I just returned from a photography trip to the Eastern Sierras (above Bishop) with a side-trip to the Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest nearby in the White Mountains.
Jul 31st, 2005 by Ken Hagler

I just returned from a pho­tog­ra­phy trip to the East­ern Sier­ras (above Bish­op) with a side-trip to the Ancient Bristle­cone Pine For­est near­by in the White Moun­tains. This was some­thing of an exper­i­ment, as I had no pre­vi­ous expe­ri­ence in nature pho­tog­ra­phy. I had rent­ed a tri­pod and a 20mm/f2.8 lens for my Nikon F6.

Here are some lessons I learned from this trip:

  1. Don’t for­get the quick-release plate for the tri­pod when pack­ing. With­out it, a tri­pod is use­less.
  2. The tri­pod wouldn’t have been much use any­way, as the ter­rain was so rough that it would have been difi­cult or impos­si­ble to set it up. 
  3. Car­ry­ing a whole bunch of cam­era equip­ment in a back­pack is unnec­es­sary (and real­ly heavy). For next time I’m going to look for some­place that sells pouch­es that I can put on my web gear to hold my F6 (with a small lens mount­ed) and one addi­tion­al lens, and maybe some film. 
  4. The F6 with its ver­ti­cal grip removed is a per­fect size for car­ry­ing through rough ter­rain. Just don’t for­get to remove the quick-release plate for your tri­pod from the ver­ti­cal grip if you do this. 
  5. The Cob­ber works real­ly well. 
  6. Don’t assume that, because you’ve nev­er had alti­tude sick­ness before, you don’t have to wor­ry about it now–especially if you haven’t actu­al­ly been at such high alti­tudes for fif­teen years. 
  7. If told to expect “a lot of mos­qui­tos,” be sure you know what the per­son who tells you means by that. While a desert per­son might think “two or three,” the actu­al num­ber might be clos­er to “mil­lions.”
  8. Two army sur­plus can­teens were a good idea. If I’d only had one it wouldn’t have been enough. 
  9. It might have been bet­ter (if not as com­fort­able) to camp in the moun­tains instead of get­ting a hotel room in Bish­op. Even leav­ing San­ta Mon­i­ca at 2 PM, there was still time to set up camp before it got dark, and prob­a­bly would have elim­i­nat­ed prob­lems with alti­tude sick­ness.
  10. The topo­graph­i­cal maps I got of all the areas we might be going were quite use­ful.

I went on two hikes dur­ing the trip. The first was Sat­ur­day morn­ing from North Lake. I’d spot­ted a water­fall on a moun­tain­side above the lake, and want­ed to get clos­er to it if I could to pho­to­graph it. My topo­graph­i­cal map showed a trail going up the moun­tain next to the water­fall (which was the North Fork of Bish­op Creek), so I decid­ed to head up.

The trail was quite steep, and not marked except for a sign that looked like a big yel­low excla­ma­tion mark. I gath­er this is sup­posed to sig­ni­fy a trail dif­fi­cul­ty, per­haps some­thing along the lines of “turn back, you fool.” I only went to the top and back down again, but it con­tin­ues on past Grass Lake to meet up with the Lamar­ck Lakes trail (which is a much eas­i­er climb).

The rest of the day I was wiped out by alti­tude sick­ness, but on the way back on Sun­day I took the trail through the Methuse­lah Grove which con­tains bristle­cone pines over 4,000 years old. This time I took only two cam­eras and a pock­et full of film, and left the heavy back­pack behind. I had no trou­ble with alti­tude sick­ness, thanks to the accli­ma­tion time the day before and the lighter load.

I won’t know how the pic­tures came out until I get them back from the lab lat­er this week, but I used five rolls, and hope­ful­ly some of them will come out well.

Link: Secret MTA file on photographers .
Jul 29th, 2005 by Ken Hagler

Link: Secret MTA file on pho­tog­ra­phers. The New York Dai­ly News reports that the MTA has a secret film file on pho­tog­ra­phers:

bq. “MTA inves­ti­ga­tors are keep­ing a secret data­base of peo­ple stopped and ques­tioned for film­ing or pho­tograph­ing bridges and tun­nels as part of the agency’s efforts to thwart ter­ror, the Dai­ly News has learned.

The infor­ma­tion is used to try to deter­mine whether shut­ter­bugs are sim­ply putting togeth­er vaca­tion slide shows — or gath­er­ing intel­li­gence to plot may­hem, law enforce­ment sources said.”

If this is true, this is very dis­turb­ing. Both ama­teur and pro­fes­sion­al pho­tog­ra­phers are being turned into mod­ern day boogeypeo­ple. And when a ter­ror­ist inci­dent hap­pens, what do the author­i­ties want? They want peo­ple to send them their tourist snap­shots so that they can try to see if they can spot the bad guys before the act. Argh!! []

It’s not sur­pris­ing, unfor­tu­nate­ly. The Sovi­et Union had all kinds of sil­ly rules against pho­tog­ra­phy too.

# Stefan Korshak at — A bribe too far! Ukraine scraps all traffic cops — After being
Jul 29th, 2005 by Ken Hagler

Ste­fan Kor­shak at -

A bribe too far! Ukraine scraps all traf­fic cops
— After being
stopped every 30 min­utes on a recent car trip and shak­en down for a
bribe, Ukran­ian Pres­i­dent Vik­tor Yushchenko decid­ed to elim­i­nate
traf­fic cops. So far, it’s work­ing. [claire­files] [End the War on Free­dom]

Cal­i­for­nia should fol­low the Ukrain­ian exam­ple.

