April 27, 2014

Lovely Walk Along Spanish Banks, Vancouver

Yumi and I took advantage of the sunshine to take a walk along Spanish Banks beach in Vancouver today.

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Posted by Paul at 06:10 PM

April 24, 2014

Set Up CamRanger Today

I set up my new CamRanger today. Took about five minutes following the clear instructions. I can now see what my Nikon DSLR is seeing, and control all its settings and focus, etc., wirelessly with my iPod from up to 150 feet away.

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Here you can see how the iPod accesses the CamRanger WiFi signal. The CamRanger is plugged into the DSLR's USB port. All of the camera settings can be wirelessly manipulated with the iPod (or iPad or Android device. There are also apps for Macs and a beta for Windows).

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Here you can see the iPod viewing what the DSLR is viewing. Cool!

Posted by Paul at 04:54 PM

Wild Salmon Appear to Come Last in DFO Mission Statement

Hmm, was reading the Department of Fisheries and Oceans "Mission, Vision and Values" webpage today and found that

The Department:

supports strong economic growth in our marine and fisheries sectors by supporting exports and advancing safe maritime trade;

supports innovation through research in expanding sectors such as aquaculture and biotechnology; and

contributes to a clean and healthy environment and sustainable aquatic ecosystems through habitat protection, oceans management, and ecosystems research

So where would wild Pacific salmon fit on that list, which I presume is prioritized? Wild fish appear to come dead, no pun intended, last. . .

Posted by Paul at 01:10 PM

April 23, 2014

Last Year with City of Burnaby Environment Committee

Had an excellent meeting late this afternoon with other citizen representatives on the City of Burnaby Environment Committee. It's hard to believe that we've been serving for nearly six years, and that our re-extended terms end this year. Great group of folks, both volunteers and staff. I'm sure we'll be seeing each other around the community, but I'm going to miss meeting you regularly!

Posted by Paul at 08:17 PM

April 22, 2014

CamRanger Arrived Today

I ordered a CamRanger wireless camera control unit a week or so ago, and it arrived today. Too late to play with it, just plug in the battery and get it charged up for upcoming adventures.

What's a CamRanger?

It's a small wireless device that plugs into many models of Nikon and Canon DSLRs, and enables remote control of most camera functions via a smartphone or tablet. Cool!

It's been highly recommended by several photo mags for closeup and nature photography.

It also functions as an intervalometer, so it will be fun to play with blossoming flowers, growing plants, etc.

Posted by Paul at 09:13 PM

April 21, 2014

Power Washing Away the Holiday

So in my wife's religion, holidays were created for men to do chores around the house. Today was about four hours of power washing -- the deck, the driveway, the concrete paths fronting our townhouse. . . Power washing is numbingly boring, while being an excellent activity to strain one's lower back.

(But power washing with plain water is much more environmentally friendly than using some caustic chemical to remove mold -- remember all the draining water, and anything in it, is going into drains that go directly into our local creeks.)

Alas, though boring, power washing is not something to be done mindlessly. When you've got somewhere around 900 - 1,000 psi coming out of that wand, there's a fine line between removing dirt, stains, and mold, and doing damage.

Toward the end of the project, the instigator decided she wanted to try, so while she finished the walkway, I went to buy a well-deserved six-pack of beer. When I got back, she was "done," and I put the gear away and rolled up the hoses. Only to look out an upstairs window as I was getting ready to shower, and saw that a certain portion of the walk looked like a zebra that had been rolling in mud. : -)

Hmm. Methinks I'll have to do some touchup tomorrow, and she's fine with that. It takes at least a time or two to learn anything new, eh?

Posted by Paul at 07:19 PM

April 19, 2014

OK, Windows Live Writer 2012 Connects to My Blog

Now, how about photos?

Some time ago, the previous version of Live Writer stopped posting photos to my blog.

Let's try one of a sun dog seen in North Vancouver the other day.

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Yee Hawwww. Back in business. : -)

Posted by Paul at 08:02 PM

Just Updated Win 7 Box to Windows Live Writer 2012

I just updated my Windows Live Writer to the 2012 version.

Test.

Let's see how it goes.

Posted by Paul at 07:59 PM

Installed Rocksmith 2014

I played some guitar as a kid, and then left all instruments untouched for over 25 years. Not too long ago I decided to start playing a bit again, spurred on by the purchase of a lovely Taylor 214CE at a great discount at Tom Lee Music.

I still have all my old guitar books, and today I installed Rocksmith 2014 on my Windows 7 box. I plugged in my old Telecaster (happy I never sold it!), and tried out the "game" er "teaching method" a bit this evening.

My initial impression is that it will take me awhile to get used to it. I've never been a gamer to begin with, so not sure how I will react to the game format. But anything is more exciting than all those old books : -).

And anything that gets a guitar into my hands to actually practice is good, eh?

Posted by Paul at 07:18 PM

April 18, 2014

Getting Increasingly Frustrated with Aging Windows 7 Box

I've been getting frustrated with my Windows 7 box over the last few months. It seems to be slowing. I bought the current tower about 5-1/2 years ago, which means it's approaching senior status in computer years : - )

Computers tend to slow over the years as the programs and data pile up, and despite good care and attention, eventually one has to upgrade.

I've upgraded the box to two larger HDs over the years, a primary 1.5TB and a secondary 2TB, but the other specs have stayed the same.

