Archive for 2007

CompactFlash Recovery!

Saturday, December 15th, 2007

So I’ve recently had some issues with compactflash cards reading as corrupt after putting them in the reader. Sometimes one file will read bad, or an entire folder. I’ve purchased new cards, and I’m beginning to wonder if it’s the camera (yike$$$!).

Anyhow, after taking numerous shots of our church’s Christmas pageant dress rehearsal today, I got home and only 6 pictures downloaded from the card. I was not a happy camper. I put the card back into the camera and it could see more pictures, but all the readers I tried in the house (and direct download from the camera via USB) denied that the images were there (or said the folder was corrupt).

So I searched for CompactFlash (or flash media in general) recovery tools and found this little gem:
Convar & PCinspector Data Recovery

It gets the Schierer software seal of approval for satisfying three vital categories:

  1. It’s free. I don’t know what their angle is but there was no registration or $$$ required.
  2. It’s small/simple. A 6MB download and a simple but straightforward user interface.
  3. It worked. The most important category. Not only did it recover many of the files I was missing from today, it successfully recovered files from several deletions ago. I’m generally in the habit of “formatting” the card with the camera when I’ve downloaded all of the images. These files were deleted, and the card formatted several times*. They recovered without issue (raw image data and embedded metadata intact!). I shoot in RAW+JPG(small) mode, and in a second pass, it is also recovering the JPG files. Nice!

My only minus is it is rather slow, but it’s reading the entire card at a relatively low (sector by sector) mode. Perhaps it would be faster in a faster card reader, but I’m willing to wait for this data miracle of Christmas (no unhappy kids hoping to see their pictures).

* Let this also be a lesson to those of you who are security or privacy prone. The only way to erase data from these cards (or hard disks) is to A) Over-write them with 1’s. B) Over-write them with 0’s. C) Repeat many times (the DOD says 7-12 times). D) Grind them into a powder E) Incinerate the powder F) Distribute the ashes from a high-flying aircraft.

Nate’s fashion statement

Friday, December 14th, 2007

Today Nate declared that pants are not required if you’re wearing your winter hat.
Nate's Fashion Statement

He would not allow me to put his pants back on after I changes his diaper this afternoon.

UML: Ultra Muddy Language?

Friday, December 14th, 2007

As an engineer, I am shamed to admit that I was just overwhelmed by technobabble in this Wikipedia article about UML:

“UML is officially defined at the Object Management Group (OMG) by the UML metamodel, a Meta-Object Facility metamodel (MOF). Like other MOF-based specifications, the UML metamodel and UML models may be serialized in XML.”

Wha?

Right Brain vs Left Brain

Friday, December 14th, 2007

Obviously the risk of taking an online quiz is that the quiz is bupkis, which is sort-of what I’m wondering after this Right Brain vs Left Brain Quiz.

I rather surprisingly resulted in the following result:

Thank you for taking the Creativity Test. The results show your brain dominance as being:

Left Brain 40%
Right Brain 60%

You are more right-brained than left-brained. The right side of your brain controls the left side of your body. In addition to being known as right-brained, you are also known as a creative thinker who uses feeling and intuition to gather information. You retain this information through the use of images and patterns. You are able to visualize the “whole” picture first, and then work backwards to put the pieces together to create the “whole” picture. Your thought process can appear quite illogical and meandering. The problem-solving techniques that you use involve free association, which is often very innovative and creative. The routes taken to arrive at your conclusions are completely opposite to what a left-brained person would be accustomed. You probably find it easy to express yourself using art, dance, or music. Some occupations usually held by a right-brained person are forest ranger, athlete, beautician, actor/actress, craftsman, and artist.

Yes, that’s right: “forest ranger, athlete, beautician, actor/actress, craftsman, and artist“. This is a test from the Art Institute of Vancouver, perhaps they have a bias towards encouraging people to become artistic forest rangers.

