Two alternative versions of Joeun’s portrait

I showed you that portrait photo of a young woman already which I took in front of the British Museum. And I’ve made that one with my usual workflow which was/is to first convert the raw .orf file with Olympus Viewer 3 in Windows, and then to tag and add Exif data and other small adjustments with RawTherapee on Linux. All well and good, practised and tested on thousands of my images.

But with new software versions come new tests, and so I found that by now, and for me, Darktable also has its merits. It’s especially great for rotating, adding frames, and even adding GPS data with simply dropping the photos onto an OpenStreetMap.

I also wanted to see the photo in black & white.

So after another conversion from .orf to .tif, this time with the newer Olympus Workspace (the successor of the former Olympus Viewer 3), I first loaded the resulting .tif into Silver Efex Pro 2 – and decided that for a portrait of a young woman the standard conversion method might be the best option. I then did the same with Olympus Workspace (same as if it would have been done in-camera) to compare both outputs.

And they were pretty much the same, really. Same file sizes, no real differences between these two. So I took the one made with Olympus Workspace (again, same as in-camera), and used RawTherapee 5.5 with my stored midtone procedure which shifts the midtones (not the blacks or the whites) from a neutral grey to a more brownish tone (which I „stole“ from a photo of a horse by Laura Wilson (Owen’s mum who is a great photographer)). Then I straightened the picture about -4.25 degrees and added 3.5% of a border (using one of the colour tones from within the image) with Darktable 2.6.0 – all on my Debian 10 “Buster” operating system which is out since Saturday, July 6th, 2019.

For a colour version, the process was more or less the same, minus the black and white conversion in Olympus Workspace, and minus the midtoning with RawTherapee of course. But the straightening, framing, and adding of GPS data was more or less the same.

Then I uploaded both versions to Flickr so that I can show them here without using too much space on our own server, and added them to some folders and groups in Flickr. And here they are:

7e3_7101262bw-rt-joeun-lee-ow-rt-dt
Portrait of Joeun Lee, London 2019

and the colour version:

7e3_7101262-joeun-lee-ow-dt
Portrait of Joeun Lee, London 2019

I like them both. Even without the framing, the aditional controls for rotating, or that GPS data functionality are very nice features to have. Other things are a bit more complicated in Darktable when compared to RawTherapee, but then again I’m just doing my first baby-steps here with this program after ignoring it for a long time…

Anyway, it’s nice to have some great tools, and it’s even nicer when they’re free.

And again and like always, thanks for reading, and for viewing.

Debian Live Buster

So the Debian developers upgraded each and every image from ‘testing’ to ‘stable’ by now, or from ‘Stretch’ to ‘Buster’ to stay with their names. I tried the method of writing such a Debian Live image to my USB stick like mentioned in https://www.debian.org/CD/faq/#write-usb – and it worked. Booted it and selected localization support, and boom – I have German:

In fact I am writing this from Debian Live right now, and so the first thing I learned is that the keyboard is still English. Or American. But a quick and simple reconfiguration – without logoff or anything – changed that:

It even has a very cool picture of the keyboard:

So you could work like this if it has to be (like on a machine borrowed from someone else). Very good job, in fact this is excellence again. Learning new things each minute I’m spending with this. And of course you can still access your local drive(s) if you have any, or install Debian from within this Live image – very cool.

Ok, more about this later…

Welcome Buster

First I didn’t want to do it right away, but then I decided to just upgrade my machine to Debian 10 aka “Buster” (named after a character in Toy Story as always) today. So welcome Buster:

Buster artwork

For those of you who maybe have never done anything like this, you should probably read the chapter about upgrading in its handbook. For me, expecting nothing but excellence from my favourite free software team, I just updated my /etc/apt/sources.list, followed by a ‘sudo apt update’ and ‘sudo apt upgrade’ – and that was it.

Now I have to check what has changed. Of course Gnome and about every other software package is different from before, and of course Wayland looks and feels a bit different from X.Org – but time will tell.

So a big thank you goes to the Debian developers!

/etc/fstab

Over at home I’m slowly running into disk space problems – our machines all have 2TB drives for our /home directories, the NAS has two mirrored ones. And for me doing lots of photography since 2009, and music since about two years, and now videos of others making music, I was slowly approaching limits (I have about 1.6TB occupied).

