Paintings from Sunset Series by Spence Munsinger, Color Field + Blank White Canvas + Realism + Contemporary Abstract Art, original paintings for sale

"Things are beautiful if you love them."
― Jean Anouilh

Interesting underlying design decisions…

If you press down and hold the “g” key on a 2014 MacBook Pro with the “good” keyboard – you get a single “g”. The keyboard programming is not set up to repeat characters. Each “g” is an individual press. There are keys set up to repeat – that was not one of them.

2017 MacBook Pro with slim keyboard – press “g” and hold – “ggggggggggg…”.

I only noticed this because I loathe the new keyboard, I have preserved a backup 2015 MacBook Pro to hold onto while Apple engineers itself into oblivion catering to customers who apparently want something very different from me. I’m a UNIX guy from way back. I love OSX because it is Linux/UNIX under the covers and a nice creamy workable UI on top. Each Apple laptop has more or less become better and more useable. Up to 2016.

One article I found about the new keyboard indicated that the key travel and key registration on the keyboard was different than the other, older 2015 keyboard.. When I tested the example given in the article on my 2017 MacBook Pro, I could detect a slight mismatch between the press of the “g” key and the response on the screen, but very slight, not dramatic and I felt not significant for my typing. I did see the key repeat and was not expecting that.

Every key repeats on the new keyboard. Every.. Single. Key. Press and hold any character and it repeats on the new keyboard.

Some keys can repeat on the original older keyboard, “a” and “z” for example, do repeat in the terminal window. They do not repeat in the WordPress editor – instead the extended key press shows up with alternate foreign characters – useful, that. Someone took a moment to think about how users interact with individual keys. An “aaaaaaaaaa” could be useful, maybe a “zzzzzzzz”… But never a “ggggggggg”… There was consideration and concern and conceptualization of use and care for the user who would interact. This is very different from making a single decision, and it seems on the new slimmer keyboard any attempt to recognize and provide for specific use of any key is gone – they all repeat. I think that attention to detail, now gone, is what will cause Apple products to be less than they were in the past.

On the new slim crap keyboard any key pressed in the terminal window or anywhere else I tested repeated. All the keys. That seems wrong. Lazy. Someone instead of making individual custom decisions regarding the use of each key blanketly determined ALL KEYS REPEAT. Period. Maybe that makes the programming simpler. But it neglects to take into account usability or make any attempt to engineer a better experience.

The first characters I had to type on the new 2017 slim crap keyboard were for a complicated password to my company account – and it took three tries. Remember you can’t go back to correct a particular letter if it mistypes, and a password blank is perhaps one of the best tests of keyboard accuracy. I read people who like these keyboards – I don’t get it. But maybe it’s not just the underlying keyboard that’s the complete issue but a measure of how many possibilities there are in designing something like this – keys repeat, or they do not, extended press opens optional characters, or not. Make enough lazy appearance rather than function based determinations and you have Apple, today. Keys have travel enough to cushion and protect the pads of fingers or they do not.

— spence

Peak Apple post-Jobs – We’ve Passed It…

Will Apple ever go back to the 2015 reasonable keyboard on the MacBook Pro’s? No. No, they won’t.

Will Apple put back the magsafe2 power connection and indicator lights? No. Not going to happen.

Will we ever see a lighted Apple logo from a sea of laptops in a coffee shop? Yeah, but only because of the pre-2017 legacy models I and others will be nursing carefully.

Will I ever be able to drop the SHDC card out of my camera and right into my laptop? Nope.

I love OSX, hell, I love Unix. I love Apple up to a point – but I also recently updated to the latest High Sierra and immediately had bluetooth connection errors for the next three days, until I shut off hand-off on my phone, iPad and laptops – after that, no connectivity issues. Apple used to be able to put out an update or a product without breaking pretty standard stuff like bluetooth. The current laptop is terrible. Why a touch bar? Why? Why a keyboard that punishes and damages your fingers? Why this many steps away from a truly great product, and toward? Toward what? No writer will use this keyboard. Even when it works at all…

— spence

bluetooth disconnects? OSX? Turn off hand-off on computers and iPads and iPhone…

After the latest upgrade to High Sierra, I found my mouse, keyboard and trackpad were all disconnecting and then reconnecting about every hour. They would reconnect but the constant interruption was annoying.

I tried resetting the bluetooth preferences, resetting SMC and Prom memory, reboot, everything I could find.

I turned the hand-off functionality off on all of my devices – and the issue went away. Completely.

In fact, exercising with bluetooth headphones had been impossible because I would have headphones (bluetooth), a heartbeat monitor (bluetooth) and a Motiv ring (bluetooth) – every time my hand went over my head the music would cut out as the interference peaked – once hand-off was shut down, no issues. At all.

— spence

99 Megapixels: Fotodiox Rhinocam With Mamiya Lens and Fuji X Camera

One of the huge advantages of mirrorless cameras, Olympus, Panasonic, Sony and Fuji, is the shortness of the dimension between lens mount and sensor. I have adapters for M39 rangefinder lenses, Olympus OM lenses, and they work beautifully on my Fuji cameras. I have an EOS – FX adapter to use my Lensbaby 5mm Fisheye on the Fuji camera. All of this is possible because you can move the lenses designed for 35mm film dimensions out to where they need to be to focus on the mirrorless sensor with an adapter.

The Fotodiox Rhinocam Viselex rig mounts a medium format lens on the front. On the back you have a ground glass viewfinder that is useful primarily for framing the future assembled image on the left side, and a mirrorless camera mount on the right, along with two sliding tracks, one vertical and one horizontal, and dots for positioning. All of this works for taking 8 overlapping 16MP images that can be assembled into a 9000 x 11000 pixel image. You are taking these images and focusing through a medium format lens, moving the mirrorless camera around in that lens’s field of view.

