Photography As Passion

Do you photograph? I have owned a Nikon D50 DSLR for about a year now, and also a Sony T30 for casual shots. It is indeed an expensive hobby as many people would put it once they see my camera. But this hobby can be converted to a source of income, and that is what I like about it. I haven’t reach that level yet though.

Nikon D300

The Sony T30 is classified as a prosumer or a point and click camera, while the Nikon D50 is a DSLR. Nikon D50 is the most affordable DSLR at the moment I bought it, but even now that D40 and D40x has been released I was thankful that I got my D50 on time before it was taken off production. The D40 models are not preferable in the sense that it does not have a built in auto-focus motor and if you use lenses that don’t have built in auto-focus motor you’ll have to manually focus each time. One great example of such lens is the AF Nikkor 50mm f/1.8D.

Even though the Sony T30 have more megapixel (7.2 to be exact), shots from the Nikon D50 (6 megapixel) seems to be much much better. This is actually very normal as there is a huge difference in the size of sensor and lens between those two. And with a DSLR you can tweak the settings any way you like which can result in a very good result, or an ugly one 😉 Trust me, when you have been learning and shooting with a DSLR you can feel the freedom and satisfaction after you process the results in your favorite “darkroom” software.

I have an eye on the new Nikon D300 that will be released very soon but I don’t think I will get it anytime soon. I need to practice more!

This post is brought to you by RitzCamera.com

Save Your Money In Gold

Last year I had a lot of transactions using e-gold and had some balance I never took a glance of since 2007 arrived. Today I just tried to log in to my account and check my balance. I left it with about $30 and now I have more than $40 in my account (even with the storage fees imposed on the account). This is because the price of gold has increased significantly against time.

This made me think – if there is any bank which do transactions in gold in Malaysia. No I am not talking about safe deposit boxes. A bank which accepts gold in weight, and keep it for you. LOL. As far as I know, no bank does that in the world.

Now you are asking – has Ady finally gone crazy? No, not yet. But imagine that within 6 months my value of gold has increased 50% on its own! Even fixed deposits can’t get you that much within a year 😉

The same amount of money today, will not buy the same things tomorrow. That’s usually the case, with inflation and all. I’m no expert in economics but I guess everyone can think of what they can buy using 20 cents 10 years ago compared to today.

Pidgin 2.1.1 Released

The official Pidgin 2.1.1 has been released, and the official Pidgin Portable 2.1.0 Released.

So since John T. Haller of PortableApps has packaged this, I will stop packaging Pidgin Portable for the public. This is the end of My Version of Pidgin Portable. Hope all who have used it found it useful. I guess the guy who have always accused me of embedding keyloggers will be extremely happy now. LOL.

Tesla Real to Reel

Tesla Real to Reel Player
One of my favorite rock bands have recently (in June) released an album featuring many songs from other bands in late 60s and early 70s – Real to Reel. Visit the Real to Reel site to sample the songs before you buy the album! See the player image I captured above? Reel One can be bought retail, while Reel Two (for now) will be available to concert goers at no extra charges (only pay for the tickets). Reel One’s case comes with a blank slot for Reel Two 😉 Cool huh?

Here’s the track list:

Reel One (sold at retail):

  1. “Space Truckin'” (Deep Purple)
  2. “Walk Away” (James Gang)
  3. “Hand Me Down World” (The Guess Who)
  4. “Bad Reputation” (Thin Lizzy)
  5. Thank You” (Led Zeppelin)
  6. “I’ve Got a Feeling” (The Beatles)
  7. “Day of the Eagle” (Robin Trower)
  8. Ball of Confusion” (Temptations)
  9. “Rock Bottom” (UFO)
  10. “Stealin'” (Uriah Heep)
  11. “Bell Bottom Blues” (Eric Clapton)
  12. “Honky Tonk Women” (The Rolling Stones)
  13. Dear Mr. Fantasy” (Traffic)

Reel Two (available with concert ticket purchase and also available with an issue of Classic Rock in the UK):

  1. “All the Young Dudes” (Mott The Hoople)
  2. “Make It Last” (Montrose)
  3. “Shooting Star” (Bad Company)
  4. “Not Fragile” (Bachman-Turner Overdrive)
  5. “Street Fighting Man” (The Rolling Stones)
  6. “Is It My Body” (Alice Cooper)
  7. “I Want To Take You Higher” (Sly & The Family Stone)
  8. “Do You Feel Like We Do” (Peter Frampton)
  9. “Beer Drinkers and Hellraisers” (ZZ Top)
  10. “Seasons of Wither” (Aerosmith)
  11. “Saturday Night Special” (Lynyrd Skynyrd)
  12. “War Pigs” (Black Sabbath)

