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January 31, 2013

Remote Data Archival

I've decided to look into doing some remote data archiving. Here's a recent (Jan 2013) comparison of the different remote storage solutions available to home PC users.

Unfortunately, a lot of the services don't allow you to archive data from mapped drives. They do this for a reason, of course. They don't want someone to get a hundred PC's on a network, load all of the data on a mapped/shared drive, and then only pay to have one PC archive the data for a hundred PC's.

For me, however, this is a huge issue. I have a 4 TB RAID Level 5 NAS that I map as a single drive to each of my PC's. So, if I the remote data storage application won't allow me to archive data from a mapped drive, then it's not a solution, IMHO.

So, when you start looking at remote archival solutions that allow for archiving of data off of mapped drives, you're looking at a very small subset of the remote data storage services.

Right now, I'm leaning toward LiveDrive Pro Suite. The main reason for this is that it allows me to archive data from mapped drives, and has an unlimited data storage plan. Win!

Posted by Rob Kiser on January 31, 2013 at 1:35 AM : Comments (0) | Permalink

January 30, 2013

WD ShareSpace in Degraded Mode

I have a 4 TeraByte Western Digital ShareSpace Network Addressable Storage unit that I store all of my data on. It's configured to RAID Level 5 which, in theory, will allow me to recover data if one drive crashes.

But tonight, I notice that my green lights are all flashing like mad for drives 1, 3, and 4. Drive Light 2 is sort of a puke-yellow color. There's a red system check light flashing red. Not sure what all of this means, but it can't be good.

I go into the WD ShareSpace application and see the message "Volume is in Degraded Mode". This does not look good:

I click "Acknowledge" and then I get this:

Please check your User Manual Trouble-shooting section for details regarding error messages.

Continue reading "WD ShareSpace in Degraded Mode"

Posted by Rob Kiser on January 30, 2013 at 10:13 PM : Comments (0) | Permalink

Russian family survives cut off from civilization


Posted by Rob Kiser on January 30, 2013 at 9:00 AM : Comments (0) | Permalink

January 29, 2013

Dear Tooth Fairy

Continue reading "Dear Tooth Fairy"

Posted by Rob Kiser on January 29, 2013 at 11:15 AM : Comments (0) | Permalink

Dear Tooth Fairy

Continue reading "Dear Tooth Fairy"

Posted by Rob Kiser on January 29, 2013 at 10:38 AM : Comments (0) | Permalink

January 27, 2013

The Upper Cup

Posted by Rob Kiser on January 27, 2013 at 7:34 PM : Comments (0) | Permalink

We Found Your Motorcycle...

Posted by Rob Kiser on January 27, 2013 at 6:34 PM : Comments (0) | Permalink

January 25, 2013

Canon Professional Services Group

I recently joined Canon's Professional Services Group. Mainly for the discount on camera repair. But I'd seen some posts online that they give you some freebies when you join. FedEx shipped a package to me but I was in CA so eventually I talked them into dropping it off at a local FedEx store at 105 Wadsworth. I opened the box today with Jen. I kinda feel like the kid in A Christmas Story when he gets his secret decoder ring and the message says "Don't Forget To Drink Your Ovaltine".

Canon Membership Kit Folder contains:
Pro Rush Repair Form..................1 Sheet
CPS Membership Card..................1
Clean & Check Vouchers..............3 Sheets
Pro Rush Repair Labels................4 Sheets

CPS Membership Pin....................1
CPS Camera Neck Strap...............2
Camera Body Cap.........................2
Lens Rear Cap..............................2
Exclusive Platinum Gift...................1

1 Canon backpack/laptop carrier
1 Canon book on photography

I don't know if I'll use any of this stuff. Maybe the camera straps. They're pretty nice actually.

Posted by Rob Kiser on January 25, 2013 at 5:58 PM : Comments (0) | Permalink

January 24, 2013

MacBook Air with iPhoto and Dropbox

I just hooked up my iPhone to my Macbook Air for the first time after installing Dropbox yesterday and I got this cryptic little popup window that says:

Save Your Photos to Dropbox
View and share your photos and videos from your computer or smartphone. Earn up to 3 GB of extra space.
Automatically import photos when Rob's iPhone is connected
Always use iPhoto
Start Import

But, I'm not really sure what any of this means. I have a few choices to make, apparently. I can check/uncheck the box for "Automatically import photos when Rob's iPhone is connected". So, I think that makes sense. I'll check that box.

Now, there are 3 buttons I could click. Cancel is not really a consideration, so that leaves me two buttons to click: "Always use iPhoto" and "Start Import". But I'm really not clear what the difference between these two is.

"Always use iPhoto" as opposed to what? What are my other choices? I think I want to click "Always use iPhoto" and click "Start Import". But I'm not sure here...

