|PHSC ARTICLES EVENTS REFERENCE|
I am completing another site face lift. This time switching to the Wordpress CMS to make it easier for others to manage the site at a future date. For now, I will leave much of the last and earlier upgraded pages as is rather than attempt to convert every page.
I discovered we had been hacked in what seems to be three attaks. The major attack imbedded over 2,000 fake pages supposidly selling luxury clothing aqccessories, the second one imbedded a few fake pages flogging prescrition drugs. These pages were mostly set up for spam email links. The third attack was more insidious and took my ISP techie's to solve it. A fake version of a real site was attached to the secure version of our URL - using a shared server, I cannot have a secure page (https). This was a phishing endeavour. New customers were directed to a fake address. Old customers were passed on th=o the legitimate site.
We switched to a new ISP vendor today. This site charges less for three years than what Easyhosting was charging for half a year! I noticed last spring that Easyhosting had moved our shared server to a location in Florida but still charged the truely excessive Canadian fees. Better price, better administration tools (cpanel), and more bells and whistles.
A major change this time. Fed up with Windows problems, when I bought a new computer this time, I switched platforms, opting for a Macintosh iMac with an Intel Core Duo processor and 4 Gb of memory. This is an all in one unit with a 24 inch flat screen. It is currently running OS X 10.4.10. I had to buy Adobe CS3 programs whether I moved to Windows Vista or the Mac. I am pleased with the Mac system - very responsive and comfortable to use. The key board and mouse are beautiful, but less erganomic in a couple of ways: using the command key instead of the control key means a more cramped finger position to do save/cut/paste functions while the caps lock is too easy to hit by accident. And as many others have mentioned the "mighty mouse" side buttons are too heavy and poorly placed. On the plus side the keyboard weight and key touch are terrific and the mouse shape is very comfortable. When I go back to my XP, the keyboard and mouse are comfortable but now feel "klunky".
There is an old new feel to using the Mac. The first email I ever used was an inhouse system running on Unix - it ran fast and smooth. Then the company moved to another system which was a dog to use. From there we moved to an IBM PROFS system on a VM mainframe. More professional than our Unix system but incredibly cumbersome to use. I used a number of Amiga systems for a few years - similar to the unix, they ran multiple programs reliably and if the power died they rebooted fine - unlike my poor old Windows systems which had a fit if they were shut-down by brute force. Unfortunately the Amiga perished as a viable work system from poor management. A decision to make it compatible with NTSC TV lumbered it with poor graphics that the incompetent management never improved as the IBM and Mac moved on to better and better graphics.
Part of this switch to a Mac meant saying good-bye to GoLive and getting up to speed with Dreamweaver which thankfully lets me update old pages as I am doing now. At the same time it opens the door to using more modern page constructions with emphasis on CSS over tables and hard coded mark-up for common items. I will be taking a class in XHMTL using Dreamweaver this fall. Adobe now owns Dreamweaver as well as GoLive and like InDesign replaced PageMaker, Dreamweaver is replacing GoLive. The CS3 design packages include Dreamweaver, not GoLive.
Time flies... I changed the general PHSC email address to scrape off the pounds of crap from spammers. Just think - if the spammers (scammers) did this by mail, the USA would need even more jails for the sleeze bags. The changes were batched using the find and change command in Adobe GoLive and uploaded with WS-FTP.
On the software front, I am using Adobe Lightroom V1.0 as an image DAM (Data Asset Manager) and image adjustment tool. It is one of the new wave of image processors that use a script (XML) to track all images changes and leaves the original untouched. Once images are corrected/modified, they can be downloaded or printed or put into slide shows or web galleries. The Slide Show and Web Gallery tools are rather basic at this very early stage. Overall the program is a dream to use - even on my underpowered Windows XP system. I managed to freeze the program by completely swamping my meager half gig of memory. One freeze forced me to power off to get the system back. In spite of this the Lightroom database didn't corrupt or lose any of the changes I made prior to the forced power down. When working on a group of images, you just forget the program and concentrate on the images.
