double prints in tracklogs

I really must look into this sometime. It’s a irritating when it happens although in practical terms it’s no big deal.

The problem; it’s a sort of undesired But One Get One Free. I’m in Tracklogs, and I print a map. Fine. But if I want to print two maps, I’d change number of copies to 2, and click print. So far so simple.

The problem is, Tracklogs prints double what I request. I’m pretty sure it’s just Tracklogs that does this.

Here’s a screenshot of a print run where I’ve requested two copies. As you can see, the pop-up windows contradict each other.

Buy one get one free

Two prints requested - Four received

Not a big deal. Just really really irritating. Must track it down one day…

exaile keyboard shortcuts

The wiki lists these:


Shortcuts while window has focus:

Ctrl+F Search a track inside the collection
Ctrl+G Search a track inside the current playlist
Ctrl+O Open a file or a playlist
Ctrl+S Save current playlist
Alt+Ctrl+S Export current playlist
Ctrl+D Add/remove currently highlighted song to/from queue
Ctrl+M Open Queue Manager tab
Ctrl+T Create new playlist
Delete Remove track from playlist
Ctrl+L Clear current playlist
Ctrl+W Close current playlist
Ctrl+Q Close Exaile


spell checker ignores bits in Word 2010

Well that was weird. I am used to Microsoft Word automatically spell checking as I go. And then I realised it had stopped doing it. Then I realised it was doing it in bits of my document, and not others. So I copied and pasted and experimented and cursed. Then I switched on the option that shows all the hidden codes and it all looked ok. I couldn’t see why it was ignoring just sections of the document. e.g.

Word spell checker ignoring some words

The same words ignored later on line

What I didn’t realise is that Word appears to allow you to switch off spell-checking on certain parts of your document. But it isn’t obvious which bits. I found that when I dropped the mouse about in the unchecked bit then selected: Review / Language / Set Proofing Language it was configured to ignore that section. Or Word. Letter. Character. Dunno how or why it decided to ignore that bit. I don’t know where the not-checking section begins and ends, or how to find out. i.e.

Configuring Word to ignore spell check

Configured NOT to check

So I unchecked Do not check spelling and grammar and everything is hunky dory. Mystery solved.

Well, not really. Why did that option get checked in the first place? I didn’t do it.

I have a theory that it’s something to do with something that happened a couple of days ago. Out of the blue Word popped up with a glittering selection of all my spelling mistakes and dictionary additions for the past few months, and asked me if I would mind awfully if it sent them anonymously to Microsoft. I said I did mind, politely declined the request, and asked not to be asked again. Perhaps it was something to do with that. Perhaps Bill is cross with me.

I can feed myself

After last night’s observation of an adult male Greater Spotted feeding a juvenile I decided to set up the Big Camera on the tripod with the remote cable release and wait, hopeful to see the same behaviour again. It’s easy to forget the importance of depth-of-field with a fast shutter speed, and I got literally hundreds of photos of a crystal-sharp-focussed bird feeder, and an ever-so-slightly fuzzy woodpecker.

But amongst the fuzzyness there were a couple of nice sharp shots. Of junior. It looks like he (or she) is quite capable of looking after himself.

father and son (or daughter)

There’s nothing like getting a clear, sharp, vibrant photograph of a dazzling bird like the woodpecker to make your day. Sure enough, this is nothing like it. Lots of my favourite photos, however, lack technical merit.

father and son

father and son (or daughter) at the feeder

So when I glanced out the kitchen window yesterday and saw an adult male greater spotted woodpecker at the fat feeder along with its youngster my heart skipped a beat. It’s a great sight and I crept to the window with the compact camera and shot a couple of photos through the grime.

Here you can see the juvenile woodpecker sitting on the top of the feeder, identifiable by the red crown. This redtop will fade away in the months ahead but for the moment it makes the juvenile birds stand out clearly. The adult, with the red spot on the nape of his neck is an adult male. The female doesn’t have this mark. The presence or absence of these red splodges make the sex of greater spotted woodpecker pretty easy to identify.

Just before they flew of I managed to capture a grainy moment where the adult was feeding the youngster a blob of fat from the feeder. It won’t win any photo competitions but I love it!

Adult male woodpecker feeding youngster

An adult male Greater Spotted Woodpecker feeds a youngster


windows / linux filename compatibility

It would be quite nice to be able to backup my photo collection to a USB drive in VFAT format. Unfortunately an indeterminate number of my photos have long filenames, although none have the dreaded microsoft hated colon(:). 250 characters seems to be the Windows7 limit. I could write a script to parse my /jpegs directory and report on all filenames >250 characters in length as well as any containing colons. This would give me a report. If it’s not too long it might be easiest just to go through them individually with f-spot and re-tag and rename them.

How to deal with exif stuff in Coolpix images that f-spot doesn’t like

I have a battered and knackered old Nikon Coolpix S600 camera. The zoom no longer works and it can be quite cranky. It’s not surprising as it has a tough time. It often gets carried on fell races and road races in, er, ‘hostile’ conditions. Its compact size and ‘sports’ setting makes it handy for firing and forgetting. I have a Canon compact that gets similar treatment but on the whole the Canon can’t take the punishment that the Nikon can.

The problem I have with the Nikon is that there seems to be issues with the exif data. Whether it’s the camera, the camera’s firmware, or the software I use on the PC to process images, I don’t know. The upshot is the same, though, I have problems writing exif data back to the jpegs from the photo management software f-spot.