Encrypted VOIP Phone .
Jul 29th, 2005 by Ken Hagler

Encrypt­ed VOIP Phone. Phil Zim­mer­mann (of PGP fame) is about to debut his encrypt­ed VOIP phone project. I pre­sume it will be free and open source, and that the cryp­tog­ra­phy will be strong enough for any appli­ca­tion. I don’t know when it will be released, but it’s cer­tain­ly an excel­lent idea.

Does any­one know of any oth­er encrypt­ed VOIP projects, either open source or oth­er­wise? [Schneier on Secu­ri­ty]

There’s PGP­fone (also from Phil Zim­mer­mann), but that hasn’t been main­tained in a very long time and doesn’t work with cur­rent OSes. I’m look­ing for­ward to see­ing what he comes up with this time.

Governments Should Be Afraid .… .
Jul 25th, 2005 by Ken Hagler

Gov­ern­ments Should Be Afraid .…. Intrigu­ing trail­er here for the upcom­ing movie adap­ta­tion of the anar­chist com­ic book V for Vendet­ta. [Mis­es Eco­nom­ics Blog]

The trail­er looks very promis­ing. I’ll cer­tain­ly see this when it comes out.

Recently I’ve been learning Cocoa , since part of my job at Symantec is configuration management for the Mac group.
Jul 24th, 2005 by Ken Hagler

Recently I've been learning Cocoa, since part of my job at Symantec is configuration management for the Mac group. My impression so far (as of chapter six of Cocoa Programming for Mac OS X) is that it's a bit like "REALbasic", but much more complicated. It's also pretty useless outside of a narrow aspect of my current job, but more knowledge is always a good thing.

Reporters’ Log: London Tube alert .
Jul 21st, 2005 by Ken Hagler

Reporters’ Log: Lon­don Tube alert. A num­ber of Lon­don Tube sta­tions were evac­u­at­ed and some lines closed after minor blasts occurred in what the Met­ro­pol­i­tan Police described as a “seri­ous inci­dent” on Thurs­day.

BBC News cor­re­spon­dents report­ed on a day that Lon­don came under attack for a sec­ond time. [BBC News]

I won­der if this was some sort of hasty copy­cat attack by peo­ple who didn’t real­ly know how to make bombs?

# Patrick J.
Jul 17th, 2005 by Ken Hagler

Patrick J. Buchanan at Cre­ators Syn­di­cate via The Mil­i­tant Lib­er­tar­i­an -

Why Are They Killing Us?
— because our mil­i­tary is tres­pass­ing in
their coun­tries, says Robert Pape in his book

Dying to Win: The Strate­gic Log­ic of Sui­cide Ter­ror­ism
. [mil­i­tant]
What Pape is say­ing is that the neo­cons’ “World War IV” — our
invad­ing Islam­ic coun­tries to over­throw regimes and con­vert them into
democ­ra­cies — is sui­ci­dal, like stomp­ing on an anthill so as not to
be bit­ten by ants. It is the pres­ence of U.S. troops in Islam­ic lands
that is the prog­en­i­tor of sui­cide ter­ror­ism.
[End the War on Free­dom]

Unfor­tu­nate­ly our Dear Leader has no inten­tion of giv­ing up his empire to end ter­ror­ist attacks. And why should he? Ter­ror­ism is a big help to the gov­ern­ment, giv­ing it the means to stam­pede the sheeple into throw­ing away the rem­nants of their free­dom.

GUS DIZEREGA: Republicans and Communists .
Jul 15th, 2005 by Ken Hagler

GUS DIZEREGA: Repub­li­cans and Com­mu­nists. Read­ing many of the Repub­li­can com­ments on the Rove/Plame issue reminds me of the reac­tion of Amer­i­can Com­mu­nists after learn­ing of the pact Stal­in signed with Hitler. The Com­mu­nists went from lock step denun­ci­a­tions of the Nazis to lock step praise of them as peace lov­ing. (They changed again when Hitler dou­ble­crossed Stal­in.)

We see the same kind of dis­hon­est behav­ior from peo­ple hav­ing the temer­i­ty to call them­selves ‘con­ser­v­a­tives” though all they seem to want to con­serve is their… [Lib­er­ty & Pow­er: Group Blog]

Since many of the Neo­con­ser­v­a­tives actu­al­ly are Com­mu­nists (they say they’re for­mer Com­mu­nists, but their actions sug­gest oth­er­wise), the sim­i­lar­i­ty is not sur­pris­ing.

I recently upgraded to the latest verion of “REALbasic” and used it to write a small tool for internal use at work.
Jul 14th, 2005 by Ken Hagler

I recent­ly upgrad­ed to the lat­est veri­on of “REAL­ba­sic” and used it to write a small tool for inter­nal use at work. Since the IDE no longer runs in the Mac OS, I switched to the Win­dows ver­sion with this upgrade. I didn’t want to give up my license for the old­er Mac ver­sion, though, and Janet at REAL Soft­ware was nice enough to acco­mo­date me by sell­ing me a REAL­ba­sic 2005 Pro Win­dows license for half-off, while allow­ing me to retain my REAL­ba­sic 5.5 Pro Mac license. It’s nice deal­ing with com­pa­nies that actu­al­ly care about their cus­tomers!

When I first saw the all in one win­dow tabbed inter­face of the new ver­sion at REAL­world 2004, I was skep­ti­cal. In prac­tice it works real­ly well, espe­cial­ly on Win­dows machines that only have one mon­i­tor.

I was able to com­plete my project in about one work­ing day (although the time was actu­al­ly spread across about four days), and most of that was decid­ing how I would imple­ment undo. Pret­ty good for my first Win­dows app!

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