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May 31, 2008

Democrats Seat Florida and Michigan Delegates

The Democrats continue to squabble and bicker like kindergarten miscreants. The Democratic Party has announced that they will seat the delegates from Michigan and Florida, but that they will each have 1/2 of a vote. Of course, Hillary is livid, per usual, and plans to contest the decision. Let's have a big round of applause for the most poorly managed national political party ever. And, if you think that Hillary is going to bow out gracefully, then you're not very bright, or you don't know what a vile cur she really is.

Posted by Rob Kiser on May 31, 2008 at 9:03 PM : Comments (0) | Permalink

Phoenix Found Ice

Phoenix on ice

The Phoenix spacecraft appears to have landed on top of a patch of ice.

Posted by Rob Kiser on May 31, 2008 at 7:17 PM : Comments (0) | Permalink

Hamlin Gulch Road

I went for a little ride on the motorcycle yesterday. The trip meter on the bike and on my GPS both say 100 miles. Went up that new Central City Parkway, down into Central City, then up Eureka Rd, past the Boodle Mine up into the Arapaho National Forest. Then, I dropped down Woodpecker Gulch to Hamlin Gulch to Fall River Road. I tried to make it up to Chinns Lake and Loch Lomond, but both are still snowed in. My notes say these places are snowed in until Mid-June to the end-of-June. So, I went up to St. Mary's Glacier and tried to get over to Yankee Hill, but it's snowed in there as well. Doh!

Posted by Rob Kiser on May 31, 2008 at 1:02 PM : Comments (0) | Permalink

May 30, 2008

E.T. Phone Home

E.T. Phone Home

Some genius in Denver today played a video that purportedly showed an alien visitor from another world. Here's a screen cap of the video. No joke. I mean, it may or may not be a hoax, but he really did play the video today and this really is a screen cap of his video. Looks a little too much like E.T. to me.

Posted by Rob Kiser on May 30, 2008 at 11:05 PM : Comments (1) | Permalink

May 28, 2008

When Seconds Count...

When seconds count, the police are only minutes away. Yet another mass shooting stopped by an armed citizen.

Posted by Rob Kiser on May 28, 2008 at 9:05 PM : Comments (0) | Permalink

The Intelligence of Crows

I've been watching the crows up at my place more closely in the last year, and I'm constantly fascinated by their behavior. Their ability to find food is unbelievable. They're perpetually at war with the ravens, magpies, stellar jays, foxes, and other families of crows. According to this video, the crows are in fact, very intelligent. More so than I'd imagined.

Posted by Rob Kiser on May 28, 2008 at 11:16 AM : Comments (0) | Permalink

May 25, 2008

Phoenix Spacecraft Lands on Mars Today

Watch the Phoenix Lander land (hopefully) on Mars today live at NASA.

Posted by Rob Kiser on May 25, 2008 at 11:22 AM : Comments (0) | Permalink

May 24, 2008

Doe Mule Deer in May

Doe Mule Deer in May

Posted by Rob Kiser on May 24, 2008 at 1:37 PM : Comments (0) | Permalink

The Battle of the "-isms"

Obama and Hillary have, perhaps inadvertently, perhaps deliberately, set up the Democratic campaign as a battle of the "-isms". Racism vs. Sexism.

Whichever candidate loses, they will inevitably blame a their loss on a country as being controlled by a confederacy of "-ists", be they "Racists" or "Sexists".

The entire nation waits breathlessly on the sidelines, prepared, inescapably, to be tarred a nation of Racists or Sexists. There's no way of knowing for sure which way the ball will bounce at this point.

Never mind the fact that, when you throw a bunch of candidates into the hopper, only one can be selected. And the fact that it isn't going to be a white male doesn't carry any water at this point. That isn't mentioned. It isn't discussed.

In a way, the Democratic party's dilemma is an inescapable byproduct of the very core beliefs of that party. A coalition of people based, fundamentally, on the bedrock of entitlement. Founded on the practice of eschewing personal responsibility and externalizing blame.

So, when the white males were finally pushed out of the limelight of their consortium, there was bound to be a lascivious, vicious cat fight, with every minority battling to trumpet their woes the loudest. A race that will inevitably end in anguish, replete with emotional, wrenching public speeches against the perceived evils of misogyny and racism - the scourge of the populace that only the Democrats can lead us away from. The tar baby in the living room that no one dare mention or touch.

What a sad spectacle for the human race.

Posted by Peenie Wallie on May 24, 2008 at 10:52 AM : Comments (2) | Permalink

“The Cardoza 40″: Exodus of Clinton Delegates Begins

I love this story.

The endorsement by US Rep. Dennis Cardoza (D-California) of Obama today sends an extremely firm message to the Clinton campaign, and not only because he was, until today, a Clinton superdelegate.

The Field has learned that Cardoza is the first of a group of at least 40 Clinton delegates, many of them from California, that through talking among themselves came to a joint decision that all of them would vote for Obama at the convention. They have informed Senator Clinton that it’s time to unite around Obama, and that they will be coming out, one or two at a time, and announcing their switch between now and the convention if Senator Clinton doesn’t do the same.

Fortunately, some people in the Democratic party are finally stepping up and saying "You lost. Stop calling for Obama's assassination. That's enough of the nonsense."

Unfortunately, what they don't get is that if Hillary is not above openly discussing Obama's assassination, then the craven vixen is certainly not above exploiting the MIchigan/Florida party rift to her own advantage. Even if all the delegates and super-delegates switch to Obama, she'll use some tortured Al Gore-type math to claim that she won the popular vote, and split the Democratic party like a walnut at the Democratic Convention in Denver.

