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Have some ski jumping with tires. ^_^ (via jenn_dolari)

I have two new depictions of myself! ^_^ First up, by /u/War_Dyn27, in vectors, and then, a pencils bust by /u/Lunatic_Pangolin. I'm delighted with them, perhaps needless to say. ^_^


Whilst the Kickstarter for the David Bowie statue is concluded, the latest update notes that if anyone's still interested in chipping in for any of the reward levels, that does remain an option. They're on course for a September 2017 unveiling, with the sculptor now working on the maquette; once that's complete and approved, then the full size version can begin. ^_^


Here's some geeky fun: a presentation at one of the CCC shindigs, on hacking the PS4. =:D

If you're looking to rent a DSLR lens and/or body, LensesForHire are again running a February special: this time, all rates are 25% off for any bookings made before the end of the month, and they'll supply a 25% coupon for any future use. Bookings can be as far ahead as they'll accept (at least six months, ISTR), and there's no problem rescheduling a booking, provided there's enough notice (a fortnight, I believe). I'm happy to recommend them - reasonable rates, and they're fine with courier delivery and collection, or in person (though they'll meet you at a nearby cafe, given the location itself holds quite a lot of value in total =:). In the past, I've borrowed a Sigmonster from them, to see how it'd work out as a wildlife lens (answer: it's a very good lens with superb reach, but the weight means a tripod & gimbal mount is mandatory, so you can't just go wandering and quickly take advantage of a spontaneous moment), and Nikkor 200-400mm f/4 for wildlife and an airshow, where it acquitted itself admirably in both contexts, though inevitably, at the cost of double the weight of my usual Nikkor 300mm f/4D AF-S; my shoulders were not very amused the day after the airshow. ^_^; As an indication of the costs, their normal rates for those two are £214 and £190 respectively for 5 days (minimum of 3 days), for lenses that currently sell new for around £5500 and £5000. I notice they're now offering the D500, amongst other bodies, for £147 for 5 days, before discount.. if I do take advantage of the offer, that's probably what I'd try this time around, as I'm interested to see just how good the new autofocus module really is (the same as in the new flagship, the D5), and the ability to get 10fps in continuous mode could be very useful in those wonderful action moments.

Saturday saw a window of a couple hours of bright winter sun, so of course, I had to scamper off for some rabbiteering - and the buns were happy to oblige. ^_^ Evidently, there's one bun expecting before too long, as she's out gathering straw for the nest for her babies. Unfortunately, that means nothing to some others, including one buck who decided she deserved to be pursued aggressively. Thankfully, despite getting perilously close, she departed untouched. ^_^ Through the rest of the afternoon, I'd see her take the same route, gathering straw consignments. Ah, soon, there'll be a few new tinybuns to observe. =:D



And a fraction of a second later..


It's been confirmed: Peter Capaldi will leave Doctor Who, with the 2017 Christmas special being his swan song. I'll miss his brash style, but, I'm grateful for what he brought to the show, and it does mean we get to play with the delicate sensibilities of fen who reject the concept that a time-travelling nigh immortal alien who can regenerate from almost any mortal peril, into an entirely new body, couldn't possibly alter their skin tone or gender along the way. =:D At least that canard's been put to rest with the advent of the quite superb Missy, mercifully. And, not too long to go now: we'll see the Doctor again on April 15 2017. ^_^

So, who would you invite to the role? Beyond Joanna Lumley, who goes without saying. ^_^ I'd be supremely tempted to ask Lori Petty. Patrick Stewart would be great fun as well, with the bonus spectacle of geek heads exploding everywhere. =:) Thinking a little more inside the box, Eva Green comes to mind - though she's probably too busy to commit to a multi-year production schedule.

I am absolutely loving these boxed wine reviews. =:D

What's your backup regimen? Do you have one? In my case, it's primarily macOS' own Time Machine, which simply performs incremental backups every hour, in the background, keeping those for a couple weeks, then culling older ones to leave daily, and so on, as far back as space permits. Then, for the photography, I'll also occasionally copy the Aperture library over to a soft RAID of two external drives, and complete libraries (I cycle them out when they reach more than around 50GB) onto another external. I'd like to have something off-site as well, given the above won't help if there's a thorough burglary or bad fire, though I'd at least have lower resolution JPEG versions of some of the better ones on Flickr and 500px. Ultimately, I'd like to set up a proper server, with space for several drives - maybe something prepared, eg Synology or QNAP, or home made, using Unraid. With the latter, I'd ideally want the system to be something compact, along the lines of a Mac mini, adding external drives as desired, rather than a hefty server case, but I'll have to research whether Unraid even supports external USB3 or Thunderbolt drives. (I wouldn't be looking for speed, so everything hanging off a USB hub would be fine - it'd be running over 802.11ac anyway, again assuming that's no problem for Unraid)

