chris barr

Photo/Dev/Design

Fantastic Album Art

I wanted to show off some amazing album art from my music library, so I’ve picked 24 of my absolute favorites (arranged alphabetically). My rules for selecting these was to purely judge them based on the artwork, not on the actual music itself.

Some just have amazing photography, others just focus on great use of typography. All in all, I love each piece of album art (and the music.)

Ben Folds – Ben Folds Live

[iTunes] | [Amazon]
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Chemical Brothers – Push The Button

[iTunes] | [Amazon]
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Death Cab For Cutie – Transatlanticism

[iTunes] | [Amazon]
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Derek Webb – Stockholm Syndrome

[iTunes] | [Amazon]
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Feist – The Reminder

[iTunes] | [Amazon]
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Frou Frou – Details

[iTunes] | [Amazon]
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Iron and Wine – Our Endless Numbered Days

[iTunes] | [Amazon]
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John Mayer Trio- Try!

[iTunes] | [Amazon]
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John Reuben – The Boy Vs. the Cynic

[iTunes] | [Amazon]
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Johnny Cash – The Legend of Johnny Cash

[Amazon]
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José González – In Our Nature

[iTunes] | [Amazon]
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The Mars Volta – The Bedlam in Goliath

[iTunes] | [Amazon]
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Modest Mouse – Good News for People Who Love Bad News

[iTunes] | [Amazon]
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Norah Jones – Not Too Late

[iTunes] | [Amazon]
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Radiohead – Hail to the Theif

[iTunes] | [Amazon]
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Regina Spektor – Begin to Hope

[iTunes] | [Amazon]
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Sarah McLachlan – Wintersong

[iTunes] | [Amazon]
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Shawn McDonald – Simply Nothing

[iTunes] | [Amazon]
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Sufjan Stevens – Illinoise

[iTunes] | [Amazon]
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The Flaming Lips – At War With The Mystics

[iTunes] | [Amazon]
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The Shins – Chutes Too Narrow

[iTunes] | [Amazon]
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UNKLE – War Stories

[iTunes] | [Amazon]
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Wilco – Yankee Hotel Foxtrot

[iTunes] | [Amazon]
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William Shatner – Has Been

[iTunes] | [Amazon]
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Great Videos I Like

Here’s some great videos I’ve found recently. This first one is a short documentary by Northern Lights about a still working 8,000 pound analog letterpress called the Kludge. Beautifully filmed!

This is a great music video by McBess – I’m overly impressed that they not only made the animations, but also the music! Everything here was made by them (or this one guy, I can’t tell how many people…)

Another great music video for Death Cab for Cutie’s song “Little Bribes”, but this one’s made by Ross Ching. Really catchy song, which is really enhanced by this awesome stop motion/time lapse video.

Lastly, a series of time lapse video from Tokyo.

MIXed up in Las Vegas

Once a year my company, AppRiver, allows me to attend one work related conference and my for first year working here I’ll be attending MIX ‘09 in Las Vegas!  Until recently, this wasn’t even a conference I’ve heard of, so don’t worry if you haven’t heard of it before either.  Mix is an annual conference for web designers and developers with a heavy focus on Microsoft technologies (also sponsored by Microsoft).

So, I’m headed out to Vegas on Monday the 16th and expect to learn a lot and have a blast doing so for about a week.  I’m scheduled for a few different sessions that I’m excited about attending, and there’s tons and tons of sessions to attend. Need I even mention this all takes place in Las Vegas?  I took a trip out there about 3 years ago with my dad and had a blast, so I fully expect to have a great time when I’m not doing web related stuff.  I know the grand canyon and the Hoover Dam are fairly close, and it would just be a dream come true to see either one of these (or both!).

I’ll hopefully be fully armed with my laptop and camera where ever I go, and a goal I’m going to try and set for myself is to do a daily photo-blog of what’s going on at the conference and anything else I can take pictures of.  It’s my first conference and I’m usually pretty trigger happy, so expect lots of photos.

More info about Mix here: http://2009.visitmix.com

Restoring from a Time Machine Backup

laptop-osx-disc
It’s usually a good idea to wipe off your hard drive and start fresh once every year or so, regardless of what OS you run. In the past it’s been a thing I’ve dreaded mostly due to the huge time commitment involved. My process before was to:

  1. Make sure all important files were backed up (1 hour minimum)
  2. Wipe the hard drive and re-install OS X (1-2 hours)
  3. Reboot and install OS updates (~30 minutes)
  4. Copy all the backed up file back onto the machine (~1 hour)
  5. Install all software needed from installation disks and the web (3-4 hours No thanks to Creative Suite…)

Needless to say, that’s pretty much an all day event. It involved so many steps that were spaced out just enough so that you couldn’t really leave and get anything done. It can also cause a lot of mental stress because you’re always worried with “Did I remember to back up my _____???” In the end, it was worth it though, I got rid of all kinds of junk that had built up and I ended up with a faster machine that’s no longer bogged down.

