Showing posts from October, 2013

a new cat in the family

We (meaning the human family) have a new cat. Her name is Loki and she lives with my oldest daughter in Gainesville. I don't know how old Loki is, but I peg her age at around a year. She's an all black cat with a touch of white on her brisket. She's an extremely shy little creature, especially around humans she has no familiarity with, such as myself.

Everything taken with the Olympus E-M5 and Panasonic Leica 25mm at f/1.8. Heavy flaring due to shooting directly into the sun coming in the window (Loki felt safer in that spot, so you go where the cat is). I also set the E-M5 to the gentle sepia (#9) art filter and took everything straight out of the camera, except for resizing.

If you're wondering why she's named Loki, everybody thought she was a he before the vet told them different.

why i've come to hate the internet

While slumming the Internets this morning I came across the wonderful editorial on the New York Times website, "Slaves of the Internet, Unite!", written by Tim Kreider (someone I'll have to start paying more attention to).

In his wonderful editorial I linked to, out pops this one jewel among many:
Just as the atom bomb was the weapon that was supposed to render war obsolete, the Internet seems like capitalism’s ultimate feat of self-destructive genius, an economic doomsday device rendering it impossible for anyone to ever make a profit off anything again. It’s especially hopeless for those whose work is easily digitized and accessed free of charge. I now contribute to some of the most prestigious online publications in the English-speaking world, for which I am paid the same amount as, if not less than, I was paid by my local alternative weekly when I sold my first piece of writing for print in 1989. More recently, I had the essay equivalent of a hit single — endlessly l…

ubuntu 13.10 + windows 8.1 + vmware player 6.0.1 = success

Last night my copy of VMware Player 6 automatically updated itself to version 6.0.1. In the process the VMware Tools that are installed on the various virtual machines were also updated, in particular those for the latest Linux distributions such as Ubuntu 13.10.

Under VMware Player 6 the shared directory kernel module failed to compile. Under 6.0.1 the module successfully compiled, installed, and executed, allowing my Share directory on the Windows 8.1 host side to be seen. And of course, as I reported earlier after repairing the version 6 installation, networking out of the VM into the outside world is working just fine.
As the picture captions note, this is Ubuntu Gnome, a distribution built up from Gnome 3.8 and Ubuntu 13.10. This combination has resulted in a stable and pleasant distribution. I find it somewhat amusing that two of the more controversial desktops (Gnome 3 and Unity) are now the most polished of the desktops out there. In my earlier Ubuntu 13.10 post I called it a…

my gx1 takes a dive in the parking lot

You're looking at a test shot taken where my wife and I went out for taco Tuesday (Lime Fresh Mexico Grill near my local Whole Foods, if you must know). On the way into the place, while I was carrying my GX1, I somehow fumbled it, and dropped it.

Onto the hard asphalt of the parking lot.

I had the Panasonic 14mm mounted on the body. When the whole assembly hit the pavement the battery cover popped open and the lens cover got knocked off. It picked up a series of little nicks on various corners and part of the metal frame was bent right at the back corner where the flash sits flush with the body.

I've carried this camera all over, including up to Seattle. In all that time I've never had an accident like this until tonight. Before I took it out with me this evening I swapped the 14mm for the 20mm I normally keep on the body. I don't know what I would have done if the 20mm had taken any kind of damage. Maybe use the drop as an excuse to get the new all-metal, all-black v…

bitter remorse

Stopped by my local Whole Foods to pick up a few supper items; mushrooms, whole wheat pasta, red quinoa. Stuff that supposedly makes you healthier and superior to the folks who shop just down the road at the super Walmart.

On the way out I spotted this odd combination of space kitsch and grocery cart with a red faux space shuttle that's big enough to keep a pair of small children, twins perhaps, imagining they're flying a real space shuttle around the isles while their parents try to fill the cart.

And I flash back in time to when I sat on the upper bunk bed, with my younger brother in the lower bunk of the room we shared, watching on our black and white TV as Neil Armstrong slowly crawled down the ladder of the Eagle to the surface of the moon. And all the books Time published about space, and the beautiful illustrations of all those rockets we'd be building and flying in the very near future. And the first season of Star Trek, when William Shatner was reasonably restrai…

vm networking problem fixed

Over the weekend I upgraded to Windows 8.1, then discovered that networking for the virtual machines wouldn't work. Then I tried something incredibly simple and fixed the problem.

Checking the system I noticed that three VMware Windows services weren't running; VMnetDHCP, VMUSBArbService, and VMwareNatService. VMware Player allows you to install, remove, or fix an existing installation. I chose to try fixing the installation, and that fixed the problem. The services were re-installed/restarted, and the virtual machines had networking again.

Once network connectivity was established there was exactly one updated file for Ubuntu 13.10, a data file. This underscores how solid and finished the release was this time. Every other version of every other Linux installation I've ever dealt with has always been succeeded by boatloads of updates after the initial installation. But not this time.

Everything is working properly on my notebook. All's right with the world.

why they aren't here

The Fermi Paradox asks, essentially, if the Universe is as vast as it is, and has been in existence for as long as it appears to have been, with all chances for life to appear then statistically speaking why haven't we crossed paths with at least one alien culture?

