Wednesday, 30 June 2010

Asking for IDs

I spent all this morning just preparing a few images and then posting them for ID requests. No idea how it managed to take all morning.

In the afternoon I processed some Scorpionfly photos.

In the evening I helped L make some Waffles, then we watched another episode of Life. After that I carried on processing the Scorpionfly photos.

Tuesday, 29 June 2010

Hopefully finished flexing

This morning I was trying to do a backup, but the drive kept disappearing from Windows partway through backing up my VMWare Virtual Machine image. It did a similar thing yesterday evening, disappearing partway through a backup of some photos.

When I say disappearing, I mean that Windows can no longer see or write to the drive (so any writes in progress fail), but the drive's activity light on the PC case was staying lit.

So I did some googling and found this thread: Hard drive disappears. Lots of possible causes are given in there, one of which was a faulty cable. So I found an alternative SATA cable and replaced the one I was using. I also attached the SATA cable directly to the drive, instead of using the SATA hot-swap bay I normally use, in case the problem was the SATA hot-swap bay.

It was very difficult to plug the replacement cable in, and then to push the drive into a space bay inside the case, but I managed it eventually. I ran the backup again, and it ran okay. So possibly it was the SATA cable or the SATA hot-swap drive bay, or maybe it is a problem with the drive and it was just co-incidence that the backup ran okay this time.

Anyway, I put everything back how it was before (except with the cable changed), and will see how it goes.

After that I processed a photo.

In the afternoon I did some more work on my XMP File Info panel. I tried changing the panel class from examples.panels.dkphoto to just dkphoto, and when that didn't work, I tried dk.panels.dkphoto. But although I changed the folder structure and references in relevant files, when I tried to view the panel in Photoshop or Bridge, the panel would not even be available to view.

My guess is that in CS5 only panels in the classes com.adobe.xmp.panels or examples.panels are shown. In CS4 my panel showed up okay, and it had a panelClass of DKimageXMP.

Next I tried to find out why my panel would appear blank whenever I included any CSS declarations or an external stylesheet. I did a similar thing to how I tried to debug why adding a dataProvider was causing the same problem yesterday, i.e. starting with a basic panel with a CSS declaration, then gradually building it up into my own panel, building and testing the panel still works after each addition/modification.

And I found exactly the same thing that I found yesterday - including the CSS in my own panel now magically worked, when for the last few days it hasn't. While I am happy my panel can be styled by CSS and include dataProviders, it is annoying how there doesn't seem to be any logic as to why they weren't working before, causing me to spend a lot of time debugging a problem that doesn't exist.

I had a couple of other problems, but they were both due to things I'd done wrong, and easily fixed.

FlashBuilder 4 seems to use a very large amount of memory - at the moment it is using just over 600,000K, with just one mxml and one actionscript file open.

I finished working on getting my XMP File Info panel compatible with CS5 (I just hope it still works with CS4), then sorted photos most of the evening.

Monday, 28 June 2010

Flexing my patience

Today I was mainly working on my XMP File Info panel.

For the last couple of days, whenever I have added a dataProvider to an mxml XMPComponent in my project, e.g.
 <fi:XMPFormItem label="$$$/xmp/Iptc4xmpExt/WorldRegion=World Region" labelTooltip="$$$/xmp/Iptc4xmpExt/WorldRegion_tooltip=The name of a world region of a location. This element is at the first (topI) level of a top-down geographical hierarchy." >
<fi:XMPComboBox id="LocationCreatedWorldRegion1" xmpPath="Iptc4xmpExt:LocationCreated[1]/Iptc4xmpExt:WorldRegion" width="300" dataProvider="{worldRegions}" />
It has made the panel blank when viewing it in Photoshop or Bridge.

After trying many different things, I gave up and decided to just try and get my panel working without dataProviders for the moment - I could think more about how to add the dataProviders when the rest of the panel was finished.

So today I slowly built my panel up, copying code over from my old panel (which just appears blank in CS5), and testing after each addition to make sure the panel was still appearing and hadn't turned blank.

