Monday April 21, 2014

DFES Emergency Alerts: Bushfire ADVICE for 3km north-east of Balingup in the Shire of Donnybrook-Balingup

DFES Emergency Alerts (posted on Monday April 21, 2014 at 12:08 AWST)

Category: Fire
Alert Summary: A bushfire ADVICE remains in place for people in the vicinity of 3km north-east of Balingup in the Shire of Donnybrook-Balingup.
The following alert has been issued by the Department of Parks and Wildlife 

A bushfire ADVICE remains in place for people in the vicinity of 3km north-east of Balingup  in the Shire of Donnybrook-Balingup.
·          Although there is no immediate danger you need to be aware and keep up to date in case the situation changes.
·          The fire started in pine plantation.
·          The bushfire has been contained.  It has burnt approximately 2ha.
·          Stay alert and monitor your surroundings.
·          Watch for signs of a bushfire, especially smoke and flames.

No roads are closed.
No recreation sites are closed.

· Department of Parks and Wildlife firefighters and local bushfire brigades will continue mopping up and patrolling throughout the day. They are being assisted by two fire trucks.

·          The fire started at 11.30am on Saturday 19 April 2014.
·          The cause of the fire is unknown.
·          The Department of Parks and Wildlife is managing the fire.
Visit,, call 1300 657 209, follow Parks and Wildlife on Facebook or Twitter @WAParksWildlife or listen to news bulletins.
The next update will be provided by 4pm today (Monday 21 April 2014) unless the situation changes. 
Publication Time: 21/04/2014 12:05 PM

GNOME Look: xenlism : minimalism 0.1 beta (GNOME Shell Theme)

(posted on Monday April 21, 2014 at 12:06 AWST)

Thumbnailxenlism : minimalism 0.1 beta
(GNOME Shell Theme)
xenlism : minimalism

xenlism inspired from Pantheos Gala Windows Manager (Elementary OS)
xenlism Under developments
Gnome Shell Theme base on Zukitwo

xenlism gtk themes base on Zukitwo & Elementary GTK themes

TheCircle icons theme Base on The Circle icons set for Mac OS X

Gnome Shell Extension Hide Dash
Support Gnome Shell 3.10 3.12

Docky - Transparent theme

This beta version.
if you need up-to-date all.
You can update from project\'s github

install xenlism with AUR
yaourt -S xenlism-themes

install The Circle icons theme with AUR
yaourt -S thecircle-icon-theme

install Gnome-Shell extension Hide Dash with AUR
yaourt -S gnome-shell-extension-hidedash

Applications Menu extension support.
edit overview style.
edit dash style.

upload AUR

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Slashdot: Drones On Demand

Slashdot (posted on Monday April 21, 2014 at 11:50 AWST)

mikejuk (1801200) writes "Gofor is a new company that is promoting the idea of drones on demand. All you have to do is use the app to request a drone and it shows you were they are and how long before one reaches your location. You want to take the ultimate selfie? Scout ahead to see if the road is clear or just find a parking space? No problem just task a drone to do the job. For the photo you simply flash your phone camera at it and it pinpoints your location for an aerial selfie. If it is scouting ahead then it shows you what awaits you via a video link. See the promo video to see how it might work. Flight of fancy? Possibly but the company claims to be operational in five US cities." I wish my car had a drone for instant scouting of traffic-jam alternates.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

GNOME Look: A Waving Bear (GNOME Wallpaper 1920x1200)

(posted on Monday April 21, 2014 at 10:08 AWST)

ThumbnailA Waving Bear
(GNOME Wallpaper 1920x1200)
A Waving Bear

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Slashdot: $42,000 Prosthetic Hand Outperformed By $50 3D Printed Hand

Slashdot (posted on Monday April 21, 2014 at 08:18 AWST)

An anonymous reader writes "A man named Jose Delgado was so used to using a $42,000 myoelectric prosthetic hand for the last year that he didn't realize that there were other options out there. Although Delgado, born without a left hand, was able to obtain the hand via his insurance, he found that a 3D printed 'Cyborg Beast,' open source hand ,which costs just $50 to print, actually was more comfortable and performed better than the device which costs 840 times as much money."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Slashdot: Biofuels From Corn Can Create More Greenhouse Gases Than Gasoline

Slashdot (posted on Monday April 21, 2014 at 07:08 AWST)

New submitter Chipmunk100 (3619141) writes "Using corn crop residue to make ethanol and other biofuels reduces soil carbon and can generate more greenhouse gases than gasoline, according to a study published today in the journal Nature Climate Change. The findings by a University of Nebraska-Lincoln team of researchers cast doubt on whether corn residue can be used to meet federal mandates to ramp up ethanol production and reduce greenhouse gas emissions."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

GNOME Look: LateAfternoon 0.2 (GNOME Icon Theme)

(posted on Monday April 21, 2014 at 06:55 AWST)

ThumbnailLateAfternoon 0.2
(GNOME Icon Theme)
An icon theme for Linux desktops. This is far from complete.

I designed all icons in this to be quite flat with long shadows as eye catchers.

April 21, 2014
  • New Icons: Thunderbird, Empathy, Midori, Gconf-Editor

  • Changed icons: Truecrypt, Unity-Tweak-Tool

  • More to come soon...

    April 7, 2014
  • Included Actions, Categories, Emblem, Mimetype and Status Icons from the Numix icon theme (see ) to get a more complete theme.
    I did not include them "as is" though, but used the program SCOUR ( [url][/url] ) to make the SVG files smaller as I do with all my icons after I design them.

  • Added more icons for basic things like system settings.

  • Corrected a lot of links, so icons show up actually :)

  • Added some more alternative icons (browse the source, Luke)

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    Slashdot: L.A. Science Teacher Suspended Over Student Science Fair Projects

    Slashdot (posted on Monday April 21, 2014 at 06:11 AWST)

    An anonymous reader writes "A high school science teacher at Grand Arts High School in Los Angeles was suspended from the classroom in February, after two of his science fair students turned in projects deemed dangerous by the administrators. "One project was a marshmallow shooter — which uses air pressure to launch projectiles. The other was an AA battery-powered coil gun — which uses electromagnetism to launch small objects. Similar projects have been honored in past LA County Science Fairs and even demonstrated at the White House."

    Read more of this story at Slashdot.

    Slashdot: Why Portland Should Have Kept Its Water, Urine and All

    Slashdot (posted on Monday April 21, 2014 at 05:12 AWST)

    Ars Technica has nothing good to say about the scientific understanding (or at least public understanding) that led Portland to drain 38 million gallons of water after a teenage prankster urinated into the city's water supply. Maybe SCADA systems shouldn't be quite as high on the list of dangers, when major utilities can be quite this brittle even without a high-skill attack.

    Read more of this story at Slashdot.

    Slashdot: SpaceX Successfully Delivers Supplies To ISS

    Slashdot (posted on Monday April 21, 2014 at 04:08 AWST)

    Reuters reports on the successful SpaceX-carried resupply mission to the ISS: "A cargo ship owned by Space Exploration Technologies arrived at the International Space Station on Sunday, with a delivery of supplies and science experiments for the crew and a pair of legs for the experimental humanoid robot aboard that one day may be used in a spacewalk. Station commander Koichi Wakata used the outpost's 58-foot (18-meter) robotic crane to snare the Dragon capsule from orbit at 7:14 a.m. (1114 GMT), ending its 36-hour journey. ... "The Easter Dragon is knocking at the door," astronaut Randy Bresnik radioed to the crew from Mission Control in Houston. Space Exploration, known as SpaceX, had planned to launch its Dragon cargo ship in March, but was delayed by technical problems, including a two-week hold to replace a damaged U.S. Air Force radar tracking system."

    Read more of this story at Slashdot.

