Not about everything

March 30, 2013

50 shades of green, iPad case

Filed under: nature photography,photography — takaita @ 13:53
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ipadcase, 50 shades of greenSo it seems that Redbubble now does iPad cases. Thought I had some photos that are nice for that. This “50 shades of green” for example.

Order it here.

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December 16, 2012

Documenting my own life

Finally I have found what I have been looking for: a virtual machine with mediawiki installed,  it is here.

As many of us, I have boxes full of unsorted photos from before digital photography, I have boxes full of handwritten letters from before email (yes I am old) and generally I have lots of memories which I think are worthwhile remembering. Well, maybe my children won’t care very much about my memories. But maybe one day they, or their children’s children get interested in genealogy. I did. And I very much would like to have some more information about my great grandparents personal life. Something more then just their date of birth, marriage and death. I wished they left some more documents. But they could hardly write and photography was for a different class in those days.

Maybe someday someone will be lightly interested in my life. Not as much as I am of course. To me – I have to admit –  my life is of quite some importance. And I have done some efforts to materialize my memories. A directory on my computer devoted to my life, a dozen of annotated photo books on the shelf.

So I have been looking for a way to document my life that would be easy for me, easy for others and sort of permanent. Permanent in the sense that in 30 or 100 years people should still have software to open it.  My guess is that HTML is the most permanent format. There is so much  information in HTML available now already, that it will be and remain worthwhile to have programs understanding HTML.

Easy for me means, that is it is easy to expand and easy to change and wikipedia came to my mind. I know that editing in wikipedia isn’t immediately easy, but I have done enough wikipedia edits to be familiar with it. The outcome is HTML. So anyone can easily consume it.  It is not very hard to learn to edit it.  So,  as a benefit, I could allow my wife and children to have an account and also add articles and edit stuff.

Running it in a Virtual Machine is great, because it is easy to duplicate (“fork”),  so every child of mine could get his own copy and share it with his own children. Even in the long run, I think that virtual machines will make sense. Maybe  in 50 years, to run my current vm, it needs a vm in a vm in a vm.  But it sounds like it will be possible. Or maybe people will just have everything in a cloud. Who can predict the future?

I am aware that I might drop a precious idea here. Wouldn’t it be nice to have an online project based on our personal lives, our personal stories and histories that we can write ourselves. We could give relatives and friend permissions to view or even edit certain articles, as they would give to us.  It would result in a vast  network of personal history. Nothing like the neutrality of the wikipedia (nothing against that). Just our own stories and the stories of those who matter(ed) to us.

Anyway, I expect that the wikiproject that I just started will live on for some centuries – given that my “line” doesn’t die out.

So at the end: a big cheerio for the people from BitNami, for providing a virtual machine with MediaWiki pre installed. Because I am simply too lazy (or rather too busy with other things) to make such a thing myself. http://bitnami.org/stack/mediawiki

December 9, 2012

Installing Canon camera software on Windows XP x64

Filed under: photography — takaita @ 20:27
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The problem with the Canon CD that comes with a new camera, is that it won’t install on Windows XP x64 (the 64 bits version of Windows XP). The solution is easy. There are a couple of xml files on the CD and some of them have a line like:

<PlatformInfo MaxOS=”99.99″ MaxOS_SP=”99″ MinOS=”6.0″ MinOS_SP=”0″ ProcessorArchitecture=”x64″/>

The MinOS=”6,0″ means that for 64 bits Windows, at least Vista is required. Changing that to MinOS=”5.1″ will also include Windows XP.

Of course you can not edit files on a CD, so you have to copy the CD to your hard disc. There you can do the editing. Please check *all* xml files. The run the setup from your HD.

December 8, 2012

Google, doing it wrong again

Filed under: internet,world wide web — takaita @ 14:00
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For some reason I wanted to install another browser on my system, next to Firefox and IE. I picked Google Chrome. That was a mistake. Because, even though my OS is in English, Google thought I’d prefer a Dutch version. No way to change that it seems. And I also wanted to install it in the directory of my choice, not in the directory where Google thought it should be. No way to change that.

It is not the first time that I see Google doing it wrong: see Google is losing it.

November 17, 2012

Long exposure bird photography, II

In the past I have written about “Long exposure bird photograpy” with some self-made examples which were meant to be sort of funny. But I never came to show some self-made examples which I really like. So here they are. Shutter times are resp. 1/10 and 1/15 second.

