Posted by: Mike P. | February 28, 2020


I really want to come take photos here. Needs to be a time of the year with different weather, though. All sun does not always make the best photos. Also, I think comments disappeared off your blog. So, I will just reblog. I haven’t posted anything in a long time anyhow.

Posted by: Mike P. | January 22, 2020

New Camera System

I’ve been a Canon user since around 1977-78, at least in spirit. I used to sell cameras in a department store, and loved handling the AE-1. I never owned one of those. Eventually, I got a job and made enough money to buy the somewhat fancier A-1. The A-1 could shoot both aperture and shutter priority, and I suspect a full auto mode. I think the AE-1 could only do one or the other. Anyhow, today, I would buy an AE-1 just to have one.

So, autofocus and power winders became the cool thing, so I eventually upgraded to a T-90. That was a fun camera. Could shoot much faster than I could with the A-1 since it had power film advance. Since I was no longer doing my own film processing, I’m not sure this was actually the best choice.

And then came digital. I went into Camera’s Etc to see what a basic digital camera could do, and I was sold. My first one was about a 3mp Powershot model. I think I moved up to about a 6mp at some point, but I would have to go back to the old photos to see.

And then I finally went DSLR. The T1i was first Canon DSLR I could reasonably afford, and I shot with that for a good number of years. At least five. Then one day I realized I could sell the T1i for about $100 and for $300 buy a 7D. The 7D was great fun. About 10fps for 15 frames or so. This made shooting my daughter’s horse riding events a lot easier and more fun.

But, now the world has moved on to mirrorless. Oh, they are so much lighter and the EVF is a marvel. I occasionally shoot using the LCD screen – usually when shooting very high or very low. The lens are about the same since the 7D was APS-C and so is the mirrorless camera I chose. But, mirrorless cameras are usually a redesign from the mirror systems, so the lens is often much closer to the sensor. So, some lens do seem to be smaller.

There was a brief flirtation with a Canon Powershot 70 HS – a bridge camera with one of those insanely long lens. Something like 1600mm equivalent to full frame 35mm. It was a neat camera, but noisy in low light since it had a fairly small sensor. And the reach wasn’t all that special because a decent lens and crop will achieve better results. I put it up for sale at the local camera store where I bought it, and it sold the same day. A good deal for someone who wants that type of camera. And a good deal for the store as they got a double markup 🙂

Did I choose Canon again? Well, what lens would I get with my kit? I know I did not want to use an EF (mirror lens) and a converter. Just more weight and issues. And Canon just didn’t seem to have a good kit lens that I liked. Nor did Sony. Nor did Nikon. Panasonic? I didn’t want to take the chance. I wanted an established camera maker. None had lens that was a little bit bigger for low light performance. But Fujifilm did.

I ended up with an X-T30 Fujifilm and the 18-55 f2.8-4 kit lens. I do love this camera. It’s different to use. I had gone into the camera store about 15 minutes before close for some reason and was not expecting the X-T30 to be there. But, it had arrived in the afternoon’s delivery and so it was brought out to me. However, both the owner and I needed be different places quickly, so I bought the camera without the usual “This is how it works” story and went to dinner. I was in a lovely restaurant and just snapped away. No idea how to put the camera in aperture priority mode. There is a clear shutter speed dial, but none of the labels made much sense. No matter, it was fun and I got a couple of keepers. Time to read.

After several days, I had finished the manual. I know how to focus a manual focus lens. I can get to all the modes, and set various parameters into ranges. I can edit the Q menu. I could create a ”My Menu”, but since you can’t put “Format” on it, meh. Maybe I’ll eventually set it up.

I have no idea how to shoot video. It seems like that is a whole different activity and one I will learn as a separate study.

I’ve since added a Fujifilm 16mm f2.8 lens and the required 55-200mm f3.5-4.8 zoom – how else am I going to shoot horses jumping? And a KamLam 50mm f1.1 manual focus lens. Yep, f1.1. Manual focus. Stopdown aperture as you turn the dial. No need for depth of field preview – you ain’t got no option.

