Archive for May, 2008

Internet access

May 30, 2008

My neighbors have graduated and moved out, taking their free signal with them. So no more e-mail and other home-based online shenanigans for me. Right now I’m sitting on a stone bench under a big oak tree next to my campus building. No back to the bench, but otherwise it’s pretty nice. (See me putting a happy face on this situation?)


DNG conversion

May 27, 2008

Sunday and Monday I converted all my Canon Raw files (CR2) to Digital Negative format (DNG). It was a long process but made very easy by Adobe Bridge CS3 and Adobe Camera Raw 4.4.1, which (Bridge) I just discovered about two weeks ago and totally can’t live without now. After having shot four separate events this month involving approximately 80 families, NOW I understand why people like Lightroom so much. Bridge is (I think) somewhat similar. It’s excellent that by using Bridge you can get two automated ACR processes running at the same time (using the ACR in Bridge, and the other ACR in Photoshop). I was so happy to discover the nondestructive spot-healing brush, which, after applying to one image, you can automatically duplicate on as many images as you want! This is a big deal if you are doing panoramas, where each of the several photos has the same constellation of dust specks ruining the sky. Nobody wants to spot-heal 30 dust spots across 17 images . . .

Anyway, DNG conversion. The DNG files were, on average, 2.48 MB smaller than the CR2 files. Given that I did the conversion on 4,830 images, the conversion freed up just shy of 11.7 GB of hard drive space. Plus, no more annoying .xmp files to get in the way when looking at the files in the Finder.

The Loser Letters—“Screwtape” contra Dawkins?

May 26, 2008

Sounds like this online serial could become a good new book in the spirit of Lewis’s Screwtape Letters, in which Mary Eberstadt writes as “A.F. Christian” (A Former Christian, I presume), the sole apparent convert in the wake of the million-plus copies of new-atheism books published in the past year or two. She is writing to the leaders of the “Brights” in order to point out problems with their current strategies and rhetoric, which prevent some people (or, any believer who happens to read their books) from being won over to the atheist creed (so to speak). Lewis it certainly ain’t, with acronyms such as LOL and WTF, etc. But I recommend it; worth reading.

In letter #1 she takes issue with the so-called Sexual Revolution:

Please understand that I’m not criticizing here! Cheering for pornography and omnivorous sex and by extension, broken homes and abused and screwed up kids and all the rest of the revolution’s fallout may not be everyone’s thing; but most of You new atheist Guys have definitely made it Yours. I respect all that! I’m just saying for now that we shouldn’t fool ourselves into thinking that the believers’ sexual codes are an unmitigated bad on them and a plus for Us, when most evidence suggests it’s quite the other way around.

Read the whole thing at National Review Online.

Over at Richard Dawkins’ site people who haven’t read the letter are dismissing it as ad hominem, patting themselves on the back for being so brave as to embrace “facts” and refuse the false crutch of “faith.” One fact you won’t find mentioned in the Dawkins online forum is that Eberstadt is right: the rejection of Christian morality does in fact result in unhappiness and disorder, as witnessed by all the things she mentions in Letter #1. Way to go, Brights! Keep on congratulating yourselves on your grasp of “facts” while not bothering actually to engage them.

Letter #2 is here. Letter 3 (?) due this Friday.

Real women have pores

May 20, 2008

I was browsing Terry White’s excellent Photoshop CS3 podcasts, and learned the method for getting skin to look silky smooth. I’m guessing this method is also how models in grocery checkout rack magazines end up looking fold-less and pore-less.

I should have been able to figure this out myself, but didn’t. You duplicate the background layer and Gaussian Blur it to your desired amount. Then Mask out the whole blurred layer. Then reveal the blurred skin wherever there’s a blemish or unwanted texture. Adjust the blur layer’s opacity, and boom you’re done. Brilliant. And kind of scary.

Concordia demolition

May 11, 2008

Concordia University Austin is fenced off and ready to be demolished. They will be moving to a new, much larger campus on the west side of the city in the fall. Some housing/shopping/city park development will replace the old Concordia campus. I think I’ll bike over there this afternoon and see if I can get some photos.

CNN Headline T-shirts: for the serious activist

May 2, 2008

I noticed a little T-shirt icon next to CNN’s top headlines:

Looks like CNN is offering us a way to take our activism to the next level! They will make and sell you a T-shirt with the words of certain headlines on them. Oh joy! That will be a cool thing to wear for about 30 seconds, until the story is completely forgotten about. But if you really care about bikini-wearing teachers’ rights (or about carjetcycles, or whatever else they deem T-worthy), you’ll buy and proudly wear it on your sleeve.