Bye Bye Gravatars

For a while now the site seemed to be getting slower and slower to load. The main page was OK, but the individual pages were downright painful. Sometimes they even locked up all-together.

After a bit of playing around, I think I’ve narrowed down the problem. It appears to be the gravatars… you know, those little pictures next to your name when you leave a comment.

I’m not exactly sure if it was the gravatar server, the gravatar plugin, or a conflict between the plugin, and some other plugin, but deactivating it seems to have resolved the issue.

So, the gravatars are now gone, at least for time being. So long gravatars… I’ll miss you.

PHP Studio for $5

PHP Studio

PHP studio is a text editor specifically designed for editing PHP code. I can’t say that I’ve ever used it personally, but looking over the information on the site, it seems like it has features for both seasoned pros and newbies alike.

For the next 8 hours you can get PHP Studio for $5 over at MacZot. It’s normally $25.

Being a PHP newbie myself, I went ahead and bought it. I figured $5 is a pretty small investment if it helps me learn and edit my php files, like the ones used in this blog.

See ‘An Inconvenient Truth’ for FREE!

Share the Truth

A couple of weeks ago I mentioned that we had seen An Inconvenient Truth, and I urged people to go see it too. I didn’t try and convince people with facts and figures, I just urged them to see the film, and decide for themselves.

Well, Eric Pan, has gone one step further. He wants you to see the film so bad, that he actually set up a non-profit website to help you get free tickets. The site is called Share the Truth.

Here’s a small excerpt from an email I received from Eric…

A new site called aims to spread An Inconvenient Truth to as many people as possible – by getting them to the theater with free movie tickets. Those inspired by the film are encouraged to help out. The goal is to be able to tell the world “Go see this film; you don’t even have to pay!”

Basically, Share the Truth works by connecting people who want to see the film, with people who are willing to donate a little cash for tickets. There are a couple of different ways the site does this.

First, there’s a forum on the site. This is where people can request, or offer tickets. The idea is to directly connect the people who want to see the movie, with the people who are willing to donate tickets.

The second, is a bit more anonymous. You can simply donate to the site, and Eric will handle the rest. If you would like to see the movie, there is a form you can fill out, and the request will go to Eric. My understanding is Eric will use the donations to either fulfill requests from the form, or from the forum, whichever is needed.

I think this is a great idea, and I applaud Eric for his effort. Everyone should get a chance to see this film. I encourage everyone to head over to, and have a look around. If you feel so inclined, make a donation, or connect with someone in the forum. If you would like to see the film, but can’t afford it, here’s your chance to get free tickets.

Also, if you have a blog, I’m sure Eric wouldn’t mind at all if you help spread the word about the site. It’s strictly NOT for profit, and Eric will be making all financial records public… minus sensitive personal information, of course.

Spread the word!

Big Price Drop on Shake

Apple Shake

Today Apple announced they are now shipping the next version (4.1) or their compositing software, Shake. The new version is a Universal Binary, but that’s not the really big news… they dropped the price from $2999.00 to $499.00. Holy crap, that’s a big price drop!

I’ve never used Shake, but my understanding is it’s somewhat similar to Adobe After Effects, which I do use. The 3k price tag has always scared me off, but now… who knows.

UPDATE (6.22.06): TUAW is reporting that the reason for the big price drop, is Apple will no longer be actively developing Shake. Hmmm… maybe I won’t be using it after all. Check out this site for more details.

Introducing… ‘Highly Subjective’

Highly Subjective

If you come here regularly, you may recall a post from a couple of weeks ago, stating I was going to start a photoblog, and I was looking for suggestions on software.

It came down to 2 packages… WordPress, and Pixel Post. They both have advantages and disadvantages. I really wanted to use WordPress, because I’m pretty familiar with it, and I just like it, a lot. Pixel Post has the initial advantage of being specifically made for photoblogs, so there is less configuration needed to start.

After much debate, and playing around with each… I’ve gone with Pixel Post. My thanks go out to everyone for your suggestions.

I’ll be the first to say that WordPress is actually far superior as far as blogging software goes. It’s infinitely more flexible, scalable, and manageable… but I came to the conclusion that it is way overkill for what I wanted to do. My plans are much more modest.

