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CentOS and its quirks

Slowly getting hang of CentOS7. Had an issue compiling ITK which was fun… Turns out CMAKE was bugged out.. I guess that is the pattern I expect to see… always think: is there a newer alternative for this app I am using that could be critically out of date on the CentOS long term support release. In my case, it was CMAKE out of date…..

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Real World YUL Easter Eggs

So… Apparently Montreal has these secret super random T Rex funny stickers that some folks have been trying to stick at most random place (mostly city lamp post). Finding them while walking around is like finding Easter eggs in GTA games. Here are some examples.

Whoever doing this is pretty determined and prepared and is most probably some underground artists because these stickers have been around over at least a year or two and are of HIGH quality with minimal color fading and weather resistant to the winter snow and spring flood inducing rain…

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My experience with CentOS so far

Summarized pretty well by this:

Oh, I have not started look into SELinux yet. I just set it to 0.. +_+

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Grep and Flavor of RegularExpression

I hate Linux. I suck at it because even simplest tasks take forever to do unless you memorized all the flags and all the nitty gritty details. It took me a full day to realize why my script sometimes works and other times don’t. Grep for a regular expression on string is annoying.

Had to realize -iPo and the fact that this would make search case insensitive (i), only show the matched output text portion (o) and use Perl flavored RegularExpression engine (P) instead of the useless standard/basic regular expression in egrep or grep. Those damn three letters (especially P) costed me a day. FML. Did I mention all this script is take an input string and modify it slightly to insert a word at the right place? Such small function that would take maybe 1h in C# even fully reliant on Man search/StackOverflow search etc. Took me a DAY… FFFFFFFFFFF this.

Also… didn’t expect install VM guest addition turned out to be more painful than I expected… Here is a much easier step by step guide… https://www.if-not-true-then-false.com/2010/install-virtualbox-guest-additions-on-fedora-centos-red-hat-rhel/


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MANTIS Compilation and Windows Executable

Been keep having hard trouble following MANTIS compilation guide at http://developmentalimagingmcri.github.io/mantis/installation/

Today, I think I am really getting close. Git Update was apparently blocked for subprojects related to the SourceForge. So I literally had to use a VPN in order to just get the source code for the compilation.

Tried on my 8GB laptop and totally ran out of RAM. Running now on a 32GB beast to see if that helps… If I manage to compile it I will host it somewhere for others who need the MANTIS Binary Windows 64.

Actually managed to compiled it without issue, as of date 2018-04-17 17:33. So be aware of the date. Here is the Google Drive link. I obviously don’t claim any ownership. Go buy those fine Devs in Melbourn U a beer when you get a chance. :)

Also, CentOS7 Binary.

Kudos to the Deanna Thompson’s group of crazy hardcore devs.

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Potential MagicLantern Bug on 5DII Nightly (2018-04-15)

Running into some BIZARRE issues with MagicLantern on EOS 5DII.

Maybe someone will find this useful and know I am not crazy lol.

Toshiba 1066x UDMA7 64GB CF card.

ML tested on Canon 50D and Canon 5DII.

  • 50D + latest ML nightly (magiclantern-Nightly.2018Feb04.50D109.zip) work flawlessly.
    • Wakeup/startup speed normal (< 1s)
    • Hence: This Camera + Card + ML version works at least.
  • 5DII + same card (formatted) + without any ML: wake/boot normally, lightning fast. wake < 0.5s, startup < 0.5s.
  • 5DII + same card + 5DII ML Nightly = slow wake (about 1.5s), slow startup (2s). Seems spent on reading the card with red access light on
    • Tested with ML “magiclantern-Nightly.2018Feb04.5D2212”. Still slow.
    • Tried reformat card in camera. No use.
    • Tried low level reformat card in PC into exFat with different larger block size, not recognized in camera, reformat in camera, no use.
    • Tested with older nightly as far as almost one year back: “magiclantern-Nightly.2017May07.5D2212”. Exact same issue. No use.
  • 5DII + NO card + ML = fast wake (about 0.5s), fast startup (0.5s).
  • 5DII + NO card + NO ML = fast wake (about 0.5s), fast startup (0.5s).

Quite odd that 5DII, which started the ML testing/play/exploration, is the one with this bug. I initially thought this would be a camera issue as I got it used 5DII but no ML test ruled that out. I thought it could be the card, but same card on 50D ML works wondrously so it must be something related to 5DII + this card + ML.

So far, the real fix for this kind of slow wakeup and slow startup lag is to remove ML/bootflag by installing ML and leave it on for 60s so it removes the bootflag.

It might be a quite old bug/quirk. Other similar reports of this issue with the ONLY resolution being removal of ML/bootflag. Here is a brief review of all prior 5DII and 5DIII bug I found via search

  • 2012:
    • https://www.dpreview.com/forums/thread/3016685
    • https://www.magiclantern.fm/forum/index.php?topic=2049.0
    • https://www.magiclantern.fm/forum/index.php?topic=2745.0
    • https://www.magiclantern.fm/forum/index.php?topic=2883.0
  • 2013/2014:
    • http://photography-on-the.net/forum/showthread.php?t=1321731
    • Might be even related to the issued reported in 5DIII as reported here: https://www.magiclantern.fm/forum/index.php?topic=10992.0
    • It seems this delay is “accepted” by a hero forum member, Walter Schulz as shown here: https://www.magiclantern.fm/forum/index.php?topic=13698.0 suggesting this cam bootflag related delay is a known issue, as far back as 2014 with 5DIII? Could this be an old bug rearing its head?
    • https://www.magiclantern.fm/forum/index.php?topic=7488.msg64184#msg64184
    • Further evidence suggest it was a known issue:  https://www.magiclantern.fm/forum/index.php?topic=10992.25
    • Further evidence about the 2s delay: https://www.cinema5d.com/guide-raw-on-a-5d-mark-iii-magic-lantern/
      • “NOTE: When installing Magic Lantern your camera will start up 2 seconds slower (this can now be undone by simply uninstalling Magic Lantern)”
      • I wonder if it is ever fixed for 5DIII
  • Current:
    • FAQ: https://wiki.magiclantern.fm/faq “startup time may be a little slower, even on non-ML cards.”
      • Oddly, it actually happens ONLY on ML cards.