    GNOME Look: Ultimate Edition Orange Fantastic Cursor 1.06 (X11 Mouse Theme)

    (posted on Monday April 21, 2014 at 03:37 AWST)

    ThumbnailUltimate Edition Orange Fantastic Cursor 1.06
    (X11 Mouse Theme)
    UEorange is a modification of Ultimate Edition Mouse Theme, and is fully animated . If you want see the original, you can go to

    The modification consist in:
  • a. I built them with multisized property: 32, 40, 48 and 56 pixels.
    b. I added two theme's colors: Orange, and Green.
    c. Symlinks has much more than the original, so they work very fine under the desktop environments: KDE, Gnome 2/3.x, Cinnamon 2.0 , Xfce, Unity and Steam.
    d. I modified the half-busy cursor, because the original seems like to windows xp.
    e. I added them new cursors: dnd-copy, dnd-link, dnd-move and dnd-none. I think it is better to have different cursor shapes when copying or moving an item.
    f. I fixed the xterm cursor because the original is so transparent. Now it looks better.
    g. I built UE-all-in-one mouse theme +Multisized. +Multisized is my concept for cursor themes with color variations on pointers or backgrounds, and is accomplished by defining the colors that we will use in our cursor theme and set the initial size of the cursor, increasing one pixel between each of the colors. This is my original idea.
    UE-all-in-one has sizes in pixels of: 30 blue, 31 gold, 32 green, 33 orange, 34 red and 35 Silver. For choose color you must change the cursor size.
    h. I built UEchameleon. It shows all colors on animation. Size: 32 pixels.

  • I have tested them under Cinnamon 2.0 with Muffin, KDE 4.10.5 with Kwin, Xfce, also Gnome 2/3.x and it works great. I decided to upload them, and after will go improving them. I would like change a few things so you can expect updates. If you find any bugs, please let me know in comments section.

    Important: These instructions are for installing any of my mouse themes with multisized property. Just change "ThemeName" with the name of the downloaded theme.
  • 0- Download the cursor theme.
    1- Locate the file ThemeName.tar.gz downloaded. It's probably in your Downloads folder.
    2- Right click on it and left click on "extract here". You will see the folder ThemeName.
    3- Move the theme folder to ~/.icons/. Open a terminal and you can use the following command line.
    mv Downloads/ThemeName ~/.icons/

  • ON GNOME 3.x and UNITY
  • 4- To update the cursor theme and cursor size: Search for and install Dconf Editor in Software Center.
    5- Use next Command, changing theme's name and the default cursor size to your custom cursor size xx. Could also use 32, 40 or 48 pixels.
    gsettings set org.cinnamon.desktop.interface cursor-theme ThemeName && gsettings set org.cinnamon.desktop.interface cursor-size xx

    If you wish choose the cursor theme and cursor size, using the Dconf editor graphic interface (GUI), then launch it, an go org-->cinnamon-->desktop-->interface.
    6- Finally, create or edit the ~/.Xresources file using next command:
    gedit ~/.Xresources

    Add the following two lines. Change ThemeName and xx to match size defined in previous step:
    Xcursor.theme: ThemeName
    Xcursor.size: xx

    6- Save, close and reboot.

  • 4- To update the cursor theme and cursor size: Search for and install Dconf Editor in Software Center.
    5- Use next Command, changing theme's name and the default cursor size to your custom cursor size xx. Could also use 32, 40 or 48 pixels.
    gsettings set org.cinnamon.desktop.interface cursor-theme ThemeName && gsettings set org.cinnamon.desktop.interface cursor-size xx

    If you wish choose the cursor theme and cursor size, using the Dconf editor graphic interface (GUI), then launch it, an go org-->cinnamon-->desktop-->interface.

  • ON KDE v4.10.5
  • 4- Change cursor theme and choose the size cursor with desktop setting tools.
    5- If you want to make it the default cursor and see this cursor theme on login screen KDM, you must edit as root the index.theme system file located in /usr/share/icons/default, changing the name present after of "=", sign to theme's name. Use next command:
    nano /usr/share/icons/default/index.theme

    6- Save, close and reboot.

  • ON Xfce v4.10
  • 4- Launch the Settings Desktop Environment by clicking on Top Panel: Application Menu-->Settings Manager, then Settings window is opened; scroll down to section called "Other", you can see "Settings Editor", launch it and in the left panel of the window opened, scroll down to locate "xsettings", click it, now you can change the fields value CursorThemeName and CursorThemeSize xx, located in the right panel.
    5- You must edit and save as root the index.theme system file located in /usr/share/icons/default, changing the name present after of "=", sign to theme's name. Use next command:
    sudo mousepad /usr/share/icons/default/index.theme

    6- Edit or create the .Xdefaults personal configuration file, adding to the final, the next two lines, set your own size matching size defined in the step 4:
    Xcursor.theme: ThemeName
    Xcursor.size: xx
    mousepad ~/.Xdefaults

    7- Save, close and reboot.

  • I hope you like it, thanks.

    Greetings, MarkoF.

  • 2014 Apr 06 v1.06 news pointers: half-busy, dnd-ask, dnd-copy, dnd-link, dnd-move and dnd-none. Added size 56 pixels.

  • 2014 Apr 03 v1.01 initial release.

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    GNOME Look: Parallel 1.01.00 (X11 Mouse Theme)

    (posted on Monday April 21, 2014 at 03:33 AWST)

    ThumbnailParallel 1.01.00
    (X11 Mouse Theme)
    Parallel is a X11 mouse theme multisized to 32, 40 and 48 pixels, fully built with Inkscape.

    I tested it under Pantheon, Cinnamon 2.0 with Muffin, KDE 4.10.5 with Kwin, Xfce 4.10, also Gnome 2/3.x and it works great. I added it symlinks for some cursors required for Steam, and all required for Pantheon, Cinnamon, KDE, Xfce, Gnome, and Unity.

    I decided to upload it, and after will go improving it. I would like change a few things so you can expect updates. If you find any bugs, please let me know in comments section.

    If you don't know how to install a mouse theme with multi sized property, like this one, go to, there you can see all instructions for Gnome, Unity, KDE, Cinnamon, Pantheon and Xfce.

    Thanks, and greetings,

  • 2014 Apr 17 v1.01.00 initial release.

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    GNOME Look: DMZ with Green Color Halo [Multisized] 0.10 (X11 Mouse Theme)

    (posted on Monday April 21, 2014 at 03:25 AWST)

    ThumbnailDMZ with Green Color Halo [Multisized] 0.10
    (X11 Mouse Theme)
    Important: If you do not like or have trouble installing a multisized mouse theme like this one, you can download it as a six pack mouse themes. You can install the ones you like six.
    Thank you.


    DMZhaloGreen is a Multisized X11 Mouse Theme, with 24, 32, 40, 48, 56 and 64 pixels.

    I was built it with Inkscape. This theme has a lot modifications of DMZ theme.The modification idea is to put a halo on all cursors and it has new pointers and a lot of animations. It's for people who like this marvelous cursor theme, called DMZ. It's almost flat, because only has shadow's blur and hasn't any degradated image.

    I've added some symlinks to Steam, and everything needed for KDE, Xfce, GNOME and Unity. [b]I have tested it under KDE with Kwin, Xfce, Gnome 2.x, and it works great.

    I would change some things so you can expect updates. If you find any errors, please let me know in the comments section.

    If you don't know how to install a mouse theme with multi sized property, like this one, go to, there you can see all instructions for Gnome, Unity, KDE, Cinnamon, Pantheon and Xfce.

    Enjoy it!

  • 2014 Feb v0.10 Initial release

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    Slashdot: Ask Slashdot: Professional Journaling/Notes Software?

    Slashdot (posted on Monday April 21, 2014 at 03:03 AWST)

    netdicted writes "At the very outset of my career the importance of keeping a daily journal of activities and notes was clearly evident. Over the years I've always had a college ruled composition notebook nearby to jot down important ideas, instructions, tasks, etc. Putting away the rock and chisel was not optional when the volumes grew beyond my mental capacity to successfully index the contents. Over the years I've tried countless apps to keep a digital journal and failed miserably. In my mind the ideal app or solution is a single file or cloud app where I can organize personal notes on projects, configurations, insights, ideas, etc., as well as noting major activities or occurrences of the day. My original journals saved me on a number of occasions. Unfortunately my tenacity for keeping one has suffered from a fruitless search for a suitable solution. Currently I'm experimenting with Evernote and Tiddlywiki. They approach the problem from two different angles. What do you use?"

    Read more of this story at Slashdot.

