Monday, December 29, 2008

The Mac Giving Tree

Free Mac software from Mac Heist, all in the holiday spirit!

I grabbed 1Password - a password management tool. Not sure it'll replace my KeePass, but for free, it's worth a look! :)

Stop by the Mac Giving Tree and grab some free apps. Happy Holidays!
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Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Monday, December 22, 2008

Leopard's built in UPS support

I just bought a new APC UPS battery backup/surge protector. The box indicated that its software worked for Mac OS X through 10.4, but I figured I could get an updated version on the web (cuz come on, Leopard has been out forever now).

Nope. APC doesn't make a version of their PowerChute software for Mac OS X 10.5.

Good thing Leopard has built in support for UPS's! It detects the percentage of power available and lets me set all sorts of auto-shutdown options.

So there!

I <3 my Mac :)
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Monday, November 03, 2008

All This Time! Possible Fix for iMac Graphics in Vista?

Wow - I can't believe the number of hours I've put into this, and I've just now stumbled upon what will probably be the solution.

Vista is very unstable when gaming under Boot Camp on my Leopard-based iMac. I've read many, many reports of similar experiences, and have tried many solutions, including using stock ATI video drivers, blah blah blah. None worked well, much less better than the ones in Boot Camp. I'd get blue screens indicating that my video driver was stuck in an infinite loop.

I've wracked my brain for months over this, literally. I only use Windows to play a game (Ultima Online), and to have that ONE experience ruined daily by frequent crashing is just infuriating.

Nobody could figure it out. Apple put out an update, and Windows said it applied the update, but it didn't help.

Last night, I noticed something. The version on my Boot Camp install was version 1.4... beta. Now, I *know* I've run an update since then! WTF??

I downloaded the latest Boot Camp Update last night, version 2.1. It wouldn't unpack, let alone install. Pulled my hair out for another hour or so looking for answers. No luck.

Today, it hit me. I needed to install version 2.0 before the 2.1 update would work. 2.0 is on my Leopard CD. While I could have sworn I'd already done that, maybe I didn't.

I just ran the Boot Camp installer from the CD (2.0). Sure enough, the 2.1 update went as planned.

I saw my video drivers get updated... twice.

I was 2 versions behind on my video drivers - which I suspected! I just couldn't nail down how to get the updates!

What a simple solution. What a numbskull I am.

I am so positive that this is going to solve my crashing problems that I'm going to proclaim victory over this problem right now!


Monday, October 06, 2008

The State of American Politics by Dave J Matthews

Posted by Dave Matthews to Twitter at 12:40pm 10/6/2008:

I find the state of American politics heartbreaking. And the dominant news coverage suffocating, panic inspiring, septic mis-information.

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Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Not Enough Disk Space to Install XP Service Pack 3 on a Mac

I've been trying to update my Windows XP installation to Service Pack 3 for 2 hours now. It keeps telling me that it needs 4MB more disk space. FOUR MEGS! I have 10 gigs free!

Here's the glitch: it's not about how much free space I have. It's about the fact that I'm running XP on a Mac with BootCamp - specifically, the MacBook Pro laptop. Apparently, this also happens on the Intel based iMac's.

The error message:

There is not enough disk space on C:\WINDOWS\$NtServicePackUninstall$ to install Service Pack 3 Setup requires an additional 4 megabytes of free space or if you also want to archive the files for uninstallation. Setup requires 4 additional megabytes of free space. Free additional space on your hard disk and then try again.

The solution lies in the fact that Intel Mac's use the EFI format, which Windows does not support. (Feel free to Google more about EFI - all I know is, the solution I found on solved the problem for me!)

