Tempe Town Lake rough panorama

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I saw on the news that the Tempe Town Lake’s dam had broken, but I didn’t realise that meant it was empty until I rode the light rail to work and saw it.  Once I started my tests at work, I ran back over to the lake and took some pictures.  It turns out you can climb down into the lake pretty easily now, so once I get my other camera’s battery charged, I should have some amazing pictures.

Here is a rough draft panorama I took this morning with the canon PowerShot A590 and CHDK.


This picture is resized to 50%, and it was cropped.  There are empty areas where I didn’t take pictures by mistake, but I was in a hurry.  I could also work on the projection a little, I think it should be flat in the middle and curved more on the edges.  I think I will climb further down for the next one as well.

Midnight Panorama

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After the debacle below, I figured I wanted to do something right tonight. So, I went out back and took a quick series of 15 second exposures of my backyard and stitched them into a panorama.

The really cool thing about this was that the pictures were taken at 11:00 at night tonight, March 10, 2009. I think it is a full moon, although I may be incorrect. At any rate, it was plenty bright. I just used the “shutter priority” mode because I really wasn’t even planning on doing this until it happened, and so just wanted to set the shutter speed without anything else. The camera then chose ISO 200 and f/2.6 as the other settings.

The moon was above the frame, probably one frame up in the last shot on the left. The glow behind the hill in the left-center is the glow from Phoenix, AZ (about 30 miles south of here).



First (failed) Attempt at Night Sky Photography

Posted in Life in General, Pictures by aliencam | 1 Comment »

I tried taking some pictures of the moon and the landscape tonight, (it looked really cool from my house’s view) and I really didn’t do so well. This is my first attempt, and I guess It wasn’t absolutely terrible, I got some more practice in with Manual mode on my camera, which is always good, and I had fun with a 15 second exposure (I accidentally touched the camera twice during that though! messed it up something severe.)

I took 15 pictures, 5 or 6 of them turned out at all, and of those none are any good. Each used different settings.

My best picture used an ISO of 1600 (probably explains the graininess of all the pictures, I’ll leave that at 800 next time) an f-stop of f/5.6, shutter speed of 1/2 second.


What I was looking at with my eyes was something with a similar landscape to the above picture, with the moon much larger and clearer. The moon was visually about twice the size as these pictures.  The below used 1600 ISO value, shutter speed of 1/100 sec, and aperture of f/5.5.


And finally, for fun, I thought I would take a long-exposure.  Without using CHDK, the maximum shutter time is 15 seconds (with it is 75 seconds). This picture was ISO 1600, and f/5.6.  Even though the camera was basically sitting on a block wall, I was holding the camera still, and the position I was in (standing on the retaining wall of the garden, 4 ft away from the wall leaning on it and trying to hold a camera)  wasn’t the most comfortable, I ended up pumping or moving the camera at least 4 times during this exposure (at least 4 times that I noticed while I was taking it).


So anyway,  I didn’t get my picture of the moon once again.  (this is the first time I’ve really tried since I got my camera).  Kind of disappointing, but I figure with some google learning I should be able to get it next time.  But maybe not, if you know anything about photography and you know what I am doing wrong please mention it in a comment.


Front View Panorama

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I took these pictures over the wall on the side of my house, facing the front (so this is the view from the right side of the front yard). If you know my house’s layout, then I was standing on the garden planters outside the dining room window. I stitched this together using Hugin, an open source panorama creator. This is the first time I have ever successfully created a panorama (every other time random things mess it up.) but now that I know how to do it, it is very easy and quick.

View Over Front Fence

View Over Front Fence

That is just a thumbnail of the full image, click on the picture to see the 3.2MB .png file.  If anyone wants the full 7.2MB TIFF file, send me a message and I will get it to you.

Tomorrow I will be leaving for CES.  The plan is Coby and I will be taking my family’s Suburban up to Las Vegas, and then we will stay with Soledad, a friend of my family.  This should be a lot of fun.

Monday Morning Photo Post

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Well I have been taking a lot of pictures the last few weeks, and have never posted them. This includes two take-apart guides, and mostly just a bunch of pictures of clouds and plants. I will post the disassemblies in their own posts. All of these pictures were taken with my cell phone’s camera, the phone is a Samsung SCH-i760 (Verizon). All of that information is in the metatags. Be careful reading the whole post if you are on narrowband, as there are 25 images in this post.

First, here are a couple of pictures of the mountain that my house is on (where I live is still inside a housing development, so it is severely grated, but I am at the top of said housing development area.)

Just for the times when the internet is slow, I’m putting the more tag here. To read the rest of the post, please either click the title of the post, or the link right after this. Read More »

Quick adblock un-tutorial (unblock adsense text ads)

Posted in Guides, Life in General, Linux, Lists, Pictures by aliencam | No Comments »

This picture was taken back in January, on my back porch. I didn’t really have another good picture to post today, I worked all day and didn’t take any pictures. I forgot to cut my hair again today, I seriously need to do that tomorrow. My first day back at work was pretty good, I remembered everything even with that nine month hiatus, so I was able to jump right back in and do anything in the store, even the water testing and equipment repairs.

