Author Archive for Colin Ashe



24
Oct
09

New Tripod

My birthday was a couple of weeks ago and in the weeks leading up to it, I spent some time trying to fill out my wish list on Amazon.  I would like to briefly plug their universal wish list button – you can add it to your browser’s bookmarks toolbar and then add anything you find on any website to your wish list.  That’s pretty handy.

Anyway, I have wanted a sturdy tripod for a while.  After a lot of looking, I decided that I wanted a ball head since I had grown tired of having to adjust two or three knobs in order to get my composition right.  I settled on the Manfrotto 322RC2. It seemed like it would allow incredibly fast composition changes and would be very comfortable to use.  So, that found its way onto my wish list.

By pooling together money I got for my birthday I was able to get the 322RC2 head with the Manfrotto 055XPROB tripod legs.  I haven’t had a lot of opportunities to use everything yet but so far I really like it.  The ball head is so nice.  It is super easy to change your composition, very quick, and it locks solidly into place.  The legs are big – if I extend the legs fully, the eyepiece of the camera is at eye level without raising the center column at all.  This is great because it maximizes stability and gives me some freedom to play around with shots that might require the camera to be above my eye level.

Continue reading ‘New Tripod’

15
Oct
09

This is sweet

Since mid-summer one of my on-going interests has been getting my contact info, calendar, and to-do list systems set up in a way that helps me be more productive and not miss important events or responsibilities.  I’ve been gradually populating my contacts list on my Google account and for close friends and relatives I’ve been trying to enter birthdays and anniversary dates so I can remember to send people an email or e-card on their special day(s).  However, up until now actually getting a reminder about the event required some tedious work.  This is because entering a person’s birthday in my contact list did nothing to remind me about it.  So, I had to manually enter birthdays and anniversaries into my Google calendar.  It seemed like there had to be a better way.

It turns out that there is a better way.  Google recently created a set of “interesting calendars” that can be added to your calendar.  This includes holidays, sports teams’ schedules, and other things.  Fortunately, one of the “other things” that they added was a calendar of birthdays pulled from your contact list.  This is exactly what I was looking for!  If you’re interested in using this yourself, the description of it is here – click on “more” for the information.  So far, it appears as though it’s not possible to get notifications about items on this calendar, however, people are asking for this feature in the forums, so I hope that it will be added soon.  In the meantime, simply having the birthday show up on my calendar is helpful enough.

30
Sep
09

Installing CUPS on Ubuntu 9.04 (jaunty)

In my last post I mentioned that I completed the migration of this blog from the old host machine (called imladris) to WordPress.com. This is part of a larger effort to retire that machine altogether. It had been hosting my blog, my photoblog, our family photo gallery, and my wife’s old blog for years. In addition, for the last few months I’ve been running a CUPS server on it so we could easily use our printer from any of our machines (we have 4 computers in the house, not including imladris). However, last night I pulled the plug on imladris. So, if we want to have our printer on the network again, I either need to buy a dedicated print server or I need to install CUPS on a different machine. Fortunately, we have another Linux machine in the apartment: orthanc, which I use as my MythTV machine.

I had installed CUPS on imladris only a few months ago, so the process should still be fresh in my mind. However, imladris ran Ubuntu 6.06 LTS, whereas orthanc runs Ubuntu 9.04. I’m not exactly sure whether 3 years* has made much of a difference but I’m going to try to follow online explanations to get it working. As I work on this, I’m just going to give an account of what I’m doing, where I found instructions, etc. until I get it working. If you’re interested in this, read on. If you’re not, maybe you can find a more entertaining way to spend your time, like playing Canabalt.

Continue reading ‘Installing CUPS on Ubuntu 9.04 (jaunty)’

29
Sep
09

Done.

As far as I can tell, the migration of this blog from its former location to WordPress.com (its current location) is complete. The migration required a number of steps and was tedious – lots of searching for outdated links, finding the appropriate new link, and making the change. In any case, it is now done and I can devote the time that I had been spending on migrating it to now creating actual new content.

18
Sep
09

Stitches

Our son had to get 2 stitches the other day when he cut his head after falling.  We’ve been thinking about how to prevent this type of thing from happening again, since he seems prone to falling and hitting his head.  People have suggested a helmet but that seems a little extreme – in particular because it protects parts of his head that aren’t in any danger. The only part of his head that’s in danger is his forehead.  With that in mind, I hit on an idea – a headband/sweatband.