    Digital Photography School: Waterfall Photography Video Tips

    Digital Photography School (posted on Monday April 21, 2014 at 03:00 AWST)

    To help you out with this week’s photography challenge of waterfalls, I found a few video tutorials to walk you through how to photograph a waterfall. I also shared a collection of stunning waterfall images to get you inspired, if you missed it you can see those here.

    This first video shows you the two choices you have when photographing a waterfall. You can either freeze or blur the water. Watch as he walks you through the camera settings for both options.

    In this quick tip Tony Northrup goes over such tips as using a sturdy tripod, using shutter priority mode, and using a Neutral Density filter to block some of the light so you can get longer exposures, and finding a unique camera angle.

    In this last video the photographer goes over step by step how to get that nice milky looking water. He talks about using a Polarizing filter, a tripod, and back button focus to help you get everything else in the photo nice and sharp.

    I hope those help you get a handle on some of the technical aspects of waterfall photography. Now get out there and get shooting for this week’s challenge!

    The post Waterfall Photography Video Tips by appeared first on Digital Photography School.


    Latest Kernel Versions: 3.15-rc2: mainline

    (posted on Monday April 21, 2014 at 02:08 AWST)

    Version:3.15-rc2 (mainline)
    PGP Signature:linux-3.15-rc2.tar.sign

    Slashdot: Google Aids Scientology-Linked Group CCHR With Pay-Per-Click Ads

    Slashdot (posted on Monday April 21, 2014 at 01:59 AWST)

    An anonymous reader writes "The Citizens Commission on Human Rights (CCHR), a Scientology front group, has received a 'grant from Google in the amount of $10,000 per month worth of Pay Per Click Advertising to be used in our Orange County anti-psych campaigns.' CCHR believes that ALL psychiatrists are evil. They believe that psychiatrists were behind the holocaust, and these shadow men were never brought to justice. CCHR also believes that psychiatrists were behind the 911 attacks. Scientologists believe that psychiatrists have always been evil, and their treachery goes back 75 million years when the psychiatrists assisted XENU in killing countless alien life forms. Thanks Google! We may be able to stop these evil Psychs once and for all!"

    Read more of this story at Slashdot.

    Slashdot: Cody Wilson Interview at Reason: Happiness Is a 3D Printed Gun

    Slashdot (posted on Monday April 21, 2014 at 00:45 AWST)

    An anonymous reader writes "Cody Wilson details his conflict with the State Department over 3-D printable guns in this new interview with ReasonTV. In this video, he discusses how 3-D printing will render gun control laws obsolete and unenforceable; why Dark Wallet, his new crypto-currency, is much more subversive than Bitcoin; his legal defense, headed by Alan Gura (attorney in District of Columbia v. Heller and McDonald v. Chicago); and his forthcoming book about anarchy and the future."

    Read more of this story at Slashdot.

    Sunday April 20, 2014

    Slashdot: Google and Facebook: Unelected Superpowers?

    Slashdot (posted on Sunday April 20, 2014 at 23:48 AWST)

    theodp (442580) writes "'The government is not the only American power whose motivations need to be rigourously examined,' writes The Telegraph's Katherine Rushton. 'Some 2,400 miles away from Washington, in Silicon Valley, Google is aggressively gaining power with little to keep it in check. It has cosied up to governments around the world so effectively that its chairman, Eric Schmidt, is a White House advisor. In Britain, its executives meet with ministers more than almost any other corporation. Google can't be blamed for this: one of its jobs is to lobby for laws that benefit its shareholders, but it is up to governments to push back. As things stand, Google — and to a lesser extent, Facebook — are in danger of becoming the architects of the law.' Schmidt, by the way, is apparently interested in influencing at least two current hot-button White House issues. Joined by execs from Apple, Oracle, and Facebook, the Google Chairman asserted in a March letter to Secretary of State John Kerry that the proposed Keystone XL pipeline is not in the economic interests of the U.S.; the Obama administration on Friday extended the review period on the pipeline, perhaps until after the Nov. 4 congressional elections. And as a 'Major Contributor' to Mark Zuckerberg's PAC, Schmidt is also helping to shape public opinion on the White House's call for immigration reform; just launched new attack ads (videos) and a petition aimed at immigration reform opponent Rep. Steve King. In Dave Eggers' The Circle, politicians who impede the company execs' agenda are immediately brought down. But that's fiction, right?"

    Read more of this story at Slashdot.

    Digital Photography School: 3 Ways to Get Killer Portraits Using a Tripod

    Digital Photography School (posted on Sunday April 20, 2014 at 23:00 AWST)

    As photographers, you’re all looking to “wow” the people we’re taking pictures of, whether they’re clients or just friends. When you show final images, there’s that sense of anticipation, excitement and nervousness as you gauge reactions. And when you hear the words “amazing” or “I love them,” it’s truly a great feeling. So how do you get the “wow” and avoid the “just okay?” Well that’s not always easy. With so many good photographers out there and so much of their work getting exposure via social networks, expectations for good photography is as high as it’s ever been.


    Here are three ways to achieve killer portraits with the use of a tripod that we use in our studio. These include the following, all of which we’ll show you – keep reading:

    1. Shutter Drags
    2. Composites
    3. HDRs

    Required Equipment

    • Sturdy tripod – that old hand-me-down tripod might not be stable enough, as any movement will show in the images
    • Shutter release - using a cable release will help you avoid touching the camera and causing movement
    • Wide angle lens – as you can see from the images in this article, a wider lens is going to bring out many of the “wow” elements like the clouds, the ocean, the streaking lights, and more
    • Camera – as with any type of photography, the camera is only as good as the photographer. You can get amazing results with both entry level DSLRs and full frame cameras.

    1. Shutter Drags (Long Exposure Photography)

    Dragging the shutter refers to using slower shutter speeds to capture movement. This captures motion of anything in your frame that is moving, while keeping the static objects in the scene nice and crisp. If you can get your couple to hold still, you have the opportunity to create awesome effects with moving people, cars or waves like you see in the image below. Additional saturation and contrast is added in post production using some Lightroom Presets.


    Shutter Drag Quick Tips:

    • How slow do you go? - well that depends entirely on how fast the other elements in the scene are moving. If cars are zooming by, you can get away with faster shutter speeds like 1/60 or 1/30, but if you are capturing moving people and they are slowly strolling, you may have to drop it even lower like 1/10th or even lower. For water, like the shots above, we are generally around 1/2 to 1 second.
    • Ensure that your subjects are holding really still – instruct your subjects to hold very still, avoid blinking during the shot or sequence of shots, and even hold their breath.
    • Utilize static poses -  posing for these types of photos will have to be static. Dips, jumps, and walks will add too much motion in the scene and result in blurry photos. However, static does not have to mean boring. You can still have them in flattering, romantic poses.
    • Snap a few extra shots to ensure you have one crisp photo – take a few extra shots because a photo may look crisp on the back of your camera, only to show noticeable motion blur as it’s taken into post production.

    2. Composites


    Compositing multiple photographs into one is sometimes the best solution when it’s unreasonable to have your couple hold still for as long as you need to achieve the desired effect. For example, if you’re looking to capture the beautiful stars in a night sky or if you’re looking combine multiple streaks of passing car lights –  the five, ten, or even 30 second exposure time is much too long to expect any live subject to be still. Below is an example where our couple would have had to hold still for around 15 seconds as we spin flaming steel wool just behind them.


    Composite Tips:

    The tips for capturing composites are actually very similar as the tips for capturing shutter drags. For example, you still need a sturdy tripod and a shutter release; and you should certainly snap a few extras to make sure you have enough choices to work with in post-production. In addition, here are some more quick tips for capturing composite photos.

    • Expose for the couple’s skin tones first - your lighting can be anything from flash to constant lights; but the most important thing is to focus primarily on the subject.
    • Have the subjects exit the scene – after you’re sure you have a shot with a good pose and good lighting, you can have them exit the scene.
    • Then adjust your settings as needed to expose for the background and create your desired effects. For example, if you’re looking to capture the streaking lights, adjust your shutter speed down and wait for the cars to pass.
    • If you can keep the overall exposures identical between shots, compositing will be incredibly simple. Just layer the images in Photoshop, and then mask in and out elements on each layer. However, if the exposures and look of each image varies, then it will require quite a bit more advanced compositing work which would be beyond the scope of this article.

