Soviet “electro-garland” (Xmas lights)

Check out these strings of Soviet-era christmas lights for sale on eBay by magnety222 (who’s always selling awesome USSR-related stuff). Of course, these weren’t called “Christmas” lights — the big yuletide holiday in the USSR was New Year’s. Instead, these are called електрогирлянда (in Russian) and електрогірлянда (in Ukranian) — elektrogirlanda, or electro-garland, and the two styles are “астероид” (asteroid) and “космос” (cosmos).

Munster, North Dakota

Munster, North Dakota, originally uploaded by afiler.

flickr Doomsday Clock Moves 1 minute closer to midnight

With the announcement of 2000 firings, and the statement that 2000 firings was “a drop in the bucket“, the Union of Concerned Photographers moves the flickr Doomsday Clock one minute closer to midnight. “Every round of indiscriminate firings at Yahoo! increases the possibility of the extinction of flickr, or worse yet, the possibility flickr might be bought by Microsoft and turned into Windows Live Photos 8.”

Soviet Erector/Meccano Set

From an eBay auction.

“Downlinking” hardlinked files without unlink()ing them

Do you use hard links for organizing files but still find them a bit dangerous? Here’s a bash function that will delete files only if their link count is greater than 1.

dnl() {
  for x in "$@" ; do
    if [[ -f "$x" && `stat -f %l "$x"` -gt 1 ]] ; then
      unlink "$x" || err=1

  return $err

One thing: this operation is not atomic — if that is important in your use case, please do not use this.

Palermo, North Dakota

Palermo, North Dakota, originally uploaded by afiler.

Palermo, North Dakota

Palermo, North Dakota, originally uploaded by afiler.

Palermo, North Dakota

Palermo, North Dakota, originally uploaded by afiler.

Fillmore, North Dakota

Fillmore, North Dakota, originally uploaded by afiler.

External power and non-Nikon batteries on the Nikon D3100

_DSC8718, originally uploaded by afiler.

The Nikon D3100 is a great camera for the price, the bottom end of Nikon’s DSLR range. Being a bottom-end camera, a few things are missing, like an external power connector. I’m using this camera in a fixed setup for slide scanning. The 1080p live view makes an excellent way to preview slides on an HDMI monitor, but this will drain the battery quickly. One option is to use the Nikon EP-5A, which is basically a battery-like plug for the camera, which then attaches to the Nikon EH-5A power supply. This will run you about about $108 at B&H. A spare battery will run you another $50. None of the third-party batteries available apparently work in the D3100, as Nikon puts some sort of inkjet cartridge-style money-sucking chip inside their batteries. (I’m sure the vast camera accessory factories in China are working to overcome this issue).

It turns out the answer to both these problems is a third-party D3100 battery grip, $20something from Amazon.


The left-hand battery slot in the D3100 will take the $8 third-party batteries, as the camera is happy as long as it can see a Nikon battery when it starts up. I decided to add a barrel type power jack so I can power the camera off a power supply. I suppose it’s possible that all these infidel non-Nikon parts could cause the camera to explode, so don’t try this at home, kids.


The battery grip contains a circuit board that runs the whole width.


I attached the barrel plug to the left-hand (“infidel”) battery slot. In this photo, Green is – and White is +. Most DC power supplies are center-positive, and so I used that scheme here. I picked a spot for the barrel plug that puts it right against the battery slot so it can’t easily pop out. I carefully drilled a hole in the case, squared it off, and hot glued it in.

It works perfectly. You can even remove the genuine battery once the camera is booted.