Heh, not bad - the last Transferwise transaction took a matter of hours to complete, from initiating payment via ACH, to availability. Why on Earth can't/don't the banks offer such a service themselves, rather than leaving it to third parties? Friction, I suppose - enough people will pay the standard international transfer fees, versus seeking such alternatives? (xe.com is another such; it used to be rather more complex to set up a transaction, but I believe that's changed recently, with the back end migrated to a different financial provider)

Glar. Whether it's Apple or Google at fault, I don't yet know, but this is quite annoying - now, it seems after I restart Hazel, or even just change IPs, Google requests re-entering all my Google Apps (in my case, just email) passwords. Which, of course, it refuses to just accept from the Keychain - I've got to perform that manually. Adding in Mail's obstinance with occasionally being "unable" to send email with a bogus authentication failure, and I'm wondering if it isn't time to just be rid of both Mail and GMail. Perhaps I'll set up a VM sometime, and test out any adequate clients, to see how well they can cope with a large archive, multiple accounts, and a good number of filter rules to keep all the mailboxes in order. (Ah, Eudora.. much as I loved NextStep taking over from classic Mac OS as the future OS' foundation, having to eventually leave Eudora behind was one step I regretted - always perfectly reliable, and fast)
 
 
 
 
 
 
Great pics! Looking forward to seeing the tinybuns :o)

My backups at work are done using three methods. Bi-weekly I clone the Staff machines, and representative public pc's, using Symantec Ghost. Then after two weeks I run Easy Transfer to back up files and settings on the Staff computers only (our public pc's use Faronics Deep Freeze to maintain integrity). All machines have System Restore set up in case of software glitches.

In all I have four 1TB, Usb3.0 portable drives for these copies. I don't use the same drive for both a clone and an ET in case of failure (I've had one of these Toshibas die before).

For two Mondays in a row I had to image over our Circulation computers when MS Update checks failed and they went into restart loops... so glad I had those copies!

At home I use System Restore, Easy Transfer, and MS Backup.

Edited at 2017-02-05 12:30 am (UTC)
Oh absolutely. =:D Next month, there could be some extreme adorableness. ^_^

That sounds like a fairly reasonable setup. ^_^ Do you keep some of the drives in different locations? (So they're not all vulnerable to something like fire or theft) That's where I need to improve - the problem being the sheer volume of data; my uplink isn't bad, but even with 700K/s, terabytes take serious time. But even backing up just the best remotely would be an improvement, so I ought to begin with something like that.

It'd be sort of slightly better if drives gave some warning before dying - but they just drop dead, from my experience, other than one time where I had one badly affected by static zapping. ^_^; (It was somehow managing with hundreds of thousands of bad sectors!)

Deep Freeze - that's for reimaging from a static image? (À l'Apple Store, so everything's back to a known, clean state every morning)

Backups are one of those things you'll probably only really need once in a long while, but when you need them, they'll be the best thing you've ever made sure of, whether just keeping a job on track, or keeping some irreplaceable photos available.
I used to keep the drives offsite, and probably should again. What I do at work is largely unnoticed and I wonder if they really care as the first thing they say when there is a problem is "Should we call so-and-so from the State to fix these?" IT is not my primary job, but I'm pretty much the only one who can do this onsite, and it is my favorite task :o)

Deep Freeze has been a wonderful program to keep the computers locked down, so much better than the old Fortress program they used to run. Everything clears on restart. Tasks can be set from the server that will thaw and update individual machines. It's only failed me three or four times in twelve years, where it appears the computers restarted while in the middle of updating and then get wonky. My fault: there are ways to prevent that.

Backups save hours of rebuilding machines here at work. Symantec Ghost has been my goto for over ten years now. With the advent of larger storage capability I can forego sysprepping even and just clone individual machines to drop images directly back onto their discs or replaced discs (I used to have individual ghosts only for types of machines, and would then rebuild all the settings and connect all the devices after imaging).

