The Gippy Pages Polluting the internet since 2004 Wed, 09 Apr 2014 05:02:07 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Digging up the past Wed, 17 Jul 2013 07:03:27 +0000 In a good way.

I’ve been wanting a slide duplicator for some time now. I’ve got a lot of slides from college as well as a lot of family slides that I want to digitize. I picked up a Pentax Bellows M with Slide Duplicator off of eBay for a damn good price.

Below is a quick test with minor adjustments. I attached an old Pentax K mount Sigma 70-200 on there and adjusted it in to place. And voila. Mom, Dad, my Sister & Iggy the dog. The date says December 1973 but I think that’s probably the processing date and that the photo is from earlier in the year.

Mom, Dad, Sister & Iggy

The original wasn’t the sharpest photo in the world, but looking at how sharp the dust specks are I think this setup will do just fine ;)

I would have much preferred to use one of my 50mm Pentax lenses but I needed to pull back to get the right magnification adjustment for the APC sensor in the camera. Maybe now I need to find myself a nice 85mm lens to use here? Just don’t tell the wife I said that ;)

I’ve never been able to justify a dedicated slide scanner. But for $80 shipped I couldn’t pass this up. So now I need to dig up a bunch of slides and get my parents to mail me what they have all boxed up and get to work.

Its a lot to do but I’m quite looking forward to it…

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Happy Monkey Tue, 16 Jul 2013 04:42:34 +0000 Monkey

Monkey, Too

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So, who likes that new Y! nav bar on Flickr? Sat, 13 Jul 2013 19:03:48 +0000 Yeah, that’s what I thought. There’s a lot going on in the Flickr interface as it is. Adding a garish purple Yahoo! bar across the top just sends my eyes in to fits.

So here’s a bit of CSS that’ll hide nav bar in its current incarnation:

  1.  body.with-eyebrow #eyebrow {
  2.   display: none;
  3.  }
  4.  body.with-eyebrow {
  5.   background-position: left top !important;
  6.  }
  7.  body.with-eyebrow #global-nav {
  8.   top: 0 !important;
  9.  }
  10.  body.with-eyebrow .subnav-refresh {
  11.   margin-top: 0 !important;
  12.  }

Now, here’s the tricky part: where do you put this? Most browsers include a user stylesheet override that can be edited. Its just a matter of where this file is.

For example, on OSX using Chromium that file is located at ~/Library/Application\ Support/Chromium/Default/User\ StyleSheets/Custom.css

Finding the location of the file on your specific browser is outside the scope of this article. So do a quick search on Google, edit your custom CSS file, and bask in the glory of a less suckage on the flickr interface.

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Point Reyes Sun, 07 Jul 2013 18:59:03 +0000 I think that I’ve found my favorite isolated place in California.

Rolling Waves at South Beach, Point Reyes

We’ve made a couple of trips out there lately and despite it almost always being foggy and cold its a wonderfully serene place. Most folks seem to head out to the lighthouse and then leave without exploring the beaches and cliffs. This means that we can spend a nice and quiet time on the beach wandering, talking, reading, or photographing.

This isn’t to say that the area around the lighthouse isn’t worth exploring. It is (the shack and deer photos below are from that area).

The fun starts on the way in with a beached ship in Martinelli Park in Inverness. Park at The Inverness Store and then go around the back to access the area. Be prepared to get a little bit muddy, but its well worth the stomping around.

"Point Reyes" shipwreck in Inverness, CA

Out around the point there’s not just the lighthouse that is interesting. The overall scenery, wildlife and accompanying buildings are fun to work with as well. That and when you show up on the wrong day or at the wrong time you can’t get down around the lighthouse ;)

Hillside shack

Blowing Grass

I recently made a small investment in some old lenses. Old as in older than I am. Below is a shot from a Super Takumar 200mm f/4 mounted via a Fuji to M42 adapter. I also picked up a Super Takumar 28mm f/3.5 and a Takumar 135mm f/2.5 in a bundle for $150. The feel, both physical and visual, of these lenses is great. The 135 is flare prone and I really need to watch where my light source is, but overall I really really like these lenses.

