Xerox Scanned PDF Documents Renamed and Hijacked by iPhone iOS 4 and Konica Minolta

This is the weirdest bug I have ever encountered, and after posting this blog entry, I’m going to be reporting it to Xerox as I’m sure they will be interested to find a resolution to restore their brand name.

A colleague in the office at Vocera has an iPhone 3GS running the iOS 4 update. In our office we have a Xerox Phaser 6115MFP device which I recommended for our needs – Being a former Xerox employee, I think the brand was an obvious move on my part.

IMAG0092He scanned a document on our Phaser 6115MFP using Scan-to-Email which delivered a PDF document in his inbox. When he opened the email and tried to forward it to somebody else, the document was renamed on the iPhone. The original document name was Xerox Phaser 6115MFP_100323144219.pdf, and the document was renamed to KONICA MINOLTA Remote System.pdf.

Viewing the PDF in Outlook 2010 on his desktop, the PDF is still named its original Xerox Phaser 6115MFP_100323144219.pdf and attempting to forward the email in Outlook doesn’t reproduce the issue in the iPhone which means that this is an iPhone only issue.

We don’t even own a Konica Minolta device at our company, so this could not be a case of misjudgement looking at the wrong email. Furthermore, you can see in the in the picture of his phone that I snagged, the subject of the email is From 6115MFP and other tale tale signs that the email came from a Xerox device.

Back on the PC, I reviewed the properties of the PDF and I haven’t been able to find any evidence of Konica Minolta in the properties. I would not have been surprised is Xerox licensed some technology from them for the scanner in the Phaser 6115MFP possibly giving a clue as to where some kind of metadata could be originating but that’s just not the case here it would seem.

What’s more, we can reproduce this issue to our surprise. If I scan a new document from the Phaser 6115 MFP to him and he attempts to forward the email he can see the filename change before his (and my own) very eyes.

We tested with some non-Xerox PDF’s such as a Word 2010 generated PDF and the problem doesn’t plague them.

Is this some kind of corporate warfare taking place on the iPhone with Konica Minolta trying to win customers through passive advertising?  There has to be something strange going on here for the iPhone to rename PDF’s coming from a Xerox device to the name of a direct competitor?

Dealing with Whitespace in Visual Basic Strings

Today I’ve been continuing with a Visual Basic project at work, and I ran into an issue whereby after I convert an Integer to a String using the Str(strMyString) command, the resulting string was given a leading space. This is a known outcome from the use of the Str command however I needed to find a solution.

I today discovered the LTrim and RTrim commands.

Using the LTrim command, declared as a second string you are able to produce the following:

Dim strMyString As String
Dim strMyStringLeft As String

strMyString = "     Some Text     "
strMyStringLeft = LTrim (strMyString)

As you can see, my string starts life as “    Some Text    “. Once passed through the LTrim grinder, the value of strMyStringLeft will be “Some Text    “. As you can guess, passing strMyStringLeft through another variable will remove the leading whitespace as follows:

Dim strMyString As String
Dim strMyStringLeft As String
Dim strMyStringRight As String

strMyString = "    Some Text    "
strMyStringLeft = LTrim(strMyString)
strMyStringRight = RTrim(strMyStringLeft)

The value of strMyStringRight would now be “Some Text”. This is achieved because we used strMyStringLeft as the input for strMyStringRight meaning that the leading space was already removed.

Although my way of doing this is probably a little longer than some VB guru will do by combing the statements, it’s easy for a beginner like me to interpret the code.

My Camera Kit 2010

As the Farnborough Airshow 2010 nears, I’m really getting into the photography stuff to a new level compared to my previous interest. I’ve been reading online sites about getting the best exposure for aircraft photography, and I even blogged about photography challenges last week in my post Like Life Isn’t Hard Enough.

I’ve recently started using Flickr to upload some of my experiment shots and I will be using it more so to upload pictures, however I won’t be using it for pictures of the kids, but random shots and the airshow more specifically.

