That was REALLY stupid

Calgary North at Sunrise

In a couple of seconds I managed to mix in an event that would further complicate my already stupid and packed schedule. Monday morning, Mike and I were escorted to the top of the Telus Tower, in preparation for a photographic assignment. With climbing that evening, my camera sat and I was unable to retrieve the photographs I took in our brief introduction to the security of the tower.

Tuesday evening, I had some more free time, so I collected my laptop and card reader, got myself a glass of water and plunked myself down in the La-z-boy. Seconds later Aperature was sucking the photos off the card, and generating previews, so I grabbed the remote, fired up the television and reclined back with my water.

The confluence of events, led to me not quite being prepared with the water hit my lips, and I inhaled a bit of water, as opposed to drinking it. With my chair reclined and my laptop chewing away on my lap, I sputtered forward spitting out water, and spilling more than just a little from my glass. It probably doesn't help that my typical water vessel is most often confused with a bucket made of glass. Losing about a 1/10 of my schooner is probably equivalent to a small child's sippy-cup, something I should have been using in this particular situation.

My eyes went to the keyboard, which had puddled watter over most of the right hand side, and then to the water soaked screen which was now showing the white apple wait screen. By the time my eyes registered that my machine seemed more aware of its damage than I did, the screen flashed blank, while all the power lights remained on.

The shock and disbelief were astounding, afterall, my life was on the machine sitting on my lap. All my personal projects, GPS tracks and routes, trading systems and platforms and photography were on 2.5 inches of swimming hard disk. I immediately went to work drying it out, and the next day, without success of resurrecting the machine, I went to recovering the data. Again, not a whole lot of luck.

Being as though I'm a bit of what marketing departments classify as a power user, I wasn't as bad off as it would seem, as I do in fact have a backup mechanism. My photography, and all my personal coding projects are backed up offsite. I did lose things that missed the backup window, like photos from Las Vegas and camping, but comparatively minor when you consider that I've still got two people's wedding photos to deliver. I was elated when my parter reported that our system had kept both intact, save for some selection and cropping work. I had just gone through the motions to ensure database schemas and seed data were commited to my source repositories, so except for some GPS data, I did pretty well on the data recovery side.

The next couple of days were off kilter, and I became painfully aware of how big of a part that little bit of consumerism impacts my life. I'd find myself sitting at my desk wanting to check e-mails and stock prices, but be staring at a blank screen strictly out of habit. The events that followed, I blame on Mike.

Mike and I had spent some time culling wedding photography a few weeks back, and at that time, comments were made about how my MacBook was "slow as ass when chewing on the 14-bit, 12MB files my new camera produces. Like an acquaintance with an annoying habbit that you don't quite see until it's pointed out, after that moment, I was painfully aware of how long I'd wait just to get the file loaded and presented. At the same meeting, while I was talking about beefing up some of my hosting and possibly going to a co-locate setup, Mike showed me how you can get refurbished Apple products. With my unfortunate accident, it seemed like the perfect time to realize my dream of purchasing a Mac Pro.

I took a definite step away from mainstream, purchasing an 8-way machine which will have 8 GB of RAM at it's disposal, but I need some serious horsepower for my photography work, right? No longer will I have problems running virtual machines, or having applications like Photoshop, Illustrator or Aperture open at the same time. I should no longer have big waits when working with film scans or high resolution stitching. Furthermore, now that I've got a machine with a ballsy video card, I'm going to Boot Camp my self a Windoze box, and work on my micro. I'll even be able to partake in the September release of Spore.

The replacement has been ordered, and I've been watching the shipping tracker. It arrived in Calgary this morning, so it'll go out for delivery today. Tonight I'll use the door knocker number to ensure that I can pick up the beast tomorrow.

Comments (1)

Photographer + Mathematician

Crazy Reality

Through the magic of relentless internet bombardment I came across a tutorial of creating a Escher's Droste effect on a photograph. The tutorial is a find in itself, but it also lead me to MathMap, a tool which allows you to apply your own mathematical scripts to any image.

It's my nerd nirvana.

As soon as I was home this evening I got out the lighting, and with an end goal in mind set up a shot that I believed would be a good candidate for an ever repeating spiral to nothing. I used the standalone Cocoa GUI, with my image, and this is the result. I pretty much followed the expression from the tutorial with a little playing on the radius of the spirals.


I thought I understood Photoshop


I took today off of the daily grind in order to attend the Photoshop Creativity Tour which was instructed by Bert Monroy. I wasn't sure what to expect; I have attended a few conferences/seminars before but they were usually more technical in nature. This was my first session which was attended mainly by artists, and people who make the majority of their income by being creative under under the direction of a client that does not really know what they want.

I was quite early arriving at the Telus Convention Centre, and I meandered around checking out what was for the taking. After loading up on all the swag I could get my hands on, I went in to grab my seat. I surveyed the mass, and I couldn't help but think that these people were a little bit cooler than the usual technical conference goer. I watched as Blurr and Quicksilver clad artists circled around, shmoozing and card swapping, until the announcement got things underway.

After that moment, I was blown away. The presentation was equally geared to the illustrator (people still use Photoshop to illustrate, here's proof) and the photographer. There was a few sessions about planning perspective and using patterns that will not be as useful to me as some of the others, but the information on masking and channels was definitely worth the money spent. It was amazing to watch Bert do his thing throughout the day. It took him less than a minute to remove red highlights from a woman's hair, probably about two minutes plopping an orangutan into the middle of a wheat field. These are skills that I have, and I could have performed the same operations, but they would have taken me an order of magnitude of time longer. Then he started moving some wine glasses around, and putting reflections, liquids and highlights on them and I don't think I ever would have been able to pull that off until I learned a couple dirty little secrets. I was still stunned when he started generating wood texture for floors, and moving paintings between walls. In the end I realized that with all the tricks I know in Photoshop, I still have a great deal to learn.

At least I'm still on the enlightenment path, and am working to improve my knowledge.