Saturday, December 22nd, 2007

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Friday, December 21st, 2007

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Thursday, December 20th, 2007

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Wednesday, December 12th, 2007

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DV Expo 2007 on WIRED

DV Expo : WIRED News Gallery

Two weeks ago I shot the DV Expo in Downtown Los Angeles for WIRED News. The gallery went live on the front door of wired.com today. This is the first time I've had two pieces on the front door of WIRED News at the same time. I'm really really really looking forward to my first magazine assignment, if I ever get one!

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Photos

Tuesday, December 11th, 2007

Blog Posts

Writing and Being Edited

Like most people, I've been writing since I was a kid. Unlike most professional writers I never went to college. I guess that makes me somewhat of a hack. I have been blogging for roughly 5 years now. In that time I've gone from writing on my personal blog, to writing for LAist, to writing for blogging.la, to blogdowntown and now to WIRED News.

When I first started writing for LAist, I was excited. For some reason I thought my stories were going to be edited by an editor. As it turns out, the editors at LAist, don't actually do any editing. At blogging.la, the editorial policy is clear: there is no editorial policy. When I started writing for Eric Richardson on blogdowntown, he did edit my work, which I found helpful.

When I first approached WIRED about running some of my photo galleries, they turned down my pitches by said they would keep me in mind. At DEFCON this year they contacted me and paired me with their reporter, Kim Zetter. The next time WIRED got in touch with me was to cover their NextFest show.

I ended up writing captions on a little over half of the photos that ended up in the NextFest gallery. After Nextfest I covered the ASTRO show and that time I wrote the intro as well as the captions for the entire gallery. Since then I've been doing roughly 1 or 2 galleries a week for WIRED.

Being edited is a great learning experience for me. I like to compare what I wrote to what the editor and the copy-editor end up posting as the final piece. I haven't had any humorous interaction with the copy-editors like Siel had, but I'm guessing that the WIRED copy-editors are a little more hip than the folks editing the LA Times blog.

The more I write, the easier it becomes. I've also been reading Daily Writing Tips. Today's post was a collaborative piece consisting of 34 tips from various writers. I found many of them very helpful and I hope you do too.

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Monday, December 10th, 2007

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Photos

Saturday, December 8th, 2007

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Thursday, December 6th, 2007

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Holiday Wish List

So a few people have asked me if there is anything in particular that I want for the Holidays. If you want to buy me a present and can't think of anything, check out my Amazon Wishlist. Thanks in advance!

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Photos

Wednesday, December 5th, 2007

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Wednesday, November 28th, 2007

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HDR Photography Talk @ Machine Project : Dorkbot Socal #25

[6th Street Bridge and Downtown Los Angeles](http://www.flickr.com/photos/eecue/407199210/ "6th Street Bridge and Downtown Los Angeles by eecue, on Flickr")

I'm giving a talk on HDR Photography this Saturday at Machine Project for Dorkbot Socal #25.

Today's digital cameras have a limited dynamic range compared to film. If you shoot a photo of a landscape with a beautiful cloudy sky, your landscape will be properly exposed, but your clouds will be washed out or vice-versa. High-Dynamic Range photography allows you to circumvent your sensor's limitations by taking multiple photos with different exposures and combining them on your computer. All you need is a camera capable of manual exposure settings, a tripod and a computer and you'll be on your way to HDR mastery. Presented by Dave Bullock.

I'll be showing (for the first time) the individual RAW files that I combine to create some of my favorite HDR shots.

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Wednesday, November 21st, 2007

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Mister Jalopy : Dorkbot Socal Shop Tour

Dorkbot Socal, an eclectic group of nerds, geeks, hackers, makers, builders and breakers, arranged a tour of Mister Jalopy's secret laboratory / garage / headquarters: Hooptyrides, Inc. Mister Jalopy is featured on the cover of the current Make magazine, sitting atop his "Urban Guerrilla Movie House". His Giant iPod, a wooden entertainment console containing a Mac Mini and utilizing the original controls of the console, previously appeared in Make.