Reading on, this becomes a bit easier for me to match up with my own self awareness:

Your Left Brain Percentages
53% Linear (Your most dominant characteristic)
40% Reality-based

18% Sequential
17% Symbolic
17% Logical
7% Verbal (Your least dominant characteristic)

Your Right Brain Percentages
57% Fantasy-oriented (Your most dominant characteristic)
45% Random
42% Holistic
37% Concrete

24% Intuitive
13% Nonverbal (Your least dominant characteristic)

The bold line items (emphasis mine) would seem to be the dominant terms, with “Linear and Realty Based” being somewhat contradictory to “Fantasy-oriented, Random & Holistic”. Wow. I’m messed up.

I do like to organize things carefully and research the facts and then pick instinctively amongst the results based on a sort-of intuition. I admit that I often make decisions this way, and yet, I’ve learned to trust this answer as the result of some instinctive “reality based” decision process.

Is this a rationalization? Probably…. at least that’s my gut reaction.

UFO spotted! (probably a satellite)

Monday, December 10th, 2007

Well technically it is a UFO, at the moment, by I don’t mean to imply it is alien in origin. After getting home this evening, I walked out in the driveway to look at the stars. It’s the first clear night in a while, and I’m prone to doing this sort-of thing. Anyhow, I looked up and saw this:
Satellite Outburst?

“How could a comet that obvious not already be reported?” I was thinking. I monitor all sorts of sites for things like this. Anyhow, I snagged the camera and snapped some quick shots. I’ve learned that sometimes things are best captured quickly and analyzed later!

Eventually I got out my telescope and could clearly see an object moving with the cloud but slightly separated. You can see this object as a track in the images due to the long exposure. Zooming in, multiple objects can be seen. I spotted two for sure, but I swear I saw flashes in the vicinity both naked eye and with the telescope. I’m guessing either a staging event (Geo insertion possibly), a fuel dump, or possibly a collision or break-up event.

I’ve cross posted to SpaceWeather.com for help identifying this apparition.

Zoom of Satellite Outburst

Update: I’m featured on the front page of SpaceWeather again! The quote and attributions are horribly scrambled, but that is my image (as you can see above). Correct quote below…

I spotted this naked eye object and wondered how such a bright comet could have been missed! Further observing (including these images) shows that this object is moving somewhat rapidly relative to the background stars. The plume was triangular (like a classic comet tail) to the naked eye. The motion has widened it. Two object trails are also visible. Perhaps a satellite explosion or staging event? The motion was basically eastward. With some time I could locate the star field to give somewhat accurate coordinates, but I wanted to get the picture up.

Update 2: SpaceWeather has identified this as:

…fuel dumped from the upper stage of an Atlas rocket that launched a classified satellite into orbit for the National Reconnaissance Office earlier this evening. It was a splendid display, now faded away.

Update 3: SpaceWeather has the quotes pretty much repaired now. Kudos to the webmaster for multiple quick response! More images in our Spacecraft Gallery.

Ninja Public Radio?

Wednesday, December 5th, 2007

NPR now separates itself further from most conventional news media outlets by allowing the Ask A Ninja ninja to comment on the writer’s strike because today is (apparently) Ninja Day.

Obviously it was audio only (and slightly edited) on All Things Considered

here’s my crew

Monday, December 3rd, 2007
Which sci-fi crew would you best fit in with? (pics)
created with QuizFarm.com
You scored as Serenity (Firefly)

You like to live your own way and don’t enjoy when anyone but a friend tries to tell you should do different. Now if only the Reavers would quit trying to skin you.

Serenity (Firefly)

75%

Heart of Gold (Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy)

69%

Deep Space Nine (Star Trek)

69%

Millennium Falcon (Star Wars)

69%

SG-1 (Stargate)

63%

Moya (Farscape)

63%

Galactica (Battlestar: Galactica)

56%

Andromeda Ascendant (Andromeda)

56%

Enterprise D (Star Trek)

56%

FBI’s X-Files Division (The X-Files)

50%

Babylon 5 (Babylon 5)

50%

Nebuchadnezzar (The Matrix)

44%

Bebop (Cowboy Bebop)

44%

Sci-Fi Crew For You?

