Monthly Archives: October 2016

Two Website Access Log Visualizations: Normal Load v. DDoS

Yesterday’s DDoS attack brought me the opportunity to see two different web access log visualizations – one under DDoS attack (VideoLAN 4/23/16) and one running normally. They are, obviously, stunningly different. The visualization of a server running smoothly is quite compelling and beautiful in its way – the attacked server is compelling in its own way, but unsettling in appearance. Normal load is presented first:

Audio – Hello World

Yes, it's a good idea to read the manual, no matter how smart you think you are.

Yes, it’s a good idea to read the manual, no matter how smart you think you are.

This week I’m playing with audio. I borrowed some equipment from school: I got an audio-technica ATR6550 shotgun microphone, a Roland Edirol R-09 MP3 voice recorder, and an audio-technica Pro 88W/T Wireless VHS microphone set-up which didn’t work for me and gave up using. I also fooled around with some applications for my iPhone. I settled on TapMedia’s Recorder and the free version of LiveBird Technologies’ Voice Recorder.

The Edirol recorder worked fine. I had to learn how to use the menu system to format my SD card and had trouble with the powered mic setting as the user’s manual steered me wrong here and there, but I was able to use it successfully. Exporting the files was painless.

The Roland R-09 Edirol is, at times, inappropriately judgmental.

The Roland R-09 Edirol is, at times, inappropriately judgmental.

The first recordings I did were with the shotgun mic and the Edirol recorder:

Then I tried the same set-up again with the blanket test in mind (w/o blanket):

Then I recorded my voice with a blanket over my head:

The last test was taking my iPhone outside in the wind:

And then I used Audacity to trim three of the files and combine them into one:

Using a Hot Smoker to Smoke Hot Peppers

Morning in Southern Vermont

#1 – Morning in Southern Vermont

The growing season is short for hot peppers in Vermont – the first cold snap comes in and puts the gardener quickly to work to harvest and preserve the spicy bounty of a summer’s effort.

Pickling is a great way to preserve peppers – they have a special place in many recipes that can be made in place of fresh peppers, but smoked peppers can add so much to other types of dishes – grilled meats, hearty soups, and stir-fries benefit greatly from the smoky autumnal flavor to be enjoyed deep into the winter months.

There are two types of smokers – hot and cold. A hot smoker uses heat and smoke to simultaneously cook and flavor – the temperature range is ideally between 165 and 185 degrees. Because I have six different varieties with differing thicknesses I use a hot smoker with three racks that allows me to move the peppers around to assure an even outcome.

Five varieties of hot peppers, freshly washed and ready to smoke.

#2 – Six varieties of hot peppers, freshly washed and ready to smoke.

After you have found a smoker to your liking, begin by choosing a wood to use for smoking – I have a small bag of mesquite chip that has served me well for a few years. Most home stores should have a few different types to choose from. Soak the wood for a few hours and keep it wet during the time you’ll be smoking.

Harvest your peppers, wash and dry them well.

Small peppers won’t stay on the racks, so I cut some metal screening to put on the racks to prevent them from falling through.

Check the weather to be sure it’s likely not going to rain for a day or two. Smoking peppers takes time and you might as well be comfortable while doing it.

Put the peppers on the racks. I start by sorting them by variety to begin the process, but it won’t be long before you will want to move them around to be sure they smoke evenly. I use tongs to move the peppers, not because they are hot to the touch, but touching them often at this point may put you at risk of pepper burn.

Fleshier fruit is put closest to the heat to give them a head start in drying.

#3 – Fleshier fruit is put closest to the heat to give them a head start in drying.

Use tongs to turn the peppers over - you don't want that pepper juice on your fingers...

#4 – Use tongs to turn the peppers over – you don’t want that pepper juice on your fingers…










Keep coming back every hour or so to check for even smoking. You’ll know when they’re done when they’re dry, light, but still retain good color.

Dried peppers can be left whole and ground anytime over the course of the year – if kept dry and out of the light they will last a long time. If a few of your peppers aren’t quite dry, put them in an oven at 200 degrees for a short time – keep an eye on them – you may not want them to lose their color, although a caramelized smoked hot pepper is also a good alternative flavor as well.


Smoked peppers stay usable for a long time

#5 – Smoked peppers stay usable for a long time – keep them dry and out of the light and wait until you want to use them before grinding.

Smoking peppers not only preserves them and alters their flavor, but the process in pleasing, relaxing, and rewarding.

