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Photo: Ripe Oranges

Photo: Ripe Oranges

Delicious oranges on Grandma’s orange tree. Photo from 2005.

Fujifilm FinePix A360, 1/30, F2.8, 5.8mm, ISO79, 2005-11-19T14:57:31-05, 2005-11-19_14h57m31

Location: 1985 S. Carpenter Ave., Orange City, FL  32763-7334

Download the high-res JPEG or download the source image.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License. Credit me as Richard X. Thripp and link here.

Photo: Downspout

Photo: Downspout

Rain water draining out of a downspout after a storm. Photo from 2005.

Fujifilm FinePix A360, 1/714, F4.7, 5.8mm, ISO64, 2005-11-14T16:40:23-05, 2005-11-14_16h40m23

Download the high-res JPEG or download the source image.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License. Credit me as Richard X. Thripp and link here.

Photo: Hybrid Lilies

Photo: Hybrid Lilies

Hybrid lilies at Wal-Mart. Photo from 2005. As all of the 2005 photos I am posting this month, this is a new edit with a lot of extra color and contrast.

Fujifilm FinePix A360, 1/132, F2.8, 5.8mm, ISO64, 2005-10-24T14:12:34-04, 2005-10-24_14h12m34

Download the high-res JPEG or download the source image.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License. Credit me as Richard X. Thripp and link here.

Photo: Pink Flowers in Early Morning

Photo: Pink Flowers in Early Morning

A macro of pink flowers with water drops, using the flash. Photo from 2005.

Fujifilm FinePix A360, 1/30, F2.8, 5.8mm, ISO100, 2005-10-10T07:33:41-04, 2005-10-10_07h33m41

Location: Thripp Residence, Ormond Beach, FL  32174-7227

Download the high-res JPEG or download the source image.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License. Credit me as Richard X. Thripp and link here.

Photo: Mixed-Up Clouds

Photo: Mixed-Up Clouds

A swirl of clouds in a blue sky. This is from 2005. The only problems are the power lines and over-exposed clouds; otherwise I think it looks great.

Fujifilm FinePix A360, 1/2000, F4.7, 5.8mm, ISO64, 2005-10-07T17:43:10-04, 2005-10-07_17h43m10

Download the high-res JPEG or download the source image.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License. Credit me as Richard X. Thripp and link here.

Do you have a product?

You may be the most creative person in the world, but do you have a product to represent you? A book or CD? Something that can be mass-produced?

I have some print copies of my photos, and, well… that’s about it. So if I die tomorrow, I won’t leave behind much of a legacy. At the very least I should create a book of photos.

My father has a book that he has been unable to sell… but at least he has something.

If your product is hand-made crafts or paintings, you don’t really have a product because everything is dependent on you. If you get run over by a bus or someone saws your hands off, BAM, there goes your product. But if you have something that can be made by printing press or assembly line, then you have a product. Even computer softwater counts.

Time is precious. Create something now, or be forgotten forever!

PHP Magic

On my new site ComposersJourney.com I post my musical compositions like this:

Ode to Ted Kennedy MP3, 1:52, 1.35MB
Ode to Ted Kennedy MIDI, 7.69KB
Ode to Ted Kennedy PDF, 25.47KB
Ode to Ted Kennedy Score (Sibelius 6), 40.85KB

I upload each file through WordPress to the /files/ directory with subdirectories for years and months enabled. The filename is the title of the musical composition followed by my initials and the date of posting, and I use hyphens as spacers. I use a modded version of WPaudio to turn MP3 links into JavaScript-based music players.

Wouldn’t it be nice if I could automate the creation of these links instead of having to type the filenames four times, the title four times, the size of each file, and the length of the MP3?

The first step was to download and enable Exec-PHP so I could use PHP code in posts. Then I checked “Disable the visual editor when writing” in my profile and under Settings > Writing I unchecked “WordPress should correct invalidly nested XHTML automatically.” Next, I wrote this function and added it to my theme’s functions.php file:

function flnk($e = ‘mp3’, $t = ‘MP3’, $a = ”, $c = ”, $l = ”) {
if($c != ”) $c .= ‘, ‘;
$d = wp_upload_dir();
$n = array(‘Bytes’, ‘KB’, ‘MB’, ‘GB’);
$b = ‘/’ . get_the_time(‘Y/m’) . ‘/’ . basename(get_permalink()) .
‘-rxt-‘ . get_the_time(‘Ymd’) . $a . ‘.’ . $e;
$p = $d[‘basedir’] . $b;
$u = $d[‘baseurl’] . $b;
if(file_exists($p)) $f = filesize($p);
else $f = ‘1000’;
if($e == ‘mp3’) {
$i = round(($f/(12000))-.5);
if($l == ”) $m = floor($i/60) . ‘:’ .
str_pad($i % 60, 2, 0, STR_PAD_LEFT);
else $m = $l;
$m .= ‘, ‘;
}
if($e != ‘mp3’) $z = ‘ target=”_blank”‘;
echo ‘<a href=”‘ . $u . ‘”‘ . $z . ‘>’ . get_the_title() . ‘ ‘ .
$t . ‘, ‘ . $c . $m . round($f/pow(1000, ($i = floor(log($f,
1000)))), 2) . $n[$i] . ‘</a>’ . “n”;
}

This function gets the post title, post date, and slug [basename(get_permalink())] to assemble the title and URL. It uses PHP’s filesize() function to get the size of the file, then converts it to a number like 500.00 and expresses it in Bytes, KB, MB, or GB depending on the size. If the file is an MP3, the length is also displayed by dividing the file size by 12,000 and subtracting 0.5 seconds for excess data in the MP3 file. Then the number is rounded and the seconds are padded to two digits (2:3 becomes 2:03). This returns an accurate length if the file is 96kbps CBR (most of mine are). If the file is NOT an MP3, target=”_blank” is added to the link so it opens in a new window (MP3s are handled by the WPaudio plugin) Finally, the link is echoed.

