The Sewer Date?

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Thinking my father took mother on some cracking dates…

Some of these negatives are labeled ‘Panchromatic’ others ‘Ilford FP4’, a few are ‘ADOX’ (about which i know very little). FP4 was introduced in 1968, which helps me date a few of these things. It didn’t become FP4 Plus until 1990!

More APT-E Photographs

More photographs from my Father’s archives. Earlier that the previous shots, maybe 1968 or so. No idea what i’m looking at… but presumably the shop in which the prototype was built, and maybe the parts he’d worked on?

Odd that there is nobody around.

British Rail APT-E

Hidden in a bag of old family photographs where a couple of 120 film slides. They could do with a clean, and feel rather faded.

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My father was a member of the APT-E engineering team in Derby. At least that’s what i remember.

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Printed on the slide frame is “British Transport Films” at the top, and “Melbury Terrace, London N.W.1” at the bottom.

To Grate Cheese

IMG_5018This is “Masspot”, a Mac Pro 1,1, upgraded to 12GB of RAM, and replaced disks. It is currently running OS X 10.7.5.

My best guess is that it is over 10 years – probably purchased in 2008 as my main work machine. It survived being shipped via UPS from Japan to Germany. Upon arrival in Hamburg i saw it thrown out of the back of a delivery truck, and very nearly roll into a drainage ditch… it didn’t seem to care. Still runs just fine.

Not sure if it can still grate cheese.

The majority of my image library (Lightroom catalogs) still lives on this machine, backed up to multiple locations, and in the process of transitioning to a RAID6 array Synology NAS.

While i’ve no idea how much it cost at the time, it has undoubtedly paid for itself hundreds (or thousands?!) of times over. My plan is to replace it with… well, that’s the question.

The original Cinema display is now tinged a distinct pink around the edges, and not usable for any image processing. That’s not a huge problem for minor tasks (vnc is good enough with everything cabled) but long-term it’s not viable. The only other monitor, an LG Ultrafine 5K, is now dedicated to my work environment. Not that there is any feasible way to connect it to the current graphics card of the Mac Pro!

Not being a video person all new Apple machines feel like overkill to me. Especially if it’s just image processing. But given the likely lifespan of any new machine that i’m going to buy, maybe it won’t feel that way by the end of it’s life?

In short, i’m thinking about buying a low-end / base model Mac Pro cheese grater. Or an iMac Pro. The latter scares me a little as it’s obviously a non-upgradable route, where the whole thing becomes useless if a component fails. And, i dont really want any more screens in my office.

Ideally, there is a Thunderbolt 3 KVM setup to let me switch between two machine and a single screen. That has to exist… right?

Oh, with a new graphics card and hacked EFi the original Mac Pro can be upgraded to a far more recent macOS release, which would make me less scared about having it on my network!

RSS-Bridge and Nitter

For the last couple of months my interface with Twitter has been through an instance of TwitRSS.me running in a Docker container on my laptop. It has been working remarkably well… given that it hasn’t updated for months. Also it hadn’t kept up with the way that Twitter embedded image data in tweets, this in turn meant clicking on a lot of entries, and opening them in Twitter – which was what i was trying to avoid.

There are a couple of new / actively maintained projects that provide alternative methods of interacting with Twitter. Two of them, RSS-Bridge and Nitter, also provide RSS feeds of accounts / searches / hashtags.

Nitter is very cool. It uses the twitter api to return tweets, returning them in chronological order, in the form of website. For example, here is a random BBC stream, from which it’s possible to get an RSS feed. This is cool as it also converts all links in twitter into links into the instance of Nitter. There are people hosting Nitter instances, and it should be possible to host your own in Docker locally.

RSS-Bridge is more of the same, but instead of providing an alternative front-ends it provides plugable modules to scrape or generate RSS feeds directly. It has plugins for a bunch of sites that don’t provide RSS feeds, and while i’m not currently using any of them it’s cool that they are there.

Both Nitter and RSS-Bridge produce nice RSS feeds with options to include images, replies, user avatars, etc.

Currently i’m trying out RSS-Bridge and it seems to be working well. If Nitter continues to be worked on, and there are no issues (thinking TLS / certificate hassles) then perhaps that is the future answer. The downside of RSS-Bridge is that it’s written in PHP which always gives me the heebie-jeebies. Nitter, on the other hand, is written in something that feels entirely new called Nim… which looks cool, but it likely niche.

Oh, and the Nitter project has spawned browser plugins that redirect Twitter into Nitter. I’m using ‘twitter-to-nitter-redirect‘. Nice!

Grrraspberry Pi

My Raspberry Pi apparently draws …

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so that’s close to nothing. It should probably stay on all the time.

As it is it gets turned on / off on average once a day. The end result is that periodically, usually when i’m hoping to not be messing around with computers, the SD card gets trashed. Then it’s a couple of hours remembering how to set it all up again.

Enough!

Now with the SD Card stuffed in my Mac:

$ diskutil list

<snip>

/dev/disk2 (internal, physical):
   #:                       TYPE NAME                    SIZE       IDENTIFIER
   0:     FDisk_partition_scheme                        *8.0 GB     disk2
   1:             Windows_FAT_32 boot                    268.4 MB   disk2s1
   2:                      Linux                         7.7 GB     disk2s2

Make backup:

$ sudo dd if=/dev/disk2 of=SDCard-backup.dmg

Takes a while, but should save some time the next time the filesystem dies… assuming i can work out how to restore it.. my best guess is something like:

$ sudo diskutil unmountDisk /dev/disk2
$ sudo dd if=SDCard-backup.dmg of=/dev/disk2

Not forgetting to eject:

$ sudo diskutil eject /dev/disk2

Yes, this entry is obviously intended to remind me of what’s what when this inevitably happens again.