The fix:

1. Click Start - Run - Type regedit and press enter.

2. Navigate to

3. In the right pane, right-click and choose New - String value

4. Name it BootDir and set its value to C:\

5. Exit regedit.

Re-try your SP3 installation, and all should be right with the world.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

I got the Comcast bandwidth cap email today

Comcast will begin capping cable internet bandwidth at 250GB/month starting October 1, 2008. I received notice to that effect today:

Dear Comcast High-Speed Internet Customer,

We appreciate your business and strive to provide you with the best online experience possible. One of the ways we do this is through our Acceptable Use Policy (AUP). The AUP outlines acceptable use of our service as well as steps we take to protect our customers from things that can negatively impact their experience online. This policy has been in place for many years and we update it periodically to keep it current with our customers' use of our service.

On October 1, 2008, we will post an updated AUP that will go into effect at that time.

In the updated AUP, we clarify that monthly data (or bandwidth) usage of more than 250 Gigabytes (GB) is the specific threshold that defines excessive use of our service. We have an excessive use policy because a fraction of one percent of our customers use such a disproportionate amount of bandwidth every month that they may degrade the online experience of other customers.

250 GB/month is an extremely large amount of bandwidth and it's very likely that your monthly data usage doesn't even come close to that amount. In fact, the threshold is approximately 100 times greater than the typical or median residential customer usage, which is 2 to 3 GB/month. To put it in perspective, to reach 250 GB of data usage in one month a customer would have to do any one of the following:

* Send more than 50 million plain text emails (at 5 KB/email);
* Download 62,500 songs (at 4 MB/song); or
* Download 125 standard definition movies (at 2 GB/movie).

And online gamers should know that even the heaviest multi- or single-player gaming activity would not typically come close to this threshold over the course of a month.

In addition to modifying the excessive use policy, the updated AUP contains other clarifications of terms concerning reporting violations, newsgroups, and network management. To read some helpful FAQs, please visit

Thank you again for choosing Comcast as your high-speed Internet provider.
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The New Test

If the new Microsoft ads make sense to you, you're a match made in heaven! (You and Microsoft, that is).

If not, get a Mac!!!

(I'm in the "get a Mac" crowd).

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Thursday, September 04, 2008

What Will People Think?

A poster I made for my friend and photog professor's upcoming photo exhibit. See the photography of Carol Thorner at her show: "What Will People Think? (and other concerns)" at The Center for Visual & Performing Arts in Munster, Indiana. Sept 12 to Oct 19.

Come out and meet Carol at the artist reception on Sept 19, 6-9pm.
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Monday, September 01, 2008

September 2008 Desktop Calendar

Free September 2008 Desktop Calendar
Download the large size here:
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Sunday, August 24, 2008

LeRoi Moore Tribute Poster has a gorgeous tribute poster to LeRoi Moore available. Limited edition, 500 prints numbered and signed, with ALL profits going to the Charlottesville Area Community Foundation for the LeRoi Moore Memorial Fund (the official memorial fund as specified by

$20 plus shipping. Go get one.

(Note - there's music on the page, in case you're at work or something... adjust speakers as appropriate).

DMB love always...
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Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Godspeed, LeRoi

In Memory Of LeRoi Moore, 1961-2008, DMB

LEROI MOORE 1961-2008

Godspeed, LeRoi


We are deeply saddened that LeRoi Moore, saxophonist and founding member of Dave Matthews Band, died unexpectedly Tuesday afternoon, August 19, 2008, at Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center in Los Angeles from sudden complications stemming from his June ATV accident on his farm near Charlottesville, Virginia. LeRoi had recently returned to his Los Angeles home to begin an intensive physical rehabilitation program.
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eBay Store Open

I've finally gotten around to opening my eBay store. You can now find Purple Penguins Studio fine art prints on eBay.

And now, I must sleep! :)

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Sunday, August 17, 2008

Choosing Web Design Color Palettes

I've got a new article up on Suite101.

Choosing web design color palettes is easy with the right tools and a little knowledge of color psychology.

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Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Tuesday, July 15, 2008


What if the iPhone "brick" tragedy extended to other parts of our lives? Brought to you by Revision3.

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Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Dancing Matt

If this doesn't make you smile... well, I don't know what, but it made me smile!

