Tuesday, 31 July 2012


This morning I finished off the article I was writing for my photo tips website yesterday.

I received an email that Topaz Labs had a discount on their new FX Lab software, but the discount expired in 24 hours. So I downloaded the software to give it a try. It includes a clever way of applying the tones / colours of any image to the image you're working on. I tried using Image > Adjustments > Match Color in Photoshop, but it wasn't the same.

In the end I decided not to buy it. Other than the color matching part, it doesn't do much that you can't do in Photoshop. It includes intelligent masking, but you can't save as a layered file. If you could save as a layered PSD file including masks, then I probably would have bought it. Maybe they will add this in the future (and hopefully run a heavy discount promotion again as well).

For the rest of the afternoon I watched the Women's gymnastics team final. Britain was 6th out of 7 I think, but that's quite good really. USA got gold, Russia silver, and Romania bronze. China came in fourth, so that was unexpected.

In the evening I painted the sculpey models I made yesterday with Billy and Mauser (who painted their models).

Monday, 30 July 2012


This morning I packed up Billy's shoes, which sold on eBay, and took them to the post office. It is quite annoying because eBay only let you charge a maximum of £7 for shipping and handling on shoes, but the cost of just the postage was about £10. If you include the costs of packaging and my time it would be quite a bit more than that.

I also finished making the cake / bread stuff I was making yesterday, and had some hot for a late breakfast. It was very nice, but more like a pudding than a cake.

The rest of the morning, and some of the afternoon I worked on an article for my photo tips website.

In the afternoon I watched some of the Men's team gymnastics finals as well. Britain did very well, almost getting a silver. At the end of the competition they were in 2nd place, but then the Japanese appealed a decision, and they were given an extra half point, which put them into 2nd (from being 4th), so Britain got a bronze. China held on to their gold medal.

In the evening I did some sculpey with Mauser and Bo.

Sunday, 29 July 2012

Pogging and cooking

Today I updated my pog website, did some more pog sorting, and did some cooking. The stuff I was cooking didn't rise on the second rising, so I have left in the oven (switched off) in the hope it will rise overnight. It will probably be nice hot for breakfast as well.

Saturday, 28 July 2012

Pogging and Olympicsing

Most of today I was sorting and scanning some new pogs I got as part of a swap. In the afternoon I also made a cake.

In the evening I watched the Olympics opening ceremony. It had been hyped up quite a bit by the British press, so I wasn't expecting much. But actually, it was very good.

The bit I liked best was where they had a pre-recorded section showing James Bond (Daniel Craig) going to Buckingham Palace and fetching the Queen in a helicopter. Then a helicopter flew over the stadium in real time. The pre-recorded bit showed the Queen and James Bond moving to the door of the helicopter, then in real time two people jumped out of the helicopter. A couple of minutes later, the Queen walked in with Prince Philip.

Another bit I thought was very clever was the Olympic Flame. There were lots of small 'torches' coming out on long rods from a central point. They didn't really resemble torches, but had gas flowing through them, and were lit by a team of young athletes. The 'torches' then rose up above the central point, to form one large Olympic flame.

As well as this being very clever, the idea of using young athletes to light the flame was very good. I don't mean from the perspective of this games' slogan 'Inspiring a generation' (though it did fulfil that). I mean from the fact that betting activity on who was going to light the flame had been quite high. But the people who did light the flame wouldn't have even been in the running. A nice stub to bettors from the Olympics organising committee.

There were only I a couple of things I didn't think were that great. They weren't really bad or anything though.

  • There was a period of remembrance for those who died in the 7/7 bombings in 2005. After this they had a hymn with some people doing a dance or something, but I didn't really get what it was on about. It wasn't visually exciting anyway.

  • The other thing was Paul McCartney played Hey Jude to end off the ceremony. But he seemed to start off with a backing track, and he wasn't on the same timing as the backing track. But they fixed it reasonably quickly, cutting the backing track. I think that was what the problem was anyway.

Throughout the ceremony they played a large range of music by different artists. I think most of the songs were by British artists, though I did notice they played "My Boy Lollipop" by Millie, who I think is Jamaican.

For live acts, they had Evelyn Glennie (a deaf person that plays the drums), Mike Oldfield (of tubular bells fame), Dizzie Rascal (Ex-grime pop artist), Arctic Monkeys, and of course Paul McCartney.

