Eric Kerby: Photography, Web Design, Programming

Family web services

February 17th, 2011

Over the past few years, I have been dabbling with different ways of offering various web services to help my family share content and stay in touch. I originally started with a so-so wiki that didn't work that well (mostly my fault). I then moved to Drupal where I intended to have a story and biography area, photo gallery, and discussion forum. The stories area did okay, but none of the other parts of the site caught on. That was probably good in the long run since I have had a love-hate relationship with Drupal in the past and wasn't up to spending tons of time to massage the interface.

Now, I have decided to install various open source web apps that have a focused goal and perform their narrow function well. Currently this includes Gallery v3 for sharing photos and videos, webtrees for compiling/sharing our family's geneology, and a MediaWiki install for various documentation, news, and stories/bios.

The biggest hurdle with implementing several sites is supporting some form of central login. It is hard enough to show family members how to use some of these sites, and would be hopeless if they had to manage different logins for each. I am currently using LDAP as the central authentication backend. This works okay with a Gallery plugin, but I'm having to work a bit to get LDAP working with MediaWiki. Webtrees doesn't have LDAP support currently, but it has been discussed as a desired feature.

Pork Chop and Zucchini Dinner

October 6th, 2010

Yum, yum…had a delicious pork chop and zucchini dinner last night. The meal looked so good that we took some photos. Check out the photo gallery (preferably on a full stomach). The pork chop recipe came from Wegmans.

Snow just the way I like it

January 8th, 2010

We got a little bit of snow last night in northern Virginia…about an inch or so, which would be considered a dusting in many places farther north. The snow that came last night is just how I like it: enough to coat the ground, but not so much that the roads are trashed for a week. Here are a couple photos of the apartment complex and Sophie in the snow.

Photos of Sophie, our new dog!

October 27th, 2009

SophieIn the beginning of October Lindsay and I welcomed a fun-loving new dog to our family. We visited the Fairfax County Animal Shelter and fell in love with Jindo mix whom we adopted and named Sophie. She's so photogenic that I'm taking this opportunity to revamp the photo gallery system on my website. She has quite the personality, which I'm sure you will see in the photos. Be sure to head over to the photo galleries and get to know our new dog Sophie (her Halloween costume is quite cute!).

Haircut…how often?

April 19th, 2009

I just got a haircut that turned out pretty well. As usual, though, the barber commented on my thick hair and infrequency of haircuts. I have been telling myself that I need to get on a more regular haircut schedule that won't give the barber (and my friends) as much of a shock when I get more than half of my hair chopped off each time. So, the question is, how often? What is your haircut schedule?

Thoughts while flying

February 23rd, 2009

I just arrived at Dulles airport outside of DC for a day trip to northern VA. While in the air over the late evening ground below, I was reminded how inefficiently we use light outdoors. A great deal of the illumination from parking lots, roads, houses, and businesses is partially directed upwards, never to serve its purpose of lighting up the ground. The waste is clearly seen with all the specular lights giving a show for jetsetters. The occasional parking lot or road does it right: the ground is visibly illuminated, but the source of the light is not visible from above. It seems to me that we could save a lot of energy by better directing all of a lamp's output downwards. Simple reflectors on top of lamps would handle this effectively. This would not only allow for lower output lamps, but less light pollution, fewer negative effects on wildlife, and much better stargazing! So, could someone get on this, please?

Last Class at RIT

February 19th, 2009

Thus ends an era…I just got out of what is likely my last class at RIT. It has been a great run, and so many cool things lie ahead. Here's to hoping for a fulfilling career and long life ahead!

"Take Great Product Photos"

February 4th, 2009

On Tuesday, February 3rd, I led a session on how to "Take Great Product Photos" in the Idea Factory at RIT.  The workshop was part of an Innovation Session — a series of sessions and workshops organized by one of my classes, Social Networks in Action.  The session went pretty well, and I got to meet several interesting entrepreneurs from the Rochester community.  My advice to the attendees mainly focused on composition and lighting techniques to easily improve their product photos.  Check out some photos and comments about the event on our class blog!

Quoted in Reporter

January 12th, 2009

This past quarter, I worked with a group of students to organize the annual RIT School of Photo Arts and Sciences Holiday Auction.  I was one of three leaders in the group that solicited for donations, organized volunteers, and conducted the event.  It ended up being a great success and brought in around $7400 to be split among two student organizations and a local charity, the Rochester Community Darkroom.  RIT's college newspaper, Reporter, ran an article about the event.  I was quoted in it, so be sure to give the article a read.

The (outstanding) Palm Pre

January 12th, 2009

Palm PreFor those of you who haven't seen the news, Palm introduced a revolutionary new device and platform at CES on January 10th.  They call the device the Palm Pre, and the platform webOS.  This announcement is easily the most groundbreaking and exciting news that Palm has made since I have followed the company.  For those who don't know, I have been a Palm addict for the past 7 or so years.  I owned three different models in the Tungsten line, and enjoyed (and felt limited) using a Treo 700p for two years before I bought an iPhone 3G this past fall.  I never succumbed to owning a PocketPC or Windows Mobile device, but kept faithful to the true Palm OS.  This certainly was not easy as Palm faced hard times over the past few years.  Innovation at the company was stifled by mergers, reorganization, and promises of a brighter future.  Well, friends, that future has come.  The webOS looks like it is well worth the wait.  As an iPhone owner, I find myself drooling at the design of the new operating system.  Palm has always been the best at balancing openness with style and simplicity.  I really can't explain how cool and functional the new device looks.  I encourage you to check it out yourself by watching (or skimming) the Palm Pre launch video on Palm's website.  Now I just have to wait for the device to come to AT&T (Sprint is the launch partner…serves me right for switching).