Monthly Archives: July 2003


After many weeks of not being there, Becky and I are headed for a weekend on the Vineyard. Tonight we’ll zip down in time to catch the Swing Dance at the Tabernacle, and tomorrow is the Vineyard Sound concert. Other than that, there is no plan except to relax!!

Hope you all have a nice weekend, and if you’re not lucky enough to be going to the Vineyard this weekend, here are some pics from our past trips:

Vineyard Again
Vineyard Yet Again
Memorial Day ’03

Look Busy

For a while now, I’ve been sick of iPhoto. We have nearly 2,800 digital photos in our collection, and frankly, iPhoto CHOKES on them. It takes a couple minutes for iPhoto to start up, another minute for it to load albums, and god forbid I should try to insert a digital media card to import new photos, that takes another minute to come up. Then there is the process – iPhoto downloads the photos into its library at the speed of greased molasses, puts them into a “Film Roll”, and then I must sort through the images, delete the bad ones, and rotate the ones that need rotating. I also organize them into Albums, for some reason. Then, THEN! If I want to put those photos on the web, I must export them all in a smaller format, upload them to our web server, and put them into the gallery. All of this just to get photos on the web!

Now, I thought to myself, couldn’t I leverage some of those useful programming skills I’ve learned to make this tedious process easier? So I set to it.

First, iPhoto was nixed. Too slow, too painful, too buggy. Sometimes it would HANG when trying to rotate a photo.

Next, I found some tools that I could work with:

* Image Magick – a set of UNIX utilities that allow you to manipulate images from the command line, as opposed to a graphical point-and-click program like iPhoto

* Perl Magick – an interface from Perl to Image Magick. Perl being my native programming language, this lets me manipulate images from within Perl programs I write. It’s included with Image Magick.

Using Perl and those tools, I wrote a couple of programs:

* pPhoto: This accomplishes one task, but it does it well. In one shot, it copies all of the images from my digital media card, puts them in an archive on my computer, creates web-sized copies of all the files, and uploads those copies to our web server. pPhoto can actually pull images from anywhere, not just a digital media card – so you could point it to a Photo CD, a shared folder on your network, or another folder on your hard drive. The only thing pPhoto doesn’t do is rotate our photos automatically, and discard the bad photos. The second thing we will most likely always have to do ourselves, but the first one could possibly be automated, were we using a different camera. Many of the newer digital cameras have “orientation sensors”, which will record the position the camera was being held along with the other photographic information. Using this, my program could automatically figure out which way a photo should go, and rotate it accordingly. But since my camera doesn’t do that, I have no way to test it. Therefore, rotation must be done manually as well. Fortunately, the web-based photo gallery software we use on our website is capable of deleting, rotating, and other photo manipulation, so we can mess with the photos once they are on-line.

* gallerize: Since I now have a nice archive of photos on my hard disk, it would be good to have an easy way to navigate them without using iPhoto. gallerize takes a directory full of images, creates thumbnails for each image, and then creates an HTML index page so that we can view and download the full sized versions of each image.

Should I need to do any other manipulations of the images on our computer, I can simply use the ‘convert’ utility that Image Magick provides – just fire off a quick command from the keyboard, it does its work on the image, and gets out of the way. No need for iPhoto there.

Overall, these programs will reduce the amount of effort and frustration involved in importing our photos, which means all of you readers get to see our latest photos much faster.

If you’re interested in seeing the code for either of the programs I wrote, let me know. It is written and Perl and should run on any system that has Perl installed, including Mac OS X, Windows with ActivePerl, and essentially every UNIX or Linux system.

New Blog

If you are an observant person you may have noticed that there is a new link in the blog list. oe 1999.

This blog is a group blog started by a few of my comrades from Oregon Extension 1999 in Lincoln, Oregon. I don’t know if it is going to be of interest to anyone who wasn’t there with us, but who knows…you might read some really cool things that inspire you to read something new or to look at an issue from another point of view.

So, check it out if you want to.

Long time no blog

I know it’s been a while… Here’s some things that have been happening. I had a wonderful time in Oregon. We went to some old haunts of mine at the Oregon Extension and I got to do quite a bit of exploring and sight seeing with my good friend Jackie Way. Pictures of our whole trip are found here

Since we’ve been back we have had the Wood/Carter family and Jenn Bresnan visiting. We have lots of fun with them during the week. The Wood/Carter congency departed on Saturday Morning while Jenn stayed till this morning. With Jenn we went out to Gloucester to the Seaport Festival. Highlights of the day? We made a kite and Jenn and I got tattoos… oh. HENNA tattoos. he he

We had a lazy Sunday afternoon picnic at Bradley-Palmer State Forest in Hamilton, MA. The pics don’t even begin to show how beautiful it was today!

Catching up

So, we are in fact back from Oregon – and the full photo gallery is online. Becky and I had a great time out in Oregon. The Open Source Convention was very interesting and educational. It was so cool to see so many people with Apple laptops. 🙂

This week we have been busy with Mom and Dad Wood, Kirsten and Mark, and Jenn all up visiting. We have a gallery for some of their visit here. Dad and Jenn are both at Gordon for some music education workshops, and the rest are just along for a vacation. 🙂

Winding Down

Today’s the last day of the conference. I have just one more session to attend, then Becky and I are taking the rest of the day off to do some touristy things.

It’s insane how many people at this conference, which is not Mac-specific, have Mac computers. I’d say that of the people who brought laptops, at LEAST 50% of them are Mac PowerBooks or iBooks. At least. Here’s a funny conversation I recently overheard while sitting in the Apple-sponsored “Rendezvous Room” – a place to hook up your laptop to the network and power, or use a Mac computer if you don’t have one:

Guy 1 is at a table using his PC laptop. Guy 2 walks in and sets up his Mac laptop.

Guy 2: “Ah, someone without a Mac!”
Guy 1: “Actually, I wish I had one…”


I have the latest Oregon pictures up in our Oregon Gallery, including the Japanese Garden, Mount Hood, and the Oregon Coast. Any other pictures we take between today and tomorrow will probably have to go up after we get settled back down in Beverly.

Open Source

Just a quick note – hello from Portland, Oregon! Becky and I are out here for the week. I am at the O’Reilly Open Source Conference. We had a fun weekend the 4th through the 6th, exploring places around Oregon like Crater Lake, Ashland, and Multnomah Falls. Now I’m in the midst of various classes and sessions, while Becky is out exploring Portland and taking a vacation. 🙂

For some pictures of our trip so far, check the Oregon gallery.


For anyone who’s interested, you can listen to the entire “A Prairie Home Companion” show that Becky and I were at on Saturday:


The link also includes pictures, and scripts of all the various segments.