Blogs

Repairing missing background images in Drupal 6

If you're wondering why the appearance of this site has changed 27 times since yesterday, well, we've been doing some troubleshooting.

I'm still not quite sure how it started, but the custom theme files that give this site its appearance somehow got corrupted last night. This resulted in the site displaying with no background images at times (so everything showed up on white), and no CSS at other times (so it looked like browsing in Mosaic, circa 1994).

Math on the Web: Still flaky

Sometimes, much to the chagrin of my non-scientific readers, one of my articles hits on a concept that really needs a bit of math to be properly explored. One or two good equations (explained, of course) can be far more useful to the reader than a dense paragraph of math-as-English-sentences.

Math on Web pages, though, is still really flaky. Despite worldwide efforts to standardize on a math markup format that will work anywhere on the Web, support in certain browsers remains bad enough that we're still stuck with ugly hacks.

Why you need off-site backups

Most computer users are at least somewhat aware of the importance of keeping backups of data. I suspect that most computer users are also less careful than they ought to be when it comes to protecting those backups.

TL;DR: If your digital data is worth anything significant to you, then you need to keep multiple, redundant encrypted backups of it in physically separate locations

Sun, clouds and math

I still can't quite shake the feeling that digital shooting lacks something compared to good old-fashioned film. It's the highlights, I think; film tapers off (but never quite saturates) in bright spots where CCD and CMOS chips just clip at white. The film 'just works' in a way that requires careful tweaking to duplicate in digital.

On the flip side, all this computing power has given us new artistic techniques that were so tedious as to be nearly inconceivable in the old days. High dynamic range (HDR) processing is a great example. Ten years ago, I wouldn't have even thought of trying to squeeze an 18-stop (factor of 260,000) range from shadow to highlight into a single image. Now that it's possible, it looks really cool:

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