17mm

Last week was my birthday, and I got a new lens: the Olympus M. Zuiko 17mm f/1.8 which is wonderful. Here it is on my camera, took that shot using the Google Pixel 4a phone:

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New (to me) lens, Mörfelden-Walldorf 2021

Some first images taken with that lens:

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Flowers, Mörfelden-Walldorf 2021
Just a little ad…
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Tuna the cat, Mörfelden-Walldorf 2021

As always, thanks for viewing.

Updates, cheap frame grabbers, selfies

Sometime last week I read about a vulnerability of the Chrome browser which most of my colleagues – and according to my statistics also most of the visitors of this site – are using. So I sent them a short notice about it, and also upgraded my own versions of the Chrome and Chromium browsers on both Linux and Windows (tho I rarely use them, mostly for debugging if someone reports about errors or so).

There were also news about Windows updates, and that these might be important, so I did that as well – I have a dual boot machine here so if I interrupt the boot up process I can also start Windows 10 instead of Linux. This one might be tricky in case you have your Windows machine connected via WiFi – one of their last updates corrupted that (and they have another update for that alone). Anyway, better be safe and update, I did…

What I do *not* have on my main machine is a webcam for video conferencing, but I have tried droidcam which works fine even with an iPhone, I also tried their Linux client on my employers’ notebook (Lenovo P50 with Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8), and that works.

But I also remembered that I have a much better camera, so I ordered one of these cheap frame grabbers (mine was 14€, you find them even cheaper by now):

These are detected automatically, no drivers needed. Here’s a screenshot from Ubuntu Studio where it even shows its name as ‘MACROSILICON USB Video’, and the ID 534d:2109 (on my Debian and Red Hat machines both of which have older kernels it leaves away the name but is detected and works just fine):

Rob Trek has a video about this one, and how to use it with Olympus cameras like mine:

He also had another one on how to use these cameras for live streaming and online conferencing with Skype, Zoom, Meet, and so on:

Very nice, although until now I can’t really get rid of the focus rectangles with that long press on the ‘Info’ button¹. But then again, Olympus never claimed the E-M10 Mk2 to have a clean HDMI output, so this is what you should look out for when deciding onto a new camera with which you’d also like to live stream – the quality of all of these is *much* better than your typical webcam… (the one in the Lenovo P50 is horrible).

¹Edit: if I turn off face/eye detection, C-AF on, and then select not one focus point/box but all – pretty much the whole screen – then I get a clean HDMI out for streaming. Cool; works for me without having to get just another camera…

Speaking about cameras, I was using mine a bit more often lately, but since I can’t always photograph our cat, and since we’re still in the middle of a pandemic, I mostly pointed it onto myself – like here for instance:

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Me as “Lester the Nightfly”, Mörfelden-Walldorf 2021
Listen to the original
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Yet another self portrait, Mörfelden-Walldorf 2021

As you see I also went wider as usual – 50mm-equivalent in the first, and 28mm-equivalent in the second shot, and I used two of my studio strobes for better colour and definition. So if you don’t have a good looking model, you can at least use good lighting which is the second most important thing in photography 🙂 No reason to not be creative just because you can’t go out that much, is it?

As always, thanks for reading, viewing, and watching (or listening). Be well and stay safe everyone, and take care…

Low light, high ISO, and simulated black & white films

Olympus cameras, and Rawtherapee – a winning combination. These are from today:

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Tuna the cat, Mörfelden-Walldorf 2021 (ISO 3200, simulated Kodak Tri-X film)
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Birthday flowers, Mörfelden-Walldorf 2021 (ISO 6400, simulated Kodak T-Max film)

As always, thanks for viewing.

Edit, one day later:

That photo of Tuna above may look nice and bright – but in fact that scene was pretty dark. Here’s a video which I took right before that shot, and which shows the actual lighting (during daytime!) as it really was:

Again, thanks for viewing.

RIP Captain Sir Tom Moore

Oh my – like his daughters reported, Tom didn’t make it. I read it in Tagesschau Online first, and here is an obituary from Thomas Spickhofen from our ARD studios in London:

Thank you Tom, for everything you did – you won’t be forgotten. My thoughts are with your family, and with your friends.

P.S., from Feb. 3rd, 2021:

The interest in Captain Sir Tom Moore is world-wide, even sites in Malaysia are reporting the sad news. You can find lots of images of him, and I myself left a short tribute on a news site in Wales

Here’s the report of our biggest TV news from yesterday evening:

And here’s the BBC about him.

As always, thanks for reading, and for viewing.

