Culture Trust No One

Che, Jim, Andy and Silkscreening

Way back in the late Sixties I picked up a number of useful skills. AND they had nothing to do with computers. Apart from tie dying which was messy and great fun, I learnt how to silkscreen tshirts and posters.

Now you have to remember that desktop publishing hasn’t been invented yet, and neither has the inkjet printer, iron on paper or Kinko’s. So we had to figure out ways to get the message across while waiting around for someone to invent all that stuff. It also had the advantage that while you were waitng for stuff to dry you could whip round the corner and catch a set from a band at the local pub.

Korda photo of CheIn case you think that this all sounds a little lowtech and primitive, I would like to point out that one of the enduring icons from that era was first popularised as a silkscreened poster and tshirt.

The Maryland Institute College of Art called Korda’s photo (that’s the one on the left), “The most famous photograph in the world and a symbol of the 20th century.” and who am I to argue.

Jim Hamilton GraphicNow this is transformed using a single stencil and some black ink by Irish artist Jim Hamilton into the graphic at the right (of course recognise it,you’ve seen the image a million times). and then Fitzpatrick’s high contrast image is hijacked and re-purposed by Warhol CheAndy Warhol’s in his 1962 artwork Che Guevara, a montage of brightly coloured images in Warhol’s stylised screenprint. And now it’s used to sell Vodka, clothes and probably appears at least somewhere in the graffiti on a wall near you right now.

So screenprinting, lowtech and primitive, OK. But you still can change the world with it.

Silkscreening is a great medium, as it sort of sits half-way between hand-drawn and mass production, way more colourful than photocopying and as you can see above, it has an aesthetic all its own.

What prompted all this is a post by Artist Shannon Gerard, who broke out her silkscreening gear to make cool shirts and posters for her upcoming comic launch, and while waiting for things to dry has shared her skills in a funny and very detailed tutorial over at No Media Kings How to Silkscreen Posters and Shirts

So go and read up, learn how to print your own posters, shirts, or whatever else is small enough to be printing on. Lets face it, we may be needing this soon. Oh yeah keep an eye out for the Virgin Mary and Spiderman, they help her out.


Lightning Photography

Storm chaser Michael Bath has been photographing severe weather for almost twenty years. He’s archived hundreds of his beautiful photos of thunderstorms and lightning on his Web site, Lightning Photography

LightningHere are some of his Lightning Photo Tips

I used a Nikon FG20 35mm SLR camera with 100 speed print film until June 2004, and have since bought a Nikon D70 digital SLR camera. The D70 was a big change for me but I’m glad I waited to get an SLR digi rather than the hybrid / compact types that have less control. The D70 has an 18 – 70mm kit lens and I have since purchased a Sigma 70 to 300mm lens. However I mostly use the old manual 50mm lens for lightning as it has aperture to F1.8. With digital, it is a big advantage being able to see lightning shots as soon as you’ve taken them – so adjustments to exposure can be made while the storm is still active. Of course the biggest advantage is that it costs nothing and you see the results immediately. There is one negative, digital is less forgiving with over exposed lightning photos than film.

Despite lightning itself being very bright, the more overall scene light you let in, the better the picture (in most cases), so use low F settings. Zooming in on distant lightning often produces disappointing results, and I usually don’t bother.

For both night and late afternoon/early evening lightning you will need a camera that can be put on a tripod and have a cable/remote shutter release (or very steady hands). Also, for night lightning the camera really needs manual control of aperture and exposure times.

We may not have tornadoes to chase here in Australia, but some off the photo’s from up North look amazing, I can understand the fascination. Head over to his site and have a look.

Culture Trust No One

Australia, atoms and nuclear accidents

John Howard recently announced that Australia ( that’s the former democracy) is going to go nuclear. Now, he assures us that this decision will be thoroughly investigated. Pity it’s a decision already rather than a discussion.

The Austrlian Green’s media release yesterday claims that

Prime Minister John Howard wants to shut out the Australian public from his nuclear review, making a lie of his call for a ‘full-blooded debate’, Australian Greens energy spokesperson Senator Christine Milne said today.

“Reports today that the hand-picked review panel will not hold public hearings and probably won’t call for public submissions show just what a sham the process is,” Senator Milne said in Alice Springs.