As part of the process I had to check one of the sample panels that Adobe includes with the XMP File Info SDK 5.0.0, and I noticed that in there they were using a dataProvider on one of the XMPComponents.

So after copying that and slowly modifying it into my own code, testing after each time, I found that I could add dataProviders in my own panel. Very strangely, I added back dataProviders that I had removed due to them making the panel appear blank in PS and Bridge, and yet now the panel would appear okay?!

I really don't understand how it can not work one day, and then work the next?

Anyway, I also had a couple of times when Flash Builder crashed on me, and a couple of times when it said it couldn't build the project and to build it using ant to see what the error message is. But building using ant built the project successfully. To get Flex Builder to build the project I'd have to close it and open it again, and then it would be able build the project instead of saying there was a problem.

When building with ant, I found that it output the compiled project to the project's bin folder, instead of outputting it to the destination folder. So I'd have to manually copy the panel file to the correct place if I wanted to test the output when built directly using ant.

A problem I spent a very long time debugging was that I was getting Error # 1086 when trying to append some XML. My test code looked like:
var itemName:String = "Lenses";
prefs.appendChild( '<'+itemName+'></'+itemName+'>' );["Lenses"])); prefs["Lenses"].appendChild('<Lens></Lens>');
It took me quite a long time to out what the problem was, the alert showed that prefs["Lenses"] was xml, but when I did; I got
So clearly the string was being converted to text/entities instead of XML.

I tried lots of different things to try and get the string to be added as an XML node, and eventually found that all I needed to do was to change
prefs.appendChild( '<'+itemName+'></'+itemName+'>' );
prefs.appendChild( new XML('<'+itemName+'></'+itemName+'>') );

Another thing I found was that when I added an inline XMP_WRITE event handler xmpwrite="eventHandler()" the handler would be triggered before the XMP was written. But if I added the XMP_WRITE event handler dynamically using actionscript addEventListener(XMPEvent.XMP_WRITE, createArray);, then the handler would be called after the XMP had already been written. So to fix this, when adding the event handler dynamically with actionscript, you need to specify a higher priority. I found a priority of 1 (the larger the number the higher the priority, default is 0), meant the handler would be called before the XMP was written: addEventListener(XMPEvent.XMP_WRITE, createArray, false, 1);

In the evening I watched part of a webinar about niche websites, most of an episode of Life (BBC nature documentary), and most of the Brazil vs. Chile match. I also spent quite a while watering the garden.

Sunday, 27 June 2010

Watching England be rubbish as usual

This morning I went to Church as usual. Mauser wasn't around as he went to Mansfield yesterday. I updated my pog website, which was very easy thanks to doing most of the work yesterday.

I processed a few more photos, then watched the England vs. Germany match in the afternoon. I found it funny how before the match the radio presenters and people they interviewed all thought that England would win. It seems that the large majority of England supporters all think England are much better than they are. Despite the poor performances of the team, it seems the fans never learn.

Anyway, the Germans beat England quite easily, though the German team isn't very German. The match was alright until near the end where both teams were just passing the ball about. And England even played some attacking football, in contrast to their previous games this tournament.

I spent all the evening uploading photos to my photo website, and checking photography websites while I waited for the images to upload. Still, I only did about half the folder of images, I'll have to do the rest of the photos tomorrow.

Saturday, 26 June 2010


This morning I tried to do a bit more work on my custom XMP File Info Panel, but couldn't get anything working, so gave up for the moment.

I spent the rest of the morning and quite a bit of the afternoon cutting out pogs in photoshop, then uploading them to the website and updating it (but not approving the updates).

The internet was really slow all day, which was annoying. The main problem was I was trying to download 'Windows XP mode' so I can try and fix a problem with my pog website in IE7 (Windows 7 ships with IE8), but the download took all day so I didn't actually check the problem.

I also sorted/processed some recent photos.

Friday, 25 June 2010

Trying to get stuff done but failing

This morning I was trying to do some work on my custom XMP File Info panel. First of all I couldn't get any panel to build properly - when I clicked on the custom panel in Photoshop or Bridge, the File Info dialog would break (only the cancel button would work).