You can see my Flickr Photostream at http://www.flickr.com/photos/richardjgreen/. I thought a good way to share my interest would be to share what kit I’ve got currently, so here we go.

Nikon D40

!!d6s,ugBmM~$(KGrHqIOKiwEuZwZsFhzBLs2Gdnw7!~~_32[1]My first DSLR, given to me as a Christmas present by my brother when he upgraded from the D40 to his current D300. I’d been wanting a DLSR for some time as the slow shutter speeds on the Cybershot point and shoot weren’t up to the job for shooting high speed scenes of moving kids or theme parks.

She’s about three years old now, but aside from a little build up of dirt on some of the screw heads you wouldn’t know, and she’s coping very well considering some of the rap plastic bodied cameras get.

I’m using it with the standard Nikon EL-9 battery and a mains rapid charger.

If I was to fault the D40 it would only be on two items and that is the lack of a bracketing feature and a firmware issue affecting my Eye-Fi card. I’m not going to complain about the bracketing, because I would only ever use the bracketing feature once or twice here and there so it’s value to me is limited.

The firmware issue affecting the Eye-Fi card was annoying at first, however I have grown to work around it. The issue is that the D40 will only provide power to the SD Card slot for long enough to allow Eye-Fi to perform it’s uploads on the Info screen. This means that the photos are not uploaded in real time with other models like the D90 for example.

Eye-Fi Home & Video 4GB

22820_1265025723[1]Probably the most innovative and brilliant piece of kit in my arsenal, the Eye-Fi allows me to take pictures at home and have then transferred via WiFi back to my PC automatically. This means that my camera is never connected to the the PC, nor is the card ever removed. This in my opinion is helping to reduce wear and tear on the camera USB port and the card slot and also gives me great functionality.

I can shoot pictures in the garden and have them transferred up to the PC automatically within a minute.

If I go out shooting for a whole day, I come home, turn on the camera and leave it powered on for 15-20 minutes while it does it’s thing and then hey presto, all my images are ready to be viewed on the PC.

Eye-Fi supports automatic Facebook and Flickr integration for automated uploads, however I’d like to stay in control of that. As a result of PC Sleep states, I actually have the Eye-Fi software running on our Windows Home Server, configured as a service constantly on and able to collect the images.

Nikkor 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6GII AF-S DX Lens

3728381791[1]The entry level Nikkor kit lens with the D40, given to me by my brother with the camera. The lens produces really good images for me. I’m not put off by it’s plastic body or any of the lower end features because it does exactly what I need.

Nikkor 55-200mm f/4-5.6 AF-S VR DX Lens

My latest addition to the family, this lens has been purchased with two things in mind: The Farnborough Airshow this weekend as the 55mm focal length on the kit lens would means every plane would be a spec in the distance, and secondly is swimming. At Aquatots, we are allowed to shoot photos, however the pool where Maddy swims is quite big, so some pictures leave her a bit small in the middle of the frame, but with the 200mm focal length, I’ll be able to get in close for every shot.

3178550492[1]Bought from a seller on eBay, the lens is brand new and came with all the accessories and correct paperwork. It comes with a lens hood which is about as long as the 18-55mm kit lens itself.

At the time I was debating between the 18-105mm and the 55-200mm lenses and this lens won after using our friend Gary’s 55-250mm Cannon lens for a little while. Seeing the amount of length you can achieve at 200mm impressed me enough to get this lens. The 55-200mm lens was also about £90 cheaper than the 18-105mm lens so it was pocket friendly.

The lens it internal focus which is nice because it means I can use a petal lens hood or a polarizing lens filter or anything fancy like that should I choose to. Although it didn’t come with one, I have bought a UV filter for the lens as a little extra to protect the glass end.

The VR technology does work, and using the VR Mode (Off / On) switch on the side of the lens allows you to see the difference it makes.