As for all of those of you that are expecting for Hillary to finally step up and do the right thing, stay tuned. You ain't seen nothing yet.

Posted by Rob Kiser on May 24, 2008 at 9:48 AM : Comments (1) | Permalink

May 22, 2008

My Cherry Tree Bloomed!

Cherry tree bloom

Posted by Rob Kiser on May 22, 2008 at 3:06 PM : Comments (0) | Permalink

May 21, 2008

Preserving Old Photographs


Old documents are often rolled or folded and stuck in cedar chests and drawers for years before someone moves them. They are aged in their shape and can break with handling. They are dry and need to be hydrated.

Look around your home for a container with a tight fitting lid (not so tight fitting that the container needs to be tipped for a grip to take off the lid). One container that can be used is a new galvanized garbage can; try to find a small one if all you have is a few letter size documents.

Continue reading "Preserving Old Photographs"

Posted by Rob Kiser on May 21, 2008 at 7:52 PM : Comments (0) | Permalink

Show Passwords in Browsers

If your browser like Firefox or Internet Explorer offers to remember you password for you and you say "OK", then it stores that password, but only displays it as asterisks on the screen. I found this post that explains how, if you forget what you password is, you can just cut and paste this line of java script into the browser URL and it will show you the password.

A dialog box will prompt and your password is shown.

Reveal Firefox Password

This method works on Internet Explorer, Firefox, Netscape and Opera.

Posted by Rob Kiser on May 21, 2008 at 7:29 PM : Comments (0) | Permalink

May 20, 2008

Shooting Raw Images with the Canon EOS 40D

OK, so my buddy Brian has convinced me that i need to be shooting Raw images with my Canon EOS 40D, instead of just shooting JPEG's which is what I had been shooting. Of course, ideally, what I'd like to shoot is RAW and JPEG, which is what I've been shooting lately, but now disk space and data transfer speed of the camera and the CF card become more critical. Brian asked me how shooting Raw + JPEG would affect the speed of the camera, so I decided to do some benchmarks.

On the website DPReview.com, to test how many frames a camera can shoot in a second, they hold down the shutter release button and make audio recordings of the camera. When you edit the audio recordings, you can then clearly see the shutter releases as a series of sound waves. So, I decided to do a similar test here in my home studio.

For the test, I wanted the camera to be very steady, with the auto-focus turned off, and a relatively fast shutter speed so that the camera could focus on taking as many shots as possible, without worry about waiting for a focus lock or waiting for the shutter to release, etc.

Additionally, I wanted to capture an image with a reasonable amount of detail, as opposed to shooting say, a white wall, as the .JPG files will be larger if there is more detail in the photo.

Continue reading "Shooting Raw Images with the Canon EOS 40D"

Posted by Rob Kiser on May 20, 2008 at 9:54 PM : Comments (3) | Permalink

Search Military Records for Free

Ancestry.com has been taking all of the microfiche from the U.S. military service records and making them available online. From now through May 31st, you can search the military records for free online at this website:


To view the records, it will prompt you for a first name, last name, and email address. Just be creative. They don't really need your email address. They just ask for for it and then show you the information from your search.

Posted by Rob Kiser on May 20, 2008 at 6:22 PM : Comments (0) | Permalink

Good News!

I've got bluebirds. :)

I built 4 Western bluebird houses and put them up at various places around the yard. Of course, I read all the tips on how to build them and how high to install them and which way they should face. But until this year, I don't think I've ever had any bluebirds. I've had squirrels and various birds that are essentially the red-haired step-children in the bird kingdom. The untouchables, as it were.

But this morning, I was out shooting at dawn, watching how the warm low-angle sun moved across the trees and when I went inside and looked at my shots, there were birds using one of the bird houses. I went back outside to confirm and lo-and-behold, I have bluebirds, baby :)

I wanted to get some better shots, from closer up, but I didn't want to scare them off so I decided to leave them alone. Nah - I'm just kidding. I built a blind about 15 yards from the bird house so I can get some decent images. The parents are both clearly alarmed by the activity, but they haven't abandoned the nest. Not yet, anyway.

Posted by Rob Kiser on May 20, 2008 at 12:04 PM : Comments (0) | Permalink

A Riddle at Fermilab

This is a pretty wild story. Someone sent a coded message to Fermilab over a year ago that no one could deciper.

The letter came delivered by USPS on Mar 5, 2007, addressed to:

Kirk Rd. & Pine
Batavia, IL 60510

It was hand addressed but came in an envelope where you pull on the ends for it to come apart.

It was postmarked in Chicago.

You can download the high-res version here.

Link to the story on Slashdot.

No one was able to deciper it until, of course, they posted it on the internet, and it looks like the message may have been cracked by John Graham-Cumming.

Posted by Rob Kiser on May 20, 2008 at 5:04 AM : Comments (0) | Permalink

May 19, 2008

Field Day 2008

Field Day

Here's a collection of photos I shot in on Field Day, Friday May 16th of '08. Photos were captured with a Canon EOS 40D and an image stabilized, ultra-sonic telescopic zoom lens (EF-S 17-85mm f/4.0-5.6 IS USM). For the indoor shots, I used a Canon Speedlite 580EX mounted on a Stroboframe Pro-T bracket mounted to a Canon BG-E2 battery grip with a custom-fabricated anti-twist bracket. For the long outside shots, I used a a Canon L-Series image stabilized, ultra-sonic telescopic zoom lens (EF 100-400mm f/4.0-5.6 IS USM) with a 77mm circular polarizing filter and an ET-83C hood.

