• Facep(s)alm 42
    Facepalm is noun. Facepalm is verb. Facepalm is adjec­tive and adverb.
    It is ques­tion and answer.
    It is one hand clap essence.

Recently I’ve obtained my first real Leica cam­era — the M7. Two rea­sons are behind this cultist deci­sion. One was price: this par­tic­u­lar cam­era was sold for less than $2000 being graded as “con­di­tion 4″ (fully work­ing with few minor scratches and one insignif­i­cant dec­o­ra­tive ele­ment lost) — you can’t get this price even on ebay or APUG. And that was one of the most expen­sive sec­ond­hand photo equip­ment shops in Moscow (being also Leica and Lin­hof offi­cial dealer).
The sec­ond rea­son is more com­pli­cated and reasonable(sic!). Mostly I do not buy any­thing just because it is bar­gain cheap. And I’ve already got M-​mount cam­era — Kon­ica Hexar RF, which is more than suit­able for every­day shoot­ing. The code­name for this prob­lem is “aban­don­ment”: as Konica’s photo busi­ness was first merged with Minolta and then sold to Sony, the ser­vice of Hexar cam­eras is done only in Japan. The round-​trip for ser­vice would take months, not all spare parts are avail­able, so repair process may not con­verge at all. And Sony ser­vice in Rus­sia is noto­ri­ous for over­charg­ing and time-​lags. So Hexar is vir­tu­ally non-​serviceable cam­era. That is the whole point in desire for spare cam­era in case any­thing goes wrong (and it actu­ally went wrong — there was some annoy­ing glitches with auto­matic film trans­port con­trol). In search of rel­e­vant cam­era to replace Hexar if any­thing goes wrong I’ve explored all pos­si­ble con­tem­po­rary replacements.

  • Voigt­lander Bessa R*M is good fully mechan­i­cal cam­era with TTL meter­ing, but the rangefinder base is so small that is lit­er­ally sucks. Also it has got ver­ti­cal metal shut­ter, sim­i­lar to Hexar RF. In Rus­sia it costs around $900 new (and it seemse that you should not buy used ’cause it’s not very durable).
  • Voigt­lander Bessa R*A has auto­ex­po­sure in addi­tion to R*M, but has no mechan­i­cal speeds at all. And the same crappy rangefinder, wich is cer­tainly not suit­able for Sum­mi­cron 90. Costs the same as R*M.
  • Zeiss Ikon is built around the same shut­ter as Bessa, but has bet­ter rangefinder with effec­tive length up to 55mm. Han­dling is sim­i­lar either to Bessa or to Hexar based on your ini­tial pref­er­ences. Film advance lever is ok. Weight is sig­nif­i­cantly less, than Hexar or M7. But the frame­lines are weird! 85 instead of 90! I know, that if I buy Son­nar 85, then I will use 90 line on my Hexar and M7 and miss noth­ing. But to have frame­line that is larger than actual frame is rather mis­lead­ing. Also it does not have mechan­i­cal speeds, as R*A. Costs around $1200, rare, mostly sold in kits with Bio­gon 21 or sim­i­lar lens (which I do not really need for addi­tional $1000).

I have omit­ted cam­eras, which are older and can not be obtained new (like M5, CLE) because the main point of get­ting spare was to have ser­vice­able cam­era. So the last and most expen­sive vari­ant vas M7.

Wat I con­sid­ered was dif­fer­ent shut­ter sys­tem. The hor­i­zon­tal trav­el­ling cloth shut­ter is more durable and fool­proof than ver­ti­cal metal (you can bend it’s leaf even with film tip not to men­tion fin­ger­tips). With this dif­fer­ence M7 made a cam­era with dif­fer­ence from Hexar, and Ikon and Bessa were just few nuances off from Konica.

Really I did not con­sider buy­ing M7 for reg­u­lar price ($5k+ new and $2800+ for used in excel­lent con­di­tion). But it turned out that i got mine for $1950, which gave it advan­tage even over Bessa, which is just twice cheaper.

