Striped Lynx Spider

Wednesday, September 26th, 2007

Striped Lynx Spider on wall
Striped Lynx Spider, Oxyopes salticus
Fort Tilden, 2007-09-23

I used a macro lens to take the photo. This is much larger than life size. The actual spider could stand on a dime. I found this one in the men’s room. Bathrooms in public parks are often a good place to find interesting spiders. You just have to be ready to explain to the park ranger what you’re doing setting up tripods and video equipment in the toilet. :-)


Tuesday, September 25th, 2007

I’m still finding this site to be unmanageably slow at times. One other trick that’s been suggested is to install eAccelerator to cache the compiled PHP scripts. (WP-cache only caches the output pages.) I’ve now done that. At first glance it does feel like a dramatic speed-up, but we’ll have to see how it handles under load. Please holler if anything seems broken.

The install was shockingly easy for a Unix server program: took me about ten minutes total including time to write this entry. That’s less time than it took me to install PHP in the first place.

Things do seem to be faster, though I’m still seeing occasional timeouts requesting pages. I really wish there were some decent profiling and logging tools that could tell me exactly where the system is bottlenecking.

Sachem Skipper

Tuesday, September 25th, 2007

Brown and orange butterfly sipping nectar from purple flower
Sachem Skipper, Atalopedes campestris
Floyd Bennett Field, 2007-09-23

Monarch Caterpillar

Sunday, September 23rd, 2007

Yellow, black, and white striped caterpillar on milkweed
Monarch butterfly, Danaus plexippus
Floyd Bennett Field, 2007-09-23

As many monarchs as we see around here, we don’t see too many monarch caterpillars because there isn’t that much (or any) milkweed in most of the parks. I spotted this caterpillar grazing on milkweed on a Brooklyn Bird Club field trip this morning. It’s getting a little late in the season for caterpillars. I hope this fella can metamorphosize and head south before winter hits.

Two-spotted Lady Beetle

Saturday, September 22nd, 2007

Red ladybug with two black spots
Coccinella bipunctata
Oslo, Norway, 2007-09-08

Subsetting PowerPoint

Wednesday, September 19th, 2007

I do most of my presentation slides in pure XML, but I also do a few more high-level/less-code talks in PowerPoint. Sometimes I need to give the same presentation to different audiences or at different lengths. In XML it’s easy to “comment out” individual slides or whole sections to reduce a presentation to size. Is there any plausible way to do this in PowerPoint?