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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