Sunday, 23 February 2014

Downloading videos

Today I had an issue where I was watching a webm format video that I wanted to save. Using Fiddler2 you can see the HTTP requests made for any webpage, and find the request for the video file. When it's finished downloading you can right-click on the request, choose save response as, and then save body only. This will allow you to save the video file.

However, in my case the video stopped loading part-way through. I then had to refresh the page to get the rest of the video to download. When I refreshed the page a new request for the video file was made, but this request continued downloading from where the previous request had left off. So I ended up with two requests / responses. One contained the first half of the video file, and the other contained the second half of the video.

I saved the body of both responses to files using Fiddler2. Then I concatenated the files together into a single file using the command line. Simply:

type first-half.webm second-half.webm > full-video.webm

In Linux you'd use cat, but it seems in windows you use type. Anyway, this worked nicely to give me a single video file.

An alternative would be to clear the browser cache, and then refresh the page. This way the video would start downloading from scratch again, rather than continuing from where it had previously got to.

Most of today was spent updating church website stuff.

Saturday, 15 February 2014

Looking at cameras

I spent quite a bit of time today looking at cameras. I want a camera with an autofocus standard zoom lens and tilting screen to take on holiday for Mauser's wedding. I'm too slow at manually focusing with my current camera, plus it doesn't have a tilting screen and is quite large and noticeable.

I wanted a camera that would also work with my Tokina 10-17mm fisheye for doing panos. Fuji have a very good deal on their X-M1 and X-A1 cameras at the moment. But when I looked up their bracketing abilities, they can only bracket ±1EV! So it seems that if I went for one of these, then I'd need to bring my other camera as well for doing panos and sunrise / sunset images.

The Nex 6 camera has much better bracketing ability. But the problem with that is that the Sony kit lens isn't great (Photozone Sony 16-50mm review). It is also more expensive than the Fuji.

I was also concerned about shutter noise. It's a bit difficult to understand which is better, Nex or Fuji. The Fuji's have a silent mode, but from what I could understand this isn't silent. I got the idea that the Nex shutter is normally quite noisy, but is quieter if you enable electronic 1st curtain.

Reports on autofocus seemed to be that the Fuji wasn't good at continuous autofocus (so not good for anything moving). AF is not super fast, but quite reasonable.

The other thing I was interested in was getting another camera converted to full spectrum. I couldn't find any info on the Fuji 27mm lens, and only found one report on the Fuji 16-50mm lens, which stated that it worked well for IR. You can purchase already converted NEX cameras reasonably cheaply, while for Fuji you'd have to buy the camera and then pay for a conversion. I didn't check for Nex lenses fare for IR hotspots.

Monday, 10 February 2014


This morning I was trying to debug an issue where wordpress issues a 301 redirect to the exact same URL as initially requested. I'm sure I've tried to debug this before, but can't remember why I didn't fix it.

I soon realised why I hadn't fixed it - the 301 only occurred on the initial request for a page. Clearing cookies and cache didn't help, I would still get a 200. I thought that maybe WP was recording my IP and only sending a 301 if the IP hadn't already been recorded. But setting $_SERVER['REMOTE_ADDR'] to a different IP in wp.config.php didn't make any difference.

So, I have no way of knowing what is causing the initial 301 redirect, and no way to reproduce it. All I can think of is to leave my debugging code in the wordpress files, then try this again some other time and hope I can get some debug info to help me track the issue down.

Another issue was that Google Webmaster Tools reported that I was missing the 'updated' property from the hatom-entry microformat properties on some of my pages. In trying to fix this I tried a variety of solutions, testing them with Google's Rich snippets tester:

<span class="updated" title="2014-02-10T12:59+00:00">June 1st 2012</span>
Gives June 1st 2012 as the updated date (doesn't use the title value)
<span class="updated" title="2014-02-10T12:59+00:00"></span>
Gives updated not found
<abbr class="updated" title="2014-02-10T12:59+00:00"></abbr>
Gives 2014-02-10T12:59+00:00 as the updated date
<time class="updated" datetime="2014-02-10T12:59+00:00"></datetime>
Gives updated not found
<time class="updated" datetime="2014-02-10T12:59+00:00">June 1st 2012</datetime>
Gives June 1st 2012 as the updated date (doesn't use the datetime value)
<meta class="updated" content="2014-02-10T12:59+00:00" />
Gives updated not found
<meta name="updated" content="2014-02-10T12:59+00:00" />
Gives updated not found

So it seems like I will have to use abbr rather than the more semantic time, which is what the current spec uses: Microformats Datetime Design Pattern.

