Tuesday, 31 January 2017

Weekend trip to Oulu

well I spent the weekend away visiting friends. Took a few snaps along the way, so no, this isn't a plug for the sights and night life of Oulu.

As seems to be my wont I took some typical landscapes exploring themes I like. This one was at a totally fog shrouded lake, with the sun clearly not far above the fog (note red hue to right)

as always Digital (as opposed to negative film) makes it very hard (read impossible) to work with high contrast lighting (and not get blowouts) but the attraction is of course ease of use and speed at which I can get results. Having just got back I have these and am not still waiting (then needing to scan).

A little further down the road and I was stopped by the gorgeous image of the sun just sinking below the tree line and the mist lowering to just knee height ... this was the best image I could rescue from that ...

but the foreground pine trees are devoid of the rich greens I  saw with my eyes and the mist hardly noticeable..

My friend ...

and her husband and kids (playing Egg on my phone)

I had a great time and it was nice to walk out onto the sea (frozen) and see ice (normally dense snow in Oulu) and see fantastic patterns (I left my camera back in the house) that were simply the most beautiful thing I'd seen in a while.

On the way home I passed a few old sheds and just had to indulge myself again

and further up the hill this one..

It was a nice break and good to drive up the guts of Finland and see some scenery I'd not seen before (last time I was on a bus).

I had lots of time to think and think that I've come to some understandings of things about myself and my future.

(NOTE: everything here has been edited from camera RAW on my phone with Snapseed)

Tuesday, 24 January 2017

Division Engines

Charles Babbage is credited with the invention of the Difference Engine capable of complex calculations it is regarded as the progenitor of the modern computer (more so than the abacus). The subject of this blog post is the outcome of technical advances has been to transform Babbages Difference Engine into a Division Engine - one that facilitates division.

Since inception computers acted as ... well ... things to do computations; addition, multiplication, division. Eventually the internet transformed computers into communication tools more so than computational tools. Indeed without connectivity the usefulness of a computer became substanitally lowered (even for people who still call upon their core functions as computational).

This led to ultimately the rise in popularity computers for merely communications needs (well and I've complained about for decades, turning the internet into TV) and suddenly that was appealing to people who just wanted to stay in touch.

Thus the birth of social media such as Facebook and Twitter.

This is where I consider we stepped over the threshold from communications tool and it became a "division tool" as these media (by nature) contrive to amplify divisions between us, facilitate misunderstandings , perpetuate cognitive confirmation bias (by our selection of who whe choose to listen to) and give an almost "genetic algorithm" to memes to enhance their potency and subvert critical thinking and analysis (cos like TLDR).

I recommend the following lecture ... this class works the problem so well I was compelled to write this.

The concept of "alternative facts" is now circling the "TwitterSphere" and Facebook with essentially nothing more than ridicule or derision. Noone seems to actually take the idea of "alternative presentation" by the media and say "hey, that's interesting, I thought X, but you're saying its Y"

To quote from Marcus Aurelius :
“Everything we hear is an opinion, not a fact. 
Everything we see is a perspective, not the truth.” 
Twitter and Facebook simply encourage people to pitch battle and stick more strongly with their respective camps.

Human social psychology evolution of course centred around the face to face ... we would often behave differently out of defference to the others we spoke to (or if nothing more than concern they may punch us on the nose if we were too in their face). Social media obscures this by allowing essentially a context free / responsibility to outcome free platform.

As an example of this, a recent discussion with an actual friend (whom I know in reality) on Facebook beginning as misunderstanding what I'd said (and essentially telling me to go fuck myself) really started me wondering. Another with a less fiery exchange of words left me wondering WTF as that person is one who I regard as highly intelligent and capable of critical though (meaning critical examination of the arguments, both the opposition and their own).

I refer to a post I made back in 2011 (here), let me quote from that:
If the community has polarized views on topics then arguing will just lead to entrenching that division. Further there is a growing body of evidence to suggest that "no matter what", people just are unwilling to accept any new facts if it conflicts with their existing viewpoint.

A Professor from Georgia State University, Jason Reifler conducted a series of experiments that looked at whether people changed their views when they were presented with the correct facts. He found that not only did they not, but it reinforced their will to keep a grip on their existing facts.

