Feb 032013

Yesterday a friend posted a link to a blog entry called ‘So you’re feeling too fat to be photographed . . .’.

All of the comments on the link were overwhelmingly positive.

But to me, the idea that even family and friends will look past the blubber is a little weird. Sure I look at the latest photos of my family and think ‘yeah, its lovely to see them’, but I also think ‘good grief, that loved one has put some pounds on since the last time I saw a photo’ or similar…

I notice and I am sure that I am not alone.

So reassuring fat people that you look great to your family, when, well, you are actually obese, or more, seems wrong.

So I wrote a comment that basically said that I thought that the ‘you look great to your family’ concept was right up there with ‘everybody’s baby is beautiful’ and that rose colored glasses prolong the issues. Simply anyone that is tipping the scales at the obese level (or more) has a much larger chance of running into serious health issues later in life. Fat is not healthy.

I may have also suggested that in pretty much all of the examples, that they looked to me like they all needed to get there fat asses to the gym and stop inhaling calories. But as the thread is long deleted, I cannot exactly remember.

I did have the grace at least to mention that one of my personal motivators on my weight loss journey has been a photo of myself looking rather rotund.

Continue reading “Too fat to be photographed…..” »

Jul 152010

And so, with those words did the conversation start…..

Let me rewind a tad. On Saturday morning I rode to Cars and Coffee, there is nothing new there, I often take ‘the bike’, there is special motorcycle parking and my bike is fairly unusual.

At the end of the event I walked back to where I had parked and there was a young guy standing next to a black GSXR 1000 talking animatedly with another motorcyclist. As I approached, sensing his chance the other biker left the conversation and the GSXR owner said, loudly ‘and that is why you should always run’, thus engaging me in conversation…..

The young guy – he was 23 it transpired – had just been on the receiving end of ‘huge’ ticket and a ‘hour long’ lecture on his riding.

He is now, it appears, in a position where he is going to have to sell his bike as his insurance is going to cost him more than he can afford.

Rather than learn ‘do not ride like a dumb-ass’ he has learned that you should always run.

He even showed the ‘cool’ flip-up licence plate that he had fitted – well, when I say ‘fitted’ I mean ‘bashed with a hammer until it was barely recognizeable and then bashed onto the bike with cable ties and ductape.


 Posted by at 3:37 pm
Mar 182010

As I have documented extensively over the last three days, cncpics.com has been causing me a lot of grief.  To re-cap, the mega post of photo’s combined with a failed cron job several weeks ago combined in a ‘perfect storm’ to seriously annoy the godaddy network admins.

I had three choices.

1 – find a new and inexpensive host and hope that they would be able to deal with the traffic that came their way.

2 – give up and walk away from something that I have put serious time/effort and passion into for many years

3 – do it correctly and get a (virtual) dedicated server to handle the load and fix the issues.

Obviously I chose to walk away from it. NOT.

Initially, because it was cheap and had a good reputation, I  created a domain on a basic hosting platform using Siteground, they are a lot more techno than GoDaddy and I thought that it might me a risk going to them, but for under $20 it was worth a shot. Initially it seemed that this may just be the right host, PHP5 support would allow me to move to Gallery 3 and the control panel is full of cool stuff.

Problems with the database restore should have told me that I was wrong, but the curve-ball of getting an old backup from godaddy threw me and I pretty much worked through the night last night.

When I finally got the site up with the last two weeks of images loaded, the impact of the viewers from around the world simply swamped the poor host and they throttled the scripts.

In short they are a great host, but not tough enough, I will be using the hosting space for this blog and my personal sites once I have got my new host up and running.

So, my new host…..

Following some advice on fatwallet.com I am now the proprietor of an extremely cool Virtual Dedicated Server. I am not going to say where just yet as I want them to prove that they can handle the traffic before I give them a shout out, but I certainly got a ‘deal’.

Initial impressions are very, very very good indeed.

The MYSQL database that took ‘all night’ to create last night on siteground took 4 minutes and 15 seconds here.

Approximately 120 times faster.

FTP is uploaded at a solid 1.4MB vs 240KB on the old host.

But the best part is that we are no longer worried too much about processor and memory use unless we try to exceed the apportioned amounts.

So, the new URL that I am building on is cncpicsarchive.com all other domains point here.

As I intimated with the title of this post, I have learnt a lot during this fiasco. Continue reading “Learning through adversity” »

 Posted by at 8:28 pm
Mar 182010

It has been a long night.

As I write this it is close to 5am – I left the mysql upload running at 11pm last night and a couple of hours ago dragged myself out of bed to see what was happening. It is mostly good news, but it is also a little too early to celebrate.

The database is uploaded

The site actually works

FTP is running and uploading the pictures.

The bad news is that the FTP Process is going to take some time, some considerable time. As yet I have not ‘done the math’ but I would estimate that the upload is going to take a couple of days at least.

Secondly (more bad news) the image builds are taking longer than the page is permitting, therefore the first view of any image gives a blank, this has happened before, but I am not sure what the solution was at the time so I need to research it a little. It may be related to the stress that I am putting the server under by uploading images etc. But it also may be that the server is simply not up to the task in hand. There is only one way to find out I suppose.

Looking at the resource usage it shows that FTP is really consuming a lot of CPU – so maybe this is it. I am not sure.

I am going to let it upload for a while and sleep a little.

Check out the potential new site


 Posted by at 4:03 am
Mar 172010


Where to begin ?

Because I was in a catch-22 with Go-Daddy, I found a new fast, friendly host and created a new domain. Purely for testing purposes. The idea was that I could setup a clone of cncpics.com and then once it was all working, simply make some dns changes and all would be good.

