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Archive for November, 2006

Peace and quiet

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I’m starting to not like getting recognized when I travel because I get asked questions non-stop about photography and diving.

“What camera do you use?”

“Where is your favorite spot?”

“How did you get started in photography?”

The ones with advice or an unlimited number of boring dive stories are the worst.

It doesn’t happen that often, and I already dislike it!

Cabo San Lucas, Mexico | link | trackb | 6 comments » | Nov 30, 2006 11:29:00

I’ve always wanted to visit Tucson

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American Airlines has just fulfilled a childhood dream of mine by delivering me to Tucson, Arizona! Yippee.

After being slightly delayed in Dallas due to a big thunderstorm close to the airport, our MD-80 took off successfully and started making its way down to Mexico. But shortly before arriving in Cabo San Lucas, we had to make a 90° turn and head back up into the States because San Jose del Cabo airport wouldn’t stay open an extra 8 minutes to accommodate our plane’s late landing. (read more »)

Tucson, AZ | link | trackb | 2 comments » | Nov 30, 2006 01:38:53

Identity theft

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I spent over 12 hours on the phone during my week at home dealing with the repercussions of identity theft. Some bastard got ahold of my back account numbers, ssn, mother’s maiden name, address, etc. and left a trail of new credit card accounts for me to track down. It didn’t help that I was in Papua New Guinea when I found out. (read more »)

Dallas Airport, TX | link | trackb | 3 comments » | Nov 29, 2006 17:40:45

Throttled Pro: Optimized networking for Mac OS X

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Throttled Pro

I’ve noticed that when I download torrents on Mac OS X (using BitComet in Windows XP on Parallels — I like it better than using Azureus in Mac OS X) and then try to browse the web, Firefox starts to time out a lot. Browsing the web becomes impossible.

I installed Throttled Pro and my machine instantly became usable again. Throttled Pro features ACK packet prioritization, which is what really made the difference in my case (I set upload caps manually in my torrent clients and wasn’t saturating my upstream connection, but for some reason the ACK delay was still causing network slowdown).

It’s an amazing difference and is worth trying, especially if you’re having network slowness caused by full-speed uploads.

Oakland, CA | link | trackb | 3 comments » | Nov 28, 2006 02:55:26

How to make Mac windows stay on top

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On my Windows box, my preferred video player is ZoomPlayer Pro. Infinitely configurable, it lets power users like me know that the picture I’m getting is the best possible. Combined with ffdshow, I can watch videos encoded with complex codecs while only using a tiny bit of CPU. ZoomPlayer also has a no-UI, stay on top mode that lets me put a little video window on top of everything else I’m doing on my machine — perfect for watching shows or movies while working on mindless tasks.

I’ve struggled for awhile to figure out how to do this on the Mac because I couldn’t find an easy way to get Quicktime, VLC or iTunes to have their windows stay on top. iTunes does have a way to keep the miniplayer on top, but the miniplayer unfortunately doesn’t support video. Today, I discovered a prefs panel called Afloat, which gives users control over window opacity and stay-on-topness. There are certain windows Afloat won’t float on top of (e.g. palette windows and modal dialogs in Photoshop), but it seems to work for most windows. Another problem with using Afloat for video is that windows automatically become translucent when an application isn’t in the foreground. I’ve written to the author to see if an “always opaque” option can be added. Looks promising!

Another problem is that I can’t seem to watch videos while doing any sort of real work (all of my photo work is extremely taxing on system resources). Earlier today I had to renice iTunes to give me smooth(er) playback while working in CaptureOne. I’ve been harassing Adam Tow to help me write a script that will automatically find the pid of a target app and make it higher priority. :)

Oakland, CA | link | trackb | 5 comments » | Nov 24, 2006 18:55:08

“Do you still have your cello?”

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playing with geoff nuttall, dec 2000

Geoff called me this morning and asked, “hey… do you still have your cello?”

He wants me to read the Arensky two-cello quartet (Op. 35) with him, Chris, and Leslie tomorrow, and I am just short of being terrified because it’s been so long since I’ve played music.