November 13, 2012

QuickTime Player has stopped working

Filed under: help — takaita @ 13:48
Tags: , , ,
So. I installed Apple’s QuickTime player. Then I opened it. Then I closed it again. That what is done with application. But not with QuickTime player, you should not do that.That is wrong, a mistake, a reason for small panic.

It needs a solution. Help. Apple help me!!!!

November 11, 2012

Bags for sanitary napkins

There must have been a day when I started collecting bags for sanitary napkins. Because one day I realized that I had this collection. In those days I traveled frequently for longer distances. That meant visits to public toilets. That is where I must have seen them first. Not sure however how that happened. I am male and those bags are found at toilets for females. Think what you like. Fact is, I have a collection of such bags. The collection isn’t very big, less then 10 different bags, there are not so much different bags around, at least not in Europe.

At first it was my secret collection. Later I sort of forgot about it. After refinding my collection years later, I thought it was an interesting subject to talk about with some people. Just quite weird, a little bit pervert, but harmless. In response I received a few more bags from people I told.

Then I forgot about it again. Until recently, when I somehow thought about my evenly forgotten stamp collection.

maandverbandwegwerpzakje
maandverbandwegwerpzakje
maandverbandwegwerpzakje
maandverbandwegwerpzakje
maandverbandwegwerpzakje
  • Trying to find more information on the internet, I found the term “sanitary napkin disposal bag”. It looks like that is the expression most used.
  • The English Wikipedia has no article for “sanitary napkin disposal bag”, but it could at least have one other article linking to it: Computech is about a single that was posted in a such a bag. The Dutch wikipedia has an article Maandverbandwegwerpzakje.

July 20, 2012

Collective mapping of species on the web, current state of affairs

Call it spottings, sightings or observations. Many of us go out in nature and notice birds, flowers, butterflies. We take photos and ID it ourselves or have it ID’d from the photo by others. We can put up the photo for admiration on many sites.

But it can be better. We could put the observations on a map. If many do so, we could together create a species distribution map. And even see how the distribution of species changes over the years.

I love this idea, and I do participate myself. I like the result of our common effort. What I do is go looking for dragonflies. Mainly around where I live, but also in other places where I happen to come and can spare some time. Yes, I have specialized myself. There is always so much to see that one has to be selective. Of course occasionally I record a butterfly, a bird or a plant. But my focus is on dragonflies.

Banded Demoiselle example
Banded Demoiselle, distribution map NetherlandsAn example of our common effort would be the fine grained distribution map of the Banded Demoiselle in the Netherlands. This map is the result of over 12,000 observations from the start of this century till now (July 2012) and shows observations in just over 3,000 square kilometer blocks. It is taken from waarneming.nl (a Dutch project where people can record their observations for the Netherlands).

But the Netherlands is only a small country and it would be nice to see a map of Europe. That is harder to get by. The Dutch site from the previous map has a sister site in Belgium and an international site which is mainly used by Dutch and Belgian participants on holiday. But also some people from other countries contribute (it is available in about 20 languages).
Banded Demoiselle, distribution map on orbervado.org
That international site (observado.org)also produces a map for the Banded Demoiselle: It is clear that the Netherlands and Belgium are much better mapped (the rest of Europe has a total of about 750 observations of the Banded Demoiselle).

For some other countries I know where to get similar maps (with another focus). For the UK on http://data.nbn.org.uk, Germany has a similar project with European pretensions. For Denmark there is Naturbasen.

Maybe there are more maps to find. If you know one, please let me know.

Banded Demoiselle, distribution map on data.nbn.org.uk

Banded Demoiselle, distribution map on Libellen Europas (GER)

Banded Demoiselle, distribution map on Naturbasen (dk)

A global view
There is only one (public) place I am aware of which offers a global view of species observations. That is the Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF) where all kinds of datasets end up. The GBIF distribution map of Calopteryx splendens is below (from http://data.gbif.org/species/1427067). One obvious problem is many empty spaces. Nothing from France and Russia for example. And another big problem: On this map it looks like the Banded Demoiselle is present in Spain. That is however a mistake. Not sure how wrong data ended up in GBIF, but it certainly spoils the fun.