One of the songs they played as part of the opening ceremony was by the Jam (I can't remember which song it was). I thought it would have been quite funny if they'd played 'Down in the tubestation at midnight', since most of the people watching the ceremony would have to go back to their hotels via tube after midnight.

I enjoyed watching the athletes parade as well. It's nice to see all the different countries, and many of them had their athletes (or at least the flag bearer) dressed in traditional dress.

The opening ceremony was quite pro-Britain, and didn't really mention anything that Britons should be ashamed of, but I guess this is not surprising. I can't really remember the opening ceremonies from past Olympics (possibly I just watched the games and not the ceremonies), but I expect that they were similarly pro the host country. I didn't feel it was overly biased towards the UK anyway.

Thursday, 26 July 2012

Writing and poggin'

This morning and part of the afternoon I was finishing off the photo tips article that I started writing yesterday.

The rest of the afternoon and most of the evening I was sorting and scanning some pogs I received recently.

Wednesday, 25 July 2012

Article writing

This morning I started setting up the Photoshop Elements trial on my VM. Unfortunately, the drive (partition) that the VM's virtual hard drive was located on ran out of free space during the installation. (The VM has a dynamically expanding VHD).

So I had to move some files from the drive (partition) that the VHD file was located on to make more space. So quite a bit of the morning was spent just waiting for the files to copy and then the binary compare to confirm they had copied OK.

The rest of the morning, and most of the afternoon and evening, I was working on articles for my photo tips website. I managed to complete two and start a third. In the evening I also watched an episode of Mahabharat.

Tuesday, 24 July 2012


This morning I was planning to write a couple of articles for my photo tips website. But then McRad asked me if I wanted to go out on a walk with him, so I did that instead.

In the afternoon (and in the morning) it was very hot, so I just went on the internet for a bit, and then started work on one of the articles. I also started setting up a new Windows VM. I use a Windows VM for running Photoshop Elements trial and recording videos of how to do stuff in PSE. Then when the trial runs out I scrap the VM and create a new one. I can't see any point in paying for the full version of PSE when I already have Photoshop proper.

Sunday, 22 July 2012

Is Inspector Boglin gobblin' a cob Lynne?

This morning I updated my pog website. Then I started off a binary compare between one of my backups and the original data while I went to Church.

In the afternoon I just went on the internet for a bit while I waited for the binary compare to finish. When it did finish, I saw I had problems with some files that weren't readable.

It was a permissions problem (seems to happen quite a bit in Windows). I changed the owner on the folder, and ticked the box to apply to subfolders and files. Then I changed the permissions, and ticked the box to apply to subfolders and files. But got a read access permission error on the problem files when I clicked OK.

Doing some googling, I found the solution here: Vista - Changing folder permissions recursively. Open dos prompt as administrator, then run icacls "e:\path\to\files" /grant administrators:F /t. I also used to this trick to fix the permissions on a file that windows wouldn't let me delete or change permissions for through the file properties.

In Google Webmaster tools, I saw that I was getting 404s for comments/feed/. I checked, and it was returning a 404. Googling didn't turn up much helpful. Most seemed to have problems with plugins causing it. Then I found this post, which flags it up as a wordpress bug: WordPress Comments Feed 404 Fixed.

Thankfully they provide a solution there (involves hacking the Wordpress core). It would be nice to think that this will be fixed in future Wordpress releases, but I won't be holding my breath.

In the evening I went out to take a few photos.

Friday, 20 July 2012


With my new hard drive installed okay, data copied, the integrity of the copied data verified, and the data backed up, I could start copying new files to my hard drive today.

Here are some pictures of my new hard drive that I took when I first received it a few days ago:

The new hard drives arrived protected by packets of frankfurter sausages:

The packaging must have been inflated around the hard drive as it was really well wedged in. The only way to remove it was by bursting (deflating) some of the packaging.

I thought that maybe removing this stopper would deflate the packaging, but it was actually a hollow stopper. (And so made no difference when removed).

I'm not sure what the purpose of the statement on this sticker is. Maybe for customs purposes, but that seems unlikely. The drive itself also states on the sticker it was made in Thailand.

The controller board for the drive does not reach all the way across the width of the drive. Also unlike my other drives, there is no foam placed between the PCB and the drive case - there is a clear gap between the PCB and case.

