Archive for September, 2008

Monday, September 29th 2008

Transcend 16 GB Compact Flash Failure

In the spring I bought a 16 GB Transcend Compact Flash card for my camera. I had some problems getting it formatted. But after I did manage to format it, it seemed to be working fine.

David Naylor and Jenny-Lyn Jacobson

Until our wedding day. I had lent my camera to Silvana who was doing most of the photography. Everything was working fine until after the ceremony. Suddenly the camera said Data Corrupted. The camera hung when you tried to view certain photos. She came over to me and we switched to one of my old memory cards.

I thought it was just one or two photos that were lost. As it turned out, I couldn’t get any photos off the card at all.

Viewing the card through Windows Explorer there were loads of files with seemingly random 09f2¤!”%-style filenames. The card size was suddenly claimed to be 248 GB (beat that Pretec). I could see many of the raw image files, but none of them were readable.

After doing a bit of hunting around I found Ahlberg Data in Stockholm. The website claimed that data almost always can be saved from hard drives and flash memory. So, hopeful, I sent them my card.

It turns out there’s a little processor in the card that deals with the communication between the flash memory units and and the camera/computer. This processor had probably been fried to quote the technician I spoke to. Which means that any data you get off the card will be complete gobbledygook.

So they couldn’t either get anything usable off the card.

You would have to open the card and read directly from the memory units. This would involve manual labour (don’t we all hate it!) and would be very expensive. Also, it would have to be done by a company called IBAS in Norway since Ahlberg Data themselves don’t have the right equipment.

But, he claimed, the Russians are building a machine that will be able to read directly from the memory units, bypassing the processor. (With less manual work required, if I got it right.) He said they are planning to buy one of these when they become available — possibly during the autumn.

Anyway, they were very kind and sent the card back without charging anything for the analysis (or postage). So now I have the unreadable card here, hoping that one day I will be able to salvage the photos from our wedding …

Let this be a lesson to anyone thinking of buying a cheap, large memory card. Please leave a comment if you have had similar problems, I’d be very interested to hear about them.

Monday, September 29th 2008

An Oak

18981 - 2008-09-28 kl 17.27

19006 - 2008-09-28 kl 17.40

19016 - 2008-09-28 kl 17.51

19018 - 2008-09-28 kl 17.53

Friday, September 26th 2008

Jettefånig rubrik

På DN.se i dag:

screenshot from dn.se

Tuesday, September 23rd 2008

Tones

XKCD nr 479

More great strips at XKCD.

Monday, September 22nd 2008

Red Currants

Red Currants (röda vinbär)

Red Currants (röda vinbär)

Red Currants (röda vinbär)

Monday, September 22nd 2008

Overexposed

Höstrudbeckia, Rudbeckia laciniata var. hortensia

I don’t normally like the look of overexposed photos but here I think it works really well.

Here’s the technically correct exposere. Much more dull.

Höstrudbeckia, Rudbeckia laciniata var. hortensia

Friday, September 19th 2008

Kissen

På allmän (Hannas) begäran, I give you: Wilma!

18843 - 2008-09-19 kl 15.41

En massa fler bilder finns här.

Wednesday, September 17th 2008

The crazy megapixel race is definitely on

A while back, it seemed as if the megapixel race between camera makers was cooling down and showing some sign of sense. Canon today announced the EOS 5D Mark II, with 21 megapixels.

I’d like to know, do any of the current lenses even come close to providing that kind of detail? I’d much prefer a 12 or 15 MP fullframe camera with super-low noise.

Tuesday, September 16th 2008

Flickr vs Picasa: The best of two worlds, please

I use Flickr for my photos. It’s great in many ways and gives me full control. I can use it both as an online backup and a simple way to show my photos. But it has one drawback:

It sucks for visitors.

What I mean is, it isn’t very easy to use if you’re not a Flickr user yourself. It takes a lot of thinking and guessing.

