Monday, April 19, 2010


I'm trying to create some sketches. Not having a lot of luck. I think it's the reference that I'm using. Too basic. I can build on the ideas I'm getting, but I can't build a sketch.

On a different front, Wonderful husband got a printer with wireless ability. I just got rid of the second printer in my studio! Yay! Tonight hubby is out playing Poker with the neighbors. If he comes home early, things did not go well. If he stays out late, he's winning. Do I care? Only in that it will give me more time to play in my studio and try to come up with sketches.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010


RAID actually stands for Redundant Array of Inexpensive Drives, and means that instead of writing the file once to one drive, my computer writes to more than one drive. I can't have RAID if I only have one hard drive. I must have more than one. And if I have a second drive hooked up to my computer, but I have to copy files from one drive to another, even if it is automatic to make the copy, it isn't really RAID. The goal of RAID is for the action to happen as the file is being written to the drive.

There are several different types of RAID. I can have RAID set up so my computer is writing part of a file to one drive and part of the file to a different drive. Like having two printers, one printing the odd-numbered pages and one printing the even numbered pages. My print job will finish faster, but I still only end up with one copy. That is called RAID 0 (zero).

In RAID 1, my computer writes the data twice, once to each of two drives. If one drive fails, the data is sitting on the other drive. If both drives fail, I lose data. RAID 1 is also called mirroring. It's actually slower than writing to only one drive, even though my computer is writing to both drives at the same time.

Then there is RAID 5. It doesn't mean that I've got five drives. It means that I have at least three and I could have a whole lot more than three. My computer writes a part of each file to different drives and it throws in some fancy math as well. If I have three drives set up as RAID 5, I'll have 1/3 of the file on the first drive along with a bit of fancy math, 1/3 on the second and that fancy math and 1/3 of the file will be on the third drive with the fancy mats as well. The fancy math allows what is on one drive to be re-created. Say a drive fails. Drat! I go out and buy a new one. I unplug the dead drive and plug in the replacement drive. I tell my computer to get to work and regenerate the lost data. Poof! I have not lost any data, even though a drive failed! Wow. However, if I lose a second drive before I replace and regenerate the first failed drive, I lose all of my data. RAID 5 can be fast.

In between RAID 1 and RAID 5 are several other types of RAID. Some are really good at making computers read files faster, some make computers write files faster. It is possible to combine different types of RAID for even greater redundancy. For example, it is possible to combine RAID 1 and RAID 5. It won't be fast, but the data will be safe.

For most home users, RAID 1, or mirroring, is plenty. While it is slower, it isn't cripplingly slow. It's easy to set up and easy to understand. The most important thing to remember is that it is a mirror. The drives should be the same size, or I will end up wasting space on the larger drive.

Monday, April 12, 2010

This One!

Photoshop CS5 is here.

I want it. A lot.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Put it in a Drawer!

Years ago, I was helping a stroke patient tidy up her nursing home room. There were cards all over the place, magazines, candy, stuffed animals and so on. She was having trouble with her speech, but she managed to get out something that sounded very much like, "Put it in a drawer." We laughed, she repeated herself and we put things into drawers and soon, her room was cleared and looked much better.

I learned a lot about cleaning that day. Today, I managed to deal with three of the large, annoying items in my studio that had been making the room look cluttered and disorganized and had made it impossible to enjoy how large the room actually is. I put them into a closet. They are out of sight and out of the way. My studio looks larger. I like it a lot more.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Ready Before the Moment

If you head over to Think Tank Photography bags, you'll find that "Be ready before the moment" is their slogan. It's something that is critical in photography. You need to have your camera ready, your settings checked, the camera turned on, and the lens cap off to grab the best photos.

March 31, I grabbed my camera bag at the last moment before heading out to volunteer at a golf tournament. I didn't really want to sit at a table and sell 50-50 tickets, but I was prepared to do that if I had to. I was almost prepared to take photos all day.

I hadn't thought through what I'd be doing all day. If I had, I'd have cleared and freshly formatted all of my memory cards. I'd have charged up my re-chargeable batteries and I'd have made sure that I had spare sets of Alkaline batteries for both the camera and the flash. I made it through the day, but I didn't take as many photos as a real pro would have done. I was saving battery life when possible.

I've just spent a few minutes making sure that my gear is prepped. If I get asked to do something like that tomorrow, I'm ready. It isn't enough to own gear. Your gear has to be ready to use.

The March 31 shoot taught me that I need to carry at least 12 AA batteries to have a complete backup set. The camera body takes 8 and the flash takes 4.

A Prediction and Comments

It's been about two months since Lori Davison released a kit. Odds are that something will pop up the Monday after Easter. I'd been watching Lori's kits get darker and darker as Winter went on. They were starting to look depressing and sad. I'd almost say Goth, but they were looking more and more Steampunk, that's for sure. I'm betting that this Easter/Spring kit will be pastels and ducks. She's already done bunny kits twice. If she doesn't do ducks, it will be a Prairie spring. That's just my guess- I could be wrong and I often am.

And after a dry spell that had her creative team struggling to keep their blog interesting, MGL Scraps has returned to creating with a bang. First it was her massive Dreams in Colour set, then she had a collab with Flergs, Indomitable, and now she's guest designer at Scrap Orchard. Welcome back, Monica, and it's good to see you again!

One of my fave designers has let me down. I am always on the lookout for guy friendly kits and Mikroferk's latest is not. It's beautiful and detailed, exquisite, in fact. But I won't be able to use it for my guys, so it's not going in my shopping cart.

Flergs originally caught my eye because she did guy friendly kits and her latest does not fail me. Or is it her latest? She's re-done one of her earlier kits. The ideas and basic design are the same, but since her skills have improved, she re-did the whole kit to her new, higher standard. Can I say yay? I can!

But yanno? I don't use the alphas that come with most digikits. I find them to be too large to use for more than a single word or two for a title. Even when I resize them, they can overpower a photo. What I'd prefer would be fonts, instead. And fonts that I could bold and make italic would be best.