It's the system RAM, at 6 GB, that's one factor in this machine starting to feel cramped and slow, and with a maximum configuration of 8GB for this motherboard, I don't think adding 2 GB will make a huge difference. The other factor is the 512 MB video card. That's also constraining my photo and video work.

I bought a refurbished Mac Mini about half a year ago, and topped it up to 16 GB of RAM, and it blasts through stuff. So I think there will be a new Windows 8.1 box in my not-too-distant future, with a state-of-the-art processor, at least 16 GB of RAM, and likely dual 4 TB HDs.

Posted by Paul at 07:51 PM

April 14, 2014

Byrne Creek Fish Trapping Results Best Ever

Volunteers with the Byrne Creek Streamkeepers in SE Burnaby trap fish twice a year to see what's living in the creek. Please note that this trapping is done with the permission of Fisheries and Oceans Canada, and all fish are released unharmed.

The trapping this year was done over the April 12 - 13 weekend. Streamkeepers were happy to enumerate a record number of fish in 12 traps: 87 juvenile fish in total, with 82 cutthroat trout and 5 coho. All traps in the 12 locations had fish.

This is great news, for Byrne Creek has seen many fish kills over the years from pollutants entering storm drains. Fortunately, we haven't had a kill for several years now, knock on wood, and these results bear that out.

Posted by Paul at 06:40 PM

April 06, 2014

Ah, Those Self-Centered, Insipid Singers and Musicians

Ah, those self-centered, insipid singers and musicians:

I ran across a tiny book among my late Mom's belongings called How to Teach Yourself to Sing by Thelma Spear. It's "Little Blue Book No. 1049".

The copyright is 1911, so expired.The writing is so much fun : -) !

"The student of singing, more than the student of any other art, is in danger of one-sidedness and thus of an impoverishment of his human worth and personality, which, in turn, makes it forever impossible for him to interpret adequately the very masterpieces toward which he should aspire. Above all, then, cultivate your other gifts, not only that you may have an avocation to fall back on, if your vocation should fail you, but that you may give a creature worthy of it to your art.

"Why is it that the singer is considered self-centered and insipid by other musicians? Again, why is it unhappily true that the musician can rarely hold his own intellectually among, say, literary artists? Because both singers and musicians are apt to cultivate their special gifts and studies too exclusively. I do not, of course, plead for an empty or superficial dilettantism. But even as the artist in other fields turns to music for relaxation, so should the musician turn to literature, painting and sculpture for his refreshment, never forgetting that all true appreciation involves intelligent study..."

Posted by Paul at 08:30 PM

April 05, 2014

Took the Plunge, Signed up for MS Office 365

For some reason I had not been happy when Microsoft began moving toward providing software applications by subscription. I'd already bitten the annual subscription bullet with Adobe Creative Cloud, but I just don't see huge changes between iterations of Office apps.

Today I took a closer look at Office 365 for Small Business Premium, and I changed my mind. It's actually a good deal.

For C$159 + tax/year, you get 5 installations of the main Office apps on Windows and Mac boxes, plus 5 installations on tablets. With my main Windows 7 tower, a Windows 7 notebook, and a Mac Mini, that's three installs already.

And the subscription method also means that you're always being automatically updated to new versions of the applications, along with security updates.

Not to mention the ability to access the Office apps online through a browser, and share docs in the cloud. I've already got Dropbox and Google Drive for cloud sharing, but more space is always welcome.

You can now count me among the converted.

Posted by Paul at 08:08 PM

April 03, 2014

Culling Books, Buying New Kindle

Inspired by several folks who have switched nearly 100% to eReaders, I shall set myself a challenge/reward. A new Kindle Paperwhite goes for C$139. When I choose 139 books in my overcrowded office to donate, and actually drop them off at a selected charity, I shall reward myself with a new Kindle to replace the ancient, 1st-gen 6-incher that I rarely use anymore because the battery is on its last legs.

Several hours later: the car is loaded with exactly 139 books to donate : -)

I have to admit that this book-lover feels relief. I was becoming seriously overcrowded in my office, and the family was not into allowing more shelves to be installed in other parts of the home! I should probably donate another several hundred books. . .

Years ago I did a massive cull. I donated somewhere around 400-500 books to local charities. The bulk was from my collection of Soviet and Eastern European tomes. Dry, sad, violent stuff. At one point in my life I was leaning toward becoming a Kremlinologist, but with the (thankful) collapse of the USSR, that seemed moot.

But I wonder, now, with the rise of a new Russian Empire, built, and incorporating the worst of previous regimes. Perhaps I should have held on to those books. . .

Posted by Paul at 09:22 PM

April 02, 2014

Why, Oh Why, do software installs on Windows still require reboots?

I'm in the midst of installing TurboTax 2013 on my Windows 7 box. The install went fine until we got to the point of updating the software online, which for some damn reason, required a reboot after the TT files were updated.

I don't know if this is a Microsoft issue or an Intuit issue, or both, but you'd think that after decades of use, they'd have figured out a way to do this without rebooting.

Rebooting is a pain in the ass. I keep upward of a dozen programs up and running all the time. To go through a reboot takes close to ten minutes, if not longer, to shut everything down, and then get everything back where I left off.

Posted by Paul at 02:30 PM | TrackBack