Enter Time Machine. I began to use this last year and haven’t looked back yet. For those that don’t yet know, Time Machine is Apple’s brilliant and easy backup solutions. You just designate another hard drive for backups, and once an hour it makes a copy of all the files that have changed. Because of this I have pretty much everything I’ve worked on since the beginning of 2008 – and multiples copies of it.

For those curious, I choose to trust my data with a Drobo, which is like RAID for dummies. I’ve got two redundant 1 Terabyte drives – I feel my data is safe.

One of the best new features in OS X was the ability to use that Time Machine backup as a way to restore your computer to a previous state. This is perfect for you if your hard drive crashes, or even if you’re having problems. My initial thought was that if I was having problems, wouldn’t restoring from Time Machine just restore the problems as well? In short, no. Time Machine only backs up your user data, no system files are backed up and noting that can be re-generated will be backed up (things like caches and your spotlight index).

Recently my Macbook Pro was feeling pretty sluggish. Videos didn’t play smoothly, applications took forever to load, and importing and browsing through my photos in iPhoto was painfully slow. It was time for a clean start. Lucky for me, Time Machine removes the majority of the steps I listed above. Basically all that needs to be done now is:

  1. Wipe the drive, install OS X
  2. Restore from Time Machine
  3. Install OS updates

Now this isn’t a quick process, but it’s no longer a thought intensive, worrisome, all day process. So if you’re in a similar situation to mine and you’re already using Time Machine, lets get started! Follow the jump to read more.

time-machine-1 First, you obviously need to make sure you’re using Time Machine. I’ll assume you know how to do this already, but go ahead and make one last backup just to be sure you have the most recent version of all your files. Next, insert your OSX install disk, open the installer, type in your password and your computer should restart and boot from the CD. Go ahead and unplug your Time Machine drive for now, just to be safe.

time-machine-2

Select your language, and then before continuing, go up to the Utilities menu and select Disk Utility. In the Disk Utility, select your hard disk on the left (not the hard drive, the actual disk). On the right, click the Erase tab. You could just click the Erase button right here, but when I erase a hard drive I want to be sure I’m actually erasing the data and not just the index. Your choice, but I’d recommend this next step for thoroughness.

time-machine-3Click the Security Options… button, and a pane will slide down with some secure erase options. Select Zero Out Data. If you’re really paranoid, or work for the DOD, select one of the other options. Hit OK, and now ask yourself if you have really got everything you need off the hard drive, there’s no going back after this. Take a deep breath and press Erase.

This part may take a while since it literally goes over your entire hard drive and writes Zeros on every sector. I’ve got a 160GB drive in my Macbook Pro and it took about an hour or two.

time-machine-4Now is a good time to go run some errands, get some lunch, or do the laundry. Once this is done, close out the Disk Utility and continue with the standard OS X installation. I highly recommend a custom installation, be sure to not install languages you don’t speak, and printer drivers for printers you don’t own and will never own. Now is a great time to get to that ironing you’ve been meaning to do.

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After OS X finishes installing you will be presented with the migration assistant. Plug in your Time Machine drive, and select to transfer your data from the Time Machine drive. Select which drive to transfer from, and then select what dat you want transferred. Usually you’d want to restore all your data, so I’d say just go with that. This part may take a while to calculate how much will be restored, so just wait a few minutes and then continue when it lets you.

time-machine-6If you haven’t caught on on LOST, now is a great time. I had about a years worth of backups, and it took around 2 hours to restore completely, just enough time to re-watch that season 5 premiere! Once that finishes, just enter in your information and that should do it. You now have a fresh install of OS X, but will all your data just as before!

First things first though, head up to the apple menu and select Software Update to make sure you’ve got all the latest updates. Install them, restart, and check again. Some updates require others first, so you may get a new set of things to update after the first round of updates. That’s it, you’re done!

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Something to keep in mind though is that Time Machine does not back up anything that your Mac can re-build itself. This includes things like your Spotlight index, caches, and your Mail index. The first time you open Mail, you will probably see something like the image below. No big deal, but it’s just something to be aware of. The same thing goes for opening programs for the first time, it’s going to ask you if you’re sure you want to do that since it’s the “first” time it’s been opened on this fresh system.

Hope that was helpful to someone. I tried this process without knowing for sure how it would work, and it turned out to be exactly how I imagined it would be – easy.

(EDIT 1/31/09) – After doing this restore and using my computer for a few days I noticed that Time Machine was no longer doing regular backups! Turns out that for some reason Time Machine is set to Off be default after an install of OS X. Be sure to go into the preferences and turn this back on to continue backing up your data!

Eclectic 2.0

Eclectic 2.0 is an incredible time-lapse movie all shot with DSLR cameras.  Ross Ching went to some amazingly beautiful locations and set up his camera with a special slow moving tripod and the camera set to take photos at a certain interval.  Watch and be amazed.  Read more about this project on Ross Ching’s site.

Download it here: (Quicktime required)
480p (17.6 mb)
720p (182.9 mb)
1080p (359.6 mb)

After watching this, I’ve gotten really interested in making these types of movies.  Unfortunatly for me, my camera doesn’t support taking photos at an interval without a special intervalometer I’d have to purchase.