• Sat
    May 18

    Slideshow 2017

    Looks like this space has been relegated to posting slideshow videos. I have mostly moved over to twitter for short sharing.

    In 2017, we had a ton of travel, including our honeymoon. So, the slideshow last year is longer than any other year because of this.

    Once again, there were more photos to sift through than ever before. I don't have the exact count. I started using Google Photos, so I don't get to see a starting count. I do know that my first cut had 1200 photos... which simply were way too many for a slideshow. I was able to cut these down to just over 200. Pictures in the slideshow have been uploaded here: https://j-p.me/2017Photos.

    Once again, all of the candidate songs for the slideshow are in a spotify playlist here: https://j-p.me/2017music. As before, I spend just as long selecting and working on the music.

    Finally, the direct link to the slideshow is here: https://j-p.me/Slideshow2017.

    (Note: Depending on your internet connection speed, it make take some time after hitting play for the file to download.)

  • Mon
    Jan 17

    2016 Slideshow

    I had not planned this, but once again, it was two years since the last slideshow.... and again 2 years since my last post here.

    Much of that is likely because I tend to post more on twitter and have a lot less time for lengthy posts. It used to take 3-4 hours per post here in the past. Its much easier to publish with twitter now.

    Well as before, I spent over 40 hours of screen time creating this year's slideshow. There were over 40k photos I looked at to select the best ones. Pictures in the slideshow have been uploaded here: https://j-p.me/2016slideshowpics.

    This year, however, I switched to using Spotify instead of Pandora for planning out the soundtrack. All of the candidate songs for the slideshow are in a playlist here: https://j-p.me/2016SlideshowMusic.

    The longest part of preparing the slideshow is usually arranging the music, placing the images, and then setting all the transitions to match the music. That process took 3 days. I still think its worth it though because I like having these around to review later. I have gone back and reviewed past years and enjoyed them. See the 2014 post on this site for more detailed information for how I pic images and select/prepare the music. Finally, the direct link to the slideshow is here: https://j-p.me/Slideshow2016.

    (Note: Depending on your internet connection speed, it make take some time after hitting play for the file to download.)

  • Mon
    Dec 14

    After a few years hiatus.... Slideshow 2014

    Well, this year, I got back into making the annual slideshow. We simply had too many amazing travels and great photos to share that I simply had to spend the time to make it this year.

    As a background, in October, I started with roughly 55,000 images captured over the course of 2014. Also, I make a playlist of candidate songs over the course of the year as well that I like. You can listen to all the candidates here: http://spoti.fi/1CgPI3g. This candidate list becomes my pandora seeds for 2015 as well (this is how I discover new music each year, by creating a new station with the seeds of the previous year). (My 2015 pandora station is here.)

    From 55,000 images, it takes roughly 48 hours or so of simply viewing images quickly and marking candidates that look good. From there I end up with about 1200 pictures I really liked over the course of a year. At that point, I have to start looking for pictures that are too similar or finding pictures that tell the story of a certain trip. So I knocked the list down to around 200 or so.

    At around 200 pictures, this is when I start looking at image quality. I'll correct for exposure issues, re-stitch any images which had stiching overlap problems, crop appropriately, etc. This process takes about 16 hours or so for the 200.

    Next, I need to find a way to cut the list down to about 170 (this is the typical target count I have every year). So I simply went through and found 30 pictures that didn't NEED to be a part of the slideshow.

    Once, I have these, I went back and found specific videos I ALSO wanted in the slideshow. There are not that many of these. I had to convert them all to mp4 using handbrake. This is because Sony Movie Studio will not recognize videos from the iphone. :(

    Once I have all of the media ready, then selecting the music, placing all the images, setting the transition points, editing the effects takes another 16 hours or so to edit the 12 or so minutes of video.

    Once everything was edited and ready to go, actually rendering the video out to a 16Mbps 1080p source takes about 90 minutes of pure rendering. This year, it took an entire day repeating this 5 times because I was having problems with Sony's rendering formats. The audio would come out awful and I would have to try another setting and re-render again (another 90 minutes for each attempt). Finally, I had to simply render as MPEG2 and convert the output to MP4 using handbrake.

    Thus, there is almost 90 hours of work that goes into each of the slideshows on http://jpmovies.org. But, I always want to make sure the result is EXACTLY what I want to remember for that year.

    Without further delay: (For those with high-speed internet, make sure to visit jpmovies.org for the HD 1080p version. It looks much better there.)

