Is this how Richard III sounded?

Richard_III_earliest_surviving_portraitHot on the heels of digging up the last Plantagenet King of England, researchers are now speculating on what he sounded like.  From the writings and miss-spellings from a couple of his letters, they suggest “he may have talked with a West Midlands twang.”

So, first off, this is the researcher trying his hand at mimicking Richard III

And this is Noddy Holder, son of Walsall, doing the same on Broadcasting House on Sunday 10th February 2013.

I think I know which one I prefer.

Posted in It's the way you say it, Language | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Hot pixel fix in Ubuntu

When I take photos indoors I tend to switch the flash off on my Nikon D40 because it’s just too harsh.  Instead, I bump up the ISO and practice my steady hand without flash.

I was looking through the resulting photos and noticed there were some coloured pixels that were showing in the same place in all the photos – you can see some red and green specks in this image (click the image to see the full size).

hotpixelsSo I set about seeing if I could fix this. Being an Ubuntu user, it had to be an Ubuntu fix too, though, I did find Pixel Fixer for Windows. After a bit of hunting, I found a post on openprinting.org which pretty much had the solution.

The fix

The basic steps are:

  1. Take a blackout-out picture with the lens cap on
  2. Produce a dead pixel map on the blacked-out image using jpeghotp (this is just a textfile with the coordinates of the spots).
  3. Use jpegpixi with the dead pixel map and the spotty input image to produce the cleaned up version.

The blacked-out picture

I struggled for a bit trying to get a blacked-out photo with the hot pixels on, in the end I took a photo using exactly the same settings as the images that had the spots on, and that worked for me.  Incidentally, ISO 1600, f5.6 shutter 1/6s.

blacked-out photo

jpeghotp

This isn’t installed by default, but running

$ sudo apt-get install jpegpixi

installs both jpeghotp and jpegpixi.

Then it’s just a matter of calling

$ jpeghotp blacked-out-photo.JPG pixelmap.txt

jpegpixi

You can run this one by one on the photos using the command

$ jpegpixi -f pixelmap.txt input-photo.JPG output-photo.JPG

(note, the description on the openprinting.org site had the -f option in the wrong place.)

But you can also run this over all the files, using jhead (I’m using this to make sure the camera’s meta information isn’t lost), which will also need installing:

$ sudo apt-get install jhead
$ jhead -cmd "jpegpixi -f pixelmap.txt &i &o" *.JPG

and that’s it.

hotpixels hotpixels removed

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Standing Desk

It’s been a bit over a year since I started experimenting on and off with a standing desk.  For most of the year I’ve been been balancing my keyboard and mouse on things.  The latest incarnation made use of some of my largest tomes and some plastic storage draw thing.

It worked fine, except for having to look down on the monitor, which I should have done something about, but didn’t.

If you’re thinking about using a standing desk, I would seriously consider doing what I did:  don’t spend any money on it.  Having the option to easily revert to sitting comfortably is necessary for training yourself to this very new way of working.  It’s also important to work out what height works best for you, especially if you’re going to create a fixed height jobby.

For a while though, I’ve been thinking about a more permanent alternative, buying an adjustable desk (lots of dosh), converting my existing desk, or adding to my existing desk.  I chose the latter, so I haven’t ruined my old desk, which I do like because it’s an honest chunk of wood.

So after much deliberation I did this:

It’s made of 18mm plywood on the sides and top, and 6mm plywood on the back.  I’ve used dowels to fix the top to the sides.

And you can see pine at the bottom (and the top) onto which I nailed the thinner ply.  The back helps give the structure some rigidity.  There are a couple of holes for cables and wotnot.

And of course a top view.

I’ve only been using the new desk a few hours, and one thing I have noticed already is that the big area under the desk is acting like a resonator, so my keyboard tapping is being amplified.  Can’t wait to hear the speakers at full blast.

Posted in Work | Tagged , , | 3 Comments