Category Archives: Interesting

Computer data workflow

With the new computer setup, the following is my workflow.

  • Take pictures/video.
  • Backup the data from the compact flash card to the Colorspace UDMA.
  • Copy the data from the card onto the computer via a Lexar Professional Firewire 800 CF Reader.
  • The data resides on the OCZ RevoDrive. This is known as the temporary drive (because I don’t care if I lose it at this stage). But the PCI-E interface combined with 4 SSD drives in RAID0 mode makes for blinding access rates (read up to 740 MB/s, write up to 690 MB/s).
  • Preview the pictures with Adobe Bridge.
  • Process the data with Adobe Photoshop or Adobe Premier Pro/Adobe After Effects. 16 Gb and 6 3.2Ghz cores make for fast work.
  • Save the data on the temporary drive.
  • When happy with the final product, copy the data to the local Seagate Terrabyte drive.
  • Back the data up over Gigabit Ethernet to the Synology NAS RAID6 array.
  • Occasionally sync the NAS RAID6 array to a duplicate NAD RAID6 array (which is kept offsite at my office).

As for timings, for 200 files (2758MB) on a Photofast 533X Plus Compact Flash Card, it takes:

  • 3 minutes, 35 seconds to backup to the Colorspace UDMA.
  • 1 minute, 8 seconds to copy from the Lexar Professional Firewire 800 CF Reader to the OCZ RevoDrive.
  • 1 minute, 28 seconds to copy from the Colorspace UDMA (via USB 2.0) to the OCZ RevoDrive.
  • 1 minute, 56 seconds for Adobe Bridge to cache thumbnail and preview images on the OCZ RevoDrive.

I am curious how fast the Lexar Professional USB 3.0 Dual-Slot Reader will be on my system.

New Computer

I like my new computer. It is pretty fast. And great for picture processing and video editing. The only drawback is that it generates a lot of heat. My house air conditioner is not well suited for keeping my office cold while keeping the rest of my house warm (79). Maybe I should buy a window AC?

It’s always a little scary putting a bunch of components together. You never know if the computer will work correctly when you turn it on for the first time.

Here is what I purchased:

Antec Nine Hundred Two Black Steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case

GIGABYTE GA-890FXA-UD5 AM3 AMD 890FX SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX AMD Motherboard

AMD Phenom II X6 1090T Black Edition Thuban 3.2GHz 6 x 512KB L2 Cache 6MB L3 Cache Socket AM3 125W Six-Core Desktop Processor

SAPPHIRE 100297L Radeon HD 5830 1GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.1 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFireX Support Video Card w/ ATI Eyefinity Technology


Thermaltake Black Widow W0319RU 850W ATX 12V v2.3, EPS 12V v2.91 CrossFire Certified 80 PLUS BRONZE Certified Modular Active PFC Power Supply

Kingston 16GB (4 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 (PC3 10600) Desktop Memory Model

Intel X25-M Mainstream SSDSA2MH160G2R5 2.5" 160GB SATA II MLC Internal Solid State Drive

OCZ RevoDrive X2 OCZSSDPX-1RVDX0240 PCI-E 240GB PCI-Express x4 MLC Internal Solid State Drive

Seagate Barracuda XT ST32000641AS 2TB 7200 RPM 64MB Cache SATA 6.0Gb/s 3.5"

Pioneer Black 12X BD-R 2X BD-RE 16X DVD+R 5X DVD-RAM 8X BD-ROM 4MB Cache SATA Internal Blu-ray Burner Blu-ray Disc/DVD/CD Writer

Microsoft Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit 1-Pack for System Builders – OEM

Synology DS411J 4100 4TB (4x1TB) DiskStation 4-bay NAS Server for Small Office and Home Use

Synology DS411+ Diskless System DiskStation 4-bay All-in-1 NAS Server for SMB Users

While I technically did not buy them when I bought my computer, I did buy some more toys for speed and reliability recently. They were the RevoDrive and the two Synology RAID NAS drives.

Lately, I’ve been obsessed with the reliability of my data storage. I used to have Buffalo Terrastation NAS drive. This used RAID5. Now RAID5 is good for reliability. But if a second drive fails during a rebuild of the first failed drive, then you can lose your data.

While doing research, I came across Synology. They supported RAID6 (among all of the others) and they supported a bunch of other features. They are actually small computers running Linux. I liked the fact that I would not need another computer to synchronize my data between the two NAS storage units. I could ssh directly into the NAS box and perform my rsync there.