Where are they?

That question, asked by Enrico Fermi while at lunch with his friends Emil Konopinski, Edward Teller and Herbert York at Los Alamos National Laboratory in the early 1950s, has never been adequately answered since. In spite of how we wish to believe, we've yet to discover any concrete evidence either in the universe or closer to home on any of the planets and moons we've explored.

A number of theories have been advanced as to why we haven't found them yet (conspiracy theorists not withstanding). One of those theories is the it's dangerous to contact us. After reading today's news, and after watching the government shutdown and the idiots who have participated in it, I can see why any sp…

blinded by emotion - problems using adapted lenses with the α7

There are some interesting posts coming out now about the success (or not) of adapting alien lenses to the Sony α7/α7R dynamic duo, in that it might not be what everyone has initially hoped for.

Right now is the honeymoon phase of the Sony α7 releases, where a golden light shines over the universe and the Sony α7 can do no wrong. One of its vaunted features in the minds of its most ardent supporters is that it's a better camera body for every other lens ever made, especially Leica lenses. All you need is an adapter...

Perhaps, and then perhaps not. The first word of caution I read comes from The Online Photographer (yes, those guys) and a post made back last Wednesday titled "Two Reasons..." Give credit to Mike Johnston for publishing both sides of issue, in this case the use of Leica lenses via an adapter on the Sony α7 bodies.

The first reason in the post is a link back to Roger Cicala's article "There Is No Free Lunch, Episode 763: Lens Adapters" at Len…

ubuntu 13.10 + windows 8.1 + vmware player 6 = some problems

Update 26 October 2013

All of this has been overcome by events (OBE) as noted in this post:
tl;dr - It's all fixed now.


It hardly took any time at all for me to download the Ubuntu 13.10 ISO file and install the latest Ubuntu as a virtual machine on VMware Player 6 running on my shiny new Windows 8.1 system. For the most part it's been error and trouble free. Except for one issue, which I'll get to shortly. But first, all the good news.

I've read the various "reviews" [sic] from the various online tech pubs, most notably Ars Technica, and the general consensus is "meh." There are times where meh is a Good Thing. The one feature (if you want to call it that) about Ubuntu 13.10 is the polish applied to 13.04. Just as Windows 8.1 can be considered a polished Windows 8, instead of a major new upgrade. In the pell-mell rush to release software to stay ahead of everyon…

cruzzin' for a bruisin'

If you thought the passage of a continuing resolution to fund the government and temporarily raise the debt ceiling at the very last minute meant that idiots like Texas' Ted Cruz (a.k.a. Senator Shutdown) meant would go away, then you're sadly mistaken. If anything, the Retardican party, driven by its Tea Party radical elements, and led by Senator Shutdown, continues to do everything in its powers to subvert real democracy by using the tools of democracy against it. Just this past week, Senator Shutdown put on his Senator Obstacle cap and blocked the nomination of Thomas Wheeler as FCC chairman. Senator Obstacle's excuse was he wanted to question "Mr. Wheeler’s views on whether the FCC has the authority or intent to implement the requirements of the failed Congressional DISCLOSE Act."

Yes, Senator Moron wants to know if the FCC will implement the requirements of a law that failed to pass in July 2012, a campaign finance reform law supported by the senate Democra…

contemplating the sony α7 release aftermath

It's been a week since Sony introduced the α7 pair of cameras to a giddy hyperbolic audience of camera gear dweebs. You would have thought it was the second coming of Christ in some quarters. After the dust settled surprisingly quickly, I came to the same conclusion about the camera and system that a number of others hinted at between the lines of their various hands-on previews.

It's too expensive for what the system currently delivers.

That's not to say that, from an engineering perspective, it's poor. Far from it. From an engineering perspective it's something of a tour de force. Sony took its fixed lens RX1, a 135mm sized sensor fixed lens camera, and essentially combined it with the E mount to create the α7. In one fell swoop they asserted their leadership in this specific domain over both Canon and Nikon. But that's just in this one particular domain (a pure mirrorless interchangeable lens camera with a 135mm sized sensor).

The digital camera marketplace…

sony's pivotal mirrorless move

I'm a died-in-the-wool technologist, even when it comes to photography. I have always been fascinated with the technology that goes into manufacturing any camera, from the lenses (optics) through the mechanical construction, the electronics involved, and especially the chemistry of the film and the sophistication of the digital sensor. It's amazing that the camera can do all it's asked of it, regardless of manufacturer.

