Capturing Photos of Birds in Flight

Capturing Photos of Birds in Flight

I have always been fascinated by photographs of birds in flight. The crispness and wonder of how that moment was captured.

We have a bird feeder in our yard that is very popular particularily with chickadees.

I noticed that they tend to take the same flight path towards the feeder and leaving. The gears were turning in my head wondering how to capture one of them in flight.

Birds In Flight - SmallI setup my Canon SLR on a tripod with a lens allowing me a focal length of 500 mm so I could zoom right in near where they were landing on the feeder. I set the camera to Tv mode so I could lock the shutter speed to be extremely fast. Disabled auto focus on the lens then I manually focused on the very edge of the feeder to get the right spot. I then shifted the camera slightly to the left so there was nothing in the frame. I set my camera to continuous mode and waited. As soon as I saw a chickadee flying towards the feeder, I held the button… snap snap snap snap. I did this a number of times for each bird. Chickadees fly quite erratically and very fast.

Out of over 400 pictures taken in a short amount of time, about 10 of them caught some part of one of the birds. I copied the photos onto my computer to have a larger view and was rewarded with 2 amazing pictures… for an amateur!

Chickadee In Flight

I have a long ways to go compared to the professionals and their great photos. It is a fun hobby and I love learning more about it each time I experiment with my camera.


Interesting VMware Statistics

Interesting VMware Statistics

After attending the VMWorld 2011 conference, listening to the great keynote by Paul Maritz, and along with doing a lot of reading (working on vSphere 5 upgrades for clients), I have come across a number of very interesting statistics.


  • 1 new VM every 6 second
    (Faster than rate of babies born in US)
  • More thank 20 million VMs around the world
    (If they were physicaly machines, would stretch 2x length of the Great Wall of China)
  • There are 5.5 vMotions per second
    (More than number of planes taking off globally)
  • More than 800,000 vSphere admins
  • More than 68,000 VCPs in 160+ countries
  • 48 vCloud service providers



  • More than 1 million engineering hours
  • More than 2 million QA hours
  • 200 new features
  • More than 2,000 partner certifications



19,000 attendees (Hurricane Irene caused many flight cancellations, would have been higher)

Hands-On Lab Stats

  • 248 servers
  • 2,496 cores
  • 18,048 GB total memory
  • 6,392 GHz total processingv
  • Powered by vSphere5 and vCloud Director 1.5
  • 480 seats, all dual monitor
  • 24,000 lab seat hours
  • 18,000 labs deployed
  • 225,000 VMs deployed

4-Digit Codes

4-Digit Codes

It is unfortunate that many organizations have instituted basic 4-digit codes to be used for a variety of security applications:

  • bank and credit card pins
  • luggage tags
  • garage door opener
  • home keyless locks
  • safes
  • briefcases
  • padlocks

Almost everyone uses some form of their birthdate, combination of their birthdate (month, year), or other family members.

Interesting I read recently that the top ten 4 digit codes are:

  1. 1234
  2. 0000
  3. 2500
  4. 1111
  5. 5555
  6. 5683
  7. 0852
  8. 2222
  9. 1998

It is estimated that the above 10 codes represent 15% of all user codes being used. Even worse is that once you know someone’s user code, they tend to use it everywhere, even for email accounts and computer passwords.

Certainly 4-digit codes have limited variations, but if you must use only 4-digits, please try and make the deterent a bit more difficult to overcome. Shake things up and use different codes in different places. And most of all, don’t be part of the 15%!

Are you guilty as well?


Access Your PC from Your Tablet (Android / iPad)

Access Your PC from Your Tablet (Android / iPad)

PC users have log since benefited from great programs to remotely access the desktop of one PC from another.

With the convenience of carrying around tablets such as Androids and iPads, yet the inconvenience of not being able to run everything you need on these lightweight portable systems, accessing your PC remotely is still something many people have a requirement for.

LogMeIn Ignition (Android and iPad)
$30 app, fast, simple

Citrix GoToMyPC (Android and iPad)
$99/yr per PC, expensive, secure and reliable

Wyse Pocket Cloud Pro (Android and iPad)
$15, easy, supports multiple connections

PhoneMyPC (Android)
$15 app, performs well, has a limited free version, has encryption

My favorite is LogMeIn Ignition which I highly recommend you try out. They have Windows and iPhone versions as well. This mature product has become a required part of my toolkit.


Hard Drive Data Recovery – Part 2 of 2

Hard Drive Data Recovery – Part 2 of 2

This blog article is a part 2 for hard drive data recovery where your hard drive will no longer boot into Windows. See part 1 here.

If the situation is serious, you may need to use a data recovery service. They are expensive, however if recovering the data is uber important, you may have no choice. It is best to not attempt any form of data recovery yourself and you increase the chance of causing more damage or losing more data. You increase the likelihood of being able to recover your data if you don’t do anything.

If the loss of the data isn’t super critical, you could try some of the software solutions below on your own.

One free piece of software you should have in your toolkit for just such a situation is Parted Magic. This particular piece of software you need to burn the image you download (an ISO file) to a CD and then you would boot your computer from that. This is very helpful to have in those situations where your computer can’t boot into Windows. Also it is always good to shutdown your computer if you are really concerned about recovering a file as it minimizes the chance that anything overwrites it. So using something like Parted Magic to boot into an alternate operating system to recover your files is more ideal.

Burning ISO files to an optical disc (CD/DVD) is quite easy. One nice free program you can use is CDBurnerXP. It is very simple to use for burning files or entire images (ISO files) to a disc.

Parted Magic has it’s own file manager view and you can copy files from the corrupted hard drive to another drive. Never copy files to the same drive that is having problems as you might overwrite what you are trying to recover.

Another idea is to take the bad drive and connect it to another computer. If the drive does spin up and shows up in the drive manager, but you cannot see any of the files, then you could look at some commercial programs. One program is R-Studio which has 3 flavours all under $100 and is generally successful at recovering files. It supports a large number of file systems (including Windows, Linux, and BSD variants).


VMware Certified Professional on vSphere 5 (VCP5)

VMware Certified Professional on vSphere 5 (VCP5)

I challenged the VCP5 exam today and passed (VMware Certified Professional on vSphere 5). It was a lot more challenging that I was expecting. You really need to have a lot of hands-on experience to be able to answer the questions.

I already had my VCP3 and never did upgrade to VCP4. Because of that, I had to take the What’s New in vSphere5 2-day course which thankfully was offered online in order to jump directly to VCP5.

If you are a VCP4 currently, you only have until Feb29/12 to challenge the VCP5 exam without needing the What’s New course. If you are a VCP3, you only have until Feb29/12 to only require the 2-day course – after that you need to take the 5-day full course. Much more expensive.

This is a new exam that just came out in late August so this certification is still very new with few people and resources online regarding it.

There isn’t much I can say due to the non-disclosure they have you agree to.

The test was 85 questions in 90 minutes and I used up the entire time to complete it. I read over each question very slowly in fine detail as the exact wording is super important in qualifying the possible answers.

I feel the exam was fair. Setting up your own little lab and installing everything from scratch, going over every screen involved, every option, testing things, breaking things, upgrading things. It all helps and is valuable knowledge that will help you out. I don’t feel it is a memorization exam though. It really was more based on actual experience.

I don’t work with VMware every day. I do have a number of clients that I help support their VM environments, yet they aren’t enterprise size clients with using all of the features available. They are all SMB. So I had to configure, test, and play with a lot in my own home lab.

Feels great having my certification renewed now to the latest and greatest. VMware has done on a great job on vSphere 5 with the new features it has to offer.