Under Pressure Studio Take

A version of Queen and David Bowie’s Under Pressure you might not have heard before.

You can hear some talking in the background. From the title I thought this was made during the recording of the song but comments on this video and another video say it’s from radio interviews. Anyone know?

Here’s a great article on the making of the song.

Though the band sounds lighthearted enough in the studio sessions, the songwriting, May remembers, was fraught with tension. “It was very hard,” he said in 2008, “because you already had four precocious boys and David, who was precocious enough for all of us.” Bowie, says May, “took over the song lyrically” and insisted on presiding over the final mix session, which “didn’t go well,” according to Queen engineer Reinhold Mack. For his part, May has said he would “love to sit down quietly on my own and re-mix it.”

Howto disable syntax highlighting in Vimdiff

X > Y >> Z

Where X is the population of developers who read this blog, Y is those that use Vim and Z is those that use vimdiff regularly. I guess this post will only be useful to a tiny minority of my readers, but to them it might be the best thing they’ve read all year. (Well, it is 2016, right? It’s been a weird year.)

Vimdiff allows you to open two files in Vim and side by side compare them, pushing changes from one file to another. I’ve been using it as long as I’ve been working on b2/WordPress and even before then too. It’s supremely useful.


Over the years I’ve used many different terminals, with various settings and colour configurations. My vim settings change over time too as I move from one machine to another. Sometimes the colours look ok in Vimdiff, sometimes they don’t. Sometimes the colours are ok for one file type while conflicting in others.
The problem is that Vimdiff has it’s own colours it uses to show what parts of the files are different or missing. Those colours can sometimes hide actual text in the files. I find myself highlighting those lines with SHIFT-V to see the text.

I could pick a different colour scheme but then there’s no guarantee that a different part of text will be hidden by Vimdiff’s colour scheme. The easiest way to fix this is by disabling syntax highlighting completely when in Vimdiff and you do it like this. Open up your ~/.vimrc and add these lines:

if &diff
syntax off

With that in there Vimdiff goes from looking like this to the simplified appearance below.



Ironically, the theme I’m currently using in Vim in the screenshots above isn’t that problematic, but here are two screenshots that show the problem from another machine. In the second screenshot I have highlighted (with SHIFT-V) the line with the function name in the left side. As you can see, the text “function” is still invisible in the right side of the screenshot.

Vimdiff Vimdiff

If you don’t want to edit your .vimrc for whatever reason you can also manually do :set syntax=off from within the editor but you’ll have to do that for each of your files.

All the code above is GPLed WordPress code. Thanks to user hildred on Stackexchange for that one. Hopefully someone else will find this useful.

Spots at f/22

It might be time to clean the sensor of my camera again. The circles in the photo above are the spots I removed in Lightroom. They’re caused by little specks of dirt or dust on the camera sensor.

Thankfully they’re really only visible when shooting with a closed down aperture like f/22. At f/8 I see nothing! The aperture of a lens describes how big the hole in the lens is that lets light in to the camera sensor or film. Paradoxically, small f numbers are big holes, so f/1.8 lets in lots of light, while f/22 creates a tiny hole and not a lot of light gets through.

Even if you never take the lens off your camera, you might still get spots on your sensor. A zoom lens has bits that go in and out. Air goes in and out and there’s a (tiny) chance that dust will get sucked in. Dust in the lens itself is nothing to worry about as it’ll never show in photos but if you shoot a lot at small apertures like f/22 you can clean your sensor.

It’s actually not that hard to clean the sensor. Last year I wrote a blog post on how to clean your camera sensor including a video and step by step instructions. I’ll probably get around to that this week again. Go have a look if you see spots, or go see a doctor if you’re not looking at a photo at the time …

MacOS Sierra and Lightroom 5

If you updated your Mac to MacOS Sierra and you use an old version of Lightroom you may get a shock when you try to import anything.

Lightroom Import Dialog

The destination and rename panels are missing from the sidebar! Luckily there’s an easy way to fix it, at least temporarily, thanks to The Lightroom Queen who figured out how. Right click on one of the panel headers and you can enable the missing panels again in the menu that appears!


Unfortunately the change doesn’t stick and the next time you import photos you’ll have to enable those panels again if you want to check those settings.

I can’t imagine Adobe will update LR5. I didn’t think Lightroom would start to break down so quickly after an OS upgrade as the app isn’t that old but I guess we’ll all have to jump on the Creative Cloud bandwagon sooner or later.

Find Duplicate Files in MacOS

In the past I’ve used FSLint or even some BASH magic to find duplicate files but I have a huge archive of photos and videos, some of which were renamed during import, and some were accidentally imported more than once, or moved about. It’s somewhat chaotic


So I was very glad to find dupeGuru! It’s a powerful application for MacsOS and Linux that allows you to scan one directory or more for duplicate files. It can search by content, or match filenames. It has modes for music and pictures, but I’ve stuck with the standard search as I want to only look for files that are 100% the same.

It found several gigabytes of duplicates for me, and it has a useful feature that symlinks duplicates to their parent. Even though the dupes still exist, they’re not taking up any space.

The developer is looking for help to maintain the project. You can find more information and source code too on the dupeGuru GH page.

Automattic in 2016


This is (most of) Automattic. We’re in the town of Whistler, Canada for the annual Grand Meetup. The company is growing every year, from tiny origins when a small group of us hacked away on a couple of servers to almost 500 now!

In the old days the company portrait was easy. The first one was us seated around a large table. I remember well the one in Breckinridge, Colorado. The whole company fit on the stairs leading up to one of the houses we had rented.

In recent years it’s been a challenge. This year Rose Goldman Simon and I scouted the town of Whistler for suitable locations. Rose had already been around and picked out several so I helped to narrow it down. We’d need:

  • Somewhere high up for the photographer to stand so as many people as possible could be seen.
  • Tuesday, the day this was made, was a lovely bright day, but that would play havoc with the photo. We needed a large shaded area.
  • It needed to be close to where we’re staying. The further away we had to walk the more complicated it would become.

We narrowed it down to two locations. One in front of a local store where there’s a nice courtyard and this location above. This won out despite the fact that sunlight would be shining on the camera lens but a large whiteboard helped keep the sun off. Ironically as people dispersed after the shoot, the shadows crept up past where the camera was which would have simplified things!

Final development of the photo was in Lightroom and Affinity Photo.

You’ll also find the photo on Matt’s blog, and shared by many of my colleagues elsewhere. I’ve also uploaded the full resolution image on Cloudup.com for your viewing pleasure.