    (Note: Depending on your internet connection speed, it make take some time after hitting play for the file to download.)

  • Fri
    Apr 14

    The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune

    The events surrounding Brendan Eich have caused me to think long and hard about the values I believe in over the last week. I support the equal rights of the LGBT community (and many more of course) and condemn public discrimination against them.

    However, to be up front and clear, Eich has not overtly shared what his exact beliefs are and I support and respect his right not to. In fact, I will strongly and vigorously defend the RIGHT for anyone in this country to both hold and express (or not) whatever their beliefs are. I can even appreciate the company and discourse of others who disagree with me because it makes me re-evaluate when I am wrong, but also makes me more convicted in what I believe as well.

    But, I've concluded that the true events of the past week aren't really about one or any other position on rights of any kind or whether the public should or shouldn’t band together with those oppressed. The online media has turned a lack of communication into the story that they WANTED rather than what it could have been.
    Could Mozilla and Eich have managed the situation better? Yes, of course. Did I WANT Eich to step down? No, I actually don’t feel anyone should be forced to sacrifice their job for what they believe in. I also think that while we ALL have the right to hold whatever beliefs we like and should be constitutionally protected by government prosecution for those beliefs (with clear and obvious exceptions I won’t cover here), that does not mean that expressing one’s opinion does not free them from consequence.

    For instance, I also believe that if enough of the employees at Mozilla decide they do not support him, then I can respect their right to work wherever they like as well. If Mozilla was at risk of losing a significant portion of their employees because Eich could not lead them, then I can understand his decision without judgment.

    The role of CEO is not technical. A technical CEO is a bonus if and only if the candidate is also an competent leader and business executive. I can respect Eich's contribution to the industry and his technical acumen without agreeing with what he may or may not personally believe (which again, he's not outspoken about, so this can only be presumed). Thus, the calls or actions to boycott Firefox (or crazily even JavaScript) are a bit hyperbolic and silly. I personally don't use Firefox since I find it slow and bloated, so I feel I make my decisions on the technical merit of the product. (Note, I used to use Firefox for personal use exclusively about 5 years ago, but felt the performance of the product suffered since then.)

    I can't help but think that the real issue at heart here is that some Mozilla employees have made a call that they cannot support the new selection for CEO. The online technology media have latched on to these calls and have inserted stories in the void created by lack of communication on the part of Eich and Mozilla (which sadly is in their nature to do). I wish I knew the true numbers; I trust Eich did when making his decision. But, the real failure here is the selection committee in making the appointment they did and causing such a rift in the first place. My understanding is that they might have known that this was a possible outcome with their selection and I read text from an interview implying that Eich might not have initially wanted the role either (which might affect his reactions and communication in this crisis).

    In conclusion, I have seen many trusted friends and colleagues online over the last week or so flinging stones and arrows back and forth. I have seen many tweets regarding whom supports whom and over whether anyone has the right to call for action when they disagree with the personal beliefs of a public figure head. Well, my friends and colleagues. You are both right. Neither side will “win” in this debate. We can and absolutely should protect and respect the rights we have as citizens to hold any belief we like. BUT, we also can and should call out those who are in positions of power who PUBLICLY support the oppression of others. Like it or not, selection to positions of power (either socially or technically) require a greater scrutiny on the political and social beliefs that candidate holds. This has and will continue to be true in our society. I would have ALSO supported a public dialog on his beliefs as well such that we could then evaluate and compare our own beliefs with his on merit. That is how our social fabric is changed and molded. As mentioned, that is his right to control  and by choosing to remain silent, his story will simply fade over time and most likely be forgotten.


    (P.S. On an editorial note, I post here MUCH less often now that my twitter feed is public: https://twitter.com/jpsays.)

  • Sat
    Sep 12

    10 Years!!

    Ten years ago TODAY (well at the time I am writing this at least), I posted my first weblog entry. At the time, I was against the establishment. It was very important to me that the code powering the side was all written by me. (Note: if you clicked on the previous link and it worked, I would again note that the same code I wrote 10 years ago is still reliably serving up content today.) It was the opposite of user friendly. I came up with my own mark-up language in the beginning. I wrote a language parser using regular expressions that I would use to add links, come up with summaries, and even create html markup on the fly. At the time, I was obsessed with Perl. I still respect a lot of what Perl can do. It was all about string manipulation. Everything was a string. It was all about how you manipulated those strings. This was just on the cusp of complex, “you design it”, type object oriented online programming. Today, my blog is powered by Graffiti CMS. It’s compatible with Windows Live Writer and highly configurable. However, at the time, the technology of the day was to either go with something like Radio (P.S. For the record, I once helped Dave with his wifi at a blogger meetup in Seattle) or to go with a hosted service like Live Journal.

