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Here's a fairly unique photographic opportunity: shortly, Crossrail will be opening up several of their construction sites to the public, over the weekend of March 6/7. It will be ticketed (but free), so it seems you'll have to keep an eye on their Eventbrite page to find out when those'll become available. [Edit: the tickets are now available!]

The UK will see quite a solar eclipse on March 20 2015, from around 0840. Scotland will see 98% coverage, whilst the southeast makes do with around 85% - all the same, something to prepare for. =:D It'll last for about two hours, in total; the peak of the eclipse will be at 0931 in London. Hmm. Maybe it's time to pick up a neutral density filter for the 300mm.. in time for a week of rain to roll in. =:)

I was rather pleased to find the roomie also enjoyed Jupiter Ascending. ^_^ Our tastes are fairly substantially different, though there's enough overlap to enjoy TV like Orange is the New Black, or Black Sails. (He's very uncomfortable with anything he perceives as "slow", so Extant's lost him) We agreed the film could have born a little more of a look into the world and civilisations of the commercial empire, but accepted it probably had to be that way simply through a need to keep the running time contained. I'd be very interested to see what didn't make it into the final cut, though - with any luck, there'll be a good suite of extras available, preferably on iTunes, but I'd buy a Blu-Ray if necessary (I don't like physical media. It's wasteful, as I'll only ever rip it once, leaving the disc to gather dust. With comics, I can heft thousands around with me routinely, digitally, and they'll always be with me, or at least available, wherever I am on the planet)

Is it unusual to feel uncomfortable with stretched video? I'll see it now and then in shops or bars, where something made in 4:3 is just tugged outward to "fit" 16:9, or sometimes with that equally odd scheme a lot of TVs offer, where the central portion is more or less correct, and the image is increasingly stretched as it heads toward the left and right edges of the TV. I mention it as the BBC's recently begun offering a classic documentary series, The World at War, on iPlayer - but, unfathomably, it seems they've done exactly that. It was, of course, produced in 4:3 back in 1973 - but it's been encoded at a frame size of 832x468, leaving it all squished out. Whyyyyyy?

Ah-hah! I see ImageMagick is amongst the vanishingly small number of applications not called Photoshop that can handle PSB files. Think I'll be giving it a try on that cityscape panorama.. whilst few image formats seem capable of large files (in terms of either file size, or image dimensions), JPEG-2000 looks easily up to the task. (I'd also wondered just how big the file was, as JPEG appears to top out at 4GB, and 64k x 64k. Answer: 18GB. ^_^ I may well try reshooting it at some point, anyway - I now have a 1.4TC and a sensor that adds about as much again, so I could wind up with about a doubling of resolution along each axis. For no particular reason, of course, other than it can be done. =:)

Well, poop. It grinds away for a while, then gives a nicely helpful "Abort trap: 6", leaving me with a null size output file. =:/ But! Consulting with the mages suggests it's actually the JPEG-2000 library at fault, not ImageMagick - converting it to PNG worked perfectly. =:D And it's only a bit over 3GB, too. ^_^ That said, given the original shoot was with just the D90 and 300mm, I'm quite inclined to try catching the right day with the D7100 and 300mm + TC14E, which would spell a doubling along each axis. =:D

So, I finally took advantage of LensesForHire's 50% February discount, and booked a Nikkor 200-400mm f/4 for June. The rabbiteering weather ought to be good by then - or maybe I'll be able to get along to Skomer? We'll see. So much is up in the air, at the moment. ^_^

Ah, the joy of cheese. ^_^ The roomie made roast lamb for dinner, so I sort of helped out with a cheese selection afterward: raw milk Appenzeller and 24mo. Comté, a rather nicely robust Cheddar, and a fabulously daffy "carrot cake Wensleydale", which actually works, unbelievably. =:D
 
 
 
 
 
 
Is it unusual to feel uncomfortable with stretched video? I'll see it now and then in shops or bars, where something made in 4:3 is just tugged outward to "fit" 16:9, or sometimes with that equally odd scheme a lot of TVs offer, where the central portion is more or less correct, and the image is increasingly stretched as it heads toward the left and right edges of the TV. I mention it as the BBC's recently begun offering a classic documentary series, The World at War, on iPlayer - but, unfathomably, it seems they've done exactly that. It was, of course, produced in 4:3 back in 1973 - but it's been encoded at a frame size of 832x468, leaving it all squished out. Whyyyyyy?

Urgh, yeah. That's an entirely nonsensical decision on the BBC's part, and just for the record, I think it's far from unusual to feel uncomfortable with stretched video, either.

For no particular reason, of course, other than it can be done =:)

The best reason, really. :)

Well, poop. It grinds away for a while, then gives a nicely helpful "Abort trap: 6", leaving me with a null size output file. =:/ But! Consulting with the mages suggests it's actually the JPEG-2000 library at fault, not ImageMagick

Hmm, did you file a bug report against the JPEG2000 library? This sounds like the kind of thing a project should be interested in hearing about.
Yes. At best, I wince when I see things in the wrong aspect ratio.

When they show it on BBC2, the aspect ratio is correct at 4:3. Presumably, no-one's told the iThing this.

