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Archive for May, 2007

Komodo National Park

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Aside from a few crippling camera issues, I have been enjoying my time out here in Indonesia. I’m up on the top deck of the Kararu Voyager with the night-shift crew members, who are all on the phone with their respective families. I can’t imagine having a family and working on a live-aboard boat. It must be very difficult. (read more »)

Komodo, Indonesia | link | trackb | 4 comments » | May 30, 2007 08:57:54

Notables from Maumere

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Dead goat being cleaned in the ocean. Head ripped off and green intestines dumped out of body.

Elderly woman washing her privates on the beach. Makes us sad. (Bali)

Pedal tone from water maker on boat. Fun with interference!

Dozens of locals lined up on the pier, staring at us. We are like 2-3 feet away, and they just stare. (read more »)

Maumere, Indonesia | link | trackb | 1 comment » | May 28, 2007 08:41:40

Hanging out in Maumere, Indonesia

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Dave Patchen on the deck of the Kararu Voyager

Before we left for this trip, Dave’s girlfriend, Kim, asked him whether she should check my website for updates on our whereabouts during the next couple of weeks. Kim: the answer is … yes! :)

I have a GPRS connection on my Blackberry Pearl here in Maumere, and am connected using the Pearl as a Bluetooth modem. This absolutely rocks. (read more »)

Maumere, Indonesia | link | trackb | 5 comments » | May 27, 2007 08:42:31

Meanest cock around

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If this rooster had been out of his cage, I would probably have run from him. He had huge claws! (read more »)

Jimbaran, Bali | link | trackb | 1 comment » | May 26, 2007 08:55:41

KU DE TA, Bali

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sunset at ku de ta, bali

Patchen and I met up with Graham Abbott at KU DE TA (in Seminyak) for a drink at sunset. It was an amazing place — I felt like I was in Malibu or something, and there were beautiful people around everywhere. I felt like slightly slobby in my flip-flops and t-shirt. Anyway, the people watching was good, but there were no seats in the place, so we grabbed seats on the beach and hung out until the sun went down.

Paul Ng met the three of us for dinner at La Lucciola, which is just down the street. Fancy place.

This all was a side of Bali I had never seen.

I’m sleepy and can’t write articulately…

Jimbaran, Bali | link | trackb | 3 comments » | May 25, 2007 08:22:22

Using Twitter through e-mail

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I’ve found a way to use my Iridium satellite phone to update Twitter while I’m roaming around the ocean. Mail2Twitter is a free service that allows you to use Twitter via e-mail. Since I can send 160-character e-mails through my sat phone, it seems like the perfect solution.

The Twitter folks are checking for me to see if Iridium works with SMS delivery to the Twitter UK longcode number, but I’m unlikely to use Twitter this way because I don’t want to have to change my registered mobile number and re-authenticate each time.

Jimbaran, Bali | link | trackb | 2 comments » | May 24, 2007 19:03:42

Blackberry Pearl as a Bluetooth modem, the saga

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I’ve had a Blackberry Pearl (on Cingular, the new AT&T) for about half a year now, and I love the thing. I was even more excited when a guy named Grant wrote a script so the Pearl could be used as a Bluetooth modem with Mac OS X. Unfortunately, the script didn’t work for me — until last month, that is. (read more »)

Jimbaran, Bali | link | trackb | no comments » | May 24, 2007 14:44:46

WP-Cache2 and empty RSS feeds

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The difference WP-Cache2 has made my server load has been amazing. It was well worth the effort to get it installed (and to modify Alex’s Popularity Contest plugin to make it compatible).

But since I installed WP-Cache2, one of my friends has been complaining that my journal entries feed was returning with XML validation errors. I discovered that my feed was returning nothing a good percentage of the time. Someone in the comments section of the WP-Cache2 page had a similar experience, and suggested that disabling the feed cache fixed the problem. And so I did, and so it did.

There are two steps necessary to remove the caching of feeds. The first is to add your feed URL(s) to the “Rejected URIs” list in the WP-Cache2 options, and the second is to remove cache-related files from the “Accepted files” list.

Since making the change, I have manually loaded my feed a bunch of times — it has worked, every time.

