Sunday, August 28, 2011

A Weekend with the Hak5 Pineapple

It's been a fun weekend!  I finally dove in to the Hak5 Pineapple more deeply than I'd been able to do at the conference.  I took notes as I went.  I've got the basic configuration all sorted out and I'm getting good at the OpenWrt side of it.
I've got a couple complicated network topologies that I want to try.  Well, I've already "tried" them ... I need to get them to actually work.  ;)  So, there's at least one more weekend of fun to get everything configured right.  And after that, at least a few days of fun carrying it around and seeing what it sees.  It's like the wifi-scan-and-tweet zipit .. on steroids.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Would You Do Your Job for Free?

This is one of those standard questions that life-career-touchy-feely people like to ask you to consider.  "Would you do your job for free?"  So I considered it.  Yes, I actually would do it for free.  It's got fun systems puzzles, new stuff to learn, customers that I can please.  When it's going well, it's really totally what I'm about.  They *do* pay me, which reflects my time and talents .. and I provide them a measurable value in return.  If time and value balance each other equally, it actually is sorta "free."

Then I considered the broader picture.  If I *was* doing this job for free, I'd be much more honest about how much I can get done in a day.  I'd integrate my personal life a little more into the job, too, spending a little time seeing what value my hobbies can add to the workplace.  And I'd stop living under the illusion that "I'm lucky to even have a job."  I like these people, I add real value, it's rewarding to me, we need each other.

Gotta ponder this some more..  In the midst of chaos and scarcity, it's nice to remember how much I enjoy what I do.  It's nice to think about what I give freely, rather than what "the man" is taking.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Brownie Hawkeye with Tri-X on 620 Spool

I finally got to shoot one of the "real" 620 rolls, which come with Kodak Tri-X 400 loaded.  Justkristin's mom took half the roll, and I took the other half.  It turns out the "real" rolls are made out of plastic, not metal like the originals.  After the roll was done, I unspooled it and rewound it back onto a 120 spindle .. just to make sure I wouldn't lose my fancy metal one.

The Tri-X film seems to be subtly different from the XP2.  I'm not sure exactly how.  But I need to shoot another roll and see if I prefer the Tri-X to the Ilford.  Unfortunately, my lab sends out the Tri-X for processing, so I have to be extra careful about asking them not to cut the negatives and stuff.  I kinda lean back towards preferring the (C-41) Ilford XP2 because the local lab knows me.  Either way, fun experiments ahead!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Making your Macbook Air USB Drive Read-Write

So, you want to re-use that cute little USB recovery drive that came with your Macbook Air?  You're supposed to officially say "yeah I want to update it to be a Lion recovery disk," but this fanboy knows you just want to have an adorable, Apple-branded USB drive that fits in your wallet.  Admit it .. if only to yourself.

The ultimate how-to for this, and what I'd recommend, is MacBenTosh's YouTube video.  It explains everything perfectly.  But I know I'm gonna need to do this again, so I'm writing my own abbreviated notes:

  • Download the Chinese windows-only low-level USB formatting tool.
    • It's a mine-field of ads and baited clicks.  Pay attention.
  • Pop the USB drive into your windows machine and run the formatting tool.
  • Click "Scan USB."
  • When it finds the drive, click its "Port n" line to select it, then click "Start."
  • The USB drive is now read-write and formatted FAT32.  (Geez that was fast.)
    • I leave it like this, for cross-platform compatibility.  I lose fanboy points for that.
  • That's it!  Have a nice day.
BTW, you don't need to go to so much trouble to get the nifty icon back.  Before you unlock the device, just pop it in your Mac, then select its desktop icon and "Get Info" (Command-I) on it.  Click the icon in the upper-left of the info window and Copy.  Open something like Textedit and paste it in a new document for safe-keeping.  (If you don't default to rich-text in Textedit, you'll need to Format > Make Rich Text. ) After the conversion, pop it back into the Mac, select it on the desktop and Get Info again.  Then select the generic icon in the info window, and Paste the fancy one back.  Ta-da!

Monday, August 15, 2011

Brownie Hawkeye in Black and White

The Brownie Hawkeye *definitely* prefers black and white film.  This is my second roll on this camera, with the same film-loading technique of using hacked up 120 spools to fit in the 620 holder.  The film is Ilford XP2 Super, which I'm really getting a taste for, despite being raised on HP5.  My favorite lab does C-41, and sends everything else out ... so I'm keeping local, where they know to expect the toy/old camera zaniness.

That first color roll showed me what to expect from the wacky lens.  And it showed me that it's designed for simple snapshots, to record a get-together or an interesting place.  So I was trying to center subjects, expecting the blur, not trying to "compose" a shot.  But the black and white film just works *whey* better in this camera.  (Justkristin's mom scolded me for putting color in it.)  Serendipity.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Real 620 Film for the Brownie

Continuing on the "where the heck do you get 620 film" journey, I purchased a couple of rolls of actual 620 film, from B&H.  Actually, I'll bet it's just 120 film re-rolled onto 620 spools, but done by professionals in a controlled environment.  No matter; it's fancy stuff.  The film itself is Tri-X, which I haven't used since high-school, so it'll be fun.  I'll report back when I've had a chance to use it!

Brownie Hawkeye Photos from Hacked Roll

SupermanI was able to wind some Fujicolor Pro 400H onto my hacked-up 620-that-used-to-be-120 spool for the Brownie Hawkeye.  So I took the camera on an outing last weekend, and snapped a dozen photos.  The lens is kinda wacky on the edges .. but I've seen some other photos by a Brownie, from when the things were contemporary, that have the same effect.  So I'm thinking it wasn't something I did, so much as the way these cameras degrade in the normal run of their lives.  And this one's had quite a bit of life.

Now I've got a roll of XP2 in the Brownie, also on a hacked up spool, so we'll see what comes out.  It's kinda fun to look for shots, when you know that all but the center of the photo is going to have a wacky radial blur.  Interesting constraints, from this device..