A doe, a deer...

Venturing out to the different beaches is where the fun is. Wandering the nearly empty beaches creates a nice sense of solitude and really makes you feel like you’ve been able to ditch civilization for a while without having to disappear deep in to a mountain forest.

[Insert witty title with the word "solitude" here]

Rock wall at Drakes Beach, Point Reyes

Long shoreline at Drakes Beach, Point Reyes

These trips also served to make me adore the Fuji X-E1 even more than I did before. I don’t think that I’ll ever reach the point where I sell the SLR as I still have a few specialized needs, but it has reached the point where I need to dust it off when I go to use it. The X-E1 is comfortable in the hand, the quality is wonderful, and Fuji just keeps making it better through firmware updates (Focus peaking coming soon! So excited!).

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A few handy git aliases Thu, 16 May 2013 06:34:19 +0000 I finally got fed up with some repetitive Git tasks and decided to make a few aliases in my .gitconfig file. Here are the commands, they all assume that they’re run from a valid git repo:

Push your current branch to your upstream repository

How often do you repeat the git command to push your current branch by typing git push origin [current-branch-name] because you never remember to set up the branch to track? Does this sound easier?

  1.  $ git pb

Alternately, here, you can add a default push method to your .gitconfig:

  1.  [push]
  2.   default = current

So that you can just call git push to and have git automatically assume you typed git push origin [branch-name]

Pull just the current branches updates

With larger groups of developers it is easy for a git pull to fetch a lot of new refs that you don’t care about. This alias shortcuts git pull origin [current-branch-name].

  1.  $ git up

A quick and easy update of just what you care about. Save big the git pull for lunch time or a coffee break.

Open the current branch on GitHub

We use GitHub Enterprise at work and going to look at the current branch/repo on the server is pretty common. So to make it super quick to get where you want to go this command will open up the GitHub server to the current repo and branch that you’re on. This works with self-hosted GitHub FI/Enterprise installs as well as public GitHub.

  1.  $ git gh

Open up GitHub to a new Pull Request

As a part of using GitHub Enterprise at work we’ve heavily adopted Pull Requests as the primary method of requesting code reviews and for pulling approved code in to master. However constantly finding the branch or manipulating browser history becomes tiresome. So this alias opens up GitHub to ‘/owner/repoName/pulls/new/current-branch-name‘ so that you can fill in a detailed pull request (you are filling out a pull request with a description and testing plan, right?).

  1.  $ git pr

Git log graph on the Cli

I don’t now about you, but I’ve not been able to get on board with the dedicated git apps for browsing and visualizing history trees, but once in a while I do want to look at the tree but don’t want to load an app to do it when a simple view on the cli will do.

  1.  $ git lg

Ok, enough jabber, gimme the code

Ok, its pretty straight forward. Just add this to your .gitconfig:

  1.  [alias]
  2.   lg = log --graph --pretty=format:'%Cred%h%Creset %C(yellow)%an%d%Creset %s %Cgreen(%cr)%Creset' --date=relative
  3.   pb = "!git push origin \"$(git rev-parse --abbrev-ref HEAD)\""
  4.   up = "!git pull origin \"$(git rev-parse --abbrev-ref HEAD)\""
  5.   pr = "!open \"$(git remote -v | grep origin | grep push | cut -f 2 | cut -d \" \" -f 1 | sed -e \"s|git@\\(.*\\):\\(.*\\).git|https://\\1/\\2|\")/pull/new/$(git rev-parse --abbrev-ref HEAD)\""
  6.   gh = "!open \"$(git remote -v | grep origin | grep push | cut -f 2 | cut -d \" \" -f 1 | sed -e \"s|git@\\(.*\\):\\(.*\\).git|https://\\1/\\2|\")/tree/$(git rev-parse --abbrev-ref HEAD)\""

Are those ugly? Sure. Do they help? Yep!

I’m sure as time goes on I’ll figure out a few more. Or maybe the three of you that actually read this far have suggestions? Lemme know.

