Working with git

Focus Stacking in Photoshop, Helicon Focus and ZereneStacker

I began experimenting with a depth-of-field extension technique today called Focus Stacking. Analogous to HDR in some respects, this technique takes a set of images with overlapping zones of sharp focus and combines them into a single image exhibiting crisp focus throughout.

Pangur Bán, my cat

The Long Room

While in Dublin recently I visited Trinity College's library (the Long Room) and saw again the Book of Kells. This manuscript rightly is a major tourist attraction. I am fascinated by both its timeless beauty and its role as an example of the effort by Irish monks in keeping classical culture alive in the face of barbarian depredations.

What we forget sometimes is that the faceless scribes were real people, subject to boredom and flights of whimsy. A library brochure called my attention to a poem written by a monk on a manuscript that for me at least cracked open a window on his life and work.

More Film Scanners

Further look at slide / film scanners:

Flat Bed

One of the big surprises in my current quest for scanners is that flatbeds have jumped up in quality to be serious alternatives in the scanner wars. They can do anywhere from 4 - 12 slides at a time and work with popular scanner control software, e.g., VueScan or SilverFast. Following are a few that caught my attention.

Epson Perfection V750-M Pro Scanner

Maybe this is an alternative to outside slide scanning services? See B&H's page on it.

Slide Scanning

My CanoScan FS4000US has broken down for the second time and I am thinking of scrapping it. Unfortunately new, high-resolution slide scanners are very expensive, so I will first try some of the slide scanning services.

Google search for "slide scanning service" yields these (and several thousand more):

Emailing backup file

The bash script I wrote worked well, stepping through and backing up the 9 individual databases to a temporary directory, then archiving that directory. Unfortunately, the desired next step of emailing that file turned out to be an issue. The version of mail on the host company's computer did not handle attachments and building the mime headers and converting the file to 7-bit seemed like a pain, so I thought I would do a little Python scripting. Unfortunately, the story there was the same -- the appropriate python email modules weren't there either.


Backing Up MySQL

I have 9 databases in MySQL that need to be backed up, so I wrote a bash script that:

  1. Creates folder /backups/SQL_BACK-yymmdd
  2. For each of the databases, uses mysqldump to generate a backup file (in the above folder) named dbname-yymmdd.sql.
  3. After completing for all the databases, then generates a tar.gz of the folder. The compressed file is named /backups/SQL_BACK-yymmdd.tar.gz

The uncompressed files total around 100 MB while the compressed file is only about 19 MB.

The bash script runs under cron at around 10:30pm.

Initial Setup

I used Softaculous for a quick clean install of D7. A simple copy from backup of various directories (gallery, images, sites) plus the .htaccess file allowed quick setup of the gallery (unharmed in my database debacle) and the site banner image.

Overnight, a bunch of jerks tried setting up logins for the site, but they were blocked awaiting Admin approval. This morning I deleted them all, changed settings so only Admin may add users and eliminated the login block in the left sidebar.

Next I will set up a couple of views and some menu items.


Rebuilding the Site

A few weeks ago I taught myself another lesson on the need for backups when I deleted the MySQL database behind this site. No backup, no database, no site.

So, in parallel with rebuilding the site, I am also writing a set of cron routines that will use mysqldump to make scheduled copies of all the databases. Then I can download these for offsite copies.