Best Buy Bonus Disc (limited CD included with “Real to Reel”, only sold through Best Buy):

  1. “War Pigs” (Black Sabbath)
  2. “Shine Away” (Unplugged)
  3. “Modern Day Cowboy” (Unplugged)
  4. “Paradise” (Unplugged)

Busy Week

I just went through a hectic, but satisfying weekend. Went to Melaka (southern part of Malaysia) to help out in my niece’s engagement ceremony. It was tiring but satisfying. The ceremony ended up well, and I wish them a happy engaged period… until the real wedding day arrives!

Nuffnang Error

Today the site loads very slow, and as I was about to blame the network when I saw this:

Nuffnang Error

It seems that Nuffnang may be currently experiencing some difficulties. Since the ad block loads inline, the whole site waits for it. Oh by the way visitors from outside of Malaysia & Singapore will not see this as it is a geo-targeted block (AdSense is there instead).

And Nuffang site is down as well, with these errors:

Warning: mysql_pconnect() [function.mysql-pconnect]: Lost connection to MySQL server during query in /home/nuffmy/public_html/Connections/nuffnang.php on line 9

Fatal error: Lost connection to MySQL server during query in /home/nuffmy/public_html/Connections/nuffnang.php on line 9

Quick guys! Fix it! 🙂

PHP 5 In CentOS 4.5

Just a short sharing note, for users of CentOS 4.5 who is looking to update PHP to version 5 instead of the default 4.3.9 there is a clean and easy way to upgrade your PHP.

  1. Open up /etc/yum.repos.d/CentOS-Base.repo and look for the section centosplus:

    [centosplus]
    name=CentOS-$releasever - Plus
    mirrorlist=http://mirrorlist.centos.org/...
    #baseurl=http://mirror.centos.org/...
    gpgcheck=1
    enabled=0
    gpgkey=http://mirror.centos.org/centos/RPM-GPG-KEY-centos4
    priority=2
    protect=1

  2. Change enabled=0 to enabled=1
  3. Save the file
  4. Run yum update php*

And the rest is up to you… when it finishes restart Apache (service httpd restart) and you’ll be up and running with PHP 5.

How to check PHP version on the server?

Use rpm -qa | grep php and you’ll see the list of installed PHP packages. In this case PHP on the server has been upgraded to PHP 5.

php-pdo-5.1.6-3.el4s1.7
php-cli-5.1.6-3.el4s1.7
php-pear-1.4.11-1.el4s1.1
php-ncurses-5.1.6-3.el4s1.7
php-mbstring-5.1.6-3.el4s1.7
php-pgsql-5.1.6-3.el4s1.7
php-gd-5.1.6-3.el4s1.7
php-odbc-5.1.6-3.el4s1.7
php-common-5.1.6-3.el4s1.7
php-5.1.6-3.el4s1.7
php-snmp-5.1.6-3.el4s1.7
php-ldap-5.1.6-3.el4s1.7
php-mysql-5.1.6-3.el4s1.7
php-devel-5.1.6-3.el4s1.7
php-xmlrpc-5.1.6-3.el4s1.7
php-imap-5.1.6-3.el4s1.7
php-xml-5.1.6-3.el4s1.7

Good luck!

WordPress Plugin: Collapsible Archive Widget

Update: 20 January 2010: This plugin has not been tested with WordPress 2.9 and may break because 2.9 has internal changes. I am still trying to find time. Sorry for the Inconvenience.

I have written another simple WordPress plugin that simply display a collapsible archive in the sidebar. You can see it in action in the rightmost sidebar of the main page.

When the sidebar loads, it is in collapsed state and can be expanded by clicking the years. It utilizes simple JavaScript that shows and hides a div containing the monthly links. The purpose of this plugin is to save space on the sidebar especially if you have been blogging for a while. It is an alternative to the combo box (select) provided by the default archive widget.

My request for the plugin to be listed in the WordPress Plugin Directory has been pending for a while so for now it can be downloaded here.

The plugin can now be downloaded here.