It’s funny, but such a lens on a mirror camera would likely be hard to use. The focus systems on DSLRs don’t seem to usually support this sort of thing, and the view finder is totally dependent on the light coming through to show you what’s out there. However, with a mirrorless system and using an EVF (Electronic ViewFinder), the viewfinder will brighten as you stop down the lens. The X-T30 has a fancy focusing mode called “focus peaking” that makes outlines around what’s in focus. The lines can be done in different colors. The default is white, but I think focusing in a snow scene would be a bit hard with white outlines. Using a B/W setting with red lines seems to work well. Then switch back to color if desired. I picked this hint up from one of the many Fujifilm blogs. They are a great resource. Just don’t waste time in the comments if the site attracts the argumentative types. I like, but some of the people in their forums are just plain insane. But, there are lots of other friendly blogs where presumably people that disagree just hold their fingers, so to speak.

So, it’s a different world with Fujifilm, and I am very excited to be in it. I’m particularly excited to try some of very special lens that you can get. A 9mm wide angle with perspective control? Wow…

Do I justify the Fujifilm 80mm macro? I mean handheld macro with 5 stops of correction? How cool is that? Yes, it costs about $200 more than the Canon L macro. OMG – read the hoots about the cost of this lens in But, it appears to be a very high tech design and those who have used the lens say it works as they say it does. Very well indeed. There are also companies making macro lens for Fuji with manual focus. So, if you are using a tripod anyhow, you might not really need the Fujifilm lens.

Oh, and I’m likely to move my processing from Adobe Bridge/Camera Raw to Capture One. But that’s another story.

Posted by: Mike P. | July 4, 2019

Chaos Those Who Coded It

Chaos And Those Who Coded It

Posted by: Mike P. | August 15, 2015

Updating Taranis X9D Plus Firmware

This was very helpful. I wasn’t getting the boot loader updated.

DIYglenn - Learning by doing

There’s a lot of guides and posts about updating OpenTX firmwares, and a lot of them can be complicated. If you’re like me, and bought a new Taranis X9D Plus, which already has a 2.0.x firmware installed, the process is as easy as it can be.

View original post 565 more words

Posted by: Mike P. | April 3, 2015

Python argparse and option subparsers

So, now I am moving a different space – Python programming.

A common issue that seems to crop up is how to make use of the argparse module
but have the program continue if no subcommands are present in the argument

The most common case is:

import argparse

p1 = argparse.ArgumentParser( add_help = False )
p1.add_argument( ‘–flag1’ )

s = p1.add_subparsers()
p = s.add_parser( ‘group’ )
p.set_defaults( group=True )

ns = p1.parse_args()

print( ns )

And it prints:

$ python -h
usage: [--flag1 FLAG1] {group} ... error: too few arguments

So, my solution uses two argument parse objects, and a parent linkage as follows:

import argparse
import sys

p1 = argparse.ArgumentParser( add_help = False )
p1.add_argument( ‘–flag1’ )

p2 = argparse.ArgumentParser( parents = [ p1 ] )
s = p2.add_subparsers()
p = s.add_parser( ‘group’ )
p.set_defaults( group=True )

( init_ns, remaining ) = p1.parse_known_args( )

if remaining:
p2.parse_args( args = remaining, namespace=init_ns )
print( ‘Enter interactive loop’ )

print( init_ns )

This allows:

$ python -h
usage: [-h] [--flag1 FLAG1] {group} ...

positional arguments:

optional arguments:
-h, –help show this help message and exit
–flag1 FLAG1

So, we get the full help.

$ python --flag1=a
Enter interactive loop

So, no sub-command so we enter the interactive loop, but the flag was seen. And finally:

$ python --flag1=a group
Namespace(flag1='a', group=True)

A subcommand was found and processed, and the program exited.

Neat! Lots of questions on this in various places.  Please excuse the lack of indents in the code.  There are only two such lines.  I need to fix this blog so it prints code properly.

Posted by: Mike P. | January 21, 2015

Limited Time

“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of other’s opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.”

— Steve Jobs, 1955-2011

Posted by: Mike P. | May 12, 2014



Always a fun test:

Posted by: Mike P. | September 24, 2013

I Created a God

A friend recently posted a revelation about herself that she had not thought about in many years.  I have been thinking about how long I “might” have been an atheist as part of this thinking back.  I also posted a minor criminal scam I had going when I was very young.  Maybe I should delete that.  Anyhow.  I remember coming to terms with the idea of atheism about 3-4 years ago.  But then I remembered how I created God about 30 years ago.  Anyone who creates god is either god or an atheist.  Sadly, I have to go for atheist.

So, what’s this “I created god stuff”?  In the early 80s, I worked as a programmer on a “Plato ™” system.  When you logged on to the system, those of us who were programmers were presented with a prompt.  At this prompt, you could type the name of a program to execute.  It was more graphical in nature that a typical Unix shell prompt, and not nearly as powerful as a bash prompt, but the basic concept is the same.  Run the program.

