A Christmas Present for you

Happy Christmas day for those who celerbate, and happy Friday for those who don’t.

I have added two new links to the sidebar. The first is just a link to my privacy statement. No big deal…I don’t store stuff, and I don’t collect stuff. Simple.

The other is to a local photo gallery which I will try to remember to update as I get more interesting pictures to share.

Here is to 2015 being almost over.

Goodbye 2014!

As 2014 draws to a close, I look back at the year.

Overall, it was a good year. The family staid reasonably health (just a case of the flu which every one of us caught).

Work slowed down a bit after only three trips, and the last one was in June, but I did get to spend two weeks in London which was cool. While the work has been not what I really want to be doing, it has been interesting, and next year promises to be very interesting. I have no clue if travel is in the cards or not, but I will keep the camera handy.

In the coming year, I plan to focus on health, photography, and technology. I want to get back to taking photos every day, and to bring the quality back up to art level over the snapshots and historical documentation that I have been doing.

Also, I want to revisit the 30 Day FreeBSD challenge again in January. I have the old HP R810 running PCBSD 10.1 already set up that I have been using for a couple of days working the kinks out of it, so I think I can do it this time. Normal caveat applies…I have a work laptop which dual boots Windows 8.1 and Fedora 21 for my work stuff. The home stuff should work nicely on the laptop.

Just to prove things, this post was written under FreeBSD.

I also need to fix up my virtual host farm. I have one too many, and do not need it, but of course, it is the one with the main mail and other services, so I need to hurry up and migrate things off of it.

I hope your 2015 is a great year.

More travel

View in front of The Venetian

I am back from Las Vegas for a trade show for work. The hardest part was two and a half days of setting up an isolated network for some hands on training.

The training went very well, and I got some good feedback from the students. By the last session, all the kinks were worked out of the training, and the students were able to explore a bit more than planned, but that was okay.

Gondolas waiting at The Venetian

The major downside is that I did not have much time but one day for a quick walk around where I was staying at The Venetian to take some photos. It is a shame, as there are lots of really cool visuals around the strip and in Las Vegas. Maybe next time.

Bell Tower and The Moon at The Ventian

Rewards for Hard Travel

New Toy

So, in 2013, I went to China twice, Tokyo, Las Vegas, London twice, and Barcelona. This was enough to get me some serious air miles. I decided to turn them into something to help me get back into photography, so I got Olympus OM-D E-M5
. This is one of the latest in the line of Olympus DSLR. This one is a micros 4/3, with a built-in Electronic View Finder (EVF).

It showed up yesterday, and I have not had much of a chance to take it through its paces. I hope to have some time this weekend, but I have a major work project which might interfere.

Keep an eye out for some photos as I get a chance to try it out.

On the Road Again

On The Road Again

The reason I was busy at work is that I was getting ready for two different trips to conduct three different training courses.

Last week I was down in Mexico City to present some training to folks from Latin and Central America on one of our new products. Next month, I head off to Lost Wages, er, Las Vegas, for our major conference and two different training courses, while supporting a third.

That, and the fact the two oldest kids are in swim team right now, free time has drop to null.

BINS Photo Album

Edit Note 2018-03-24: I am now using sigal for this, and I am not sure if BINS is still maintained.

The BINS Photo Album is a package to generate static web pages from the command line. Why would you want to do this? Well, most of the dynamic web photo albums require that the server do all the work when the client requests the images, thus either slowing it down, or requiring a very beefy server. Also, you introduce the chance for a script-kiddie from hacking your site. Not good.

Enter BINS. Some of its features include:

  • generated album is static : it’s just plain HTML/CSS/Javascript files (Javascript is not mandatory to view the album), no need of any dynamic language (php, asp, etc.) nor database on server-side. Album can be burned on CD or DVD.
  • album can contain other albums (sub albums): the album can have a tree structure ;
  • generation of a thumbnail and of scaled images for each picture ;
  • generated album appearance is fully customizable by using HTML templates (5 different templates sets are currently provided) and configuration parameters: colors, number and size of thumbnails per page, number and size of scaled pictures (in pixels or percentage of the original image for the size), fields to display, etc. Those parameters can be set globally (system wide or per user), per album or sub album or per picture (such as, you can change the colors of one sub album or one just one picture page in an album by editing its description file) ;
  • several description fields (date, location, etc…) can be associated with the pictures (in text or HTML format). You can easily add or customize these fields ;
  • description fields can be set or modified via a command line interface or a GTK+/GNOME-based GUI ;
  • A search engine is included in the album : you can find some pictures by searching keywords in their description fields.
  • Album can be generated from pictures managed by Zoph.
  • speed up album browsing by performing a clean up of HTML code to reduce its size and by pre-loading thumbnails in browser cache using JavaScript code ;
  • Exif information and Digital camera support :
    • use the EXIF data structure found on some image files (usually, those produced by digital cameras) to fill automatically some fields (date and time for example).
    • BINS use the Orientation EXIF tag (which is normally set when you rotate a image on you DigiCam) to rotate the picture to correct orientation.
    • For each image, a page provides all information available on the picture and the DigiCam settings when the photo was taken.
    • Additional information are provided for Canon DigiCams.
    • Tooltips provide information about the meaning of some of the fields.
    • All EXIF information is saved in the XML description file, preventing they disappear when the image is modified ;
  • internationalization (generation of album in different languages) using gettext. Current languages supported are Catalan, Dutch, English, Esperanto, Finish, French, German, Hungarian, Italian, Japanese, Polish, Russian, Spanish and Traditional Chinese ;
  • customizable charset encoding for HTML generation, including UTF-8 (Unicode) support by default. Generation of the Apache .htaccess file for correct encoding charset in HTTP headers ;
  • use of XML files to save user description of pictures and albums/subalbums and Exif data from image file ;
  • handle correctly file and directory names with spaces or other odd characters (excepted ‘/’), and create valid escaped URLs ;
  • generate valid HTML/XHTML code. The level of HTML depends of the style used. Some of the styles are valid, table free XHTML.

The web site has some great examples. Go check them out.