So, I imported my photos. Then I changed the Event Name. Then, I opened a picture in iPhoto and I want to see where the photo was taken, but iPhoto says "Places Lookup Disabled".

So, I went into iPhoto - Preferences - Advanced and set "Look up Places" from "Never" to "Automatically". Now, it says "Your computer is not connected to the internet" and "iPhoto needs an internet connection to show where your photos were taken."

Only now do I realize that I don't think my Macbook Air has an ethernet port? Wow. Seriously? WTF Apple?

Apparently, you can get one though.

Now, I can surf the web, so why does this stupid computer not realize that it is connected to the internet? Thanks Apple. Thanks for this.

So, I found these directions here to fix this little quirk in iPhoto:

Try trash the com.apple.iPhoto.plist file from the HD/Users/ Your Name / library / preferences folder.

(On 10.7: Hold the option (or alt) key while clicking on the Go menu in Finder to access the User Library)

So, I was able to located the com.apple.iPhoto.plist file and trash it. Then I restarted iPhoto and it's working now. Now, it shows me where each photo was taken, which is insanely nice.

Posted by Rob Kiser on January 24, 2013 at 2:38 PM : Comments (0) | Permalink

January 23, 2013

Postcards From Nowhere - San Francisco - Jan 2013

Carrie came out last weekend and we tore through SF like lunatics, shooting with more gear than any two sensible people have any business carting around. We're generally shooting with 3 Canon EOS 50D frames and the following lenses:

The photographs are from North Beach, Coit Tower, Chinatown, Pillar Point at Half Moon Bay, and 4 Mile Beach just north of Santa Cruz.

This slideshow features a song by Miike Snow called Cult Logic.

The images are compiled into an 11 Meg (4:45) Adobe Flash slideshow (2013_SF_Jan.swf) that you should be able to open and view with any browser (Internet Explorer, Firefox, Safari, etc.). To view the slideshow, just click on the photo above. If you want to view the slideshow as a Windows executable, you can play this version (2013_SF_Jan.exe), and it allows you to play, pause, skip forward, backwards, etc.

Image post-processing was done in Adobe Photoshop CS5 Extended. The slideshow was created using Imagematics Stillmotion Pro.

Click here to view the other slideshows.

Lyrics in the extended entry.

Continue reading "Postcards From Nowhere - San Francisco - Jan 2013"

Posted by Rob Kiser on January 23, 2013 at 7:26 PM : Comments (0) | Permalink

January 22, 2013

Canon's Backwards Shutter Wheel

Carrie was having a hard time setting the shutter speed on her new Canon EOS 50D camera. I found myself trying to explain something that really doesn't make a lot of sense. Namely, when you're looking at the exposure indicator, if you want to move the indicator to the right, you turn the wheel to the left. And if you want to move the indicator to the left, you have to move the wheel to the right. So, I'd argue that this is a serious design flaw. And, it's not like it has to be this way. Nikon doesn't have a counter-intuitive backwards moving shutter wheel.

Today, it bothered me enough that I googled it to see what was up. Apparently, I'm not the only one that noticed this. It is backwards. And enough people realized it was backwards that they set up a custom function to reverse the backwards wheel function.


"[...] Under C.Fn IV 4 - It's called Dial direction during Tv/Av - 0 normal and 1 reverse [...]"

Posted by Rob Kiser on January 22, 2013 at 3:09 PM : Comments (0) | Permalink

January 18, 2013

Easily Set File Association in Mac OS X Lion


Setting and changing file type associations just got easier in Mac OS X Lion. All you need to do is:
  • Right-click on a file that you want to associate with an application
  • Hold down the "Option" key to show the "Always Open With" menu
  • Choose the application to associate that file type with

Right-Click with Macbook Air Trackpad Mountain Lion OS X 10.8


Your Mac's lack of a second mouse button means you have to Ctrl+click to get context menus and other "secondary click" options. Mac laptop users can stop reaching for the Ctrl key and secondary click by touching the trackpad with two fingers instead (then hitting the single mouse button.) In OS X's Keyboard & Mouse System Preferences pane, under Trackpad, check off "For secondary clicks, place two fingers on the trackpad then click the button." For more Mac tips, see weblog Hack the Day's roundup.

Posted by Rob Kiser on January 18, 2013 at 9:30 AM : Comments (0) | Permalink

January 16, 2013

Macbook Air Hot Corners

I recently found myself in possession of a Macbook Air. Unfortunately, it means I have to carry around a new power supply, as this one is different than the power supply for my iPhone 4S and iPad3 3.

So, I find myself at work in the financial district with my Macbook Air and my power supply at my flat in North Beach.

