Posts filed under Personal

Waking Up inside a Camera Obscura

This weekend I woke up inside an actual camera obscura. Our (hotel) bedroom had Velux roof window which was minimally opened. The tiny openings on the lower side of the window projected the neighboring scenery on our (white) bedroom walls.

Camera Obscura Scene (stitch of multiple photos)

The smaller the hole, the sharper the projected image is. You can even see the beer crates in front of the neighboring house.

Rotated photo showing the beer crates

Rotated photo showing the beer crates

All photos were taken handheld from the bed at ISO30.000 (or higher), so there is wee bit of noise. The photos also show the bed, door-handle and a radiator in the room.

Posted on July 9, 2018 and filed under Personal, Photography.

Photo Contests, JPEG, and DPI

This post is about something that bothers me a lot. Especially, because it originates from a place where you think they should know better. It's about Dots-Per-Inch (DPI) and JPEG (the popular digital image/photo format).

It all starts, when I read the requirements of certain online photo contests. The criteria for entering the contest contain the following: The photo entering the contest must be in JPEG with maximum quality (least compression), AND 300 DPI.

Posted on August 26, 2016 and filed under Annoying, Photography, Personal, Tips'n Tricks.

Domotica Babysteps

The first steps with domotica have been made over here. We now have an overview of our electricity and gas usage by using a smart-meter with solar-panels and a Raspberry Pi with Domoticz software.

The image below indicates that the solar panels are delivering 558W at that moment and the smart-meter reports that it's delivering to the net (139W). So we were self sustaining at that moment.

Actual electricity and gas usage

Some statistics over the last couple of days indicate that we produce more electricity than we consume. Don't think that those graphs look anything like this during the winter though :-)

The green columns are topping the blue, so we're making 'money' on those days. And that 'money' will most likely be consumed during the winter period, when solar output is much less.

Electricity consumption during the week where green is good :-)

I'll make a more extensive post about the set-up in due time, but for now, these are the things I used:

Total cost: ~75 euros (Raspberry Pi 2B starter kit + Smart meter cable), and a crap-load of time (experimenting, research, etc.).

Next steps are adding z-wave functionality to the set-up for more monitoring enhancements.


Posted on July 12, 2015 and filed under Raspberry Pi, Personal, Tips'n Tricks.

Entering The World Of Android Based Media Players

This is gonna be a good one. An Apple Fanboy Going Android..... WTF!?

Yep, it's true to some extent. The reason for letting myself into the Android world is a media player one. Up till recent I was quite happy with my Popcorn Hour A-110, which I bought 6-7 years ago. Happiness started to fade when transfer speeds and connections to the device started to fail. Networking was never its strongest part, even though it had a 100mbps interface. For some reason it never got above the 10Mbps speeds. Had something to do with the processing priority of the device.

Anyway, lately, larger FTP transfers failed for whatever reason, and using SAMBA transfers.... well, don't get me started on that file transfer protocol. Sending communications by pigeon-mail is faster. And since streaming over the network was not an option for the larger (far less compressed) x264 encoded movies or TV shows, I started to look for an alternative.

The alternative should be able to connect to remote media sources, and have enough processing power for the network adapter to get decent a throughput. Also some additional multimedia features were on the 'very-nice-to-have' list. These features included (but were not limited to);

  • stream various content from the web
  • not limited to just video
  • easily modifiable (apps etc.)
  • prepared for the future (4k video?)
  • xbmc (or something alike)

With this list of requirements, there were about a gazillion candidates, because every player out there tends to support this. So I needed to narrow down the candidates. I did exclude the current Popcorn Hour because of the physical size of there latest models.

Posted on December 27, 2014 and filed under Gadgets, Hardware, Personal, Review, Tips'n Tricks, Video.

Jordan Holiday

Two weeks ago, we went to Jordan for our holiday. Something we had planned to do a couple of years ago, but was postponed a couple of times due to the events (Arab Spring) in the Middle-East. Something that turned out to be completely unnecessary.

Jordan is a stable (semi) democratic Middle-Eastern kingdom surrounded by some of the most dangerous countries in the region. Especially with the rise of the Islamic State (IS) in Syria and Iraq which share a border with Jordan on the north/east, things COULD turn ugly relatively fast... But then again, were are you 100% safe?
You can also be shot from the skies over the Ukraine while going on holiday (MH17), or your train can be blown up in a train station in Madrid, or spotting planes on the World Trade Centre (Twin Towers) can result in death and mayhem. While staying at home is also not without risks. How many people die in the bathroom by slipping over a couple of drops of water?

So more than enough reasons not to stay at home and taste the culture of Jordan during an 8 day trip.

Posted on November 12, 2014 and filed under Photography, Personal.

Loonse en Drunense Duinen in the Fog

Autumn is the season with good chances of morning fog in the Netherlands. Fog and sunrise can create mystical photos, so this weekend we went early in the morning to the Loonse en Drunense Duinen in Noord-Brabant. The weather forecast predicted morning fog, followed by a nice sunny day. All the ingredients we needed for some nice photos.

We arrived just before sunrise, but unfortunately, the area suffered from a thick fog that blocked the sun for hours. So no magical fog and sun ray photos. Instead just foggy photos.

Posted on September 29, 2014 and filed under Photography, Personal.

Why RAW instead of JPG?

The RAW file format holds much more information than you can see with your eyes. Sure, shooting in in JPEG leaves you with smaller size photos (in terms of storage), which results in more photos on your memory cards. This results in faster transfers to your PC, and Photoshop is more responsive to smaller files. So there are numerous occasions where JPEG seems more than enough, until you do need that (little) extra RAW information....

Just watch the following video.

Nuff said, I think.

Posted on September 29, 2014 and filed under Personal, Photography, Tips'n Tricks.