Sunday, 9 February 2014

Monitor researching

My monitor went a bit weird the other day. The screen shifted so that it was offset by about 20 pixels. After a while, the screen would randomly start shifting to the original position and then back again quickly. At first switching the monitor off, then on again fixed it. But then it seemed to be a more permanent problem. Switching the monitor on and off gets rid of the jitters, but it's annoying to have to keep doing this.

Looking online, it sounds like a problem with the monitor. The screen is offset during boot too, so it is not a windows issue. Today I am using an old Dell screen. It's not that great, but it doesn't have any shaking issues at least. So it looks I'm going to have to purchase a new monitor.

Doing some research, I was wondering about a 10 bit display. With my current monitor I sometimes see banding, which is quite annoying when doing photo editing. This article gives a good overview on the benefits and problems of 10 bit displays: 10 Bit Output Support.

I used to TFT Central TFT Selector to look for screens that might be suitable. This came up with the Asus PA249Q and Dell U2413. On Amazon the Asus gets bad reviews, while the Dell gets good reviews. Both monitors use the same panel, and other screen using the same panel cost much more.

I did also look at some reviews of the cheap Korean screens, but these seem built more with resolution and size (most seem to be 27″) in mind than colour accuracy and uniformity.

On the Graphics card front, it seems that an Nvidia Quadro 600 is the cheapest card with 10 bit support (though I didn't look into that too carefully yet). The card is about £100, the cheapest (2nd hand) Dell U2413 is £330. Ideally you'd also have an XRite i1 Display Pro (£150) for hardware calibration of the monitor. (The Dell U2413 allows calibrating its LUT but only using XRite i1 devices).

This table on Wikipedia gives a good overview of why CRTs are better than LCDs: Comparison of CRT, LCD, Plasma, and OLED.

Here's an interesting comparison between a Camdiox ND1000 and B+W ND110 10 stop neutral density filter. Interestingly, the Camdiox filter seems to come out on top, despite being quite a bit cheaper than the B+W filter, about as much or maybe slightly cheaper than the old non-MRC B+Ws go for 2nd hand. The article is on the Camdiox blog, so there may be some bias. It is also unclear whether they were testing the MRC version of the B+W or not. Anyway, it seems like it's probably a decent alternative for a 10 stop ND filter.

In the afternoon and evening I made a Birthday Cake for Clare.

Friday, 7 February 2014

Piggling my punks

This morning I was preparing my pog website update for the weekend.

In the afternoon the weather cleared up for a bit so I went out for a short walk. The River was really high and had overflowed its banks in a few places. I could see that previously it had been quite a bit higher as well. The river level actually went down quite a bit in just the short while I was out there.

For the rest of the afternoon and most of the evening I was doing website stat checking. There were quite a few issues I found, but I just added them to my to do list rather than looking into them now. I haven't finished the stats checking, so I'll have to finish it off tomorrow.

Thursday, 6 February 2014

How to get followers and +1s on G+

This morning I finished reading about how to do well on Google plus, and it seems that it can be summarised as the following:

  • Fill out your profile
  • Post a mix of images and links (images get much better engagement, links better for SEO)
  • When posting an image only use one link in the description. Put it near the top of the post if you want to people to click-thru, otherwise it will be hidden below 'read more'.
  • Post / re-share other peoples stuff, not just your own
  • Include the story behind your photo in the description for better engagement
  • Enter hashtag contests and use hashtags to get more exposure
  • Mentioning someone with a good following may get them to re-share your post
  • Comment on other people's posts
  • Your profile pic should be your portrait but try to add something in to show what you do

So now I just have to try putting that into practice. All the above steps take time, so implementing them is easier said than done.

Wednesday, 5 February 2014

Little ledges attached to instruments designed for writing with ink must be pencils

Today I was mainly reading about G+. Unfortunately quite a bit of the information was out date. One interesting thing was an interview with a photographer, who said that they posted a photo to G+ three times a day. This seemed pretty crazy to me, I struggle to make one post a week, I have (lots) more stuff to do than just constantly go on G+.

So I checked this photographer's G+ profile, and it seems that nowadays they only post once every couple of weeks or so. Well, that makes me feel better that you don't need to be a maniac poster.

Another thing I did today was finally linking my youtube account up to G+. It's pretty annoying, because the only options are to change your Youtube name to your G+ name or one of your existing pages, or create a new page for your youtube channel. I didn't want to do any of those. Since there is no choice, I went with creating a new page for the channel. But it's annoying as now the youtube channel page shows up in my list of G+ pages, even though it has nothing to do with G+.

