the image to see the bigger version - they are the first and third articles.

Tuesday, 19 August 2008

minature fun

Minature Paris

I always like it when someone favourites an old image on flickr and it pops up from the depths... I almost forgot I had done these series of 'minature' scenes. This one is from a Paris trip - go to the flickr page to find the tutorial I used to 'minaturise' the image.

fabulous font!

Just seen a great new font released by Darden Studio: 'Jubilat'

Very pretty! Just wish I could afford to buy it!



Link via the daily report (jeffrey zeldman)

Monday, 18 August 2008

Roses

Roses
Roses
Originally uploaded by rachaelr

an oldie and a goodie

This is an image I really like. Stood out in the cold for a few hours during a photography class to get this one. Night Bus, London, Dec 2006.
Night Bus
© Photographer: Rachaelr | Agency: Dreamstime.com

Tuesday, 12 August 2008

TubeStatus on iPhone

Further to my call for a public API from Transport For London (for journey planning and live status), I found an App called 'TubeStatus' in the Apple/iTunes App Store on the weekend, that seems to scrape current status + notices for the Underground and Docklands Light Railway.

So there's part of my wish come true! I think this is being achieved by Screen Scraping tho, which isn't very elegant for the future (if the TFL site changes, the dev needs to be pretty quick to update their app), tho I might be wrong!

Thanks to Malcolm Barkley.. can't find a website for ya tho - shout out if you want a link Malcolm!

Oh yeah, I finally upgraded to the 3G iPhone this weekend too, as can be seen by the screenshot above. Ended up sticking with 8GB, as I was struggling to find a 16GB in Central London, without queuing or ordering then going back every day to see if it was in... (as one guy did in one of the O2 stores I was in). As to the old 1st gen iPhone, it's still in use, but I'm keeping quiet about that :)

more red bull shots for sale

another set of shots are up for sale on shutterstock.

go buy em! the new 'on demand' plan looks good from shutterstock - much cheaper than the old monthly subscriptions.

Red bull air race, london 2008

Red bull air race, london 2008

Red bull air race, london 2008

Thursday, 7 August 2008

shameless pimpin'

here's a bit of pimping of images taken this weekend at the Red Bull Air Race in London (full media accreditation yay!). all are available exclusively at shutterstock under editorial licenses, through either the subscription, or the new 'on demand' license model (a bit cheaper for those that only want a few images here and there).

Go buy them here.







Wednesday, 6 August 2008

snooty

Instant SnootI was thinking about materials we might have lying around to make a quick and easy snoot for my flash, when viola! I remembered people saying to use mousemats, and that lead me to thinking... I found a neoprene beer holder (thanks A & S! From their wedding favours!) in the cupboard - one with no 'bottom' in it, and it works perfectly as an instant snoot.

Instant SnootNo gaffer tape, no messing about. Black on the inside, and seems pretty much like its not loosing any light through it. Now to find some black straws to make a grid to shove in the end.

Wednesday, 30 July 2008

upgrade yes.... pay for upgrade hmmm

Lightroom 2 just launched today. Sadly for me, its £69 + VAT to upgrade from Lightroom 1.4 to 2.0 grrr... really want some of those new features tho, a list of changes are on the Adobe Lightroom blog.

Monday, 21 July 2008

Penny Farthing Lady

Penny Farthing Lady
Penny Farthing Lady
Originally uploaded by rachaelr

I love the smile on this lady. Taken at the 'market' on Cheapside, City of London this weekend. Shame I didn't get the flash out to lift some of the face shadow, might clean it up in photoshop at some stage - this is straight from the camera at the moment.

Wednesday, 16 July 2008

iPhone 2.0 home screen

Having a bit of fun taking screenshots on the iPhone. Will dig up the
link on how to take em when I remember where I found it!

Edit: found the link! Thanks to Mac OS H Hints for this one.

Saturday, 12 July 2008

tfl api...

Anyone out there know if tfl (Transport for London) have an API for accessing the current Journey Planner and real time travel updates?

I have a cunning plan (so cunning you could do something that blackadder once said with it) that would require access to the TFL journey planner, preferably by an API to make it simple. But google gives me no joy, so I'm guessing it's not out there. TFL are owned (I think? Might be wrong here!) by the Mayor's office, or at least (partially) funded by the Mayor's office, so that data should be free for all to access, no?

Friday, 11 July 2008

.mac is dead. long live mobile me!

Been seeing a few comments about the new .mac replacement, 'MobileMe' site being up intermittently today.

