Monday, November 30


Image Samples

With a kitten.


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Sunday, November 29



Forge.  I mean, Filter Forge.

For $49 (it's currently half price; I paid $99) you get 6702 Photoshop filters.

Not all of them are useful, but there's 6702 of them.  If I only find a use for 60 of them for my theme library, that's as many as Photoshop and the Alien Skin library combined.

Update: Playing some more with FilterFrog.  The filters range from humdrum to how did they do that?!  Many of the effects are both striking and attractive.  I'm tempted to upgrade to the Pro version, even though it doesn't really give me any features that I actually need.  (It does allow you to edit the filters and create your own, and work with very high resolutions, but with 6702 existing filters I don't really need the former, and for web work I don't really need the latter.)

Update: The Starter, Basic, and Standard versions support two cores; the Pro version supports as many as you have.  That does make it more tempting, because some of these filters aren't terribly fast.

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Together, They Fight Crime... Or Something

Meet Strawberry and Pocky.


She's a crazy gun-wielding notary public.  He's an endangered Iberian Lynx on the run from the mob.

Together, they blow the crap out of monsters.

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Saturday, November 28


That's A Relief

Photoshop's batch processing allows me to apply multiple effects to each image, and save the results of each effect to a different director.  So I can set the whole thing up to run as a single process.

So each time I add new images to the library, I don't have to run 40+ different batch jobs, just the one.  Which is 40+ times less work for me.

Don't know if my CPU is ever going to forgive me, though.

Update: Must remember to include "close image" command at the end...  Otherwise it doesn't.

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If It's Not Too Hot To Touch, It's Not Too Hot

So I was binkling merrily away in Snap Art 2 and found an oil painting effect which I quite liked, and applied it to a sample photo to see the results full scale, and


What the?!

Okay, it's stopped now.  Sounded like maybe something got stuck in a fan?  Don't know.  I mean, it couldn't have been anything to do with the program, after all, if I undo it and do it ag-



Where's that coming from?  I didn't think I had the case speaker hooked up.  It doesn't seem to be coming from the main speakers.  Let's crank this image up to 4x size and redo the filter, so that I have time to track it down -


It's coming from the motherboard.  Aha!  It's the CPU temperature alarm.  It's the first time I've run heavily multi-threaded floating-point code, and it's been a warm day, so I've probably had the alarm set too low all along and this is just the first time I've tripped it.  I'll just reboot, bump up the temperature alarm in BIOS to whatever the next higher setting is, and all should be well.

Hmm, currently set to go off at 70°C.  I can bump that up to 80°C, but that seems rather high.  Still, my CPU is rated to run at what, 85°C?  So that's okay. 

(Actually, it's not - after rebooting and looking it up, it's only rated for 61°C.  Older AMD chips were indeed rated that high, but more recent chips are generally in the 60-70°C range.  Anyway...)

La la la...  (Prepares dinner while Windows boots.)

So open Photoshop, open the image, run the filter ag-



Well, let's find a program that will tell me what the CPU temperature is so I can see what the alarm should be set to.

Okay, CPU temperature is 35°C (and ambient is 25°C), and it jumps up to


43°C for a couple of seconds when I run the filter.  In other words, the temperature alarm is worse than useless.

So I'm going to shoot it.

Update: Yup, that did the trick.  Bumped the image up to 5x size (so 25x the number of pixels) and re-ran the filter, which took a while.  Temperature climbed to 53°C, which tells me not to run heavy multi-threaded floating-point apps when the ambient temperature is over 33°C.  (If it's linear that way, which it almost certainly isn't.)  But if room temperature is comfortable for me, it's comfortable for my CPU, no matter what I do to it.

Also of interest is that my CPU is spending most of its time running at half speed.  The little temperature monitoring app I downloaded shows me the clock speed of each core.  I thought it had it wrong, because it showed them at 1.2GHz.  But when Photoshop gets busy, they go up to 2.4GHz, and then drop back down again afterwards.  And single-threaded apps push just one of the cores up to full speed.  So AMD Cool&Quietâ„¢ really is good for something other than messing up the clock in VMWare.

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Friday, November 27



So, I have a library of images to process through a library of filters in a range of different sizes (for the Minx 1.2 theme gallery).

Photoshop has a batch mode that's a little awkward but not too painful.  But the actual processing of 2500 images at a time is not quick.

Then I upgraded my copy of Snap Art to the new version, which supports multiple cores.

On my quad-core CPU it runs about four times as fast.  Fancy that.

I'm still trying to reproduce the "Colourful Abstract Pencil Sketch" preset in the new version (all the presets are different).  But since the new version doesn't overwrite the old, I can just run that one the old way.

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Thursday, November 26



My KVM works perfectly.  The problem was that (a) I had Nagi connected on port 3 rather than port 1, and (b) the USB connection to Nagi was loose so it wasn't registering.

Since I only had Nagi switched on when I first tested it, all I got was a blank screen - the KVM doesn't pass through the video if there's no USB connection.

Now I just need to swap around the cables to the intended order (from Haruhi-Yurie-Nagi-Tanarotte to Nagi-Haruhi-Yurie-Tanarotte, ick) and all will be well.

But first I have a report to write for work, and then some spammers to kill.

Update: And when I say it works perfectly, I mean if you don't mind having your monitor randomly blank out or change resolutions.  Bleh.

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Monday, November 23


I Think That Cool Change Has Arrived

He said as his roof blew off...

Well not quite.  But 42° ten hours ago, and 21° now.  You don't get that much of a shift without a certain amount of atmospheric disturbance.

With any luck, my neighbour's blasted windchime will blow away too.

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Sunday, November 22


Later That Evening...

Well, it's a whole lot cleaner under there, and somewhat better organised.  But the KVM switch seems disinclined to, well, switch, or indeed to K or V or M, which kind of defeats the exercise.

I do have considerably more legroom now.  And I swapped my keyboard for a new one while I was at it, so it's no longer an all-you-can-eat buffet for ants.

Oh well.  I could always read the manual, I guess.

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Blergle Blergle Eep

If it's 42° in November, you could equally be in Sydney or Minneapolis.*

If during such weather conditions you find a venomous spider** while cleaning under your desk, probabilities favour the former.

* As I write this, that is indeed the temperature in those two metropoli.

** Only a redback; in other words, deadly but not dangerous.  I promptly reduced it to a brown smear.  A funnelweb would have seen me vacating the vicinity with extreme precipitousness.

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