I've posted 69 shots as a 7 meg (4:36) Adobe Flash slideshow(field_day.swf) that you should be able to open and view with any browser. Image post-processing was done in Adobe Photoshop CS3 Extended. The slideshow was created using Imagematics Stillmotion Pro, which I highly recommend.

Click here to view the other slideshows.

The soundtrack is New Soul by Yael Naim. (If you have a nagging sensation that you've heard this catchy song before, but can't remember where - Apple used it for their iMac Air commercial earlier this year.) Lyrics in extended entry.

Continue reading "Field Day 2008"

Posted by Rob Kiser on May 19, 2008 at 7:39 AM : Comments (0) | Permalink

Download MP3 Files from YouTube

Posted by Rob Kiser on May 19, 2008 at 2:32 AM : Comments (0) | Permalink

May 18, 2008

Window Shopping the Internet


My neighbor bought an OLPC notebook recently, and showed it to this morning. I was surprised by how cool it look. It's green and white with a soft, durable almost Nerf-type plastic padding around it. Has a handle on it to carry it around. I think it's pretty slick looking. The screen turns around and folds down like a tablet PC, although there's no stylus on it. Of course, it's infected with a home-grown flavor of Unix called Sugar, which is sad, of course. Sad that we're not able to give the children access to the most popular O/S in the world. Of course, I'm referring to Windows XP. But, hold the phone. They just announced on Friday that they'll be shipping OLPC comptuers running Windows XP in June. So, there is hope.

Of course, the computer that I want in a big way is the Asus Eee PC 900 that just came out.

Unfortunately, I'm pretty much skint right now, so I'm not going to be snapping up an Asus any time soon. But I'm OK with this. I have a lot of computers. I need another one like I need a hole in my head. So for now, I'll just sit on my hands and read the reviews. I feel like I'm window shopping the internet.

Posted by Rob Kiser on May 18, 2008 at 12:04 PM : Comments (0) | Permalink

Global Warming?

Don't look now, but the month of April was the coolest April in 11 years.

Posted by Rob Kiser on May 18, 2008 at 3:50 AM : Comments (0) | Permalink

May 17, 2008

File Numbering with the Canon EOS 40D

When you swap memory cards on the Canon EOS 40D (and the Canon EOS 20D also), it confuses the camera and the camera starts numbering the photos incorrectly. This has bugged me for some time, but now it's bothered me enough that I'm going to do something about it.

I first noticed this when I sent my Canon EOS 20D to Canon to be repaired. I set up my cameras number the files "Continuously", meaning - don't start renumbering from IMG_0001 every time I take the photos off of the Compact Flash memory card. The Canon EOS cameras generally do a fairly good job of this.

For my old Canon EOS 20D, it automagically created a new folder each time I shot 100 photos, so when I copied them off the CF card, they were numbered continuously, but parsed into folders with 100 photos per folder. For instance, if I shot 300 photos, they would be stored on the CF card like this:


Continue reading "File Numbering with the Canon EOS 40D"

Posted by Rob Kiser on May 17, 2008 at 9:20 PM : Comments (8) | Permalink

May 15, 2008

Child Trader

Child Trader

As you may have heard on the news or read in one of our press releases, Child Trader is now the nations 4th largest child exchange network and as such, has brought happiness to more than 1623 American households who otherwise had very few options in creating a more loving family and home life when realizing their child wasn’t the right fit for them.

Child Trader Child Exchange Network isn’t about not loving childing. Its about finding a family that can love them more. Get started today with this exciting new way to love your children.

Child Trader Home Page.

Posted by Rob Kiser on May 15, 2008 at 2:48 PM : Comments (2) | Permalink

Monsters of May

Monsters of May

Here's a series of photos I shot in May of '08 with a Canon EOS 40D and an image stabilized, ultra-sonic telescopic zoom lens (EF-S 17-85mm f/4.0-5.6 IS USM). For the indoor shots, I used a Canon Speedlite 580EX mounted on a Stroboframe Pro-T bracket mounted to a Canon BG-E2 battery grip with a custom-fabricated anti-twist bracket. For the wildlife shots, I used a a Canon L-Series image stabilized, ultra-sonic telescopic zoom lens (EF 100-400mm f/4.0-5.6 IS USM) with a 77mm circular polarizing filter and an ET-83C hood.

I've posted 56 shots as a 16 Meg (4:13) Adobe Flash slideshow(natural.swf) that you should be able to open and view with any browser. Image post-processing was done in Adobe Photoshop CS3 Extended. The slideshow was created using Imagematics Stillmotion Pro, which I highly recommend.

Click here to view the other slideshows.

The soundtrack is Natural Blues by Moby. Lyrics in extended entry.

Continue reading "Monsters of May"

Posted by Rob Kiser on May 15, 2008 at 1:19 AM : Comments (4) | Permalink

May 14, 2008

Moby - Natural Blues

I love this video from Moby. It came out in 2000, but I don't think I'd heard it before.

Posted by Rob Kiser on May 14, 2008 at 9:56 PM : Comments (1) | Permalink

Swiss man soars above Alps with jet-powered wing

Swiss man soars above Alps with jet-powered wing:

"BEX, Switzerland - A Swiss pilot strapped on a jet-powered wing and leaped from a plane Wednesday for the first public demonstration of the homemade device, turning figure eights and soaring high above the Alps.

