Mostly about my amusement

Year: 2011 (page 3 of 6)

10th anniversary of 9/11

It’s Sunday morning on the 10th anniversary. A few days ago while watching the coverage my son asked me if I “recovered from that day”. He’s 9 years old and wasn’t born until December 2001. That’s an odd question for me. I had nothing to recover from. I’ve never suffered from anxiety and as far I am aware, I did not really know the people who were murdered.

It’s an event that can’t be dealt with rationally so it has to be put aside. Each life is unique and precious and losing one is an unthinkable tragedy. Try to put 2,977 lives in your head and visualize them, see all the other lives they touched and the bright futures extinguished.

I can’t do it so I put it aside.

I don’t think that the country hasn’t recovered yet and I don’t believe the politicians will ever let us do so. There is just too much political gain for playing the “Terrorist” card.

The Smithsonian Channel had on a special last night and this included interviews with Cheney and Richard Clarke. From a historical perspective that’s 100% spot on. They were there, they made critical decisions before and after. It was a good contrast, Clarke was knowledgeable and an authority and Cheney was, well Dick Cheney.

What I found appalling was that Cheney even today still maintains that endless war was the way to go. We may still be a super power but there is only so much blood and money you can spend on war. A mistake was made and we ended up in Iraq.

We should have spent treasure taking out the actual murders but hey, that would interfere with Cheney’s idea of militarizing the world.

Have I mentioned it’s Sunday? I’m taking the kids to mass for the 8 AM and will say an additional prayer for the dead.

The Gakkenflex is a cool kit camera

My son received a camera from his uncle, a cool Fuji STX-2 SLR with a 50mm lens. The girl wanted to have a camera too. So rather than get another film camera from eBay, I went to Makershed and ordered a Gakkenflex kit.

I mean, fair is fair right?

This is a TLR camera meaning it has two lenses. The top one is a viewfinder and the two lenses focus together. The kit took less than an hour to assemble and the results have been fun. If you’ve ever assembled a Gundam MG kit then you will have no problems with the instructions or the assembly. Just in case Makershed provides a link to the English PDF version of the instructions.

This camera takes 35mm film and I’ve already shot 2 rolls of 200 Fuji SO film. It’s light and small but not too much so. It’s not tough, my girl already cracked the viewfinder gear when she had a er, disagreement with her brother.

I’m still getting the girl to take photos but she’s learning and having fun. Someday I may get a real TLR with 120 film, but for now this will work nicely.

I must be on a Jon Stewart roll

Okay, if you follow Fox news and you buy into the whole “class warfare” nonsense, then you too are an imbecile. You can still watch Fox news (no idea why myself) but don’t buy the spin.

When Warren Buffet talks about closing loop holes, people should understand that he know’s what he’s talking about. He should be the sort of person Fox would listen to: self-made and wealthy. He’s a smart and very successful. So now he’s a socialist…? How did they form that conclusion?

Read up on it over at the Atlantic Wire. Naturally they have videos and those are worth watching. It’s fun to note that you can’t even talk about raising taxes with some people but they have no problem raising taxes on everyone else.

Postpartum compassion…?

Oh, that Jon Stewart. It’s almost like he’s coming right out and saying Megyn Kelly is a hypocrite.

The best line is this:

See this, this is the problem with entitlements. They’re really only entitlements when they’re something other people want. When it’s something you want, they’re a hallmark of a civilized society, the foundation of a great people.

I just had a baby and found out maternity leave strengthens society. But since I still have a job, unemployment benefits are clearly socialism.

What’s sad is that she’s not a dummy. Wonder if it ever bothers her?

µ[mjuː]-II Manual

One of my film cameras is an Olympus Stylus Epic DLX camera that I picked up on eBay. It was a good buy but I was looking for a copy of the manual.

And today I’ve found out that someone uploaded a PDF of it on Flickr!

Very useful.

2011 Trip to China

It’s amazing what can happen in a few months.

The whole family and I went to China for 21 days and it was a great trip. In order we flew from JFK -> HKG -> PEK/BJS -> XIY ->PVG -> CAN -> Zhaoqing -> HKG -> TSA -> HKG -> JFK.