For the links I displayed at the beginning of this post, all I have to do now is upload the files, title the post, write a description, choose categories, and then copy and paste this code to the post:

<?php flnk(‘mp3’, ‘MP3’); flnk(‘mid’, ‘MIDI’); flnk(‘pdf’, ‘PDF’); flnk(‘sib’, ‘Score (Sibelius 6)’); ?>

The function has 5 arguments: the file extension ($e), filetype title ($t), text to append to the filename ($a), special description ($c), and custom length ($l). Usually I only use the first 2. If I used a different bitrate for the MP3 file, I override the length like this: <?php flnk('mp3', 'MP3', '', '', '1:21'); ?>. I’ve only used the third and fourth functions on the piano version of Inferno as follows:

<?php flnk(‘mp3’, ‘MP3’, ‘-piano’, ‘Piano Only’); flnk(‘mid’, ‘MIDI’, ‘-piano’, ‘Piano Only’); flnk(‘pdf’, ‘PDF’, ‘-piano’, ‘Piano Only’); flnk(‘sib’, ‘Score (Sibelius 6)’, ‘-piano’, ‘Piano Only’); ?>

The above code generated this output:

Inferno MP3, Piano Only, 1:46, 1.28MB
Inferno MIDI, Piano Only, 8.62KB
Inferno PDF, Piano Only, 38.07KB
Inferno Score (Sibelius 6), Piano Only, 43.83KB

A little work now will save me a lot of time in the long run. I only have to type the title and description for each composition I post now. While this will increase my server’s load and slow down my website slightly, I can always use caching if ComposersJourney.com becomes popular.

Self-Destructive Behavior

Behavior that is self-destructive in one context might not be self-destructive in another. For example, chopping off a leg is definitely self-destructive… but not if you’re suffering gangrene and will die otherwise.

Eating 10,000 calories a day is extremely self-destructive for a normal adult, as it will result in massive weight gain. If you’re an Olympic athlete, it may be just right.

If you’re so obsessed with golf that you’ve quit your job and abandoned your family, you’re self-destructive… unless you’re the next Tiger Woods.

If you have the wisdom to know the difference between positive action and self-destructive action, you will go far. Just because you are passionate about something does not mean it is positive. Plenty of people are obsessed with playing video games, watching sports, or gambling, but none of them have any commercial viability.

Society may consider behavior normal under some circumstances and self-destructive in others. Teen pregnancy is considered self-destructive, but having a child in your thirties is not. Boxing or stunt racing is destructive when done by amateurs, but a money-maker when performed by professionals.

Healthy self-esteem is a positive trait, but wild narcissistic arrogance is destructive.

Half the battle is avoiding self-destructive behavior: the other half is reading self-help articles. :wink:

Making Up for Lost Time

Wasted time can never be reclaimed, because you never have the opportunity to repeat the past. Therefore, you must make sure you are working toward your goals and making the best use of each and every day.

If you find you have wasted months or years of your life as I have, nothing good can come from dwelling on it, as this only wastes more time. The only thing we can do is learn from the past and not repeat the same mistakes in the future.

Average people waste most of their lives. Watching T.V., surfing the Internet, playing video games, reading fiction, pointless conversations, Facebook, day-dreaming, over-sleeping—eliminate this from the average person’s life and you will see their productivity triple. People who seem like super-humans are actually ordinary—they just don’t waste their time on garbage which takes up 12 hours of an ordinary person’s day. Even replacing television with doing nothing is a step up. Just call it meditation and you are instantly a monk or philosopher.

Anything important can be measured—save a few intangibles like intelligence. Schools and colleges measure your academic worth through exams and graded assignments. Employers measure your worth as a slave with performance reviews. And you can measure your productivity by recording how you use every hour of your time. Though this is something I’ve never done, I imagine it would greatly boost my creative output. There’s no point doing it now—I already know I’m nowhere near optimal efficiency—but in a few months small optimizations will become important.

Even recreation is essential. It should not be the result of procrastination, but a bona fide item on your schedule. “Multi-tasking” produces crap, not results. When you are working, whether your job is writing, painting, building, or cooking, don’t do anything else. Don’t work through lunch, ignore incoming emails and phone calls, don’t read pointless blogs, and don’t look outside. When you’re eating lunch, don’t do any of these other things, and the same for talking on the phone or taking a break. If you give your undivided attention to each item on your schedule, you will see massive performance gains.

Cutting off relationships with people who drag down your productivity is a positive step. Block that friend or coworker who forwards you 50 emails a day. Clear out your friends list on Facebook and Twitter: only keep people you know in real life and have seen recently. Banish energy vampires from your life. Surround yourself with positive people or no one at all.

Above all, never lose faith in yourself. You can do great things, even if you only have months left to live.

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