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Sunday, July 06, 2008

I'm all for being social, BUT...

OK, so I've been using for a little while (I'm phlyersphan), and I love the concept. It aggregates ALL of the services I post to into one easy feed that people can subscribe to via RSS (things like Flickr, Twitter, Google Reader, etc).


I've subscribed to some high-traffic people's feeds, and HOLY COW... this "Friend of a Friend" feature feeds me SO much stuff that I just end up deleting it all without reading it! (Robert Scoble's friends are the biggest culprit! I think he lives online!)

If I were only subscribing to small-potatoes people (aka people I know), I might like the friend-of-a-friend thing as a way to find new people to subscribe to. When you subscribe to really frequent posters or celebrity types, though, the traffic is just overwhelming for my poor little RSS-feed-saturated brain.

At any rate, Kevin Rose has finally posted the question I've been meaning to ask for weeks:

How do you disable messages from Friends of Friends in your subscription feed?

Hallalujah, we have an answer!

1. Go to FriendFeed and view your friends' feeds.

2. Scroll down until you find a post from a Friend of a Friend.

3. Click the "hide" link under that message.

4. You'll see a new link - click "See options for hiding other items like this"

5. Two more options to choose from: Pick one - "Hide all stuff from friends-of-friends" or "Hide all stuff from (whoever)'s friends-of-friends"

There you have it!

My FriendFeed is finally readable! I feel fine in that I can still discover new people to follow by reading their comments on my friends' posts.

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Saturday, July 05, 2008


Happy 4th of July, everybody!

The fireworks were fan-friggin-tastic this year! As usual, we went to the New Lenox, IL display, and they never fail to put on a great show. It was a full half hour long, and not a bit of it was cheapo-filler-crap. I love their show.

I shot on a tripod with a cable release, and used ISO100 and f/11 for the entire show. Most of the time, I used a 2 or 3 second exposure. I made a few shots with a 6 second exposure, when they were firing off multiples in sequence, and those turned out pretty cool too.

Here are a few of my favorite blasts:




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Thursday, July 03, 2008

A Letter to HP

I've just dropped the following letter into the outgoing mail (postal mail, that is):

July 3, 2008
Customer Service
Hewlett-Packard Company
3000 Hanover Street
Palo Alto, CA 94304-1185

To Whom This May Concern,

I am writing regarding a recent experience I had with your technical support representatives (Ticket #801330xxxx). On June 28, 2008, I purchased the HP Photosmart Pro B8850 printer and several packages of Advanced HP photo paper. I ordered these items online via The items were delivered in June 30, 2008.

I unpacked the printer and began setup. When I plugged the printer into the wall outlet, the printer received no power. After troubleshooting via telephone with one of your support representatives, it was determined that the AC power adapter was likely faulty. Your representative shipped a new AC adapter to me. It arrived on July 2, 2008.

The new AC adapter did not solve the problem. I called technical support again, and after troubleshooting, the representative determined that there was likely a problem with the printer itself. While I was disappointed, I understand that this happens. Hardware fails. It’s the way of the world, when it comes to computers.

What I was most disappointed in, though, was the solution offered by your representative. She offered to replace my brand new printer with a refurbished one. I explained that this printer was brand new out-of-the-box and was dead on arrival. I paid for a new printer. I expect replacement with a new printer. I could understand a refurbished replacement if I’d owned the printer for some time and it needed repair, but this printer was not used. The support representative agreed with me, but that she could not guarantee that the replacement would be new, and that she had no other options to offer me.

I find your policy of replacing brand new, defective items with used, refurbished ones to be completely unfair. I spent $549 on your product in good faith that it would work when I brought it home. When a brand new item is defective, I expect a brand new replacement - not just from HP, but from any company.

I am a photographer and a professor, and despite the advice of many of my colleagues to purchase an Epson (the reigning king in the professional photo printing arena), I decided to give HP a shot. The B8850 might be a fantastic printer. I did not get the opportunity to find out. Based on this experience, HP is not the kind of company I want to do business with.