I even went so far as following the instructions for creating a custom XMP File Info panel in the XMP File Info SDK 5.1 Programmers Guide, but still no luck. Then after about an hour (or more) of trying various things, it magically started working again.

The way I actually got it to work was by using the Flex 3.5 SDK for the project instead of Flex 4, but after doing this I changed back to Flex 4 and the panel would now display in PS/Bridge okay.

Since I was having trouble with Flash Builder, I decided to see if I could compile my old panel using Apache Ant.

After downloading ant, I tried to set it up according to the instructions at Installing ant. But I just couldn't get ant to work without specifying the full path to the ant executable.

In the end I found out what the problem was - I had set %ANT_HOME% as a User variable, whereas to be used as part of a %PATH%, it needs to be a System variable.

After lunch I tried building my panel using ant, but kept getting an error saying Could not load definitions from resource flexTasks.tasks. After some trial and error, I found that moving the line
<taskdef resource="flexTasks.tasks" classpath="${FLEX_HOME}\ant\lib\flexTasks.jar"/>
from the bottom of my build.xml file to near the top of the file (but below the line where the FLEX_HOME property is defined) fixed it.

Now when I ran ant, I got an error saying Target "build.xml" does not exist in the project. Doing some googling I found that you can run ant debug instead of ant build.xml. When running with debug I got the actual cause of the error - a typo (I had written a property as labelToolTip instead of labelTooltip). Thankfully the debug info gives the line number of the error, making it relatively easy to spot what's wrong.

I built my panel successfully using ant, but when trying to view the panel in Photoshop CS5, it was empty (and would make all other XMP File Info panels empty after viewing it). So I tried a few different things, but couldn't get anything to work.

I went back to Flash Builder and started work on modifying the default panel that it creates when you start a new XMP File Info panel project. The first thing I found is that the panel doesn't seem to work when you include an external stylesheet e.g. I had
<mx:Style source="../../../styles/DKimageXMP.css" />
The panel would build okay, but either the panel wouldn't appear in the File Info dialog in Photoshop at all, or it would be blank and break all the other panels once you'd viewed it.

The rest of the afternoon and evening I did more work on my XMP panel (not making much progress), and took some more photos.

Thursday, 24 June 2010

installing stuff

This morning I was mainly installing programs for my new Windows 7 install. So far Windows 7 seems quite a bit slower than Vista when starting up programs. I also decided to switch to Chrome from Firefox, so I had to install Firefox, import the bookmarks from the backup into Firefox, then import the bookmarks from Firefox into Chrome.

I'm not sure if Chrome is actually any better at managing memory than Firefox - it uses a separate process for each tab, so it's not easy to see what the total memory usage is. It's certainly quite a bit with 9 tabs open anyway.

I also watched episode 10 of Springwatch, which I had missed when it was on a couple of weeks ago.

In the afternoon I spent quite a while looking at info on IDs that had been suggested to me for some of my photos. I also spent quite a while in the back garden taking photos of green bottles that were enjoying a dead slug.

After that I tried to start work on a new version of my XMP File Info panel, using Flash Builder 4 (which is part of the Adobe CS5 trial I've installed). The first few times I tried to build the project, I just got an error saying
Failed to Publish Panel. Run the ant build using the build.xml file for accurate debugging information.

I have no idea how to Run the ant build using the build.xml file, but after trying a few different things, I found the reason the build was failing was because I was trying to output the compiled file to a directory inside 'Program Files', which you need administrator privileges to write to. So to fix it, I just had to run Flash Builder as an administrator.

After dinner I watched an episode of Star Trek TNG, then tried to take some more green bottle photos in the garden.

In the evening I watched most of the first half of the Japan vs. Denmark match, which was quite good. Then I tried to build my XMP File Info panel by replacing the example files with my own, but when I tried to build I got the same Failed to Publish Panel. Run the ant build using the build.xml file for accurate debugging information. error message. I had run Flash builder with administrator privileges, so it wasn't due to that.