    3. Try HDR Portrait Photography


    While HDR Photography gets a bad rap sometimes for being gaudy and fake, when done correctly, you have the opportunity to create memorable, distinct photography. This is especially true with outdoor scenes on a cloudy day. Grab your tripod, pose your couple in a static pose, dial in the right settings, and shoot away. What are the right settings? Well start with ISO 100 and a decent aperture (f/4 and up). From there, the shutter will vary depending on the brightness of the scene. For more information, feel free to check out some of these HDR tips on dPS.


    HDR Quick Tips:

    Here are a few more things to keep in mind.

    • Study how to bracket exposures on your specific camera. Almost all cameras have the AEB (Auto Exposure Bracketing) feature, but you will need to know how to access it to dial in the correct settings.
    • Keep your minimum shutter speed at 1/200 or higher. Any movement in the couple or background can cause unnatural “ghosting,” so keeping the shutter speed high will really help you save time in post production.
    • Avoid strong and overpowering flares. If you’re shooting into the sun, strong flares can desaturate your image and create a loss of sharpness. If you are shooting into the sun for compositional purposes, choose an angle where the flare isn’t going to distract from the subject.
    • Choose the right time of day. Sunrise and sunset are still going to one of best times to shoot, as you are most likely to have amazing color in the sky during that time. Remember that the same general photography rules still apply when shooting HDR, we simply are using the HDR process to bring out more detail.
    • Watch the weather report. Partly cloudy days are great times to shoot HDR photography. Capturing all of the contrast and interest in the clouds, as you see in the sample images in this article, really add the “wow” factor.



    By no means are these three techniques enough for a solid session. In fact, the majority of the photos you take during any portrait session should revolve around candid posing, story-telling, and emotion. For us, we use these dramatic environmental shots to “set the stage” in a final album, canvas mural or other print medium. They are the big grand images that sets the scene, and they are followed by the close up candid images showing the couple interact in said scene and environment.

    These techniques are also wonderful in creating “wow” shots, i.e. the shots they share on Facebook and the shots they end up printing on a canvas at their wedding. The shots that make everyone else go, “how’d they do that!?”

    Do you have any other killer tips you’d like to share? Please do so in the comment section below.


    The post 3 Ways to Get Killer Portraits Using a Tripod by appeared first on Digital Photography School.


    Slashdot: Why Tesla Really Needs a Gigafactory

    Slashdot (posted on Sunday April 20, 2014 at 22:56 AWST)

    Hodejo1 (1252120) writes "Tesla has already put over 25,000 cars on the road with more to come and, presumably, most will still be running well past the 8-year battery warranty. What would happen if it is time to replace the battery pack on an old Model S or X and the cost is $25K? Simple, it would destroy the resale value of said cars, which would negatively affect the lease value of new Tesla automobiles. That's a big part of the real reason why Tesla is building its own battery factory. They not only need to ensure enough supply for new cars, but they have to dramatically bring down the price of the replacement batteries low enough so owners of otherwise perfectly running old Teslas don't just junk them. The Tesla Roadster was not a mass produced vehicle, so the cost of replacing its battery is $40K. The economies of scale of a gigafactory alone will drop battery costs dramatically. Heavy research could drop it further over the next decade or so."

    Read more of this story at Slashdot.

    Slashdot: LADEE Probe Ends Its Mission On the Far Side Of the Moon

    Slashdot (posted on Sunday April 20, 2014 at 21:27 AWST)

    The mission of NASA's LADEE probe was brought to an intentional violent end yesterday, when it smashed into the far side of the moon. As the Ars Technica report explains, "NASA's policy is to treat the locations of the Moon landings as historical sites, and it takes pains to preserve them from possible damage. LADEE didn't have the fuel to control its orbit indefinitely. As a result, the controllers had been preparing to terminate the probe for several weeks. ... The exact moment of impact isn't clear, since the precise terrain it hit couldn't be determined in advance. (If it hit a ridge, it would have happened earlier than if LADEE plowed across a plain. What is clear is that the impact destroyed the probe." Before the end of LADEE's mission, besides close up observations, the craft was used to test a new laser-based communication system.

    Read more of this story at Slashdot.

    Slashdot: Obama Delays Decision On Keystone Pipeline Yet Again

    Slashdot (posted on Sunday April 20, 2014 at 20:29 AWST)

    Hugh Pickens DOT Com (2995471) writes "The Christian Science Monitor reports that once again, the Obama administration has pushed back a final decision on the controversial Keystone XL pipeline possibly delaying the final determination until after the November midterm elections. In announcing the delay, the State Department cited a Nebraska Supreme Court case that could affect the route of the pipeline that may not be decided until next year, as well as additional time needed to review 2.5 million public comments on the project. Both supporters and opponents of the pipeline criticized the delay as a political ploy. Democratic incumbents from oil-rich states have urged President Obama to approve the pipeline but approving the pipeline before the election could staunch the flow of money from liberal donors and fund-raisers who oppose the project. The Senate Republican leader, Mitch McConnell said in a statement that "at a time of high unemployment in the Obama economy, it's a shame that the administration has delayed the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline for years." Activists say its construction could devastate the environment, but several State Department reviews have concluded that the pipeline would be safe and was unlikely to significantly increase the rate of carbon pollution in the atmosphere. Even if the pipeline was canceled, it said, the oil sands crude was likely to be extracted and brought to market by other means, such as rail, and then processed and burned."

    Read more of this story at Slashdot.

    Slashdot: OpenSSL Cleanup: Hundreds of Commits In a Week

    Slashdot (posted on Sunday April 20, 2014 at 18:37 AWST)

    New submitter CrAlt (3208) writes with this news snipped from BSD news stalwart "After the news of heartbleed broke early last week, the OpenBSD team dove in and started axing it up into shape. Leading this effort are Ted Unangst (tedu@) and Miod Vallat (miod@), who are head-to-head on a pure commit count basis with both having around 50 commits in this part of the tree in the week since Ted's first commit in this area. They are followed closely by Joel Sing (jsing@) who is systematically going through every nook and cranny and applying some basic KNF. Next in line are Theo de Raadt (deraadt@) and Bob Beck (beck@) who've been both doing a lot of cleanup, ripping out weird layers of abstraction for standard system or library calls. ... All combined, there've been over 250 commits cleaning up OpenSSL. In one week.'" You can check out the stats, in progress.

    Read more of this story at Slashdot.

    GNOME Look: Transparent Tiles conky theme 3.02 (Other GNOME Stuff)

    (posted on Sunday April 20, 2014 at 18:08 AWST)

    ThumbnailTransparent Tiles conky theme 3.02
    (Other GNOME Stuff)
    package of 6 conky widgets theme

    for more conky themes:

    improvements to news & webupd8 widgets

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    GNOME Look: Ambiance Grey for Ubuntu 14.04 0.7.1 (GTK 3.x Theme/Style)

    (posted on Sunday April 20, 2014 at 17:08 AWST)

    ThumbnailAmbiance Grey for Ubuntu 14.04 0.7.1
    (GTK 3.x Theme/Style)
    Unity theme for Ubuntu 14.04 LTS (Trusty Tahr) release.

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    Slashdot: RIP, NASA Moon Landing Engineer John C. Houbolt

    Slashdot (posted on Sunday April 20, 2014 at 15:46 AWST)

    The Houston Chronicle reports the death of John C. Houbolt, whose ideas helped guide the U.S. moon-landing programs. Houbolt died on Tuesday at the age of 95, in a nursing home in Maine. Says the Chronicle's obituary: "His efforts in the early 1960s are largely credited with convincing NASA to focus on the launch of a module carrying a crew from lunar orbit, rather than a rocket from earth or a space craft while orbiting the planet. Houbolt argued that a lunar orbit rendezvous, or lor, would not only be less mechanically and financially onerous than building a huge rocket to take man to the moon or launching a craft while orbiting the earth, but lor was the only option to meet President John F. Kennedy's challenge before the end of the decade."

    Read more of this story at Slashdot.

