Cross-promotion

In case you haven’t visited the other site — you know, the one that actually still gets lots of traffic and attention — you might be surprised to see how much its geographic reach has expanded in the past two years or so that I’ve been really actively updating again. There are now entries for forty of the fifty United States and eight of the ten Canadian provinces (none of the territories, alas). My goal is to get something up for all them within the next year.

Here’s a handy map:

Everybody needs a hobby…

New year, new databases

I’ve spent New Year’s Day migrating about 50,000 images into Adobe Lightroom CC, after many years of using an assortment of Apple’s photo management tools. I’d hit the point where I realized I would soon have to give up iPhoto, and had in fact already migrated several sets into Photos.

But I really fucking hate Photos. While it’s great for the average user who just wants to look at pictures from his phone, it has several glaring weaknesses for anyone who applies any serious degree of metadata to, say, a research photo collection. Its file system is an inscrutable train wreck. It does not actually write certain of its metadata into the image files. The goddamn face recognition that you can’t turn off drives me to distraction. Then, when I realized today what a hassle it would be simply to download a video from my phone with the file format and creation date intact, it was the last straw for Photos.

Add to all this the fact that it’s actually easier to migrate an iPhoto library than a Photos library into Lightroom (and the fact that I have free access to the whole Creative Cloud platform through work) and you arrive next to me on the couch as I was having my Spam, rice, and eggs this morning. That was when I decided that today was the day to make the jump (though I’d test-migrated one library several weeks ago). The old iMac has been plugging away for almost five hours now and I’m at 47%.

I’m doing all this, of course, so I can be involved in a major migration of digital content both at home and at work. As of last month, I chaired a committee that recommended moving from CONTENTdm, the incredibly expensive digital asset management my digital collections unit currently uses, to Islandora, an open-source platform. This migration (which will involve about 750,000 items) will pretty much define my next year at work. We’re one of the bigger installations to make this move. It should be fun.

I guess I didn’t want to be bored at home at the end of the day…

Random thoughts (mostly) unrelated to April Fool’s Day

IMG_1208

Yesterday had more texture. Today is a bright, sunny spring day in North Carolina, which means, of course, that I do not particularly wish to leave the house because of the bright (and the pollen). So I’m taking care of things at home. And creating bullet points:

  • A month or so in, I ask again why I never used Plex before. It’s pretty wonderful, especially with my new router. Having everything I own from porn to film noir to home video on every device in the house rocks.
  • Credit Karma Tax. Love it. It was quick and painless, helped along by the fact that I no longer have itemized deductions since I no longer have a mortgage. If I hadn’t had a few thousand dollars in one-time freelance income for a consulting project I did, my taxes would have taken all of five minutes. And no fucking TurboTax fees and add-ons.
  • Anyone have a good commercial VPN provider recommendation? I’d been thinking of going with one for quite a while and in light of recent events I’m pretty sure I will.
  • For the record, it’s kind of discouraging realizing that your home state is more concerned with college basketball than with your basic civil rights.
  • Lovely. North by Northwest is having one of those TCM limited screening things, and i’ll be crammed into an airplane for both dates.
  • Best April Fool gag this year from NPR.
  • I’ll be in Albuquerque next week. That’s just not something one gets to say all that often.

South by southwest?

This makes me a little sad. Winston-Salem seems finally to be abandoning its never-much-used quadrant system. As street signs age, they are being replaced with new ones that lack the “NW/SW/NE/SE” indicators.

IMG_8094

IMG_8097

The quadrant system for identifying streets seems to have been introduced in the 1950s. Several North Carolina cities (Hickory and Concord for starters) implemented some version of the system over the years, and it was not a big success in most of them. In fact, it seems to have been largely ignored in Winston-Salem by the 1980s, no longer being used in published addresses even though the designations continued to be included on the street signs.

When the ex and I moved to Winston in 2006, we added the “SW” to the end of our address from day one, just because that’s the sort of geeks we were. I liked the the whole anachronistic nature of using this convention most people no longer observed, even though the city apparently still did. I believe the quadrants may even have still been part of the tax map database as recently as a few years ago.

I haven’t seen any official notice of the change anywhere (though I haven’t looked very much) but it’s pretty obvious that the signs they are a-changin’.

Otherstream at 20: 2014

IMG_9353

Only two more years to cover before Wednesday’s big anniversary.

January

February

March

April

May

June

July

August

September

October

November

December

 

Otherstream at 20: 2009

DSCF3548

In 2009, I got my master’s, got my first professional library job, thought a lot about cities, and bought a house in Pittsburgh. It was perhaps a more interesting year than I gave it credit for at the time. Anniversary in six days. Highlights from 2009 below.

January:

February:

March:

April:

May:

June:

July:

August:

September:

October:

November:

December:

Otherstream at 20: 2005

DSC03512

Back to one year per day as we move toward the big anniversary on 13 January. 2005 was another pivotal year as it brought my departure from San Francisco and return to the East Coast. Highlights and favorites follow.

January:

Febtuary:

March:

April:

May:

June:

July:

August:

September:

October:

November:

December:

A very kine Christmas

IMG_6181

While watching Christmas specials from the 1960s on GetTV, it struck me that, while they would originally have been videotaped, the versions bring shown looked to be from a really bad film transfer process. I assumed it was some favor of kinescope (the process that allowed live black and white shows to be recorded on film for later rebroadcast in the 1950s, before videotape).

I knew videotape was still quite pricey even in the 1960s and was reused often, which is why so much TV from that era (particularly game shows, soap operas, and talk shows) just doesn’t exist anymore. But when I dived into the interwebz looking for stuff on “color kinescope” I was surprised to discover how common it had been to preserve videotaped shows this way, even in the 1960s and beyond.

None of this probably matters much to most of you, but after an hour or so passed, it occurred to me that this is why I never seem to get anything much done on Sunday afternoons.

Along with my habit of never finishing and old movie or TV show because I’m too busy trying to decipher where the location shots were done and finding contemporary views on Google Street View, this is probably why I will die alone and unloved. And I’m pretty much OK with that.