Dave Johnson on open web technologies, social software and Java
To follow-up on my previous post on the topic: my father is starting to publish excerpts from his book Science for the Curious Photographer on Luminous Landscape.
His first piece is titled The Quest for Good Photographs and How the Brain Perceives Images and it's one of my favorite parts.
By the way, he's still trying to figure out the best way to publish the book.
You may remember that my dad, Charles Johnson, was working on a book that explains the science behind photography, from "quantum mechanics to physiology and art appreciation." He's finished now and while he negotiates with publishers he is making a limited number of copies available on CD, mostly to his photographer friends.
The book is beautifully illustrated with color photographs, diagrams and lots of equations. Yes, I said equations; you'll need to brush up on your physics and calculus to really appreciate the entire work. I really enjoyed the first couple of chapters and the later chapter on appreciation of art in photography, but I have to admit, I haven't read the whole thing.
I'll try again when I have the printed edition
That's the view from my desk this morning. We woke up to snow in Raleigh for the first time in years. Here, even the threat of snow is enough to cancel school across the whole state, so the kids are ecstatic and outside perfecting their snowball combat skills. I'm trying to focus on getting back to work after a long weekend. With the momentous inauguration today and other (less positive) changes coming later in the week, that's gonna require some serious amounts of caffeine and determination.
Dan says 2007 was an exceptional year for films and he's posted his top ten films of 2007 list, with links to his original reviews for each film. Based on the four I've seen (Simpsons, No Country, I'm Not There and Ratatouille), I'd have to say it's a good list. I'm looking forward to tonight when Dan and I are going to see Blade Runner, The Final Cut at the Carolina Theater.
That was the only complaint the kids had about the They Might Be Giants show last night, their first "real rock concert" as they called it. Otherwise they loved it. My brother and I took Alex (10) and Linus (9) to the show at the Carolina Theater in Durham. They had a great time, pogoed around like the rest of the crowd and didn't get to bed until after 1AM.
I loved the show too. The last time I saw TMBG was probably before you were born; just the two Johns with a guitar, accordion, saxophone and a jam-box playing a drum tape. This time they had a full rock band with an amazing guitar player but unfortunately, no horns. They put on a solid show, played a wide variety of songs not weighted too heavily to their latest release, The Else, which was good and bad. Good because they've got a giant back catalog of kick ass jams. Bad because we've been listening to The Else and the boys really dig Bee of the Bird of the Moth -- guess they needed the horns for that one.
Here are some related links: There are still about 20 shows left in the TMBG tour. David Menconi of the Raleigh N&O blogged about TBMG and scored an interview. And Pat Mueller remarks on the nerd-fest that is the TMBG audience.
We spent most of the day today at the state fair. Kids loved it. Parents endured it. We saw the bunnies, roosters, cows and pigs. We avoided the fried-thing of the year. We used up a fist-full of pre-purchased ride tickets and learned that the dubious safety factor makes the rides much more exciting than the big sturdy ones at the theme parks.
I just happened to be looking for air show opportunities this morning and found out about the Pope AFB Airshow and Open House, which is happening today and tomorrow. What luck! So I packed up the kids and drove the 1.5 hours from Raleigh down to Fayetteville.
We parked at the Ft. Bragg fairgrounds, took a bus over to the base and despite the waiting in line and the heat, we really enjoyed ourselves. We saw several aerobatic displays, T-33, F-15, F-18 fly-overs and a Heritage Flight* with a F-15 and P-15 flying side-by-side (see below). We got to walk through several C5A and C130 transports and check out tanks and other armored fighting vehicles. There were also some vintage planes on display: a B-25, a Japanese torpedo bomber, P-40 Tomahawk, Hawker Hurricane and others. Very cool stuff (yes, I'm one of those pacifists who is fascinated with military history and hardware, kinda like this guy).
I wasn't able to get many good pictures because of my crummy little camera, which seems to be going bad. I uploaded some of best shots to my Flickr account and tagged them with airshow. Here are a couple of my favorite war birds, a P-51 Mustang and an F-15 Eagle:
* There's a nice gallery of previous Heritage Flights here.
