All posts by Graham Miln

Cherry Blossoms

I have been taking photos of the same tree for a couple of years now. The tree sits near traffic lights on Boulevard des Belges and is unassuming. Then for a few weeks, the tree becomes a colourful burst of petals and pink.

Composite of a tree blossoming

Composite of a tree blossoming (click to enlarge)

The composite image combines four photos over a short period of time. The photos age from oldest on the left to most recent on the right.

Four photographs used in the composite

Four photographs used in the composite

2014 March 20 – First signs of life after winter;
2014 March 27 – Buds appearing;
2014 March 31 – Blossom begins;
2014 April 05 – Full bloom.

The blossom is long since gone. Rainy days and the wind carried the petals to the ground. The tree is green now but once again unremarkable among the city streets.

Petals blown into patterns by the wind

Petals blown into patterns by the wind

During a walk into the city another blossom tree caught my attention and a short film of cherry blossoms was created.

More Squirrels

I am playing with a new camera and trying to figure out its limits, my limits, and how to get the most from it. It is going to take a while.

The newly released Canon PowerShot SX700 HS is lovely. Holding a shot still while zoomed in x30 is tricky but possible; although probably better left to a tripod when the shots are critical.

Below are a few photos and a short film of squirrels foraging in our local park. Most of the shots are taken at maximum zoom.

Red squirrel on a tree

Red squirrel on a tree

Red squirrel on a tree

Red squirrel on a tree

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Exporting Contacts to CSV

An AppleScript to export name and e-mail addresses from Contacts.app on Mac OS X to a Comma Separated Values (CSV) file. The created CSV file is suitable for importing into numerous other tools and services.

I wrote this script for Mac OS X 10.9, Mavericks, but it should work without too many changes on most recent versions of Mac OS X.

To use this AppleScript:

  1. Launch AppleScript Editor from Applications > Utilities
  2. Copy and paste the code below into a new document
  3. Run the script
  4. On completion a contacts.csv will appear on your desktop
-- Save comma separated values (CSV) file to desktop
set exportPath to (path to desktop as string) & "contacts.csv"

set contactsCSV to "" -- variable to collect rows of addresses
set quoteString to "\"" -- constant to ease concatenation

tell application "Contacts"

	-- Repeat with every person in your Contacts
	repeat with x from 1 to the count of people
		set thePerson to person x
		set theirName to the name of thePerson

		-- A person may have multiple e-mails addresses, add one row for each
		repeat with anEmail in the email of thePerson
			set contactsCSV to contactsCSV & quoteString & theirName & quoteString & "," & quoteString & (value of anEmail) & quoteString & "
"
		end repeat
	end repeat

end tell

-- Write the CSV contents to a file
set exportFile to open for access file exportPath with write permission
set eof of exportFile to 0
write contactsCSV to exportFile starting at eof
close access exportFile

Lyon Funicular – Fourvière to Saint-Jean

“Going to put that on Facebook.” the man nearby  pondered aloud. I was not convinced he wanted an answer or even intended I could understand him. He had spoken in English more to himself than to anyone else around.

I stood by the front of the cab, camera in hand, quietly capturing the journey down from Fourvière.

With the camera recording the last thing I wanted to do was reply and spoil the audio. I smiled and that appeared to be enough. The camera’s microphone is terrible but the audio would be unsalvageable with a conversation over the top.

The funicular saves the crowd a walk up the steep hill that overlooks the old town of Lyon. The walk is not bad and we had come up this way earlier that day.

For our return we took advantage of the rare free transport being offered and I took my opportunity to put together a short film, Fourvière to Saint-Jean.

Hot Water

After two weeks without hot water, I am looking forward to running that hot tap soon. The plumbers have just finished and are leaving behind a brand new water heater. The new heater looks identical to our last but this one is not leaking water through the electrics.

Beneath the leaking hot water heater

Beneath the leaking hot water heater

Having dealt with leaks from the apartment above twice since moving to Lyon, it came as no surprise to once again suffer another leak. This time our wall mounted water heater was the source, rather than the apartment above.

Two weeks ago Megan walked into the kitchen and let out an odd sound; a sound something between surprise and confusion. I rushed to the kitchen to find her trying to determine why a sizeable area around our sink was covering with water. A thin layer of water coated the sink, the nearby floor, and our cooker top.

A slowly forming drip from the water heater fell, hit the edge of our drying rack, and splattered.

The water was leaking from the base of the heater, near the red power light, and seemingly far too close to the electrics hidden inside. I quickly cut the power at our power box and then cut the water to the apartment.

A few minutes examination revealed an obscured tap to cut off just the water to the heater. After those simple steps we had isolated the now dangerous device.

The dripping continued for another hour and stopped.

Our landlords were not slow but instead a combination of multiple visits by the plumber, securing an invoice for the replacement, and scheduling time all mounted up. The final visit was postponed. Another client of the plumber having a “big problem”. So it is only now our new heater has been installed.

It will not be long now until we get back our steady, reliable, hot water. I will not miss having to heat water in a pan.