Sunflowers

Sunflowers – Denver Botanic Gardens, CO, USA

Aha! An opportunity to decrease clarity and crank up the vibrance in Lightroom.

Denver Botanic Gardens

Late afternoon of my last day in Denver was spent at the Denver Botanic Gardens. Which ended up being much fancier than I had expected.

A large amount of time, money, and effort has been poured into this place and it shows. Lots of areas to explore, sculptures to admire, and out of focus photos to take.

Looking through one of the many sculptures

Interestingly; all of the water features contained some kind of blackish dye. Which really helped with the water reflections. Not sure if that was the intended purpose, or whether it was to stop you seeing the normal mess that is the bottom. I’m guessing the later.

Another Henry Moore Sculpture

There is currently a large number of sculptures around the grounds that are part of a Henry Moore exhibit. Turns out that he first designs and creates a miniature piece of his work. Then gets one of his apprentices to create a much larger version of it for him.

I think I need to find myself some apprentices…

There’s a family of Elk farther up the trail…

Elk – Rocky Mountains, Colorado, USA

Another one of those right place at the right time moments.

Hiking in the Rockies

Spent half a day attempting to hike to Sky Pond in the Rocky Mountains National Park in Colorado. Unfortunately the weather started to close in and we weren’t properly prepared for that. We did however, make it as far as The Loch before turning around.

The Loch – Rocky Mountains, Colorado, USA

Which was definitely worthwhile.

Wild blue yonder

Stumbled across an Airshow while in Colorado for the weekend. We only got to see the last of the vintage aircraft, but it was still impressive.

Gary Rower at the Colorado Sport International Airshow

I like the texturing in this shot, and decree that the rule of thirds does not apply.

Pretzels in convenient m&m form at last

Like the bag says – “Crunchy, salty, sweet”

I’m going to buy you so many lizards

There was a reptile expo being held at the Santa Clara fairgrounds a couple of weekends ago. Where you could go and check out a large variety of reptiles, get tips, and bring home an enclosure filled with your new cute and cuddly pet scorpion1.

Admittedly I did have thoughts of buying a pet turtle or lizard (you can keep the snakes and spiders). However, it turns out that looking after these things is quite the commitment. They require an environment, specialized lighting, regular cleaning, and of course food.

I on the other hand, can barely keep my one plant alive.

Maybe I’ll get a fish and bootstrap my way from there…

1. To be fair; I only noticed one of the vendors selling scorpions.

Fourth of July on the USS Hornet

Aircraft carrier check list:

  • Control tower with large heavy bits that spin
  • Numerous crew members
  • Bouncy castle and slide
  • Random fighter jet

Wait… what was that second to last one?

Home Media Server

A while ago I purchased an HP Home Media Server as an external storage device for backups and other files. I really like the form factor and how it has a decent CPU. Most NAS boxes are crippled by their processor which severally limits network throughput. Not so with this guy.

There are many reviews out there saying how great this thing is. Hyping the merits of WHS (Windows Home Server) and the whole backup architecture. Some even proclaiming it has saved their marriage.

I admit that WHS is a cool concept, and for general home users it is great. More advanced users have even gone as far as creating custom add-ons that extend the original functionality. Then there are users such as myself who want even more control; so end up just installing Linux on the thing.

“WHY?” I hear you scream. “Why would someone want to replace the existing operating system that is purpose built for the box, and replace it with a harder to use system?”

Control. Being able to easily control which software is installed and what services are provided. This means my server now boots to a network ready file serving state in under twenty seconds. This would easily take over a minute if not more with WHS. Then again most users would leave their server running all the time. But we’ve already established that I’m not most users…

Biggest problem to installing Linux on the MediaSmart server is that it doesn’t actually have a VGA/DVI/HDMI/display port. So you can’t even see what you are doing. Thankfully ymboc on mediasmartserver.net broke out an oscilloscope and worked out how to wire up a VGA port. Which is why you can see a VGA connector on the front of my server (pictured).

Everything else pretty much works out of the box. Except for the front LEDs. One of which blinks annoyingly at full brightness. This of course drove me nuts and I ended up writing a little utility to control them all.

Source for that Linux LED control utility can be found on bitbucket.

Pineapple Lumps

Time for a new category – food.

Pascall Pineapple Lumps

If you were to take a chunk of pineapple, cover in chocolate, and then eat it. It would taste nothing like a Pineapple Lump. Which instead are chewy sugary candies unique to New Zealand.

This particular bag of Pineapple Lumps is thanks to Narnaman who was carrying a large assortment of Kiwiana back to London. Thanks Narna!

Obligatory YouTube link

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