Vivitar K mount lens with Pentax digital SLR k100d

Old manual focus lenses are super cheap, and very compatible with current Pentax digital SLRs.
Because the CMOS sensor in digital SLRs are not as larger as a 35mm film cell, you end up with the lens delivering 1.5x the focal length it would on a film camera, which is kind of nice on a telephoto lens, but a hassle with wide angle.
Anyway, some old Vivitar lenses won’t fit on new Pentax digitals, the little guard for the aperture pin is too wide. I got myself a very cheap ($20!) Vivitar 70-210mm zoom off ebay, and needed to trim down the guard so it would fit.

1) here is a pic showing the enlarged guard. The kit lens with my k100d is about a third the length, only a centimeter or so.
I am going to cut the guard back to just after it reaches its full height.

2) Remove the two *tiny* screws that hold the ring in place. Don’t lose them!
You might want to do this in an environment less dusty than my workshop, but I like to live dangerously.
3) Clamp the ring securely in a vise. Be careful, the metal is quite brittle and more likely to snap than bend.4) Carefully saw away the superfluous guard metal. I found the waste piece easily snapped off when the cut was long enough. It is necessary to support the ring while you are sawing – I held it firmly with my fingers next to where the blade was cutting. I also only used the draw stroke so the cutting was more gentle.

5) Re-attach the ring. You can see the silver arc where the guard was cut away. I was intending to file the rough edge, but it is not too bad, so didn’t bother. Now would be the time to find the screws you lost earlier.

7) All done. Here are some snaps showing the zoom range:

For more details on using manual lenses with Pentax digital SLRs see here.

0x0000007B Inaccessible_boot_device fixed

I spent most of Sunday trying to sort out a super weird error.
I was trying to get some info back off a dead disk (and the DVD back-ups are showing errors too – grrrr) so I added the dead disk as a slave off my desktop.
It took me a couple of attempts to get the jumpers right on my main disk as it was ambiguous about which setting to use for master, and whether that setting would limit total drive capacity to 32GB. So after a few reboots I get the bootloader screen that says loading windows, but then bang!, BSOD with the error 0x0000007B Inaccessible_boot_device and a load of advice around disk management, viruses and hardware conflicts.
My first thought was I had booted off the dead disk, so I removed it but got the same error. Now my dead disk was poisoning others!
Lots of frustration followed, taking the disk out and checking it in another PC, flipping jumper and bios settings, as that had been the last things I touched, but eventually the system booted fine. Hmmm. No errors to be found on checking the disk.
Later, I decided to try a final time to get the data off that dead drive. I knew the jumper settings now so it would be fast. I plugged in the dead slave again, hit thepower, both drives show up fine in the BIOS check, but BANG! 0x0000007B Inaccessible_boot_device.
The conversation went something like this “I thought you had fixed that computer” “I did, but now I’ve fixed it a little bit more and its broken again.”
Removing the slave didn’t fix it this time, nothing would, but the disk checked out fine in another system.
Eventually, I decided to pack it up and come back to it. I slid the drive back into the chassis, which requires taking out the system RAM,and gave it one last flick of the switch – SUCCESS! I discovered that the IDE ribbon must have a dry joint somewhere. When it was twisted with the drive not in the chassis – like when I was trying the dead slave, the contact is good enough to load the MBR, but dies straight after. Very non-intuitive. So it might be worth eliminating hardware as a potential failure if you hit this error yourself.

Response to an Australian ID card

The senate is looking at the proposed access card, which with a name, photo and signature is likely to become ade facto ID card. It is poorly thought out, rushed and mismanaged. Here is my submission to the inquiry.