Behind the scenes of cncpics.com there is a heavily customized version of an off-the-shelf gallery product which uses a mysql database to store data. It is not enough to simply grab a copy of the photographs and install a nice shiney new copy of gallery, because they I would need to add 45,000 photographs to the gallery and this is a heck of a task.

So the three components are the code, the photo’s and the database.

The code and the database are fairly easy to FTP from my old host, but because I am in ‘violation’ I was unable to get to the control panel to backup the databases.

So at 10AM I asked godaddy for a backup of the databases. The third person I spoke to told me that they where doing the job and that they were no ‘all there’. So I FTP’d them to my windows box and tried to upload them to the new host. Sadly there are a few hundred thousand records in some of the tables and the restore failed. So I jumped over to Linux land and found a tool that will no only connect to the remote database, but it will also load the data in much smaller chunks.

The downside is that this takes a long time and if there is any other traffic on the internet it is slower too.

Many hours later the database restore has finished and after a few minor tweeks to a configuration file the site worked.

Except the galleries ended in the middle of November 2009.

The database backup was several months old.

Somehow I was calm when I called godaddy, somehow I persuaded the support rep to snag a new backup and somehow it looks like he did a good job.

I am obviously now a long way behind, I need to leave the database upload running overnight and then most of tomorrow will be taken up with allowing the photographs to upload too.

Then it will be more configuration changes and more tweeking,

Hopefully on Friday I will be able to tell Godaddy that I no longer need their services….

 Posted by at 8:01 pm
Mar 172010

Further to my logic catch22 yesterday, it looks like cncpics.com is going to be broken for a while.

Godaddy – the host of both that site and this blog (for the moment) are incapable of keeping a promise, they promised me late last night that they would not take the site off line and would give me time this morning to work through the issues.

The issues are fairly simple, for reasons unknown the caching mechanism is creating a lot of file in the, well, cache area. This is not a bad thing generally as the cache helps the performance.

However, the host has a strict 1024 file limit in any one folder. This limit was broken this week by a 925 picture collection – including the various derivatives the cache folders spiked up to 2-3000 files.

There is a simple answer, all I need is access to the gallery so that I can remove a bunch of photo’s from this week. Once this happens the cache growth will go away everything will return to normal. except this morning the account is suspended.

However, the issues is made a whole lot worse, very, very quickly. As soon as an admin notices that there are 1025 files in a folder, they instantly block access to the entire cache folder hierachy. Which leads the software to dump endless files in the $home folder, which leads to 16k files there, which leads to the account suspension.

Long story short, I need to re-host the site, I am done with godaddy.

I also cannot move the domains elsewhere for 60 day as I recently moved them to godaddy in a fit of ‘trying to keep everything together’.

I have signed up for a new more powerful host elsewhere and I am testing gallery 3


The biggest issue of course is that uploading 50gb’s of images takes some time and regardless of where I find to host, the upload gap is going to be substantial.

So, my plan is thus

  • Upload the gallery code to the new host – done
  • Upload the 34mb database backup to the new host – in progress
  • Make the gallery work – meh
  • upload the images – in progress
  • convert to gallery 3  (optional step)

Beyond that I need to move this blog and gallery and a couple of others that share this hosting space.

Stay tuned for details…..

 Posted by at 8:43 am
Feb 282010

Due to inclement weather yesterday, Cars and Coffee was ‘rained out’, or at least we all assumed it was.

Baby Enzo

When I grow up....

So, in order to get my weekly fix of automotive eye candy I decided to attend ‘Supercar Sunday’ in Woodland Hills. Despite looking up the directions, I did not really comprehend just how far away it actually is. When I looked I noticed the estimated time, rather than the mileage. The estimate was something over an hour and the event is scheduled to run from 7AM to 10AM.

No Problem I thought, on a Sunday morning the traffic will be light, I can leave home at 6:45 and probably be there not much after 7:30.

Continue reading “Supercar Sunday” »

 Posted by at 7:05 pm
Feb 202010

I think it rained all night last night. When I looked out of the window at 4AM it was torrential and I figured that there would be no Cars and Coffee event this morning. so I went back to sleep.

At 6AM though I was wide awake and it had stopped raining.

By 6:40 I had left the house and emerged into a cloudy but drying morning on my way to Cars and Coffee

Continue reading “Damp Morning” »

 Posted by at 3:38 pm
Feb 182010

Once more, cardomain are covering our coverage of Cars and Coffee !

Check out their coverage here

or go to our gallery here

Visitor numbers for our site have been growing month on month for a long time, but each time the photo’s are covered like this we get a visitor ‘spike’ of incredible proportions. Visits are up 278.31% today and up 45% for the week.

Due to a couple of groups of photograph sales, the hosting fees are now paid for the next few months, so for once we are ‘in the black’. Now lets hope that the traffic brings customers and the hosting is paid for a few more months.

One of these days I am sure that the site will cover the costs of the coffee we drink along with the hosting fee’s 🙂

 Posted by at 5:55 pm
Feb 182010

Seal At OC Fair

My faithful old Canon G7  died an unspectacular death recently. The poor thing died in its sleep one day, I assume it was a painless death. It was heavily used, but still in very nice condition.

The great thing about the G7 was always its speed and ability, with results that were virtually indistinguishable from a DSLR and really great image stabilization it was pretty much perfect for ‘better than casual’ photography where the bulk and ‘look at me factor’ of a DSLR was simply not an option.

The later G9 was barely an upgrade, but the G10 and then subsequent G11 are much better in all regards.  Selling a number of photographs, a couple of which were taken with the G7, this week tipped my decision. Rather than replace it with a smaller Canon, I would get it fixed.

So this morning I went to the Canon service center in Irvine, CA to see if it could be resurrected.

Continue reading “Canon – Fantastic Customer Service” »

 Posted by at 4:26 pm