Kuma's Lair

Making image contact sheets with ImageMagick’s montage & shell scripting

December 24th, 2013 by Scott Pettigrew

So, if you’re anything like me, you probably have a ton of digital photos laying around your hard drive. For my wife and I, the challenge was to be able to view all of these and figure out what to keep and what to discard. I organized the photos by year, and then by month…but then what to do?

I decided to make some photo contact sheets. I found an article at Pat David’s site on how to do this (thanks, by the way!), but didn’t want to go into multiple directories to do this…so I automated it!

Check out this script, which runs on linux machines.  From a directory of directories, it will switch into each directory (one level down only, my next step is to recurse!) and create a contact sheet for each.

Here is the script:

 for DIR in `ls`
  if test -d "$DIR"
   cd "$DIR"
    montage -verbose -label '%f' -font Helvetica -pointsize 10\
    -background\ '#000000' -fill 'gray' -define jpeg:size=200x200\
    -geometry 200x200+2+2 \ -auto-orient *.jpg\
    cd ..

Let me know what you think, or how this could be improved upon!

Raspberry Pi and PSK31: A work in progress

January 2nd, 2013 by Scott Pettigrew

300px-RaspberryPiI spent some time up at the Voice of America club station working on getting one of my 256MB Raspberry Pi Model B working with fldigi.  The results left something to be desired…

I started with a clean copy of the latest version of Raspbian, loaded onto a brand new 8 GB Class 10 SD card.  Nothing new there.  Things went very smoothly!  My hub, keyboard, mouse and wlan USB adapter worked fine.  I loaded all of the Raspbian updates, and got fldigi to load without a hitch. Things seemed to be going swimmingly.  In Ham Radio, as in life, when things seem to be going too well, disaster is bound to strike, and this was a classic example of that.

I hooked up my Tigertronics SignaLink USB sound card interface, and things started going south.  Apparently adding this was a bit too much for the Pi to power, because the keyboard and mouse started behaving very erratically. This was easily solved by switching to a powered USB hub.

To see if the Pi had recognized the SignaLink, I typed:

$ aplay -l

And sure enough, the USB sound card was listed. Cool Beans!

Launching into fldigi, everything looked as normal – the waterfall was flowing down the bottom of my screen, everything was responding seemingly well.  We turned on the radio, and started to receive signals into the Pi…and, well, got a bunch of gibberish.  Signals appeared OK in the waterfall, but what I received in the text window was…unintelligible.

An hour’s playing around was fruitless.  Changing settings in fldigi to match the Pi’s puny processing power, fiddling with settings on the USB interface to optimize the sound to the Pi, twiddling knobs on the radio to adjust levels, and even overclocking the tiny computer to its limits, all proved futile.  A quick search on the internet showed that I’m not the only one with this issue – apparently the complexity of the calculations involved is just too much for the Raspberry Pi to handle in its current form.

I’m going to keep at it – but in the meantime, if you’ve had any luck with getting your Pi to work with the Amateur digital modes, please let me know!

Pan’s at it again! Updating Pan Newsreader on Ubuntu 11.04 and 11.10

October 20th, 2011 by Scott Pettigrew

Another upgrade, another glitch with the package maintainer’s version of Pan
Newsreader! As I stated back in my post in 2009, I enjoy browsing Usenet newsgroups in my spare time.  This last week, I upgraded all of my PCs to run Ubuntu 11.10 – Oneiric Ocelot.  In doing so, I started to once again have issues with the way pan displays images!  This time, it was decoding correctly, but was displaying the image twice.  A minor glitch, to be sure, but we like perfection…so…

It’s high time I posted a new set of instructions about how to build Pan Newsreader (for complete n00bz)!!! Read the rest of this entry »

Apple Records, meet Apple Computers

November 16th, 2010 by Scott Pettigrew

So Apple came out with a big announcement today – they have (finally!) reached an agreement with Apple Records that will allow The Beatles’ music to appear on iTunes.


This MIGHT be an exciting announcement to anyone who isn’t a Beatles fan already, and who didn’t already have most of their albums on vinyl and/or CD. It’s not like iTunes doesn’t already rip at amazing bitrates & sound quality!

Way to go, Apple. I think I’ll go back to sleep now.

Ubuntu 10.10 is just around the corner!

April 9th, 2010 by Scott Pettigrew

So a buddy and I were chatting today about Ubuntu and their naming convention, and decided that we needed to come up with a bunch of possible names for the upcoming Ubuntu 10.10 release, which is due in October!  Sometimes we springboarded from one adjective/animal to the next, so you’ll see some closely-related names…

  • Maudlin Mantis
  • Morose Manatee
  • Mellow Manatee
  • Mossy Manatee
  • Marauding Mongoose
  • Marauding Mudskipper
  • Magnanimous Moose
  • Morose Moose
  • Maternal Macaque
  • Miffed Meerkat
  • Majestic Mammoth
  • Moody Martin

Also seen on the Ubuntu Blog: Masturbating Monkey!  🙂

Post your original creations (or links to your favorites found elsewhere) below!

Pan newsreader and multi-part images in Ubuntu 9.10 Karmic Koala

January 2nd, 2010 by Scott Pettigrew

There is an updated version of this tutorial for Ubuntu 11.10!

For years, I have been a big fan of the usenet newsgroups. I think it’s one of the best little niches left on the internet, and it has one of the best ranges in content…  On usenet, you can have civilized, academic conversation, or unruly flame-wars between fanatics. You can also find some of the coolest binaries available on the net…hard-to-find music, out of print books in e-text, and pictures ranging from serene wallpapers to…well just about anything.

When Ubuntu’s newest version, Karmic Koala, came out, I was very dismayed to find that the distribution of the Pan newsreader available via the Synaptic package manager was broken.  Basically, any image that was posted as multi-part refused to load in the default window.

With some help from the folks on the pan-users mailing list, I was finally able to compile the code from a source repository being kept up by K.Haley, pan’s volunteer coder.  But I thought it might be nice to provide a step-by-step guide for newer linux users, as the whole process of downloading source from a github repository, the tracking down of the necessary development libraries, and the entire compilation process can be daunting.  Therefore, I came up with the following list of commands to run to get a patched version of Pan running from a normal install of Ubuntu 9.10 (Karmic Koala). Read the rest of this entry »

OS X Field Day / Contest Logger

July 7th, 2009 by Scott Pettigrew

buystrip-imac-20090420I’m starting to design a Amateur Radio Contest Logging program for Mac OS X.

So, in essence, this is a shout-out to any Amateur Radio Operators out there who use OS X…what features are important in a contest logger.  What features would be on your “nice to have” list?

I definitely will be working on features important for Field Day usage, but what other contests do Mac users participate in?

My intent is for this to be a no-cost, open-source program. Please keep in mind that I will be starting out slowly, then building in more complex features later.

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