Of all the types of cameras that I've really taken an interest in, contemporary mirrorless (again, regardless of manufacturer) are the most interesting because of the challenging problems the scientists and engineers have had to solve in order to build a compact but highly functional camera. In particular I've followed the sensor advances over the years and watched image quality climb (especially with μ4:3rds) to exceed film and rival one another such that there's very little difference any more as you move from the smaller sensors such as 4:3r…

since when did we send marines to syria? (FRAUD ALERT)

I haven't written one of these in a very long time. First, the little missive that landed in my spam folder this morning.
Dear Associate,

How are you doing my friend, great I guess! Now I know this mail will definitely come to you as a huge surprise, but please kindly take your time to go through it carefully as the decision you make will probably go a long way to determine my future and continued existence. First, let me introduce myself. I am Capt. David Michael, assigned to 2nd Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment, 3rd Marine Division, 3rd Marine Expeditionary Force in Syria. I am desperately in need of assistance and I have summoned up courage to contact you. I am presently in Syria and I found your contact particulars in an address journal. I am seeking your assistance to evacuate the sum of $10,570,000 (Ten million Five Hundred and Seventy Thousand USD) to the States or any safe country; as far as I can be assured that it will be safe in your care until I complete my service here. …

hidden dragon

More phrivolous phun with photography.

I named Lucy after Lucy van Pelt (from Peanuts, because of her attitude) and Lucy (in the Sky with Diamonds). The Olympus Key Line filter gives me a little psychedelica mixed with a cartoon-like line drawing effect. Perfect for Lucy and mixing metaphors this late morning.

I've been asked to "explain myself" as to why I took this photo. So here goes...
People take themselves too seriously with photography. Whether it's putting down the cell phone photographer with their Instagram app or screaming that the only way to make Good Photography is with Expensive Full Frame gear, there are too many amateurs taking themselves too seriously and spending way too much money. I like to explore, to goof around. You learn more that way.I liked all the warm reds and pinks that popped out of the photo with the use of the Key Line art filter. Especially Lucy's pink nose. The red behind her head and the light orange from where the sun shone th…

crouching tyger

Time for a bit of silliness. Lulu on the edge of the kitchen table, stalking me as I was fixing breakfast. Little character will just about kill for scrambled eggs. So I grabbed the E-M5 for a quick one. Camera held down at her level and taken with the LCD flipped up. Touch-to-expose. Panasonic 25mm wide open. Post processed in Silver Efex Pro 2, using its Tri-X film effect.

state of my linux

It's been a while since I commented about Linux. I've been very busy with my career changes as well as learning a new set of skills associated with that career change, including some travel. My use of Linux has settled down as a super-application that runs on top of my Windows 8 system (running on the Samsung Series 7 Chronos).

I have four distributions installed these days; Fedora 19, Linux Mint 15, CentOS 5 and CentOS 6. The CentOS installations are there primarily as my final testing sandboxes for RHEL 5 and 6, respectively. Otherwise I do my leading testing and development on Mint and Fedora, usually in that order.

Here's a quick rundown of my experiences and observations to date running Linux in this way.
Linux Mint 15. By far and away the cleanest and easiest to work with. Its gcc and clang/llvm installations aren't up-to-date with the latest and greatest as the versions installed on Fedora, so if I really need to check out the latest C++11 additions I fire up Fe…

we are still the 99

I have kept my comments pretty much to myself with regards to the NSA's Orwellian surveillance systems, letting others far more articulate than I lay out the details and the repercussions of the fine mess we find now find ourselves in. Rather than parrot what's already been written I'd like to point out an interesting feature of this system of systems.

And it is a system of systems for gather copious amounts of information on all of us. Right now we're focused on the top level of this SoS, the NSA. The NSA, over time, has built interfaces into each and every participant for the express purpose of gathering the surveillance intelligence, either directly from participating Internet companies or from the web infrastructure itself.

Everyone is concentrating on the NSA at the center of this surveillance web, because that's convenient for the real owners of the surveillance web. The NSA didn't build it, contractors did, contractors like Booze Allen Hamilton. Governm…

an example of my work from 1980

I have carried this with me since I created it, starting in 1980, through my dating with my future wife, our marriage, and on down to my current home in Orlando. It's been sitting in its case in the garage until I went out today, pulled it out, and took these photos of it. It is a single board computer (SBC) designed and built around a 6502 processor, the same processor that wound up in the Apple ][ and the Commodore computers of the era (PET, VIC-20, and C-64).

And believe it or not, I can still power it up and it still works. More or less...
This top-level view gives a better idea of the components and the density of the components. Again, keep in mind that this was built on a proto-board from the company I worked for at the time, Digital Communications Associates (DCA) of Atlanta. I was an engineer working for them (first a customer engineer, then a software engineer, then a field engineer; that last position is how I got to Orlando). It was interesting building this board bec…

what a long strange trip it's been

Sometime back in May of this year I passed something of a milestone. blogbeebe turned eight years old. Over those eight years it's managed to accret 1,500-plus posts about subjects ranging all over the map.

If you look over at the category cloud you can quickly find the top four or five topics I've written about. This isn't particularly rigorous as I've never been careful what topics to associate with any given article. But you can get a pretty good idea where my overall thoughts have been over the last eight years.

When I first started this blog I had no idea where I'd be going with it. I had a vague idea it would be a purely geek type of blog, with entries about my encounters with languages (Java primarily) and software systems (Linux primarily). You'll find some Java entries, and some ancillary Java subjects, such as for Netbeans, but nothing quite like I thought I would write. You will find more than a few Linux entries scattered over the last eight years,…