As a result of my disappointment in your company’s policies, I have returned the HP printer and papers to Circuit City and instead purchased the Epson Stylus R1900 and Epson papers, and will recommend to my colleagues and students that they do the same.  


Shelly Hokanson
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Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Pinhole Photography Resources

Here are some of the sites I'm using as I learn about pinhole photography:

Here's a good all-around site:

And here's the tutorial I used to mod an old 35mm manual camera into a pinhole camera:

And here's my next project - new body caps are in the mail for me to try this out! Mod a dSLR body cap into a pinhole, for digital SLR pinhole photography: 1/

And if you search "pinhole" here on Flickr, you'll find some amazing images. My favorite so far is:
She even does weddings with pinhole photography!

If you Google for "pinhole photography" or "pinhole camera" you'll find a wealth of information! I was shocked at how much is out there :)

Happy pinholing!
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Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Canon Photo Paper Profiles

For the next time I can't remember which profile to use in Lightroom with which Canon photo paper:

MP = Matte Photo Paper
PR = Photo Paper Pro
SP = Photo Paper Plus Glossy

The numbers are for print quality. Lower numbers are better.


PR1 = Photo Paper Pro, Highest quality
PR2 = Photo Paper Pro, Next best quality
SP1 = Photo Paper Plus Glossy , Highest quality
MP1 = Matte, Highest quality

Jotted this down off the web once upon a time, and I'm tired of digging up the scrap of paper every time I get a different paper! :)
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Friday, May 30, 2008

Easy Favicons

Came across Bradicon! today - a free online tool to make an icon out of any image. Great for creating favicons for your web sites. w00t!
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Saturday, May 10, 2008

PicLens - A Firefox Plugin

Check out PicLens - a very cool Firefox plugin that allows you to browse and search photos from popular photo sharing sites in a very slick gallery interface.

Discovered this one via Thomas Hawk's blog. Good stuff!

Friday, April 25, 2008

A whole lotta...

I got a whole lotta... something? nothing?... done today. Lots done on my Ultima Online web site - since last weekend, I reconfigured the entire site to run in WordPress, then designed a new theme and moved it to a new server. But... UO is really just a hobby, so I got a whole lot of work done on something that doesn't exactly benefit me in any way other than the sheer joy of doing it. Nothing wrong with that, though, right?

Feel free to check it out anyway - I'm pretty happy with how it turned out. I still have some tweaking to do, but it's mostly done.

One thing I'd like to also work on this weekend is my photography web site. It doesn't exist yet, but it will, soon! (This is something other than my photo blog, which still exists at Stay tuned for that one.

I got some work done this week on a web site that will actually earn me some money as well. I'm waiting for the final OK to wrap that one up, move the site to its "live" home, and send the final invoice. This project has been ongoing for a while, and the paycheck will be very much welcomed.

That's about it for me! I've been geeking out to WordPress all week.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Updating the ol' web site

No, not this web site... my web dev web site - Purple Penguins Web Studio

I still need to finish the redesign of that site... someday... but until then, at least there's some new content.

I added some forum signatures that I've made over the years with Photoshop. You can find them in my portfolio - Forum Signatures. Most are ones that I've done for myself and friends that play Ultima Online.

Right now, I'm messing around with a photo gallery plugin for WordPress called NextGen Gallery. I'm hoping to get some of my photography up on the web site. I should probably just find a Flickr plugin, since I already put my photos up on Flickr. We'll see...

Friday, April 04, 2008

Installing Photoshop Brushes in OS X

Here's a way to save yourself a few clicks when installing Photoshop brushes in OS X:

Cmd-Click on your Photoshop icon in the dock. This should bring you right to the Photoshop application folder.

Open the Presets folder and drag your brushes into the appropriate subfolder (Brushes, in this case).


Will the Flyers Make the Playoffs?

Will the Flyers make the playoffs?

As of right now, they have a 62.5% chance of making it. Tonight is a big night!