Hoopytyrides HQ is located in an old, dual-bay auto shop, with many of the original accouterments still intact, including the pinups that adorn the walls of the basement machine shop, old-school hydraulic lifts and a Clayton dynamometer. Mister Jalopy describes himself as more of an assembler than a engineer, pointing out that he simply takes apart existing technology and puts it back together to better suit his needs. Either way about it, Mister Jalopy's creations are fun, functional and attainable by interested makers who want to create their own repurposed entertainment equipment.

Mr. Jalopy on his projector bike

Mister Jalopy perched on his Urban Guerrilla Movie House, a mobile pedal powered projector build from a mixture of old furniture, vintage cans, salvaged optics, an LCD monitor and a bicycle.

You can check out the rest of the photos after the jump.

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Monday, November 19th, 2007

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AT&T Opt-Out Insanity

A few months ago, before the iPhone was released, I put my email address into an AT&T/Cingular form so I could be notified when it was available for purchase. I later decided that AT&T's horribly privacy (NSA) track record was enough reason not to switch to their service so I'm sticking with T-Mobile for now. I just got an email from them, trying to get me to buy some random crap, and I decided to click on the "Remove Me" link at the bottom of the page. That link brought me to the following page:

att opt out insanity

It appears that they want your address, cell phone number, landline number, name and email address to remove you from their email list. It turns out that they just want your first and last name and your email address for the removal to work, but the form is certainly not clear about that and I'm sure plenty of folks fill out the whole thing. I didn't put my actual name into the fields, but added something a bit more colorful that I'm sure nobody will actually read. Anyhow, the mass email should really just have a link that removes you, instead of taking you to this horrid form.

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Sunday, November 11th, 2007

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SC07 : Super Computing '07

I just landed in Reno, NV for the Super Computing '07 (SC07) conference. I am here on assignment for WIRED News. Keep an eye out here and on wired.com for photos of clusters, supercomputers and various other cool and interesting toys from assorted government and industry nerderies.

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Friday, November 9th, 2007

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My First BASIC Stamp Project

So I won a Basic Stamp kit from ebay last week. Last night I had a chance to play with it. I went through the included book, and got through most of it. In the end I built the following:

BasicStamp2 Servo Control

That is a servo on the left, the basic stamp has some code in it that detects the position of the potentiometer in the lower center of the breadboard using capacitor discharge timing and then moves the servo to match the pot's position. The 7 segment display lists a number between 1 and 10 depending upon the servo's position. The white colored LED actually flashes either red or green depending on if you're rotating the pot clockwise our counter-clockwise. It was fun to build and actually not that hard.

I am really excited about programming microcontrollers and I'm looking forward to my next projects. At some point soon I feel like I'll be able to finally hack the Furby. You can check out the code I wrote here.

**Update for Riyad:**I made the thing on the left spin when I turned the little white knob on the right. I did this using magic.

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Friday, November 2nd, 2007

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Wednesday, October 31st, 2007

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Vanity Callsign : N3CUE

I was just getting used to my randomly assigned callsign: KI6LZK, and I just noticed that my vanity call has been approved: N3CUE. It's sort of a play on eecue, obviously. I guess it won't matter in a few weeks when I pass my Extra exam and I can get a 2x1 or 2x2 call. =]

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Tuesday, October 30th, 2007

Sunday, October 28th, 2007

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My Adventures with Leopard : /home, Epson 3800, ATSServer

I'm an early adopter. When the OS X Beta came out in 1999 I jumped right on it, being a FreeBSD user I was right at home with the BSD subsystem and command line. When Leopard arrived via FedEx at my office yesterday I hesitated only slightly before installing it.

I asked some of my other nerd friends if they had encountered any problems, and I took at look at Apple's discussion forums, paying particular notice to this issue, which currently has over 350 replies and 25,000 views. One of my friends said that if I ran the disk utility from the Leopard install disk before I upgraded it would solve that problem. I ran disk utility, it found a problem and fixed it and I had no trouble upgrading.