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Operation Shave the Wookiee, the Return Mon, 28 Jan 2013 03:32:23 +0000 shave-the-wookiee-the-return

Here we go again.

St. Baldricks is 2 months away and I’m in once more. Its been 2 years since I last pitched in and I’ve got 12″ of hair waiting to be shaved.

On my head, you pervert.

Last time was a success. After all was said and done and last minute donations tallied I managed to raise a little over $1200. Thanks to everyone who donated. It was much more than I was expecting.

And here I am. Ready to go again. On March 30, 2013, at the Children’s Hospital & Research Center in Oakland, California, I’ll once again sacrifice a full head of hair in the interest of raising some dough for a good cause.

Give me, er, the kids, money!

Or join Team Wookiee. I’d be thrilled to have teammates. I’ll need someone to celebrate with since my wife has already made it clear that I’ll be sleeping in the other room until at least some hair grows back. However, I’ve just been informed that if I raise at least $2,000 that she’ll actually sleep with me while the hair grows back.

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Art at Stanford Fri, 25 Jan 2013 05:06:36 +0000 Sequence 2

The wife and I decided to take a trip down to Stanford last weekend to check out the Rodin Garden at the Cantor Arts Center on the Stanford campus.

Now, I know that I went to a small school. My graduating class was measured in the hundreds. But, holy shit, the Stanford campus is huge and beautiful. Granted we saw most of it while trundling to and from the Cantor Center, but that was enough to show off how great a campus it is. And to have such a large, and free, museum on campus to boot just makes me feel like I need to outright take my parents to task for not having the ability to send me to a much better school than the rug-rat fest that I attended.

;) Kidding. Mom, Dad, love you.

So, while we went to primarily check out the Rodin garden something else stole the show for both of us. Well, besides the campus, that is. And that was the sculpture/installation by Richard Serra named Sequence. The installation was designed to walk through. With wonderfully textured and rust-colored ~10′ high walls it quickly engulfs you and lets you hide away in a small world that only consists of the gray floor, the red walls, and the blue sky. It was quite wonderful. Mr. Serra, if you’re reading this, I’d like one for my back yard. Can I get one about one fifth the size of that? Great! Thank you!

Sequence Sequence 3

I love you too, Stanford…

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A Winters Day at the Beach with the Fuji X-E1 Wed, 09 Jan 2013 07:56:35 +0000 DSCF0544.jpg

The wife and I decided to take the mutts for a walk on the beach this past weekend. We expected cold and dreary weather but were pleasantly greeted by partly cloudy skies and quite warm temperatures when the sun was out. All in all a good day to play with the new Fuji X-E1. In case you’re about to bolt, weary of more shots of my dogs, please venture forth, they’re not the feature of this post ;) Fair warning, though, I had every intention of going out and shooting for black and white images, so there’s very little color in these photos.


I must say that I’m still getting used to this camera. How to hold it, shoot with it, and how best to use its autofocus. The HUGE difference of using a digital viewfinder as opposed to a traditional optical viewfinder. Having a viewfinder that adjusts to the shooting conditions almost feels like cheating.

The overall ergonomics of the camera are quite good but being a person who has big old monkey hands it can get a bit weird to hold sometimes. I’m waiting eagerly for the nice folks at Match Technical to wrap up production on a version of the Thumbs Up for the X-E1. (They’ve communicated that they should be available soon). After that I may entertain the thought of the grip accessory for the X-E1, though I’d prefer not to as the compact size of the X-E1 was one of the key factors in my decision to purchase it.


I really won’t be able to tell you here what you can’t read elsewhere, so I’m not gonna bore you with my version of a review. To tell the truth I was drawn to this camera for its sensor, its size, the lenses, and, yes, its design. So I’m in it more for the feel than the tech-specs. I’ve got tech-specs and plenty of fiddly-dials in my Canon setup. Though, really, the tech specs are quite good.