Say­ing M7 is good cam­era is stat­ing obvi­ous. But never using Leica before I found some inter­est­ing properties:

  • Film inser­tion looks archaic enough to scare peo­ple off, but all they imag­ine is how to load old Leica with take up spools and so on. That’s because we have to hold base­plate in our hands while reload­ing! It looks way more scary than it is. In fact load­ing it sim­pler than load­ing SLR — just drop film with extended tip into cam­era and close it.
  • Bat­ter­ies are hard to find. Period.
  • No sev­eral frame length AE lock is not that annoy­ing, but some­times you need it so hard you go crazy and switch to manual,
  • No mul­ti­ple expo­sures. Go buy M5 or Bessa.
  • Han­dling is good. Cam­era feels ready for heavy-​duty soot­ing. Con­trols are in good place, except shut­ter dial, which for me feels to be placed rather dis­tant from edge. For me it’s not easy to turn it with index fin­ger of my right hand. But I pre­fer AE anyway.
  • Viewfinder is superb. Indi­ca­tion is clear and bright.
  • In my M7 there is no DX con­tacts but IR sen­sors. Seems that they can make a mis­take in DX, but I could not repro­duce it. And, of course, I did shit bricks when I loaded Rollei Digibase CR200 with­out DX and saw DX of 5000 ISO. Then I dou­blechecked and found no DX was present on film.
  • The shut­ter is qui­eter than Hexar, Bessa, Ikon and so on. And it much less shakes the camera.

As for over­all con­clu­sion M7 became my main cam­era quite eas­ily. Some­thing is just right about it.

And a pic­ture of M7:

2011-05-05 19.17.07

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Recently I found that anti​-dmca​.org domain now belongs to some squat­ter and it looks like for­ever lost for any good pur­pose. It’s sad, because I used one won­der­ful ban­ner from there: “Pro­gram­mers speak in Code. Math­e­mati­cians speak in Sym­bols. The Deaf speak with their Hands.“
And even the ban­ner image is not recov­er­able anymore.

Update: found the ban­ner using webarchive. Sav­ing here for future use…

Programmers speak in Code. Mathematicians speak in Symbols. The Deaf speak with their Hands.

Pro­gram­mers speak in Code. Math­e­mati­cians speak in Sym­bols. The Deaf speak with their Hands.

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As time goes on, I have found robust word­press client for Android. This means that start­ing today most of posts will be writ­ten on my HTC Desire dur­ing my bor­ing sub­way rides. Those posts will carry dis­tinc­tive prop­erty: being too large for twit­ter and too com­pli­cated for my generic fol­lower (I have twenty, but I can model generic one). Cer­tainly you there will be much more hate, as peo­ple around will be push­ing me with theirs elbows. On the other hand text will be schizopha­sic to some extent due to weird word com­ple­tion of my on-​screen key­board. And on the third hand (as if I have got it, but I will be dream­ing to get at least four until either my death or the moment I receive them) some posts will be in Russ­ian, mostly at the momont of some severe hate or brain dis­func­tion.
And I still wish my read­ers (have I got any one at all???) some luck in case they need it.


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It’s proph­esy time!
As I see it, there will be no major move­ment for SMTP (for “spam mail trans­fer pro­to­col”, thank you Cap­tain Obvi­ous) for at least few years. Legacy sys­tems dom­i­nate the world. And solu­tion will arrive — in the same way we lib­er­ate our blogs from spam com­ments new ver­sion of ESMTP will have CAPTCHA sup­port, mak­ing send­ing mail a com­pli­cated and seri­ous mat­ter.
Just to shield myself from igno­rant idiots I will write E=ħν on my fore­head and ask every­one to read it aloud. Or even com­pute ∫e–x2 up to sec­ond digit…