Yves Rossy's performance in front of the world press capped five years of training and many more years of dreaming.

"This flight was absolutely excellent," the former fighter pilot and extreme sports enthusiast said after touching down on an airfield near the eastern shore of Lake Geneva.

Rossy, 48, had stepped out of the Swiss-built Pilatus Porter aircraft at 7,500 feet and unfolded the rigid eight-foot wings strapped to his back before jumping.

Passing from free fall to a gentle glide, Rossy then triggered four jet turbines and accelerated to 186 miles per hour, about 65 miles per hour faster than the typical falling skydiver. A plane that flew at some distance beside him measured his speed."

Posted by Rob Kiser on May 14, 2008 at 9:41 PM : Comments (0) | Permalink

Disable Adobe Photo Downloader

I don't know why, but Adobe Photo Downloader has decided that it needs to be running all of the time, lurking on my systray. I tried to disable it with Codestuff Starter, but to no avail. Finally, when I plugged in my helmet cam to one of the computers and Adobe Photo Downloader jumped up and tried to take control, I'd finally had enough. Here's how to disable Adobe Photo Downloader:

Run msconfig to open up the system configuration utility and de-select apdproxy.exe or Adobe Photo Downloader 3.0 in the Startup menu.

Now it wants me to restart. A small price to pray for getting rid of this virus.

Update: Well, that didn't work. Every time I rebooted, I'd get some nag about how I was running the msconfig under some trick mode and it just confused me and I'm not clear that I was ever able to successfully reboot without that virus Adobe Downloader kicking in.

So, back to the drawing board. This time, I tried to follow these directions and I launched Adobe Photoshop Elements 4.0 and I went to Edit - Preferences - Organize and Share - Camera or Card Reader - Import - and unchecked "Use Adobe Photo Downloader..."

Hopefull that will do the trick. Fingers crossed.

Posted by Rob Kiser on May 14, 2008 at 5:12 PM : Comments (0) | Permalink

Changing the RDP Port

I've got three computers that I'd like to periodically connect to over RDP, but they're all listening to port 3389, and my router won't allow me to redirect ports with a pinhole the way Will's super-trick router will. It will forward an incoming request to port 3389 to any ip address I specify, but that means I can only take over one computer at a time, the way my router works.

So, the best solution IMHO is to change the port that RDP listens to on each of the computers.

Continue reading "Changing the RDP Port"

Posted by Rob Kiser on May 14, 2008 at 12:49 AM : Comments (0) | Permalink

May 13, 2008

XP Administrator Account

Normally, the idea of two people sharing a computer is not something with which I'm very comfortable. I kinda feel like, if it's my computer, then I ought to be able to see everything on it. And when I install software on a computer, I only ought to have to install it once. So, if you have multiple users, you end up wondering if all the users can see the new software, and if you can see each others files or not, and all of this nonsense, which just seems like so much garbage to worry about when there's no real need for it.

But now that Jennifer has a computer, I'm starting to change my way of thinking. For the first time in my life, I want to set up a computer so that two different people can use it, and have a somewhat different experience.

For starters, when she launches a browser, I want her to have a different home page than I have. And I want her to have a different filter on her Google search results as well. And, although I don't mind if she wants to run software on the PC, probably only I should be doing any full-on software installs/upgrades.

So I'm going to try to get two user accounts set up on this computer where I am the administrator and she has only user priveleges.

Continue reading "XP Administrator Account"

Posted by Rob Kiser on May 13, 2008 at 9:13 PM : Comments (0) | Permalink

May 12, 2008

Printing Digital Images

Inkjet Printers Must Die

I despise photographic printers for a number of reasons, not the least of which is that it's practically impossible to keep an inkjet printer operating successfully in your home. I mean, sure, in theory, you think it's no big deal. I'll just walk into a Best Buy or a Circuit City and I'll buy one and put it on my credit card and take it home and set it up and voila!

Well, that's true. You can do that. I've done that, more than once. I'm no smarter than the next guy. I fell for that trap also. But then, you have to take care of it. Inkjet printers are more like pets than home electronics

You have to print a page out of that printer every single day you're alive or your jets will get clogged and then you're screwed, screwed, screwed.

Ink Jet Pets

You have to feed the printer wildly expensive glossy paper and priceless ink and if the printer is worth more than a plugged nickel, then it has six different color ink cartridges like mine and it's always running out of ink. That's how you know it's alive is that it's screaming for ink day and night and eating expensive paper and you have to buy the ink from the printer manufacturer or the color on your photos won't look right and each ink cartridge costs $20 and holds about a thimble full of ink - just enough ink to allow you time to replace it and go on to replace all of the cartridges before it runs out again. And so it goes.

Continue reading "Printing Digital Images"

Posted by Rob Kiser on May 12, 2008 at 8:50 PM : Comments (0) | Permalink

Environment Control in the Personal Data Center

I have a wired/wireless Gigabit network in my house that connects 6 personal computers. Here in the Rocky Mountains, the air is very dry. So dry, in fact, that it's unhealthy for humans to breathe and not so good on computers either.


Low levels of humidity can contribute to respiratory infections, allergic and asthmatic symptoms and an increase in airborne dust and allergens. As the chart demonstrates, there is a recommended humidity range of 40% to 60% that is optimal for indoor air quality. If the humidity level is too low, Bacteria, Viruses, Respiratory Infections and Allergic Asthma will increase. If the humidity level is too high, Dust Mites and Fungi/Mold will proliferate and Allergic Asthma will also increase.

