11 Oct

New ‘cron here!

Whoopee! My new Summicron arrived! Well, new to me.. from the serial number it was made in 1972. But Leica lenses just keep on trucking so it’s hardly used up yet! I have been wanting one for some months whilst I sold stuff on ebay to raise the cash and unsuccessfully bid on auctions. Problem is the autumn is here so opportunities for photos are diminished. But I will not be deflated.

Other than that I am bored, pretty sure I have a dodgy gall bladder, slowly getting out from under work and thinking that maybe it’s time to start travelling again..

06 Oct


My search for a defrag found Auslogics Disk Defrag. It’s freeware, looks and runs nicely. Seems to do only file fragmentation but that’ll be enough for many. Can’t see a scheduling option and there is no support so if there is a command line I can pop into the scheduler I don’t know it. Not bad but no cigar.

I then found Purple Parrot’s Defrag Timer which is a scheduler for the inbuilt Windows defrag tool. Nice idea, shareware and 19USD, which rules it out of my search but frankly is a great idea since most people never even know how to defrag, let alone how to make it happen weekly. I do suspect, though, that it may be possible to schedule the inbuilt Windows defrag tool, so I’ll look for that next.. and here it is, hidden in Microsoft’s webpages but as simple as pie: Scheduling Defragmentation in XP. So not even a pack of seeds, Mr Parrot.

Now, does that meet my needs? Disk defragmentation is in my OS as default, the scheduler is in there as default, with that page I can make it happen as a scheduled event. You know what, I think so.. anyone else got a better free solution?
…and here it is: a script that runs, checks and fixes your disk for errors and then defragments, all as a simple batch file you can download, now what is more simple, free and elegant than that? LifeHacker’s Self Reparing Hard Drive.

06 Oct

Defragging your hard drive and backing up

I’m having to use my Windows XP box for work, basically I need to use Dreamweaver for html coding and there’s no Linux version yet. NVU is a open source alternative and is quite powerful but not as much as Dreamweaver, and frankly: I haven’t learnt NVU yet!

So I have realised that my hard drive is as defragged as hell. I have an old copy of Norton Systemworks that will do it and schedule itself, but when I  re-installed Windows on this box I forgot to put it back on. My external hard drive is 48% fragmented! You can hear it scream when I try and write to it.  Now Windows can defrag a drive, (right click on the drive icon and look for tools) and it’s okay. It’s not the best though, in fact Norton may be (I think they wrote the Windows version) but I want to see what open source or freeware options there are.

I am also going to setup my scheduled backup routines, so I shall also try and find freeware or open source backup software for XP.

Both need to be free, and capable of being scheduled in the XP Schedule manager. Oh, and explain how to do it..

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04 Oct

Windows Security

I am using my Windows XP machine today, so an update on Windows security, viruses and spyware..

Do you use Grisoft‘s AVG Free Virus Checker? Ever wanted to have Winzip or WinRar check your zip files for viruses? Here’s how to do it: http://free.grisoft.com/doc/5487/lng/us/tpl/v5

I have used AVG for years and I also use the free version of ZoneAlarm as my firewall. If you install it pay attention to the options, don’t choose the Pro version in the install unless you want to pay for a more complex package. I am sure it’s good but with Free AVG, ZoneAlarm and Spybot you are quite well covered.

The key to keeping clean? Keep the updates coming and keep scanning. Or switch to Ubuntu!

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02 Oct

jUplodr for flickr and Linux

I am slowly and steadily moving my work and home from Windows to Ubuntu Linux. I have found alternatives to many things, and today I found a programme to upload to my flickr account.

Providing you have the official Sun Java 1.50  then  jUploadr  is a great upload tool for Linux, Windows and OS X. If you are using Ubuntu then I think it’s wise to run Automatix to ensure you have the correct java, although I may be wrong about that. It’s frankly silly not to run Automatix on any new Ubuntu install, so do it anyway! Here’s some advice on how to install it on Ubuntu (and most Linux distros), it’s very very simple:
“Extract the .tar.gz to a folder.
Open Terminal, cd to the folder.
Type “./juploadr”
That’s it. Presuming your Java is good, then you’re set.
Now, that should be enough information for you to add it to the Alacarte menu as well.”