The Seagate 3TB drive compared to the WD 1.5TB drive it was replacing. The Seagate drive is upside down compared to the WD drive.

This is the underside of the Seagate 3TB drive compared to the WD 1.5TB drive it was replacing. (Both the same way up for this shot).

And here's a photo of how happy the Tesco decaf coffee jar was after I removed its lid:

Well, I wish I could plan my time better, as although I had full use of my computer available today, I spent much of the day not using the computer. I had some washing to sort out and also did some cooking. Would have been much more efficient if I had thought of doing those jobs yesterday when the computer was busy.

Thursday, 19 July 2012

Copying, Verifying, Backing up

Today I was still verifying the data copied to my new hard drive.

In the morning, while I was waiting, I had a look at UV photography again. One of the things it seems you really need for photographing flowers in UV is a UV flash.

I found some instructions for modifying the Vivitar 285HV/285/283 flash and also for modifying the Nikon SB-14 for UV photography. However, both articles seemed to suggest that you need a UV filter for the flash, which seems like it would be difficult / expensive to find.

Another flash I found is the Quantum Q flash, which has a UV/IR Wave reflector adapter available. From the looks of it, the adapter screws on to the front of the flash, then you'd need to screw in your own 67mm UV pass filter. So again, you need to find an expensive UV pass filter.

The Quantum Q flash is also very expensive new, though older models can be had on ebay for around £150.

Lastly I found the MR ® 21 UV flash Canon (Item 21L). On it's PDF description page it says that it is also available for other cameras. So I sent them an email to try and get more info on it.

I would hope that ultimately, having a UV flash is not necessary. So long as the flash outputs UV light, and you are using a filter on the camera that blocks visible and IR light, then I don't see why you would need the flash to output only UV?

Well, I think that I finally finished sorting out the new hard drive, getting everything copied, verifying the data copied okay, and backing it up. So tomorrow I can actually get some work done instead of just going on the internet.

Wednesday, 18 July 2012

Copying and verifying

Today both my new hard drives were working okay and recognised as 3TB drives (don't ask me how), so I copied over the contents of one of my 1.5TB drives to the 3TB drive that is replacing it. Then I backed up the 3TB drive to the other 3TB drive.

And currently I am running a binary compare between the contents of the 3TB drive and the 1.5TB drive that I copied to it.

Doing the copying and comparing has taken all day. It is annoying because I don't want to do any work that pushes the computer while it is doing this, in case it causes a problem.

While the copying and checking has been going on, I also made some fruit buns, and went out for a short walk in the evening.

I still have to compare the 3TB drive to the two 1.5TB drive backups. That will probably take 10-12 hours. Then I need to compare the other data on the 3TB drive to the other drive and backups that was copied off. I guess that will take 3-6 hours. Then I need to compare the 3TB drive to the 3TB drive backup. That will probably take about 6-7 hours. Then one of the 1.5TB drives needs to be formatted and have the other data backed up to it. That will take 1-2 hours.

So upgrading to a larger hard drive takes a very long time for me. But it does mean that I have two backups, and can be sure of the data integrity on the new drive and the backups.

Tuesday, 17 July 2012

Annoying computer is too old

This morning and the first part of the afternoon I was working on an article for my photo tips website.

After that I went shopping. Then I spent the rest of the afternoon and some of the evening trying to get my new hard drives that arrived today to work. The problem seems to be with the Intel chipset firmware on my motherboard, unfortunately you don't seem to be able to upgrade this yourself. The motherboard manufacturer has to include it as part of a BIOS update. But my motherboard is probably 5 or 6 years old now, and there aren't any BIOS updates that include the latest Intel RAID firmware.

In the evening I also went out for a bit to try and take some photos to illustrate another article for my photo tips website.

Monday, 16 July 2012

Article writing

Today I wrote a couple of articles for my photo tips website, though I only finished one of them. The other article requires some example photos, and the rainy weather today wasn't suitable for the photos I wanted.

I also found a good article on articlesbase to re-publish on my photo tips website. So I looked for photos on flickr and videos on youtube to illustrate that article. And I wrote an article for my photography website as well.

Sunday, 15 July 2012

Pano processing

This morning I updated my pog website and went to Church.