Site changes have been limited to content additions and updates the last while. We are looking for volunteer member(s) to take over the site and bring in fresh ideas after nine years under my guidance. Meantime, we continue to use the excellent Adobe tools to create our pages and images. I recently upgraded to Photoshop CS2 which is another refinement to this great program, but it takes my computer to its limits. I don't plan to upgrade until Windows Vista (Longhorn) is released late next year.
This summer I upgraded to a new digital camera. This time I bought the controversial Sony F828 camera. Michael Reichmann calls it a 'flawed jewel' in his review on the Luminous Landscape website. The flaws are: purple fringing when there is an edge of high contrast in the scene; noisy images above 100 ISO; and too small a buffer for recording a RAW image. Handling, speed and egonomics are the jewels.
I chose the camera because I am not yet ready to give up the convenience of a moveable preview screen for an SLR eyepiece. I originally considered a Nikon Coolpix 8400, the wide angle version of the popular Coolpix 8800. Unfortunately poor ergonomics and difficulty focussing in low light put me off buying my third Coolpix model. The Canon Rebel XT and Nikon D70 were two SLR options, but I like the fact that I have a 28 - 200 equivalent F/2 - F/2.8 to f/8 lens and a live preview screen. It is much faster in operation than my 990, but a trifle slower than either of the SLRS. And it is comfortable to hold and use. The control layout is logical to my way of working. And the battery lasts for over 3 hours of shooting. And, I can use my ancient Braun 340 SCA flash that I bought to use with my M4 (I later bought a Sony Flash at a ridiculously inflated price in Canada vs USA - the Braun had a serious yellow colour cast).
The 8 megapixel sensor which is made by Sony is common to a number of high-end 'prosumer' cameras including the Nikon 8800 and 8400. The F828 was the first camera to use this sensor. Its tiny size (slightly larger than HALF the 8x11 mm negative from a Minox) results more noise and purple fringing than the larger SLR sensors generate. The lens is a Zeiss design. Sony seems to have gone for a faster lens rather than the anti-shake mechanism used in some other cameras like the 8800. At almost 2 pounds, it feels more like a 35mm camera than my two coolpix cameras did.
Activity since the 1999 makeover has concentrated on adding content. Using GoLive in layout mode, I have messed up some code, misused the <address> tag, and other code is out of date. I am now using GoLive CS (version 7)
After a comment from Mark Singer after he upgraded to OSX/Safari I checked with Suzy to see if there was anything in the index page that would stop Mark from accessing it. Two hours later Suzy was still helping me clean up things. I then spent time today to wrap up the repairs. Basically, I upgraded the index page to be "HTML 4.01 Transitional" compatible. The main changes were to stop using the addess style for cut-lines and adding a new style called "caption" with the same characteristics; adding "alt" descriptors for all images; updating the script language qualifiers; and deleting umpteen empty tags (like <address> ... </address>). Suzy provided some additional styles so my repeated page objects are more consistent - they have to be added next.
GoLive has a syntax validation editor that will check a page and flag any code not following a specified DOCTYPE. I used this tool to clean up the code. Like other software problems, the error can be caused by something other than the actual tag identified.
PHSC now has its own URL as part of a move to EasyHosting to gain more storage and transfer capacity along with improved site statistics. We now own URL www.phsc.ca. Also this month we upgraded to Photoshop 6 and GoLive 6 for site design.
Web design has moved to a new Sony computer with a 1.7ghz Pentium 4 using Windows XP software. The change was necessary to improve the operation of the Adobe software and improve file storage with a larger hard drive and a built-in CD burner for backups and file transfers.
We have moved to Adobe GoLive 5 for site design and management and Photoshop 5 for image creation.
We have upgraded to a Nikon Coolpix 990 digital camera which double the resolution at 3.34 mega pixels and much faster operation. A selection of images illustrate each monthly program.
Beginning in September 1996 we have been announcing the coming speaker on the home page and keeping a record of speakers on the programs page. As of this month we are adding images taken at the meetings with a Nikon Coolpix 990s digital camera.
The Photographic Historical Society of Canada's online presence has been given a face lift by the professionals at . They offer a "Spring Clean" package to clean up and sort out your existing site to your specifications, so if your site has gotten away from you, get the professionals at Zero Cattle to round it up!
A new page design is underway to freshen up our look and speed up the viewing times. These changes will coincide with our 25th Annivsersary which begins May 1, 1999 and continues to April 30th, 2000.