    DP Review: In photos: 'Paris in the Springtime'

    DP Review (posted on Sunday April 20, 2014 at 15:00 AWST)


    'Paris in the Springtime' is a new photography exhibition at the Beetles+Huxley gallery in London featuring notable photographers such as André Kertész, Robert Doisneau, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Willy Ronis and Elliott Erwitt. These classic black and white images are some of the scenes that have defined Paris' romantic street life cliché found in modern pop culture. The collection of mid-twentieth century photos are on display from April 7 - May 3. See gallery

    GNOME Look: Hamilton (Cairo-Clock Theme)

    (posted on Sunday April 20, 2014 at 13:29 AWST)

    (Cairo-Clock Theme)
    Pure vector clock for cairo-clock.

    (For install, unpack to: /usr/shere/cairo-clock/themes)
    You can use it for screenlets, and for clocky too.

    Fullscreen preview :

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    Slashdot: Closing Surgical Incisions With a Paintbrush and Nanoparticles

    Slashdot (posted on Sunday April 20, 2014 at 12:55 AWST)

    New submitter BiancaM (3582365) writes "A group of chemists has shown the power of nanoparticles for closing and healing surgical wounds. Using no more than a paintbrush they are able to close surgical openings as well as classical techniques such as sutures. However in fragile deep tissues such as liver even more remarkable results were found- normally fatal damage to internal organs is repaired in seconds using a nanoparticle glue. The results show that closing after surgery can be faster and simpler using nanomaterials to glue wounds shut." For something between the above linked abstract and the research paper, there's this write-up at PhysOrg, and a video of the technique in action.

    Read more of this story at Slashdot.

    Slashdot: Preventative Treatment For Heartbleed On

    Slashdot (posted on Sunday April 20, 2014 at 09:59 AWST)

    As the San Francisco Chronicle reports, "People who have accounts on the enrollment website for President Barack Obama's signature health care law are being told to change their passwords following an administration-wide review of the government's vulnerability to the confounding Heartbleed Internet security flaw." Take note, though; the article goes on to immediately point out this does not mean that the site has been compromised: "Senior administration officials said there is no indication that the site has been compromised and the action is being taken out of an abundance of caution. The government's Heartbleed review is ongoing, the officials said, and users of other websites may also be told to change their passwords in the coming days, including those with accounts on the popular petitions page." Also at The Verge

    Read more of this story at Slashdot.

    EEV Blog: EEVblog #605 – Fig.8 & Cardioid Microphone Patterns

    EEV Blog (posted on Sunday April 20, 2014 at 08:28 AWST)

    Doug Ford, former head designer from Rode Microphones continues with Part 2 of the microphone technology series by explaining the construction of noise cancelling Figure 8, cardioid, and hyper cardioid microphones. Also, how the polar patterns and responses relate to the physical construction, and how the frequency response is affected.
    Proximity boost effect,
    Microphone calibration is also discussed using a home made artificial voice speaker box.
    And practical considerations about foldback wedges used in stage performances and how to avoid feedback using proper microphone technique.
    And did Jimmy Barnes offer Doug a swig from his bottle of Vodka?
    Forum HERE


    GNOME Look: BB12PK 4.19.2014 (GTK 3.x Theme/Style)

    (posted on Sunday April 20, 2014 at 08:20 AWST)

    ThumbnailBB12PK 4.19.2014
    (GTK 3.x Theme/Style)
    What I have done here is made a 12pk of themes, but of course requires a little work on your part. Is not tough as is simply adding files from folders outside of theme folders to the themes inside. If I were to do this with all put together would be too large to upload! This way, is about the size of one theme, but contains 12!

    The 12 themes are AmbianceMate, AmericaMate, BeiTanBroMate, BlackBeautyMate, BurgundyMate, Dark_BlueMate, Dark_BrownMate, Dark_GreenMate, Merry ChristmasMate, Nissl-RemixMate, Red_and_BlackMate and SundaeMate.

    The only one that will not work on the Mate desktop is BeiTanBroMate. It will however work on LXDE, XFCE and Gnome Flashback. The rest work very well and come pretty close to making gtk-2.0 take on many of the qualities of gtk-3.0. Basically, they are molded from the same work done on CyanMate.

    I did not want to clutter Gnome-Look and individually upload every theme. I simply wanted to provide all these themes in one zip file and then you can decide which look is for you! I only want to provide an alternative look for those that like a nice unique look for their multi-desktop systems or if you are just using one desktop. Is hard to get decent looks on gtk-2.0 and some of us do not always want to use desktops requiring gtk-3.0 or have units that can not use high end graphics. Still, whatever the desktop you use, I believe these themes will look nice on it!

    Since there is so many themes here, I was only able to upload a few pictures. I am hoping as most of the themes are earlier themes have created, you can also check the earlier versions and understand will look about the same on Flashback, but have a better appearance on the other desktops. Since there are only 2 pngs used which are only used to give the menu the gradient looks, the other coloring is all work of gtkrc, so previous png\\\'s that gave my themes a terrible look have been replaced!

    As always, if you do not like my themes then do not download! Comments done in respect of the time have spent to make these work are welcome. Comments on the negative keep them to yourself, I do not want to see them! No one is forcing you to download so always show respect for everyone that makes themes! Is loads of time we take to make themes you will enjoy! If problems occur, by all means let me know as I want these to work for everyone! SPAM NOT ACCEPTABLE, DO NOT SELL HERE AND I WILL NOT POST MY THEMES ON YOUR SITE!

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    Slashdot: New 'Google' For the Dark Web Makes Buying Dope and Guns Easy

    Slashdot (posted on Sunday April 20, 2014 at 07:44 AWST)

    First time accepted submitter turkeydance (1266624) writes "The dark web just got a little less dark with the launch of a new search engine that lets you easily find illicit drugs and other contraband online. Grams, which launched last week and is patterned after Google, is accessible only through the Tor anonymizing browser (the address for Grams is: grams7enufi7jmdl.onion) but fills a niche for anyone seeking quick access to sites selling drugs, guns, stolen credit card numbers, counterfeit cash and fake IDs — sites that previously only could be found by users who knew the exact URL for the site."

    Read more of this story at Slashdot.

    Slashdot: 3 Former Astronauts: Earth-Asteroid Collisions Are a Real But Preventable Danger

    Slashdot (posted on Sunday April 20, 2014 at 05:28 AWST)

    Three former astronauts — Ed Lu, Tom Jones, and Bill Anders — say that reassuring figures about the rarity of asteroid collisions with Earth are perhaps too reassuring. The B612 Foundation, of which Lu is a director, has been established to draw public awareness to the risks of a large asteroid hitting a population center -- which these three men say is a far more serious public danger than has been acknowledged by NASA and other agencies. And beyond awareness, the Foundation's immediate goal is to raise money to " design and build an asteroid-finding space telescope and launch it by 2017," and then, Armageddon-style, to follow that up with technology to divert any asteroids whose path would threaten earth.

    Read more of this story at Slashdot.

    GNOME Look: Ambiance + Radiance Colors Suite 14.04 (GTK 2.x Theme/Style)

    (posted on Sunday April 20, 2014 at 05:06 AWST)

    ThumbnailAmbiance & Radiance Colors Suite 14.04
    (GTK 2.x Theme/Style)
    Ambiance & Radiance Colors Suite is back for Ubuntu 14.04 LTS! Enjoy the Ubuntu Themes in 9 Beautiful New Colors! Thease colors are hand picked and refined so they pop. Now including brown!

    Xfce , LXDE and Openbox now work out of the box with 14.04 version of the theme no more seperate versions.

    Colors is back! after a 2 year hiatus. Avalible on 14.04 launchday!

    (!) Ubuntu 14.04 is now supported. & Debs are comeing very soon!

    Ambiance & Radiance Colors Supports Most GTK 2/3 Desktops:
    Including support for: Unity, Gnome Classic, Gnome 2 (Mate), XFCE ,LXDE & Openbox desktops.

    The Theme Suite Consists Of (For All Colors):
    -GTK 2 & 3 Theme. (14.04 Support, also patched for XFCE & LXDE avalible as well.)
    -Metacity Theme (Unity,Gnomeshell,Gnome ,Mate)
    -XFWM4 Window Theme (XFCE)
    -Openbox Window Theme (Openbox & LXDE)

    Gnome Shell is no longer supported at the moment,

    Cinnamon is coming soon.