So I bought a Synology DS411J with 1.78 Terrabytes of storage. I definitely made a mistake here and under-bought for my future needs. Because when I was satisfied with the Synology architecture, I bought a Synology DS411+ with 5.6 terrabytes. They are both 4 drive bay systems. But the 411+ has a faster CPU which will help in computing checksums during rsyncs.

Another thing that worried me is what would happen if my house burned down or some thief stole my computer equipment? There were no backups. So I decided to have two NAS drives. One would be in my house and the second would be at work. I could easily keep them synced up. And I would have backups in those two scenarios. Of course, if Austin got nuked and I survived, I would still lose my data. A slightly better scenario would be to keep the second NAS in some other state (like Florida).

Winter Warmer beer

My friend, Ryan Harper, made another home-brewed beer for me to try out. He called it a Winter Warmer. Unfortunately, I was not able to notice the subtle tastes that he was associating with it. But it was a good beer!


I woke up on a narrow ledge, bleeding profusely. Large clouds of dust are swirling around within the confines of my safe haven. But the muffled sounds of explosions are steadily growing louder. I must move on. I roll down and splash into a muddy drainage tunnel. Dim lights are receding off into the distance. It must be other survivors leaving the area. I start running in an effort to catch up with them. But I must have been mistaken. There is only one light now. I am not giving up. Even one person can make a difference now. However, my hopes dash when I see that it is not a human. But a steadily plodding machine. I’m too tired to care now what happens. I only have enough energy to tie a rope around a protruding plate and hang on for the ride. My efforts seemed to have uncovered some stenciled letters. GeekBot 000000010000000? A one in a sea of zeroes? At least the writing is in English. I pass out again…

Chocolate bars

For some reason, my local H.E.B. doesn’t carry a good selection of dark chocolate bars. I don’t know why that is. Isn’t there anyone else around here who likes more than three choices? So I drove down to H.E.B.’s Central Market. I bought a selection of 9 different kinds of flavored dark chocolate bars for $58.36. That is 27.5 ounces of chocolate at an average of $2.12 per ounce. Which is pretty expensive. I guess that just answers my question. People around here don’t want to pay that much for candy. The Chipotle and Oaxaca were the best of the bunch. But that’s nothing new. Chocolate pairs well with spicy peppers. I didn’t like the bacon bar (too gimmicky and flavorless). Or the black salt caramel bar (the caramel was too liquid). The Black Pearl and Naga were not strong enough flavor-wise. The strawberry and mint were okay.

The Sherwood Forest Faire

Jeff, Jill, Tim, Buffy, and myself went to the Sherwood Forest Faire. It was located close to Austin out East along Highway 290.

There was this small, human powered, roller coaster set up like a joust. It was fun. Tim went first and I took some pictures. I used high-speed burst mode, but the camera’s computer assisted auto-focus didn’t track that well. Sigh. Then I took it for a whirl…

Next, we watched the performance of the Fatima Belly Dancers. They were pretty good. I took some video, but not during an entire song. Oh, well.

Then we went to see the Knights of Mayhem and their jousting show. Unfortunately, there was no real joust. Only a couple of passes with a horse throwing a spear at a stump and then taking a swing at a melon on the top of a participant’s head.

Filthy Rotten Scoundrels Mud Show

Then we went and watched the Filthy Rotten Scoundrels Mud Show. I was lucky enough to get a spot at the front row. Well, the fourth row actually, because the first three rows were within the “splash zone.” I took a bunch of pictures and some video. Unfortunately, the video was hand-held with a long lens. So it was a little shaky. I played around with Adobe’s After Effects and figured out how to stabilize certain sections of a movie. Well, mostly stabilize as it wasn’t 100% effective. Still, I learned something.

Filthy Rotten Scoundrels Mud Show from Mark Hamzy on Vimeo.

Jeff and Jill posed for a picture in one of those picture-posing-thingies. They make a very regal couple.

Austin 2011 snowfall!

Austin snowfall 2011 weather report

We got a light dusting of snow this morning! I stayed home of course. There ain’t no way I’m going to drive around in that weather. No one around here knows how to drive in rain let alone snow.

So what did I do? Make a snow angel, duh!

I went flying!

My plane

I came across a 1/2 coupon for a flight lesson from 365 things to do in Austin and decided to try it out. It was definitely fun! Although not what I thought was going to happen. There was no instruction beforehand. I jumped into the left seat and the pilot went into the right seat. The pilot started explaining how everything worked, and we just took off. Taxing to the runway was somewhat easy. As was taking off. But it was rather slow compared to a commercial jet. Flying was interesting. I liked how things were multi-dimensional. If you wanted to make a left turn, you would lose altitude and start to speed up. So you had to account for many different variables. We flew out to the downtown and then turned around and landed. Not a very long flight.