Just tried to get into www.mac.com (the old .mac website), but it's down for maintainence right now, and my iDisk just went offline also (not that I've ever really used my iDisk ever, so it's not a problem!). I guess the switch over to MobileMe is kicking in so I'm hoping to wake up tomorrow and have a bunch of new software to install:
  • MobileMe app/prefs/etc (whatever sync software they need)
  • The iPhone 2.0 software (this is the 'biggie' for me!)
  • All the apps I've already downloaded (free ones only! Twitteriffic, Exposure, Facebook and the Apple Remote control software) from the iTunes App Store - already upgraded my iTunes today. Weirdly, doing a 'Check for Update' from iTunes didn't find the update, but going through Mac Software Update found it. Strange...
Big day for Apple tomorrow - lots of new stuff coming out on the same day all over the world. Don't think I can be bothered hanging about outside an O2 shop in the early hours of the morning to fight for an iPhone 3G upgrade, I'll just grab the 2.0 software, and wait until the 3G furor dies down a bit. There goes my early adopter status!

iPhone :: Native Blogger App?

Just been checking out the TypePad app for iPhone, and it looks really nice. Write blog posts, post photos etc in a really nice simple interface.

Does Blogger have an app in the works? Is it time for someone else to write one using the Blogger API (no idea how good the API even is!).

The idea app would need:
  1. A nice blog post editor - similar functionality to the current Blogger Rich Text post editor
  2. Ability to label posts
  3. Comment Moderation would be nice
  4. Ability to upload photos from the iPhone camera or photo library
Have I just not spotted the right app yet? I searched for Blogger on iTunes, but no luck.

Thursday, 10 July 2008

I WANT MY 3G!

O2 have made a total shambles of the iPhone launch, and they've pretty much said so on their website.

The deal is: new customers (who don't have an O2 contract) can just toodle on down to any Apple store, grab a phone, and set up their new contract instore. However, existing iPhone users who have been 'offered' free or cheap upgrades to the 3G version HAVE to go into an O2 or Carphone Warehouse store to do the upgrade.

O2 in their blinding wisdom quietly opened up their website for 'pre orders' without telling any of the existing customers (incl me), so in 3 hours they managed to presell all of their stock to people wanting new contracts.

And the kicker, is this quote from the O2 website:
We are experiencing unprecedented demand for the device and whilst we are confident that all customers who want iPhone 3G will get one by the end of this summer, initial supply is limited and will be for some weeks... On average, we will only have a few dozen iPhone 3Gs per store... Some O2 stores will open at 8.02am on Friday, others a bit later.


Right... so I can turn up at a store on Friday at 8.02 am (random!), and *hope* they will open up. Then fight for one of the few dozen phones in store, and probably be late for work.

Surely the *logical* option would have been to only sell to existing customers first, via the online store. Then any 'new' iPhone customer can either go to Apple (who probabaly have a bigger stock than O2/CPW), or fight it out after the existing iPhone customers have got theirs.

All in all, this is a total shambles, O2. And one of the reasons I shuddered when I heard O2 would be the sole carrier back at the original UK iPhone launch. I can't stand their slimy sales people (CPW is worse), who try to force you into insurance and accessories bundles, and have totally incorrect information. A friend who has 'preordered' his phone has already started to be billed by O2 before the contract has even started, and on calling them was told his phone should have already arrived (before the launch). Bunch of clowns.

Rant over for now.

Wednesday, 9 July 2008

OS X Aqua apps - update?

I've just skimmed through the Apple Human Interface Guidelines, but I can't spot where the 'Check for Updates' option is supposed to go in a desktop app under Aqua. I really like this feature, esp. when the app goes off, downloads the update, and unpackages and deals with any migration of existing versions/data etc without having to mess about with it. But it's never in the same place in every app!

Sometimes it's under the Application menu, sometimes under the Help menu, and sometimes hiding in a preferences panel for the app somewhere. Personally, it logically should be under the Application menu, as it's an application action (not a 'help' action really).

Weird that it's not documented in the guidelines. Hint, hint Apple!

Has Vodafone NZ gone crazy?

a friend for me
I can't believe the iPhone tariffs in NZ... [link]. NZ$250 for only 1GB/month of included data? Are they totally crazy?!
I pay £35/month here for unlimited data (GPRS/EDGE, and 3G when it kicks in, plus unlimited wifi at selected wifi providers), the same number of minutes, and 500 texts which is only 100 less than the voda nz plan - the 1GB tariff in NZ converts to about £95 at today's rate.

And I thought O2 were ripping us off in the UK, but that's just ridiculous!

Better sort this out before we move back to NZ (if we ever do!). Things like this going on in NZ really p*ss me off.

Oh and while I'm at it, there is some clown already camped out at the Auckland store, wanting to be the first iPhone 3G owner in the world. Erm... congratulations? [link via Koz's twitter]

Monday, 30 June 2008

cricket shots

A few shots from Lords yesterday. NZ v England, final ODI.

NZ v England ODI June 08
Yeah mate, that was a cracking delivery...

NZ v England ODI June 08
This guy kept our entire stand entertained for a good 5 minutes looking for his friends. Half the icecreams had melted before he found them.

NZ v England ODI June 08
Just a nice action shot in the late afternoon sun.

Heaps more on my flickr set. And another couple of hundred still sitting unprocessed on the hard drive! Shot with a 70-200mm f4 L IS, from up the very top row of the Upper Grandstand, so about as far away from the action as possible - mostly around 1/640th, varying ISO depending on how much sun was about.