I want the computer to run, but not waste a lot of energy on the display. So, I wanted to figure out how to turn off the monitor, but allow the computer to keep humming away. I did a bit of searching and found out that you can enable "Hot Corners" on the Macbook Air. So I set up my lower left corner to be a Hot Corner that makes the display go to sleep. Pretty slick. :)

Go to System Preferences > Desktop & Screensaver > Screensaver > Hot Corners and then assign "Put Display to Sleep" to one of the corners.

Move the mouse around or hit any key and it wakes back up.

Continue reading "Macbook Air Hot Corners"

Posted by Rob Kiser on January 16, 2013 at 4:34 PM : Comments (0) | Permalink

January 15, 2013

Apple Macbook Air

So, I got my super tricked out MacBook Air (thanks Mark and Laura). I eventually got it connected to the internet. Now, I'm noticing that the scroll bars disappear in Safari. So, you need to scroll down, but there's no scroll bars. How convenient is that? I found out how to turn that nonsense off. Like..if there's scroll bars...how about you don't hide them 2 seconds after I go to a web page.

Posted by Rob Kiser on January 15, 2013 at 9:47 PM : Comments (0) | Permalink

The Trees of San Francisco (Crowd-sourced)

I was trying to identify a fairly common tree in North Beach. I wasn't sure what it was and just now I stumbled across this crowd-sourced map of the trees of San Francisco. This is so cool there just aren't words.


It's similar to this crowd-sourced map of SF graffiti murals in that it's updated by the public at large. Brilliant. :)

Incidentally, the tree I was attempting to identify was the Ginkgo Biloba tree.

Posted by Rob Kiser on January 15, 2013 at 3:23 PM : Comments (0) | Permalink

January 14, 2013

911...what is your emergency?

Today, we drove by a restaurant in Colorado. It's been there for at least 10 years. But it appeared the restaurant was closed. There were two large commercial signs that said "Building for lease/rent" etc. The restaurant was dark inside. There was only 1 car in the parking lot, and it wasn't near the restaurant.

But there are some advertising banners outside the building that make it look like the place closed fairly recently. Like 2 for 1 beer ads, etc.

We decide to leave, and start to drive out of the parking lot. As we do, a car pulls up and we're laughing at them because they're so stupid they don't realize it's closed. They park, a woman gets out and walks up to the door. We're laughing, but as we watch, she opens the door and goes in.

Stunned, I tell my daughter to go in and see if they're open. She walks in, and it's dark...chairs on the tables...she hears papers rustling and calls out "are ya'll open". Faster rustling of paper. Metal falling. "I'm not sure..." is the answer from an unseen person in the back. Then, she asks "are ya'll serving food" and the girl says "you need to leave here right away".

My daughter comes running out of the building, hops in the truck, and says "dad..you need to go...get out of here right away...i'm not joking" and she's almost in tears. The other girl comes running out of the building, and goes to the bank in the same parking lot...then gets in the car with a male...that has been sitting there the whole time with the engine idling...all of this happened in just a few minutes I'd guess. I took some shots of the car, then called 911, and reported what I saw.

It's odd because 1) why would a business be completely open - the woman went in and out of the building without locking or unlocking a single door...it is open to all the world, and no one is in there. The cops cleared the building with 2 deputies and found no one inside. 2) why would the girl say she didn't know if the restaurant was open 3) why would she be there when they were closed? 4) why go to the bank when she left? I think that she stole money/check(s) from the business deposited them in the bank, and then drove away with her male accomplice.

Am I being paranoid?

(TL;DR) I think I may have seen a woman remove money and/or checks from an unlocked building today and called 911. Am I being paranoid, or did I witness a crime?

Continue reading "911...what is your emergency?"

Posted by Rob Kiser on January 14, 2013 at 7:52 PM : Comments (0) | Permalink

January 13, 2013

Pam's Back Tattoo

On the television show Archer, there's a scene where she takes her top off to beat her boss senseless with her bare hands. The tattoo shows she's killed 13 people, but I wasn't able to make out clearly what it said so I googled it and found this. Apparently, it's a poem by Lord Byron entitled "The Destruction of Sennacherib".

Posted by Rob Kiser on January 13, 2013 at 12:01 PM : Comments (0) | Permalink

January 10, 2013

2012 Camera Updates


April 10, 2012 - Bought a Canon EOS 50D off of some guy in Berkeley.

October 1, 2012 - Dropped a Canon EOS 50D in the parking garage at SFO. Toast. The R-Strap bolt/screw worked its way loose from the tripod mount on the 100mm-400mm Canon lens. Fell to the concrete. Not good.

October 5, 2012 - Met a guy from the Mission (16th/Potrero) at Starbucks on Market/2nd Street on Oct 5th, 2012 at 3:30 p.m. and picked up a 50D.

In Mid-December, while driving from SFO to SF in the rain on the XR, a 50D got wet enough that it ceased to function.

