Well, yesterday was quite the day. Kyle and I spent eight and a half hours in the Mac Lab, and it wasn’t even a school day. In the last post, I talked about our plans to install Snow Leopard on all the Mac Lab computers, as well as new fonts, and set up a new workstation. We met these goals, and it took us from 8 am to 4:30 pm to do so.
We arrived at school just before 8 am and Mr. Skocko took a break from a teacher meeting to let us into the Lab. The day before, we had updated all the computers, so as soon as we were in, we were ready to go. Kyle and I started with Snow Leopard. It took us the better part of two hours to install it on the 44 remaining computers (we installed it on #8 on Thursday as a test). During the time we spent waiting for the installation to be completed, we took the opportunity to continue our work organizing the lab. We started on the corner where the projector is, and basically tore it apart. By the time it was finished, nothing was left, but two things were added. Those two things are two new computers, maclab46 and maclab47. The first is an old PowerPC G4 that is quite a few years old, but still powerful enough to be useful. It once was the server for most of the Grossmont Union High School District. The second of the two computers is a newer PowerPC G5, which on the exterior looks like a Mac Pro (we opened up the computer to clean it, and found out what it was that way). Both computers are hooked up to very large screens, but I am not sure what the actual measurements are. The G5 has a also has a second screen, which is smaller. The two other computer we found on Thursday, another G4 and another G5, are broken beyond repair and so we sent them to be disposed of by the district. Due to legal issues, we are not allowed to dispose of them ourselves; the district has to do it, as the computers are GUHSD property. We also set up the $2,500 scanner that Mr. Skocko bought, which will be accessible from ANY computer in the room (once we finish the setup).
After the Snow Leopard install was done, we updated the Adobe products on every computer, as well as Perian. We also disabled the automatic login to the admin account. Last, we installed the fonts, but I am not sure exactly how many. These last steps were completed a long time after the Snow Leopard install, because we were so busy setting of the computers and organizing that we didn’t have time until the very end.
By the time it was 4 pm and Skocko was ready to leave, the Mac Lab was a very different-looking place. The corner with the projector (where we spent the majority of our time) is completely different, and very much better. The two new computers are not completely finished being set up, so they are not yet open for business, and are still running Mac OS X v10.4 Tiger. We will update them to Leopard as soon as we find out if the software they have is compatible with Leopard. Their processors, PowerPC’s, do not work with Snow Leopard. They are more likely just new work stations rather than new high-end work stations, but it is still good to have two new computers in the room, and having two screens is really cool.
(I had to go back and edit the after image, because the serial number for the CS4 Master Collection was written on that paper!)
Today, Kyle and I stayed two hours after school and prepped the Mac Lab for a much-needed update.
It all started three weeks ago, when Kyle offered to organize Mr. Skocko’s cabinet. For extra minutes, he offered to come in during MLSS™ and revamp Mr. Skocko’s organization system. I tagged along. That Saturday, we spent four hours going through the camera cabinet and completely reorganized it. We also vowed to do the same to the adjacent tables and the corner with the projector.
Three weeks later, we have made a small amount of progress, but we have also accepted another task. Tomorrow, we will arrive at the Mac Lab at 8am and install Mac OS X v10.6.2 Snow Leopard on all the computers. For those of you who have been living under a rock, Snow Leopard is the newest and greatest operating system for Mac. Mr. Skocko has the software disks, he just needs to install them. That is where we come in. We will spend many hours updating each computer to the latest and greatest software from Apple.
Back to today. We spent two hours after school installing all the software updates for the current operating system, Mac OS X 10.5.8 Leopard,which are required before installing Snow Leopard. We also ran a test install to see how long it would take (1 hour 20 minutes). We took all the pen tablets from the computers and packed them in a box for us to organize tomorrow. Also, we took all the headphones from the computers and are going to sort through them as well.
Lastly, we found two Mac Pros and two old G4′s. We plan to set these computers up into a high-end work station with even more professional tools. With any luck, we will be able to salvage parts from the old G4′s to make the newer Mac Pro that is missing a hard drive work. The other Mac Pro works just fine. With any luck, by Monday, there will be an extra high-end station or two for people to work at.
And so, tomorrow we will update the Mac Lab to the latest and greatest operating system from Apple. After that, we will install some extra software including new fonts, which will definitely come in handy. Hopefully, we will also make good progress on our reorganization of the clutter that is literally piled throughout the Lab.
As for my other plans this weekend, I hope to do some more light painting, but without Kyle (he is going to Orange County) it will be less fun. I borrowed two lenses (10-22mm wide-angle and 18-200 telephoto), a remote shutter release, a gorillapod, and a 58mm Circular Polarizing filter from the Mac Lab, and will try to put them to good use. I own a Rebel T1i, so I didn’t need to take a camera, although I was tempted to take a 5D Mark II anyway. Also, I bought a tripod for myself today, so I don’t have to fight with anyone for the only remaining Mac Lab tripod with a mount piece. Last week, I bought the 50GB expansion for Dropbox, so I will have plenty of room to keep my photos updated across five computers.