They're showing the original version of the series. There's a 'restored' one available on on disc, where they did lots of scratch etc removal, assorted colour corrections, improved the sound... then cropped everything to fit a 16:9 frame, sigh.
It's rather bizarre. I can only think it's just some kind of default setting in their pipeline. Maybe I'll try dropping them a line - I did when some weird glitch left a red vertical line in one MasterChef episode, and they corrected it. There! Done. ^_^ It's possible to force the aspect ratio on most players and TVs, of course, but maybe they'll re-encode the series correctly.

I think I've got to do that reshoot, yep. =:) It's not like I need very much of an excuse to visit Bath - I absolutely loved living there, aside from not really enjoying the apartment. And the easy availability of all that superb cider didn't hurt. =:9

It may well be a shortcoming of the JPEG-2000 library, indeed. The site maintainer suggested some tests, and lo, transcoding to PNG (which I hadn't considered, but yes, that too has the ability to encode very large images) does work, whilst JPEG-2000 fails. The latter apparently tries to allocate memory for the entire image, whereas ImageMagick itself works on more of a line-by-line basis. Still shouldn't cause the process to fail, though - I've got plenty of space available for swap.
It's probably memory-related, but (I'm guessing wildly) not related to running out in the narrow sense. This page (the answer by Madscientist, specifically, which I unfortunately cannot link directly to) indicates that the message is OS X's way of telling you about the program was aborted (i.e. received a SIGABRT signal). The rest of the puzzle is for the library developers to figure out — but it's an obvious bug, it's severe, and having an (admittedly large) test case for reliable reproduction is about as much as they could ask for. :)

Amusingly, reading up on the signal in question (I'm sure you're all too familiar with these things, but I'm not a C programmer), it appears that while you cannot simply leave a custom signal handler to ignore the signal (it'll be reissued), you CAN longjmp out of the signal handler. Positive proof again that longjump/setjmp are dark voodoo. :)
My wife HATES improper aspect ratio. When our last vacuum tube TV exploded in '12 and we bought a new LCD, perhaps my most important job was to keep the aspect ratio correct. The satellite seems to do a good job of it, the biggest problem is typically when we download video on demand.

My wife is an astronomer, and aspect elongation along either axis to her means that the telescope is in serious trouble.
The PSB file format is a horrible mess, of course.
Well, it's at least living up to the Adobe tradition. =:) I'm always amazed at the way they can't ever seem to just get along with a host OS - on OS X, the norm is for applications to use the system's installer, if it's something that can't be just dragged out as a plain application. Nope, Flash has to go with entirely their own installer.. which, of course, reverts to "automatically install updates" every single time, even if you keep it set to "notify me before installing".

(And, of course, I have to love the "I have read the terms and conditions" link, which takes you to a generic T&C page on their site, nothing actually to do with Flash. Agh, can't there be legislation to cap the maximum size of such EULAs, or at least mandate plain English versions to accompany the full legalese?)
I'm really surprised Apple doesn't try to buy Adobe. I'm not a fan of the latter, I hate this Cloud crap that they're forcing everyone in to, I've known too many people who've had their installations blow up because of an internet glitch when it comes to reauthenticating. I have CS6 on my computer and will run it as long as OS-X lets me, dunno what I'll do after that.
The timing was rotten, too - I was all set to buy the latest release, taking advantage of their generous educational discounts, only to find them pull that rental-only gag. Eh, I suppose I should've just bought the last one - the "staff and students" price was something like £350 for basically the entire suite. =:/
Yeah, I got in after CC was announced but 6 was still available. I probably paid about the same amount $US.

And it just occurred to me that since I'm now working for a school, that I can continue getting the discount, regardless of still taking classes at the uni!
I cannot do raw cheese or milk, it must be pasteurized. That's one of the drawbacks of immune disorders. Still, we absolutely love a sharp cheddar, hopefully one that is capable of ripping your head off. We're going to Phoenix at the start of April and will be able to stock up to keep us supplied until the summer. We found a fantastic sharp Welsh cheddar called Collier's at a cheese monger in Colorado, I always buy a couple of pounds of it when we're up there, otherwise it's Trader Joe's, which I don't know if you ever experienced it in your travels over here.

Sadly my wife doesn't share my taste for blue cheeses.


I saw Jupiter Ascending in the theater a week ago and I enjoyed it. It put me in the mind of a more actiony version of a Métal Hurlant comicbook with a dash of David Lynch's "Dune" and a sprinkle of the delightfully pulpy "Flash Gordon" film (the luchadore-masked guards, the security roboball). In fact, there are bits of everything in the film, including a "2001"-style wheel orbital in one shot. :)
I collected three small promo posters for the film and one of them is done in a style reminiscent of Druillet, as you can see here.
It's a fun sci-fi flick and it deserves to do better at the box office. But some people just don't like the Wachowskis anymore and misunderstand their work.
I thought the "Speed Racer" movie was tons of fun and well-done. It was a cartoon movie with cartoon plot, cartoon characters, and cartoon physics! What the hell were people expecting? A grimdark reboot with an emo Speed and goth Trixy?

It's totally okay to feel uncomfotable with stretched video. I see it all the time in public places and it drives me batty! Especially when it's DOUBLE-stretched! Once by the signal provider and again by the improperly configured display device. ARGH!!!
I am an aspect ratio nazi and very sensitive to any deviation. I am a very visually-oriented person.

Leonard Nimoy will be greatly missed.


I love the way you opened with that fettucini picnic... ^V^

Have a great eclipse.. I hope you get to see it!