Monday, December 3rd, 2007

Toss of the tea cup to Luke for this quiz:

Not that this comes as a shocker, but apparently I belong on the Heart of Gold.

Which crew do you belong on? I’m somewhat pleased that something I’d never read or watched didn’t end up on top. I guess I’ll have to look into Farscape.

Which sci-fi crew would you best fit in with? (pics)
created with QuizFarm.com
You scored as Heart of Gold (Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy)

You are a light and humorous person. No one can help but to smile to your wit. Now if only the improbability

drive would stop turning you into weird stuff.

Heart of Gold (Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy)

88%

Moya (Farscape)

81%

Millennium Falcon (Star Wars)

81%

Serenity (Firefly)

75%

Deep Space Nine (Star Trek)

63%

Galactica (Battlestar: Galactica)

56%

SG-1 (Stargate)

50%

Nebuchadnezzar (The Matrix)

44%

Andromeda Ascendant (Andromeda)

44%

Babylon 5 (Babylon 5)

44%

Bebop (Cowboy Bebop)

38%

FBI’s X-Files Division (The X-Files)

31%

Enterprise D (Star Trek)

25%

Health Kick?

Monday, December 3rd, 2007

So I’ve observed a trend in my peer group (and probably quite a few of the folks who read this blog) towards increasingly severe acts* of vigorous exercise. I have begun pondering whether this is a Generation X response to midlife crisis in our own married-late, parent-late way. Or perhaps do we have better things to spend our DINK** incomes on than flashy cars to attract younger mates, so instead we invest in our own attempt at youthful immortality?

In any case, my pondering in this direction was further reinforced by a single sheet of paper posted in the restrooms at my employer (the local sponsored gym puts them up to remind us computer geeks to get healthy). I cannot quote the “Factoid” directly, but a paraphrase will do:

For every hour of vigorous exercise, life expectancy increases by two hours.

Huh. So of course I was forced to find some online reference to verify this claim. The closest to a real attribution came from this wellness presentation from Weber State University. This presentation says:

Dr. Paffenbarger conducted a study on 16,000 Harvard alumni. His research showed that the alumni who exercised regularly had only half the death rate from heart disease compared to those who never exercised. He also determined that, on the average, for every hour you exercise, life expectancy was increased by two hours. Exercise is certainly a good investment in time and health!

A further search revealed this citation: Hsieh Cc (1986) Physical activity, all-cause mortality, and longevity of college alumni, RS Paffenberger Jr, RT Hyde, AL Wing – N Engl J Med

Ok, so we’ll assumer the claim is at least based by research, but what I don’t get is why this should encourage me to exercise. “What!?” you say, “Why wouldn’t you want to live longer?” Let’s think about this for a moment…

So if I spend an hour of my current good health exercising (vigorously!), some great actuarial table in the sky will add two statistical hours to the end of my existence. Nice, one hour makes up for the hour I spent exercising so we break even, and then I get an hour to do with as I please. But wait… if I would have just spent that middle-aged hour doing something I wanted to do… I pretty much break even, right!? Only NOW I get to spend that hour in the prime of my life (or shortly thereafter) rather than having an extra hour of old age. Hmmm… makes you think doesn’t it. I suppose to be fair, if vigorous exercise is actually FUN to you… then maybe this is a different story. Of course, if it IS, then you don’t really need the extra hour incentive, because your FUN past time would be the (vigorous!) exercise.

* Lest I be blamed that this is some accusation of sadism on the part of my friends, let me refer you to definition 6 on dictionary.com: 6. difficult to endure, perform, fulfill, etc.: a severe test of his powers.
** Of course I no longer fit in this category, but many of my contemporaries do. K&I have joined the ranks of the SIOKs (which has a nice Dr.Who sound to it when pronounced with two syllables).

Weirdest Online Quiz Ever

Saturday, December 1st, 2007

Toss of the bit bucket to Sis.

I agree. This is the weirdest (yet strangely compelling) online quiz ever. (I got 6 out of 10, I was 5 for 5 then went quickly downhill.) Can you tell the difference between computer language inventors and serial killers? Try it.