Black Rapid R-Strap RS-7

Since seeing a colleague at Vocera wearing an RS-4 strap while out in the USA earlier this year, I loved the idea. The default Nikon strap is short, meaning you can either wear it around your neck and look like a tourist, wear it over your shoulder or keep it in your hand.

blackrapid-rs-7-l[1]Around the neck is a problem because with three children who often need picking up or something doing with them, the camera is always in the way. On the shoulder, you risk leaning over to one rise and having the camera slip off, and in the hand means I’m down to one usable limb.

The R-Strap solves all the problems. It’s a sling, much like the strap on a messenger or tote bag. It’s designed to hang at hip height, and attaches to the camera using a mounting bracket which you secure to the tripod socket on the camera.

At first it is a little daunting, and I’m finding myself holding the camera at times just to be sure that it’s secure which it has been perfectly so far. The bracket on the camera attaches to a rock-climbing style karabiner clip which slides along the strap. The strap has a comfy padded shoulder strap making wearing the camera a comfortable affair.

The RS-7 over previous R-Straps has an ergonomically shaped pad to better fit the chest and shoulder, while it supports the Black Rapid MODs system, which consists of a series of pouches you can purchase to extend the features of the RS-7 such as a phone holder, big enough for a HTC Touch HD, an iPhone or the like, along with smaller pouches for storing memory cards etc.

The RS-7 features two bump stops on the strap to allow you to lock the camera into a single position if you are on the move and don’t want the camera moving around, and for more active people there is a MOD called BRAD (Black Rapid Arm Defence) which locks the R-Strap around your shoulder with a second mini-strap.

The key benefit is that the camera is at arms length for quick shooting access (think of the cowboys in the wild west and where were their guns kept?) along with keeping the camera out of the way and hands free.

Post-Processing

I’m lucky enough these days to find time to breath let alone ritually Photoshop all my images to perfection so I just let them be.

After Eye-Fi does it’s thing and the images are transferred, they lie in wait in a folder on our Windows Home Server called New Pictures within the default Public share. The pictures are added to a sub-folder in the New Pictures directory to reflect the date of shooting. The reason for this and not having them imported straight into the Pictures directory with the correct date will become apparent.

I firstly move the images to my PC. I rename the folder from the default which is 2010-07-18 to the following example of 2010-07-18 – Farnborough Airshow. The reverse date means that Windows correctly orders the folders by date in the default view and the end portion gives me a quick idea of the contents of that folder.

Once the folder is renamed, I use Adobe Bridge to batch rename the images. I despise default image names of DSCxxxxxx.JPG. I like my pictures to be named according to their parent directory so that if I am browsing the pictures in an application doesn’t correctly display the file path I know where it’s coming from. In addition, I like the extension to be lowercase. This stems from the web where some Apache web servers are case sensitive and using an uppercase extension is one more thing to remember.

After the batch rename process (which takes about 5-10 seconds per directory) the files in this example are named 2010-07-18 – Farnborough Airshow – 001.jpg. I know it’s a bit long, but that’s the way I like it and it makes for a very organised picture library.

Next step is tagging. For this I use Windows Live Photo Gallery, which since the Beta release a few weeks ago got a whole lot better. As I’ have now tagged about 10,000 images with peoples faces, the automatic recognition is near perfect. New images are imported and after a few minutes, it will suggest the name of the people in the images to me, and I have to do is hit Accept if the name shown is correct which it is. After this, I add a Geotag for the location that the picture was taken.

At this stage, I now copy the folder from my PC over to the Pictures folder on the Windows Home Server. This is our household image library where only images which are tagged, renamed and suitably organised are permitted.

The Road to Half

Checking the ticker on my Virgin Money Giving site today was a grim reminder that I’m not doing enough. As of today, there is only 83 days until the London Run to the Beat half marathon.

I went out and did Basingstoke Parkrun on Saturday morning setting a 5km PB of 28:33, besting my previous PB by 1:11 which was nice, but not the 27:00 dead I was hoping for, however there is next week for that (fingers crossed). Aquatots caused us a few problems with the summer term so we are skipping lessons for the summer and waiting until autumn term, which gives me some track time Saturday mornings. This is good for me as it helps me mix up the distance between 5km, 10km and the long 15-21km runs.

