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Below are the 20 most recent journal entries recorded in timothy's LiveJournal:

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Saturday, September 15th, 2007
8:22 pm
Lazyweb: how to index / catalog digipix stored offline?
I have lots of old photos on CD or DVD; some are scanned in, some are from the past decade of shooting digital pictures. Some of them I've backed up (while I still have the original in active storage somewhere else), some of them are the only sources I have, since a hard drive has died or been disposed of in the meantime.

What I want to do: keep a low-res version of all these photos in a (much smaller) collection that's itself in active storage on my computer, or perhaps on a USB hard disk / flash key, matching the reduced-quality photo (large enough to be viewed comfortably, but no larger) with a location.

I'm picturing a workflow sort of like this:

1) Put in a random CD that says something like "Photos Taken July 2003, Nikon 990" and which contains a bunch of photos.

2) Invoke this magic program I'm imagining / describing / seeking, and it scans the disk for images. Assign a simple "code name" for the disk, to write on its surface. (Let's say I give the disk the code name "Abel.") For each image it finds, the program creates a small version (aiming perhaps to fit in a 400x400 square maximum), and stores it locally. It assigns the same name as the original, plus a sensible suffix like "-sm" (for "smaller"), and appends the code-name of the disk.

3) For each thumbnail, the program ALSO makes an ultra-low resolution (perhaps 16x16) version, and generates an MD5 sum for it, comparing that sum with those of all photos that it "knows about." If a match is found, it's brought to the users attention, in case the user wants to keep only one of them, or to somehow indicate "Yes, I have multiple copies of this photo, intentionally." (Which is certainly not impossible -- for some photos, I have backups and backups of backups. Just not always sure where each photo actually is to be found without too much disk shuffling.)

4) Tag photos as many ways as the user wants, similar to what sites like Flickr allow -- but without the need / hassle (and, at least in the case of Flickr, expense, if you want other than the free basic account) of actually uploading photos. No way do I want to take the time to send thousands of photos to any web-based storage.

5) That's it! Now, when I want to see where I put a certain photo, I can open a folder of photos, or sort through virtual folders based on tags (or some other assignment process). Bam! I find the one I'm looking for, and click on it, to find a note something like 'The original image sara-wedding-photos-076 is found on the disk labeled "bongo.""

Does such a thing exist? (I'm asking in hopes of finding something for Linux, but if you know of a close-enough system that implements this sort of searchability for other systems, I'd like to know about it, at least so I can seek out analogs with more knowledge.)

EDIT -- Here are some things I've found:
http://www.philapark.org/aboutPPA/laws_enforcements/boot.aspx says that vehicles with THREE or more tickets are eligible for booting; so far as I know, I have only two. Maybe they take compound interest into account or something, or maybe there was the same kind of hidden sign that got my father a ticket when he visited Philly for a few days last summer. Friendly place, brotherly love.

The same page says "Please note: if your vehicle is booted, you must pay the total amount due, including all fees, fines and penalties, before the boot can be removed. This will include a $100 boot fee."

OK. But who removes it, when? And do I get a separate ticket for the booting as well as the ones that inspired it?

I love certain things about Philadelphia -- but the local government seems determined to make anyone who moves here both regret it and starting planning their exit. 4 weeks from now, I am OUT :) (And I'd prefer my car come with me.)