I tried to build the project directly using ant, as the error message suggested, but then I just got an error The directory name is invalid, even when I used absolute paths. Admittedly, I was using the 'antRun.bat' executable from the Flash Builder ant plugin, which I'm not sure is the correct way to run ant. The other two windows executables in the folder, ant.bat, and ant.cmd both seemed to just treat the build.xml file as shell commands though, so I just got loads of errors like
E:\Rusty's docs\my_xmp_schema\image-xmpPanel v2>this work for additional information regarding copyright ownership.
'this' is not recognized as an internal or external command,
operable program or batch file.

So I deleted the panel files and then started a new project. This time I'll try and slowly modify the example panel files (which works) into my panel, testing after each change to hopefully find what's breaking the build process. Annoying that Flash Builder can't just return the error that ant spits out when a build fails though.

Wednesday, 23 June 2010

Early morning walk

This morning I woke up at 5am by someone slamming a door, probably L who had run out of his bedroom because a bee had come to visit him.

After having a shower etc. I was about to go out at 6am, but blew my nose (am suffering from hayfever quite a bit at the moment), and my nose started bleeding. Thankfully it only lasted about 5 minutes, then I went on a walk down the old railway line.

I saw a female Scorpion fly, a couple of snails, and a bug, all of whom were quite co-operative for taking photos of. After 7am I saw a couple of Skippers but they were already quite active and wouldn't allow me to take their photo. I filled my memory card up so I came back home.

I browsed the WAB photography forums a bit, and copied the photos from my memory cards across to my PC. I thought I might be able to sort my photos a bit, but first I needed to be able to see them, so I tried downloading the Fast Picture Viewer Codec pack. But I couldn't see the free version on there at all.

I read the info about why they don't offer the free version, and so begrudgingly paid for the licensed version. I don't begrudge paying the software writer for their hard work, but I do begrudge the camera manufacturers (Nikon and Canon in my case) for not making 64bit compatible RAW codecs available for free.

After installing the RAW codec pack (and restarting my PC), I did some more work on my morfa style diffuser. The mealworm tub I was using for the diffuser had a large rim near the top that was part of the original plastic seal of the tub when it was new. I thought this rim would make covering the outside of the tub in foil more difficult, and so decided to cut the rim off.

This was more difficult than I thought it would be, as the plastic was quite tough. I did manage to cut it off eventually, albeit in little bits, making quite a mess of the floor. It also made the tubb a bit dirty as I used a knife covered in old sticky vegetable oil (meant to stop the knife from rusting, but the knife was still a bit rusty).

I washed the tub to get rid of the sticky vegetable oil marks, and decided I might as well remove the labels from the tubb as well. But this was actually quite difficult and took quite a while due to the glue they'd used on the labels.

I did some vacuuming, and hoovered up all (maybe) the bits of plastic from my diffuser creating. Then I wrapped the outside of the mealworm tub in kitchen foil.

After that I wrote yesterday's blog post, which involved installing Irfanview so that I could save a photo of the flash mount for the diffuser as a JPEG. (I could have set the camera to save JPEGs instead of RAWs, but I didn't think of that until just now). Then I wrote today's blog post so far.

I cleaned some tea stains from the carpet, then had lunch.

After lunch I finished off my morfa style diffuser. I checked my emails and sorted the morning's photos a bit, before uploading some to the WAB forums in the hope of getting/confirming IDs. I went in the back garden, but there didn't seem to be much insect life around. I did see a sawfly, but it didn't hang around long enough for a photo.

After Ben came home from school I played on Mario Galaxy 2 with him for a bit.

Before dinner Mauser returned with my copy of Windows 7 (he had ordered it from his work for me), so after dinner I got to work with installing Windows 7. While it installed I watched the first half of the Ghana vs. Germany match, which was very good (though not as good as Brazil vs. Ivory Coast).

By the time the second half had started Windows had finished installing, and so I spent the rest of the evening downloading and installing drivers.

