Welcome to Cor & Julie's journal

A macboy now? (Computers)

Julie got me a new MacBook Pro for my birthday.  I’ve been thinking about getting one for a long time, so it was a nice surprise. I’ve used apple before a few years ago, when I bought a G4 Powerbook. I never really got used to it because it was missing too many small apps that are a dime a dozen on Windows.  But,  things change, so i’ll give it another go. I’ll probably do another post in a few weeks to see how things are going.

My first Facebook application (Computers, Diving, Photography)

At wetpixel.com, where I am a co-admin, there is a weekly contest called ‘Photo of the Week‘. Every wetpixel community member can upload some images, and everyone can vote for the winner. This is producing some incredible photo’s, and over the year a set of images that can rival almost anything out there. To increase the exposure of these images I have created a Facebook application called ‘Underwater Photo Of The Week’. It lets you add the POTW to your profile, and lets you see all the previous winners.  Now potentially millions of people can see these amazing photo’s straight from Facebook.

I’ve also made a WordPress widget, which allows people running WordPress to add the POTW to their blog. You can see that in action in our own journal.

Tools used in our website (Computers)

I get quite a few emails asking me how our website has been built. Most of these questions come through Gallery where our website has been voted one of the top example sites for the last few years. People seem to think it’s just a matter of downloading some theme, which is unfortunately not the case. So it may be interesting to explain what components make up our website. Continue reading for the full post. More »

I need a new hobby (Computers, Rants)

Im really getting tired of all these computer related problems. There was a time in my life where I got a kick out of looking at insides of computers, but after a few thousand of those, I now just want things to work, and work well. I have a low tolerance for crappy hardware or software.

First, I got a new machine. It’s so new, fast and shiny, it needs Vista to run. Which it did ok for the first few hours, until i realised it didnt let me add my external 2TB sata disk, which contain all my images. I spent literally days on this crap, but in the end I gave up. I switched out my 2TB raid with Julie’s 1TB raid, and now it’s happy. And ofcourse XP has no problem with the 2TB one.  If that weren’t enough, I added 2  internal sata disks as well, which worked fine for about a day, until after one reboot they just went *POOF*, gone. They were visible in the bios, but Vista hated them or something. Maybe they were made by a competitor it didnt like. I spent a few hours on it, but I ended up reverting to a previous state of my machine which fixed the problem. How can you lose harddisks?!? That is like last century technology and Vista still doesnt get it right.

Then, Lightroom brought out version 1.3 of their awesome software. Unfortunately, instead of improving things, it made everything super slow for me. I dont really like posting in the Adobe Lightroom forums because some of the regulars there should really be kept away from other people, but I had to bite the bullet and posted my findings. A feature Adobe expanded (Camera Raw Caching) was obviously causing major slowdown on my Vista machine, and I posted pages of proof. I think they started to believe me after I posted some video of the problem, and how to make it go away (make the cache read-only). Lots of other people seem to be having slowdown problems, so I hope LR gets fixed soon.  It’s by far the best piece of software that I have used in the last few years, and I would still recommend it to anyone.

Why can’t I just have a few weeks without problems.

Dell messed up, or how to lose a day out of your life. (Computers, Rants)

Yesterday a very helpful Dell employee came to my house to replace my XPS700 motherboard with an XPS720. This was a free upgrade that Dell started to provide XPS700 owners with a better upgrade path for additional hardware. I also ordered a Quad Core CPU with it, which came with a 25% discount. Pretty cool deal.

After about an hour, the guy leaves, and it looks like I have a working system again. That is, until after another hour or so I notice a new hard disk I didnt have before. I immediately knew what happened. He had rebooted the machine without configuring the raid controller on the new board. My boot disk is actually a raid1/mirror and you need to tell the new raid controller that. Instead, it booted with 2 separate identical drives. Ofcourse, after the initial boot these 2 drives can no longer be seen as identical and I was unable to recreate the raid1 volume.

So you think.. no problem. I take the C drive and make that the first drive in a new raid1 volume. That worked. Now I had a degraded raid 1 volume which was missing its second drive. Good, i have the second drive, so now I can add the second drive and tell the raid controller to rebuild the raid volume. Right? Wrong! More »

Integrating Lightroom with SmugMug (Computers, Photography)

In the last few weeks i’ve started using Lightroom and have really come to like it. It’s a perfect (ok, not really perfect) mix of editing and management that really improves my workflow and thus my time spent in boring work (ie: not taking photos). One thing that bugged me was that it was such a hassle to get photos out of Lightroom and into my online image hosting site that part of our website works on.

That is, until I found the Post Processing options in Lightroom, and the easy way it allows you to hook in internal tools into Lightroom when you export images from your Lightroom Library. I’ve written a HowTo on the SmugMug support site explaining how to integrate Lightroom with SmugMug.

Bought a new 2TB eSATA harddisk (Computers)

I’ve been really happy with my 1TB eSATA 2BIG drive from LaCie, so when I noticed they have a 2TB version I couldn’t resist buying it too. I’ll be using it to do all of our primary backups.

We use a 3 layer system for our digital assets (photo’s, music, video..).

  1. Our originals are on a 1TB 2BIG eSATA drive. These are networked to several other machines in case we’re working on one of them.
  2. I make automatic backups to a backup drive. As of today that’s a 2TB 2BIG eSATA drive. I also backup our music to this drive.
  3. Once every month or so I make a backup of the backup and bring that to my office. This is to prevent loss due to theft or fire, the most likely causes of image loss.

The only thing that bugs me is that under Windows XP the access to these drives on a networked computer is really slow. I can make it a bit faster by assigning a drive letter on the networked machine but it’s still slow. On the main desktop though these disks are lightning fast!

Changed to WordPress (Computers)

I changed our online journal from a home made system based on MySQL to WordPress. I have been meaning to use some kind of open source software instead of my own, but always feared I was not going to be able to fit it in our design. That fear seemed to have been unnecessary, WordPress was a breeze to install, but more important, a breeze to theme. I created a theme to fit our own design in less than a day.

It should be a lot easier now to maintain an active journal, so keep watching this space.