I’ve Got This Thing On My Desk


There’s this thing on the desk. It’s labeled, “5.25 Media Dashboard.”

Damn right.

“Is anything geekier,” I ask as a proud geek?

The computer I designed this summer is all I’d hoped for. Every time I shoot photos I plug in an external card reader. Now I’m going to add this one more little thing to speed the process and make the computer more functional.

This goes down as a 21st Century problem, right?

The choice was buying a card reader or buying a CARD READER. I chose the latter.

The “dashboard” occupies the same sized slot a CDROM drive fills. Ten cables with a variety of plugs snake out its rear. Nine will be plugged into a corresponding socket on the motherboard. The tenth will draw power.

There’s a digital thermometer on board and the ability to adjust fans speeds with a thumbwheel. I’d like to make this computer even quieter. Slower fans will work as long as things don’t heat up too much.

Too much to do now. The building takes place in about a week.

Ten Years On Facebook

I was originally petrified to even look, but it’s pretty cool.

Scared of Sochi

If there was a website that did nothing but publish journalists hard luck stories from Sochi, I’d be on it a dozen times a day. No doorknobs. No floors. Toilets that won’t flush toilet paper. Yellow water. Digital hacking so thorough, NBC’s Richard Engel had his cellphone compromised in under a minute!

You can’t make this stuff up–though it’s not unexpected.

Russia, like the Soviet Union before it, is a victim of a type of government that favors ‘every man for himself’ thinking. It is a country which has watched the most dishonest among its populace become the most wealthy and where gaming the system is a national pastime.

That the Sochi infrastructure was built half-assed is, again, no surprise. Overseers who were supposed to insure a well planned outcome had other priorities. Police are corrupt. Inspectors are corrupt. Government officials are corrupt. Every hand is out!

So, we’ll all spend the next few weeks laughing at Sochi’s inadequacies, until something major goes wrong. I am scared that will be terrorist related. CNN reports most Americans feel there will be a terrorist attack at the Sochi Olympics.

The central Russian government has many enemies among its own citizens. Rebels who are powerless socially and politically often see violence as their only viable option.

Starting from the end of the 20th century, significant terrorist activity has taken place in Moscow, most notably apartment bombings and the Moscow theater hostage crisis. Many more acts of terrorism have been committed in Chechnya, Dagestan, and other parts of the country. Some of them became a matter of significant controversy, since journalists and scholars claimed them to be directed by the Russian secret services, often through their Chechen agent provocateurs. – Wikipedia

Will terrorists attack the games? I am petrified the answer is, yes.

The State Department issued a memo to athletes, reported in the Wall Street Journal.

“The U.S. Department of State has advised that wearing conspicuous Team USA clothing in non-accredited areas may put your personal safety at greater risk.”

I never shied away from New York City after 9/11. I understood the risks and felt them minimal. If offered the chance to attend these games, I would pass.

Some Weather Forecasting Inside Baseball

Courtesy: www.coolwx.comA little ‘inside baseball’ on weather forecasting. The graphs on the left (Courtesy: coolwx.com – click the image for a better look) show Wednesday’s weather in New Haven as forecast over time by various computer models.

The ‘ptype’ forecast has been all over the place. What’s it gonna be? The guidance has waffled between snow, sleet and freezing rain.

Even if I got it right on the last forecast, it was little consolation to those who’d watched earlier. That made me very unhappy. Sometimes there’s no choice but to change the forecast. You can’t feel married to it.

I traded tweets with a former co-worker this week who shares my angst. It really made storm nights, hell.

Most people don’t realize the most important part of the forecast is, impact. There are fewer potential impacts than storm parameters.

If the timing is right… if the road hazards/conditions are right… if the school situation is properly handled, then how much snow falls or whether it’s a freezing sleety mix don’t matter as much.

But it killed me every storm. There was never a forecast I was really happy with. Not one.

A New Credit Card… Again

A New Card Is On The Way  GmailExcuse us while Helaine and I pull all our hair out by the roots one strand at a time!

Our Southwest Airlines credit card is being replaced, again. The new card gets a new number. EVERYONE we do business with on a regular basis must be told.

Maybe you remember the last time this happened? We were driving from Connecticut to California. We were in Lincoln, Nebraska when we got the call.

I’ve lost count how many times this has happened, but at least five. We expect Chase not to extend the expiration date, so this will have to be done again in about a year. Make it at least six times.

What we’ve learned through all this is EVERY website puts credit card number changes in a different place. Each requires different hoops be jumped through and that you understand their particular style of business English. Some changes will take seconds, others will follow long minutes of head scratching.

Part of the reason this stings so much is because each-and-every time this has happened it’s been because of how Chase (and other American banks) issue cards.

It’s my understanding the “Target Caper” couldn’t have happened in Europe or Asia. There, credit card issuers have spent a little money to improve security. Here in the states, their security ends up being part of my job!

Not happy.

Doppler Learns Her First Trick

Doppler has few responsibilities. This week I changed that. Doppler learned her first trick. She can shake hands. It wasn’t difficult to do. Just a few tiny treats when she’d normally get rewarded anyway, like when returning from a trip to the lawn. She caught on quickly. At this point I’m worried because she’s offering […]

-read more-

Sometimes I Get Obsessed

A few days ago I started fooling around (again) with Magic Lantern. ML is firmware for my camera which makes it do all sorts of things it wasn’t designed to do! Magic Lantern enabled me to get hummingbird close-ups. Now I’m using it for timelapse photography. This is the norm for me. Once I get […]

-read more-

My Office

Stef has come for the weekend. She and Helaine are out now. It’s Doppler, Roxie and me. They’re on the sofa. I’m in my office. It sounds so presumptuous, my office. I’m sure Ward Cleaver had a study or library. Office isn’t that bad, but it’s close. By office I mean a room that’s mine. […]

-read more-

The Hummingbirds Come Into Sharper Focus

Photographing hummingbirds has gone from experiment to obsession. That didn’t take long! Yesterday I set up my camera with Magic Lantern firmware and shot away. Today I made more modifications. The lens is longer, bringing me closer (though these are still cropped images). The light is a little better. My shutter speed still isn’t fast […]

-read more-

A Decent First Try

A little while ago I attempted some motion triggered photos of my friendly neighborhood hummingbirds. Here’s the first small set. There are improvements to be made, but I’m happy so far. Now, to recharge the batteries for the next try, tomorrow.

-read more-