I did have a problem with the wireless driver for my ASUS P5B Deluxe Wi-fi/AP motherboard. The Windows 7 compatible wireless driver from ASUS' website for the motherboard installed okay, but didn't work. In device manager the wireless adapter was still listed under unknown devices.

So I tried installing the Vista compatible wireless driver from ASUS' website for the motherboard, but just got a message that it was only for Windows 98, XP and Vista, and it refused to install. So I went back to device manager and went to update/install drivers for the Wireless adapter. I told it to look for the drivers in the folder containing the Vista compatible driver, and it subsequently installed the drivers and set the wireless adapter up correctly.

There was a pretty nice sunset with hazy cloud lighting up a nice orange colour.

Tuesday, 22 June 2010

Cutting out pogs in photoshop

This morning I went on a walk down the old railway line. There were a few skippers (and other butterflies) around, but they didn't tend to stop to allow me take any photos. One did stop on a leaf and I got a few shots before it flew off though.

It got hot quite quickly, so I came home. I spent the rest of the morning and afternoon cutting out pogs in Photoshop on Mauser's PC. He had Photoshop installed on an evaluation version of Windows 7, which would bring up lots of messages about it not being valid, and reset randomly.

In the evening I watched an episode of Star Trek TNG. It was the first episode of season 3, and was also a Wesisode. The disk had a different menu setup than seasons 1 and 2, and that was probably the most exciting thing about it. Still, at least it's not as rubbish as Battlestar Galactica.

I went on the internet for a bit, then went out for a walk about 9pm. I went back down the old railway line, but only found a couple of flies. Unfortunately they were quite small, so I had a hard job finding them in the viewfinder at 4x magnification. Then after a couple of shots the flash batteries ran out. I carried on walking down the old railway line and saw, like, one more fly, and that was it (except for loads of moths that were constantly flying and never stopped).

I went to a patch of grass where I had seen quite a few meadow grasshoppers in the morning, but couldn't see any there at all. I even tried brushing my hand through the grass in the hope of disturbing them, but didn't see any. I guess they either overnight somewhere else or they overnight at the very base of the grass where they can't be seen.

I didn't see any skippers or butterflies clinging onto any plants either.

When I got home I started work on making a morfa style diffuser. I decided to try it first with a tub that used to have mealworms in it. After cleaning it out I tried cutting a couple of tabs into the bottom so that it could be attached to my flash.

But the plastic was pretty difficult to cut so after cutting it partway, I gave up and made a cardboard mount for the flash:

After making the flash mount I cut some plastic from a drinks bottle, then wound it up the opposite way and bound it with an elastic band in the hope it would straighten it out overnight.

Monday, 21 June 2010

Being on hold

This morning I went through some old emails and cleared them out. I tried to do some work using Photoshop on Mauser's PC, but he didn't have Photoshop installed. I think he also has Vista installed (as well as Windows 7) with an old version of photoshop on, but I wasn't sure how to boost into Vista on his PC.

For my photo website I want to do a series of articles comparing the different ways you can do macro photography (except using bellows since I don't have any). So I took some photos in the back garden using my Panasonic FZ5 and a Raynox DCR-250 close-up diopter lens.

In the afternoon I spent a long time on the phone to Nationwide building society, trying to an update on how my application to open an account with them was progressing. I had applied for the account via their website a month ago and not heard anything since.

First I got sent round in circles, with each person saying that their department didn't deal with it, and transferring me to another person who said they didn't deal with it, then transferring me, etc. And I had to spend quite a while on hold between each person. Eventually I ended up with a lady who gave me two telephone numbers who she said would be able to deal with my query.

The person I spoke to on the first telephone number I had been given said that they didn't deal with it, and they'd transfer me to the correct department. After a few minutes of waiting the hold music stopped and it was just silent. So I waited about another 20 minutes until I gave up and hung up.

I tried the other telephone number I had been given, but it only had options to do with ISAs and Child Trust Funds, which wasn't the type of account I was trying to open, and it didn't have a 'for any other queries or to speak to a cutomer service representative' option.