My brother Dan is a great writer with an encyclopedic knowledge of films, rock and pop music in general, and he's blogging, so it's only natural that folks start to notice. This weekend he got another boost, this time it's a mention in New York Magazine: The week in Woody Allen on Ingmar Bergman.
My bro Dan, who clearly understands the secret to blog success, has done it again with another lengthy and well-researched blog post. Thanks to his most recent post 10 definitive films within films, he was featured on the IMDB hit-list again this week.
This little guy, Leo Michael Johnson, was born:
And this is what the little guy looks like today:
What's he like? He's an absolute joy to be around, happy, tough and smart. He loves lemonade, Star Wars, Jango Fett, building Legos, eating all of his veggies and making an ungodly racket with his big brothers. I've been working at home for most of his life, so I've gotten used to having him around pretty much all the time. Sometimes he brings me lunch. Sometimes he helps me make coffee. Sometimes I forget to lock my office door and he busts in during a telecon. Sometimes he calls out "daddy, I'm going potty and when I call you, you come and wipe my butt" at precisely the wrong time. But no matter what he does, I love him so very much. I'm really going to miss the little guy when he goes to all-day kindergarden this fall.
Happy birthday Leo!
By the way, my talk went very smoothly yesterday and I estimate that about 300 people showed up. I pitched
my book at the end of the talk and pointed people to JavaOne bookstore, but by that time it was sold out.
Celebrating with Movie and TV mind teasers
1. What was in the briefcase in Pulp Fiction?
2. What was in the package left in the care of Barton Fink?
3. What state in Springfield in on The Simpsons?
...and more from bro man Dan.
Linus really digs the Bone comics. He's proud to be a Bone-head and recently expressed his great desire for a Bone t-shirt. So this weekend we did a little craft project and made one. We started by creating stencils based on a couple of my sketches. Here are the stencils that we created with a manila folder and an XACTO knife:
Then we took a trip to the craft store to get some airbrush friendly fabric paint and a couple of t-shirts. It was nice and warm today, so we did some airbrushing out on the porch. This is the end result:
I mentioned before that I convinced my Dad to start a blog. Well, now after a week or so of back-and-forth with Kattare.com getting the domain handling setup properly and modifying Roller to support multiple domains, his blog is live running on the same Roller instance that I use for this blog (but with the domain photophys.com).
Dad's blog is titled Photography: Appreciation through Understanding. He's publishing draft chapters from his new book there, hoping to get feedback and attract some new readers.
Hmm... RSS and Atom feeds don't seem to be working correctly. Apparently, I've still got some multi-domain work to do...
And before I leave the topic of movies I'll mention this; recently I've been enjoying Neil Young's Heart of Gold, an absolutely wonderful concert film of and documentary about the debut of Neil's Prairie Wind album last year. See also, my brother Dan's brief review of the film over at Helium.com.
Over the weekend I convinced my Dad to start a blog and I offered to host it on my site with Roller (of course). We've already started to set the site up. Dad picked up a nice short domain name, I added it to the kattare.com name servers (Kattare is my ISP) and I added support for the new domains to my Apache/Tomcat setup there.
Now I have to to figure out how to host multiple domains with Roller. That's a topic that has come up before.
A while back LinPro Norway developed a multi-site capability for Roller. I called it multi-domain at the time, but now I think that was wrong. As I understand it, multi-site allows one Roller database to serve multiple Roller sites. Each site having it's own Server Admin settings and serving one or more domains. Mutli-site requires significant changes because the each table must have an additional field that indicate which site it belongs to. Unfortunately, the patches were too extensive for us to incorporate into Roller.
What I'm doing now is multi-domain, which appears to be much easier. I'm not sure multi-site and multi-domain are accepted terminology, so I'll explain. I want one Roller database to serve multiple domains, but with all domains sharing the same Server Admin settings. It's definitely going to require some code changes, but with the new 3.0 rendering system, I'm finding that those are pretty easy to do. In fact, I've already got some working code ready to deploy. Once I get it deployed and working, I'll write up a proposal and see if I can get simple multi-domain support into the Roller codebase.