It is not the first time I see clearly erroneous data in GBIF: I have seen recording of the Dwarf Damselfly (Nehelennia speciosa) in the Netherlands on GBIF while that species has been extinct in the Netherlands for 100 years or so. I have traced the errors to a source where damselfly larvae have been ID’d by an institution which clearly lacked the experience (then – the recordings are from the 90’s) to see how extraordinairy such a claim is.

Banded Demoiselle, distribution map on GBIF

More projects
There is Project Noah, which does quite some advertizing now and then. The big problem is that is produces no species distribution maps, it is unclear where the
data go (if they go anywhere) and there is no systematic verification on the recordings. A fixed species list is missing, so searching for “Calopteryx splendens” will return different results then searching for “Banded Demoiselle”. It just depends on what the user entered.

Another project is iNaturalist, which is heavily connected with flickr. I could not find any information about where data go. But it can generate a species distribution map. Although, the map for Calopteryx splendens only showed four locations when I checked. This project at least works with a fixed species list and generates maps.

Some conclusions
There is a lot more to say about such projects, and there are many such projects. But I have tried to keep it short. Some conclusions at the end.

* On a local scale it can work quite well, although that shows only in a few countries in NW Europe (and maybe in the USA). That means that there are enough participants to create a sensible species distribution map.

But I think that going local is the only way it really can work. It is necessary to have experts to check incoming observations, and global experts are almost impossible to find. Even if an ID can be verified, it is hard to know if a location makes sense. Calopteryx splendens is not present in Spain, and if someone claims so in an observation, there should be extraordinary evidence.

* Joining the maps together on a worldwide scale, isn’t working very well. GBIF is disappointing: information from most locations is missing and in some cases existing information is wrong.

July 30, 2011

This cute little iphone app for kids

Filed under: app,iphone,programming,travel — takaita @ 14:10
Tags: , , , ,

It’s just over a year ago that this cute little iphone app for kids was published. And it is still running strong. For me the most special thing about it, is that I partially made it. I programmed two of the five games in it.

Bobo iphone app

The app called Bobo, after a rabbit which is an educational comic in the Netherlands for kids aged 4-6 years. It has its own website at www.bobo.nl.

Somebody posted a video on youtube with his kid playing the Bobo app.

There is this website where the rankings of iphone apps are tracked. The rankings of the Bobo app are being tracked here. It is interesting to see how this app only thrives in the Netherlands and Belgium. One could say it is a language issue, but the thing is that this app uses no language. Okay, it uses the western alphabet and western numbers. That it makes it only more surprising that Bulgaria (with its Cyrillic alphabet) is the third country where the app is popular.

The games in the app are not directly related to the rabbit Bobo. But still it seems that familiarity in a country with this rabbit makes the app more popular. I can understand that a bit. But should it make such a big difference? It seems to me that the app is just as much fun for kids in the US or the UK or Germany. And especially it is a nice app to keep your kids in the back of the car quiet, while you are driving to a holiday destination. It’s holiday time again, and the app is back on the top of the charts.

January 16, 2011

Flickr: my top 10 most interesting photos of 2010

Filed under: flickr,photography — takaita @ 10:28

#1. Banded Demoiselle
Banded Demoiselle
The Banded Demoiselle keeps being a favorite subject for me and for my flickr visitors. Here is a female submerged under water in order to lay her eggs.

#2. Blue-tailed Damselfly
Blue-tailed Damselfly
Another oviposition photo. A female Blue-tailed Damselfly gets herself reflected in the water.

#3. Grey Heron on ice
Blauwe reiger op het ijs
A grey Heron eating something undefined while standing on ice.

#4. Eye / Reflection
Eye / reflection
I do make often photos of my family and friends, but I usually do not share them with the world. This is an exception. An eye with a reflection.

#5. Green Emerald Damselfly
Green Emerald Damselfly
Posted here a few months earlier as well. Copulation of the Green Emerald Damselfly.

#6. Birds in flight
Birds in flight
Last winter, gulls would gather at places where some water was left unfrozen.

#7. Four-spotted Chaser
Viervlek
Freshly emerged Four-spotted Chaser sitting below its exuvia.

#8. Bizarre accident
Bizar ongelukje
How did this happen?

#9. Aeshna mixta
Aeshna mixta

#10. Vanessa atalanta
Vanessa atalanta

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