My longest run to date is 15.5km which means I need to pull another 6km from the bag to reach the 21km required for the half marathon distance, not to mention hill training as I’ve been told that the Greenwich route has a few little surprises along the way.

The 15.5km run hit me hard and the day after I felt like somebody had taken a wrecking ball to my knees and calf’s especially. Of late, I’ve been out cross-training on a bike in Basing Forest near our house to try and work the thighs some and it certainly seems to be working. I need to try and get my camera down to Basing Forest with me one day as some of the views are spectacular too! My weight is down to my record low (at least for the last two years) of 14st 4lb. Even so, I’m still not pushing the envelope. Breaking that last 6km is going to need more from me, and more from my will power.

I’ve decided today that I’m going celibate on luxury. Between now and the half marathon, I’m having no more chocolate, no more deserts or ice cream or nothing. No more Pizza Hut or Dominoes, or McDonalds or KFC either. Will it stick? It will certainly be hard, but I can try for sure. Tomorrow, I’m heading into work early for a long lunchtime run, and I’m hoping to be able to do 17km tomorrow to raise the distance bar. Trying to aim straight for 21km is not good motivationally for me.

Will that be hard? Hell yes, especially as my bio-mechanics still seem to be struggling to come to terms with my new support shoes to help correct my rolling gait, but I’m hoping that tomorrows trial with carbohydrate loaded Lucozade Jelly Beans and post-run protein recovery bars will help me power through. If not, then I will be a broken mess for a day or so afterwards.

Like Life Isn’t Hard Enough?

In a couple of weeks time me and the family are heading out to the Farnborough Airshow 2010. I’m really looking forward to it like you can’t imagine. Since 2008 working for Xerox at QinetiQ right next to the runway, and getting my first ever taste of the Avro Vulcan I need more.

At the time I was using a point and shoot Sony Cybershot, and I played with things a little bit to try and get better results but it was never going to be that impressive really. This time round I have my Nikon D40 which I have been using with the 18-55mm kit lens since getting it from Dan for Christmas in December, however I finally paid up the cash yesterday to order my 55-200mm VR lens. I had been switching allegiance between the 18-105mm and the 55-200mm for some time, and having read countless reviews, I decided this based on the opinions of others that the 200mm had better quality optics and that the VR technology really was worth it’s weight.

I also went through a tonne of my previously taken images and saw a growing trend in my use of 55mm focal length which means I was maxed out on the lens. The lack of pictures below 55mm (the odd one at 18mm or 24mm here and there)  meant I’d probably find longer zoom more useful. If the 18-200mm hadn’t have been £500 I probably would have gone for that.

Since ordering the lens though, I’ve been thinking about getting the most from it on the day of the airshow, and I’ve been trying to concrete up my ideas of aperture and shutter speeds. For some time now, I’ve been blindly setting my camera to f/5.6 in Aperture priority mode thinking it was cool without ever really stopping to think that I could be chopping some focus in exchange.

I read an interesting phrase from a photojournalist who said “f/8 and be there”. Reading some other peoples take on his words, it seems that a lot of people rate f/8 as their aperture of choice because it gives a good mixture of shutter speed at low ISO rating while also giving you enough flexibility in the focus. Needless to say, after finishing my day in the office, I shall be at home toying with f/8.

To complicate matters, I found a good article about airshow photography specifics on this site:
http://www.richard-seaman.com/Photography/Airshows/index.html

On here, the author suggests which shutter speeds to use in order to make sure you catch the fluid movement of proper blades instead of making them appear static, and adjusting the exposure compensation to compensate for the brightness of the sky. Shutter speeds I can understand better than I can aperture – Fast or Slow is the crux of it!

All in all, I think I need some alone time with my camera, so I can work out what’s best for me – Aperture Priority to get that illustrious f/8, or Shutter Priority to get the 1/500th for propeller planes and 1/1000th for jet planes as suggested on the Richard Seaman site? God! At this rate, I might even end up using Manual and setting both. Wish me luck.