Completed MG Gundam Exia

Gundam RX-78-2? Meet Gundam Exia.

That was a tough model to assemble. I started this model August 23rd and I just couldn’t really make the time to put it together. When I assembled the MG Char’s Zaku 2.0 I had less trouble.

The MG Exia is finicky and it’s flexibility is what makes it tough to keep in a pose. Now that it’s completed, I need to spray it with air and get off all the plastic dust. I was thinking of gluing the hip/leg ball joint (it comes apart if you move it around) but I’ll probably clean off the model and put it on the shelf.

For my next couple of kits I’ll be building HG Gundam 00 1/144 models. That’ll give me a break while reducing my Gunpla stash.

Arizona, where fear lives and becomes law

I’ve never been to Arizona and thanks to their new law, odds are I will never go. Yesterday Governor Jan Brewer signed into law a federal immigration bill to make it illegal for immigrants to not carry their papers. Yes, the states think they can pass federal immigration policy law and I guess they can.

From the New York Times article:

The law, which proponents and critics alike said was the broadest and strictest immigration measure in generations, would make the failure to carry immigration documents a crime and give the police broad power to detain anyone suspected of being in the country illegally.

My wife is a naturalized citizen and many of my friends are too. Unless you have American Indian blood in you, odds are you are from a family of immigrants. Many people in the United States speak with an accent from being fluent in a foreign language.

In about 90 days that accent can cause a police office in Arizona to demand to see your papers. If you don’t have them or don’t produce them, then you can go to jail for being a suspected illegal immigrant. My wife is Asian but hey, the supporters of this bill claim that racial profiling will not be used so we’re all suspect and will need to carry our papers.

Not producing your papers will be a crime in Arizona. Do you think the people of Arizona really had this in mind when they were called a “Red State”?

This new law is firmly based in fear. Arizona is on the border of Mexico and they 100% do have a problem with illegal immigration. Innocent ranchers have been murdered and the killers are suspected to illegal immigrants from Mexico. Even that Anti-Maverick Senator McCain is spewing fear based rumors. No surprise there, since his time is almost up and he’ll spout whatever lies he needs to get re-elected.

Illegal immigrants are blamed for insurance fraud (thanks Senator!), lack of health care coverage, the current condition of schools, and sometimes even spreading leprosy. The bad economy? It’s the illegal immigrants fault.

That’s a nice bogey man to have and I can’t wait for the “Stop Illegal Immigrants” propaganda posters. I’m not really surprised: Arizona also has a bill on the table that is aimed at denying that President Obama is an American citizen, and they lie about that too.

This is not the solution. If the Federal Government can’t protect the border then bring back the National Guard and solve the problem. It won’t do anything to reduce the murders or save the state economy but at least it will get the border protected.

In the United States we have protests, we disagree publicly and loudly, we go where we want, read what we want, and we never ever show our papers. Or if we don’t show our papers, we don’t go to jail for that reason. Some other excuse is used.

But soon if you don’t show your papers in Arizona you’ll go to jail. Thanks Arizona, but I’m not willing to bring my family to a state like that.

Nikon 50mm f/1.4G samples

I’ve been playing with my new 50mm. If you liked the f/1.8D version, then you’ll have no complaints with this f/1.4.G new model.

Dim Sum cart

It’s a fun lens and as long as you can move around, you’ll get good shots. Here’s some samples I took today.

We ate at the Jade Asian Restaurant. There are probably some people who could get away with taking photos of strangers in a restaurant, but I’m not one of them. I took shots of my family and the dim sum carts.

I process most of my photos with DxO Optics Pro 6. Anyone who wants to do as little work doing color correction, noise, and distortion adjustments should order this software. With DxO I converted these from Nikon .NEF into Adobe .DNG format, but only because I like to play with the color temperature and blacks. Some quick cropping in PSE and I’m usually fine after that.

I’m a fan of DxO and eventually I’ll just go from RAW to straight JPEG. The software is very fire-and-forget.

WordPress 3.0 beta looking good

I’ve been using WordPress 3.0 beta for about 2 weeks and I’ve only run into one odd behavior.

When I upload or upgrade a plugin, the old plugin gets deactivated and the new plugin version gets downloaded. What is not happening is that the page is not loading up the next steps of re-activating the new version (or just recently downloaded) plugin. I did not catch this and was running without the upgraded plugin for a day or two.