    ... In Both Ambiance and Radiance variants

    Updated 14.04 Version - (April 2014), This theme has been fully rewritten and now fully works with Ubuntu 14.04 LTS. And Gnome/GTK 3.6+

    Features at a glance:

    - Comes in 9 Beautiful New Colors,
    Colors include: Red, Orange (Different from Ubuntu orange), Yellow , Green , Blue , Purple , Graphite(Grey) and Pink!

    Includes both: Ambiance & Radiance GTK2&3 Widget and Window border themes.

    * Installs as separate themes from the main Ambiance/Radiance.

    This Theme is NOT by the Original Ambiance/Radiance Authors but fallows it very closely for the most part.

    Brought to you by:

    RAVEfinty, Jared Sot.
    Lead developer and designer of Ambiance and Radiance Colors Suite

    With HUGE Contributions To RAVEfinity by:
    Dr. Amr O,Benoit T,Satya S.

    Based On Work (GPL) By:

    Kenneth Wimer, James Schriver, Andrea Cimitan ,Canonicol LTD, Victor Eduardo ,Half-Left, Satya S.,David Barr ,P0ng

    Brought to you by RAVEfinity! An Open Source Design Project! If you like this theme, Check out our other work or just support us by visiting:

    View The Offical Changelog,Release Notes And Manual Here:

    Need Help Installing Or Using This Theme?
    Read The Easy Howto Guide. And Other Theme Related Help At Our Website's Help Section:

    Needed Theme engines:
    (All engines but pixmap should be already installed on Ubuntu and Mint)

    1.) "Murrine" gtk2 theme engine version 0.98+

    2.) "Unico" Theme Engine.

    3.) NEEDED FOR XFCE & LXDE Version
    "Pixmap Theme Engine"
    Package name: "gtk2-engines-pixbuf"

    Can be found in the REPOS Install VIA:
    sudo apt-get install gtk2-engines-pixbuf

    NEW: Check Out This Themes Offical HomePage On Our Site, With Offical Manual, Release Notes And Detailed Imformation About Any Updates.

    We've simplified the download links bellow! There is now just one button to get you to our page with your download options. The downloads should also start and finish faster (And not prompt you for a stupid CAPTCHA).

    Available For Download, For:

    Ubuntu,Mint or Debian: In a ".Deb" Package or Via Our Official PPA (Deb and PPA Coming Soon for 14.04)

    Any Distribution in a generic theme tar.gz

    Instructions for Installing this theme from the Official RAVEfinity PPA can now be found on the download page!

    The "Download" button bellow will take you to a page with the above options and more. We've added instant downloads, faster mirrors. And Instructions for adding and installing from our official PPA Now all on the download page. Enjoy!

    NOTE! 14.04 theme is only avalible in tar at the moment, we need your help making a deb. email us (See addres on download page.) our PPA is down for a little bit.

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    Slashdot: Ask Slashdot: Hungry Students, How Common?

    Slashdot (posted on Sunday April 20, 2014 at 05:00 AWST)

    Gud (78635) points to this story in the Washington Post about students having trouble with paying for both food and school. "I recall a number of these experiences from my time as grad student. I remember choosing between eating, living in bad neighborhoods, putting gas in the car, etc. Me and my fellow students still refer to ourselves as the 'starving grad students.' Today we laugh about these experiences because we all got good jobs that lifted us out of poverty, but not everyone is that fortunate. I wonder how many students are having hard time concentrating on their studies due to worrying where the next meal comes from. In the article I found the attitude of collage admins to the idea of meal plan point sharing, telling as how little they care about anything else but soak students & parents for fees and pester them later on with requests for donations. Last year I did the college tour for my first child, after reading the article, some of the comments I heard on that tour started making more sense. Like 'During exams you go to the dining hall in the morning, eat and study all day for one swipe' or 'One student is doing study on what happens when you live only on Ramen noodles!' How common is 'food insecurity in college or high school'? What tricks can you share with current students?"

    Read more of this story at Slashdot.

    Slashdot: Google's New Camera App Simulates Shallow Depth of Field

    Slashdot (posted on Sunday April 20, 2014 at 03:30 AWST)

    New submitter katiewilliam (3621675) writes with a story at Hardware Zone about a new feature that Google's working on for Android phones' built-in cameras: the illusion of shallow depth of field in phone snapshots, which typically err on the side of too much in focus, rather than too little. Excerpting: "The Google Research Blog [note: here's a direct link] revealed that there's quite a fair bit of algorithms running to achieve this effect; to put it in a nutshell, computer vision algorithms create a 3D model of the world based on the shots you have taken, and estimate the depth to every point in the scene."

    Read more of this story at Slashdot.

    GNOME Look: Conky Clean Rings 20140419 (Desklets)

    (posted on Sunday April 20, 2014 at 03:21 AWST)

    ThumbnailConky Clean Rings 20140419
    Conky Clean Rings

    I would like to acknowledge the following authors in providing the material to create this Conky:

    Yirt for some of the code in Conky CPU-MEM-NET:
    Hardba11 for code from Conky_Grey Blue Variation:

    I borrowed & changed from both + tidbits from many other sources to create Clean Rings---THANK ALL OF YOU!!!

    You are free to change/modify/use any of these sources - just give me some credit :)

    Everything \"should\" line up--If not, edit as you want....

    To install just move or copy the \" .Conky \" hidden folder to your user/home folder!

    Don\'t forget to install the fonts!

    Have Fun!!!!

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    Digital Photography School: Light Blaster [ For Special Effects Lighting ] a Review

    Digital Photography School (posted on Sunday April 20, 2014 at 03:00 AWST)

    Sometimes a new piece of camera equipment will let you do something better, faster, or cheaper. But sometimes it lets you do something wholly new, that nothing else can do, and it opens up a whole new world of creative opportunities. The Light Blaster is that kind of gear.

    Light blaster 33 1024 resize

    By combining a flash, a lens, and one of many different slides which you can buy or provide yourself, the Light Blaster lets you project an image into your scene or onto the subject. Like any new piece of equipment there’s a bit of a learning curve, but you can create effects that add to your photo in ways only possible with tricky DIY hacks until now.

    How it works

    The Light Blaster is a strong plastic shell that acts as a mount to hold the three key elements – lens, flash and slide – securely in place and in the correct relative positions. You provide a lens and a flash. The lens attaches to the front via an EOS bayonet mount (a Nikon adapter is available). There’s no lock, but it is held firmly. At the back you slide in your flash, which is held in place with a strong leather friction-secured strap, which is adjustable and held in place with velcro. Flashes of many sizes are accepted, and I tested with a Canon 580EX and a Lumopro 160.

    In the centre of the Light Blaster there is a slot which accepts the provided caddy. The caddy holds the slide which is to be projected. You can use standard mounted 35mm slides or small plastic sheets about the size of a coloured gel you might put on the front of your flash. Just on that topic: you can gel the flash you’re using to give a colour tint to the projected image as well. The caddy is super easy to swap, although putting the slide in can be a wee bit fiddly. Topping off the well designed and sturdy construction is a metal tripod thread on the bottom in the thickest part of the plastic body so that you can securely mount the whole arrangement on a light stand.

    Looking at the whole thing assembled, one might think it’s a bit precarious and that the lens or flash could be bumped and fall out, but that was not my experience at all. Everything felt sturdy and secure, and I didn’t mind picking up the light stand with everything attached and moving it around the set.

    The Light Blaster also comes with a convenient case which safely holds everything, including a whole bunch of slides and an extra caddy in a small package with a fabric handle.

    The Results

    While I was testing out the Light Blaster I used it primarily in three different ways:

    1. Projecting onto the background
    2. Projecting onto a model
    3. Projecting into the air itself with the aid of a smoke machine

    Here are some examples:

    Creek 131110 078 X3 resize

    Model: Mei Hikari

    For this shot I projected a pair of wings onto a large wall behind the subject. It was dusk and low light, so the flash projection was easily visible, even though it’s a dark wall. The contrast was enhanced in post processing. The image projected ended up being about three meters wide. It took a few shots to get myself and the model lined up exactly right, since you can only see the projection on the camera screen. Have a look at the rest of the photos from this shoot here.