Once my system booted up I went through all my applications and checked to see if they functioned properly, and everything did until I got to Zend Development Engine, which opened up fine, but my project had no files in it! I try to add them back to the project, but when I went to /home I noticed that it was totally empty! I thought that the upgrade had delete my web development files, and I was pissed, but luckily I had a backup that wasn't too old, and most all of my projects are in CVS, SVN or git repositories. I posted this thread on the Apple discussion forums and the next day I got the following response which restored my /home directory and all its contents!:

The good news is that your files are still on the drive. This is because 10.5 is now a real, certified Unix OS. However, I think that the default setting should have been to preserve the /home as a local directory. See the explanation here.

That worked, my files in /home were unharmed, Apple's new "real UNIX" features caused an invisible volume to be mounted using /home as the mount point.

My next problem came when I tried to print to my Epson 3800, I downloaded the new drivers from Epson's website (they have a 10.5 driver) and installed it. Now when I tried to print to the 3800 the printer was auto-detected but I still couldn't print. I'm sure this will be fixed shortly and it's not an emergency for me.

The third issue I noticed this morning was that ATSServer was using 185% of my processing power (I have a Core Duo MacBook Pro). Right now it's not a huge deal as I'm about to go out to take some photos anyhow, but this could put a damper on activities that do require my processors full attention like working with RAW files in Lightroom.

All in all, I'm very happy with Leopard's new features. The system is actually faster, if you can believe that! Moving around windows, loading websites and opening applications seem to work much more smoothly than before. This is a great update from Apple, I'm sure they'll work out the kinks soon. They did just release a Software Update to fix the login problems and the 802.11 issues, none of which affected me.

Update: I forgot to mention, I check my mail through an ssh tunnel to my IMAP server and I've been getting server timeout warnings. My server isn't actually timing out though, and this was never an issue in Tiger... I'm guessing Leopard's Mail.app is just more sensitive. It actually hasn't been a problem this weekend, only on Friday.

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Saturday, October 27th, 2007

Thursday, October 25th, 2007

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SAR : Grass Valley Fire Looter Patrol

As I mentioned on Tuesday, my Search and Rescue team got called out. I am a member of the San Bernardino Sheriff's Cave Rescue Team, although we don't put out fires we have assisted with evacuations and security during fires in the past, notably the large fires 4 years ago, a year before I joined the team.

Yesterday at about 0400 I hit the road and drove out to the shipping container that is our gear storage shed, where I met Sonny Lawerence. We picked up the Sheriff's vehicle and headed up to the operation center in Twin Peaks where we were briefed and given our mission.

Our assigned task was to patrol the commercial districts of Crestline and Rim Forest looking for looters. If we saw anything odd happening we were instructed to call in to the command post on the 800MHz radio. We were issued Nomex shirts and rubber goggles, along with an 800MHz HT to compliment our 800MHz mobile in the truck.

We began our mission after a eating a county-catered breakfast. I spent the day driving around slowly between the two tiny commercial strips of Crestline and Rim Forest. In Rim Forest we saw a guy with his pickup trucked backed up to a hardware store and another guy inside. We called it in, and as we were waiting for the Sheriff's Deputies to come the guy in the pickup took off. One of the Deputies knew that guy inside who was the owner. Other than that our day was uneventful, although I did get some cool shots of Tanker Helicopters sucking up water from Lake Gregory:

Tanker Helicopter

Tanker Helicopter

Tanker Helicopters Refilling

We didn't get too close to the fire, here is a photo of the Grass Valley fire:

Grass Valley Fire

And here is a photo of the Slide Fire:

Slide Fire For more information about the fires near Lake Arrowhead, check out the Rim of the World website as does the SB SAR website.

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Tuesday, October 23rd, 2007

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SAR : San Bernardino Fire Callout

I just got paged. Tomorrow at 0600 I'll be at the Twin Peaks Sheriff's Station. I'm not a firefighter, I do Search and Rescue, so obviously I won't be putting out any fires. I will most likely be doing evacuations. I'll post an update tomorrow when I get back, and I may also be twittering. I'm also going to try and get some photos of the action.

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Sunday, October 21st, 2007

Photos

Thursday, October 18th, 2007

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Wednesday, October 17th, 2007

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Tuesday, October 16th, 2007

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Sunday, October 14th, 2007

Friday, October 12th, 2007

Thursday, October 11th, 2007

Thursday, October 4th, 2007

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Ham Radio Licensed : Technician + General Class = Yay!