So I checked prices, and SSDs are still a bit too expensive in these sizes – I have a 256GB SSD for the operating systems (Debian Linux and Windows 10), but as a replacement for my 2TB Seagate Barracuda I ordered a 4TB WD Red hard drive which is in the Top Ten of the most searched drives on Geizhals, and which is affordable (got mine for under 100€ including shipping), and according to the guys over at Heise, also nice and cool and silent enough to be built into a typical desktop PC.

It arrived yesterday, so I already formatted it with GPT (instead of MBR which is legacy and which can’t address more than 2TB), and during the night I copied everything from my Barracuda to the new Red drive (a simple one-liner under Linux, easy and reliable as always).

What still has to be done is to mount this as the new /home so that I can take out the old 2TB drive. And there’s a nice article about how to do this with a simple change of entries in the /etc/fstab file over at Linuxconfig.org, just in case you never thought about this. Easy as everything on Linux, let’s see what Windows will think about this new drive 😉

On another note, this upcoming Saturday is the planned release day for the next version of Debian Linux, which will have the name “Buster”. Release parties are planned all over the world already, but I’ll only have a short look and install it on my USB drive first – upcoming holidays, so further changes to my machine(s) have to wait until we’ll be back from a short vacation.

As always, thanks for reading. And if you want more tips like this one with the change of /etc/fstab, consider bookmarking of LXer.com where I find articles like the one mentioned above all of the time. Oh, and in the sense of a full disclosure: I’m still a member of the team over there…

As always, thanks for reading.

Adios Axelito – Alumni Big Band der Prälat Diehl Schule Groß-Gerau

As I wrote during the last days already, I’ve had the pleasure and the honour to be invited to document a three day rehearsal plus one day of concert of different bands and classes of Zuleikha’s high school, so from last Thursday to Sunday I went to Landesmusikakademie Hessen with them.

I took photos and videos using three cameras plus a portable 4 track audio recorder, and collected some 100GB of data – all of which now has to be edited, cut, and so on. And starting from today these photos and videos are to be presented to the participants and of course to their parents and families.

Here’s a first one – a song by German composer / arranger /conductor / band leader Kurt Klose, called “Adios Axelito”:

Adios Axelito – Alumni Big Band der Prälat Diehl Schule Groß-Gerau

My videos and photos aren’t perfect – but what is? I hope you’ll see that we all have had some fun during last week. And now we have something nice to remember 🙂

You can hear these artists again today at their (former, for some) school. Entrance is free.

Thanks for reading / watching / listening.

Postr is currently broken…

Postr is an app for the Gnome desktop, developed by Intel engineer Ross Burton. It worked fine for me until recently – first Flickr changed their accounts from Yahoo to own ones, then they swapped all of their our content from the Yahoo servers to the Amazon AWS cloud of their new owners, Smugmug. All of that went fine, but as a result, Postr doesn’t work anymore with their new OAuth login method, as this issue acknowledges.

Too bad, it’s a nice little program…

Some interesting decisions…

Don’t know if you have read / heard about this. Or this. Both links are in German, I know, but what they say still is clear: both the South Korean government and the Russian army are about to change from Windows to Linux, contrary to what some German lobbyist pushing did in Munich or in Hannover…

… and the question of course must be about the reasons. Well as a long-term Linux user myself, I know about the advantages of course – but could this also be related to politics? To the recently forced boycott of the biggest Chinese telco through Google?

Lots of comments here in Germany were of the kind: time to get rid of anything American – because some lunatic could decide to take it away, or try to blackmail us with the idea. Imagine if the motto of the day would have been: take away Microsoft from those Germans, just because we don’t agree to a war on Iran for instance…

I’d rather run instead of walk towards free software like Linux… (I did so anyway years ago, but not because of fear or political reasons)

Last Peace, by Zuleikha L

Last night, Zuleikha uploaded her newest composition “Last Peace” to Wikiloops. I had helped her a bit with getting the Addictive Keys Studio Grand into Ardour, so she mentioned me as well on her lovely track. And over the night, she got 11 thumb ups, 5 downloads and 1 remix already as you can see here or on her track:

“Last Peace” by Zuleikha L on Wikiloops

I also like her new avatar there which she drew herself:

And as you can see, she also received a first remix already, which were some jazzy drums & guitar played by João (nickname jjdf) from Portugal. Obrigado!

As always, thanks for reading.