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As I was telling on Jan 23, I could not find any DP-​DVI adapter in Moscow (note, that DP-​male DVI-​female adapter is pas­sive, but DP-​female DVI-​male adapter along­side with DP-​male DP-​duallink-​female both should be active, i.e. require spe­cial chip to re-​encode sig­nal). I attempted another try to search it offline in another com­puter com­po­nents shop­ping area (some­how I pre­fer mon­stros­ity of Aki­habara) and utterly failed. Every sales­per­son upon hear­ing about DP-​DVI sent me to mys­te­ri­ous E-​16 kiosk. Reach­ing it I found myself before Apple Reseller shop and turned back swear­ing. Of course I’ve already got miniDP-​DVI con­nec­tor to use both of my dis­plays with GT120 shipped with my MacPro.

On Fri­day reg­u­lar ship­ment from NIX arrived to my office, includ­ing two non­ame DP_​DVI adapters, I found in their cat­a­logue recently. At last I can remove GT120 in favour of R4890, which can drive both of my dis­plays (my Sap­phire R4890 got sin­gle DVI, DP and HDMI). Though it did not cured my BENQ Q24W5 prob­lem which seems to appear if some­how new video card is con­nected to it via DVI — it turns off dis­play for two sec­onds every two hours or so.

Today’s pic­ture will be unre­lated — just some cute pic­ture I found on my harddrive:

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Lately Apple Cal­i­for­nia dis­cretely dis­trib­uted fix for infa­mous “Audio Bug” for MacPro 4,1. Apple was silent for nearly nine month from first reports of this prob­lem to Apple­Care call cen­ter. Now with­out com­mo­tion they sud­denly responded to few cus­tomers via Apple­Care and sup­pos­edly com­mu­ni­cated with ArsTech­nica jour­nal­ist Chris Fores­man and offered pos­si­bil­ity for fix. In a week they pub­lished fix on their site, with­out any announce­ment. Users found info about fix from ArsTechica and/​or MacRu­mours forum thread (in nine months it has grown into 60-​pages mon­ster). There is rumour, that i7 iMacs are suf­fer­ing form the same bug, so it is inter­est­ing to find, if same type of fix was released for them.

The fix works. Tem­per­a­tures are lower and allow to con­strain fans more or less around 800rpm. Inter­nals are a bit mys­ti­cal, but I sup­pose that real work was done in IOPlatformPluginFamily.kext and AudioAUUC.kext is just a place­holder to indi­cate fix instal­la­tion. And a pic­ture to remember:

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Some time ago I was strug­gling with supe­rior arro­gance — I was try­ing to make Com­mon LISP work on Win­dows. This is royal pain.

Worth to men­tion that my col­league spends his days try­ing the same, pok­ing our self-​proclaimed LISP guru (no offence, he knows LISP) every time something’s wrong. And there are lots of things that go lat­ter way. I gonna put a list of things that can be con­sid­ered hor­ren­dous for any generic user, whose pri­mary OS is Windows.

