Kevin's Journal - April

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Thu Apr 29, 2004 10:46 PM

For your enjoyment, some pictures of the dogs wearing their coats today (was nice and snowy today), and also some pictures of hacking society and southern sun gathering: dog coats, southern sun, and hacking at caffe sole.

Thu Apr 29, 2004 3:41 PM

Took a few Pictures yesterday. Some flowers have started to really bloom out with all the snow and rain and sun we have had.

Still need to pack my backpack, but I think I have all the stuff I need to pack into there now. Should be a nice trip. I am leaving starting tomorrow around noon. Drive down to New Mexico and meet folks at the cooney canyon trailhead. Will be sure to have a ton of pictures when I get back.

Mon Apr 26, 2004 4:36 PM

Took a few shots in the backyard with the macro mode on the new camera. Not too bad. I am learning that it will say it can't focus if it should be in macro mode (close up shot). The transfer script is working great to copy pictures off. macro shots

Mon Apr 26, 2004 11:06 AM

Reasonably quiet and relaxing weekend here. Saturday I went and saw Kill Bill: Volume 2 Not a bad movie. It was diffrent from the first one, but it was at least as good. It will be interesting to watch the two of them back to back when the second one comes out on DVD. I did get the first one on DVD and watched it later saturday.

Sunday I went and tried to get all my backpacking and hunting gear together for next weekend's turkey hunting trip. Pretty much everything was easy to find and looks to be in ok shape. I did setup my tent and fixed a ripped sleve that I remembered it had. My stove, water purifier, backpack, sleeping bag and thermarest were all pretty easy to find as well. Here are some pictures I took of the tent and also some pictures of merlin. He managed to get in a tiff with kurt in the yard and got a small owie on his nose: Merlin and Tents.

Fri Apr 23, 2004 10:15 PM

Poked around with Linux Hotplug both last night and some today. It doesn't seem to be very easy to debug and you would think that it could be setup by default to handle many of the common things you would want to do with it. For example, I wanted to have it so I could attach my new camera via USB cable, press the USB button on the cradle and have it copy all the pictures off it, optionally delete them, and disconnect. By default hotplug will see the camera, load the scsi disk driver and say that it's /dev/sda1, and thats it.

In order to get it all working as I wanted, I had to setup 2 scripts. First of all I made a /etc/hotplug/usb/usb-storage script. This script (which didn't exist before I made it) is called by the /etc/hotplug/usb.agent when a "usb storage" device connects. The /etc/hotplug/usb/usb-storage script gets passed a number of things in env variables. If the $ACTION variable is "add" then the device is connecting. I have the script look for that and then mount the camera on /mnt/camera and run the second script. Also, and this took me a while to figure out, I had to run a link from the file refered to in $REMOVER back to the /etc/hotplug/usb/usb-storage script. $REMOVER is run when the device disconnects. The usb-storage script then catches a $ACTION of "remove" and umounts the /mnt/camera.

The second script is just a simple script that copies the files off the camera device and runs a program called jhead which can manipulate the EXIF headers that most digital cameras put in images. In this case I have jhead rewrite the filename of the image to YYYYMMDDHHMMSS.jpg. Then the script deletes all the files from the camera (since they have now been copied over to the laptop drive).

Using this setup I have been able to have a pretty quick turnaround on pictures, which is nice. Here's some sample ones from yesterday and today: Yet more dog pictures.

Thu Apr 22, 2004 12:55 PM

Now for some talk about digital cameras.

My old trusty Canon PowerShot S100 has been getting a bit long in the tooth of late. It's about 4 years old now. It's a nice camera, very small, takes pretty good pictures, and I have a bunch of accessories for it: 2 256MB Compact Flash cards, and about 5 or 6 extra batteries. My biggest problem with it of late is that it takes a whopping 6-7 seconds from turning it on to being able to take a picture. You loose a lot of pictures by waiting 6 or 7 seconds. So, I started looking around for a new camera.

The newer Canon powershot's look quite nice. There is a S400 (which is now discontinued) and a S410 and a S500 There are only minor diffrences between them. The S400 and S410 are 4 megapixel cameras, and the S500 is a 5 megapixel. They look nice, have the exact same controls and form factor as my S100 and I could re-use my accessories. There is only one problem. They are really pricy. The S400/S410 models are about $100 more than any of the other ultracompact 4 megapixel cameras. The S500 is something like 200$ more.