    Creek 140319 236 X3 resize

    Model: Graciously

    I used the Light Blaster to project a simple circle of light onto the backdrop behind my model in this burlesque style shoot for a “stage” feel. While a snoot can restrict the light to a spot, only a focussed light can create the sharp clean edge I wanted, like a stage spotlight, or the Light Blaster. See more photos from this shoot.

    Creek 140319 383 X3 resize

    Model: Graciously

    Later in the same shoot I fired up my smoke machine, and using a random geometric pattern on one of the effects slides, I created cool light beams through the smoke. The shafts of light you see wouldn’t be possible with a single light. It needs to be broken up in order to cast shadows into the smoke.

    I NXG3q3z X3 resize

    Here a photo of autumn leaves was projected directly onto the model and background, creating interesting layers of texture and shadow. I filled in the shadow of the model’s face with a tightly gridded flash to make his whole face visible. Projecting onto the model can be tricky to get right, but the results can be impressive. I want to experiment more with this technique. I think it is particularly well suited to art nude photography.

    Any Problems?

    There’s a couple of potential ‘gotchas’ when using the Light Blaster, which you’ll need to overcome and learn how to work with, but that’s true of any piece of gear in your kit.

    Firstly, you’ll most likely want the projected image to be in focus, which is achieved by turning the focus ring on the attached lens, (make sure it’s in manual focus mode). Since the image is only visible when the flash fires, you’ll need to use a flashlight in place of the flash before you add the flash to the back. You’ll need the set to be quite dark or use a bright flashlight to see well enough to focus, and if you move the Light Blaster relative to the surface it’s being projected onto, you’ll need to take the flash out and re-focus.

    As mentioned in the first example shot above, it can be tricky to get the best placement of the image, your model and yourself. You might need to take several shots and make small adjustments each time.

    Because there’s a powerful flash shining through the slide, the blacks are never going to be truly black. Some of the light will still pass through the black ink or emulsion, so the contrast might not be as good as you’d like it to be. To address this issue, a brand new set of laser-cut metal “slides” has just been announced for the Light Blaster. This will give you absolutely solid blacks.


    I had a great deal of fun testing this product, and I’m looking forward to using it in future shoots. With a good variety of effects slides available from the Light Blaster site, the ability to take any 35mm slide, and even home-printed acetate slides, there is literally unlimited creative potential. You can put any backdrop you like behind your subjects, and transport them to another world. Or you can use it in ways similar to what I have here. Have a look at the Light Blaster site for more example photos. For under $100, this is a super versatile creative tool to add to your kit.

    Want more on special lighting techniques? Try these articles:

    The post Light Blaster [ For Special Effects Lighting ] a Review by appeared first on Digital Photography School.


    Slashdot: Beer Price Crisis On the Horizon

    Slashdot (posted on Sunday April 20, 2014 at 02:10 AWST)

    Rambo Tribble (1273454) writes "The aficionados of beer and distilled spirits could be in for a major price-shock, if proposals by the Food and Drug Administration come to pass. Currently, breweries are allowed to sell unprocessed brewing by-products to feed farm animals. Farmers prize the nutritious, low-cost feed. But, new rules proposed by the FDA could force brewers to implement costly processing facilities or dump the by-products as waste. As one brewer put it, "Beer prices would go up for everybody to cover the cost of the equipment and installation.""

    Read more of this story at Slashdot.

    GNOME Look: Subtle Godzilla (GNOME Wallpaper 1920x1200)

    (posted on Sunday April 20, 2014 at 01:08 AWST)

    ThumbnailSubtle Godzilla
    (GNOME Wallpaper 1920x1200)
    Subtle Godzilla [1920x1080]

    Removed Advertisement

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    Slashdot: Heartbleed Used To Bypass 2-Factor Authentication, Hijack User Sessions

    Slashdot (posted on Sunday April 20, 2014 at 01:03 AWST)

    wiredmikey (1824622) writes "Security nightmares sparked by the Heartbleed OpenSSL vulnerability continue. According to Mandiant, now a unit of FireEye, an attacker was able to leverage the Heartbleed vulnerability against the VPN appliance of a customer and hijack multiple active user sessions. The attack bypassed both the organization's multifactor authentication and the VPN client software used to validate that systems connecting to the VPN were owned by the organization and running specific security software. "Specifically, the attacker repeatedly sent malformed heartbeat requests to the HTTPS web server running on the VPN device, which was compiled with a vulnerable version of OpenSSL, to obtain active session tokens for currently authenticated users," Mandiant's Christopher Glyer explained. "With an active session token, the attacker successfully hijacked multiple active user sessions and convinced the VPN concentrator that he/she was legitimately authenticated." After connecting to the VPN, the attacker attempted to move laterally and escalate his/her privileges within the victim organization, Mandiant said."

    Read more of this story at Slashdot.

    GNOME Look: Milky Way Over Mount Rainier (GNOME Wallpaper 1600x1200)

    (posted on Sunday April 20, 2014 at 00:52 AWST)

    ThumbnailMilky Way Over Mount Rainier
    (GNOME Wallpaper 1600x1200)
    Milky Way Over Mount Rainier

    Removed advertisement.

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    Saturday April 19, 2014

    Slashdot: Russia Writes Off 90 Percent of North Korea Debt

    Slashdot (posted on Saturday April 19, 2014 at 23:47 AWST)

    jones_supa (887896) writes "In Russia, the State Duma (lower house) on Friday ratified a 2012 agreement to write off the bulk of North Korea's debt. It said the total debt stood at $10.96 billion as of Sept. 17, 2012. Russia sees this lucrative in advancing the plans to build a gas pipe and railroad through North to South Korea. The rest of the debt, $1.09 billion, would be redeemed during the next 20 years, to be paid in equal installments every six months. The outstanding debt owed by North Korea will be managed by Russia's state development bank, Vnesheconombank. Moscow has been trying to diversify its energy sales to Asia away from Europe, which, in its turn, wants to cut its dependence on oil and gas from the erstwhile Cold War foe. Russia's state-owned top natural producer Gazprom is dreaming shipping 10 billion cubic meters of gas annually through the Koreas. Russia has written off debts to a number of impoverished Soviet-era allies, including Cuba. North Korea's struggling communist economy is just 2 percent of the size of neighboring South's."

    Read more of this story at Slashdot.

    Digital Photography School: HDR Darkroom 3 Software Review

    Digital Photography School (posted on Saturday April 19, 2014 at 23:00 AWST)

    Digital cameras may be making incremental improvements with dynamic range capabilities, but are still lacking in terms of what they can capture. Bracketing multiple exposures of the same scene and merging them together with tone mapping software is one way of creating an HDR photograph allowing you to capture the full range of the scene in front of your camera.


    The people at Everimaging have recently upgraded their HDR tone mapping software offering to its third edition, and as a result today we’re going to talk about HDRDarkroom 3. It’s available for both Mac and Windows users, and a free trial version can be downloaded from their site.

    What’s Cool About HDR Darkroom 3?

    The number one thing that stands out to me is the user interface. The simplicity of the way that HDR Darkroom 3 uses presets to get you started with tone mapping is unique, and takes a lot of the work out of finding the right starting point. The program is also stripped down in a way that gives even the most novice HDR photographer an easy learning curve to get started.


    When you launch the program you can choose from three different import methods: New HDR, Single Photo and Batch. These work as you might expect where New HDR allows you to choose the set of bracketed images that you’d like to work on, single photo allows you to tone map a single photograph and batch processing allows for processing a batch of HDRs using the same settings.

    For this review I’ll be using a three bracket set I took while photographing waterfalls recently. When importing photographs you can have HDR Darkroom 3 align the images by either a fast method or advanced method. When switching between the two options there is no difference to the user interface (both options are completely software driven) so I’m assuming this is just going to depend on the amount of time it takes for the merge to be completed.