So I guess I will be running my 5DII without ML for a while.

2018-04-22 Update: tried with a different CompactFlash card SanDisk Extreme III. Still same issues. Definitely not card related. Might be specific version of hardware with  issue?

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YUL US preboarding custom opens at 3:45am it seems. Surprised I couldn’t find that online anywhere. Accurate as of 2018-03-13.

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50mm and those sick 1.8F lens


I really wish I had shot & reviewed those wide aperture lens more often.

Huge benefit in terms of image quality STRAIGHT out of the camera with minial processing.

  1. Color is MUCH more vibrant.
  2. Shallow DOF, subject isolation is much easier.
  3. Regardless of how shitty the body is.

50mm 1.8 is great.

That Sigma 50-100 1.8 is a VERY seriously sickly awesome lens too.

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MincTool Confusions

I really wish MNI folks could clarify this a bit but:


MincTool: is a set of commandline tools (very low level minc related IO tools like DICOM2MNC conversion etc).

MincToolKit: is a collectiction/pack of various software pieces (e.g. larger than just commandline tools) to help deal with image processing (including, normalization tools ANT, N3, etc but it ALSO includes MincTool above (e.g. those commandline tools).

MincToolKit v2: is the updated collection of above. Use this. You most likely want to comiple everything all together as MINCLibrary is at the core of everything so for example, just try to compile DCM2MNC won’t work unless you have the MINCLibrary somewhere active.

All this could have been way more simplified. Hopefully you are less confused than before…

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Tips on photography

I have been doing some photography for a while as a casual hobbit with about 50K on my 60D and 14k on my T3i  (mostly probably due to my timelapse). I do mostly shitty shots but I am trying to get better. Here are some lessons I learned.  Take what you will. :)

Some cheap a f lens I shoot with:

  • EF 50mm 1.8
  • EF 70-300mm IS USM
  • EFS 10-17mm IS STM
  • EF 28-135mm IS USM (gotta be my least favourite lens)
  • Kit 18-55 I, II


  • Conference:
    • if you want speaker shots, take 70-300 or something longer to get some nice portraits without disrupting everyone in the conference.
    • Fast lense like 50mm F1.8 for when you can get close and personal and not interupting everyone.
    • Tripod is impractical due to mobility. Maybe monopole.
    • Use flash if you can… but as a silent transparent observer, I try to bring the least amount of disruptions
  • Timelapse of beaches, construction sites, clouds, etc
    • Wide angel: 10mm to 17mm for APSC if you can.
    • Make sure MagicLantern is installed
    • It is best if you can get a battery grip (even shitty ones costint $15 is okay as its extra battery draining will be offset by the extra battery somewhat.. or you can spend $150+ get the legit one. )
    • OR if in door, get a socket power plugin
    • IF doing anything near window/through window, ensure 1) in door light is never one or else you will ruin the shot. 2) maybe longer lens can mitigate that but you are losing views.
    • Example:
      • Penthouse views
      • Constructions site views
  • Offshore cruise/short boat ride
    • Mid to long. 
      • Long (70+)  really help with isolating things you actually want to see off shore.
    • Do not bring wide. Usually they make everything look way too small, unless you are like visiting the great LeShan Budha and cruising right down to its knee or something.
    • This is where slower lens shine.
    • Example:
      • boat tour around liberty island.
  • Building / Indoor/Under bridge / downtown / skyscrpter:
    • Example:
      • taking photo of the brooklyn bridge
      • take image of trump towel underneath it
  • Flight takeoff/landing:
    • Fast Lense: 1.8 50mm
    • Wide angle so you can really take some nice views
    • Do not bring anything longer than 70mm due to 1) lense size around the seat, 2) motion blur, low light.
  • Insect/flower/ closerups:
    • Any macro obviously….
    • 50mm 1.8 works too.
    • Antyhing fast tbh
  •  Random:
    • Use point focus, and use BACK BUTTON FOCUS!
    • Get a proper strap like those black rapid but there are far cheaper ones than those…
    • Always bring a spare battery not just because you might run out but because battery can die mid way before reaching 50% even!
    • a dirt cheap body like T3i or something like is probably better than an idle lens sitting around.
    • Cap do not go well with SLR.
    • Try to shoot enough image with any gear such that that a shutter fix is required is better than buying the best gear and unable lift them or always lament shitty not focused image. AI will help rate images down the road.
    • Throw away the lens cap. Put any filter on. Shitty filter is as bad as damaged front element for lense but… even damagned front element lens actually see VERY little artefacts so put on any filter just to keep fingers out.
    • Shoot and forget. Then when you go back to process them, your mind will wonder WTF you were thinking shooting that one and crop it properly. All will be well.
    • Do not ride bike with your SLR. It will make biking uncomfortable and you will have less focus taking pictures.
    • Composition trumps lens, and just about everything. Shitty composition will not be saved by better equipment, camera, subjects, lighting etc. Post processing MAYBE can save it but usually not worth the time.
    • Shoot what you like but you don’t have to like what you shot.
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