#6 – Smoking peppers not only preserves them and alters their flavor, but the process in pleasing, relaxing, and rewarding.











Assignment Glossary:

#1 – Rule of thirds composition, establishing wide shot of the overall scene
#2 – Rule of thirds composition, medium shot, vertical shot
#3 – Horizontal shot, forced flash
#4 – Forced flash, close up, vertical shot
#5 – Shot with clean background, close up, three way lighting technique
#6 – Close up, forced flash

Discuss: Photography

Instructor: “Okay photogs, post about how your photography is going and any “ah ha!” or “oh no!” moments you have. Focus on sharing your work flow and software/camera used and what you’re learning about that.”

Me: “Wow. This is hard, and it takes a lot of time, and I appreciate a good photograph(er) more than ever.”

I borrowed Marlboro’s Canon SLR and used the sun as a key light (which I had to dampen to prevent severe shadows) and three lights for more key, fill and hair light. The set up looked like this:


Four light sources



Shooting a picture of hot peppers at Marlboro College Center for Graduate and Professional Studies

Below you will find four pictures (out of close to a hundred) that came from the shoot, but let me say first that I tried different angles, different ways to set the shot using thirds, tried moving and lessening the shadows, played with manual and autofocus, and after an hour or so I was exhausted! All the variables really started to make my head spin – this wasn’t just an exercise in photography, it felt like physical exercise too.

img_1027 img_1038  img_1058 img_1062

I brought all the shots into ‘Photos’ on my Mac laptop, threw away about 75% of them and started editing them with the tools and threw away about a dozen more. My major take-away was that even though I thought I was taking advantage of the rule of thirds in my shooting, I could see in the editing, as I cropped, that I really didn’t know what I was doing at all – so the post production cropping didn’t have as much on an impact as I had hoped – I have so much more to learn in that arena.

I think the lighting was good – I put most of my energy into that. If I were to do this shoot again I would bring in some every day objects to shoot alongside the peppers and not just use a white background – bowls, napkins, cut peppers and the knives, etc.

Custom CSS in WordPress

I changed the look of this site using custom css in the appearance section of the dashboard:


It’s really satisfying for me to know how to this little bit and know that I’m off to a good start to learn more. Maybe it’s the control freak in me, or just the immediate satisfaction of seeing the design change, or perhaps because I think I may have improved the look of the site – or at least have the ability to do so if I wish.

A link to a website that has a color scheme/palette that I like.

As the second part of my assignment for my web design class I’ve been asked to provide a link to a website that has a color scheme/palette that I like. I’ve been spending some time on the DIA Foundation’s website as my son works for them and I’ve been looking at some of the exhibits he looks after. One of them is De Maria’s “The Broken Kilometer.” The color scheme is different shades of black. This seems to make a lot sense to me as the continuity of the site demands that it show many different works of art within the same matrix. I would not necessarily want to see “The Broken Kilometer” against a particular pallet that looked fine with another piece of art. Using shade allows for all the exhibits to fit in a balanced format.

The Daily Kos uses color wisely. I like the way the designer counters orange and a shade of orange by the use of mouse-over. Text-links mouse-over to a darker shade, while community users’ links are given as the shaded orange and turn to the lighter orange used on text-links, with a grey background on mouse-over. It provides a smart and tight feel – quick and usable while limiting any chance of overuse of color. The orange is repeated throughout the sight without seeming overbearing.

Color Tools • Adobe Color CC

As part of an assignment for my web design course I’ve been asked to provide a working link to one or more color palettes I like using a color picker like color-hex or Color Scheme Designer, or another tool I prefer. I’ve chosen Adobe’s Color CC.

To find my pallet I searched for a recent picture that pleased me and used that picture to create a pallet using Adobe’s tool. I chose a picture of some hot peppers that I recently pickled and put it through the pallet generator:


The generator chose five colors to use as my pallet for any design that I may do with this image. I’m actually quite pleased with the way this came out. If I were to use this pallet to create a label for the jar I could easily see using these colors. Interestingly, one of my favorite colors is sky blue, and it happened to get picked up by the reflection off of the top of the jar. Most of the colors are warm, and I find that the effect fits with something that I would associate with hot peppers – a south western sensibility – coincidentally, an ‘adobe’ feel to the pallet.

I’ve learned that if I did create this label, I would do my work in RGB and when I was ready to print I would save the image into CMYK – and to not move back and forth between file types so as to prevent loss.


I saved the pallet in Creative Cloud. I used an ancient log-in. I think I’ll open an updated account.