In plain English we went to Beijing, Xi’an, Shanghai, Guanzho (briefly), Zhaoqing, took a bus to Hong Kong (NEVER EVER AGAIN!) flew to Taiwain, toured the country by car and then came back to Hong Kong.

All that in 21 days. I took over 4,500 photos with my Nikon D300s and 6 rolls of film with the Olympus Trip 35. We met Lily’s family and everyone had a good time. But the tour was intense and we’re all still decompressing 3 weeks later.

You can see the photos I took at my Flickr page.

Olympus Stylus Epic DLX

Okay, I like the new Olympus Stylus Epic DLX. The DLX portion has panorama and a quartz clock but aside from that it’s identical to the non-DLX version. I’m putting these into a set on my Flickr page, go take a look.

For this photo I left the flash on (I normally turn flash off) and I am really happy with the result. The camera is fully automatic, weather resistant, and with a little practice I think I’ll be able to take some good photos with it.

Read up on Rob Nunn’s post and video for some good information. I got mine on eBay and I consider it a good bargain.

The Stylus Epic is not as much fun as the Trip 35 but it’s small and takes really nice shots. And I’ve already taken it in the rain without any worry.

Still a sucker for WordPress beta

I took the plunge and once again used SVN to switch from running WordPress 3.1.3 to 3.2 beta. The betas are usually solid and I test my nightly backups on a different server from time to time.

Unless something really drastic happens to the WordPress repo, I’ll be fine with the beta.

The new fullscreen distraction free interface for composing posts? It’s unreal. The keyboard commands work fine, it’s just that the minimal GUI is hidden until you move the mouse. You “Just write” and that’s all there is to it. It’s just a blank page for you to type on.

The other improvements so far seem to be GUI based. I haven’t dug deeply into the documentation yet but my plugins work fine and I’m running a network of blogs from this installation. There is an oddity that when I load the post edit page, the TinyMCE does weird things during the load. Not a big deal and it sorts itself out in a second, just strange is all.

So far I like it. WordPress continues to improve and the beta keeps that record going strong.

Using IPv6

When IPv6 day came around, I installed Squid3 and a IPv6 tunnel setup on my in-house Linux server. I used the instructions from Ubuntu’s Wiki and made some minor configuration changes to Squid3 and that was it. You need to use version 3; version 2 of Squid lacks the right support.

The tunnel broker I am using is Hurricane Electric’s excellent Tunnel Broker. Just create an account, provide some information and you are good to go.

Easy! Now using Squid3 I can browse to Google and CNN’s IPv6 pages without any hiccup. I preferred to do it this way because setting up my Linux server as an IPv6 gateway would have required more (not much) work from me. This was quick to do and I had no problems.

Moving on, I created another HE tunnel on this web server. Using Apache 2 virtual hosts, I just added to the config file these lines.

<VirtualHost [2001:470:1f10:f10::2]:80>

 ServerAdmin webmaster@localhost
 ServerAlias *

 DocumentRoot /var/www/vhosts/
 #DocumentRoot /home/jan/public_html/

 <Directory />
 Options FollowSymLinks -Indexes
 AllowOverride All

 ErrorLog /var/log/apache2/

 # Possible values include: debug, info, notice, warn, error, crit,
 # alert, emerg.
 LogLevel warn

 CustomLog /var/log/apache2/ combined
 ServerSignature On


The lines are duplicated from the existing vhost entry. I substituted the A record address of with the AAAA record address of 2001:470:1f10:f10::2. This address was provided by Hurricane Electric.

Next up was to update my DNS zone by adding the AAAA record. This is the IPv6 address record and now my DNS name has two entries. 900 IN A 900 IN AAAA 2001:470:1f10:f10::2

I restarted Apache and now when a IPv4 or v6 request comes in, it gets handled by correct IP address and all is well. My server and proxy logs show which address I am hitting, and the site validates.

So what did this get me? Nothing really, except to show how easy it is to add IPv6 to your site and web connection. A buddy of mine almost exclusively uses IPv6 only at home. The old address space is or has ran out (depending on how and who you ask). Migrating to anything new can be a challenge but really, there is no reason for ISPs or hosting providers to not support IPv6.