Monday, 23 June 2008

busy

busy two weeks coming up.

To kick off, we're going to see The Black Seeds [official site | wikipedia] (one of my fav bands, who happen to be from NZ) play at the Camden Ballroom on Wednesday.
On Saturday, we're going to Lords to see the final NZ vs England One Day Cricket match. Fingers crossed the weather is good - we only saw 40 mins play the last time we went to Lords for a NZ v England match.
The next week, we head off to Silverstone on thursday (couple of hours north of London) for a long weekend of motor racing and camping for the British F1 Grand Prix.

Should be a LOT of great photo ops in that lot...

dinner tonight

k is cooking dinner tonight, based on this recipe from yesterday morning's Saturday Kitchen on the BBC. "Loin of pork with braised artichokes and courgettes with thyme and lemon zest", minus the thyme and artichokes, and with pork escalopes rather than smashed out Loin, but close enough!

smells good anyway...

BBC iplayer on the telly

BBC iplayer on the telly
BBC iplayer on the telly
Originally uploaded by rachaelr

Via the Macbook through a dvi --> hdmi cable. sweet! Just plug in the cable, drag firefox over to the TV display and hit the full screen button on iPlayer. Not the best quality, but then the feed is really fast, so I'll sacrafice a bit of quality for 'instant' streaming.

Saturday, 21 June 2008

Papparazzi alert! Joe Satriani

Joe Satriani
Joe Satriani
Originally uploaded by rachaelr

A shot I took last weekend at a London Music show, of Joe Satriani looking rather inconspicious while signing autographs.

Shot with a 70-200mm f4 IS lens from about 10 meters away (looking through a gaggle of security guards) and the trusty 430ex on camera, with horrid dim red and blue ambient lighting :)

Wednesday, 18 June 2008

night night macbook

in the last two days, I've had two occasions where my macbook won't wake up from sleep. both times, just have a black screen with a cursor, and no amount of hitting buttons/moving the mouse/shutting and reopening the lid seem to help. naughty macbook!

so it's a hard shutdown and restart, which I really hate doing on any laptop. Both times the macbook was plugged into AC power.

If anyone has any ideas (I've googled around, but nobody really knows why safe sleep is causing this), please drop me a line!

Thursday, 12 June 2008

a change is as good as...

...supposedly, a holiday. but changing my blog header hasn't *quite* been as good as a holiday.
enjoy anyway!

The new header was a crop of this image taken by me a little while ago.

Spring Tulips

Wednesday, 11 June 2008

v-v-video

Never been a huge video fan, I'd rather look at stills, but am trying out the flickr video features vs YouTube just to see what it's like. Have uploaded the same video to each site - don't laugh, its really really old!

This one is a flickr video:


And this is YouTube:


First impressions:
  • flickr was really fast to 'process' the video. YouTube took aaaages
  • Private videos can't be embedded from YouTube, but can from flickr. I don't really want to have this live on YouTube, but oh well.
  • neither had any hassle with the encoding, but it is a stock standard avi from a digi cam, so wouldn't really expect any hassles anyway
  • YouTube has the option of picking a different 'still' for the video. Flickr just shows the first frame which if you had a movie that started with a fade in, wouldn't be great (tho I've only tried two uploads, must create one with a fade in and see what happens. Still waiting to be able to select a still for YouTube tho, will check back later and see if they've given me any options yet (I might just be dense tho!)
  • flickr video is limited to 90 seconds - this is part of their video philosophy rather than a technical limitation
  • I like the annotation features in YouTube, nothing similar in flickr
Other than that, they both seem pretty similar.

Tuesday, 3 June 2008

speedin up the macbook

macbook
Over the last few months, I've been having a continual slow down on my mac book. Everything has been getting more and more sluggish, and slower to log in/shut down and even resolve dns addresses.

Over the last day or so, I've run a few things that seem to have it back to almost full speed again (yay!)
  • Ran Leopard Cache cleaner, and did a few things including running most of the maintainence tasks - repairing

    permissions, the mac maintainence scripts, rebuilt prebindings, optimised system files (not sure if that helped or not), and did a medium level clean of local, system and user caches
  • Repaired all my duplicate fonts, and removed a dodgy font (oh creampuff, I miss you!) - details on cleaning up fonts are down the end of this apple support discussion. No idea why that font was causing a problem, but it showed up as errored, so in the bin it went :(
  • The usual hard drive cleanups - move off anything that can go to the network drive, ruthlessly kill junk from the downloads folder etc
  • Got rid of a whole lot of stuff from my Quicksilver catalogs - probably doesn't affect startup/shutdown/login etc, but should help quicksilver in the future
Hope that helps anyone else that's suffering from a bit of a slowdown! Now to work out which of those tasks actually helped, and run it a bit more often.

(I'm running a Macbook 2nd(?) generation, Core 2 Duo 2GHz, OSX 10.5.3, 2GB Ram)