Also went out for a 6 mile mountain bike ride this evening. Planning to do some longer road rides this season. Here’s hoping I actually follow-through. ?

We traveled to Bluffton, Indiana for the eclipse. There were some high clouds, but overall viewing conditions were good.

I photographed it using an older 5D Mark II with an EF 100-400L lens. I took about 40 shots during totality at various exposures, and picked 4 to process as a stack. My aim was to pull out the detail of the corona. Pretty happy with the results!

Eclipse Stack.

I’ve been seeing a lot of questions online about how to photograph the eclipse or what kind of filters to use. I photographed the last eclipse back in August 2017 (I captured the photo above during totality). Here are some tips from that experience…

During totality, you’re safe photographing without a filter at any focal length. The sun is blocked, and it looks like night up toward the sun (which is just a mildly-bright ring in the sky), and lighter along the horizon. I would estimate that looking at the sun in totality is about as comfortable as looking up at a full moon in a night sky.

It’s tricky when you are in totality though, because you can get caught off-guard when totality ends if you haven’t put the filter back on your camera (or if you are viewing the sun while totality ends). Set a timer for just before totality is supposed to end to give yourself a heads-up.

If you are out of totality at all (even at 99% coverage), you need a filter if your camera is pointed straight at the sun at a medium to telephoto focal length (> 35-50mm). If you have a wider angle lens and frame the sun mid-frame or near an edge, less sunlight is directly impacting your sensor and you don’t need a filter. Without a filter, you still need to use some caution when the sunlight isn’t hitting your lens straight-on, because you can always damage the side of your lens barrel or the edge of your camera mount, if the sunlight gets focused on those areas by being off-center.

So how do you determine if you are zoomed in enough to need a filter? If you are consciously “zooming in” to take a picture of the sun, use a filter. If you are taking a picture of the environment around you, like you would on any other sunny day, and the sun just happens to be in the frame, you probably don’t need a filter.

Assuming you need to choose a filter, solar filters are safer than ND filters (no matter the strength of the ND). ND filters are only guaranteed to block visible light, but the sun projects a much broader range of the EM spectrum. Solar filters will block that ultraviolet and long wave IR light as well. If the other wavelengths aren’t blocked, you could damage your camera sensor (or worse, your eyes) from something you can’t even physically see. Make sure your solar filter is ISO 12312-2 certified.

When photographing an eclipse with a mirrorless camera, you are more likely to damage the camera. When photographing with a DSLR, you are more likely to damage your eyes. With a DSLR, if you are pointed at the sun and the mirror is closed (assuming you aren’t in live view or capturing video), then any strong sunlight will reflect off the mirror, through the prism and out the viewfinder. The camera itself is relatively safe, because the light is only passing through it. With a mirrorless camera, the light will be hitting the sensor or shutter at all times, either burning the sensor or melting the thin blades of the shutter. In other words, the camera can be damaged much more easily, but at no point can the sunlight reach your eyes because you are just looking at a screen.

With all this being said, for my setup this time around I’ll be using a DSLR with a 400mm lens and solar filter to photograph the sun. That way I can remove the filter during totality without much risk of damaging the camera if totality ends before I’m able to put the filter back on. Additionally, I’ll setup my modern mirrorless camera to capture photos and video of the landscape around us at around 24mm with a manual exposure adjusted for a daytime scene. This will give me a way to capture the event in multiple ways with minimal chance of damaging my cameras or eyesight.

Wishing you clear skies…

When I was a student at UCSB, I worked in the Computer Support group for the Electrical and Computer Engineering department.

While I never met him personally, I passed by Nakamura’s office countless times when working. Every time I passed, I thought how amazing it was that the inventor of the blue LED was a professor at our university.

This was a fascinating story of how the blue LED was invented:

This week I started learning to write Sourcery stencils. I’ve never been a huge fan of writing code that generates other code, so this is new to me.