Well, predictably enough, there was no program called “god”, so I created it.  And hence I created “god.”  This would be a stupid story if it ended here.  It may still be a stupid story, but at least it does not end here.

The main reason I felt that the program should exist is that I didn’t feel an operating system should be able able to express the opinion that “god does not exist.”  I decided that the users should get to decide.  So, I created an interactive program that allowed you to change the state of whether god existed or not.  If any user changed the state, then the displays changed for anyone running the program.  In 1982 or so, this was cool, believe it or not.

People went batshit crazy over this program.  It was by far the most popular program on the system.  The state was changed tens of thousands of times.  And remember, this was pre-internet.  I would guess only 25-50 people could run the program.  Maybe a few more.  It was very interesting to watch people log on to two screens.  One to work on, and one to change the state of god.

One day, I got mad, or maybe I just needed disk space, so I deleted god.  No one else ever created god, either.



I changed the title to “…a God.”  I like that better.

Posted by: Mike P. | January 28, 2013

Assualt Weapons Were Used at Sandy Hook

There appears to be a misconception on what weapons were used at the Sandy Hook shooting.

This is the latest information I’ve been able to find and it clearly states assault weapons were used, and not just pistols of one sort of another.

The Today Show video clip being placed around the internet is actually from December 15th and is taken from a story earlier on that day. The clip as seen here shows an update link.

The updated video states that many of the victims were shot with a rifle. The original video that states hand guns only were used. The earlier video has been edited to remove the update URL and is now being posted to YouTube and linked to in blogs as “new information” when in fact it was broadcast on December 15th, 2012. Many people are now using this to claim that “mainstream media missed the story” without realizing that they are using a Dec 15th erroneous video to back their claim. In fact, the media was “out in front” a little too far and wrong as a result.

Many conservative and guns rights websites are picking up and amplifying the story, which gives credence to the story unless you know how to research. But, I can pretty calmly say that the recent story is a hoax.

Here is a Jan 23rd, 2013 statement by the CT State Police as reported by NBC stating that an assault weapon was used inside the school.

Posted by: Mike P. | January 21, 2013

More Gun Control, Sigh.

Interesting that my first post here is also about gun rights.  It’s not really a huge interest area for me.  I enjoy shooting sometimes, but I live in an area with a lot of guns, so the issue comes up a lot.  This is what I wrote to a friend recently:

I’m not terribly worried about the gvt. taking away all my rights to own a gun. It’s pretty well set in the 2nd amendment.


The issue is: “Where is the line between a musket and a bazooka.”


We all pretty much agree that privately owned muskets are OK, especially if the owner is background checked. Most of us don’t want people owning bazookas. So, what’s the line?


Admittedly, owning a working bazooka would be cool.

Um, I don’t suggest anyone let me have a bazooka any time soon.  Unless I am in a desert far, far away from any cars that someone values.

Posted by: Mike P. | March 19, 2012

Cowboys Carrying Guns


“In championing the law, former NRA president and longtime Florida gun lobbyist Marion Hammer said: “Through time, in this country, what I like to call bleeding heart criminal coddlers want you to give a criminal an even break, so that when you’re attacked, you’re supposed to turn around and run, rather than standing your ground and protecting yourself and your family and your property.”

No, no, no.  You do not have to retreat and leave your family unprotected.  If all of you can retreat, then, yes, this is preferable to shooting someone.

Remember, when you shoot correctly, your target is dead.  It’s not about “coddling” someone.  It’s about not killing people unnecessarily.

Posted by: Mike P. | October 7, 2011


I mostly did this because the person I copied it from said “probably no one else would do it” and I feel like proving her 1/2 wrong today.

1. Who was your FIRST prom date?

Never went to a prom.

2. Do you still talk to your FIRST love?


3. What was your FIRST job?

Paper boy.  Up at 5am 6 days a week, about 100 papers.  Made a lot of money for a kid of that age.

4. What was your FIRST car?

My first car was a 1969 Mustang.  The first car I drove was a 70s Ford station wagon.  Did you know that if you hold it first, it can accelerate reasonably fast and looks pretty scary screaming through residential areas?

5. Who was the FIRST person to text (IM) you today?

No IMs today.  First direct tweet was from Miranda.