December 19, 2012 - Met a Berkeley guy (Jeff Allen) at Union Square and picked up a 50D and an EF 28-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS lens on Dec 19th, 2012 at 1:30 p.m.

December 20, 2012 - Met a guy at Colma Station and picked up a 50D on Dec 20th, 2012 at 5:36 p.m.

Posted by Rob Kiser on January 10, 2013 at 12:45 PM : Comments (0) | Permalink

January 8, 2013

Kick-boxing and Brain Trauma

In case you were confused about whether getting repeated head trauma was a good idea or not:

Dementia pugilistica

It's my personal opinion that humans shouldn't fight each other for sport.

Posted by Rob Kiser on January 8, 2013 at 2:33 AM : Comments (0) | Permalink

January 7, 2013

Sutro Sam - The First River Otter in SF in a Century

Last week, a river otter made the local news here when he appeared, whimsically, at the ruins of the Sutro Bathhouses on the shores of the Pacific Ocean, inside the city limits of the city and county of San Francisco.

Although I've seen a good number of sea otters along the Monterey Bay, I can't say as I've ever seen a river otter in the wild. It's sad to think that we nearly wiped out the river otters in North America for waterproof coats, but that's what happened. The beavers were converted into hats, the river otters into coats, and the whales into lamp oil.

I'm not certain when he first appeared at the bath houses - some say as far back as September of 2012. But the secret was blown when he made the front page of the SF Chronicle last week. Then ABC news picked up the story. I believe Mark and Laura said they heard about it in New Zealand. So, the secret was out as of last week. The first river otter in a century had somehow made the Sutro Baths his home.

This, in and of itself is kinda odd because, these places are ruins. As in...dangerous. The Sutro Baths burned in 1965, and since then, they've sort of been neglected, if you can imagine. Think of carbon steel rods jutting from concrete berms, tourists balanced precariously between mossy green ponds on narrow concrete beams, skipping over broken boards, etc.

No one knows for sure where Sutro Sam came from. The best guess is that he came from a colony of otters in Marin County headlands at Point Reyes, and then swam south across the Golden Gate.

However he got there, he found the ruins of the Sutro baths, a half century after they burned, and someone had been pumping goldfish in there, for whatever reason. My assumption is that he'd never tasted a goldfish, but he seems to have taken quite a shine to them.

Sam shares the ruined Sutro baths with a surprising diversity of wildlife, including, but not limited to, Great Blue Herons (Ardea herodias), Buffleheads (Bucephala albeola) , American Coots (Fulica americana), California Brown Pelicans (Pelecanus occidentalis), various gulls, and many other birds I've not yet identified.

These shots were taken on Jan 4th-5th in the city and county of San Francisco, California at the ruins of the Sutro Bath House.

The images were all captured on a Canon EOS 50D frame and a Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS USM image-stabilized, ultra-sonic telescopic zoom lens, or on a Canon EOS 50D frame with a Canon EF 600mm f/4.0 IS USM lens, with or without a Canon 1.4x teleconverter on a Gitzo carbon fibre tripod with a Gitzo GT5541LS carbon fiber tripod and the Wimberley II (WH-200) head with the Wimberley P-40 Arca-style quick-release plate.

By coincidence, I was there for a full-on photography-tour meetup of about 30-40 local photographers, I'm happy to report that I had the biggest setup there, and don't think it wasn't noticed. Several people were there, shooting, on assignment. None of them had the gear that I had. Was very difficult for them to learn that their photography companies couldn't afford to field the gear that I carried around just for idle amusement. But such is life.

This slideshow features a song by Miike Snow called Cult Logic.

The images are compiled into an 8 Meg (3:42) Adobe Flash slideshow (sutro_sam.swf) that you should be able to open and view with any browser (Internet Explorer, Firefox, Safari, etc.). To view the slideshow, just click on the photo above. If you want to view the slideshow as a Windows executable, you can play this version (sutro_sam.exe), and it allows you to play, pause, skip forward, backwards, etc.

Image post-processing was done in Adobe Photoshop CS5 Extended. The slideshow was created using Imagematics Stillmotion Pro.

Click here to view the other slideshows.

Lyrics in the extended entry.

Posted by Rob Kiser on January 7, 2013 at 8:12 PM : Comments (0) | Permalink

17 Things The Flying Waitress Won't Tell You

17 Things The Flying Waitress Won't Tell You

Posted by Rob Kiser on January 7, 2013 at 4:48 PM : Comments (0) | Permalink

January 5, 2013

This Is Colossal

Sally turned me onto this website: http://www.thisiscolossal.com/

Very cool site. Has graffiti, rainbow-colored igloo, all sorts of neat things.

Posted by Rob Kiser on January 5, 2013 at 3:05 PM : Comments (0) | Permalink