In the afternoon I finished working on the article I was writing for my photo tips website yesterday. After that I did some housework and processed a pano.

In the evening I processed another pano.

Saturday, 14 July 2012


This morning I went through the Bavaria photos I'd geotagged, to find the ones where I'd entered the altitude manually, but entered it in feet instead of metres. Then I corrected them to specify the altitude in metres.

I also listed all the photo files from the trip, ensuring that there weren't any more blocks of missing images. Since the files are numbered sequentially, I just did this by using Windows Explorer, and showing rows of ten thumbnails. So you can easily see if there are any missing files by just checking that the filename of the first file on each row is 10 more than the filename of the first file on the previous row.

After that I loaded all the files into Adobe Bridge, but it was creating thumbnails with the lens profile for my Miranda 24mm at f/2.8 applied. So I selected all the files, opened in ACR, and then deselected the use Lens profile box. This took quite a long time.

But then later, I was checking some more thumbnails, and they still had the Miranda 24mm at f/2.8 lens profile applied. So I had to do the same thing again. Annoying.

Everyone else went away on holiday today, so I had to do some cleaning. I also cleaned the bird feeders, which were getting very dirty. I wish birds would learn not to use where they eat as a toilet.

An annoying thing that keeps happening with Photoshop CS6 is that it keeps popping up with a Trial message saying that I have 0 days of trial left. It will still let me use it okay though. (I am on a monthly Photoshop subscription plan with Adobe). One time though, I got this message:

In the afternoon I prepared tomorrow's pog website update. I also wrote up the recipe for the cake I made yesterday.

In the evening I watched a double episode of the Equalizer. I uploaded a pano. And I wrote most of an article for my photo tips website.

Friday, 13 July 2012

Still geocoding

Today I was still geotagging photos from the Bavaria holiday.

I had a big problem in that a load of photos had gone missing. I narrowed it down to that only some of the photos from my 8GB Sandisk card had copied across. Unfortunately, despite copying the card separately to two different hard drives, the same photos had not copied either time.

Since some of the photos had copied, I didn't realise at the time I was copying the card that most of the photos weren't being copied. I tended to just start the copy, then do something else for a bit, and then come back and check that the copy had finished okay. I didn't check the file sizes of copied folders, only that Windows said that they had copied okay with no errors.

So I tried various data recovery programs on my Sandisk 8GB card that hadn't copied properly, but none of them could find the photos. (I had re-used the card since). Eventually I tried using a recovery program on one of the hard drives that the images had been copied to.

I am extremely thankful that worked, and it recovered all missing images except one. The one it didn't recover was part of a bracketed set, so not particularly important.

What I think happened is that I was copying the images across from the memory card to one of the external hard drives. But the hard drive became full part way through the transfer. Because the transfer could not complete, Windows deleted the copied files from the card and the hard drive for some reason. So when I then copied the card to the laptop hard drive and the other external drive, the card didn't have the images on it that Windows had deleted.

But although Windows had deleted the files from the external hard drive that got full, the files were still recorded on the drive so that the recovery program could restore them.

Anyway, I am just really relieved that all those photos hadn't disappeared completely. In future I will have to check the size of the folder on the memory card before I copy it, and then check the size of the copied folder to make sure it has copied okay.

In the evening today I also made a cake.

Thursday, 12 July 2012


Today I was just geo-coding photos from Bavaria. I haven't even got half of them done yet though. Also, I made a mistake on some that I manually geo-coded where I entered the altitude in feet, when it looks like it should have been entered in metres. So I'll have to go back and fix those later.

Wednesday, 11 July 2012

Email reading and photo integrity verifying

Today I was checking my backlog of emails that I received while I was away.

The other thing that I did was to get the photos that I took while I was away onto my computer. Since I took more photos than I have hard-drive space for, this meant ordering some new hard drives. I decided to replace one of my 1.5TB drives with a 3TB drive.

Since I use 2 backups for each drive, this meant that I ordered two 3TB drives - one for use as the main drive, one for first backup, and the two 1.5TB backup drives of the drive it is replacing can act as the second backup. The 1.5TB drive it is replacing will just be a spare drive, I guess Mauser might use it.

In the mean time, I replaced one of the hard drives in the PC with one that I took away and had the holiday photos on it. At first the PC didn't recognise the new drive. Then after restarting, it wouldn't output anything to the monitor. I switched it off and tried again, but still the same.