And the lenses are great. I bought the kit with the 18-55 f/2.8-4 zoom and also picked up the 35mm f/1.4. I have to say both are quite good. The zoom is quite surprising in its quality. I’ve been taught through years of kit purchases that the kit lens, 99% of the time, sucks. The 18-55 is part of the 1%. With fast focus, nice sharpness and pleasing out of focus areas (I refuse to type the “B” word) I’m quite smitten with it. The 35mm f/1.4 is fantastic. Though autofocus is a bit slow and noisy, and the lens hood is bothersome, the sharpness and quality of the images more than makes up for it.

With my Canon setups I’ve always wanted for more lenses. A lens for this, a lens for that. But I don’t feel that with this camera. That feeling is probably heavily weighted by the fact that I have many use cases covered with my Canon setup, but I still can’t help but feel different with the X-E1. Like it serves a different purpose. Like its more focused on engaging my brain on the act of photography and less on the obsession with technical perfection (not that I ever achieved that, really). I smile every time I get to change aperture via the aperture ring on the lens instead of via a dial. Maybe that also signifies that I’d have been more content with a Nikon kit as my main setup all these years? Maybe. (Its petty, but I really dislike the way Nikons look and feel)


My only regret is I wish Apple would get it in gear and release support for the X-Trans sensor already. They’ve had plenty of time to work on it as the X-Pro1 has been on the market for some time. Add to that the X-Pro1 and the X-E1 share a lot of internals, including the sensor, and I wonder if they’re not doing it or stuck. The sensor seems to be a rather unique challenge for raw processors. The in-camera raw processing is, at this time, the best converter available. I’ve been converting all the images in camera and then tweaking a bit in Aperture or Lightroom.

There isn’t really a good raw processor available at this time, either. I’m trying Adobe Lightroom because it claims support for this camera but the conversions are bad. The color is smeared and icky. Maybe Adobe can get it right eventually, but I’ve found that I really just don’t like Lightroom that much. I like what it offers but I can’t buy in to the UI. And forget Silkypix, the app that ships with the X-E1. It CAN do well but not consistently and the detail doesn’t compare to the in camera conversions. Capture1 is currently in beta to support the X-E1 and the results look good, so I’ll probably try that as well. But, really, I don’t want to switch processing applications. :sadface:

Apple? Please?


Another positive aspect is how good my back feels now that my bag is lighter. In the last year I’ve moved from a heavy bag that included a 15″ MacBook Pro and a Canon 7D to a 13″ MacBook Air and an X-E1. Even if I carry both lenses with me my bag is still about 6-10 pounds lighter depending on what lens I used on the 7D. It feels like 20. Its hard to believe that I carry so much power in such small packages. I rarely have the X-E1 on a strap because its light enough that I don’t want it and feel that it really just gets in the way.

In case you have a 2008-ish vintage Subaru Impreza WRX the X-E1 fits perfectly face down in the center console cup holder. Subaru ergonomics FTW.


Though I used the word regret earlier I used the word very lightly. There’s no buyers remorse. It was expensive but I don’t care. I’ve thought for a long time that I wanted a more simple camera with more traditional controls and it turns out that I was right. It wasn’t just a longing to get back what I enjoyed using so much when I first got going with photography I really did enjoy controlling aperture and shutter speed using dials.

The camera is far from perfect. The perfect camera is a white whale. This camera is a great camera. I kind of feel bad for my 7D. It hasn’t moved since I got the X-E1…


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MacPorts, Homebrew and Mountain Lion Fri, 27 Jul 2012 03:25:41 +0000 The inevitable happened today. Mountain Lion was installed in a couple of different places. Unfortunately one of those places was at work and on a development machine before we had a chance to test out Mountain Lion compatability. Predictably, issues arose. Not surprisingly, at least to me, Homebrew has the biggest issue, and an issue based on its core philosophy.

But first…


Prior to Mountain Lion the Xcode Command Line Tools could be downloaded separately from Xcode. This saved many of us the bandwidth and storage space required to install Xcode. As of the time of this writing I can only find the individually downloadable Command Line tools available for regular old Lion.

So that means a download of Xcode is required. Dag nabbit.

After downloading and installing Xcode open Xcode and go in to its Preferences, click on the Downloads tab and install the Command Line Tools.

