Matthew's blog

Splitting up the website

If you're a regular reader of our blogs, you'll discover this week that things aren't where they used to be.

The site was simply getting too diverse to run as a single entity. The photography side was getting mixed up with the marine side, and our crusing logs (which we like to keep strictly non-commercial) needed some distance from our marine business.

So we've split it up. will host our professional photography business, while the boat design side moves to The "ramblings of a techie" and sustainable development sections are now at and, for the on-the-water crowd, our cruising logs are at

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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