I spoke with Alissa yesterday about the effects of constant travel on friendships and home life. Both of us had just gotten home after extended travels, and despite the tremendous fortune of being able to travel so much, we are both going through similar feelings of uncertainty because of the effect it has on relationships here at home. An equally regrettable effect has been my inability to continue playing music. I still feel like a musician because so many of my friends are musicians, but I know that my connection to music as a player is slipping away slowly, and I’m not sure what I can do about it short of staying in town more and getting back into it actively.

Decisions, decisions. My pursuits have been evolving organically over the past four years, but at some point I will have to decide where my life is going. (read more »)

Oakland, CA | link | trackb | no comments » | Nov 24, 2006 13:29:02

I want Beyond Compare 2 for Mac OS X

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Scooter Software’s Beyond Compare 2 is one of the best utility programs I’ve ever used. On a Windows XP machine, I rely on it almost daily to synchronize directory structures for backups and updates. Since all of my machines use the same directory structure, it is invaluable in helping me to shuttle files around to the machine I’m going to work (if I need the files locally).

There is one problem, however. I’m in the process of switching to the Mac, and there doesn’t seem to exist anything remotely similar in functionality. (read more »)

Oakland, CA | link | trackb | 63 comments » | Nov 23, 2006 15:08:53

Polar bears galore, Churchill, Canada

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A polar bear plays around in the snow

I have so many photos of polar bears I don’t even know where to start. They were simply everywhere in the tundra just outside of Churchill. I can always tell when I’m shooting something I’m not familiar with because I take way too many photos. On this trip, I shot over 10GB each day! (read more »)

Oakland, CA | link | trackb | 4 comments » | Nov 22, 2006 23:55:59

My first Aurora Borealis

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My first photo of the Aurora Borealis, Churchill, Canada

I know this is pretty much a crappy Aurora shot compared to what real Aurora photographers get, but I thought I’d share it anyway. It was my first experience with the Northern Lights, and I hope to go back sometime to do some proper photography. (read more »)

Oakland, CA | link | trackb | 1 comment » | Nov 22, 2006 23:41:04

I’m on the Tonight Show tonight!

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Eric Cheng and Mo Rocca at Isla Guadalupe

I just got a call from Kat and Lawrence. I made the Tonight Show with Jay Leno piece on Guadalupe and great white sharks! It’s on tonight, but I have no idea how much screen time they gave me. :)

UPDATE: Stream the piece from NBC.

Oakland, CA | link | trackb | 21 comments » | Nov 21, 2006 17:29:50

At DEMA 2006, Orlando, Florida

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Hey guys. After more than 90 hours of travel, I’ve made it to Orlando from Papua New Guinea (with a short, 18-hr layover in Oakland). I’ll be covering the show over at Wetpixel, if you’re interested.

UPDATE Show coverage is DONE. :)

Orlando, FL | link | trackb | 1 comment » | Nov 9, 2006 04:27:59

Single dive contact sheet

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I often get asked how many shots I take during a single dive. Instead of fumbling around with words, I decided to thumbnail and present every image I captured during a dive last week at a site called Horshu II near Rabaul, Papua New Guinea. On this particular dive, I snapped off 84 frames while using a Tokina 17mm lens on my Seacam-housed Canon 1Ds Mk II… [see the contact sheet]

Orlando, FL | link | trackb | 1 comment » | Nov 9, 2006 04:26:45

60-hour travel time

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I’m trying to get home. Really, I am.

I’m doing a bit of online catch-up during my overnight layover in Singapore, and have been staring at a bunch of truly bizarre photos for some time now; it took me awhile to realize that I had missed Halloween.

All of this travel time gives me a lot of time to think, especially given that I finished the last book I have with me just before boarding the first flight of the journey early this morning. I remember quite vividly the feeling of impending boredom as I closed the book; luckily, the anticipation has so far been worse than the book-less flights. (read more »)

Singapore | link | trackb | 7 comments » | Nov 6, 2006 08:39:01

Wetpixel/Divester t-shirts ready for order

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Wetpixel Divester T-Shirt

Wetpixel/Divester t-shirts have arrived! If you want one, order now because we’ve only printed a limited number of them. All profits will be donated to an ocean-related charity. Spread the word. :)

Singapore | link | trackb | no comments » | Nov 6, 2006 08:04:28
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