After losing a video card to electrostatic discharge recently, I decided to get more serious about controlling the temperature and relative humidity in my my personal data center. I ordered a digital hygrometer/thermometer and mounted it on the wall. It showed the room to be 72° F, with a relative humidity of 29%.

The recommended ambient temperature range for a computer room is 68° to 75°F . So, the temperature seems fine. But the recommended ambient relative humidity range is between 45% and 55%. So, this is pretty much what I expected to find.

I drug my humidifier into the computer room, positioned it on the floor under one of the desks, and filled it with water. In theory, the water shouldn't be a hazard as all computers are positioned on elevated desks to mitigate hard drive bearing degradation due to dust particles.

I set the humidifier on "High" and closed the office door. Now, I feel like Michael Jackson in his hyperbaric chamber. I think I'll go buy some giraffes.

Continue reading "Environment Control in the Personal Data Center"

Posted by Peenie Wallie on May 12, 2008 at 3:27 PM : Comments (0) | Permalink

Yakuza - The Japanese Mafia

The Washington Post has an interesting article on how entrenched the Japanese mafia is. I first became aware of the Yakuza when I was working in Honolulu. I was shocked to see all of the prostitutes working, right out in the open on the main drag in Waikiki, right in front of the police sub-station. The police would just walk by the whores and nod at them and smile. Like, it was obvious that they were professionals(the women, not the police), and it was equally obvious that the police weren't interested in interfering with their racket.

That was when I learned that the Yakuza controlled all of the prostitution in Hawaii and I was like, "What's the Yakuza?" Turns out, it's the Japanese mob. Who knew? In any event, you can go down there and see for yourself. At sunset, walk down Kalakaua, the main drag in Waikiki and you'll see the working girls come out as thick as Formosan termites.

Now, every city has drugs and prostitutes. It's supply and demand. As Adam Smith said, if the demand is there, the invisible hand will rise up to satisfy the demand. In my experience, however, rarely though does this all occur in front of the police station. The police in Waikiki are not interested in enforcing the law. There's a term for failure to enforce the law. It's called malfeasance. I wonder what their agreement is with the Yakuza?

Posted by Peenie Wallie on May 12, 2008 at 2:56 PM : Comments (0) | Permalink

Canon EOS 40D Raw files in Adobe Photoshop CS3

So, I tried to open a Raw file from my Canon EOS 40D with Adobe Photoshop CS3 Extended and it said "Could not complete your request because it is not the right kind of document". Well, there's a big surprise. Apparently, I need to do something to get Photoshop CS3 to recognize the Raw .CR2 files produced by the EOS 40D.

I can see the Raw thumbnails in Adobe Bridge CS3, but I can't open the files in Photoshop CS3. In Photoshop CS3, I selected Help - About Plug-In - Camera Raw. It says I'm using Adobe Camera Raw Plug-In Version 4.0, so I'm going to install the Adobe Camera Raw 4.4.1 Plug-In update.

Continue reading "Canon EOS 40D Raw files in Adobe Photoshop CS3"

Posted by Peenie Wallie on May 12, 2008 at 11:26 AM : Comments (1) | Permalink

May 11, 2008

Adobe Photoshop CS3 Extended

I decided to go ahead and install the extended version of Adobe Photoshop CS3. I want to play around with it and see if I can make my photographs look better by manipulating the Raw (.CR2) images in Photoshop. You can download the trial version for free, but it's a 463 Meg download.

I tried to run in the install, but I got two error messages:


Apparently, I'm not the only one having problems installing CS3. I tried uninstalling Adobe Photoshop CS and then repairing the Adobe Photoshop CS3 installation, but got the same error messages. This sucks.

Continue reading "Adobe Photoshop CS3 Extended"

Posted by Rob Kiser on May 11, 2008 at 9:02 PM : Comments (1) | Permalink

SNL Rips Hillary

Good evening my fellow Americans. As we all know this has already been a long, hard fought campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination. But tonight, with my recent victory in Indiana, and Senator Obama's in North Carolina, we remain exactly where we were four months ago. hopelessly deadlocked.

Therefore this nomination is going to be be decided, as it should be, by the superdelegates; Based not on primary results or caucauses or delegate counts or popular vote. But on their sober assessment of which candidate will be the strongest against Senator McCain in November. Tonight, I'm here to tell you why I am that candidate.

First - I am a sore loser...[snip]...Unlike my opponent, I'm just not going to lose gracefully.
Second - My supporters are racist.
Third - I have no ethical standards.

Posted by Peenie Wallie on May 11, 2008 at 1:33 PM : Comments (0) | Permalink

May 10, 2008

Shooting in the Raw


Earlier this week, Brian told me that, with his new camera, he noticed that the Raw images appeared to pixelate more quickly as he zoomed in, than did the associated .jpg files. I admitted that I haven't been shooting Raw images.

The last time I shot Raw images, I gave it up because 1) I couldn't see thumbnails in Windows Explorer and 2) I couldn't edit the files in Photoshop. But now, I'm looking back at shooting in the Raw for a variety of reasons.

But that was a long time ago, and I've developed a lot as a photographer in the last few years, and I couldn't really come up with a good reason why I didn't go back and revisit the decision to shoot Raw images, so I decided to see if I could reproduce Brian's test in the field.

At the Butterfly Pavillion today, I set the EOS 40D to shoot dual images - Raw and the high-resolution .jpg (3888 x 2592). Then, when I got home, I set about to process the Raw (.CR2) images.