When I was 10 years old, my Dad bought me a used ham radio. It was consisted of two large stereo console sized boxes, one being a receiver and the other a transmitter. I used to love listening to the conversations in far off places on the HF bands. I never did get to use the transmitter, as I never learned Morse code or took the Ham test.

Half a decade later I read an article in Phrack about the Yaesu FT-50R, and I knew I had to get one. Once again I used it for listening, as without a license, transmitting was illegal.

Last week I was at my Father-in-law's house installing some skid plates on my FJ Cruiser. He was showing off some cool electron tubes to me and offhandedly mentioned that he would probably never fire up the radios in his ham shack again. I didn't tell him about it, but this inspired me to get my license. I looked up the next testing location and found one last Saturday at the Northrop Grumman complex in Redondo Beach, which also happens to have an awesome electronics swap meet which I need to go back and photograph.

After studying the material for a few days and taking a bunch of practice exams, I felt I was ready for the test. I passed the Tech Class test on the first try, and since I had already paid my $14, I went ahead and took the General Class test as well. I ended up failing the General by 1 question.

After failing the General Class test, I made myself a study guide, and learned all the material. Last night I went to a Ham test in Torrance and this time I passed the General Class! It takes up to 10 days for the FCC to assign you a call-sign and put you in their license database, and I'm still not showing up yet.

I can't wait to work the HF bands, I'm planning on picking up my first HF radio in a few days. I really want the ICOM IC-7000, it's an amazing radio in a compact package. The IC-7000 fits what once filled a whole work bench into a tiny package roughly 6.5" x 2.25" x 7" and has a removable faceplate for remote mounting in a vehicle. Now if only I can convince Yay, my lovely, beautiful, wonderful, hardworking, intelligent, sweet wife to let is letting me drop $1500 on this amazing radio! Maybe if I remind her that And it could save our lives in an emergency.

UPDATE: My callsign now shows up in the FCC's database: KI6LZK.

UPDATE 2 Yay, my wife has given me the go-ahead to go and purchase the IC-7000... I'm excited. Heading to pick it up in a bit and then off to the Mojave to hang out with my father-in-law.

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Monday, October 1st, 2007

Photos

accessories
accessories
urban
urban
outdoor
outdoor
crowd
crowd
outdoors
outdoors
sky
sky
building
building
hat
hat
electronics
electronics
architecture
architecture
part
part
lighting
lighting
art
art
nature
nature
concert
concert
plant
plant
night
night
coachella
coachella
glasses
glasses
footwear
footwear
land
land
shoe
shoe
recreation
recreation
photography
photography
jewelry
jewelry
indoors
indoors
light
light
performance
performance
furniture
furniture
vehicle
vehicle
transportation
transportation
machine
machine
city
city
portrait
portrait
device
device
club
club
electrical
electrical
blue
blue
bag
bag
stage
stage
life
life
room
room
animal
animal
rekognition c
rekognition c
interior
interior
handbag
handbag
microphone
microphone
audience
audience
rock
rock
cap
cap
car
car
metropolis
metropolis
computer
computer
music
music
road
road
musical
musical
headgear
headgear
performer
performer
instrument
instrument
tree
tree
activities
activities
leisure
leisure
baseball
baseball
shirt
shirt
necklace
necklace
hardware
hardware
wood
wood
water
water
entertainer
entertainer
pants
pants
wristwatch
wristwatch
cloudy
cloudy
table
table
grass
grass
screen
screen
fun
fun
coat
coat
chair
chair
bracelet
bracelet
monitor
monitor
musician
musician
mammal
mammal
floor
floor
party
party
arts
arts
speaker
speaker
performing
performing
flare
flare
flooring
flooring
baby
baby
cup
cup
pub
pub
path
path
pet
pet
scenery
scenery
food
food
wheel
wheel
spotlight
spotlight
housing
housing
jeans
jeans
junglescene
junglescene
beverage
beverage
couch
couch