Blog entries from February, 2010

More from the backlog

Sunday, February 21st, 2010 at 10:25pm

As promised last week I have continued working through my backlog of photos and have processed my photos from Brisbane last year. And this is despite being distracted first be the ISS and then the sunset.

The photos are a mixed bag:

Water and wildlife:

Brisbane (05) Brisbane (06)


Brisbane (08) Brisbane (09) Brisbane (10)

Cityscapes (day and night):

Brisbane (13) Brisbane (15)

Brisbane (17) Brisbane (21)

Brisbane 2009

Tagged with: , , , ,

Sunset from Beacon Cove

Sunday, February 21st, 2010 at 09:07pm

On Friday night the Waverley Camera Club met up at Beacon Cove (aka near Station Pier) for a night shoot.

As we sat on the boardwalk eating fish and chips the sky quickly changed through:

Sunset at Beacon Cove (01)

Sunset at Beacon Cove (02)

Sunset at Beacon Cove (12)

Sunset at Beacon Cove (18)

Sunset at Beacon Cove (21)

Sunset from Beacon Cove

My final selection of 21 photos are all in the Flickr set. They may look a bit repetitive – there are only so many different shots of a sunset – but this has been thinned down a lot.

Tagged with: , , ,

Catching the ISS go by

Monday, February 15th, 2010 at 10:51pm

Earlier in the evening I stood outside on the front lawn in the dark for about half an hour. The result was this:

ISS over Melbourne

That is my first ever shot of the International Space Station passing overhead.

For a while I have been wanting to capture a shot of the ISS, yet I either didn’t find out about a visible pass, or I found out too late. This is despite knowing about the excellent Heavens-Above which lets you enter your location, and it will tell you whatever you want to know about objects in the sky. You can get a whole sky chart (which I looked up for the WCC star trails attempt earlier in the year) or a list of when an object such as the ISS is making a visible pass. This time I have a timely tweet from Wolf Cocklin to thank.

Now, the photo above isn’t that great as shots of the night sky go (a Flickr search for ‘iss’ returns impressive images), but for a shot taken from suburban Melbourne with plenty of light pollution, I am happy with it.

The actual pass was quite short so I took a few test shots so I would know what setttings to use, plus

As I didn’t know exactly where in the sky the ISS would appear or what it would actually look like to the naked eye, I first took a few test shots before aiming the camera up and to the south-southwest. The tests can be seen in the ISS visible pass (15 February 2010) Flickr set.

As there are other visible passes of the ISS for the next week I will attempt to catch it again, weather permitting.

Tagged with: , , ,

Photos from the backlog

Sunday, February 14th, 2010 at 10:10pm

Today I knuckled down and sorted through photos, resulting in two new sets on Flickr. I still have a lot more sorting through as I am still four months behind.

The first set is from a Sunday morning in August when I walked around some of Melbourne’s laneways and arcades with the camera club:

Melbourne laneways and arcades (05) Melbourne laneways and arcades (21) Melbourne laneways and arcades (32)
Melbourne laneways and arcades (43) Melbourne laneways and arcades (46) Melbourne laneways and arcades (23)

Melbourne laneways and arcades

The other set I uploaded to Flickr was from one lunchtime where I walked over to campus for the specific purpose of taking some photos. This was related to a competition we were running at the time for students and staff to submit photos to appear on the login page. Although we were not eligible, it was a good enough reason to get over to campus.

Monash Uni - Clayton (01) Monash Uni - Clayton (07)
Monash Uni - Clayton (09) Monash Uni - Clayton (11)

Monash Uni – Clayton

The next lot of photos I have to sort are those from Brisbane, when I wandered around Brisbane CBD and Southbank on the day before OSDC2009.

Tagged with: , , ,

SyncToy is dangerous for backups

Wednesday, February 3rd, 2010 at 08:42pm

For a long time I have been using Microsoft’s SyncToy to backup data on my Windows boxes over the network to my Linux box. Every few weeks (in reality it was months) I would also use it to copy that same data to an external drive for the off-site backup.

Not any more.

