Obligatory Holiday Post

Quick post and a couple of fun seasonal links before I finish my second eggnog and do that “long winter’s nap” thing this Christmas Eve.

The always-spectacular Big Picture has a 25-image Hubble Space Telescope Advent Calendar which was completed today with one of my favourite images of all time – the Hubble Deep Field photo, in which all but a half dozen of those little points of light is an entire galaxy.

In similar vein, the NASA Astronomy Picture of the Day sight has the Apollo 8 Earthrise photo from 1968. The Deep Field image shows a slice of the entire universe; the Earthrise image was our first proper glimpse of our small blue piece of the galaxy.

Sick of the same dozen Christmas tunes in stores and on the radio over, and over, and over, and over again? Isn’t everyone? SomaFM has a pair of streaming Christmas channels up; the Christmas Lounge stream has a great mix, including different versions of all those classics the malls and commercial radio inflict on us.

Merry Cthulhumas, Happy Newtonmas, Satisfactory Festivus, Merry Christmas, etc etc. I hope you get good food, interesting presents (and gave interesting ones), excellent drinks (I’m planning homemade eggnog…), and interesting companions (please remember that strangling relatives is not permitted, even at Christmas).


Panoramas & Snow, Round 2

As a followup to my previous post on Hugin troubles (many thanks for the feedback there, everyone) I’ve done some more fiddling, and discovered the main issue: Hugin will export completed panoramas happily in TIFF, but not in other formats (JPG, PNG, etc) despite those options appearing in Hugin’s dropdown menus. It crashes or freezes every time when asked to do non-TIFF output.

That’s an irritation rather than a huge issue, though, as the GIMP quite happily converts TIFF into other formats. As witness this pano of Sunday’s lovely weather:

It Never Snows In Victoria

I also did a second pass (with Hugin instead of Pandora, which I used earlier) on the previous set of images:

CYYJ Snow Panorama, Take 2

And just to prove it wasn’t all a fluke, I dug out some year-old images I’d always intended to create a panorama of:

Wurzburg, Germany, Aug. 2007

So, Hugin works, within limits. Native non-TIFF output would be nice, but it’s not a showstopper. And panoramas are great fun – neat to give a super-wide-angle view with a very ordinary camera!


Snow, Panorama Apps, and other Irritations

We might just have a white Christmas here – bleh. The white stuff started falling on Saturday, has started up again today, and temps that refuse to rise above 1šC look set to keep the snow around for a while yet.

Victoria Int'l Under Snow

The above was created in GIMP with the Pandora panorama plugin, which works after a fashion but is a very basic way of munging together panoramas from multiple photographs.

The theoretically more elegant, complete & automated way of creating panoramas, Hugin, freezes, crashes or throws errors nearly every time I try it. I can get the two-image tutorial to work some of the time, but anything else screws up … This is Hugin 0.7.0 in Ubuntu 8.10 — does anyone know if this thing actually works at all, or is it just hard-drive clutter at this stage in it’s development?

Error Screen in Hugin