While looking around Jafo mentioned that he was selling his old (well, 3 months old) Casio Exilim EX-Z4 It's about 1/2 the thinkness of the Canons. It has a 2" LCD on the back (the canons have a 1.5"). The price was great, even factoring in having to get a new SD card (it uses SD or MM cards). It also takes it about 2 seconds to be ready to take a picture (my big complaint with the S100). So, I decided to go for it. I picked up the camera from Jafo when he was passing through to Colorado Springs the last night.

Overall I like the camera. There are a few things that are really going to take some getting used to however. The zoom buttons on the Casio are on the back below the shutter release button. On the Canon this was a ring around the shutter release. When you take a picture on the Canon you can hold down the shutter release and it will show the picture you just took until you relase it. On the Casio it will show the picture you just took for a few seconds and then go back to the current display.

On the plus side I really like the LCD. It's big and very easy to look at. It does get a bit grainy at times, but it's still nice to read. I like the amount of time until it can take a picture. It's nice that it has 10MB of memory built in. I don't have my SD card yet, so I have been using it's internal memory to take pictures and then copy them off. The USB interface works fine with my laptop. It shows up as a SCSI disk. Easy to copy things off. The cable is really pretty short tho, so I might look at getting an extender for it. It has a "Manual Focus" mode which is really cool that the Canon didn't.

So far so good, will see how it does once I get my SD card and can start taking lots of pictures. I need to go through the manual too and see all the things it can do.

Tue Apr 20, 2004 1:42 PM

I have been playing with a nifty little image program lately called kimdaba (The K Image DataBase). It's pretty nifty, but kinda changes the way I think of organizing my pictures. Basically you give it a directory with all your images in it and then you go in and add tags to them (tags in the xml database, nothing changes on the picture itself).

So, for example, I can add a "Twyla" tag to a image that has Twyla in it, as well as a "Broomfield" tag if the picture was taken in broomfield, etc. Once you have all the pictures tagged with all the people, places and other random keywords you like, you can search on any of those tags. For example, "Show me pictures that have Twyla and Merlin in them taken in Broomfield and are not marked junk". You can also tag on dates, so any pictures taken on a specific date. It seems like this would be nice to handle searching through your photos for something in specific. The place where it changes things is that it's harder to figure how to export those to the web.

While pondering on it, here are some pictures from today (2004-04-20) that I took. I used the search for "date between 2004-04-19 and 2004-04-21" and then did an 'export to html' on them. Random Cat and Dog Pics.

Sat Apr 17, 2004 12:18 PM

Today was doggie bath day here. It's funny how the diffrent dogs react to the idea of a bath:

Looks like Twyla and Merlin (the two softest ones) are loosing their winter coats. I brushed them and got some hair off them, which is amazing for greyhounds. Luckily it shouldn't last very long.

I was gonna go up to boulder later and wander from outdoor pub to outdoor pub, but none of the folks I sent email to can come (or haven't answered). I might just go anyhow, it's a nice day for such things.

Thu Apr 15, 2004 8:43 PM

Up at boulder hacking society tonight. Had a nice time at southern sun drinking beer. That place is hopping on thursdays. Possibly all the time. There's about 14 folks here at caffe sole. Nice turnout.

Took some pics of the BBQ the other night and everyone playing with cameras. Also, took some pics the other day of rum and the other dogs in the yard. You can find them at: Pics of cameras, people, and dogs.

Tue Apr 13, 2004 9:08 PM

Went up to bottle beer eariler tonight. I took kurt with me this time (giving them each a chance for an outing). Got there right at 6pm and unloaded all the bottles I brought. Waited for anyone else to show. Washed all the bottles. Started bottling the beer. Got about 2/3 done before anyone else got there.

Last night was the last evening that tkil was going to be in town, so we met up at tosh's for dinner and then headed downtown for beers at the falling rock tap house. (Pity they seem to have switched from their old site that was Things were pretty scary downtown. It was apparently the season opener for the rockies, and although the game ended several hours eariler, there were still tons of people downtown imbibing. We have a few nice beers... especially a avery 10th anniversary rye.

Mon Apr 12, 2004 12:02 PM

Once again I forgot to rotate the journal over, so my April had a bunch of March entries on the same page. Fixed now, and hopefully I will remember not to do it with May.