Clearly this has a significant effect on the politics around any public dialog; a quote from an (ABC interview) with him:

JASON REIFLER: When we told people that the United States had not found weapons of mass destruction, conservatives, compared to conservatives that we didn't correct actually believed more strongly that the US had found weapons of mass destruction.

So that by telling them that in fact the US didn't and pointing to a CIA report known as the Duelfer report citizens actually, their response was, well actually now I believe it more strongly.

ELEANOR HALL: So not only did they not believe the facts that you were putting before them; they actually reinforced the incorrect views they originally had.


ELEANOR HALL: What hope is there then for truth in politics?

JASON REIFLER: The downside of the research that my co-author and I have done to date is that it's very depressing. We don't have a terribly good understanding yet of ways to try and improve public debate, to try and improve political dialogue.

So people seem to treat discussion like a footy match; with a winner and a looser at the end of the match and go home still rooting for their team.
As just mentioned people are unwilling to accept that discussion may lead to them being wrong or that they may learn something they didn't know before (which should lead to them changing their point of view).

Somehow making computers communications tools (indeed modification of communication to require computers) has resulted in Charles Babbages Difference Engine to be reduced to simply a Division Engine ... vexing

So to me humanity faces an enormous challenge:

  • how to engage with this communication tool and be informed by it not formed by it
  • how to accept that access to data is not access to knowledge
  • how to be humble and polite in discussion in a world with no perceivable ramifications to what ever you dish out of your keyboard.
I'll leave you again with the words of Marcus
“If someone is able to show me that what I think or do is not right, I will happily change, for I seek the truth, by which no one was ever truly harmed. It is the person who continues in his self-deception and ignorance who is harmed.” 

Sunday, 22 January 2017

On Phone Camera Processing just got better


Using the computing power (and beautiful screen colour rendition) of your phones to process RAW images taken with your actual digital camera (not just the phones cam) is an attractive idea. In an earlier post late last year (here) I explored using Snapseed to process the RAW files from my Panasonic camera on my phone (an Oppo F1). But as it turned out there was a problem for me in getting the Panasonic RAW files to play with Snapseed, it only works with DNG files, not the RW2 produced by the camera (no such problems with iPhone versions now nor dcraw for Android BTW). As I like the way that Snapseed works (its interface) I have wanted a way to get this happening on my Android devices.

Well now there is an app for Android called raw2dng (playstore) which does exactly that step for me.

So I now:

  1. pull the SD card from my Camera
  2. plug it into the SD reader 
  3. plug that SD reader into a USB OTG cable
  4. open the app and select the images I want, save
  5. Open the new DNG images in Snapseed and process 
I think that its not actually any slower than any other process because it is still constrained by the requirement to read the RAW from the SD card and then process and write the data to the DNG. Its faster than using the PC (which you may not have) as an intermediary step as it saves an extra cycle of read / write.


A sample: this RAW file was (I was a bit agressive on EV compensation) set to -1 EV as I was worried about snow being washed out on the kids head. This is the JPG extracted from the RAW file:

while on that point it boggles my mind that people are still wasting camera space by picking RAW + JPG when all RAW files include an embedded JPG anyway (so you can see it on your camera).

Then running that through Snapseed I just did a quick and dirty of develop (no compensation) and HDRI (held back a bit in strength and picked "Nature" filter)

which isn't bad when you consider it.

Of course if I just wanted to pull the JPG's out of the RAW files on the card I could have used DCRAW for Android (which is a bit clunky, but quite powerful) to save the embedded thumbnails to my phone.

For reference, this is an attempt with Snapseed to just pull up the exposure +1EV and hold the highlights back a tad

also quite good, but missing the details of fallen leaves in the grass over there on the left ... which is why I like to tonemap (and always did a little doge and burn when I was printing negatives back in the wet process days).

So there you go ... make better use of your camera with your Phone (if you have Android, dunno how that goes on iPhone)

Tuesday, 3 January 2017


In Australia the word "date" is often used colloquially to refer to your anus ... your arse hole. So when people speak of "Date Roll" they may be talking about a type of cake (which is a cylinder not usually a proper roll) or good old fashioned dunny paper.

Another pearl of Australian (and I believe British) english is to suggest to someone when expressing dislike for their idea to "stick it up their arse". Indeed this can be extended to the idea that someone else "stuck something up my arse" when expressing how your own fate on a matter evolved.

So with this metaphor firmly in mind I'd like to discuss how I feel about "updates" ... or as I often term it "up the date".

