When I first started dabbling in woodworking at the age of 15, the only tool I
used to cut wood was an old, rusted woodsaw. Every cut would start straight
and true, but as I’d push the saw deeper into the wood, it would buckle and
warp, my arms would get tired, and the cut would stray from the line. A few
years ago I learned about pull saws and once I started using them I have stuck
with pull saws for all my manual wood-cutting tasks.
As of this past weekend it’s been fifteen years since I started my career as a
software developer. With the exception of a few months here and there, I’ve
spent all these years working on Linux or Unix-like operating systems. I’ve
noticed that despite the wide variety of tools and applications I have used
and continue to use, some key skills are always in demand in this field. One
of these is mastery of a text editor.
I’m interested in tinkering with High Dynamic Range photography,
but before I get Photomatix, the software that’s recommended most often, I thought I’d try out a technique that’s a
very crude approximation of HDR. It involves taking one image that’s
underexposed, and one that’s overexposed, and merging them in Photoshop. The
technique is described in this article at luminous-landscape.com. Essentially, you
put the underexposed image in a layer above the overexposed one. Create a
layer mask on the darker layer, and copy the brighter image to the layer mask.
Apply a Gaussian blur to the layer mask, and you have your blended image.
Tethered to the shore, this boat is used to pick up garbage floating in the lagoon by the Sharjah Corniche
This boat looked out of place on the Khalid Lagoon by the Al Buhaira Corniche
in Sharjah. It was too small to be a water taxi, and too drab to be for
tourists. As I approached it, I realized that its purpose was to pick up all
the garbage floating in the lagoon. It was full of soggy plastic bags and
other detritus. I’m glad I wasn’t close enough to smell it.
This picture was taken on my walk along the Sharjah Corniche on January 6th
2010, shortly after dawn. I framed my shot carefully, right in front of the
minbar, to exploit the symmetry of the building. As I clicked, I noticed a
blur as a cyclist strayed into my shot. I had just enough time for one more
shot before he left, and this second shot is what you see here. I think the
lucky addition of this man into the frame makes this a better shot than the
one I was planning.
Last night my Macbook Pro would not wake up from sleep. After jiggling the mouse and hitting the
space bar a few times I powered it down. I powered it back up, and I could
hear it booting up, and could feel the hard disk move, but there was nothing
on the screen. After a little Googling I suspected the video driver was dead.