_E2B1052

I’ve taken 6x7cm medium format film of a painting, scanned it in a Nikon film scanner, and come up with an image about that size. Way more work, and the detail in film is not as clear as the detail in an X series sensor. There aren’t alot of action photographs you could take with this rig – actually anything that moves won’t work unless it happens to be restricted to within a section of the image. And I would avoid dusty environments – the camera is somewhat protected while in the rig from dust, but nowhere as well protected as with a single native lens. So there are limits to what it can do. But for photographing works of art in polarized lighting in a studio at high resolution without spending $40000.00 on a Phase One medium format rig, this is awesome.

Assembling the photographs sometimes works in Lightroom – about 50% of the time – it seems to consistently work in Photoshop. I’ve had one failure in Photoshop, where two sections ended off above and below the rest of the image, disconnected. I think I can take more individual images, overlap them more, and maybe get it to work, but I haven’t tried it as yet. That same image worked in Lightroom, so go figure. The resulting images are about 9000 x 11000 pixels, or roughly 99 Megapixels. The resolution is outstanding, the detail and focus are every bit as good as medium format film.

_E2B1055

_E2B1057

—spence

Wordfence… Taking Down Nginx And Php5-fpm Every 6 Hours

I set up a new server at Digital Ocean several weeks ago. As part of that I switched to nginx and php5-fpm and tweaked the performance. I’m still looking for the sweet spot in stability and performance in this setup, but overall it’s been very fast.

I set up two monitoring services four days ago to watch stability and load times and to make certain the site stayed up. One of those services showed a constant uptime except for known downtimes. The other service… It showed down times after a couple of days at what looked to be regular intervals.

graph

I managed to log in at the beginning of one of these slow-or-no-load times and found:

2015/07/19 18:25:08 [error] 3069#0: *124530 upstream timed out (110: 
Connection timed out) while reading response header from upstream, client: 104.236.69.147, server: 
spencemunsinger.com, request: 
"GET /wp-admin/admin-ajax.php?action=wordfence_doScan&isFork=1&cronKey=2e8 HTTP/1.0", 
upstream: "fastcgi://unix:/var/run/php5-fpm.sock", 
host: "spencemunsinger.com"

Over and over and over, wordfence has been regularly overloading the php5-fpm sockets. I disabled the plugin (there are many other ways to accomplish the same thing without this plugin), and the graph is now level and clean, without the periodic spikes in load times. And no messages in the logs.

—spence

Excel is a Substitute for Intuitive Conceptual Thinking…

excel_image

I dislike Microsoft Excel. No, that’s not clear enough. Using Excel is like scraping a nail across the back of my eye socket.

16p naileye socket

I was trying to explain why that could be. Excel is a spreadsheet program that is used as a table format for documentation, presentation, documentation. It’s not a difficult program to use, and within it’s core use, manupulating numbers, I don’t have any difficulty with it. But when it comes to mis-use, for example, formatting text for the steps in a process to be documented, I hit a wall.

Excel forces a particular way of thinking and concept that I find anathema. It is a rigid, controlling, burdensome form. What should be a workflow is an exercise in trying to make text fit within the confines of a table and cell structure. But – why? Why would excel be more of a barrier than a tool for me, when for many, many people, it is a god-like example of perfection? I actually know an individual who wrote his Phd thesis on Excel. It’s a program that works really well – for some people, but not for others. Not for me.

Excel interrupts the pattern of thinking and conceptualization and intuition and decision that not only works for me, but which for me is the basic pattern with which I deal with the world. This is one of the facilities that allows me to exercise creativity, and maybe it’s one of the reasons I am an artist at all. For me, Excel symbolizes the locking in of paths of thinking into little boxes. It is the mental equivalent of a corporate cube farm. The mechanics of working within the structure it imposes slows actual intuitive thought to a crawl.

I am intuitive, to an extreme. With a full conceptual understanding of, for example, a computer network or server, a mechanical device, or a canvas, I will find a path to resolve an issue without steps in thinking, but instead with an intuitive cognitive leap. I can see the anomalies, the patterns that disrupt, the feel of the concept that is wrong, and come directly to a conclusion which is, more often than not, either the resolution or the step that leads to a clearer understanding and resolution of that issue. It’s the out-of-the-box thinking that corporations SAY they want (but, they don’t, not really).

Excel is a tool for left-brain-centered folks to put together the data into a mechanical conceptualization and to force those intuitive leaps by slogging through individual pieces of information and arranging them into an external program cell by cell by cell instead of inside the mind. It is mechanical intuition. Corporate intuition? It emulates, through filtering and aggregating data points, conceptualization. And through that mechanical, step-by-step plodding, it accomplishes what I do without thought, reaching to the data points and finding a conclusion and a decision.

I think that’s why I find it complete anethema. Actually, painful.

Xmind

On the other hand, Xmind mind-mapping software works for me – I’ve used it as documentation, as presentation, and as tasks manager for a project. What it does is allow a flexibility especially where the project defines in more detail as you go forward – adding detail and scope on the fly is easy and intutive. While it records, it does not filter or adjust the view beyond expand and collapse of elements. It doesn’t try and emulate conceptual thinking, it does allow patterning and extrapolation and re-organization of information on the fly. OmniOutliner works for me – also a checklist and organized format, also flexible, though not as freeform as Xmind.

Please, God, anything but Excel…

 

— spence