    I was leery of putting my words, my content, on someone else's servers. This is WAY before the days where it was common that sites had EULAs that allowed you to retain ownership of your own content. I was (*cough* am) running my own custom-built server and NOT interested in putting my words on other servers. I trusted my backup techniques and especially trusted my own sql design as well (properly indexed sql tables/databases still interest me today) over anyone else’s. This means that I poured hours and hours (weeks really) into the custom perl code base. Later on came the concept of RSS. I spent a lot of effort matching and implementing not only the full RSS 2.0 spec, but also the RSS 1.0 spec as well as a lot of the quirks of RSS readers of the day. Including completely implemented and compliant change headers such that I could returned not-changed results and not use much bandwidth.

    Well, the last ten years have both gone by fast, yet offer a wide variety of memories and experiences. Blogging in 2002 was so much more free, so much more open, and more of a release than today. In this day in age, the letters TL and DR mean doom for the long form communication that is stream of consciousness blogging.
    Back then, there was NO facebook, there was NO twitter. My blog was THE way that I communicated regularly with others outside of email. I REALLY miss that time. I had the time to be able to elaborately explain the depths of all thought, no matter how complex or intricate. These days are gone today unfortunately. I envy the hours… and hours… of free time I had back then to be able to spend time waxing philosophically over whatever I liked.

    I did also have a specific purpose to this blog entry as well. Back in July of 2006, almost 4 years after starting my own custom blog, I was tired of constantly maintaining custom code every time that technology changed. The web was getting more visual and markup was getting more complicated and I was looking to utilize other tools to actually write the blog entries. For instance, I am writing this text using Windows Live Writer. At the time, through work, I had access to free hosting. At first, I used Sharepoint Blog services, then Graffiti.

    However, at the end of August, this service was canceled and I am again on my own.

    For now, I am pretty happy with Graffiti. I just wanted to find another host to move the database and asp.net hosting to. So, I tried Azure! My msdn membership gets me some Azure hosting, so I figured I would try it out.

    Sadly, so far, I have hit nothing by road-blocks. THIS site is still not hosted on Azure. The first problem I found was that users which use a live custom domain (if you use your own hotmail address) can’t sign up for azure. Not only that, you can’t even sign in to the sign-up page at all. It took me emailing someone internally to get my own account to work. This means as far as I know, if you have your own custom hotmail account, you can’t sign up for Azure today at all (internally they fixed it for me, but after understanding the problem, regular users may not have any luck).

    I also have an Amazon S3 account. It serves many of the photos on this site and also powers sites like jpmovies.org and blacknugget.info (other sites I play with web programming on). It’s not only dead-simple, but ALSO cheap. My average monthly bill to amazon is under 50c per month. That’s amazing for the speed and service that I get from it. I would gladly pay double that (12$ a year) to get asp.net hosting that works. (I haven’t found anything like this so far.) When I signed up for Azure, I was hopefully that it would be even easier to use. Microsoft has a pattern of being much easier to use all-around. However, this was not the case. It seemed that the focus of Azure is entirely on writing your own code from scratch and hosting it. To get started, they make you download an SDK and install Visual Studio. Without these two, there is nothing you can do. (To give some credit, someone from Azure actually called me today and helped a bit. You see, there is a hidden “beta” option to sign up for hosted vms (which is buried). Unfortunately, I can’t use them yet.)

    So, I tried to get a new account setup. I am quite knowledgeable about online hosting and development, so I figured that it should be easy. I spent 8 hours just trying to get a web server deployed and a database setup. By the end of the experience, Azure had deleted all my progress (I had remoted to the machines and made custom edits, which Azure deleted) and actually shut off my account. (I actually appreciate this feature. You can choose to have them just stop serving before you leave the free level.) So for now, I have no online source for hosting. Today’s call gave me an idea I am following up on, but I have to wait 30 days for my account to be re-enabled. I’ll let you know how that goes.

    Follow along both here and also on twitter for updates. (I updated my twitter account recently to be open.)

    In the mean-time though, I am back to working on my S3 sites, since S3 is still working perfectly. It just can’t host something like ASP or PHP. (I wish it could.)

    I also just returned from a trip to the Bay area as well, so watch here for pictures once I have them stitched together.

    In the mean-time, here is to the next 10 years!! Smile