Dear Committee Members,
I am writing to express my opposition to the Access Card in it’s proposed form.
Firstly, the card is costly as budgeted, and offers limited scope for
fraud savings in even the most optimistic projections.
Previous experience locally and internationally shows such complex IT
projects are extremely prone to budget overrun.
Secondly, the rationale for the card is unclear. The claimed benefit
of reducing 17 cards to one is nonsensical, since some of the 17 cards
are exclusionary nobody will see a benefit of that scale. For the vast
majority, it will replace a single Medicare card, and offer no
advantage. Additionally, the administrative costs and hurdles to
issuing the card are likely to negate any overall benefit.
If there are really too many entitlements cards, replace 16 with 1,
and leave the bulk of people with only a Medicare card unaffected.
Thirdly, the inclusion of a signature and photograph on the card face
will encourage its use as an ID card, even if laws prevent its demand.
Those reluctant to provide the card to a voluntary request will be
stigmatised as potentially somebody with something to hide.
The inclusion of card face photo and signature does not appear to
further any aims of the card as stated, and seems ripe for it to be
abused. Should the card proceed I strongly oppose the inclusion of
this information on its face.
Fourthly, the minimal analysis conducted to date provided
recommendations from Professor Fels group that have only partially
been accepted, there is a need for more considered analysis and a
commitment to implement any recommendations.
Finally, I object to the haste, lack of adequate consultation, poorly
articulated scope, secretive approach to process and the amateurish
approach to date in managing this project. A project of such scope is
extremely serious, complex and far-reaching. To attempt to deliver it
in the haphazard way demonstrated to date is seeking failure and
increasing risk.
For these reasons I urge the committee to recommend:
– A careful, transparent and thorough review of the proposal,
including consideration of alternatives.
– A reduced scope for the card to maximise chances of success should
it proceed, including consideration of removing medicare card
replacement from the scope.
– Release of budget and analysis documents currently kept from the public, and;
– removal of photograph and signature information from the card’s face.
Yours Sincerely,
Michael Skeggs
242 Leura Mall
Leura NSW

ETR as a feature of a car stereo

I just spent ages trying to work out what the feature
“ETR” is with a car stereo.
It stands for eletronic tuning radio, but it was a bugger to find.
Here are some meta search key words to help any other poor person find this a bit easier:
AM/FM ETR/PLL car audio stereo tape cassette CD ETR means, ETR stands for eletronic tuning radio

Submission to Fair Use and Other Copyright Exceptions

The Attourney General is still mulling over the possibility of a “fair use” exception to copyrights in Australia, something the US takes for granted, and makes creepy laws like the DMCA less scary for them. Recently there was a call for submissions on an issue paper. Below is my contribution to the murky pool of IP debate.

Submission to Fair Use and Other Copyright Exceptions

Ms Helen Daniels

Assistant Secretary

Copyright Law Branch

Attorney-General’s Department

Robert Garran Offices

National Circuit


Dear Ms Daniels,

Please find my submission regarding fair use and copyright exceptions listed below.

Firstly, I note that the issues paper states copyright promotes content creation “It does this by providing exclusive economic rights to copyright owners to control certain uses of their works.” I would remark that it is essential that these rights be applied only for a limited time, allowing the entire community to benefit freely from the works when they enter the public domain.

Secondly, I urge the Attorney-General to reform copyright law in Australia to provide enhanced flexibility for end users. Such a reform is necessary to maintain the balance between rights holders and the community that has been shifted in favour of rights holders by the adoption of the USFTA.

Thirdly, I would urge the addition of a broad fair use exemption to existing laws that is technology neutral and that eliminates anomalies in current laws operation (such as format shifting, time shifting and non-commercial sharing amongst friends).

Fourthly, I would oppose the introduction of any tariff on blank media, as these media can be used for many purposes other than copyright infringement

Fifthly, should either a fair use exemption or a statutory licence be adopted, I would urge that a complementary regulation be adopted to prevent rights holders limiting fair use or statutory licensed copying by technological means.

I thank the Attorney-General for this opportunity to comment.

Mountain Journey

Too far now, from the flat plains below, the mountains creep up to the sky.

The train launches up to Lapstone, placing the city on a board far below.

Still the track winds upwards, leaving die-straight gums behind, filled with knee-high scrub and framed by steep rock cliffs.

Carving a path through humps of sandstone, dribbling red smears of iron rust through the roots of long grey grasses scrabbling for purchase.

Under the brick bridge then to burst out again in the westering light that casts long shadows pointing toward Lithgow.

Glenbrook trickles in, a relief of brick and fibro and tile after the wild cliffs and crevasses of the park.

Walled by pocked sandstone, its golden glow stained by dark run off and chipped and cracked, and extending as the tracks brother, sometimes rising, sometimes falling as the silver can shoots through.

A gash through the greenery slides into view as the tar ribbons of Blaxland approach. Neat lawns and cosy homes perch on either side of the twins of transport, track and highway, pushing on up the rise.

Dark ahead and winding through scattered lights the track goes on.