At home I have only had to ghost over my machine once and yes, it was so good to have had that backup. System Restore I've used a few times as well.
I used to work in the IT group of a uni's satellite campus and we used Deep Freeze on all of the student machines. INVALUABLE. A friend who worked with me went to work for a group on main campus who had major virus problems: he set them up with Deep Freeze, no more virus problems.

Did you see the story about the St. Louis Public Library system getting shut down from ransomware? It's never a bad idea to have off-site backups.
Deep Freeze is by far my favorite IT tool. Not only does it stop virus and malware attacks but when curious patrons try to reset backgrounds or properties, everything reverts with a click!

The St.Louis story is frightening, and is why, as you well know, we have backups. We had a staff computer get 'infected' with a scareware/ransomware- a redirect took it to a page with a recorded "Don't change your page or shut down or your drive will be wiped" message, and told you to call a number. No Deep Freeze on this one- I took the chance and shut it down, and then did system restore to the day before, and ran Spybot, Norton scan, and finally CCleaner to finish off. I figured worse case I would just reimage with my ghost.
My backup is macOS' Time Machine for local backups, then Backblaze to back things up remotely. (Roughly 5-6 TB at the moment, I think. Runs 'continuously', which is probably hourly.) To date (maybe... past 5 years?), they've saved me at least 3-4 times. Twice I've had to get them to send me about 3TB of data on an external hard drive when one of my external hard drives failed - you pay a $189 deposit for the hard drive and that gets returned to you as long as you ship the hard drive back within 30 days. The biggest downside, Backblaze requires the external hard drives to be connected periodically otherwise they'll delete the data on that drive. And they don't support network drives, so... :\ I imagine I could set something up myself with rsync, but when Backblaze only costs me $4/mo, I think it's pretty worth it.

On a side note, if you have any Seagate 3TB drives and you can find the model number, I'd suggest checking to see if they're ST3000DM001. And if they are, you may want consider copying data off of that drive and retiring it. Both my recently failed drives were this model.

BTW, came across this: https://i.imgur.com/b0zfRJ8.gifv (I guess it's a hare and not a bunny? But still, bouncy fuzzy thing on long legs with long ears!)
For backups, multiple sets of Time Machine. My home system is in a bit of chaos at the moment as my computer desk almost exploded and I'm not quite done with repairs yet. The normal setup was my iMac was always connected to a 3 TB external HD and I has a 1 TB for backing up our two laptops. Two of each drive, one set lived off-site, in my office at the school until they fired me, otherwise at the observatory. I would swap them monthly. This held me in quite good stead.

That no longer works. The iMac was upgraded last summer to a 4 TB drive, then the computer was stolen. My wife's new laptop was replaced and has a 1 TB SSD, I replaced my Air (256 gig SSD) with a MBP (512 gig), so a 1 TB is no longer adequate. While working on the previous iMac, I bought a 5 TB drive. My plan was to buy a second 5 TB then use the two 3 TB for laptop backups. That is still my intent. My new iMac has a 3 TB drive, the biggest drive that Apple provides internally, and that currently has 858 gig available -- I REALLY need to de-dupe that drive! I'm a week shy of it having not been backed up for a month, shows how long it's been since the desk went *POP* and how crummy I've been feeling, not that I'm near 100% yet.

I told Lovely Angel that what I want to do is get a Mac Mini and a RAID chassis with lots of disk. Have it hold images of all of my DVDs and Blurays and also all my backups, then back that up to external drives and take those off-site. I'm not keen on USB disk drives -- I find that I replace, on average, one a year. What I want to get is a Thunderbolt bare drive bay so that I can buy just the drives and save some money that way. Plus, Thunderbolt is so much faster than USB, and only my iMac and my wife's new laptop support USB 3. Now that I think about it, that means only my old laptop will slog away at older speeds. Still, Thunderbolt FTW!
Joanna Lumley would be great, of course - and in similar vein, I've always wished I could see Rowan Atkinson do it for realsies.
"Carefully modulated release of gas!" I really need to get The Curse of the Fatal Death on DVD.
I really would love to know if the producers are considering anyone like Joanna Lumley or Sue Perkins this time around - but, we've seen on previous occasions that you're more likely to get a leak out of Apple than them. =:) I'm confident whomever they do choose will acquit themselves well, regardless of any initial kerfuffle - remember how some folks were so disdainful of Matt Smith, supposing that someone so young couldn't possibly play the Doctor with any kind of gravitas?