    On top of the alignment you can also have HDR Darkroom 3 take care of ghosting effects by checking the appropriate box. Again, this is a very simplistic approach, where the user is left at the mercy of the algorithm inside the program with no ability to customize which areas of the photograph to focus on, or the intensity of the ghosting effect removal.


    After importing your image you are defaulted to the ‘Classic’ preset which is a very standard almost uninteresting HDR image. On top of this preset the program comes packed with 15 more for you to choose from and the option to save any modifications that you’ve made as custom presets.

    HDR Darkroom 3, unlike the other programs in the industry, actually forces you to start with a preset. You choose which one you like best for the image that you’re working on and each one will change the image to achieve a particular look.


    When you have found a preset that you like for the image, you can then customize it to your liking with three different sliders for Saturating, Exposure and Vignette as well as an advanced button for more freedom in the editing process.


    Once in the advanced section you have access to many of the tools you might expect like: tone mapping, basic exposure and contrast control, highlight and shadow adjustments, white and black point adjustments, and other tools for color, smoothness and even lens correction.


    Overall, HDR Darkroom 3 does do a good job at processing a bracketed set of photographs with a slick, easy to use interface to boot. However, for those who do want a little more control, it might be just a bit too limiting. One of the biggest things that I felt was missing was a local adjustment brush for finer control over where effects were being applied.


    How’s HDR Darkroom 3 handle worst case high dynamic range?

    The waterfall photo above that I used for the walkthrough is a fairly easy shot for an HDR process as its low on dynamic range and won’t really push the software to its maximum potential. But, I didn’t want to be too unfair in the introduction.

    So let’s take it a bit further, let’s try and and do something close to a worst case scenario HDR. The image below is made up of three bracketed images shot at +2, 0, -2 directly into the sun. Plus there’s snow and shadows in the foreground to deal with as well, making for a truly difficult shot.

    Admittedly HDR Darkroom 3 did struggle here, I tried to recover those highlights in the sky, but no matter what I did they were always blown out. Below are screenshots of three different presets plus advanced adjustments that I applied in order to try to control the image.

    Sunset-HDR-Darkroom3.2 Sunset-HDRDarkroom-3.3 Sunset-HDR-Darkroom3

    While the presets make for some easy switching between different effects of HDR, the overall fine-tuning control of the process is lacking in some situations. On most occasions when I went to reduce the highlights I was left with something that was lacking detail and muted in color. Not to mention the sliders are very heavy handed and effect a much larger portion of the tone curve than the respectively named ones in Lightroom.

    The best I was able to come up with, shown below, has a few issues with haloing around the trees (the blown out highlights around the sun. It’s something that you may be able to fix in Photoshop later by masking in the sky from one of the brackets, but that’s beyond the scope of this review.

    HDR Darkroom 3

    HDR Darkroom 3 Final

    Compared to the Merge to 32-Bit Lightroom Plugin by HDR Soft

    Being that this was a challenging photograph it’s worth checking out two other HDR options to see how they would handle the same scene. Both of the options I’m testing below are offered by HDRSoft. One of these is very budget friendly at a price of $29, while the other one is more comparably priced to HDR Darkroom 3 listing for only $10 more at $99.

    Our budget friendly option is a plugin called Merge to 32-bit HDR for Lightroom. It’s a very simple process that really strips out the tone mapping process of creating an HDR image, but still allows you to merge the data from a bracketed set of photos directly inside of Lightroom 4 and greater. For more about how it works you can read Five Minutes to Realistic HDR using Lightroom and a 32-Bit Plugin.

    Now it’s not surprising that the 32-bit plugin struggled with this photograph, as after all, it is very limited. However, because it imports the 32-bit TIFF file back into Lightroom for you to work on, I think it may have handled the highlights in the sky slightly better than HDR Darkroom 3, it’s a judgement call, but for the price difference I’d say it’s a win.


    Merge to 32-Bit HDR Plugin for Lightroom

    HDR Darkroom 3 Versus Photomatix 5.0

    Next up would be the flagship offering from HDRSoft, and one of the leaders in the HDR tone mapping word, Photomatix 5.0. It’s no surprise to me that Photomatix did a fairly decent job with the foreground detail and even most of the sky, it still had some problems with the sun, but that’s not surprising given the circumstances of the image set.


    Photomatix 5.0 + Quick Lightroom Cleanup

    Overall I’d argue that this particular image set is one of the more challenging that you will run through an HDR tone mapping software, and all three options above gave it a fair attempt.

    My thoughts on the three software in terms of how they did overall:

    • Photomatix 5.0 – Probably did the best overall job at merging the three images. However, it’s a more involved process, requires more training, and ultimately isn’t a standalone editor you’re going to need to clean up the tone mapped image in LR or some other program after the fact.
    • Merge to 32-Bit plugin - It’s quick and dirty. You are able to collect more data from the scene and basically create an HDR image without ever leaving Lightroom all for less than 30 dollars. Yes it’s limited, but it’s also affordable.
    • HDR Darkroom 3 - Like I said at the start of this article – I think HDR Darkroom 3′s best features are its user interface and intuitive preset oriented process of tone mapping images. I’d argue that it struggles the most when it comes to complicated scenes mainly due to the fact that the localized tone controls of highlights and shadows are a bit heavy handed and could stand to be more refined.

    Would I Recommend HDR Darkroom 3?

    HDR Darkroom 3 is a bit more affordable than some of the other premium tone-mapping solutions out there and does make a fair attempt at providing a good amount of the basic functionality into a nice looking and affordable package.

    I think it boils down to this…

    If you’re the type of person who likes to keep it simple and you don’t mind giving up a bit of control for the sake of simplicity then HDR Darkroom 3 might be the best option for you. But I’d urge you to check out the Merge to 32-Bit plugin first, as it may be all you need considering the price points.

    However, I just can’t recommend it to those who are looking for a full featured product with total control over the HDR tone mapping process – there are better tools for the job such as Photomatix Pro and the small amount of savings here just doesn’t justify what you’ll give up.

    Have you used HDR Darkroom 3? Tell us your own thoughts on it in the comments below – after all I’m just one opinion.

    The post HDR Darkroom 3 Software Review by appeared first on Digital Photography School.


    Slashdot: The Design Flaw That Almost Wiped Out an NYC Skyscraper

    Slashdot (posted on Saturday April 19, 2014 at 22:45 AWST)

    Hugh Pickens DOT Com (2995471) writes "Joel Werner writes in Slate that when Citicorp Center was built in 1977 it was, at 59 stories, the seventh-tallest building in the world but no one figured out until after it was built that although the chief structural engineer, William LeMessurier, had properly accounted for perpendicular winds, the building was particularly vulnerable to quartering winds — in part due to cost-saving changes made to the original plan by the contractor. "According to LeMessurier, in 1978 an undergraduate architecture student contacted him with a bold claim about LeMessurier's building: that Citicorp Center could blow over in the wind," writes Werner. "LeMessurier realized that a major storm could cause a blackout and render the tuned mass damper inoperable. Without the tuned mass damper, LeMessurier calculated that a storm powerful enough to take out the building hit New York every 16 years." In other words, for every year Citicorp Center was standing, there was about a 1-in-16 chance that it would collapse." (Read on for more.)

    Read more of this story at Slashdot.

    GNOME Look: The Circle 0.2 (GNOME Icon Theme)

    (posted on Saturday April 19, 2014 at 21:09 AWST)

    ThumbnailThe Circle 0.2
    (GNOME Icon Theme)
    This icons set from The Circle icons for mac.

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    GNOME Look: linux-mint (GNOME Wallpaper 1920x1200)

    (posted on Saturday April 19, 2014 at 20:24 AWST)

    (GNOME Wallpaper 1920x1200)

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    OpenBSD Journal: ALTQ removed from -current

    OpenBSD Journal (posted on Saturday April 19, 2014 at 19:44 AWST)

    In between all the OpenSSL sound and fury it could have been easy to miss, but one of the likely Big News candidates for OpenBSD 5.6 just happened: Removal of the ALTQ traffic shaping system.

    The commit message by Henning Brauer (henning@) reads:

    CVSROOT:	/cvs
    Module name:	src
    Changes by:	2014/04/19 04:07:44
    Modified files:
    	sys/conf       : GENERIC 
    Log message:
    -option ALTQ