I also took the opportunity to fix the relative URL issue, and to change the feed MIME types. It seems that WordPress 2.1.x uses text/html by default instead of the proper types. Although I use SVN to update my WordPress installation nightly, my feed files are modified and are excluded from the updates.

Jimbaran, Bali | link | trackb | no comments » | May 24, 2007 14:15:53

AbsoluteRSS and wp-chunk WordPress plugins

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I’ve been using two new WordPress plugins that are very helpful: AbsoluteRSS and wp-chunk.

AbsoluteRSS converts relative URLs to absolute URLs in WordPress RSS feeds because some readers don’t like relative URLs (it will break relatively linked images, for example).

wp-chunk shortens URLs posted in comments. Long URLs break the layout of my comments area, so this was a great find (thanks, Alex).

Jetlag Land, Bali | link | trackb | no comments » | May 24, 2007 13:53:53

Eating endangered large predators of the sea

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Excerpt from “Why is it still acceptable to eat the endangered large predators of the sea?” by George Monbiot and published in the Guardian 3rd April 2007.

“If these animals lived on land there would be a global outcry. But the great beasts roaming the savannahs of the open seas summon no such support. Big sharks, giant tuna, marlin and swordfish should have the conservation status of the giant panda or the snow leopard. Yet still we believe it is acceptable for fishmongers to sell them and celebrity chefs to teach us how to cook them. “A study in this week’s edition of Science reveals the disastrous collapse of the ocean’s megafauna. The great sharks are now wobbling on the edge of extinction. Since 1972 the number of blacktip sharks has fallen by 93%, tiger sharks by 97% and bull sharks, dusky sharks and smooth hammerheads by 99%(1). Just about every population of major predators is now in freefall. Another paper, published in Nature four years ago, shows that over 90% of large predatory fishes throughout the global oceans have gone(2). “You respond with horror when you hear of Chinese feasts of bear paws and tiger meat. But these are no different, as far as conservation is concerned, from eating shark’s fin soup or swordfish or steaks from rare species of tuna. One practice is considered barbaric in Europe and North America. The other is promoted in restaurant reviews and recipes in the colour supplements of respectable newspapers.” [full article]
Jimbaran, Bali | link | trackb | no comments » | May 24, 2007 05:44:21

The Bali tax on the stupid

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For some reason, Bali brings out the stupid in me. So far, she has claimed two swimsuits (left in room during one-night transit — twice), forced me to buy two swimsuits (forgot to bring a pair back in 2004, and forgot to bring a pair this morning when I left SF), and strong-armed me into purchasing an expensive pair of flip-flops (forgot to bring a pair back in February).

The swimsuit I bought today at the InterContinental was way too expensive for the (lack of) quality, but there seems to be nothing around here except for the resort apparel store. I wanted to buy two, but I’m going to try to find a cheaper pair when we’re in Kuta tomorrow. It’s always nice to have more than one suit when you’re on a live-aboard dive vessel.

I hope the iTunes store releases the final episode of Lost before we leave for Maumere. It will take a loooong time to download on the slow broadband here at the hotel, but I’m hopeful.

Jimbaran, Bali | link | trackb | 1 comment » | May 24, 2007 04:33:36

Heidi posts about Cocos and Malpelo

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white-tip reef sharks feeding at night, cocos island

Heidi posted a very-detailed journal of our trip to Cocos and Malpelo islands. Check it out — you’ll feel like you were there.

Oakland, CA | link | trackb | 1 comment » | May 22, 2007 20:59:53

Jackjack @ 6 months, almost

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baby jack likes to eat things

I go from world traveler to surrogate dad overnight. (read more »)

Oakland, CA | link | trackb | 1 comment » | May 22, 2007 20:31:10

The Hamon Family

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the hamon family: shawna, marshall, and tim in piedmont

Shawna, Tim, and baby Marshall are in town for a bit, and I met up with them for an hour yesterday in between a meeting in San Mateo and a conference call at home.

I grew up next door to Shawna, and she was my best friend during a few years in elementary school. We moved away when I was in 6th grade, and the new owners painted the house salmon. Shawna said that it was knocked down recently and replaced with something much larger.