I checked the Nationwide website, and the only way given there to contact them is via the phone. (If you have an internet banking account with them you can also contact them via the secure messaging part of internet banking, but I don't have an internet banking account with them).

In the end I just took Nationwide's address from one of the letters they have sent me, and wrote them a letter saying that since I couldn't get the correct dept. when phoning them, please could they pass my letter to the correct dept. and get them to phone me back. I don't hold out much hope though.

The other annoying thing about contacting Nationwide is that all their telephone numbers are non-geographic, and so much more expensive to call than normal geographic numbers. I did manage to find a geographic equivalent of the main telephone number I called first, but couldn't find geographic equivalents of the two telephone numbers they gave me.

I read a bit more of John Shaw's Closeups in Nature.

I checked dpreview and The Web Squeeze, then played on Mario Galaxy 2 with L for about 10 minutes.

In the evening I watched 'Up' (and the extras) with L and Mauser. I took some more photos in the garden, and had a haircut.

Sunday, 20 June 2010

Not much

Today I was trying to install Photoshop on my newly installed Vista, so I can at least get a bit of work done while I wait for my copy of Windows 7 to arrive. But Photoshop said it needed Vista SP1 to be installed, and I couldn't get SP1 to install.

When trying to install SP1 for Vista, it did give a web address to check for the error, but I followed all the advice there, and it still wouldn't install.

So for the rest of the day I mainly watched football and sorted some pogs. I also went in the garden for a bit and topped up the pond, and made a large swiss roll with L. Of course, I went to Church in the morning as well.

Only problem is, I now have at least 2 days effectively without a computer (until Windows 7 arrives), so I'm not sure what I'll do while I'm waiting.

Saturday, 19 June 2010

Broken computer

Since my PC has been crashing quite a bit lately, I decided to reinstall Vista. Before reinstalling Vista I decided to first do a backup of my photos (they're not on the same drive as Vista, but I needed to do a backup of them anyway). While the backup was running I cleaned the sink in the en-suite to my bedroom, then played on Mario Galaxy 2 with Mauser and L for a bit.

Eventually the backup finished, but Vista crashed the same way it did the other times. After waiting a while to check it really had crashed and wasn't just being slow, I did a hard reset, and backed up all my other files.

After this I formatted the partition and reinstalled Vista. When the install was finished I installed the Wifi drivers, then started Windows Update, which had 107 important updates to install.

Downloading and installing the updates took the rest of the morning, and while I waited I watched "The man with the movie camera", which was quite interesting to see what life was like in 1928 post revolutionary but pre war Russia - quite normal really.

Windows got stuck on a 'shutting down' screen for about an hour after installing the updates, so I had to do a hard reset. After doing a disk check, the new install of Vista started, but there was no internet access. In the Control Panel, when I tried to access the 'Network and Sharing Center', it said some like "This page cannot be found".

I tried a few other things, but couldn't get the internet working, so I formatted the partition and reinstalled Vista again. This time I didn't install any updates, so I at least now have internet access. With Vista being so broken for me lately, I decided that I would buy Windows 7, even though it does cost about £150.

Then in the evening I accidentally suspended/hibernated instead of shutting down. When I switched the computer back on, the Desktop size was messed up. So I right clicked on the Desktop, then everything became unresponsive, similar to the problem I'd been having before reinstalling Vista. It was slightly different though in that the Desktop was overlaid with a white translucent mask (like a normal program gets when it is unresponsive/has crashed). And I didn't get the "Logon process has failed to create the security options dialog" error message either.

So it may be a hardware problem that is causing Vista to crash, or it may just be that hibernating my computer doesn't work properly (I've never used hibernate before). Anyway, when I get Windows 7 if that crashes in the same way I'll know if its likely a hardware problem or not. I'm making sure to buy the full version of Windows 7 (not OEM) so I can install it on a new PC if I get/build one.

In the afternoon I watched 'Fantastic Mr Fox' with Mauser and Bo. In the evening I played on Mario Galaxy 2 a bit more with Mauser and Bo, then scanned some pogs in on Mauser's PC.