“Prime Minister Howard said he wanted a ‘full-blooded debate’ about whether Australia should go down the nuclear track but he doesn’t want to hear what Australians have to say on the matter,” Senator Milne said.

“Instead, the panel will ask selected individuals to make submissions, and even these may not be released to the public until after the review panel reports to the Prime Minister.

SO when the pundits tell us how safe this stuff is, it might be worth popping over to Lasting News, who have produced a timely Google map of nuclear_accidents around the world.

I will bet there are a lot more there than you knew about ( I could only name 6).This map displays information about the most important nuclear accidents and disasters relying on a well-documented Wikipedia source.

Here are some other pages to cast an eye over.

Oh and just in case it wasn’t obvious, NO NUKES FOR AUSTRALIA.


freeSSH and puTTY

Geek Alert!

I have a client who insists that their perimeter controls are enough, and they blithely use telnet inside their network. I prefer to uses SSH wherever it is possible. It’s a doddle to set up under Ubuntu (my current laptop config), but the client is M$ shop so here is what I suggested to them.

freeSSHd like it’s name says, is a free implementation of an SSH server. It provides strong encryption and authentication over insecure networks like Internet. Users can open remote console or even access their remote files thanks to built-in SFTP server.

It runs on NT / 2000 / XP based operating systems, starting from Windows NT version 4.0. There are no special hardware requirements, any computer that can run WinNT will be sufficient. freeSSHd uses very low amount of resources, but you must keep in mind the memory consumption of applications that your remote users will use and number of users as well.

Over at Geek Pit, there is a post about how you can tighen up SSH, check out Five-Minutes to a More Secure SSH

Here is a quick way to drastically improve the security of your OpenSSH server installations. Apart from past flaws in the OpenSSH daemon itself that have allowed remote compromise (very rare), most break-ins result from successful brute-force attacks. You can see them in your firewall, system or auth logs, they are an extremely common form of attack.

And here is a secure way to use it

Socialist Sushi » portaPuTTY
portaPuTTY is a hacked version of PuTTY that stores all its information in files, not in the registry. It was made so we could all have a good SSH client to run from a USB drive. (Memo to self. Get bigger USB thingy) Other than that, it’s the PuTTY you know and love.


Monday Morning “Impediment to Productivity” – 20060626


Sorry but Monday has been cancelled.

Yes I know what you are thinking… you just looked and it’s definitely there.

But as far as I am concerned it’s still Sunday and I am going to be skipping straight to Tuesday.

Sorry but it can’t be helped (recalcitrant code and pefidious PDF generators).

The music section is still running fine over at and

Now don’t forget the to pop into the blog ( ) for the odd update during the week.

As usual have a good one

{ Currently listening to Pogues and Pantera }
{ Quick Status Check: Going to Hell… possibly there }
{Crop Circle Status Check: Five for June.}

Culture Mondays

55 Ways to Have Fun With Google

If you are like me you use Google a dozen or more times a day.

But do you know about say, the Google Snake Game? How about Googledromes? Memecodes? Googlesport? The Google Calculator? Googlepark and Google Weddings? and then there’s Google hacking, fighting and rhyming?

Well neither did I, but Philipp Lenssen (the author of Google Blogoscoped.) has just released
55 Ways to Have Fun With Google and generously put a Creative Commons PDF / HTML version on his website.

In this book, you’ll find Google-related games, cartoons, oddities, tips, stories and everything else that’s fun.

On the subject of Advanced Google Mail ( I know we weren’t but it seems apropos)

Lifehacker had a post a while back called Become a Gmail master

The first thing you’ll want to do to flex Gmail’s muscle a bit is set up a few labels. If you’re new to labels, think of them as folders, or better yet, tags.

Your email doesn’t have to specifically reside in any folders to be just as accessible. In fact, labels are great specifically because you can apply multiple labels to one email, making you email that much easier to find. Setting up labels is super-easy:

and Smallwire discovered Keyboard shortcuts for every Google webapp

All good geeks know that keyboard shortcuts are the shiznit. I have been a dedicated user of Gmail since I got my hands on an invite over a year ago. I thought I was a power-user until someone told me that you could archive a conversation by pressing ‘y’. “Shortcuts in webapps?!” I screamed. After this mini epiphany/freak-out, I ran around the help files of all my favourite webapps, looking for the shortcuts. Here they are. They’re useful. Go wild.

All in all a bit of reading time seems called for.