I am using a Nikon digital camera now which has greatly simplified the task of adding images to both the web and paper based materials. A Compact Flash card reader makes for file transfers in seconds. The camera has a 1.3 million pixel CCD image screen which gives excellent images that print out in almost photo quality. This April (1999) a 2.1 million pixel version will be in the stores. Its images are even closer to 35mm quality (considered by some to be attained with a 3 million pixel CCD screen).
We are continuing to expand the material posted on our site. A couple of new items this month cover Leica publications. One on CD-ROM and one a traditional book.
I am converting all tables to percentages from absolute pixel widths. This permits the use of your full screen width regardless of what screen size you use. The material is produced on a 1280x1024 screen at the moment. I have Adobe Acrobat and will be experimenting with that format from time to time to augment the HTML pages.
We are now updating in Windows 98 which I find more stable and forgiving than Windows 95.
Another extract from Photogaphic Canadiana (150th Anniversary of Fredericton, NB) has been added to tempt you non members to join :-) And Gerry Loban provided a copy of the listing of books and journals held by the society which I have added to the site. Both these additions are accessed from the home page (index.html) text.
I converted the index page tables to percentages rather than absolute pixel widths and trimmed the size of a few images so the page will scale to fit your screen from 640 pixels wide up. Many thanks to John Linsky for patiently testing the changes at 640 pixels. Other minor changes done here and there to tidy up the site.
Windows 95 and I continue to get to know one another better. This release introduces a major change in the Photographic Canadiana Index. In addition to expanding it by three more volumes (Vol 1 to Vol 23 now indexed), I have broken the index into pages by content category, and created them in HTML table form. A zip version has also been installed on our server so you can down load your own copy of the index.
The second major update is the e-mail address page. The listings have been expanded, reconciled with the membership database, and are now displayed as an HTML table.
Well, we're back.... I missed updating the site for a few months while I moved to a new system and got up to speed on the new software while keeping the day job going and paying enough attention to my wife to keep out of the dog house (most of the time). I assembled a Windows 95 system and installed various applications including Explorer, Outlook Express and Front Page.
In the course of these activities I moved my ISP from a SLIP account on port 80 to a PPP account on port 8080 with the help of Internet Direct's excellent technical support. Unfortunately, in the midst of these changes, I messed up access via my Amiga, so I couldn't continue using the old programs to update the site while I learnt the new ones. As of today, I have Front Page and WS-FTP95 working correctly to let me update our site once again. Front Page greatly simplifies page creation and editing while WS-FTP95 replaces my old Ami-FTP program giving me the same close control over file transfers.
Content changes are minor at this time.. May meeting, Membership Renewals, shifting the Kindermann Leica repair info over to the Reference page, etc.
Our journal has a new column* -- "A Treasure From My Collection" by Bill Belier features treasures from member collections. This month's column presents an English Tailboard Wet Plate Camera from the late 1870s (W.W. Rouch & Co., London, England). The owner, Bill Kantymir is searching for a suitable lens from the same period. The camera is about full plate size with a hole 1 3/4 inches diameter in the lens board. If you have a suitable lens to offer, e-mail Bill Kantymir at firstname.lastname@example.org with a description etc.
*the column ceased in September 2005 when columnist Bill Belier wrote -30- to his last story.
Bob Lansdale is a professional photographer. Bob served three years as editor of the journal for the Ontario professional photographers group. He recently mastered the use of Quark Express to do page layout on his Macintosh allowing him to bring our journal into the digital age (I am happy to see this, since it makes it very easy to pull journal excerpts into our web pages).
Most of the images on our web site are from the camera of professional photographer Robert Lansdale, on the right in this photo. (The person on the left is another professional photographer, Robert Ragsdale), but that's another story... Please note the images are all ©1996-05 by Robert Lansdale and The Photographic Historical Society of Canada unless otherwise stated.
Digital images are used for the most part today on our site. Older pages have images created by scanning prints in (generally) 8 bit gray scale or 24 bit colour. All images are adjusted for gamma as necessary, and reduced in resolution to suit the web.
|PHSC ARTICLES EVENTS REFERENCE|