Screenshot of a photo on flickr

For instance…

  • Sets is not a very intuitive word for albums. Also, the difference between collections and sets is impossible to grasp at a glance.
  • Just something as simple as navigating between photos in a set is unintuitive. Make nice arrows over, or instead of, the navigation thumbnails to the right. Give the user a sense of direction.
  • Why not have the Sets page as the default? Make the photostream an alternative.
  • A set shows tiny, cropped thumbnails by default. There is a Detail page for sets which is much better – make this the default.
  • Commenting on a photo requires that you’re a member. My family shouldn’t have to become Flickr members just to comment on my photos.
  • Flickr is slow! Photos should be preloaded like they are on Picasa. Also, some AJAX wizardry to make better use of the screen would be nice. (The world has moved on from 800×600 screens.)

Picasa, on the other hand, get’s quite a few of these things right.

Screenshot of a Picasa gallery

I guess user interfaces (or the lack of them) are Google’s forte:

  • Clear arrows for navigating between photos.
  • Albums are the first thing a visitor sees.
  • Large, good-looking photos. (Admittedly, Flickr photos look superb, they’re just a bit small.)
  • Thumbnails in albums are not cropped to squares. And the viewer can easily change their size.

At the same time, I don’t want to have to put photos into sets or albums, as one does with Picasa.

So here’s my appeal to Flickr and Picasa: I’d like the Flickr developers to make navigation easier and faster for viewers. And Picasa, get working on the power stuff that Flickr has. I’m thinking of things like the organizer (which is only second to Lightroom when it comes to … organizing).

I’d prefer it if Flickr made the move though, so I don’t have to upload all my photos to Picasa… 🙂

Tuesday, September 16th 2008

IE8 and max-width

Internet Explorer 8 beta 2 is behaving pretty strange when it comes to max-width. (And min-width?) It seems to cope with it sometimes, and sometimes not.

It passes the Acid2 test (which tests both min/max width/height). It also seems to cope perfectly well with this test page.

So why doesn’t it cope with the max-width rule I have in the CSS of this blog? I haven’t managed to work it out anyway. IE8 b2 doesn’t obey my rule that says paragraphs should be a maximum of 30 em units wide.

I have tried debugging the behaviour by changing various factors in the stylesheets but nothing seems to help. If anyone happens to know about this bug, please leave a comment.

Edit: I finally found the reason for max-width not working. This blog used the XHTML strict doctype which IE8 doesn’t understand. Now I have changed it for the HTML 5 doctype and it works beautifully.

Tuesday, September 16th 2008

Fun with CSS

A few days ago I sat down and played around a bit with CSS text-shadows on my blog.

Here’s what I ended up with. It will be visible if you’re using Safari 3+, Opera 9.5+ or Firefox 3.1+:

Screenshot of my blogs title in Firefox 3.1 alpha 2

Here’s the code I used to get this effect:

text-shadow: 0 0 0.45em #fff;

… Which can be interpreted as… Create a shadow 0 distance to the right and 0 distance below the text. Blur it 0.45 m lengths and make it white.

Now, if this had been 1998, I would have applied several shadows (yes, that’s possible too, for some crazy reason) to all the text. It would have looked cool, for about six seconds, at which point you would begin to feel sick.

Since this is 2008 and I’d prefer to keep the few readers I have, I’ll just leave it at the white glow effect on the title.

Writing this post, I also decided to ditch the semi-transparent PNG image I have used for the hovered links. Instead I replaced it with a semi-transparent CSS3 colour:

background-color: rgba(255,255,255,0.30);

… Which means … Make the background colour white, but make it only 30% visible.

This is what the title looks like in Safari 3 and Firefox 3 when hovered:

Screenshot of my blog title hovered

No images, just some simple CSS code, er, baby! (Well, the N in the background is still an image, I’ll maybe get to changing that some day as well.)

You can read more about transparent colours here. And about text shadows here.

Edit: Well, as you may have worked out, I have also set a border radius for the light hover background:

-moz-border-radius: 0.5em;
-webkit-border-radius: 0.5em;
border-radius: 0.5em;

Since the standard isn’t finalized, the browsers have their own prefixes for this setting.