I also found another G+ comment related issue with Youtube. On a video with lots of comments, if you click to show all comments, it will just show the latest ones. At the bottom of the list you can click show more, and it will load more comments. After repeating this several time, the show more button refuses to show up, so it is impossible to view old comments on a video with lots of comments. And even if they do fix that issue, it would still be extremely annoying to have to click a show more link hundreds of times.

Really what Google should have done is to first get the G+ comment system up and working properly. They would also need to modify the G+ backend to allow for invisible pages, and for a profile link to go to / be redirected to a youtube channel page. Then they could have just switched all users over to the G+ backend automatically, without anyone having the need to create a G+ profile.

Those that did want to use a G+ profile could switch over to a real G+ profile, while those that didn't want to would use their invisible G+ profile without even realising that the G+ backend was running the comment system. It would've avoided a whole lot of issues, not to mention all the backlash from annoyed users.

Also on a youtube related note, after upgrading my account to G+ page, I got this incredibly helpful error message. It just gives so much information about what went wrong that its as if they'd accidentally put the site in debug mode.

Tuesday, 4 February 2014


Most of today I was writing and preparing an article for my photo tips website. In the afternoon I also went out to photograph the local horses as we had a period of sun and cloud. (Lately it has been raining a lot).

I had quite a few tabs open in my browser, so I decided it was time to go through them. One of them was a song called 'Flying over Tokyo' by Magnetic Man. Tom Lathom had played it on the dubstep show the other day on HFM, and I thought it was a good song. I checked the song previews for the Album on Amazon, and most of the other songs I didn't think were that good. But the album was only about £1.70 on eBay, so I thought I might as well buy it just for the one song.

Then, I remembered that Razihel is a good dubstep artist. So I searched for him and found he had done some new songs, which I listened to. He had a video from one of his gigs on youtube. It looked like all that happens at his gigs is he jumps up and down a bit while playing his tracks on a laptop. I don't get why you'd go to a gig if you can just hear the same thing at home.

Some of the comments on Razihel's YouTube videos mentioned Pegboard Nerds, so I looked them up, and they are pretty similar to Razihel. I also found out that the genre of music is apparently referred to as 'Glitch-hop' or 'Glitch-pop'.

The other day on eBay I was watching a Nikon 500mm lens. After the auction had ended, another seller started a listing with the same description and same product photos. Obviously a scam, though unusually the description didn't include the usual 'You must email me on before bidding. Buy it Now is £1500.' that you find on these fraudulent listings.

I did use eBay's Report Item link to report the new listing as fraudulent. But eBay didn't remove the listing. The item ended selling for £3,113.00, so lets hope the bidders didn't get scammed.

Monday, 3 February 2014

What can you get for 10p nowadays?

This morning I finished preparing an article for my photo tips website, then published it. (It was meant to be published yesterday). When looking for pics to illustrate the article on Flickr, I came across mention of a site called ipernity, which people were suggesting as a good alternative to Flickr. According to the comments it is like Flickr used to be before the recent changes that made it worse.

I checked it out, and the comments were right. So I spent quite a bit of this morning and part of this afternoon setting up an account there and transferring my Flickr photos over. (They have some tools you can use to transfer over Flickr photos and sets, but it is not 100% automatic. Probably more like 98% automatic.)

Groups you have added photos to don't transfer across, understandable as the groups on ipernity are different to the ones on Flickr. So I spent some time joining groups and submitting my photos to the groups. Some of the groups I'm a member of on Flickr don't exist. I may try creating equivalents of the groups on ipernity, but I haven't got round to that yet.

I found this thread on Flickr where people were promoting ipernity: Ipernity is great!!. The thread was closed by a staff member with a post saying There are better places to discuss this than the Help Forum; closing this thread. Of course, they don't actually give an example of one of those better places to discuss it. Well, I guess at least they didn't just delete the thread.

Something that arrived today was some 1/4 to 3/8 inch tripod thread adapters.

These cost me 10p from eBay. So, the seller must have had to pay eBay and PayPal fees. They paid for the Jiffy envelope and airmail postage from Malaysia to the UK. The two tripod thread adapters were in little resealable plastic bags. They also included free gifts of a business card sized picture of Danbo with a camera (blank on the reverse) and a plastic tape measure wrapped with an elastic band.

The tripod thread adapters don't actually work that well, they only fitted flush in 2 out of 5 tripod heads I tried them with. But for 10p, it's pretty amazing really. With Paypal fees, eBay fees, postage costs, etc I would have thought the total cost of the package must be at least 50p, maybe nearer £1.

Most of the rest of the afternoon and evening I was working on updating an old article for my photo tips website.