Not so confidential anymore – this time…

… it will affect *us* (my colleagues & me). The news in German:

https://www.heise.de/news/Gewerkschaft-IBM-Deutschland-plant-fast-1000-Kuendigungen-5030141.html

https://www.golem.de/news/skills-ibm-deutschland-plant-fast-1-000-kuendigungen-2101-153521.html

https://www.ich-bin-mehr-wert.de/news/ibm_tarif_update/ibmnewsletter-2021/ibmnewsletter20210119/

And what fits to both the headline, and to my feelings about it is Shi‘s actual pick for her New Year’s song which she uploaded on the 3rd of February 2013 (her date of entry at Wikiloops), called “This time”:

“This time”, by Alex Sarikov, rastafari, and Shi – lyrics ©Shi 2.3.2013

What a wonderful song of my three friends from the ‘loops. I had this one on my first album on Wikiloops, without own contributions yet – and I’ve added “The cool cats from the loops – Hit singles” to the widgets area on the right of this page now so that you can find and download it. As always, thanks for reading, and for listening.

A simple and unscientific test

Today I made a test: I took both of the smart phones off of their chargers when I started work this morning, and placed them beside my workplace like this:

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Smartphones ’21

These are, from left to right: the Apple iPhone SE (2020 model) which belongs to my employer, and the Google Pixel 4a phone which I “bought for one shilling” from my wife.

The test was: I wanted to see how much battery power was left after a full day of work, without using both devices. My expectation was that the Apple device with its A13 chip would win by quite some degree against the Google device with its Snapdragon chip.

And of course, “not using them” wasn’t exactly true – while the Apple device was silent, I heard the Pixel phone’s “Pling!” sound several times when someone sent me an email via GMX – don’t know if the display went on because I haven’t seen it, but I guess so (usually it does). The GMX app is also installed and configured on the iPhone, but notifications weren’t allowed on it. Another (unfair) advantage for Apple? I have no idea…

So after work – and I shut down my notebook after a bit more than nine and a half hours uptime including lunch break – I looked at both. Result: 93% battery left on the Apple, 99% on the Google phone.

Interesting. Obviously, Google has learnt how to let its Pixel phones doze (can hardly say ‘sleep’ when all of the time they’re in fact waiting for something to happen). Power management seems to be perfect on these. Would be interesting to compare it with Apple’s new A14 chip in the newer iPhone 12 – that one is the first 5nm CPU just like the M1 chip in Apple’s new “Silicon” machines… but as you can see, it’s not all just hardware…

As always, thanks for reading.

First snow for 2021

We’ve had a bit of snow last fall, and I’ve written about that, but for this winter we now had the first one… just took a photo with +0.7 exposure to keep whites white, then adjusted the white balance in Gimp, and cropped it to 800×600 pixels so I could send it with mail. Now I also uploaded it to Flickr, from where I show it here again as usual:

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First snow for 2021, Mörfelden Walldorf 2021

Also on Flickr, but from yesterday short before my lunch break: a photo of Tuna on the heated floor (and carpet):

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Nothing better than a heated floor, Mörfelden-Walldorf 2021

Oh, and since I don’t have an own nice snow song, here’s one from “Südwestlicht”, from 2013, made entirely with Linux:

As always, thanks for viewing, reading, watching, and listening. Be well, and keep warm everyone… 🙂

Chaman Dream

My first Wikiloops collaboration for 2021, masterfully mixed by OliVBee:

As always, merci & danke & thanks to my friends at the ‘loops, and thank you for listening.

First walk for 2021: around our “Müllberg”

We have an artificial hill which is about 5.5km by car from here, heading South-Southwest, see it on Google Maps here:

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Aussichtspunkt Oberwaldberg on Google Maps

And as you can see, its official name is “Oberwaldberg”, tho everyone here just calls it “Müllberg”. It’s renaturated and surrounded by some nice lakes and fields, home of many birds again, so quite nice. Last time we went there it was kind of late and getting dark, so today I decided to walk around and on top of that hill again, taking my camera with the 25mm/1.4 “normal” lens. Here are some photos:

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Our “Müllberg” from South-West, Mörfelden-Walldorf 2021

This is as close as you can get from an industrial area in the Southwest of the small hill, so this is where I parked and left the car. As you can see, I wasn’t alone but then again it wasn’t really crowded as well, I’ve met maybe half a dozen people during the whole walk around and on top of it.

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Looking South, Mörfelden-Walldorf 2021

Here I’m looking South from the way you saw on the first photo, into the general direction of Darmstadt (we’re as close to Darmstadt as we are to Frankfurt, both are about 15km away in almost exact opposite directions). This is where the sun was during my walk which was a bit chilly at times…

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Oberwaldsee, Mörfelden-Walldorf 2021

This is part of the Oberwaldsee, one of two lakes at the foot of Oberwaldberg. It’s nice, even in Winter.

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Home, airport, and Taunus as seen from our “Müllberg”, Mörfelden-Walldorf 2021

This is the view back home from our Müllberg. We live in one of these higher buildings behind the second line of trees in the front. Behind our home and another forest and all the way to the left is the airport, and behind that are some smaller villages and then the mountain line of the Taunus which is North of Frankfurt.

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So near and so far, Mörfelden-Walldorf 2021

This is the view from a second and slightly lower lookout, with the general direction about 286 degrees West-Northwest. I called this “So near and so far” because that is what you see, especially when you see the airplanes leaving.

According to the step counter of my mobile phone, I walked some 2.5km and about 4,000 steps.

As always, thanks for reading and for viewing.