Don't send your analog film through the carry on baggage scanners!

Submitted by John on Thu, 01/30/2020 - 12:34

Kodak wants you to know that the TSA has some new CT scanners for screening carry on luggage that appear to be more destructive to analog film than the earlier X-ray based scanners were. This new article from dpreview has the details:

Kodak describes the results as 'not good,' saying: 'Just 1 scan shows significant film fogging, leading to smoky blacks and loss of shadow detail. This will be more significant for higher speed films. Although it’s possible that a roll of 100 speed film would show less degradation, we strongly recommend against putting any unexposed or exposed but unprocessed film through a CT Scanner.'


In order to avoid this, Kodak tells photographers to keep their film products in a carry-on bag and to request that TSA agents hand-check the film rather than sending it through the CT scanner. The TSA confirmed to Kodak that its agents are trained in hand-checking movie film, roll film and single-use film cameras.

So, I read this and thought, the TSA has trained their agents to hand check roll film, great. But what about sheet film!

First I tried to look up and find anything on the TSA website itself. Nothing. Then I did a google search or two and still didn't find much. There is a post on Michael E. Gordon's blog about flying with large format sheet film that has a horror story and some advice about what Michael does when he flys with the TSA. But that article was from 2012 so it doesn't deal with the new scanners. Also some of the resources he links to in that article are missing from the TSA site.

So I reached out to the TSA today to see if they have any recent guidance on traveling with sheet film. I'll let you know when/if I get a response. (UPDATE: They responded!)

(If you are curious about Kodak's previous research on flying with film and the effects of airport baggage scanners on film, both print film and movie film, check out their 2003 Technical Information Bulletin Baggage X-ray Scanning Effects on Film)


Submitted by John on Mon, 12/16/2019 - 22:23
A cupcake with sprinkles.


Why I don't put any music in my youtube videos

Submitted by John on Tue, 11/19/2019 - 07:27

Oh here is a fun one. Youtube provides creators with a list of "copyright free" songs they can put in their videos. Turns out, one of their "copyright free" songs has a sample from a song from 1956 owned, in part, by Warner Brothers, Sony, and three other record companies:

In common with many YouTubers, Matt didn’t want any copyright issues on his channel. So, to play things safely, he obtained the track ‘Dreams‘ by Joakim Karud from YouTube’s very own audio library for use in his intro. Unfortunately, this strategy of obtaining supposedly risk-free music from a legitimate source still managed to backfire.


Very early last Friday, Matt says he received a “massive barrage” of emails from YouTube, targeting “pretty much all” of his KSP videos. The emails said that Matt’s videos “may have content owned or licensed by SonyATV, PeerMusic, Warner Chappell, Audiam and LatinAutor.”


‘Dreams’ composer Joakim Karud allows anyone to use his music on YouTube, even commercially, for free. And the fact that Matt downloaded the track from YouTube’s own library was the icing on this particularly bitter cake.

“So I guess this library can’t be trusted at all,” says Matt. “YouTube might just remove songs from it after the fact and then shrug off any consequences for videos that use that music as you know, shit happens.”

Matt said he had to time out to manually protest the automated claims against his account but he says his overtures were immediately rejected, “almost like it’s an automated bot or something.” But things get worse from there.

After contesting each claim and having all of those rejected, Matt says the only option left is to appeal every single one. However, if an appeal is lost, the video in question will be removed completely and a strike will be placed against his account.

It’s three strikes and you’re out on YouTube, so this is not an attractive option for Matt if the music companies somehow win the fight. So, instead, Matt is appealing against just one of the complaints in the hope that he can make some progress without putting his entire account at risk.

This is why I no longer include copyrighted music in my youtube videos. I have included it in the past, because music is fun! But ultimately it's not worth the hassle.


Ten simple rules for helping newcomers contribute to open projects

Submitted by John on Sat, 11/02/2019 - 09:27

I deeply appreciated this clear set of ten guidelines to help new contributors get started in any open project. Seems there's a lot of wisdom here for software teams in the workplace as well.


Rule 1: Be welcoming [...]

Rule 2: Help potential contributors evaluate if the project is a good fit [...]

Rule 3: Make governance explicit [...]

Rule 4: Keep knowledge up to date and findable [...]

Rule 5: Have and enforce a code of conduct [...]