I always start f-spot on the command line in debug mode and save the output to a file. This way I can get a better idea of what’s going on. i.e.

f-spot --debug 2>&1 | tee /home/dougie/f-spot.out

(there’s a wrapper script involved too that takes a backup of the old database first).

Once I have the images in f-spot I start applying tags. I have f-spot configured so that it writes tags to the image file itself as this gives me greater flexibility if I start copying photos around the place or into other packages. This setting is in f-spot under Edit / Preferences. i.e.

write image data to file

So now I have my photos and I’ve applied some tags to them. But if I have a look at the terminal session where I started f-spot, I can see there are problems. The messages will typically look something like this:

[4 Debug 21:39:15.516] open uri = file:///jpegs/2011/06/11/DSCN5936.JPG
[4 Debug 21:39:15.940] Invalid thumbnail, reloading: file:///jpegs/2011/06/11/DSCN5934.JPG
[4 Debug 21:39:15.942] open uri = file:///jpegs/2011/06/11/DSCN5934.JPG
[14 Debug 21:39:15.968] Syncing metadata to file (file:///jpegs/2011/06/11/DSCN5928.JPG)...
[14 Warn 21:39:15.970] Metadata of file file:///jpegs/2011/06/11/DSCN5928.JPG may be corrupt, refusing to write to it, falling back to XMP sidecar.
[4 Debug 21:39:16.359] Invalid thumbnail, reloading: file:///jpegs/2011/06/11/DSCN5931.JPG
[4 Debug 21:39:16.360] open uri = file:///jpegs/2011/06/11/DSCN5931.JPG
[14 Debug 21:39:16.569] Syncing metadata to file (file:///jpegs/2011/06/11/DSCN5924.JPG)...
[14 Warn 21:39:16.571] Metadata of file file:///jpegs/2011/06/11/DSCN5924.JPG may be corrupt, refusing to write to it, falling back to XMP sidecar.
[4 Debug 21:39:16.786] Invalid thumbnail, reloading: file:///jpegs/2011/06/11/DSCN5928.JPG
[4 Debug 21:39:16.787] open uri = file:///jpegs/2011/06/11/DSCN5928.JPG
[14 Debug 21:39:17.153] Syncing metadata to file (file:///jpegs/2011/06/11/DSCN5914.JPG)...
[14 Warn 21:39:17.154] Metadata of file file:///jpegs/2011/06/11/DSCN5914.JPG may be corrupt, refusing to write to it, falling back to XMP sidecar.

The problem for me is two-fold

  1. f-spot has a problem with the metadata in the jpeg.
  2. It’s creating extra .xmp files that I don’t want.

I’ve tried several avenues to resolve this and I thought the following would do the trick:

jhead -purejpg

This uses the Linux utility jhead to rewrite the image header with a standard one. Unfortunately the problem persists. So I took a more brutal approach. I used the linux utility exiftool to obliterate all meta data from the image.

At first I’d copy all the images from the memory card into a directory and then run exiftool on all the files there. i.e.

exiftool -all= *

(Note that syntax; there’s a space between the equal sign and asterix)

This is fine but unfortunately it pretty much destroys any useful or interesting extra information. Most I can live without, except the date and time that the photo was taken. It automatically inherits the file modification time instead.

The solution is to first read the jpegs into f-spot, then, while f-spot is still running, go to the directory where the images have been imported to, then run the exiftool command there. In my setup, I have f-spot configured to copy all imported jpegs to /jpegs where they are automatically arranged in directories according to date and time. So the procedure for me is as follows:

  1. Import jpegs into f-spot
  2. With f-spot running, change to destination directory where jpegs were imported to
  3. Run exiftool -all= *
  4. carry out tagging operations in f-spot

The advantage of this is that despite obliterating the meta data in the files using exiftool, f-spot still knows the data and times of these photos in its own database. So the next time you write to them with f-spot, by adding a tag for instance, they will get the date and time from f-spot. You lose pretty much everything else, which is a shame, but the date and time are what’s most important for me.

Typically what I tend to do is read all the photos from the memory card into a temporary folder, e.g. ~dougie/in, where I can carry out a quick pass using something like geeqie to delete any truly terrible photos. Then I import the photos into f-spot. Once that’s done I change to the destination directory where f-spot has copied the photos and run exifool. e.g.

dougie@phoenix /jpegs/2011/06/11 $ exiftool -all= *
60 image files updated
dougie@phoenix /jpegs/2011/06/11 $

Note the syntax for the exiftool command. That’s a space after the equal sign and before the asterix. It’s a powerful command so it’s best to check the man page first to ensure that you know what it’s going to do.


A few weeks ago, while chasing butterflies at Low Barns, I chanced upon this striking beastie. I was struck by the colours and thought it wouldn’t be difficult to identify what it is, but I had butterflies to chase and other things to do. I added the photo to my library, and tagged it as unidentified. Adding it to many other similarly tagged photos that I have queued up to sort out.



I can’t recall the host tree but the leaf looks cherry-like, although looking at it again that looks like it could be goat willow / pussy willow (Salix caprea).

Here’s a closer view of the creatures.

I didn’t think any more about it and consigned the image to the back-burner of idents-to-investigate, until I read a blog that showed the same creature in the same county around the same time. This is the froghopper (Cercopis vulnerata).

It’s one of the reasons I try to follow local natural history blogs and the news on local natural history sites. Chances are, what is being seen and written about across the country might very well be on my own doorstep.