If you’re interested in setting up a basic photoblog, you may want to give Pixel Post a serious look. It’s easy to set up and get going quickly. The only time you’ll spend is in tweaking the template, if you choose to go that route. My only real complaint about Pixel Post is some of the documentation seems a bit out of date. The developer community for Pixel Post is much smaller than WordPress, so I think things tend to fall through the cracks a little more.

So, by this point you’re probably saying, just give me the link to your new site already. Ok, ok… the site is called Highly Subjective. It isn’t completely finished yet. I still have some tweaks to do. I hope to be finalizing it this week.

The name comes for the old notion that “pictures don’t lie”… you’ve heard that saying, right? Well, I couldn’t disagree more. Pictures do lie… because they are open to interpretation. All photos should be treated as ‘highly subjective’. I’ll be getting more into that when I get around to writing the ‘about’ section of the new site.

My goal is to post a picture a day. Ideally, that would mean shooting a picture a day, but I’m not sure how realistic that’s going to be with my schedule. This weekend was beautiful, so I took the opportunity to go out and dust off my photography skills. I was definitely a little rusty.

The last time I was really into photography, I lived in a much more rural area, in Arizona. Now that I live in the city (San Francisco), I am somewhat fascinated by random happenings on the street. I don’t have a lot of experience shooting people, especially out in the wild, so I thought this was a good way to get back on the horse. I kind of wanted to push myself into new directions.

It felt a little odd starting the site with just one image, so I went ahead and populated it with several of the images I shot this weekend. I’ll hopefully be starting the one-a-day posting, tomorrow.

Happy Birthday Paul

George Harrison, John Lennon, Paul McCartney

No, not me… Paul McCartney.

When Paul McCartney was just 16, he wrote a little song called “When I’m Sixty-Four”… well, today he is. Although Paul wrote the song when he was 16, most of us didn’t get to hear it for another nine years, when it was recorded in 1967 for the now classic Beatles album, Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.

Happy Birthday, Paul!

Photo via

RAW files in iPhoto

iPhoto RAW

If you didn’t already know this, iPhoto 6, part of Apple’s iLife ’06, can import and manipulate RAW photographs. But, there is one feature disabled by default that you may want to turn on.

I use iPhoto to manage my RAW files, but I would prefer to do any color correction / manipulating in Photoshop. By default, if you select “edit in external editor” from within iPhoto, it doesn’t send the RAW file over to Photoshop, it sends a jpg copy. If you would prefer iPhoto to send the original RAW file, just turn that feature on, under the advanced tab of iPhoto’s preferences.

If you don’t use Photoshop, and you edit your RAW files from within iPhoto, when you are done manipulating them, iPhoto automatically creates a jpg of the file. There is another checkbox in the advanced preferences that you may want to consider clicking. It makes iPhoto save the edited RAW files as 16 bit Tiffs, rather than jpg. If you choose this option, you’ll be maintaining a much higher quality image, but you should be aware that a 16 bit Tiff will be a substantially larger file… possibly 10-15 times larger.

Once you made any changes to a RAW file, the copy (either jpg or tiff) will now be what is displayed in your library. If you want to revert back to the original RAW file, simply right-click (or control-click) on the image and select “revert to original”. If you want to keep both the original RAW file, and the edited copy, either duplicate the image before you start editing it, or before you choose “revert to original”.

A while back I was asked by an odl reader to put together some tips for effectively using iPhoto. I haven’t forgotten about that, I just need to find the time to do it right. Stay tuned.

Links: iLife ’06 on Amazon | iLife ’06 on Apple

Groceries from

Amazon Groceries

Too busy to make it down to the grocery store? Amazon has you covered. They’ve rolled out a new beta program where they are selling groceries online. They boast more than 10,000 non-perishable items.

My first thought when I saw this was even if they are cheaper, the shipping costs would probably eat up any savings, but as it turns out, every item is eligible for Amazon’s free Super Saver Shipping. I may have to give this a closer look. I’m always looking to streamline some of the more mundane chores of life.

Links: Amazon Groceries