The Boston Diaries

The ongoing saga of a programmer who doesn't live in Boston, nor does he even like Boston, but yet named his weblog/journal “The Boston Diaries.”

Go figure.

Saturday, Debtember 21, 2002

The days flying by

Today's going to be a very short day.

It's the Winter Solstice, which actually is the shortest day of the year.


Back on November 22nd Spring and I attended The International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions where I mentioned seeing a large robot arm that would fling people about.

Well, I came across the website for it.

Manipulating images

One of the reasons I haven't been updated as I should is due to the delay in processing the images from the other day and I really wanted to get them done and posted before I resumed regular posting here so as to give you a chance to see them before they slide off the main page and into archival oblivion.

I took over 100 images that night.

There are two problems with selecting which images to choose from: one—Spring's computer, which has enough memory to process large images (the raw images are 1984×1488 high quality images—they average about 700K each) but her monitor is less than optimal for viewing images (it's a bit dim and the color is way off). Two—my computer has a much better monitor but seriously lacks the memory to process large images; with only 32M of RAM just working with one of these images is taxing (loaded into memory each image takes up some 11M of memory, and my system usually has 5M of physical RAM free so loading these images for processing causes the system to hit swap space pretty hard). Ideally, I wanted to convert these images down to a managable size to view them quickly and pick the ones I wanted, but I did not want to sit there resizing 100 images by hand (either on my machine or on Spring's).

Little did I realize that I had software to do batch conversions already installed—ImageMagick. It's a series of programs you can run from a command line to batch up processing of images, so convering 100 images is as easy as:

for i in *.JPG
	echo Converting $i 
	convert --sample 496x372 $i /tmp/$i

And then go off and do something else while my computer crunches away.

And crunches. And crunches. And swaps. And swaps. And I mean seriously swaps. The harddrive LED was searingly bright.

For two hours.

I told Rob this, and he let me use his computer to do the processing. Since he also runs Linux, I was able to log into his computer from mine, use ImageMagick (since he had it installed) to do the mass conversion (less than five minutes for 100 images—sigh) and run the GIMP to do final tweaks on the images I did select.

“Coffee, tea or strip search?”

After some more grumbling on my part they eventually finished with me and I went to retrieve our luggage from the x-ray machine. Upon returning I found my wife sitting in a chair, crying. Mary rarely cries, and certainly not in public. When I asked her what was the matter, she tried to quell her tears and sobbed, “I'm sorry … it's … they touched my breasts … and …” That's all I heard. I marched up to the woman who'd been examining her and shouted, “What did you do to her?” Later I found out that in addition to touching her swollen breasts—to protect the American citizenry—the employee had asked that she lift up her shirt. Not behind a screen, not off to the side—no, right there, directly in front of the hundred or so passengers standing in line. And for you women whove been pregnant and worn maternity pants, you know how ridiculous those things look. “I felt like a clown,” my wife told me later. “On display for all these people, with the cotton panel on my pants and my stomach sticking out. When I sat down I just lost my composure and began to cry. Thats when you walked up.”

Via jwz's livejournal, Coffee, Tea, or Should We Feel Your Pregnant Wifes Breasts Before Throwing You in a Cell at the Airport and Then Lying About Why We Put You There?

My Dad keeps asking when I'm flying out to visit him again. And I keep telling him I'm no longer going to fly anywhere until crap like that stops. I got stripped search the last time I went to the airport and I wasn't even flying!

Several years ago for Thanksgiving I flew a round trip from Ft. Lauderdale to Chicago to Boston and I got searched in Chicago, never mind the fact that my plane was taking off in about twenty minutes.

Lord knows what will happen to me if I try flying now.

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