The interesting thing with Sourcery is how I felt like I was completely flailing on getting anything to work up until a point, and then something just clicked. After that, I became much more productive. It was surprising to me just how apparent the switch was while it was taking place.

My first Mac was a Mac 512k that my parents brought home one day when I was 7. I can’t count the number of hours I spent in MacPaint on that 9” screen.

The first Mac I personally purchased was a PowerBook 5300 (the grayscale one), which I bought for college.

Happy 40th, Mac.

I’m working on restoring files on a Linux server from a Synology Active Backup. It was going pretty quick for larger files, leading me to think it must check file checksums or something to make sure the file has changed before restoring it. However, once it got to the small files, the checksum checks take more bandwidth than just overwriting with the same file.

Currently 13 hours into the restore and have sent about twice as much data over the network than the original restore size.

Pascal was the first language I learned to code. I took a programming class in high school. The school computer lab had Mac Classics for each student. I remember every row of computers in the lab had an AppleTalk network to an inkjet printer at the end of the row.

My parents bought me a license of THINK Pascal so I could practice on my Mac II at home.


I came across my grandfather’s Canon AE-1 a few days ago. I got the shutter to trigger one time, then it didn’t work.

The internet says a non-functioning shutter could be due to a dead battery. The camera hasn’t been used in years (decades?). On a whim I ordered a new battery.

It arrived today and the shutter is working great! I’m guessing it triggered once before the battery swap due to a remaining charge in a capacitor, which amazes me thinking about it.

Time to buy some film…

I sold my EOS R earlier this evening.  I’m glad it’s going to be getting use instead of sitting on a shelf, and I couldn’t be happier with my R5, but it’s always sad to see a camera go.  I imagine it has something to do with being the tool used to capture so many memories.  So long, friend.


Purchased a Supermicro 2U server with a 14 core 2690 v4 CPU for barely more than the price of the chassis alone. Bumped the configuration to 256GB of RAM for just $125 more.  

It should be a healthy upgrade from the 6 core 2013 Mac Pro it will replace. Eventually I’d like to upgrade to an Epyc Rome/Milan build in the same chassis, but I figured I might as well try this setup first. If it’s not quick enough, I’ll just buy the new motherboard/CPU and reuse the RAM.


This video finishes the series I started last year with getting a short-term rental property ready to rent. In this video I go over the networking equipment and the general setup we’re using to offer WiFi for our guests.

The UniFi Dream Machine has been working well for over a year now. Since recording this video, I’ve had to do one remote update of the firmware for a major vulnerability in October, 2023. The update worked without a hitch.

Watch on YouTube

Even though there are a few head-scratchers with the M3 Pro, in general the new M3 MacBook Pros look like a nice update. The Max with 12 P cores and 4 E cores looks like an especially nice configuration, albeit at a price.

I’m still holding tight with my M1 Max (maybe an M4 will have my name on it), but it’s exciting to see the performance gains continuing to made with each generation.

That wraps up the car maintenance this week.

On Tuesday I took it in for new summer tries (Continental ExtremeContact Sport O2’s…so far they have been super-sticky). Then yesterday it had an oil change.

Feels pretty smooth after everything’s been done.

It’s been awhile, but I spent some time this weekend contributing to an open source project. After getting a Unifi PDU last week, I wanted to be able to see power metrics in my Grafana setup.  

Unpoller had a lot of code attempting to add support, but the main dev didn’t have hardware to test with. I pushed it the rest of the way and posted a PR:

It was my first chance to work with Go, so that made things a little interesting.

Power usage


Had a drive die in my TrueNAS SSD pool (8x 2TB in mirrored VDEVs) earlier this week.

Decided to order 2x 3.84TB replacements to swap the entire VDEV, because solid state prices have plummeted this past year. I’ll have an unbalanced pool, but thinking unbalanced SSDs shouldn’t have too big of a performance impact.

Will keep the good 2TB SSD as a cold spare for the next failure.