Archive for category Photography & Images

Imagemagick 6 vs. PDF

Come to find out Xubuntu 18.04 ratcheted the ImageMagick security settings up to a dangerous chattering whine:

convert p???.jpg "Machining D-bit Drills.pdf"
convert-im6.q16: not authorized `Machining D-bit Drills.pdf' @ error/constitute.c/WriteImage/1037.

Fortunately, someone who understands this stuff encountered the problem before I did and posted a great description of the solution.

To forestall link rot, the process looks like:

cd /etc/ImageMagick-6/
sudo cp policy.xml policy.xml.base
sudo nano policy.xml
… change one line …
 policy domain="coder" rights="read|write" pattern="PDF"

It is completely unclear to me whether ImageMagick (as of ImageMagick 6.9.7-4 Q16 x86_64 20170114 ) requires or merely tolerates the vertical bar in place of commas, nor whether it’s in my best interest to replace "coder" with "*".

In any event, I can once again stuff bitmap images into PDF files.



Kindle Fire Picture Frame: Copying the Pictures

Being a bear of unbearable consistency, I save edited picture files with a description following the original camera-assigned sequence number:

IMG_20181108_190041 - Kindle Fire Picture Frame - Another Test Image.jpg

Yup, spaces and all.

Kindle Fire Picture Frame - Another Test Image

Kindle Fire Picture Frame – Another Test Image

I store my general-interest pix chronologically by year, in subdirectories for interesting categories, so copying all the edited (a.k.a. “interesting”) pictures to the Kindle Fire becomes a one-liner:

cd /mnt/bulkdata/Cameras
find 20?? -iname \*\ \*jpg -print0 | xargs -0 cp --parents -t /mnt/part/Pictures

The --parents parameter tells cp to recreate the directory structure holding the picture in the target directory, thereby keeping the pix neatly sorted in their places, rather than creating one heap o’ pictures.

Come to find out I’ve edited slightly over 7 k general-interest pictures in the eighteen years I’ve been using digital cameras, of maybe 27 k total pictures. Call it a 25% hit ratio; obviously I’m not nearly fussy enough.

Then there’s another 16 k project-related pictures, of which 10 k were edited into something useful. With an emphasis on utility, rather than aesthetics, a 60% hit ratio seems OK.

Which works out to half a dozen pictures a day, every day, for eighteen years. I loves me some good digital camera action!

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Small Stone Moving By Itself

A decorative snail emerged from within a large garden lettuce:

Snail - looking left

Snail – looking left

It seemed interested in its new surroundings:

Snail - looking right

Snail – looking right

And eventually set off on an adventure:

Snail - escaping

Snail – escaping

We returned it to the Great Outdoors, far from the garden goodies, and wished it well.

Sometimes, having eyes mounted on stalks would be advantageous, but I’m unwilling to give up opposable thumbs to get ’em.



Everybody Wants to be a Star

The Wzye Pan camera overlooking the bird feeders attracted the attention of a Downy Woodpecker:


Screenshot_20181029-112307 - Downy Woodpecker at the Pan

Screenshot_20181029-112307 – Downy Woodpecker at the Pan

The camera sits on a “guest” branch of the house network, fenced off from the rest of the devices, because Pi-Hole showed it relentlessly nattering with its Chinese servers:

Blocked Domains - Wyze iotcplatform

Blocked Domains – Wyze iotcplatform

In round numbers, the Pan camera tried to reach those (blocked) iotcplatform domains every 30 seconds around the clock, using a (permitted) lookup to check Internet connectivity. Pi-Hole supplied the latter from its cache and squelched the former, but enough is enough.

I haven’t tested for traffic to hardcoded dotted-quad IP addresses not requiring DNS lookups through the Pi-Hole. Scuttlebutt suggests the camera firmware includes binary blobs from the baseline Xaiomi/Dafang cameras, so there’s no telling what’s going on in there.