Sports Club Stats - Your Team's Chances of Making the Playoffs

Sunday, March 23, 2008

The Network

Humorous Pictures
see more crazy cat pics

Turn off the lights for an hour

Turn off your lights for an hour on Saturday, March 29th, from 8-9pm.

Created to take a stand against the greatest threat our planet has ever faced, Earth Hour uses the simple action of turning off the lights for one hour to deliver a powerful message about the need for action on global warming.

This simple act has captured the hearts and minds of people all over the world. As a result, at 8pm March 29, 2008 millions of people in some of the world’s major capital cities, including Copenhagen, Toronto, Chicago, Melbourne, Brisbane and Tel Aviv will unite and switch off for Earth Hour.

On 31 March 2007, 2.2 million people and 2100 Sydney businesses turned off their lights for one hour - Earth Hour. If the greenhouse reduction achieved in the Sydney CBD during Earth Hour was sustained for a year, it would be equivalent to taking 48,616 cars off the road for a year.

This year, Earth Hour is a global event.

Make a difference. Turn off your lights. Support Earth Hour.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Monday, March 17, 2008

Adobe Recalls Lightroom 1.4 Update

From the Adobe Photoshop Lightroom update site: Mac - Windows

The Lightroom 1.4 update has been temporarily removed from the web site in order to allow time for additional investigation into several bugs that were discovered after the update was released. At this time, we recommend uninstalling Lightroom 1.4 and installing Lightroom 1.3.1.

The following download links have been redirected to link to the Lightroom 1.3.1 download regardless of the version number indicated. Additional details regarding the Lightroom 1.4 update will be posted to

If you've already installed the update, uninstall it, then download version 1.3.1 (available under the 1.4 link on the update site) and install 1.3.1.

My question is, how do such major bugs make it through QA?

Sunday, March 16, 2008

The Shamrock Personality Test

What Your Shamrock Says About You

You are brilliant, analytical, and somewhat of a perfectionist. You are ultra competent and knowledgeable.

At times, people find you intimidating. You can be a bit sarcastic and harsh.

You don't really consider yourself a lucky person. In your view, people create their own luck.

You are creative, innovative, and complicated. You definitely have a unique spin on the world.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

The Story of Stuff

I've traditionally been content to take the "ignorance is bliss" approach to the footprint I leave on the environment with my consumption and disposal of goods, but since I've started watching birds and interacting a bit more with my natural environment, I'm beginning to see the importance of the natural resources and the environment around me, with all its wildlife and beauty.

This isn't your typical "go green" propaganda video. It paints a very clear picture of how we got to where we're at, and the core of why we need to change. It's worth 20 minutes of your time. I promise.

The Story of Stuff

Saturday, February 02, 2008

Early spring?

Woodie the Groundhog says an early spring is coming for Chicago :)

Punxsutawney Phil, the nation's official groundhog, though, says 6 more weeks of winter.

I'm going with my hometown boy on this one!

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Burning iso's on a Mac

File under "tips for Windows switchers" -

How to burn a .iso disk image file to CD or DVD on a Mac:

  1. Insert a blank disk.
  2. Start Disk Utility.
  3. Choose File - Open Disk Image and select the ISO to be burned. This will mount your disk image.
  4. Highlight your ISO file in the list of volumes.
  5. Click the Burn button.
The best part: No additional software needed. I love how Mac's just work, right out of the box.

Friday, January 04, 2008

Top 10 Obscure Google Search Tips

I fancy myself a Googling pro - but even I hadn't heard of a couple of these!

Top 10 Obscure Google Search Tips

I love me some Lifehacker :)

Yummy Kool Aid

70%How Addicted to Apple Are You?

REM's got something going on

REM's got a web site up for their upcoming new album: Ninety Nights

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

The Joy Was Short Lived

The joy was short lived. I'm still struggling with Vista crashes related to the ATI video drivers on this iMac. Sigh. I hate Windows.