Friday, 18 June 2010


This morning I finished off processing my photos from my walk with McRad last Saturday. I started adding metadata to them, and finished off in the afternoon.

I left my computer for a bit, but when I came back I couldn't close any programs down or shut down again. When I pressed Ctrl + Alt + Del, I got an error message "Logon process has failed to create the security options dialog". This is the same error message that I got when I had the same problem yesterday.

I had disabled the Superfetch service, as when I had googled the error, people said disabling superfetch fixed the problem for them. But I was still heving the same problem, even with Superfetch disabled.

So I waited for ages (as I usually do) to make sure the computer really was crashed and it wasn't just being extremely slow. But after about an hour it was still in the same state, so I just switched it off.

In the evening I watched the England vs. Algeria match.

Thursday, 17 June 2010

Processing photos

Today I was just working on my photos from the walk me and McRad went on last Saturday, and I also watched (the last episode of) Springwatch in the evening.

Unfortunately my PC broke, so after waiting ages for it to shut down with nothing happening, I eventually did a hard reset. But I then got an error that the registry was corrupted and so Windows couldn't start.

The error message said I needed to repair Windows by booting from the Windows CD, but I first tried Safe Mode and 'Last known good configuration', to no avail. I also checked my BIOS settings to see if the onboard sound had been enabled (would clash with the soundcard), since my system seems to have been a bit buggy lately. But the onboard sound wasn't enabled in the BIOS, and I couldn't see any obviously wrong settings in the BIOS either.

So I booted from the Windows DVD and did the repair, but then got a different error about the registry being corrupted. I tried the various different boot modes again, still no luck. So I booted from the DVD again, except when I pressed the any key to boot from disk, it booted from the hard drive instead (and so I got the same old error).

I booted from the DVD again, and this time it worked. The repair also worked this time. So I didn't finish processing the photos. I have two more to process, then the majority still need descriptions, titles (headlines), and tagging.

Wednesday, 16 June 2010


This morning I had to wait for ages while AVG did its weekly virus scan. The computer runs quite slowly while the scan is running, so I just checked various photography websites.

When the scan was done, I started doing some backups. Again, the computer seems to run slowly while doing a backup, so I started writing a blog post for my photo website while waiting for the backup to finish.

By lunch time I had a really bad headache, so I went to bed after lunch until aout 2pm.

The rest of the afternoon and most of the evening I worked on my photos from my walk with McRad last Saturday. In the evening I also watched Springwatch.

I was hoping to get all the photos from the walk processed by the end of yesterday, then when I got hardly any done yesterday, I was hoping to finish them by the end of the day. But it's now 23:30, and I probably don't have even half of the photos processed yet. So long as I don't have any problems tomorrow, I think I should be able to finish them off by the end of tomorrow.

Tuesday, 15 June 2010

Not getting anything done

This morning I was mostly working on getting my KML/geo sitemap up and running on my photo website.

I also played around with making a multiple resolution favicon for my site. I made a favicon with 256px, 48px, and 32px images with alpha channels, and 32px and 16px images with no transparency. The idea being that the 16px and 32px with no alpha channel are suitable for displaying on older systems, while the larger images with full alpha transparency would be suitable for displaying on newer systems. The larger icons should be displayed when making a shortcut to the website from your desktop, for example.

But when I viewed the icon in windows explorer, it only seemed to display the 32px image with no alpha channel, no matter how large I set the icon size in windows. If I opened the icon file in Windows picture viewer/photo gallery, I could page through the different images contained in the icon file though, and they were all there and with correct transparency.

So I'm not sure if my scheme worked or not, or if I've just created a large favicon for no reason.

In the afternoon I accidentally deleted some XMP files, so I found the file recovery software I've got a licence for and installed it. Then I spent ages trying to find where I'd saved the licence key. Eventually I found it by logging into my hotmail via the hotmail website (instead of using Thunderbird like I normally do to check my email). It seems that the folders on Hotmail aren't recognised by Thunderbird.

