Daily Archives:January 13th, 2007

Pixie dust

I have an elderly Nikon Coolpix 995, which I love. I, or at least my company, also owned two of its predecessors, and while newer cameras may have more megapixels, and be easier to wear on one’s belt, the optics on these were great, and the twisty design proved useful over and over again.

Coolpix 995

Anyway, I was distressed to see, last time I used it, that it had developed a few ‘hot’ pixels. These are failures in the CCD sensor, which show up as bright pixels in the same place in every image, especially when a long exposure is used.

To have a few failures is normal, and some cameras have the ability to remap such dud pixels so they don’t appear in the final image. Normally, this would involve sending the camera to Nikon for servicing, but I came across a Windows utility called CCD Defects Reader, written by a Russian chap named Paul. It works with several of the cameras in the Coolpix range, and sure enough, after rebooting my Linux box into Windows to run this, my dead pixels had vanished, and a photo taken with the lens cap on was beautifully black, instead of looking like a map of the night sky!

Here’s an account from somebody doing the same thing with a Coolpix 5700.

Just testing…

A quick test of Joe Tan’s Flickr Photo Album plugin for WordPress.


It makes it very easy to drop photos from your Flickr albums into blog posts. This is jolly convenient, but I have to decide where I want to keep my online photos in general. If I keep them here on my own server, then they’re always under my control. I expect this blog to keep going for many more years, but what happens to the archives if, say, I let my Flickr Pro account expire…

In which we (don’t quite) serve…

Some people have been asking how my jury service (which I mentioned a couple of weeks ago) was going.

The answer is that it didn’t!

I duly turned up at Cambridge Crown Court for the first two days, sat in the jurors’ waiting room for a few hours each day and then was allowed to go home at lunchtime. On the second day, they told my group we wouldn’t be needed until the following Monday and we had the rest of the week off for good behaviour.

On Monday, I returned, to spend another morning waiting, before the clerk said that they just didn’t have as many trials as expected, and were there any volunteers who would like to be excused further service at this point? My hand was up before she’d finished speaking, and so it was that I spent three long mornings inside the Crown Court without ever actually seeing a courtroom.

Some people might have been annoyed at this unnecessary disruption to their life, but I wasn’t, for three reasons:

  • First, I rather liked most of my fellow jurors-in-waiting and the court staff, and there was a generally cheery atmosphere.
  • Second, having my laptop and a 3G connection meant that I could do quite a lot of real work, and I had podcasts to listen to and watch, as well as a good book. I carry my office in my backpack and can work almost anywhere now.
  • Lastly, and most importantly, I remembered John telling me what Gerard, a mutual friend, had said when John complained about the inefficiencies in his jury service experience. I probably won’t do Gerard’s argument justice (pun intended!) but it was along the lines of the following: There are inefficiencies in the justice system. It’s a nuisance. But it’s a price we need to pay. The most efficient way to deal with criminals is to round them up and shoot them. But if we want a better system than that, we have to be prepared for some inconvenience.

© Copyright Quentin Stafford-Fraser