6. Who is the FIRST person you thought of this morning?

My wife… the alarm went off, and I didn’t want to roll on her to hit the snooze.  But, she had already gotten up.

7. Who was your FIRST grade teacher?

Sister Zoe.  Good reading teacher.  The only nun I had who felt was a good teacher.  I was only in catholic school through fourth grade, and I’m pretty sure grades three and four were taught by lay teachers.  So, I do not have a large sample size.

8. Where did you go on your FIRST ride on an airplane?

Boston to Philly during the summer in-between 6th and 7th grades.  Or maybe 5 and 6th.  I forget exactly.

9. Who was your FIRST best friend & do you still talk?

Rick, and no, we don’t.  But, that is largely because we parted ways because the group we hung with was heading down a bad path.  He’s still in the area and there is no reason I wouldn’t talk with him.

10. Where was your FIRST sleep over?

I don’t really know.  Huh.

11. Who was the FIRST person you talked to today?

Wife or daughter… not certain.

12. What was the FIRST thing you did this morning?

Pushed my alarm on snooze. (I didn’t actually type that.  Same thing the person who wrote had for this answer!)

13. What was the FIRST concert you ever went to?

Probably Yes.

14. FIRST tattoo?

None.  May update this someday.

15. FIRST piercing?

Nail through the sole of my boot and into my foot.  Has since healed.

16. FIRST foreign country you’ve gone to?


17. FIRST movie you remember seeing?

Wizard of Oz (on TV).  Mary Poppins, I think, in a drive-in.

18. When was your FIRST detention?

I don’t recall. I was always sneaky enough to not get caught.  (Copied!)

19. Who was your FIRST roommate?

Steve.  Good guy.

20. As a kid, what was the FIRST thing you wanted to be when you grew up?

I loved fighter jets and space travel – the usual stuff.

21. What happened the FIRST time you were incapacitated?

My appendix was removed.

22. Did you marry the FIRST person to ask for your hand in marriage?

Well, I married the first person I asked to marry me.

23. What was the FIRST sport you were involved in, aside from physical education classes at school?

I ran track for about 2 months in high school.

24. What were the first lessons you ever took?

Horseback riding lessons.

25. What is the first thing you do when you get home?

Take out the laptop from the backpack.  I use the same computer at home as work.

26. How old were you when you had your first child?

38.  “Had” not being very accurate since I am male.

27. Who do you think will be the FIRST person to post this after you?

I dunno.  Maybe Michaela if she is not too busy.

Posted by: Mike P. | September 7, 2011

Is the Governor of New Jersey a Flat Out Liar?

From NJ Governor Chris Christie’s Address to the Koch Crowd where he speaks on President Obama’s 2011 State of the Union Address:

So we sat down and listened to his speech and ironically the President, you might remember, that night said, it was time for America to do the big things. Exact same phrase. Three weeks after mine. [laughter] Except the difference between me and Barack Obama is on full display tonight because here’s what he said the big things were. He said the big things were electric cars [scattered laughter], high-speed internet access and high-speed rail.

Well, I just can not find those words in President Obama’s speech.

I can find traces of what Christie is talking about. The words electric car do appear in President Obama’s speech. And President Obama does laud broadband. But, in no case did the President list the big things.

Indeed, the words big things were a quote from a worker at a company who helped rescue the Chilean miners. As best as I can tell, the rescue was in October, 2010, and the worker probably uttered the quote well before Christie’s speech.

This makes Christie’s main point in his own state address plagiarized. Well, probably not. But, the small portion of Christie’s speech to the Koch crowd was so obviously a lie, why do I want to waste my life reading the rest?

Chris Christie lies.

Source material from

Posted by: Mike P. | August 24, 2011

Monopoly Is Only Fun With Certain Rules

This post sums up why the wealthy in the US would do well to rethink their current policies. Clearly some of the wealthy class understand this concept. The typical teabagger is clueless on the topic and is the dangerous one in the room.

Posted by: Mike P. | August 19, 2011

The Market

I’ve been lamenting the stock market lately. I invest primarily through a 403(b), which basically acts like a 401(k). Every two weeks, some amount of money goes into a set of funds that I choose from among a larger set that is available.

The recent spikes in the market are obvious. Every few days, everyone panics and sells. Wouldn’t it be nice if I could invest on those down days?

Any then it hit me: why not convert my purchases to cash funds? Allow some amount to accumulate, and then buy on these ridiculous downward days?

I think I am going to start doing that.

Older Posts »