Continue reading "Shooting in the Raw"

Posted by Peenie Wallie on May 10, 2008 at 8:39 PM : Comments (0) | Permalink

Canon S9000 Nozzle Check

I'm trying to print some photos on my Canon S9000, but of course, my nozzle check doesn't looks so good because I haven't printed anything in a while. This website said to put denatured alcohol in the ink sponges on the print head and blow compressed air through it. I've done this twice now, but still no dice. I cleaned the ink sponges with rubbing alcohol and then ran the air compressor up to 70 psi and put the compressed air nozzle right up to the sponge and opened it up. It did look cool - It blew out a mist of black ink, but the nozzle check looks no better, I'm afraid. Maybe I need to soak the print head in rubbing alcohol over night?

Posted by Peenie Wallie on May 10, 2008 at 12:42 PM : Comments (1) | Permalink

An Inconvenient Cooling

Don't look now, but the global warming climate models are wrong:

Climate Models Overheat Computer analyses of global climate have consistently overstated warming in Antarctica, concludes new research (5/10/2008)
Computer analyses of global climate have consistently overstated warming in Antarctica, concludes new research by scientists at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) and Ohio State University. The study can help scientists improve computer models and determine if Earth's southernmost continent will warm significantly this century, a major research question because of Antarctica's potential impact on global sea-level rise.

"We can now compare computer simulations with observations of actual climate trends in Antarctica," says NCAR scientist Andrew Monaghan, the lead author of the study. "This is showing us that, over the past century, most of Antarctica has not undergone the fairly dramatic warming that has affected the rest of the globe. The challenges of studying climate in this remote environment make it difficult to say what the future holds for Antarctica's climate."

The study marks the first time that scientists have been able to compare records of the past 50 to 100 years of Antarctic climate with simulations run on computer models. Researchers have used atmospheric observations to confirm that computer models are accurately simulating climate for the other six continents. The models, which are mathematical representations of Earth's climate system, are a primary method for scientists to project future climate.

Continue reading "An Inconvenient Cooling"

Posted by Peenie Wallie on May 10, 2008 at 11:37 AM : Comments (0) | Permalink

Obama needs a history lesson

I wish Hillary would drop out of the race so that we could focus on one person; So we'd only have one throat to choke, as it were, because this is priceless.

In his victory speech after the North Carolina primary, Sen. Barack Obama said something that is all the more remarkable for how little it has been remarked upon.

In defending his stated intent to meet with America's enemies without preconditions, Sen. Obama said: "I trust the American people to understand that it is not weakness, but wisdom to talk not just to our friends, but to our enemies, like Roosevelt did, and Kennedy did, and Truman did."

That he made this statement, and that it passed without comment by the journalists covering his speech indicates either breathtaking ignorance of history on the part of both, or deceit.

I assume the Roosevelt to whom Sen. Obama referred is Franklin D. Roosevelt. Our enemies in World War II were Nazi Germany, headed by Adolf Hitler; fascist Italy, headed by Benito Mussolini, and militarist Japan, headed by Hideki Tojo. FDR talked directly with none of them before the outbreak of hostilities, and his policy once war began was unconditional surrender.

FDR died before victory was achieved, and was succeeded by Harry Truman. Truman did not modify the policy of unconditional surrender. He ended that war not with negotiation, but with the atomic bomb.

The article goes on to talk about Kennedy and Kruschev. Classic.

Posted by Rob Kiser on May 10, 2008 at 9:38 AM : Comments (0) | Permalink

May 9, 2008

Laurie Maves - Moonlighting in Peru?

Laurie Maves - Silvery Stars 2 Bare Walls

There's a very talented local artist I bump into occasionally named Laurie Maves. She paints these cool murals in oils and acrylics and who-knows-what-else. She has a website and a gallery down the hill.

I was digging through my photos from Peru last night as I felt that enough time had passed that I could peruse through them without becoming violently ill (I was mistaken) when I happened across a photo that reminded me somewhat of some of Laurie's subjects.

I'm reasonably certain that Laurie is moonlighting as an urban graffiti artist in the Barranco district in Lima. Click on the photo above to see if you agree with me, or if it's a case of synchronicity.

Posted by Peenie Wallie on May 9, 2008 at 11:22 PM : Comments (0) | Permalink



Posted by Peenie Wallie on May 9, 2008 at 9:10 PM : Comments (0) | Permalink

May 8, 2008

Wyoming sheriffs put feds in their place

Wyoming sheriffs put feds in their place:

County sheriffs in Wyoming are demanding that federal agents actually abide by the Constitution, or face arrest. Even better, a U.S. District Court agreed according to the Keene Free Press:

The court decision was the result of a suit against both the BATF and the IRS by Mattis and other members of the Wyoming Sheriff’s Association. The suit in the Wyoming federal court district sought restoration of the protections enshrined in the United States Constitution and the Wyoming Constitution.

Guess what? The District Court ruled in favor of the sheriffs. In fact, they stated, Wyoming is a sovereign state and the duly elected sheriff of a county is the highest law enforcement official within a county and has law enforcement powers exceeding that of any other state or federal official.?

This is the best article I've seen in a long time. This actually has huge implications, essentially rolling back the loss of the Confederate States in the War of Northern Aggression. The Civil War was not about slavery. Abraham Lincoln said the South could keep their slaves if they'd just stay in the Union. The Civil War was fought over states' rights.