Current Mood: stressed
Wednesday, May 24th, 2006
8:08 pm
Digital K1000 at last? (modulo one zero ...)
More AA Powered Goodness! Not news to anyone who reads dpreview more frequently than I do, but Pentax has come out with the first digital SLR I'm interested in, called the K100 (and its stupider cousin, the K110, also covered by same link -- the K110D omits image stabilization) and I hope it's just the start of a long trend. Read more...Collapse )
Saturday, May 20th, 2006
11:15 am
bad couch, no handle!
Asynchronous entry, since it's about something that happened a few weeks back. Two Tuesdays ago, John (one of my classmates at Temple) helped a fellow classmate move a couple of couches out of an apartment in Delaware. Why (oh, why?!) don't the designers of ordinary furniture include carrying handles, or at least attachment points, and furniture break down as far as pratical to save weight and bulk in carrying? What looked like removable cushions on the loveseat were in fact permanently attached to the back. Not all that much weight (and we were moving these things only a few tens of feet, at most), but for a longer move, every little bit counts. Neither piece was terribly heavy, and the moving took just a few minutes, but with smarter design it wouldn't have taken help at all. A few attachment points for wheels would probably have been enough! We ended up also carrying a small endtable / cabinet thing; not heavy, but made unnecessarily awkward by the lack of any good places to grip. (And if a sofa or similar furniture has little legs between the floor and its main bulk, they should be (easily!) removeable. My brother and his wife ended up sawing a few inches from the bottom of a couch's stubby wooden feet (making them even stubbier) to move it into a new apartment, because it required navigation of a narrow staircase. I can understand such idiosyncrasies when furniture is mostly intended as an art object, and the inconvenience somehow adds to the appeal, but not for furniture designed to be carried to and used in an ordinary home.
Friday, May 19th, 2006
8:54 pm
The new MacBooks look really nice.

The cheapest version costs somewhat less than the equivalent iBooks my mom, sister and I bought the same month 5 or 6 years ago (whenever the white iBooks came out ... 500 quick quick G3 Megahertz), even without taking inflation into account. Those machines are all still working, though mine has taken a drastic southward turn of late (the hard drive is making some very loud noises). Still, more than half a decade is a very decent record for a machine that I've dragged to several places around the world, carried cavalierly in backpacks and messenger bags, etc. It's also the only laptop I've owned where I considered replacing the battery a worthwhile expense, and it runs Ubuntu's version of GNU/Linux happily enough.

The black colored one is stylish the same way a NeXT cube is stylish (or a NeXT slab -- closer in shape). If I hadn't bought a ThinkPad 10 months ago, I'd sure be angling to get one of these, at least if the keyboard is worth the accolades it's getting on some fronts. I'm mixed on the glossy screen, but under ideal viewing conditions, they're quite appealing. (Under non-ideal viewing circumstances, glossy screens are even more glare-ridden than the typical non-glossy laptop screen, which is plenty bad already.)
Monday, May 8th, 2006
12:26 am
back in the Ubuntu saddle, semi-happily
Not unhappy to be using Ubuntu again, but unhappy circumstancces, namely that my eMachines computer went south ... AGAIN. I was hoping it was the optical drive, the memory, various other things which I have tweaked, replaced, swapped with other machines', but I think it's just haunted. Since the machine's been flaky before, and has been especially flaky in the last few days, I did at least a better than usual job of backing up to external disks, but I'm not sure I trust those disks completely either ... time to get another external drive, do the upwards bounce of data to a newer and better one. a bit more belowCollapse )
Tuesday, April 18th, 2006
1:37 pm
squarish objects should have squarish ends
My phone is of the rounded candy-bar variety (a low-end, non-folding Nokia). It doesn't have the greatest interface, but it works well enough and has an alarm, so I like it well enough. One minor thing about it that I like, though: it stands up!

