You are currently browsing the June, 2011 archives.

Plastic Lenses

Posted 2011.06.25 9.19 in Family/Friends, Photography by Stephanie

I took my plastic Holga camera out on the Summer Solstace last week. We were having a family get-together and it seemed like a good excuse to expose some old B&W film.

The Holga is a cheaply-made plastic camera with a plastic lens, a fixed aperture (roughly f/11) and a fixed exposure (roughly 1/100th). It’s known for light leaks and double exposures. Mine requires a rubber-band to ensure the back doesn’t fall off unexpectedly.

I say cheaply-made as opposed to just cheap, because the Lomographic Society International will happily sell you a Holga for at least 3x what it’s probably worth. I have mixed feelings about the LSI – I do enjoy shooting film (they’re all about analogue photography) and I can & do appreciate the joy of the occasional unexpected serendipidous results… Where I take exception is that they seem to be making a fortune selling junky cameras at insane prices.

Anyways, this wasn’t supposed to turn into a rant against Lomography… just a brief intro or explanation about the culture of embracing crappy pictures as their own artform. Which is what Lomography means, sort of.

Back to the pics – there are two pics from the summer solstace and two pics from the winter. Same Holga, same brand of film (expired Chinese black&white) but different processing results.

About processing – I still develop my own black & white film at home. The roll I did in the winter got contaminated or something. When it came out, it was covered in these little speckles.

I haven’t shot colour in a while because I think it’s too expensive to process at the labs and I haven’t found any reasonable sources of chemistry for processing at home. Yet…

Going Postal

Posted 2011.06.24 16.27 in Pointless Blather by Stephanie

Dear whomever at Canada Post made the decision to lock-out the postal workers:  FUCK YOU.

I’m not pro-union and I don’t support striking, so up till mid-June I was on the side of Canada Post. However I wasn’t actually upset or pissed off with anyone: the rotating strikes were not that bad.

As a customer of Canada Post, and as a small business woman, I was relieved that the rotating strikes were not too disrupting. I also believe that they still did a good job of calling attention to the situation. It was the best of a bad situation, in my opinion.

I’d have even been happy with 3-day-per-week delivery, though you assholes never even gave that a chance. Three-day-per-week delivery was announced on the Monday, rotating strikes happened in major centres on the Tuesday, and on the Wednesday you’d locked them out.

Slow service was tolerable. No service is not.

It’s utter bullshit that the rotating strike was “too much uncertainty“. You know what is too much uncertainty? Having no fucking mail service at all, and not knowing when it will resume.

And now I’d also like to extend a hearty FUCK YOU to the NDP as well. Normally I don’t have anything against you guys and I do believe there is a place in our society for some socialist values. I’m grateful for our health care system and I don’t mind paying my taxes to help support our Canadian way of life.

However, these bullshit delaying tactics you are doing are not helping anybody. It’s hurting small business and small business is a significant part of our economy. How many small businesses are going to have to lay people off or fold completely because their invoices can’t get out, they can’t collect their receivables, or they rely on Canada Post to move product for their customers? How are you helping them?

So, to the Canada Post decision makers, and the NDP: Fuck you.

Fuck you very much.

Two Screens: Still Better Than One

Posted 2011.06.21 23.11 in Computers/Internet/Technology by Stephanie

So with all the features and functions I’m adding to my Master Control Panel, one screen just wasn’t enough any more to display all the data it’s collecting.

I’ve used standard character LCD screens before, on my Thermostat and the randomizer, so I figured I could just add one to the MCP as a secondary display. Then I thought, why limit myself to a measly two rows of 16 characters?

The 20×4 screen sounded like a way better idea… I just didn’t realize it was going to be so physically big!

It feels bigger than the primary display. Now I’m all unsure if I like it or not. I want more display resolution, to display more data. I don’t know whether to stick with two displays, or these two displays, or try different displays…

Decisions decisions.

Meanwhile, the radiation sensor is telling me that at the current rate cosmic and gamma rays are passing through my livingroom, I can expect to develop superpowers in approximately never.

Slow Progress

Posted 2011.06.19 20.36 in Computers/Internet/Technology by Stephanie

I’ve been working now and then on my Next Project. It’s slow going but there is progress happening.

This weekend I added a power supply (boring) and a radiation sensor (interesting). The radiation sensor is basically a geiger-muller tube detector. Instead of making audible tick sounds, I modified it to flash a blue LED whenevever it detects ionizing radiation. The counts are tabulated by the MCP’s microcontroller and available as a cumulative counts per day or current counts per minute.

What else can it do?

  • It is a remote display and remote control for my Thermostat.
  • It controls the lights in my aquariums.
  • It monitors the temperature in my aquariums.
  • It controls my Game of Life display.
  • It monitors and displays outdoor weather conditions.
  • It notifies me of activity on my home file server.
  • And now it monitors ionizing radiation.
  • It allows me access to all of this information and all of these controls both in-person and via network.

So I can monitor and control any of this stuff from my iPhone, iPad, at home or at the office, or anywhere.

The main board is an Arduino Mega. It’s using an Ethernet shield and an XBee shield. The radiation sensor is next to the Arduino. The display is a ks0108 glcd. More geeky goodness will be coming next week.

Hunter Kitties

Posted 2011.06.19 19.52 in Cats by Stephanie

What the Pixie catches then releases, the Misha catches and wants to keep.

Viewer discretion is advised.

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The Week in Review

Posted 2011.06.17 23.07 in Pointless Blather by Stephanie

Canada Post sucks.

Vancouver Canucks failed.

Work was hectic and occasionally stressful.

The weather was ok.

That is all.

Wet Pets

Posted 2011.06.10 20.43 in Aquaria by Stephanie

Here’s a random pic of a little get-together in my snail tank:

About 3 weeks ago I adopted some more snails. The big one here is an Apple Snail who’s been eating and growing like crazy. Hitching a ride on his back is a little Nerite snail. Taking a close look at the nerite is an African Dwarf Frog. And a bit blurry in the background are two female Bettas.

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