When I first started using SyncToy I was satisfied that it was copying all files. Recently I discovered one of two things: back in the beginning I didn’t check properly, or the behaviour of SyncToy has changed since then.

So what is the problem?

The SyncToy setting I have been using (at least on the recent versions) is ‘Echo’ which is described as:

“New and updated files are copied left to right. Renames and deletes on the left are repeated on the right.”

At face value this is what I wanted, a mirror of the local files to a network share. Unfortunately I didn’t take this description literally enough, SyncToy will ONLY echo changes that are made on the ‘left’ side. What I need (for example when rotating through external hard drives) is a proper sync that analyses both source and destination to determine the differences that need to be copied (you know, like rsync).

So if for some reason files on the destination (‘right’ in SyncToy terminology) go missing or get corrupted, SyncToy doesn’t care. In the case where I am using a pair of identical external drives that I swap between home and work every couple of weeks, data that is copied to one drive is then not copied to the other drive a few weeks later.

What really confuses me is a step that the latest version of SyncToy no longer performs, which is how I noticed this (and then found that many others already knew). It used to be that when the sync ran (immediately after login) I could see it walking the destination file tree, both via network activity and in the samba logs. Why? If SyncToy doesn’t care about the destination, what is the point of this scan? Obviously they figured out that it was redundant and it was removed.

So what have I done?

Ideally I wanted a realiable win32 port of rsync that didn’t require me to install Cygwin. But without that I started looking into alternatives and I settled on Robocopy. Yes, another tool from Microsoft. For XP it is obtained from the Windows Server 2003 Resource Kit, but it is standard for Vista and 7.

Robocopy is a command line tool (there is a GUI available) which is fine with me as I want to script it. Which I have done and I now have two scripts. One to run at login which backs up local data across the network, and a second script which backs up the same data to an external hard drive. This second script also pulls other data (such as my email, etc) from the Linux box to the external hard drive.

One important option that I need to specify is /FFT which tells it to ‘assume FAT File Times’ as apparently the FAT file times are not as accurate as you would expect. But I’m copying from NTFS to ext3, FAT or FAT32 is not involved, but in between those two file systems is Samba, whose SMB implementation has similar time accuracy problems as FAT.

It has now been a week and the backups are working correctly. Hopefully it stays that way.

Tagged with: ,

First competition for the new year

Tuesday, February 2nd, 2010 at 11:43pm

Tonight was the first judging night for 2010 at the Waverley Camera Club. The topic was “Opposites” and I submitted four still life photos created specifically for this competition.

After digging through my box of Lego and my Dad’s box of Dinky toy cars I came up with this as a print:

Diecast vs Extruded

The opposites include: diecast metal versus extruded plastic, new (relatively) versus old, battered versus unbattered and of course facing left versus facing right. The judge awarded this a Merit and also added truck versus car.

My second print was of wine bottles:

A varied drop

I took way too many photos of these (and some others) bottles from different angles, with different lighting (for the shadows), and different orientation before choosing this one. The judge commented that the shadows behind, but at the same level, added interest.

My two digital entries were about denominations and opacity:

Dollars and centsOne is softer

Tonight I submitted monochrome entries for next month, including a last minute change so that at least one shot included Lego.

Tagged with: ,

What happened to January?

Monday, February 1st, 2010 at 10:17am

Today is the first of February and I have realised that for the first time since I started blogging in September 2003 that I have gone for an entire month (ie January) without making a post.

That does not mean I haven’t been doing anything.

In fact it is the opposite as January was, for me, quite busy. Now, although I haven’t written any blog posts, those who follow me on, twitter or facebook would be aware of at least some of what I have done.

The highlights:

Amongst all of this I have scanned thousands of slides (my parent’s from the 60/70s) and made decent headway into sorting through my own backlog of photos (which increased markedly due to the Snowy Mountains road trip). I should be able to start posting some of the latter (starting with the club outing to Mount Macedon back in July) later in the week.

I hope.

In addition I have a couple of semi-formed blog posts that I should get around to completing, one that is still fresh in my mind is how something that I was relying upon for backups, is actually dangerous to use for backups. I should also have one of those published by the end of the week and I will also try to post on a more regular basis.

I promise.

Tagged with: ,