Rounded corners look best in Firefox 3 (smooth!) but also work in Safari 3. Read more here.

Tuesday, September 16th 2008

Mer svamp

I dag tog jag en ny sväng ut i Kronskogen och hittade några fler svampar. Denna gång utrustad med en plastpåse för att kunna gå ner på knä i mossan utan att bli blöt. (Alternativt för att slippa gå ner i 80-procentig split över kameran på ministativet för att kika in i sökaren uppifrån och upp-och-ner.)

18831 - Old look

Har skapat ett recept i Lightroom för detta lite ålderdomliga utseende. Gillar det skarpt, även om jag säger det själv.

18841 - Old look

Alla svampbilder finns i en samling på mitt Flickr-konto.

Edit: Här är en till bild som jag gillade från expeditionen:

18822 - 2008-09-15 kl 12.26

Min klasskompis från Sundsvall Emma har på nolltid utvecklats till en grym fotograf. (Kanske har hon alltid varit det?) Dagens favoriter var dessa två tre.

Friday, September 12th 2008

Svamp

Var ute i Kronskogen i går i jakt på svampar. Hittade inte så jättemånga fina men några iaf:

18787 - Old look

18804 - Old look

18798 - Old look

Friday, September 5th 2008

Sold my second photo

Yesterday I sold my second photo. Out of nowhere I was contacted by a small Swedish publishing firm called Eddy. They wondered if they could use this photo for the cover of a book about ethics in journalism:

07656 - 2007-02-15 kl 15.56

So we agreed on a price and that I would tweak it a bit before I sent it. Here’s the version I sent them:

07656 - 2007-02-15 kl 15.56

I charged them a bit less than I did Länstidningen last time, since they are only printing 500 copies of the book. They said they would send me a couple of copies too.

The funny thing is, I took the photo last year at my journalism course for a book we were making, on exactly the same theme. (I don’t remember if we used it though.)

Friday, September 5th 2008

Nice, Google

This is just what I was hoping for. Google is promoting their new web browser Chrome on google.com:

Screenshot of Google.com with Chrome promotion

This should hopefully get a heap of IE users to switch over. What a smack in the face for Microsoft. Just out of nowhere Google releases a browser and then they start pushing it on the most visited page in the world… Me smiles.

Tuesday, September 2nd 2008

New Web Browser: Google Chrome

This morning I was very surprised to read that Google was just about to launch their own web browser: Google Chrome.

First impressions

Just now it went online so I went and downloaded it right away. First impressions are that it seems pretty solid. Not at all buggy, as the 0.2.149.27 version number would suggest. And I really like the way it looks, very sleek.

It feels like a mix of all the other browsers:

  • The blue look from Internet Explorer (but nicer!)
  • Tab layout from Opera
  • Speed-dial feature from Opera. (Though I don’t know if Opera’s speed dial is automatic?)
  • Password saving (info-bar style) from Firefox 3
  • User interface simplicity à la Safari
  • Smart location bar à la Firefox 3, recently also copied by IE8 beta 2
  • Hidden/minimized menus like IE8
  • New tab button like IE8
  • Private browsing, implemented just like IE8. (Safari had it first though.)
  • Find in page similar to Firefox. (Also copied by IE8)

Also, it copes with the Acid 2 test. (The Acid 3 test seems to have taken a dive, presumably from all the geeks hammering it with Chrome.)

Meanwhile, it’s kind of hard to say exactly what is unique about this browser. It has plenty of neat features under the hood, but not many that are obvious to the user.

I guess the main selling point is the extreme simplicity of the browser. It feels very easy to use and is very easy on the eyes. For instance, there are no menus, just two buttons over to the right (like in IE7 & 8). The theme is very smooth and feels physically light.

But I’m thinking this browser will need quite a marketing push from Google to get out to the masses, even if it is a very good browser. Beacause, by now, most people already have their favourite.

Anyway, as many others have already said: The more the merrier in the browser wars.