If they approached Roawn Atkinson, I wonder if he'd go for it.. it's a big commitment of time, with months of filming each year, so it puts quite a crimp on any other engagements, but then, what a role it is! Pathos, melodrama, whimsy - often within the same episode. And he'd be amazing fun to write for.. =:D

I'm just nervous with Chris Chibnall taking the helm - I've really not enjoyed his writing style at all, having been responsible for some quite horrid episodes of Doctor Who and Torchwood, not least the latter's attempt at a Cyberwoman.. O.o;; Still, I suppose even if he comes out with a clunker or two, a lot of his role's going to be more the coordination of everything, keeping it all rolling along.
Someone suggested Sue Perkins as The Next Doctor. Since British Bakeoff left her behind, why not? I think she'd be pretty awesome! But Joanna would definitely have my vote.

It'll be interesting.
Oh, definitely! I'd love to see Sue Perkins in the role. I admit, I actually hadn't really been aware of her until a few years ago, with her turn in an episode of "The World's Most Dangerous Roads" (which I'd highly recommend - it's not the dramafest schlockumentary you might expect of a fallen cable channel, but in reality, a sort of travelogue. Each episode saw two celebs being given some quite arduous route, and we were along for the ride, seeing what the country was actually like - in their case, it was the Ho Chi Minh Trail, so the route was commonly lined with trees bearing yellow (be careful of mines) or red (watch out for imminent danger) paint markings). For that matter, she also produced a very interesting four parter, "Sue Perkin's Mekong River", looking at the cultures and political realities all along the mighty river's very long shores, including Chinese hydro plans in.. Laos? (I forget), fronting the construction costs in exchange for almost all the power produced.

I'll have to check back on previous years, and see when the BBC made the announcements for the others - around the start or end of that year's outings, or just any time. With the next run only two months away, I wonder if they'll also relieve everyone's anticipation early on. Come to think of it, they probably don't have much choice - there are always plenty of photos sent in by fans showing locations where the next series is filming, and of course, who's been seen there, and I can't imagine the BBC would want to just let the big news be leaked.

Hmm.. what do the bookies say? Here's OddsChecker's page - FWIW, they're listing the top favorites as:

Kris Marshall (Love Actually, Death at a Funeral)
Olivia Coleman (Hot Fuzz, The Lobster)
Richard Madden (Game of Thrones, Cinderella)
Richard Ayoade (The I.T. Crowd)
Andrew Buchan (Broadchurch)
Iwan Rheon (Game of Thrones, Misfits)
Phoebe Waller-Bridge (Fleabag, Broadchurch)

Not sure how the accent would work, but I'd love to see Lori Petty in the role, too. =:D (Reminds me, I must get back to watching OitNB sometime - she's been as great as ever in the few newer episodes I've seen)
I would add Sue to my satellite DVR, and I might as well, but we plan on getting rid of it in a couple of months when the BBC app for the Apple TV comes out. And then, theoretically, we can watch all of that BBC goodness that you mention. I didn't know she did travelogue zaniness like Michael Palin did, that's quite cool!

We have a minefield area between Alamogordo and El Paso: it's a live-fire artillery range for Fort Bliss with lots of UXBs. There are signs along the highway that warn of it. I'll have to stop and see if there are any good photos to be had. Three weeks ago when I took my wife to EP for her to fly to Seattle for a conference, I thought I should have taken my photography kit. Sure enough, the army was on manouvers and tanks were cruising along side the intererstate and me with nothing more than my smartphone, didn't even have my Lumix in my pocket.
Great pics.

It will be sad to see Capaldi go.I though he was quite a good Doctor.
Thanks. ^_^ I'm so pleased the weather gave me a window of such great light, even if it did wind up mostly clouding up as the sun drew low. Even if I hadn't been treated to such a display, it's hugely reassuring to see the buns indeed remain there, and seemingly in increasing numbers. ^_^

Mmm, he can definitely depart knowing he's done well. No surprise, of course - you don't get to that level of acting seniority without making your mark along the way, but still, it was quite a daring choice for the producers, going back toward a more brusque style, contrasting against the more whimsical Matt Smith, himself controversial for his relative age, and some felt, inexperience. (As if being in the National Youth Theatre counted for little. Hee!)
Sorry to hear about the password frustrations... ;P

As for backups, Time Machine is good... Apple also had that ole backup program with the umbrella icon.. and some clients still use that on Tiger (old equipment)

For my own backups I hook up an external every few months and usually run two.. a direct drop of files, and a standard full encrypted clone...