  • The thing any LISPer will tell you is that CPAN, gem and so on are worth­less — LISP has won­der­ful asdf-​install and cliky​.net (and you even can fix unre­solved depen­dency your­self ’cause clicky​.net is wiki open for any­one, not only for project main­tain­ers and so on — just put a page with link to tar­ball up). Poor win­dows user should know the pain and shame — he’ll need tar, shell, gzip and so on! You have no Cyg­win installed? No MinGW? In this case you will not be able to use LISP imple­men­ta­tions like SBCL (yeah, steel bank head-​banging awaits you) or ECL. Even Clozure CL needs tar and gzip for asdf-​install to work. Yes, this util­i­ties are nec­es­sary for pack­age unpack­ing, but if you dis­trib­ute your port for win32 and include asdf-​install, why can’t you include this two bina­ries as well???
  • As win32 is no POSIX, why try to put POSIX scheme over it? Why user have to guess, where is his $HOME, why he has to put autoload­ing .lisp file there, not in “Appli­ca­tion Data”, why asdf-​install puts tons of garbage in users direc­tory (yeah, win­dows doesn’t mast files start­ing with period)? I sup­pose code dif­fers for UNIX and win32, there are lots if #ifdef’s and so on, then why we should keep suffering?
  • And there is noto­ri­ous win64! Lately it has become usable like any other ver­sion of Win­dows (since win7), lots of soft­ware work seam­lessly, but not LISP! There are two bina­ries shipped with Clozure CL — one for win32, and other for win64. Sur­pris­ingly, win32 can’t work on win64. It is a fea­ture — .exe just exits com­plain­ing! The devel­op­ers are respond­ing: “The 32-​bit port should run on 32-​bit ver­sions of XP and Vista. (For obscure rea­sons, the 32-​bit port doesn’t run on 64-​bit OS ver­sions at this point. We intend to address that, if only to avoid hav­ing to explain that it doesn’t and why it doesn’t.).”
  • In case you will try to install cells-​gtk you will fail! Then you will loot hand­ful of libraries, recom­pile some with MSVS of gcc (com­pil­ers give dif­fer­ent flavours) and poke your LISP guru non­stop… Then it will work. Prob­a­bly. With Clozure CL.
  • Win­dows port of SBCL does not sup­port threads. No cells-​gtk for you. Whine in wait for next SBCL release. Never. Give. Up. Hope.
  • In win64 case you’ll fail even in case of Clozure CL. Because for every of two dozens required libraries you’ll either need to find win64 pre­built binary (in most cases give it up) or recom­pile it. Unex­pected things to come… For exam­ple, freeg­lut won’t com­pile with MSVS into 64-​bit tar­get. I found some patch (not for freeg­lut, but for Cry­sis (or what was it???) engine), it com­piled, but still buggy — gl-​gears dis­play only Male­vich square. Then I counted libraries nec­es­sary for cells-​gtk and gave up…
  • SBCL on win64 shocked not only me but even local LISP guru. It bitched about POSIX incompatibility…

And so on… Look, LISPers are arro­gant enough to ignore any­one who uses Win­dows! They just want to make there life with LISP painful to that extent peo­ple would give up either Win­dows or LISP. Lat­ter has much higher prob­a­bil­ity, but for ones trapped inside ivory tower it does not mat­ter at all.

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It’s rather irri­tat­ing not to be able to find any Displayport-​to-​DVI adapter (even single-​link) in Moscow. Search­ing online gives you bunch of fake-​shops, which never deliver desired equip­ment. Search­ing offline gives you hand­ful of Apple Mini Dis­play­port adapters and their direct clones. No full-​size Dis­play­port ever seen.

Even Ama­zon has sev­eral in their catalogue…

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Being ridicu­lously bowd­ler­ized by cen­sors in Japan, Seikon no Quaser walks towards to be scis­sored both in Amer­ica and in Rus­sia in case being licensed. For english-​speaking cen­sors the fam­ily name of pro­tag­o­nist may sound like ‘Hell’ and bring up unpleas­ant asso­ci­a­tions. On the other hand in Rus­sia amused view­ers will hear the word mean­ing ‘dick’ form Japan­ese audio track instead of protagonist’s sur­name. Also, being writ­ten ‘Хэлл’, it would remind view­ers of var­i­ous things, mak­ing them even more amused. For exam­ple, noto­ri­ous russ­ian blog hacker ‘Хэлл’, the “hero of Rail and Strapon war” — now we know how he really looks like:

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As lazy as he can be, our tech­ni­cian pre­sented me with new server for my num­ber crunch­ing with a delay of three weeks. He was com­plain­ing to be forced to cut female SAS-​connectors so that they would fit glam­orous SAS-​drive:

This looked awful enough, but things to come exceeded my hum­ble expectations.