Unlike that phone, my little SanDisk MP3 player, which flares such that one end (the downward edge, if the player is held such that the text is legible) is fatter than the other, has a pointlessly rounded bottom surface, so it can't stand up. Dumb.
Thursday, April 6th, 2006
4:11 pm
MP3 player meanderings
I like to listen to old radio shows, many of which are, happily, freely available on the wonderful internet, and lately I've been listening to some current shows available over the net as well, in particular the Penn Jillette show, on which Mr. Jillette is always smart, usually bold, and frequently funny. (I could have mixed those adjectives in different orders and probably still like the result.) I also regularly take a short bus trip to school, and I decided to get a small audio player to listen to these things (as well as other audio material) on the way, so as to waste somewhat less time. I say "audio" player -- I ended up getting an MP3 player. More belowCollapse )
Wednesday, March 15th, 2006
8:30 pm
web designers: please put arrows at the top, too!
From guilty-pleasure-cruise boingboing.net, I was directed to James Lilek's very funny Compu-Promo. I like the design as well as the content of the site(cool photographs, clever annotations), with one reservation: I wish James would include the "back / home / next" menu at the top of the page as well as the bottom (a smaller version, perhaps?). The same is true of a lot of sites -- on my normalish monitor resolution -- 1280x1024 -- a lot of sites seem intent on making me grab that scrollbar on the right.
Monday, February 6th, 2006
1:30 am
another memory aid / another photo-shrinkage script
Doesn't roll of the tongue like "another day, another dollar" but Hey -- I've got no dollars coming in! Below is my current version of a script it seems I keep re-inventing, which makes me feel like an especially forgetful caveman. This script, for any unixy system with imagemagick, when run from within a directory containing photos (or any jpg images), creates a directory of reduced size (50pct), reduced quality (50pct), black-bordered jpegs in a folder called (duh) "5050versions." The script could be easily modified to be 70/70, 20/90, or whatever combination of size and quality makes sense. I'm sure it'd be easy to make the values for reduction factor and quality level variables to be included when invoking the script ("thumbit 40 60" or suchlike), but, eh, it's late and it works to my satisfaction :) The next thing I'd like to do is make it satisfactorily recursive, which may be more trouble than I want to bother wracking my poor little brain with; I'm picturing the frustrating spurious creation of jillions of directories, or the accidental re-shrinking and re-bordering of images which have already been as shrunken and bordered as I want them to be ... At any rate. the stupid script is below the cutCollapse )
Friday, January 27th, 2006
4:33 pm
Hey, neat! The return of Image from NIH
NIH image was one of my favorite graphics programs on the Mac. Simple, fun to use, speedy, worked with a variety of image formats, and made my doodles look neater than they deserved. From compulsively checking Freshmeat, I see there's now a Java version called ImageJ. The Linux download's a bit large (includes a Java runtime), but at decent network speeds, what's a few tens of megabytes among friends, eh? And unlike much of the software that I ever try to download, IT JUST WORKS! Good directions on the site which I followed (gunzip, tar -xvf, ./run), but my ability to screw up even such simple directions means I'm happy when this doesn't generate some inexplicable error, and it didn't.