Links to Jason, for colleagues, friends, and family

At LinuxMusicians, we have some really good producers (like for instance user ‘singforme’ and/or ‘bluebell’). And in this thread on LM, one of them pointed me to an article written by Jason Evangelho for Forbes, here.

That article is about UbuntuStudio, which Zuleikha was using until recently (she’s now running the KXStudio stuff on a ‘normal’ Ubuntu on what used to be Mitchie’s Dell notebook, now hers). The article also covers the Jack Audio Connection Kit, and Ubuntu Studio Controls, which together bring a bit of nice automation into the game, taking out some complex steps of setting up a productive audio environment on a PC. As Jason concludes in his article:

I tried Ubuntu Studio 18.04 last year in a short-lived attempt to see if it could replace my macOS + Logic Pro workflow (my last hurdle to using Linux full time), and I honestly walked away a bit disappointed. But 19.04 is shaping up to worthy of a second chance. You’ll have my thoughts when the final version releases this Spring.

But so far this is interesting for musicians and/or creative people only (which covers some of my own family, but not many other people). So if you’re in this ‘other people’ group, stay with me just a little bit longer, because the other interesting finding in his article on Forbes were links to Jason’s own site Linux For Everyone, and to his music on Soundcloud.

And while Jason’s music might be interesting to you or not, I’ve read just one article on his site called “Ditch Dropbox: Create A Personal Home Backup Server With Raspberry Pi 3” which made me write this link collection, and recommending it to colleagues and friends (who aren’t musicians or other creatives) as well.

What Jason is describing there is simply how to set up a small and low cost home server based on Linux which everyone could use, together with some useful stuff like apps for your desktop, and your Android or iOS device to make use of it all – without having to touch a command line even once. He shows how to sync your PC and your phone with that small server automatically using NextCloud, so you have basically replaced Dropbox or any other commercial service provider (you have to read some additional stuff on how to open ports on your router, or to connect to your home from outside via DynDNS-like services if you haven’t done so, but that’s stuff for another article).

So at this point, Jason concludes:

Wait A Minute….
Did we just setup a Linux-based file server without using the command line once? Yes. Yes we did.

Thanks for reading.

I know I have some colleagues who are interested in just this. And I don’t know about you, but I am interested in something like this myself. And besides, I’ll go on reading Jason’s other stuff as well, so I have set up an RSS-bookmark to his site, so that I can see new headlines when he comes up with new articles. So, in a nutshell, I consider this recommended reading for everyone who’s an admin of their own home network. You. Me. Everyone.

P.S.: Jason’s articles on Forbes are good reads as well. I’ve short-scanned only the last 2 months or so, and found these three very interesting ones:

I Can’t Believe I’m Writing This Linux Article About Loving The Xfce Desktop Environment

Warning: Internet Explorer Just Became A Silent But Serious Threat To Every Windows User

Here’s The Shocking Reality Of Completely Blocking Google From Your Life

Like I said/wrote: interesting (tho he still is new to the Linux desktop experience, but this might apply to you as well, right?). As always, thanks for your interest, and for reading.

Switched to the Chrome browser for the moment

As much as I like the idea of a free browser, the latest decisions from Firefox (like dropping RSS “Live” bookmarks which is their one and single most outstanding feature) are hard to understand.

And a few days ago they deactivated and maybe even deinstalled my “uBlock Origin” ad blocker – the best there is. Investigating a bit about this brought news like: “we’ll update soonish with a new version which supports these (deactivated) plugins again”.

Thanks, but no thanks. Keep your crap for yourself. And consider me gone until you wake up from whatever dope you had…

I wanted to use Chromium (also more or less free, and it’s the basis for Chrome), but their version 73 still has some funky colour gamut displaying, which Chrome doesn’t do. So for the moment I’m with Google. Could have investigated further about smaller browsers, and whether they also have a “Foxish” plugin which brings back RSS Live bookmarks, but my time for this stuff is limited. Bad enough that Mozilla puts all of this on our shoulders instead of getting to grips with what once made them different from others.

Have a nice Sunday y’all – and thanks for reading.

Update, from Sunday afternoon: at least it wasn’t on purpose this time as it seems. Here’s a report from ZDNet about what happened, and here is a statement from Mozilla about it. Make of that what you will, I call it sloppy and bad management still. Open Source deserves better.