Photographic goodness

As I type this, I alternate between queasiness and hacking up my other lung. Bronchitis sucks, especially when it's a relapse that kicked in the day after the initial antibiotics regiment ended.

Not much new on the home front -- I'm now taking care of Crystal's Iguana full time, as he's too large to hide in her dorm any longer. We really need to build him a larger habitat -- he's getting larger, and the makeshift cage he's in is just too small now. He's also slowly warming over to me.. which means he's a little less cranky than he used to be.

Over the past weekend, I've managed to successfully install a new ceiling fan in the master bedroom, complete with a remote control. It's nice to have a working (== quiet) fan again, and thanks to the remote, we can control the light independently from the fan. I've also been inhaling solder fumes -- I built a couple of regulated power supplies so I can charge up my Jukebox in the car. That went rather well, actually. My soldering skills are improving.

Meanwhile, I managed to get my hands on a like-new Nikon 70-210mm AF lens -- which is now my new favorite. It's the perfect complement to the 18-70mm lens I've been using. I've given it two workouts so far; A stint at the Miami Zoo and another at a bit of a party last night. I don't have any photos of those online yet, but I hope to soon. I haven't posted anything new in a while now, because I'm in the process of moving everything over to a new backend.

I abandoned photomolo, as it wasn't flexible enough for my needs, and still had the problem of taking way too long to update an album tree. It simply didn't scale to 10,000+ photos. I'm still using its excellent exifiron tool though. Photo Organizer (PO) has most of what I want -- especially the separation of the public view from the backend image repositories. It's also completely database driven (by a real database!), which helps it scale considerably. It has a few warts though, and I've already sent in a few patches, with more on their way.

I'm finished importing everything up to July 2004. We're talking about over 10,000 photos and 20 gigs in total, so it's a slow process, in part due to PO's relatively lousy bulk import features. Once they're all imported, then I get to go through them all and decide which ones to make public. I'm looking forward to that, as I'm discovering all sorts of great shots that I forgot I had.

While the public URL is, apparently hanging off shaftnet, it's actually being served from one of my internal servers. Apache has this cool transparent proxy feature that I'm heavily abusing for this project. Another cool thing is that PO is a multi-user system, so allowing other people to set up accounts and their photos is fairly straightforward. One feature I'm glad is missing is the ability to post comments and whatnot on photos. It's a photo album, people.

Being sick, I've been reading more than usual lately. I've now finished up Ringworld, Ringworld Engineers, Hegemony or Survival, The Cartoon History of the Universe (Volume I), Neverwhere, The Giver, In Cold Blood, and a few others I can't quite recall at the moment. On the movie front, Shawn of the Dead rocks. You will go see it. Also on the movie front were Ringu (the Japanese movie that The Ring was based on), Gothika, Employee of the Month (which was mediocre -- until the last quarter of the movie, where it got exceptionally good), The One, Robots, and finally, Terminal.

The Giver was a particularly good book. It goes to show you that the best children's books have particularly deep meanings beneath their surface stories, including life and death. The Cartoon History of the Universe is also excellent, and I now have volumes II and III to read through once I finish A People's History of the United States.

Oh, and before I forget -- Every now and then I get someone asking me why I don't have a livejournal, use gmail/hotmail, bebo, flickr, or whatever. There are many reasons for this, but fundamentally it's a matter of principle. This same principle is why I run my own DNS/Webserver/Mail[-list] server (ie shaftnet), run Linux in general on my systems, why I'm rolling my own photo album organizer. I want to remain in control of my data; I will not trust my data -- my life's work -- to a corporation, which only acts in its own interests; and where "we can change the terms of this agreement at any time" means you actually have no rights at all.

Plus it's a lot more fun this way, I learn a lot, and I don't have to jump through anyone's hoops but my own. Other people have accounts on my systems, and some of them even contribute to their upkeep. In a way, their trusting their data to me runs counter to the aforementioned principle, but on the other hand, they know me, know where I live, and I tell them flat out that if they don't trust me to be responsible then don't ask for an account. Place your trust in individuals, not organizations.