Rule 6: Develop forms of legitimate peripheral participation [...]

Rule 7: Make it easy for newcomers to get started [...]

Rule 8: Use opportunities for in-person interaction—With care [...]

Rule 9: Acknowledge all contributions [...]

Rule 10: Follow up on both success and failure [...]


Julia Nunes interview

Submitted by John on Thu, 10/03/2019 - 21:02

Behind every complaint is a desire, and so the name of the game is my attention is this magic wand, and whatever I put it on grows. And that’s like friendship and love and music and fashion and exercise and consciousness and strength and beauty and sex and flowers and nature and traveling and family and honesty and…

Julia Nunes in a new interview on her latest album, cancel culture, self care and living in a world of ups and downs. Recommended.

I'll be honest, I kickstartered her new album. I listened to maybe a song and a half. And I put it on the shelf and said woah I have to be in a different place to get into this. And then I forgot all about it.

(Don't get me wrong. I'm still gonna pick up her next album, whatever it is, day one.)

What captivated me about her early videos was that I saw them and thought immediately, hey, I could do that. Why couldn't I do that? The whole process of making the video was right there documented in the video itself. One day, one of her songs inspired me to make my own cover of one of her other songs. And her vocal range is close to my own so I can sing along without too much fussing and straining.

So whenever I think of Julia Nunes, I think of the value of just jumping in and doing whatever you can to make something happen, push that needle a little bit, move the ball forward, and create with what you have available at the time.

Fall Colors

Submitted by John on Tue, 09/17/2019 - 19:15

A brilliant orange and red leaf sitting on a tarmac surface

One thing I have been trying to do this autumn is stop and appreciate every leaf that catches my eye. I mean, I'm not taking photos of every one. Instead, just stop and be thankful for this little transient miracle that fell to earth.

I have picked up a couple of leaves and brought them into my office. And on one hand I know this is true but on the other hand, it's a little shocking how fast the leaves dry up and turn dull and brown and lifeless.

<strong>As for the synth,</strong> I've been super busy and not had much time but I have nailed down the analog filter for the VCO, now I am working on laying it out in SMT. I just had a real heck of a time orienting myself around SMT layout, and I still do. First off, I'm still getting used to only working on one layer of the PCB (yes I know about vias, but I find it hard to place them. I'm just iterating through this as, place related components together, rotate, try to route them, move them around some more.... etc. For something like this board, that has an analog ground and a digital ground, as well as some "high interference" PWM traces, I have some additional layout considerations I have to work through and it's not always easy.

Additionally, I think something just doesn't feel right with the KiCad defaults. The grid is off? Mixing 0603 and 0805 passives leads to some weird alignment issues, and I just don't get a nice orderly grid snappy in place feeling. I'm constantly fighting the router tool, it wants to jag off in weird ways I'm not expecting. I think a more experience will help, but I also think I could be changing some settings to get a better experience, I just don't know what those settings are.

New Polaroid Smartphone Printer Sounds Familiar

Submitted by John on Wed, 09/11/2019 - 18:27

Polaroid has this cool new smartphone printer that is basically a projector in a box that projects your photo from your smartphone on to traditional Polaroid instant film.

As soon as I saw it, I thought, wait, didn't I use an iPhone to make a picture once? After a bit of digging, I found my Flickr album of when I used an iPhone and an old camera as an enlarger back when we lived at our old apartment.

I would insert an image here, but I disabled downloading of images on my own Flickr and can't find it on my computer, so go to Flickr to see what I did. Basically, put the camera lens down, place film negative on the back of the camera, place custom light box (with appropriate contrast filter!) atop of the camera and film, etc. It was the original iPhone. And I only used it as a light source. The exposure time on the paper was over 10 minutes, due to reciprocity failure.

Anyway, thinking of that then reminded me of making contact prints with a monitor and photo paper, another wholly unpractical method of making photos.

World's Largest Guitar Pedalboard

Submitted by John on Tue, 09/10/2019 - 21:42

Guitarist Rob Scallon partnered with Sweetwater to set the world record for largest guitar pedalboard with 319 guitar pedals!

Super interesting to watch the team work through how much power the pedal board will use, what they think the whole thing will sound like, CAN THEY GET A CLEAN TONE? (h/t Miscellaneous Heathen)