Also, guess which camera I used to take this photo. I dare you to.

Oakland, CA | link | trackb | no comments » | May 22, 2007 20:19:23

Exhibit Engine is ruining my website

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For a brief period of time, I used Exhibit Engine 1.5RC4 (a patched version). My EE database probably only has a few hundred images in it, but I have had to leave it online because the galleries of several trip reports live inside of it.

Over the past few weeks, someone has been crawling my EE galleries really aggressively, and mod_evasive either isn’t configured correctly, or isn’t catching the dozens of simultaneous connections the crawler is opening. Anyway, whenever it happens, it takes down all MySQL-based areas on my website (the journal, the flush forum, the guestbook, and the gallery itself), requiring a manual restart of the server.

Chris is going to make an attempt to upgrade EE to 2.02 (which finally came out late last year after YEARS of neglect), and if it doesn’t help, I’ll scrap the fucker.

Oakland, CA | link | trackb | 2 comments » | May 22, 2007 19:54:50

Captive shark had ‘virgin birth’, BBC reports

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Female Sphyrna lewini
before immaculate conception

Female hammerhead sharks can reproduce without having sex, scientists confirm.

“The evidence comes from a shark at Henry Doorly Zoo in Nebraska which gave birth to a pup in 2001 despite having had no contact with a male.

“Genetic tests by a team from Belfast, Nebraska and Florida prove conclusively the young animal possessed no paternal DNA, Biology Letters journal reports.

“The type of reproduction exhibited had been seen before in bony fish but never in cartilaginous fish such as sharks.” [full article] via Giles

Oakland, CA | link | trackb | 1 comment » | May 22, 2007 18:42:17

Swiss repellent

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(Written on 08 May 2007 – M/V Sea Hunter, Cocos) What is the most effective way to drive the affluent Swiss away from the dinner table? Serve hamburgers.

René was appalled when he saw burgers on the dinner menu. “Are we at MacDonald’s? Are we eating Big Macs?” I tried to explain (futilely) that a Big Mac was a specific product, and that not all hamburgers are Big Macs. He said that if the boat was serving “American” food, they should also serve fondue to appease the Swiss. I wish I had known what the equivalent of Big Macs are in the world of fondue… or in the world of wines.

Oakland, CA | link | trackb | no comments » | May 22, 2007 15:46:41

International discussions

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(Written on 06 May 2007 – M/V Sea Hunter, Malpelo Island) During my travels, I often end up at the dinner table with folks from an array of different countries. Inevitably, we end up discussing politics and the role of America in the world. I’ve spent a lot of time with Swiss folks (some of whom are good friends), and I’ve found political discussions with them to be particularly frustrating. I’ve noticed that everything is either extremely obvious or amazingly unbelievable; there is no middle ground. Certain comparisons between Switzerland, Europe and the United States are easy to make, but the issues must be comparable. I often hear, “in Switzerland/Europe, we do XXX. In the United States, you do XXX. It’s unbelievable!” (read more »)

Oakland, CA | link | trackb | 3 comments » | May 22, 2007 15:44:42

Rebuilding corrupted thumbnails in Aperture

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Although I am in general happy with Aperture these days, it has been driving me crazy for the past few days. My usual process of importing images involves dragging a folder or series of images into a project while holding down Command and Option, which triggers an import into the project by reference. I then create albums and drag the newly-imported images into them.

But… if I start adding images to albums too quickly (before the thumbnail creation is done), thumbnail references can become corrupted. (read more »)

Oakland, CA | link | trackb | 3 comments » | May 22, 2007 15:44:40

LifePixel infrared digital camera modification

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I just posted a review of a LifePixel-modified Canon 20D digital SLR.

In the review, I blab about my history with digital infrared imaging techniques, and then post a bunch of photos showing the performance of the modified camera. Those of you who dabble in infrared photography without a dedicated infrared camera will definitely be interested in the results.

LifePixel has a great 1-minute video on their website that details the difference between digital infrared imaging with a “stock”, consumer camera and one modified using their service.

Oakland, CA | link | trackb | no comments » | May 21, 2007 18:55:51
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