Talking about ads online. I really don’t like advertisements all over the interwebs, but I do concede that they are necessary for most websites to stay up. However, ads today are so annoying and so (vulgar, imposing, I don’t know) that most of us take it upon ourselves to install adblock first thing when we install firefox. This is great except for the issue that if everybody used adblock there would be no money in advertising, and the internet would no longer be commercially free. (I dont think this would be that bad actually, I like the web-2.0 collaborative free-time donation model the internet is slowly becoming, but, ) This would get rid of so many of our favorite sites, that we would have to just deal with it and not have those websites for awhile. But anyway, not all ads are so annoying that we have to block them. Google’s text ads I actually enjoy quite often. The google content ads will either have good relevant links to similar websites, or such obscure references that you can’t avoid clicking them just to see what the page is about. These ads usually match the color scheme of the website, and are not at all imposing. They also aren’t ambiguous to the point where we can’t distinguish between content and ads.

But these ads, along with all the bad ones, are blocked by the adblock firefox extension (if you subscribe to the EasyList subscription, which nearly everyone does). When I went to unblock these ads, in order to continue supporting my favorite websites, I remembered that google does not only do these nice relevant text ads, but also the annoying image ads that can contain punching monkies, flashing graphics, moving things, and generally annoying stuff. So I had to ask on the adblock forums about how to unblock only the text ads and continue blocking the graphical advertisements.

in short, here is how to unblock Google’s AdSense Text ads (and nothing else!) :

  • Open AdBlock Preferences
  • Add a filter with the text:

that’s it. Yes it is a lot simpler than it seems, but that filter works just fine. in case anyone didn’t know, adding “@@” to the front of an adblock filter means “allow”. If you want to write yor own adblock filters there is a good guide here: http://adblockplus.org/en/filters but I really suggest learning regular expressions if you want to get into anything more advanced (not just for adblock, regular expressions are amazing any time you want to search.)

Also, I would like you to ignore the ad at the bottom of this post. I know it is annoying, and badly placed, and it stands out, and I will be moving it to the bottom of the sidebar tomorrow (after I cut my hair. and maybe dye my hair again depending on the colour after I cut it. )

“Formerly, when religion was strong and science weak, men mistook magic for medicine; now, when science is strong and religion weak, men mistake medicine for magic.” -Thomas Szasz


Post script: I have 116 unread items in my Google Reader feed catcher… dang. I haven’t been reading my feeds very much the last week… add something else to my moleskine list…

another blog post

Posted in Life in General, Pictures by aliencam | No Comments »

After last night’s until-3AM coding and web design session, I should receive a swift kick to the circadian rhythm in just about… 20 minutes (depending on the 400 mcg of melatonin i just popped). Why would I do such an anti-rhythmic liver-blasting thing you may ask? Well, I have to get up at 5:00 AM tomorrow for work. That’s right, I’m back at Leslie’s Pools, my place of work since may 2005. Which makes it three years working there if you don’t count the 9-month break I just took for my first year of college… Tomorrow will be my first day back there, from 6:30 AM to 7:00 PM. Nice easy 12.5 hour shift for my first day back. We even get to wear hawaiian shirts because of the Memorial Day sale that starts tomorrow (strange Memorial Day choice IMO, but I see the Pool Store similarity.)

Some things I added to the blog are a Feedburner RSS feed (top right corner). Feedburner is an awesome site that lets you customize your feed to change and include all sorts of awesome stuff in the feed, and has an amazing statistics system as well. I also changed the sidebar over from all code-editing to wordpress widgets, and I made the right sidebar nearly-valid XHTML 1.0 transitional (the rest of this theme could use some work). I moved the awesome IntenseDebate comments system to the bottom of the post, and I tried to put a google ad at the bottom of the first post on the page, but I don’t know how well that went over. So subscribe to my feed, damelo clickage, comment, and just do whatever.

Anyway, it’s now twenty-eight minutes past when I should have been in bed, and I’m still online writing this and chatting on AIM and browsing all sorts of websites… I really should be going, so… back to the original aliencam dot net closing format for the first time in awhile…

no really great quotes on igoogle today…

“Anyone who is capable of getting themselves made President should on no account be allowed to do the job.” Douglas Adams


More Picage

Posted in Life in General, Pictures, School by aliencam | No Comments »

I have a few more pictures I took at ASU in the time period since my last photo post. Here are some of my favorite pictures ive taken using my phone:

one picture of the secret garden in west hall.
another picture of the secret garden in west hall
A tree with purple flowers outside the ECG Building PlazaThe same tree pictured abovethe It\'s Yours Take It manefesto, nailgunned to a building by salvation army
a panda graffiti\'d near the IYTI manefesto on salvation army bldgalways resycle! (seen in the MU)

mouseover the pictures for their captions.

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