I disconnected the drive and started the PC again, and still no output to the monitor. I switched the monitor off and then on again. Still no output to the screen. Then after a few seconds, the standard PC start-up splash screen popped up on the monitor, and the PC was working okay.

So I switched it off again, and plugged in the drive again. Switched it on again, and now it detected the drive and worked okay. Computers, eh?

I then did a binary compare between the holiday photos stored on that drive and the backup copies stored on the other drive I took with me, and the laptop drive. (The other drive ran out of space, so half the backup was on that drive, and the other half on the laptop).

Doing the compare against the files on the laptop was tricky because there didn't seem to be anyway to connect the laptop to my PC. (Connecting Win7 and XP computers to the same network / homegroup seems to be impossible). I had to copy the files from the laptop to a CF card, then connect the CF card to my computer, and do the binary compare against the files on my computer. Since there were many more images on the laptop than can fit on the CF card I was using, it was a case of rinse and repeat until all the images had been compared.

But I am now done. Currently I only have one backup of some files, but it will hopefully only be a few days until the new drives arrive, and then I can get everything sorted and back to two backups. In the meantime, I can work on my holiday photos, the first job being to geocode all the images. I will probably be doing that tomorrow.

Sunday, 1 July 2012


Today we went to visit Hohenschwangau, a castle in the Bavarian alps. We got up at 5am as it was quit a long journey to get there. We left about 6am and got the train to the Hauptbahnhof, then from there we got the train to Fusen.

The town was very nice and Bavarian with typical Barvarian buildings, and some painted with images (normally christian related) on the outside. Mauser bought a couple of sandwiches and croissants from a local shop that was open. (Most shops were closed with it being Sunday).

We went through the town and up a track near a church, on the way to Kalvarienberg. There were lots of small buildings with paintings of saints etc. in them on the way. We stopped in a clearing bit where there were a few shrine style things, and had our sandwiches and croissants. Mine was a cheese cob, but actually also had sauce and half a gherkin in the middle. Mauser's was a salami cob, but also had half a gherkin in it.

At the top of Kalvarienberg there was a viewing platform with three crosses on, with two of the crosses empty and a model of Jesus on the centre cross.

We went down from there to the other side of the mountain where there was a lake with lots of people swimming in it and others sunbathing nearby. We walked round the lake, and then on to the town of Hohenschwangau. We had a look round the grounds of the castle and paid to look inside as well. It was a guided tour and you weren't allowed to take any photos inside.

Unforunately Neuchwanstein castle was covered in scaffolding, so it didn't make a very nice view, and we decided not to visit it as well. (Neuchwanstein is another castle located close to Hohenschwangau).

Then we walked back to the Lake, and went back to Fusen, though a different route than we'd used on the way there. We stopped at the Lechfall waterfall, which just appeared to be a wide, but not particularly steep, man-made waterfall. We had some food at a nearby pub, we both had 0.5l of Konigs something hell (or something similar) to drink. I had weiss wurst with pretzel and mustard, while Mauser had Sausage salad.

Mauser's salad was slices of polony style stuff with slices of onions and gherkins and stuff. It was probably about 50% meat. My weiss wurst were two sausages in a bowl of water with herb bits floating around. I guess they boil them.

The skins were quite tricky to cut though. The sausages were quite sweet, and the Bavarian mustard was sweeter and not as hot as English mustard. The pretzel was just bread in a pretzel shape with lots of salt added to the outside. It was a nice dinner.

After we'd had dinner, we went out to see the Falls again, and it was raining quite hard. Then we walked back to Fusen station. I was wearing my waterproof coat, but it wasn't actually waterproof, and got soaked through.

We caught the train back to Munchen, but I started to feel sick on the train, so I spent most of the journey standing outside the toilet, just in case. I did try to be sick in the toilet a few times, but couldn't.

Then when the train stopped in Munich, we got off and I immediately felt really sick. Then I was sick on the platform, I tried to hold it in with my hands, but couldn't. It all spilled out onto the ground, while lots of people were walking past who had just got off the train.

I cleaned up my hands on my handkerchief, then we looked for someone to tell about the mess. But we couldn't find anyone, so we just got the U-bahn back to the hotel. When we got back I just went to bed.