The Xiaomi-Dafang Hacks firmware doesn’t phone home to anybody, but requires router port forwarding and a compatible RTSP client on the remote end. Isolating it from the rest of the LAN must suffice until I can work out that mess; I assume the camera has already made my WiFi passwords public knowledge.

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Driving While Shouting

We generally don’t get hassled during our bike rides, perhaps because we ride like narrow vehicles and don’t pull stupid bicyclist tricks. The few folks who do hassle us seem to be twenty-something males, an endangered species of its own.

A shout of “Assholes!”

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Unusually, there was no nearby traffic, so it’s not a case of mistaken identity.

Protip: Don’t do something in your employer’s vehicle that your employer may regret.

A shout of “Fuck you!”

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Protip: Your car has a license plate. JCX-1393, matching my high-res version against the audio track; I shout the license plate and identifying information while I can see it.

Yes, I was young once … and stupid.

One hopes they outgrow it, too.


Monthly Image: All Of My Paperwork Was Up To Par

Although you’ll read cogent advice to Never Talk To Police, somehow I knew this would involve a conversation long before I went around the curve:

Maloney Rd Incident 1 - 2018-02-27

Maloney Rd Incident 1 – 2018-02-27

And it did:

Maloney Rd Incident 2 - 2018-02-27

Maloney Rd Incident 2 – 2018-02-27

Evidently, someone just discovered a body floating in a bend of the small creek off to the left.

My helmet camera prompted some attention, although nothing of interest was visible from the road. A few days later, whoever owned the property bulldozed a substantial berm along the far shoulder to prevent random strangers from just driving in and doing whatever. A week or so later, a call from another police agency had me explaining I don’t have video records of the creek or of any activity, suspicious or otherwise.

Another traffic stop concerned a specific vehicle allegedly involved in an attempt to pick up abduct a girl from a school bus stop:

Traffic Stop - Jackson Drive - 2018-09-22

Traffic Stop – Jackson Drive – 2018-09-22

In both cases, all my paperwork was up to par and I just rolled on through; it doesn’t always work that way.


Burnett Blvd Signals: Five More Seconds!

My most recent description of not quite getting killed in front of the NYS DOT Region 8 office evidently did some good. Although I wasn’t informed directly, this happened:

The minimum green time was increased to 10 seconds.

Which is five more seconds more than before, allowing us to get nearly all the way through the intersection before crossing traffic on Rt 55 gets a green light.

As before, the numbers are video frames at 60 fps.

T=0.0 – Burnett signal goes green:

Burnett - New signal timing - 0101 - 2018-09-30

Burnett – New signal timing – 0101 – 2018-09-30

T=2.5 – The trailer ahead of us starts and we’re rolling:

Burnett - New signal timing - 0251 - 2018-09-30

Burnett – New signal timing – 0251 – 2018-09-30

T=8.0 – We reach the Burnett crosswalk. Note the car beside us isn’t making much headway, either:

Burnett - New signal timing - 0581 - 2018-09-30

Burnett – New signal timing – 0581 – 2018-09-30

T=11.93 –  Burnett signal goes yellow overhead, so the green phase lasted 12 seconds:

Burnett - New signal timing - 0817 - 2018-09-30

Burnett – New signal timing – 0817 – 2018-09-30

T=16.16 – Rt 55 signal remains red, but will change within a second:

Burnett - New signal timing - 1071 - 2018-09-30

Burnett – New signal timing – 1071 – 2018-09-30

Seen from the rear view camera, the Rt 55 signal went green while we were still in the intersection:

Burnett - New signal timing - 16 s - crossing green - 2018-09-30

Burnett – New signal timing – 16 s – crossing green – 2018-09-30

You’ll note the cars on Rt 55 behind us weren’t visible three seconds earlier, so, as far as they can tell, we’re running the red.

Fortunately, we’re almost where we need to be:

Burnett - New signal timing - 22 s - traffic - 2018-09-30

Burnett – New signal timing – 22 s – traffic – 2018-09-30

The timing still isn’t safe, but after three years, five more seconds counts for a lot!