Update: As noted by Patrick Quinn-Graham in the comments below, the Command Line Tools are now showing up in Apple’s Developer portal. I recommend grabbing that if you don’t need the full Xcode suite.

After that is done head to the command line and accept the command line tools usage agreement.

  1.  $ sudo xcodebuild -license

Press space a few times to get through the whole thing and then type “accept” when it prompts you to. This provided a fun distraction for both Homebrew and MacPorts as the errors delivered because of needing to accept the usage agreement in no way point to the root cause of the errors. And to add insult to injury this was not needed on every system that I’ve had to manage. I found this by blind luck.

We’re done with Xcode. We’re now ready to compile applications on Mountain Lion.


MacPorts survived the upgrade just fine. MySQL, PHP and Apache were all running when Mountain Lion restarted. But just to be safe I updated MacPorts.

  1.  $ sudo port selfupdate

After the update almost everything that I had installed became listed as “outdated”. So, everything needed upgrading… :sigh:

  1.  $ sudo port -cup upgrade outdated

But, all in all, done and done. Ok, eventually it was done after 6 hours of compiling.


Homebrew was harder. Homebrew’s base philosophy, a philosophy that everyone loves about it (well, except for me) is that it uses already installed system libraries to run. Today that proved to be a bad thing.

Apple removed support for X11 in Mountain Lion. This means that anything that was linking to a library that was supplied by X11 would now complain and die. This meant our custom compiled version of PHP at work. dylibs were missing which prevented PHP from running and header files could not be found which prevented an update to PHP from compiling.

The Homebrew folks saw it coming a while back. There are pull requests and changes in branches that deal with this issue. However the best I can tell not all of that has made it in to master and its still not ready to go.

There is a work around, and it relies on installing XQuartz to provide the required X11 libraries. This may not be required for everyone, but for those of us that run specific versions of software it means a headache. In our case, for PHP, it meant that libraries required for font and image handling were missing. And these are just the errors that came up first. I’m not sure how many other things that X11 provided were waiting to error out should we have tried to link in the parts as we found the errors.

First, download and install XQuartz. After doing that symlink it in to where Homebrew expects X11 to be. We had folder there, presumably left over from the upgrade.

  1.  $ cd /usr
  2.  $ mv X11 X11.bak
  3.  $ ln -s /opt/X11 X11

Now, since this was an OS upgrade all of the config and ini files have been renamed and replaced. This means that the Apache conf and PHP ini files needed replacing. Fortunately for us we had a custom Homebrew Formula that handled this portion of the environment for us. So we just had to uninstall and reinstall that Formula to re-configure Apache and PHP how we had it. Your setup will of course be different.


So, overall, while my total time spent troublehsooting, updating and fixing a Homebrew install today took up a little more than 4 hours of my day, it was fixed and working.

While I’m still pissed at Homebrew for taking more of my brainpower today its 4 hour investment is a bit shorter than the time it took MacPorts to get up to date.

I have to say, though, that despite the longer compile time to update MacPorts I still prefer it for the sheer fact that it didn’t force me to pay attention to it to upgrade to ML. I decided to pay attention to it (and would have had to eventually anyway). I was able to address MacPorts on my time, not because something was horribly broken.

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Alcatraz Fri, 06 Jul 2012 05:43:03 +0000 Some friends came in from out of town and we ended up doing some tourist-like stuff. Unfortunately I was hacking up a lung so I was kinda just slothing around, but I was able to squeak out a few decent shots.

Birds are abundant on the island and I caught this one is just about the perfect spot. It only would have been better if he were facing me.

Birdie in the Window

The buildings are in need of some upkeep which makes them very interesting to look at. Every piece of chipped paint, rust and bird poop helps create interesting textures.

Sally Port Roof Line

Amazingly enough I had the whole recreation yard to myself to get a nice hero shot of the main cellhouse.

Alcatraz Cell House

Unfortunately now age is starting to get the best of me and I need to get the diopter settings straightened out because I’m noticing that my efforts to manually focus are meeting with less and less success. I don’t mind getting older but couldn’t it be nice and effect some other part of my body? Oh, wait, it already is…

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