To me, this sounds very much like the states have rights that supercede the rights of the criminal vermin in the federal alphabet soup agencies (BATFE, IRS, INS, CIA, etc.)

Posted by Peenie Wallie on May 8, 2008 at 8:37 PM : Comments (0) | Permalink

Five Mistakes Hillary Made

A lot of people are saying that it is inevitable Hillary Rodham will drop out of the race. I don't know about that. She's an ankle biting cur, and I wouldn't turn my back on her for a second. I personally think that she would destroy the Democratic party, and even the country, if it would mean she could run the United States for 4 years as the first female president. She'd do anything to hold the reins for just one term. But, fortunately, the noose is tightening, and it looks less and less likely that she can win enough of the popular vote, enough states, enough delegates, or enough super-delegates. All that aside, she is now having to pony up money out of her own pocket. A lot of money. As in 11.4 million dollars of the $100 milllion fortune they've amassed since Bill left office.

So, I do think that she might drop out, not for the good of the country, but because she's not so stupid to keep throwing good money after bad. I mean, she's an evil conniving scallywag, but she's not stupid. So, if people are saying she will drop out, I'll allow that she might, but not due to altruism or benevolence. Only because everyone else can read the writing on the wall and they're not sending her any contributions, so she's politicing on her own nickel, which I think she's too cheap (and smart) to do for much longer.

So, I've got my fingers crossed that we'll see the Wicked Witch of the South disappear from our collective radar screens in the not-too-distant-future. And we'll all breathe a sigh of release with her passing.

Oh. I almost forgot. Here's the Five Mistakes Hillary Made.

Posted by Peenie Wallie on May 8, 2008 at 11:31 AM : Comments (0) | Permalink

May 7, 2008

Watkins Motocross

Astronaut Hunt

Yesterday, I went out to the Watkins Motocross track in Aurora. Since I'm basically broke, I rode my XR out there, instead of pulling it on a trailer behind the Tahoe, like most rational (employed) people would. Found Brian out there with a shiny new Chevy and his Honda CRF450. Pretty soon, Hunt showed up with another CRF, a Honda 400EX four wheeler, and little brother Ace in tow.

All three of these guys are crazy as loons, of course. Brian has broken more bones than Evil Knievel; I was behind him up around Vail Pass when he totaled one of his snowmobiles "high-marking" in the back bowls. (You can read more about him in the book Killing Strangers). Hunt drove a snowmobile clear across Canada. As in, from one side to the other - over 4,000 km (2,600 miles). Ace rides a Hurricane back East and swims competitively 9 months out of the year. I'm reasonably sure he could out-swim a dolphin.

I went around the track once, but spent most of my time shooting them, as they're fun to watch, soaring through the air like it's no big deal. I'm not so good at ramping, as my skirt tends to get caught in the chain and I'm always afraid I'll break a nail. But it was cool to watch them.

I went out and stood on the track with a Canon EOS 40D and shot them ramping above me, mostly using my shorter, image stabilized, ultra-sonic telescopic zoom lens (EF-S 17-85mm f/4.0-5.6 IS USM) with no filter to take maximum advantage of the light. Now, keep in mind that I'm shooting a motorcycle that's coming at me at probably 30 mph, and ramping past me, so I have approximately 1 second to try to shoot a series of 7 frames. And as the bike approaches, you have to zoom out and pan with the bike. Sometimes it works, sometimes, not so much. I got plenty of shots where I cut off the rider's head. It's easy to screw it up, trust me.

I've posted some of the shots as a 12 Meg (7:17) Adobe Flash slideshow(watkins.swf) you should be able to view with any browser. Alternately, you can view the slideshow as a Windows executable(watkins.exe) which allows the additional functionality of skipping forward, backward, and pausing the slideshow. I run AVG for my anti-virus software, and scan my entire network every night. If you're nervous about running watkins.exe, then you can run the watkins.swf version.

If you want a print or copy of a particular image, try viewing watkins_filename.exe(you can pause this one) or watkins_filename.swf(can't pause this one), as these versions of the slideshow have the image filenames watermarked into each picture. This way, you can specify which images you're interested in.

Click here to view the other slideshows.

The soundtrack is Leave by R.E.M. off of the New Adventures in Hi-Fi album. Lyrics in extended entry.

Continue reading "Watkins Motocross"

Posted by Peenie Wallie on May 7, 2008 at 11:54 AM : Comments (0) | Permalink

May 6, 2008


Allie spraying Jen

This slideshow is composed of 52 images I shot in April of 2008. These photos were captured with a Canon EOS 40D and a Canon EF-S 17-85mm f/4-5.6 IS USM lens or a Canon EF 100-400mm f/4-5.6 IS USM lens. The slideshow (3:28) is a 7 Meg Adobe Flash file named summertime.swf created using Imagematics StillMotion Pro. The soundtrack is In he Summertime by Mungo Jerry off of the Wedding Crashers soundtrack.

Click on the photo above to view the slideshow. You should be able to view the video in any web browser.

To see all of the slideshows, click here.

Lyrics in the extended entry.

Continue reading "April"

Posted by Peenie Wallie on May 6, 2008 at 12:24 AM : Comments (0) | Permalink

May 5, 2008

What Global Warming?

Don't look now, but it isn't getting warmer. In fact, it's getting colder, and according to Tree-Hugger Monthly, "it may cool down until 2015":

"Two weeks ago, as North America emerged from its coldest and snowiest winter for decades, the US National Climate Data Center, run by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) issued a statement that snow cover in January on the Eurasian land mass had been the most extensive ever recorded..."