Yesterday, my wife went out to Target and came home with a headband for him. You can see a picture of him wearing it by clicking the link below.

Continue reading ‘Stitches’

16
Sep
09

the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree

When I was little, I was always getting into mischief, which often led to some type of injury.  Just ask my mom – she had to take me to the emergency room many times.  I’m not totally sure how many times I had to get stitches while being restrained in a kid-sized straight-jacket, but it was more than once.

In any case, my son is now following in my footsteps.  He has been tripping, falling, and hitting his head on the ground for probably a month.  Today, though, he tripped and evidently hit his head on a small rock lying on the ground.  So, instead of a nice scrape like he’s gotten before, this time, he got a nice cut, which bled profusely down his face.  You can see a picture by following the link at the bottom of this post, but be warned – there is a lot of blood.  Also, here’s my wife’s description of today’s action.

Continue reading ‘the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree’

15
Sep
09

Google Reader

I’m fairly new to anything requiring a Google account.  I am a luddite and part-time tin-foil hat wearer, so I was reluctant to give Google access to any of my stuff.  However, they lured me with convenience.  Since signing up for a Gmail account, I’ve started keeping track of my time using Google Calendar.  I also now have a Google Voice number, a Google profile, and a feed of articles I’ve shared through Google Reader.

I only really started using Google Reader a few days ago, but I really like it.  I had tried various RSS readers in the past, but never got into them.  However, I really like the fact that I can share articles with other people and add my own commentary.  People can follow the resulting RSS feed from their own RSS reader or they can check out the feed in the sidebar right here on this blog.

So, while I probably won’t be writing full-blown posts every day, you can check my blog to see my tweets and articles I’ve shared through Google Reader.  I hope you enjoy them.

11
Sep
09

Happy Birthday Rechner

My wife and I celebrated our 7th anniversary in August this year.  Since our wedding, we’ve resided in 3 different places and encountered numerous other changes.  However, one of the constants for most of that time has been our main desktop computer, which is called “Rechner” on the network.

I just checked my records and it shipped from Dell on September 5th, 2003.  We likely received it about a week later.  So, we’ve had it almost exactly 6 years.

Over the years, it has undergone quite a  few changes.  It’s a 2.4GHz Pentium 4 with a 800MHz front-side bus.  The processor, the motherboard, and the case are about the only components that are original but they have been a solid core around which to build.  A new graphics card required that I upgrade the power supply (now 500 W).  I expanded the RAM from 512MB to 1.5GB.  I’ve upgraded or swapped out hard drives a couple of times.  I’ve upgraded or swapped out optical drives a couple of times as well.  The floppy drive was replaced due to fatal dust intake but its replacement has also succumbed…

Despite the upgrades, the fact remains that it is a single core processor with an 800MHz FSB connecting to pretty slow RAM and it’s definitely showing its age in terms of performance.  When we finally retire it, it will likely find new life as a Linux machine for my daughter.  Until then, I expect it will continue to chug along like it has been doing almost uninterrupted for 6 years.  Thank you, Rechneer, you’ve served us well.

11
Sep
09

New header image

The observant among you (who also follow my photoblog) may have noticed that my new header image is the bottom portion of this image.  If you did, congratulations.  If not, consider this post a plug for my photoblog.

09
Sep
09

Almost there

If you’re a regular reader, you may have noticed that my heretofore most recent post has disappeared (titled “Bear with me”). That’s because I contacted WordPress.com support today and they reran the entire import process for me from my old blog installation (which didn’t include that post). In doing so, all my photos were imported and the image source tags in the posts now use the correct locations of the files on wordpress.com. I’m glad that I got the picture issue resolved without having to manually import each image from my old blog and update the link to it on the corresponding post, as was suggested in the forums. This takes care of one the gripes I had with the wordpress.com importer.

However, the other gripe – that self-referential links are not rewritten to point to their correct location on wordpress.com – still stands. What this means is that all the links I have on my blog to my own previous posts are still wrong. That is, they still point to the old URL of my blog. In order to remedy this, I basically have to go through all my posts one by one and update the links, which will be tedious because wordpress.com uses a different scheme than my old wordpress.org installation did for constructing URLs. Fortunately, I don’t link to old posts in all my blog entries, but I do have quite a few such links. However, now that the picture issue is solved, I’m willing to say that 80% of my problems are over. Over time I’ll go through old posts and update the links, but for now – now that the picture issue has been resolved – I feel that the blog is in a more or less usable state.




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