On another note, we hope to print some of our images tomorrow. Whether or not they will go on the wall or will just be for our own enjoyment is yet to be determined.
Everyone in the Mac Lab should appreciate what we will do tomorrow.
Well, that’s it for now. I don’t have any image for today, as I have spent so much time studying for AP Chemistry, that I haven’t had time to edit anything new.
We met at Kyle’s house around noon and spent a few minutes outlining what we were going to do the rest of the day. After all our gear was assembled, we hiked a few hundred yards down into the canyon behind Kyle’s house. We spent about a hour photographing anything that we found interesting and then hiked back. At this point, the day started getting good. Kyle has the perfect backyard for photgraphy, and we took advantage of that. We spent over three hours working our way back and forth across his yard. He was using the 5D Mark II with the 70-300mm Marco plus a 58mm Circular Polarizing filter and a lens hood, all on a tripod. I was using a T1i with the 5D’s 24-105mm. We each covered the same ground, so we got two pictures of everything, ensuring at least one good shot. We only stopped because both of the T1i’s batteries died and we had filled up almost all the 24GB worth of memory cards we brought along. We took a break, ate some grapefruit, and charged the T1i.
As the sun started to set, we grabbed our gear again and hiked back through the canyon to a patch of rocks that offered a good vantage point of the sunset. We spent about forty-five minutes photographing the sunset and filled up the cards the rest of the way. Then we hiked back and went to my house.
At my house, we proceeded to unload the pictures from the cameras. We used both my MacBook Pro and my iMac to make the process go faster. In the end, it turned out that we had taken a total of 2160 pictures in just over five hours, and we were not even done for the day. We quickly looked through the pictures, deleting the duds, test shots, and obviously awful ones. We also marked the ones that were clearly superior. We will return to these at a later date.
Finally, we set up the cameras for light painting and went out to my driveway. We traced my truck with flashlights and, after several tries, actually produced something that looked quite cool. Next, we traced the driveway itself and added light at different heights to add a three dimensional effect. Our masterpiece for the evening was a two minute and seventeen second exposure of the driveway where we wrote “Mac Lab” outlines by layered light and with cars in the background. We tried tracing my garage door and the brick path to my entryway, but those didn’t turn out as good. After an hour and a half, we decided to stop and unloaded the pictures onto my iMac. We suspected, the “Mac Lab” one turned out to be the best. As the final activity of the day, we took it into Photoshop to brighten up the colors a little.
Overall, it turned out to be a very productive day. Of the 2160 pictures we took, over a hundred are good enough to be edited and maybe twenty will make it onto this blog. It is only a matter of finding the time to do it.
I don’t think it would be an overstatement to say that Kyle and I borrowed more equipment from the Mac Lab today than probably 99% of people have on a single occasion before us. We took a tripod, two lenses (a 12-24mm Wide Angle and a 70-300mm Marco), a lens hood, a hood hat, a bag full of filters plus a 58mm UV Haze filter and a 58mm Circular Polarizing filter, a cable, two remote shutter buttons, some cleaning wipes, a cleaning pen, a Cintiq and its cables and pen, and a Canon EOS Rebel 5D Mark II along with its 24-105mm Zoom lens. Kyle had to bring a duffel bag to carry all the equipment.
After school, we tested the equipment and took some pictures around Monarch Ridge with our friend and fellow Mac Lab (Digital Arts) student Cameron Rabell. The three of us took about three hundred pictures before we filled the 4GB card in the 5D Mark II. The last person to borrow it had left several videos on the card that took up most of the space. We had also brought my Rebel T1i along, but primarily used the 5D Mark II. We returned to my house and unloaded the pictures, but had to hurry back to school before we could view or edit any of them. Kyle had to work the concessions stand at the 6pm basketball game as part of his ASB duties. I came along and brought both cameras. I took eight hundred plus pictures in just over an hour and a half. It took me a while to fine tune the settings on the camera in order to get good shots, as this was only the second time I had shot a sporting event.
By 7:45, Kyle was allowed to leave and we parted ways. I went home and unloaded the picture from my camera, and deleted all of them. Heh, practice makes perfect. Kyle took the 5D Mark II home with him, as well as most of the gear. I think that camera has the better pictures on it.
I decided to switch gears. I enlisted my sister and we light painted for a little while. I spelled out each letter of “Mac Lab” individually and then assembled them in Photoshop. I had to do all of this twice as I forgot to change the ISO back to 100 from 1600, which I had set it at for shooting the game. I think the finished product turned out good, sorta. Mr. Skocko demanded good work in return for letting us borrow the 5D Mark II, so we are under tremendous pressure to make something cool.
Well, this is it for today. I have been working nonstop since 5am. That’s eighteen hours. Tomorrow, we plan to meet and do some more light painting. We would like to go to downtown at night, which is a good time and place for light painting.
As this blog grows, we will compile a page filled with the resources that we have found especially useful. Whenever we add to this page, we will post as update.