All too often "updates" are when companies push out (and you often can't prevent it) ideas which make you feel like something unwanted was shoved up your arse.

I've had experiences on this "dating" back many years, when a Microsoft "up the date" of Windows 2000 Professional essentially broke the relationship between CPU Fan and temperature sensors on the motherboard on my computer. I initially thought I had a bung CPU fan (because the computer went into thermal overload shutdown every time it was on more than a while) but traced it back to being "up the dated" by an update.

These days being "up the dated" is getting so common that we even have our phones set so that you don't download "up the dates" by 3G or 4G but we wait till we're on WiFi so that it doesn't blow out our quota.

I mean seriously folks, this has got out of hand. Things do not need to be "updated" that fucking much.

For instance I read that the latest "up the date" from OnePlus rendered issues to their phones:

so you got billed for having this jamed up their date, and then they pull it out (what and like and wipe it on the curtains ...) because it wasn't properly tested.

You often don't even have capacity to govern this as there is now precedent with makers obsoleting their phones by "up the date"

So you buy the phone, you happen to like it, yours is not presenting a problem, you've put hours of work customising it, you need it reliably daily ... you don't have time to take it back and suddently Samsung shoves it up your arse that you are going to be taking it back.

Wake up folks.

Given the massive rate of turn over on phones (to essentially do nothing more than cater to software updates that do nothing more than bloat things out in many cases) you may as well be just renting it.

Of course this is the best of both worlds, you pay for it (yes even on a plan) and then its junk in a little while. Meaning that essentially (in essence) you are renting it but you get less of the benefits of renting with none of the long term benefits of ownership ... oh ... I forgot ... people don't know what long term means anymore.

Yet you love it?

Seems to me people have been up-the-dated so long that they are suffering from identification with their captor.

Sunday, 1 January 2017

2016 INR data

Well, the last measurement for 2016 has come and gone so I thought I'd put up a post with an evaluation of that (for those who are interested in my findings on Life on Warfarin).

its been a pretty busy year with house removations, and then sales, and then moving to Finland all bundled into September, October. I've re-settled into life in Finland (as you'll see in earlier posts) and have been getting into cross country skiing and training most days.

As always the graph axes are INR (LHS) , dose (in mg per day on RHS) and the scale being the numbers of the week. There is a -1 and 0 because I provide a context from the previous year.

The usual seemingly cyclic ups and downs and a little "guidance" needed in the first 3/4's of the year. But despite a bit of a bumpy ride (for the dose line, for me I was fine) I managed to keep my stats looking good. For my own purposes I calculate an INR OVER event as INR > 3.2 and an UNDER event as < 2 So with that counting arrangement I was in range 94% of the time, a pretty good result by anyone's standards (and better than many clinics).

average 2.6
std dev 0.4
max 3.5
min 2.0
over event 3
under event 0
inRange % 94.6

I did notice that the last few weeks has shown a much reduced variance in INR which seems to coincide with being in Finland. I can't think of much else to clarify it as I drink about the same amount of beer per day and eat pretty much the same ... dunno. Either way my approach takes all these variations in stride and I'm pretty sure that if I was being managed (or should that be mis-managed) by a clinic (testing bi-weekly or worse) I'd be all over the joint and perhaps have been injured by it.

My range of 2 ~ 3.2 as mentioned above is even a bit conservative when dealing with the high end as the literature shows that I can go higher into the 4's without stressing about bleed even risk much.

However I've found that INR > 3 makes brusing more annoying (and I was using hammer and power tools a lot till just recently) and so I keep it a bit tighter than is perhaps essential for good health.

Basically its all been good, and my regime of weekly checking and my strategy of dealing with dose changes is working well.

Happy New Year to you all

PS as some people may not be good at reading graphs I thought I'd take a moment to assist in walking through the above two graphs and explaining a little. Firstly the INR vs Incident graph above shows its safest point when the INR is between 2 and 4.5

One can see that reading my INR graph that my INR was between 2 and 3 almost all of the time. Lets clarify that with just looking at the INR plot per week:

so, lets grab that graph (which has INR on its Y axis and put that over the graph that has safety vs INR with INR over the X axis

I've also "mirrored it" to get High on the right and low on the left (just as in the safety graph),
so you can see clearly that my INR range has not strayed into the "risky areas" at all.