Configuration:

  • Widget Title: the title of the widget
  • Show post counts for year: Whether or not to show the post number for each year
  • Show post counts for month: Whether or not to show the post number for each month
  • Abbreviate month names: Check this box to show abbreviation of month names
  • Hide year from month names: Do not print year after month names
  • Use script.aculo.us effects: Whether or not to show effects
  • Expand effect: Effect to use when expanding the list
  • Collapse effect: Effect to use when collapsing the list
  • Expand the list by default: Check this box to have the list expanded when loaded
  • Expand current year by default: Check this box to have the current year expanded when loaded
  • Expand current month by default: Check this box to have the current month expanded when loaded
  • Show individual posts: Show posts in the list. This should be used in extra caution; if you have a lot of posts consider disabling it as this will take time to load
  • Use HTML arrows instead of images (► ▼)
  • Show current month in bold: show current month in bold
  • Show a link to plugin page. Thank you for your support! : Display a link to plugin page (this page) as a support method

Current Version: 2.3.1

Installation

Copy the file to the wp-content/plugins/widgets directory and activate it in the Plugins page. Then drag and configure it in the Sidebar Widgets page.

Warning: Will only work on widgets enabled blogs.

TODO (these are being considered but there is no guarantee when they are going to be included)

  • Add ability for multiple instances
  • Add ability to work as non-widget
  • Add ability to include / exclude categories
  • Expand previous month rather the current
  • Research the practicality to use CSS / allow CSS options
  • List posts without year and month headers (for blogs with few posts)
  • Do not list the posts that are listed on the main page

Change Log

  • 03-Aug-2007: Initial version
  • 04-Sep-2007: Added ability to select whether to use abbreviations for the month names, and script.aculo.us effects!
  • 27-Sep-2007: Fixed javascript include – effects.js added and scriptaculous.js removed (For some reason it worked in 2.2)
  • 10-Nov-2007: Added ability to display posts (with caution), to expand by default, and also added plus and minus signs as expand/collapse buttons
  • 24-Aug-2008: Multiple updates:
    • Enqueue javascripts using WordPress API wp_enqueue_script
    • Validation as XHTML 1.0 Transitional
    • Add option to expand current year and/or month by default
    • REMOVED list type option
    • Added ability to upload own plus and minus images
    • Added ability to display plugin link. If you’d like to support this plugin, having the “powered by” on your blog is the best way; it’s our only promotion or advertising.
  • 25-Aug-2008: Bugfix to not load javascripts when effects is not used
  • 25-Aug-2008: Javascript code factoring and added ability to use HTML arrows
  • 16-Mar-2009: Separated year and month posts counts, added option to hide year after month names, ability to show current month in bold, enabled localized title
  • 17-Mar-2009: Fixed valid XHTML, and highlight (bold) bugfix


BIG FAT WARNING

The ability to display posts is provided after receiving so many requests for it. This feature is not practical for those with many posts in a month. Enabling it means that there is a lot more data that needs to be received by the browser, not to mention the load on the database. It is, however works very nice for blogs with low post count. Please use at your own risk and remember to test it.

Notes:

11-Nov-2007: I’d like to thank Meitar Moscovitz who tried his best to provide a patch to display posts in the list. I rewritten some of the code for version 2.1 based on his logic. Thank you!
25-Aug-2008: Thanks to Berny for his idea of re factoring the javascript code and also for providing HTML arrows option.

If you find this plugin useful, feel free to


Would You Return A Cellphone Found In The Streets?

I received my copy of the August 2007 edition of Reader’s Digest yesterday and IMHO it is the most interesting edition for me since I started my subscription about a year ago.

I ain’t gonna talk about all of the articles this time, but one of them. RD made an experiment where they sent their reporters to 32 cities in the world and in each of the city they left 30 mid-priced cellphones all over the place – to see how citizens react when they found it.

The article interestingly started with BK Low, a businessman who “found” a cellphone outside of a bank and immediately popped his head inside the bank and asked if anyone has accidentally left it outside. The article described many other instances where interestingly enough, people in the richest cities kept the found cellphones to themselves, while a homeless man in Budapest handed it over to a newsstand operator to be returned to the rightful owner.

However the total statistics reveal that more than 60% of the 960 cellphones were returned – which is quite a comforting figure. Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia have the same score with Hong Kong where only a little over 40% of the cellphones were returned – this is the lowest score among all of the selected cities which is quite disappointing for me although I expected that 🙂 From this experiment we can still be assured that in this world there is still some honesty left in more than half of earthlings.

It is also amazing how the power of persuasion can let some parents let their kids keep the found cellphone. Grab yourself a copy at the newsstand or the library and read all about it.

What would you do if you found a cellphone in the streets? Would you keep it?