Har har. Global warming nuts aren't scientists. They're brainwashed zealots.

Posted by Peenie Wallie on May 5, 2008 at 7:46 PM : Comments (0) | Permalink

Jennifer in May

Jennifer at school in May 08

Posted by Rob Kiser on May 5, 2008 at 3:10 PM : Comments (0) | Permalink

Guns: Who Should Have Them?

Some folks on the internet are making a big deal out of a recent envelope sent out by the Hillary Clinton campaign showing a left-handed Mauser rifle with a double-set trigger. For example, via Instapundit:

Senator Hillary Clinton’s mailing attacking Senator Barack Obama’s record on guns appears to include a striking visual gaffe: The image of the gun pictured on the face of the mailing is reversed, making it a non-existent left-handed model of the Mauser 66 rifle.

Continue reading "Guns: Who Should Have Them?"

Posted by Robert Racansky on May 5, 2008 at 9:52 AM : Comments (0) | Permalink


Kitty in the garden

Posted by Rob Kiser on May 5, 2008 at 4:26 AM : Comments (0) | Permalink

Arnold Genthe

Arnold Genthe

The National Geographic channel ran a show tonight called The Great Quake. In the show, they mentioned that some of the most famous photographs of the devastation caused by the earthquake and fire of 1906 were taken by Arnold Genthe.

Genthe was a portrait photographer who emigrated from Germany and set up a studio on Nob Hill in San Francisco. WIth his cameras all destroyed by the quake, he went to his local camera dealer and borrowed a 3A Kodak Special camera, stuffed his pockets full of film, and went out and shot scads of photographs of the ruined city.

I wonder if anyone has ever gone back and reshot his photographs in modern times, the way John Fielder went back and reshot William Henry Jackson's photographs from the 1870's in the acclaimed, retrospective photographic essay Colorado, 1870-2000.

Here's one of Genthe's Chinatown photographs on Shorpy.

According to this site, the Library of Congress has more than 16,000 of Arnold Genthe's negatives, lantern slides, and autochromes, and access to these is granted on an appointment basis to those engaged in advanced scholarly or biographical research. Written requests should be directed to the Chief, Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C. 20540-4730.

Posted by Rob Kiser on May 5, 2008 at 3:11 AM : Comments (0) | Permalink

May 4, 2008

Video Card Out Again

When I made it down into the computer room this morning, I discovered that my Dell Dimension 4550 2400Mhz server is having video problems again. This is interesting, because I've had video problems on this server before. The last time was when Jennifer and Allie were singing into a USB microphone when the video card failed in a big way, causing the computer to shut down and refuse to boot. Only by removing the video card was I able to get the computer to boot up again. When I replaced the video card then, I noticed that the fan was frozen in place on the old nVidia GeForce 4 64Meg DDR Ti4200 AGP video card, so I assumed that caused the problem.

I ordered a new Nvidia Geforce 4 Ti4200 128MB AGP video card off of ebay and shoved it in and I was off to the races.

This time, however, is different because yesterday I was sitting at my computer and heard some alarming "pops" coming from an undetermined location, but from the general area behind the computer experiencing video difficulties. Now, I suspect that what I heard was electricity arcing caused by extremely low humidity.

Continue reading "Video Card Out Again"

Posted by Peenie Wallie on May 4, 2008 at 9:59 AM : Comments (0) | Permalink

May 3, 2008

They Can Have My TV When They Pry The Remote From My Cold Dead Hands


Last year, I posted a satirical piece comparing TV licensing in used-to-be-great Britain to proposed gun licensing schemes in the United States.

Now TV Licensing (TVL) has produced a public service announcement, warning viewers that "it's impossible to hide" from TVL's database (via Billll's Idle Mind).

Welcome to The Big Brother State.

Continue reading "They Can Have My TV When They Pry The Remote From My Cold Dead Hands"

Posted by Robert Racansky on May 3, 2008 at 2:10 PM : Comments (1) | Permalink

May 2, 2008


I am in the front yard, monkeying around with my dirt bike. Putting on a leather toolbag. Relocating the 2009 OHV registration sticker. Loading my little toolbag with a Lilliputian set of wrenches.

And now, here is the cat. Standing beneath the birdbath, chest out, head high. A bird gripped firmly in her mouth. She could not be more proud. She looks, for all the world, like a fine Andalusian, posing in a golden meadow flooded with sunshine.

She begins to walk, although prance would be a more accurate description. High-stepping like a fine Tennessee Walking horse. Not one they trained in Shelbyville with chains and blocks, but one that was born with a perfect, natural gait.

She's parading back and forth before me, with this bird in her mouth and I'm thinking....where on Earth did she get that?

Continue reading "Outside"

Posted by Rob Kiser on May 2, 2008 at 11:10 PM : Comments (1) | Permalink

My package from Bolivia has arrived!


Today, there was a knock on my front door and Rob, the postman was out there with something for me to sign. Something sent certified mail, which usually means a court summons or the IRS is placing another lien on your house, etc. But this time it was something different. This time, Rob had a package from Bolivia, that I'd been waiting for with baited breath. It was supposed to be here by April 29th, but you know how it is dealing with developing countries. Apparently, there was a strike by the postal workers, and things got all jammed up.

(Photo of what was inside the non-descript package from Bolivia below.)

Continue reading "My package from Bolivia has arrived!"

Posted by Rob Kiser on May 2, 2008 at 12:43 PM : Comments (0) | Permalink