Went up to loveland and picked up a new foster dog last night. There is a track down in Texas that is closing (not sure if just for a while, or forever) and they were really desperate for foster homes to try and take in all the dogs from this track. So, the hauler came in about 8pm sunday night to loveland, and I went and picked up "rum" and "bullet". My friend jeanne met me and picked up bullet and I kept rum here. Bullet is supper outgoing, he kept trying to climb in the front seat and kept wagging his tail. Rum is also a very friendly dog, but less outgoing. He's gigantic though, probibly 90 lbs and solid black. very handsome.

Rum has been doing pretty well. He pretty much slept through the night last night. He's totally ignored the cat. Doesn't even care to try and sniff her. Twyla has been making sure he knows in no uncertan terms that she is alpha bitch here. Mostly growling and teeth baring, and also this morning she kicked him off the dog bed he was using. He seems to have gotten the picture pretty quickly. He had one leg lifting incident last night, but I had him on lead, so I stopped him and took him out and he hasn't had a problem since. I think he will get adopted pretty quick, he's a nice pup.

Sat Apr 10, 2004 10:39 AM

Had a nice (if small) BBQ gathering last night. A few folks wimped out due to the weather, but the rest of us had a nice time. tkil made it in just fine, and there was much eating and drinking.

Tue Apr 6, 2004 5:37 PM

Looks like tkil is going to be in town this coming weekend. Sent out an announcement for a BBQ friday night in his honor. If anyone reading this is in the area and wants to attend, drop me an email and I will give you directions. Should be a fun time.

In other news I have some friends coming up from New Mexico today. They are coming up to pick up a horse, so they borrowed a horse trailer from someone and started heading up. Driving down the interstate they noticed a flapping noise, yes, one of the tires had died a most greusome death. No problem, the trailer has a spare. Much unbolting and jacking and so forth, then moving the spare over and it becomes clear that: The spare is the wrong sized tire. The spare is not the same bolt pattern. The spare is flat. So, they just limped into pubelo and picked up a new tire before heading up.

Finally (and I promise this will be it), I found an interesting story on LSD. It turns out that LSD usage and sales have plummeted in recent years. It's really hard to get anymore. This can be pretty directly traced to two things: In 2000 they busted some guys who were making LSD (with 91 POUNDS of it on hand), who were estimated to have been the suppliers for 95% of the US market. Secondly, the Dead stopped touring. Dead shows were a prime place for buyers and sellers to meet up, when that went away it became much harder to make that connection. Anyhow, interesting story: slate on acid.

Mon Apr 5, 2004 9:19 PM

Well, I just spent about an hour and a half playing with ACPI on my laptop. There was a patch mentioned recently on the linux-kernel list called wakeup_device (Bugzilla entry) This makes a /proc/acpi/wakeup_device file, which you can then echo what devices you would like to wake up your laptop from S3 sleep. For example, the LID button, or the power button, etc. I tried the patch, but it wouldn't let me set my LID or PWR buttons to wake up the laptop. I tried setting everything it let me set, but that resulted in a string of oopses. Guess I will stick with software suspend (suspend to disk) now, since it seems pretty stable under 2.6 again now.

Sat Apr 3, 2004 7:12 PM

Two events today:

Manned the greyhound table down at the petsmart on 104th and I25 for Colorado Greyhound Companions It was a nice time as usual. Took all 3 hounds, and they all had a good time. Twyla was her typical flirtatious self (leaning on people, trying to follow people off who petted her, etc). Kurt was typically lazy (laying down on the hard cold floor since I forgot to bring a blanket for him). Merlin was a bit reserved, but still friendly. Passed out a bunch of brochures. Hopefully it will result in some new foster homes. The group really needs foster homes bad right now. We saw our friend Jackson the great dane, and talked a bunch with the neutro lady at the next table over. It was a nice time.

After I got back from the petsmart I gave the dogs a treat and headed over to the Clue North Linux installfest. It was over at the devry campus about 2 miles from my house, so it was really close and easy to get to. Found the room after some wandering around (they had some big conference blocking off some of the doors, so it wasn't obvious how to get into the room where the installfest was being held. Finally got in there and there were lots of people already deep in installs and such. Dived right in. The first about 30min were pretty zippy with questions and problems coming from all sides. Then it settled down some. Taught someone about iptables and firewalling and looked at their shorewall setup. Tried to help someone else install on a machine with limited space and tons of partitions. Finally got them mostly set. Answered various other random questions. It was fun. I wish I could have been there all day to help out... they had a really nice turnout.

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