There is Russ­ian proverb lit­er­ally say­ing “How do you name the boat, so it will sail”, and I had vari­ety of chances to test it. FreeBSD router named Zaphod was hang­ing twice a day until one cpu was dis­abled along with one of three eth­er­net cards. Will­helmine works with­out prob­lems for three years already. And this one got name Erza. And her char­ac­ter too.

Our Tyta­nia incar­na­tion was build around Super­mi­cro server board X8DT3-​А hold­ing two 4-​core Nehalems and tons of ram. And this dread­ful moth­er­board showed it’s rid­dles. The first one was easy one — Debian lenny netinstall cd ver. 5.03 has ker­nel 2.6.26 which has bro­ken igb mod­ule. No dual-​port ET eth con­troller for you until you either install patched ker­nel replac­ing sta­ble deb, or go to unsta­ble and install 2.6.32 (my choice). Dur­ing instal­la­tion just use any avail­able pce-​e or pci eth­er­net card.

The sec­ond Tytania’s rid­dle was much more tougher. X8-​series moth­er­boards have already become infa­mous for giv­ing you “fuck­ing win­mo­dem” for SAS-​controller (has to be pro­nounced ‘cunt-​roller’). The name of this dis­as­ter is LSI 1068E and it has to be tamed before you will be able to boot off any of your expen­sive SAS hard dri­ves. If you a blond and glam­orous, go and install RHEL (or Win­dows if you pre­fer) and get that “win­mo­dem” dri­ver from LSI site (no link because they are greedy bas­tards!). In every other case you have to change mode of 1068e to IT (that is for “Initiator/​Target”) to make it run like any other JBOD-​host. The JPS2 jumper near SAS con­nec­tors has to be opened (and left in this state for­ever for any­one not to be tempted by pro­pri­etary fakeraids).

After this manip­u­la­tions 1068E will allow linux to rec­og­nize itself via base mpt­sas mod­ule. But unfor­tu­nately there is very lit­tle chance it will allow you to boot off SAS-​drives. Looks like some bug in firmware. The fix is obvi­ous — down­load update, boot dos from flash drive and update the cul­prit. Guys from Super­mi­cro even uploaded update to their ftp-​site: ftp://​ftp​.super​mi​cro​.com/​d​r​i​v​e​r​/​S​A​S​/​L​S​I​/​1​0​6​4​_​1​0​6​8​/​I​T​/​F​i​r​m​w​a​r​e​/​B​3​/​1​.​2​4​.​0​5​/​L​8i/. At this point you will encounter stag­ger­ing third rid­dle: “Where is my SAS address???”. Flash­ing process is com­bined of three steps, two of them being writ­ing images and third is some wiz­ardry, ask­ing you this 64-​bit num­ber. They do not give you any hint — any wrong move and you will lose this piece of expen­sive crap for­ever? If your num­ber is wrong 1068E of course will not boot at all, but will leave you chance to fix this run­ning “mptutil.exe –o –t” from your firmware-​flashing drive. But exactly where you should look for it? You will be engulfed in aston­ish­ment when pointed out that mys­te­ri­ous SAS-​address (when you pro­nounced fast sounds like deriv­a­tive of ‘suck’ in Russ­ian — you’ve got sit­u­a­tion already, haven’t you?) is printed on that white stripe right above JPS2. It should be wise to write it down beforehand.

As farewell gift X8DT3 con­fuses both Grub and Debian installer shuf­fling num­bers of hard dri­ves sev­eral times dur­ing boot. One will never now if his hd3 will become hd0 or even /​dev/​sde? Every­one likes (or hates) Grub error 17… Had to install stage1 from bootcd with NixOS as Debian installer and even chrooted Grub from installed sys­tem were powerless.

You know, this expe­ri­ence is far worse then any hack­in­tosh. You fol­low well used road, but it is strewn with rakes. Major­ity laughs at com­plain­ing suck­ers, but marches through the same rakes…

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