Peter on June 20th, 2010

This week has been a week of fun in our house. After 4 days on the roof, I have finally fixed the swamp cooler. Even at a hot 95% degrees outside, it was an enjoyable 75% in the house and the thing is only on low. Adter reading advice on forums on the internet, I decided to bag the expensive “blue pads” and go back to the aspen pads with all of their mess. They are much cheaper, but some people recommend double matting them (which I did on two sides). Anyhow, the house is less windy (more pad slows the air), but much cooler.

Soo, the project for today: cleaning the shower head. I found this fun video (is there anything you can’t learn how to do online?)

I am 5-6 hours in and things are looking much better. I have made up a pot of stuff to be cleaned including, the kitchen sprayer, the aerators from our bathrooms sinks and tub and off course the shower head.

Aren’t Saturdays so much fun!

Update, it worked, the vinegar did an excellent job on the shower head and the kitchen sprayer, and a descent job on the aerators for the sink (although they are in pretty bad shape). The only warning is to use some cgloves as my hands still smell, 24 hours later.

I recently read on NMSU’s extension site that Peat Moss pellets are not really a good growing substance for New Mexico. It absorbs a los of water, but its difficult to rewet when dry. I have noticed this when we plant flower or other things we start in the peat pellets, you can still find the rock solid pellet long after the plant has died. So I am looking for other cheap ways to start lots of seed and I found this cool video on making your own seed starter pots. I finally have a use for the old phone books.

Peter on June 8th, 2009

On one of my websites related to photography we are running a pretty cool contest. Microstockforum has a list of microstock related agencies. Most of the visitors of this site are stock photographers or illustrators and sell images at common agencies like iStockPhoto or Dreamstime. We have noticed that there aren’t many reviews recently and so we decided to start up a little contest / drawing. We are giving away a $50 gift certificate to B&H Photo.

If you contribute or buy images from any of the websites listed on Microstock Forum, take a few minutes and write a review for us. Who knows, you could win!

Visit: for details.

Peter on April 22nd, 2009

I learned a new word today: vishing. It seems that people have taken the ideas of phishing and applied them to traditional phone calls. Gone are the days when you could track this caller and report them. Things like Skype and Yahoo which allow internet phone call to terminate on your phone make it a great way for scammer to call you, posing as a normal phone number.

Vishing is the criminal practice of using social engineering over the telephone system to gain access to private personal and financial information from the public for the purpose of financial reward. The term is a combination of “voice” and phishing. Vishing exploits the public’s trust in landline telephone services, which have traditionally terminated in physical locations which are known to the telephone company, and associated with a bill-payer. The victim is often unaware that formerly difficult-to-abuse tools/features of caller ID spoofing, complex automated systems (IVR), low cost, and anonymity for the bill-payer widely available. Vishing is typically used to steal credit card numbers or other information used in identity theft schemes from individuals. 

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Peter on April 10th, 2009

A couple of years ago I purchased the popular stock data download program MLDownloader. It has worked pretty well for the most part (mostly because nothing works better right now and I don’t want to write it myself). I recently had a problem where it would connect to the internet and I contacted the company. There support answers where really short and didn’t solve the problem.

I ran Fiddler to see what was happening behind the scenes and say that the software is contacting their own website every time I download quotes:


Their software contacts their website with my name and serial number and a number that I am guess is my network cards MAC address. Kind of an invasion of privacy. I am all for enforce software licensing, but this is a little to far.

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Peter on April 5th, 2009

_mg_43181We had a great trip to Carlsbad this weekend. The only worry was the the power steering on the van felt like it was going out, but we siphoned and replace the fluid and then bleed the system and it seems fine. The kids really had a great time. I will probably create a larger post at the family blog later.

I searched for two hours for a way to connect through activesync to a sql server compact 3.5 database on a mobile device (in my situation a Pocket PC 2003 pda). I finally found out that its not possible. Although Visual Studio and Sql Server Management Studio can do it (they cheat), it requires special access not availible through the .net Compact Framework.

The 2 ways to do it seem to be:

  1. Copy the database from the mobile device, make the changes and then put it back.
  2. Use a 3rd party control:

See this post for more information.

Peter on March 6th, 2009

I have been working overtime (I guess its always overtime when its a side job) to create new new look for my stock image search engine It has been over two years since I first created the site and I have not done much with is since then.

 New look

The change will come in two stages.

  1. I will be upgraded the look of the site and some of the new features will come online
  2. I will be adding many new features once the new site is up. I hope to do new releases at least monthly until I get things really where I want them.

Some of the new features to appear over time include:

  1. Comments on images, not matter what microstock agency they are listed at.
  2. Ratings – Allowing logged in members to vote on images
  3. Lightboxes – I have had many people contact me requesting this. They want the ability to save a group of images and email it to themselves or others. Again, Imagetrail would create a lightbox with images from any source agency
  4. A report image feature – allowing the public to mend up broken links in the database
  5. A new adult image policy – There are way to many bikini clad women on ImageTrail and we have implemented a new adult image policy: there should be any adult images on the site. (More later)

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Peter on March 6th, 2009

Recently the Microstock photo agency Fotolia took a rather big stab at photographers.

1) They changed the scale as which photographer advance rank (which affect the pricing of their images and their commision percentage)

2) They also changed their affiliate program to no longer pay for people inviting new photogers. The program used to pay 10% for 5 years, which made it the best program on the web

Well, they still report to have more images than any other agency, but I think this is not the end of tough changes. I think eventually they will start deleting old image, like iStockPhoto has.

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Peter on February 25th, 2009

I added a new microstock agency to my website today. Pixmac is really young, yet surprisingly have over 2 million images. I going to be looking more into their referral program and also their images in the next little while. I really like the website design and simplicity of the interface. It is a group from Prague and it would be nice to have another agency with multiple language. Micrstock photography will go further when we can break out of “English” only sites (like mine)

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