01 Oct

Drugs and Gallstones and Cultigens

Well. Something new every day. I’ve been reading about Salvia divinorum, also known as Diviner’s Sage, Magic Mint, or Ska MarĂ­a Pastora. I thought I knew of most drugs, then a ‘new’ but really ‘old’ comes along. Fascinating, especially the cultigen and the hybrid bit. I didn’t know banana was a cultigen either, but that’s from later browsing. I think my ‘funny turns’ that led to hospital are gallstones. All the symptoms fit plus the radiologist who did my ultra sound in Feb said Ihad some. What I don’t get is why I can work this out and they can’t,but what the hell. I have just had 4 hours of intense pain (I now haveTramadol, codeine, paracetomol on board) so I shall get to the docs on Monday. God I hope they sort it out!

I went to do some photography today, but couldn’t quite find the ‘ruined castle’ look I wanted. Got a few shots of Hardwick Hall but I had setup all my cameras wrong. The Hall was shut so we had a cream tea (which might have triggered this gall stone attack) which was nice. Ann has been sad a lot these last two months but today she was simply happy. Shame it ended with her having to look after me whilst I was in pain and being sick.

30 Sep

Life and Liberty

Ann and I went to see The Queen starring  Helen Mirren. It’s about the week around Princess Diana’s death, and is in fact as much about Tony Blair as the Queen, but it is her reaction and emotions that are the key.  Mirren is as brilliant as ever, but the whole cast is excellent.  This  film will run perfectly well on a Friday night on TV (it’s made by UK TV company Granada) but  it also is a good watch at the cinema. I am now looking forward to seeing The Black Dahlia. This is a noir adaptation of James Ellroy’s novel about two 1940s L.A. cops who head up the hunt for the killer of starlet Elizabeth Short. I also want to see Children of Men which a dystopian future film with Clive Owen.

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28 Sep


Originally uploaded by f8125.

I just love the complexity of shape and tone and colour in this picture. Lovely lovely lovely.

15 Sep

Laputa: Castle in the Sky

I am watching, have almost watched, Laputa: Castle in the Sky from Studio Ghibli. Like Kiki’s Delivery Service and Princess Mononoke this is a delightful and charming  animation.  I watched all  three on Film Four, now blissfully free if you can stand advertisments, which I can.

I’ve been getting back a good collection of medium format slides and negatives back from my feast of using the Fuji GA645zi. There’s nothing as great as a lovely MF slide, that you can hold up to the window and appreciate. With my scanner I can get some lovely and far too huge scans.

I also got back the roll of 120 6×6 that I put through the Zeiss Nettar I bought for 10 GBP in Shrewsbury. The results are quite soft, but that has a certain charm and I think I shall be shooting a few more rolls through the sweet folding bellows baby. Pics on flickr to follow.

Other than that I’m as cranky as hell.

04 Sep


I have recently watched two Studio Ghibli anime films on FilmFour and have revised my dismissive view. Princess Mononoke is simply the most sublime fantasy cartoon I have ever seen. Kiki’s Delivery Service is charming and captures the feel of France in the 50s. I have Laputa’s Castle In the Air stacked up to watch too.

One of my favourite anime films is Metropolis, the Japanese one..
This also captures a Belgian animation feel and despite it’s dystopian underworld and Elyssian above world, doesn’t feel at all like a cyber or steam punk genre film (which it isn’t).

I have a rather up and down experience with anime. I loved Ninja Scroll, Ghost in the Shell and Akira, but there have been some very poor excuses for entertainment in between. It’s like a lot of niche genres, people get so excited that they lose all critical ability and recommend anything just because it’s Japanese and a cartoon for adults.

Which anime have you loved or hated?