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Generating Post Thumbnails

This blog has entries going back to 2006 and many of the entries did not have a Featured Image set in the post. This meant that the theme didn’t put a nice image in the archive pages. This web page How to automatically set your featured image on WordPress has some useful links and this plugin XO Featured Image Tools fixed the issue and also highlighted posts where the images were broken because of an earlier migration. That’s where the plugin Velvet Blues Update URLs came in to fix them in one click. Highly recommend both plugins as they work on Network WordPress sites. Ones that didn’t Easy Add Thumbnail and Auto Featured Image.

Fixing Widescreen Theme from Graph Paper Press

I’ve been using the Widescreen theme from Graph Paper Press for ten years. It was one of the 7 themes that integrated with Photoshelter. However, the theme isn’t “loved” by GPP anymore with a recent chat agent telling me that it will be withdrawn soon. Ten years ago, the iPhone was just getting started and WordPress sites didn’t have themes that were “responsive” and themes like Widescreen was optimised for computer displays.

Nevertheless, I still like the them and the only thing that was broken was that on smartphones, the hamburger menu didn’t show the menu. I knew it would be a javascript problem but not being a theme, CSS nor javascript expert, I didn’t really want to go down the rabbit-hole of debugging the theme.

So I spun up a WordPress site on Digital Ocean, created a project on Freelancer (formerly Rentacoder), got responses within 30 seconds, and 30 minutes later, Faheem from Karachi fixed the problem. It turns out that the theme used a jQuery plugin called BGIFrame that broke the menu on Safari on iOS devices. Commenting that out and then adding the jQuery manager plugin fixed the issue. Presumably because it adds backwards compatibility with jQuery Migrate.

It took only 30 minutes because Faheem was an expert in both WordPress themes and the ridiculous complexity of browsers caused by the different flavours of Microsoft Explorer, Edge, Safari, Firefox, Chrome, Brave, Opera etc. and the different formats caused by smart devices. Faheem knew which theme file had the offending code pretty much immediately. After getting the login credentials to the test site, he fixed it in 5 minutes. If I had to do it, it would probably be a day. If I paid a programmer that needed to get up to speed and wasn’t experienced in this area? Probably a lot more than $50.


Macbook M1 Live Transfer with two Nikon D5 via Ethernet LAN

It’s not as glamorous or sexy as wireless, but if you want reliable and fast live transfer of images, this is as good as it gets. Two Nikon D5 cameras shooting football and sending every image live to a cloud service via a shared folder on a M1 Macbook. No external power required.

Here’s the hardware and software:

  1. Nikon D5 x 2
  2. Macbook M1 running Big Sur
  3. Quick FTP server software
  4. USB powered 4-port Ethernet hub like this or this
  5. USB-C dongle for Macbook that has Ethernet port
  6. Ethernet cables

Here’s the setup:

  1. Connect the hub to the router with an Ethernet cable
  2. Connect the D5s to the router via the hub
  3. Connect the Mac’s Ethernet port on the dongle to the hub
  4. Connect the dongle to the Mac
  5. Connect the USB power from the hub to the dongle on the Mac
  6. Start the Mac and get its IP address. Note that down
  7. Start Quick FTP Server software and select a folder where the files are going to be downloaded from the cameras. If you select a folder that’s setup by a cloud service like Dropbox, Onedrive or Box, then those images will be sent to the cloud as soon as they arrive
  8. Configure the D5s using the IP address of the Mac as the FTP server, in FTP mode
  9. You should be able to send photos to your Mac from your D5!


Fixing Apple Music Sync Library problem with new device

Encountered this problem with upgrading from a 3rd gen iPad Pro to a 5th gen. I’d successfully made a backup of the device on a Mac. The iPad uses a separate Apple ID for iCloud and for Media and Purchases. The former is for the shared Apple apps like Contacts, Calendar, Mail etc. And the latter for App Store, Apple Music and subscription services.

However, the new iPad with the restored backup couldn’t sync the music library in Apple Music via the “Sync Library” feature. Here’s what was tried with Apple Support over chat and telephone support:

  • Toggle “Sync Library” on and off
  • Logged in and out of both iCloud and Media and Purchases
  • Rebooted iPad repeatedly

For whatever reason, something in the restored backup was blocking Apple Music from downloading the library. What was interesting was that adding a playlist on the iPad would be reflected in the library on other devices synced to the library. So it was a one-way problem. After a few hours of testing different scenarios, here’s a workaround which has the downside that requires the apps to reinstalled one by one:

  1. Reset the iPad as new device
  2. Don’t restore a backup, login to iCloud and Media and Purchases separately
  3. Open Apple Music and confirm the iCloud music library is syncing
  4. Check iCloud apps are syncing
  5. Reinstall apps

This approach restores everything that is backed up to iCloud, including Messages, but only if you have turned this on.

Shooting video with different cameras

Working on a workflow to integrate different cameras when shooting video. As all new cameras these days have some degree of video capability, having a common setting among different cameras greatly simplifies the post production. Here are my current settings, standardising on 4K, 25fps:

  • Canon EOS R6 – 4K-UHD – C-Log – IPB (Light) – 25fps
  • iPhone 11 Pro – 4K-UHD – 25fps (enable PAL mode to get 25fps option)
  • Fujifilm X100V – 4K-UHD – F-Log – 25fps
  • Leica SL2 – 4K-UHD – L-Log. 25fps
  • GoPro HERO5 4K-UHD – Protune 25fps

All of the footage is ingested into DaVinci Resolve 17 with LUTs to convert them to REC709 gamma and colorspace as a starting point before further color grading.

Also in the picture is Instamic Pro, Olympus LS12, RODE Wireless Go, Manfrotto PIXI EVO, iPad Pro and not in picture is RODE VideoMic NTG.