I’m keeping my copies current using SVN and I’m convinced it’s my wonky setup. This server is running NGINX and PHP-FPM. I have the NGINX running as www-data and PHP-FPM running as a separate userid (why? because I can). The NGINX and PHP5 are both installed using non-Ubuntu repos.

I don’t mind this situation and I’ll get it sorted out by running the beta on another box running Apache to get an understanding of what’s going on.

Over on Otto’s blog, he discusses the idea of holding off upgrading to 3.0 when it comes out. Given the hysteria on the support forum whenever a new version comes out, I think that’s an excellent idea. What would be fun is when the 3.0 version is released, and the automatic notification does not get triggered across the globe. Instead the blog gets updated and the notification does not get triggered until 3.1 comes out.

It’s wishful thinking on my part because too many people treat their self-hosted WordPress installation as a service and not as something they are responsible for. I think the majority of WordPress.ORG users are pretty savvy but the minority sure is vocal.

While talking about WordPress, the W3 Total Cache plugin is amazing. I’m playing with it while running the beta and it appears to be speeding up my site without using a disk cache. I have used WP Super Cache but this seems approach the problem from a different angle. Instead of creating HTML static pages, it has the option to use PHP’s opcache. I’m using APC and the speed looks like it’s working. It’s a very cool idea and the implementation looks really polished.

Once WordPress 3.0 is officially released, I’ll run two test blogs on two different boxes and compare the output with and without W3 Total Cache. This way I should be able to get almost scientific results for comparison.

Yes, but how does Matt really feel?

It reads a little like a rant, but you really can’t blame him.

I’m not even going to link any of the articles because they have so many inaccuracies you become stupider by reading them.

If you’re a web host and you turn a bad file permissions story into a WordPress story, you’re doing something wrong.

via WordPress › Blog » Secure File Permissions Matter.

It’s not rocket science and the real problem is explained in detail elsewhere but can be summarized as “It’s the hosting company, Stupid!”

Which leads me to a posting on another blog. Partial blame is leveled “At WordPress for requiring that the database credentials be stored in clear-text. At WordPress again for not installing itself securely by default.”

The ignorance continues with “I also have to agree with Network Solutions that this problem can happen at any shared host site. Not only for WordPress, but for any CMS out there that store the passwords in clear-text.”

That’s just a stupid thing to say. If you are going to make a statement like that, then you need to back it up with “WordPress should have followed example X for how to store that data securely”. It sure is good to call out from the cheap seats and that’s all that blogger is doing.

The impacted users are on a shared server that’s not setup properly. Users get a pass because, well, they’re users. It’s not really the users responsibility to understand how their self hosted blog works and prevent these compromises from making the neighborhood look bad.

Network Solutions loses any credibility because instead of just saying “Yeah, we screwed up and we’re fixing it” they played the ignorant blame-the-software approach. Network Solutions is not a flash in the pan company and should hire someone who can help them overcome Web Hosting 101 issues.

New Nike ad

Like most people (hopefully), I really don’t care about a golfer’s infidelities.  I do feel sorry for his wife, just as I felt sorry for Hillary Clinton. But the stupid, selfish, narcissistic, self-destructive behavior of people in their private life is none of my business. I tune in to watch them perform in their sport.

Now that that’s out-of-the-way, let’s talk about Nike’s new ad. I saw the spot on TV and listened to the voice over of their star’s late father and I had only one reaction. Continue reading “New Nike ad”

Playing with WordPress 3.0, Beta 1

As I usually do, I switched this blog from WordPress 2.9.2 to the current 3.0 beta. I always run the beta versions and I have not yet gotten myself into a hole. It also helps that I have very good backups for the last 30 days.

I re-ran my overnight backup job one more time to make sure I’m up to date and used SVN to perform the switch.

$ cd /my/wordpress/web/directory
$ svn sw http://core.svn.wordpress.org/trunk/

When I went to the login page I had to upgrade my database. And that’s all there was to it. I’ll do a regular “svn up” and keep my install current with the beta.

I have been kicking around the idea of taking the sites I manage and making them one multi-site WordPress 3.0 install but that will be down the road for a while. For now I’ll continue to maintain them separately with the released version (2.9.2 as of right now).

As for the beta, there are not many visual differences (the color scheme is lighter and less “harsh”) and each of my plugins check out. I am hoping that when 3.0 is released, the usual forum drama will not happen. But I also know somewhere someone will upgrade without doing the work of a full backup.