My memory being a terrible sieve, I am not certain that it's the same in all respects, but this sure *seems* like the Image I remember, which is to say that other graphics tools have certainly surpassed it's bare-bones, shades-of-CDE interface. (But that's to the credit of the smart people working on the other tools, rather than a critique of Image.) With a few minutes of doodline, Hey, lookit, a neat-oh image! It's in the public domain, too, my favorite license for software made using tax dollars.
Thursday, January 26th, 2006
5:39 pm
Apropos of nothing that I can think of ... an oddball dream
Sometimes dreams come out of those parts of the consciousness that are in no way "sub." A pretty girl, or scary but anticipated experience, or a childhood memory -- those are obvious candidates for appearances in the dreamworld. But last night I dreamed that I was having a luncheon with a) a few fellow law students from here at Temple, b) some students from other schools; I knew that a few were from Yale, but not sure how they ended up in such de-exalted company, and c) Dick Cheney. The conversation was fairly light, but Cheney seemed tense, as he always seems to seem. I remember thinking, though, "He seems pretty relaxed, for Dick Cheney." The room was just slightly bigger than enough to hold the nicely polished dark wood table we were all gathered around (perhaps 10 people in total), filled with tall windows, plenty of light. The room seemed tasteful, modern but not dead, with light-colored plaster walls. I can remember nothing of the conversation which took place, other than that it seemed to edge away at all times from current politics, I think because everyone knew that might be too contentious a subject.
Wednesday, January 25th, 2006
12:34 pm
Blood: Commodity
Finishing up a discussion of the Moore cell-line case, my property class today was arguing the merits of and proper limitations on the sale of things sometimes considered ungentlemanly to sell or deal in -- blood, whole tissues, particular cell types, medically excised material, etc. While I believe in a radical right to contract ("bargain to your potentially donable heart's content"), most of the class clearly does not. However, in the case of blood, I think it's much easier to support sale. Our professor claims (and I guess she's right, though it contradicts my previous understanding of it) that in the U.S. blood is generally saleable -- I'd like to know more about the details of this. In a quick googling, one accidental find is an article from 1987 announcing what seems the exact wrong approach, taken by Mexico -- *banning* the sale of blood, justified in large part by the spread of HIV through blood. This sounds like banning safety belts to prevent fabric burns from the safety belt in case of an accident. Seems there *is* a market for clean, healthy blood, and that a steady supply of it ought to be encouraged -- I know I'd rather pay (to some degree at least) for the testing of blood, including if that testing was bundled with and paid for a market transaction for the blood. (And I'd be grateful for the side-effect of a slight incentive for people to avoid contracting HIV.)
Tuesday, January 24th, 2006
9:04 pm
A long-ago note ... why not post it now?
According to the note at the top, I wrote this little rant a bit over four years ago. I remember thinking about this topic (including a kids' programming language in every PC), but had forgotten until just now that I actually wrote this out. I see some things in here I'd update if I were to write today's version of this thoughtstream, but it's simpler to just dump it in and let the chips fall where they may. (And thankfully, Linux distros did and do come with at least *some* programming tools built in, which only makes sense. I wonder if Gambas is the sort of thing I pine for below.) daydream believers need daydreams to believe inCollapse )
Saturday, January 21st, 2006
12:28 pm
Half-baked idea: Biorhythms for cellphones
I note happily that today I am able to spell "rhythm" on the first try, which is unusual. I usually have to wrestle a bit with where exactly the missing-seeming vowel seems to be missing. Which has nothing to do with today's contribution to the half-bakery.
Friday, January 20th, 2006
11:06 pm
advertising is marketing is merchandising is selling
If you want to find strong distinctions among these things, I can't stop you. As the saying goes, you have a right to your insane opinion. However, I think the whole business of voluntary persuasion is really of a piece, and not split in the way so many of their practitioners seem to think. (I was going to say "voluntary persuasion for commercial gain" or something like that, but I think my argument is broad enough to stick with "voluntary persuasion.") Two of my favorite merchants who understand that the copy of an ad (or a product description, which is just an ad, except to nitwits) can be and should be irreverent, honest and engaging are woot.com and American Science & Surplus (check out their bargain basement). Whoever writes the copy for these places knows more about persuasion (at least about persuading *me*) than did the bulk of my professors when I got a degree in advertising at Texas.
Tuesday, January 17th, 2006
11:57 pm
Buy your E-ticket to Tortland!
No rides!
No windows!
No ladders!
Jello suits mandatory!
No peanuts!
No shellfish!
No chemicals (none!)
Closed during the dangerous seasons!
Childen prohibited!
Elderly visitors strongly discouraged!
Gloves must be worn!
No exposed skin (or hair)!
Pregnancy forbidden!
Flea- and tick collars must be worn!
Living wills required of all guests!
Mandatory weigh-in!
Escape hatches well distributed!
Smoking only in designated areas.

(Please sign this form.)

Step right up ...
Sunday, January 15th, 2006
5:33 pm
Things about Philadelphia
A few thoughts on Philadelphia thoughts belowCollapse )
Saturday, January 14th, 2006
12:50 pm
1/2-baked idea: usage tracker for small appliances
I know that many large appliances actually have pretty complex record keeping, but here's my latest entry on half-bakery: Small appliance odometer
(Keep track of instances / hours of kitchen appliance use) continuesCollapse )
Thursday, December 29th, 2005
11:57 pm
AA-powered coolness
A while back we (if I may still use the editorial we) featured on Slashdot a device that sounded pretty cool to me at the time, and is now pulling even harder at my all-too-slender wallet: the GP2X from GamePark Holdings. It's no Maemo -- no built-in wireless, lower-res screen, less spectacular UI and range of apps, but: a) it's far cheaper and b) it takes AAs. (One day I ought to start my on-line shrine to the AA battery.) Even with a 320x240 display, it seems like the perfect travel-companion for two mind-expanding activities (reading eBooks, watching time-shifted Daily Show episodes) and one mind-nibbling activity (playing games like Tetris). What would make the GP2X nearly irresistable: 1) wireless, by hook or crook 2) some way to attatch an external keyboard, likewise. If I could take notes on it, then transfer them to a desktop machine for later perusal, I'd be completely sold.
Wednesday, December 21st, 2005
8:05 pm
Main computer, not doing so hot ...
My Sempron desktop, the machine I use most frequently for just-about-everything (because it is the fastest machine I own, tied for most memory, has a 19" monitor connected, good keyboard, etc) is getting increasingly wonky.

but if you"re bored enough to continue reading ...Collapse )
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