Thu, 7 Jan 2010

Spring!? Already?

— SjG @ 11:33 am

Well, it’s official. The first narcissus and lupine have begun blooming in the front yard.

The caterpillars have discovered the lupine, too.

Lupine with Caterpillar

Lupine with Caterpillar

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Sun, 27 Dec 2009

(Squirrel) Resistance is Futile

— SjG @ 10:31 pm

So, the squirrel-proof birdfeeder comprises two hemispheres, hung via a string, with the sphere being held open by a spring. The idea is that when the Evil Mr. Squirrel decides to plunder the birdseed, he’ll have to put his weight on the upper hemisphere, thereby compressing the spring, thereby closing the gap and leaving him bereft of plunder opportunity. Birds, on the other hand, can alight directly on the rim of the lower hemisphere or enter inside. Here’s a picture of proper operation:

Squirrel-resistant birdfeeder in operation, as per design

Squirrel-resistant birdfeeder in operation, as per design

Alas, Evil Mr. Squirrel has two attacks on this system. The first is to climb onto the string, and swing violently back and forth until the seed falls from the feeder, then he harvests from below.

The second attack is to climb down the string, and jump repeatedly until he manages to catch the edge of the lower hemisphere, and somehow vault himself up. His Evil agility scarcely believable…

Inside the defenses.

Inside the defenses.

Caught in the act, if a bit blurry!

Caught in the act!

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Thu, 10 Dec 2009

Nikon D90 anomaly

— SjG @ 1:58 pm

So in the middle of taking a set of pictures, I noticed that my D90 was not actually saving the pictures I took. The mirror would flip up, the shutter would click, but the display would show the same older picture again.

I tried the usual suspects. Turning the camera off and on. Changing the directory on the card where files were supposed to save. Swapping out memory cards. Reformatting memory cards. Doing the two-button reset. Doing the menu reset. Pulling out and then replacing the battery.

I could shoot a picture with a blank memory card installed, and the display would say “Folder contains no images.”

I searched on the internet for this symptom, and found no other reports of it.

Here’s what finally cured it:
* switch into LiveView mode
* take a picture – this will fail
* take another picture – this will succeed
* switch out of LiveView mode

Et voila! Now it works. I don’t know if this is reproducible, nor if I’m just heading down a path toward permanent issues, but I figured it would be worth posting just in case anyone else has the same issue.

Thu, 17 Sep 2009

MacBook Pro Screen Issues, cont.

— SjG @ 10:17 am

Well, the screen issues continue, but at least the missing pixel columns are in designer colors:

Resetting the graphics subsystem sometimes cures it, sometimes just changes the color. Thus far, it’s always cured itself eventually.

Wed, 9 Sep 2009

MacBookPro Screen Issue

— SjG @ 1:20 pm

So, in the middle of working on something, the balance of luminiferous ether in the universe must have come unhinged, because every other column of pixels on my screen went black:

View at full resolution to see detail

View at full resolution to see detail

I tried the usual tricks, to no avail. I figured it was a hardware connector issue, so got an appointment at the Apple store. However, to my annoyance and chagrin, the problem has proved intermittent. It “cures itself” and then recurs. This supported my theory that it was a connector issue, or so I thought.

The Apple Genius, however, taught me a trick to reset the graphics subsystem: shift + control + eject

The last time the problem arose, this trick *did* cure it.

So the question is – is my graphics card going south? Is this some bug in recently installed software (Snow Leopard, the new version of iStat Menus, or Final Cut Express)? Could it be entirely due to my attitude? Or was the reset cure also a coincidence? Only time will tell.