I also found that Hotmail had put loads of messages into a Junk folder, which Thunderbird hadn't received. They were mostly Junk, but there were also some legitimate emails in there. Unfortunately there doesn't seem to be any way to turn off Junk mail filtering in Hotmail (just settings of low, medium, and high), and Hotmail doesn't support IMAP either.

After activating the file recovery program and restoring the XMP sidecars I accidentally deleted, I found that I couldn't call exiftool from the command line. I must have spent about an hour (at least) messing about the PATH environment variable and restarting the PC after each change in an attempt to get exiftool working without having to include the full path to the file.

Eventually I gave up, then when I changed the drive I was in on the command prompt to the same drive that I have the exiftool script on, it would now let me call exiftool without entering the full filepath. So it seems that the PATH environment variable only works so long as you are on the same drive that the file you are trying to call is located on. (I have exiftool on E: and was originally trying to call it from the C:).

In the evening I eventually got round to processing a few photos, but found that Capture NX 2 wasn't playing nice with my Wacom tablet.

I also installed the Adobe Master Suite CS5 trial today. So far Photoshop CS5 (64 bit) seems much less responsive and jerkier than CS4 (64 bit). My custom XMP File Info panel doesn't work on PS CS5 either - when you click on the tab for my panel in the File Info dialog, the panel just disappears. Anyway, now I've got the CS5 Master collection installed I can try improving the panel and rebuilding it using Flash Builder.

Monday, 14 June 2010

Photo processing

Today I was mainly just processing photos of a Bright line Brown eyed moth. Somehow it managed to take most of the day. I think probably because I was doing focus stacks.

I found that Photoshop CS4's auto blend/stack method is actually pretty decent, except that the masks it creates are very hard edged. Although it does a good job, I think it may actually be quicker to do the masks by hand than having to fix all the edges on the masks created by Photoshop.

Sunday, 13 June 2010

Not a lot

As well as going to Church today, I played on Mario Galaxy 2 with L and Mauser a bit. I watched a film noir with Mauser and updated my POG website.

Saturday, 12 June 2010

Bad hayfever

This morning I went on a walk with McRad.

In the afternoon I went to bed for a bit as my hayfever was quite bad. My hayfever gave me a constantly running nose and eyes, I felt really sleepy and had a headache, and my vision was slightly blurry (enough to make reading text or manually focusing with my camera difficult).

The rest of the day I watched World Cup football and also played on Super Mario Galaxy 2 (which arrived today) with L and Mauser.

Friday, 11 June 2010


Today I did some more photo sorting and also did some work on creating KML / geo sitemap for my photo website. In the evening I took a few photos in the garden, then watched France versus Uruguay.

Thursday, 10 June 2010

Sorting photos

Today I was still mainly sorting photos. In the evening I also watched Springwatch.

Wednesday, 9 June 2010

Sorting photos

Today I was still mainly sorting photos. I also found a website with lots of awesome bee photos.

In the afternoon I was going to go out to try and get some more / better photos of some subjects in my sorting folder, but then it rained.

So I carried on photo sorting for the rest of the afternoon and evening. In the evening I also watched Springwatch.

Tuesday, 8 June 2010

Sorting photos

I spent most of today sorting through / adding metadata to photos I've taken recently.

In the evening I watched the first feature length animated film, which was a shadow puppet style Arabian nights story. I also watched Springwatch, and found a soggy bee in the garden that I took a few photos of.

The weather was a mixture of cloud and rain, and the sun came out a few times as well.

Monday, 7 June 2010

Writing a blog post

I haven't posted a blog post in over a week - just kept forgetting.

What I was doing the last week was:
  • Sorting pogs
  • Looking at producing KML / a geo sitemap for my photography website
  • Taking and sorting more photos
  • Watching Springwatch and a couple of films

Today I spent all morning and most of the afternoon writing a blog post for my photography blog about the different MT-24EX diffusers I tested last week.

After that I deleted my old Flickr and DeviantArt accounts and replied to some messages.

In the evening I watched an episode of Star Trek TNG and Springwatch, and checked my email.