A Few New Favorites
I’m stuck in a bit of a rut during a work trip currently. It’s been a tremendous bore so far and I’ve been, essentially, stuck in a hotel room for the last week and change waiting for something to happen, all the while, nothing does.
To make the best of it, I have been able to sneak out in the mornings to get some exercise in, or a walk on the beach. If you are following on Instagram, you have already seen some of those. Besides iPhone photos, I also have been carrying the Nikon around, just to snap a few photos of things I’ve seen around the resort. I’ve already shared those on Flickr and G+.
I’m really very pleased with how all of these photos have turned out. It’s amazing how nice of a photo you can take when there is a ton of really interesting things to take photos of, with gobs of fantastic sunshine to make the lighting exactly perfect. Of the shots that I have taken with the Nikon so far, these are my favorites.
Lightly processed in Aperture, they really barely needed anything. Just a little bit of white balance adjustment and some saturation of the colors, but just. Everything here really looks pretty much exactly how my camera sees it. These were compressed and resized, but you can view them all in the original resolution at the links above.
Making Better Use of Flash
2013 is going to be the year that I try to really up my game in many areas. One of those is Photography. And, in order for that to happen, I will be adding pieces of gear to my “quiver” along the way. Lighting, lenses, software, or anything else that will help. And I’m going to be sharing those with you along the way.
Currently, I’m trying to improve the lighting of my shots. Usually I’m shooting in a dark ballroom with red, green or blue LED lighting and it can be quite challenging to get shots that are color correct and well lit. I’ve tried using the built-in flash of my D5100, but we all know how crappy that usually is. To that end, I’ve added a few pieces that I think will help.
The first I got as a Christmas present from Stella and it included a toy dinosaur! The Pop-Up Flash Bounce from Photojojo. It’s a mirror that mounts to your hot shoe, redirecting the flash up instead of straight at the subject. Nice even lighting in room with standard height ceilings.
The Mac Mini as a Server
Disclaimer: The following is concerning networking Apple computers together, using an Apple computer as a server. Windows isn’t mentioned because, for this purpose, it’s not applicable.
Friend of the show, CJ, posed the question above on Twitter earlier. Having a few minutes, we went back and forth on adding a Mac Mini server to a home network. He is looking at replacing an existing Mac Pro and is concerned with file storage. Besides the Mac Mini, he is also considering a Synology DiskStation, which is another great option.
The Synology is interesting in that it is, essentially, a linux server with a custom UI. Within the admin section of the device you can configure it to act as a firewall, mail/web server (complete with WordPress), iTunes media server, DHCP server and even a personal cloud server. All rolled into one device. And, at just a skoosh over $300, a pretty good deal. The biggest con of this is redundancy. The drives are fixed and can’t be swapped without opening the case. You can mirror to another Synology device on the same network (via rsync if you speak nerd) or backup to an external USB drive. The experience that I have had with the Synology has been very positive. It’s reliable and quiet and file transfers are pretty quick.
If your budget has more room, the Mac MINI with an external drive would be a better solution. With the Mac Mini, you get a full O/S computer that can be used as a regular desktop machine. Adding a Drobo or multiple Thunderbolt drives would allow you to extend storage to more than you will probably need over the life of the device. If you are looking to do some cord cutting, that’s another advantage of going with the Mini. Add the Plex Server and app to this machine connected to your home entertainment center via HDMI cable and you have a powerful device that will not only serve your files, but you media as well.
You could go full server on your Mini too, which would get you additional on-board storage and other server only options (user account controls, for example), but if all you need is file serving and you are planning on using external storage anyway, I’d vote against the Server version of the Mini. I’d go with the $599 version, add as much RAM as possible and put the rest toward external storage like a Drobo or a few daisy chained Thunderbolt drives (any of these would be awesome).
If you are looking to have access via Windows machines, the Synology device or a networked Drobo would be a better choice, unless you are looking for a full blow media server/HTPC type device.
Recently, I’ve had another website start to get a bit too large for it’s britches. 1 regulation, class A nasty gram sent (that was missed) and the site was suspended by the host. Why? Resource usage that was 4x what was allotted for that account. Part of the trouble with shared hosting if your site gets popular.
Not to worry, since the host is Site5, I was able to get them to turn the site back on so I could take a shot at reducing the usage and brings things under control. Sure, an upgrade was going to have to happen, but why not try to put that off until after the crazy that is this time of year.
So I donned my labcoat and went to work. (Read on…)
I Fixed It, Kinda
Jetpack. By far my favorite plugin for WordPress. So many great features, all rolled into one. It’s pretty damned awesome.
At least it was pretty damned awesome, until WordPress v3.5 was released. Then it was demoted to just ok. It started causing issues with embedded Youtube videos, tossing up some really ugly PHP error messages on the post that had video embedded.
To keep a long story short, you can read all of the details over at the support site. 28 posts later, we have arrived at this post. I actually helped to fix a a major WordPress Plugin. This pleases me.
The shorter version is that there is a plugin out there that is causing issues related to featured images in posts. Actually, it was the lack of a featured image that was causing the issue. The fix is in the post linked up, if you are having the same issue, but I can answer any questions you might have in the comments!