Technology


As I have written before, one of our tasks this summer is to work on the precinct where Champoiseau discovered the Nike statue. Several of the archaeologists have gone out to the site each morning to clean it, cutting down some of the weeds and troweling a little bit around some of the edges to increase their definition in order to prepare for some photography. In particular a gigapan of the precinct. Now I had taken two gigapans of the precinct two years ago, one from the front and another from above it along its eastern wall.  You might notice from the frontal view that you can’t really see the floor of the interior due to the two massive boulders. This very short photographer is unable to get the gigapan up high enough to really get a good view inside.

So one goal this year was to provide a way for me to get up high enough to take the necessary photographs, shooting a bit over top of the boulders. Our ultimate decision was to put the tripod on a table top, then I could mount a ladder to set the process into motion. So yesterday morning we did just that. I mounted the gigapan on the tripod, then the camera on the gigapan. Then I put the tripod on top of a table, and climbed up a rickety ladder, and made the necessary camera settings and robot settings, and let it go. Unfortunately I wasn’t able to see the settings I was making as well as I could if I were working on terra firma, so to speak. I ended up with a massive failure. I aimed the upper row to be too far up so eventually the camera twisted on the screw holding it to the robot, and fell back away from the button pusher mechanism.

Here is a picture of the table-tripod-gigapan-camera assembly:

So today we will try, try, again, this time with a sturdier ladder. But here is the bright side – I lugged the gigapan all the way here, I ought to at least have taken some shots with it. And, I had an interesting conversation on my way up to the site yesterday, with a professional photographer from Turkey, who was curious to know what the gadgetry was all about. Of course he did not speak good English, and I speak no Turkish, so we ended up having the conversation in Spanish.

Today is my last full working day here – I leave on the seven o’clock ferry tomorrow morning. I have so much left to do here today. So I had best get with the program. I will try to post something tomorrow once I get to my hotel in Athens. There is no wifi on the ferry, and, as I recall from the afternoon I spent there a few years ago, waiting for my lost bag to show up, the airport in Alexandroupolis has no internet. And I will have hours to kill between my ferry arrival at 9:30 am and my flight at 2:30 pm.

More later!

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Yes, viewers, Kansas City has nothing on Kamariotissa. New to the island this year: a solar panel farm, as seen below:

And, in other news, I am finally analyzing data. Film at 11.

See ya tomorrow!

1. The Customer Support team in the Office of Information Services, Rollins School of Public Health, Emory University, really saved my bacon yesterday. I now have a SAS license good for another year. Thanks to Reuben, Sidney (who did 95% of the work), and Belinda, who was emailing with me at 4 in the morning EDT yesterday. Now I have no excuse for not finishing these analyses.

2. Yesterday I told you about using the iPad app, 123D Catch. Here is the link to the view of the object in the AutoDesk gallery. I had a blast making that one, I think I’ll make a few more while I am here.

3. If you listened to the media player file in the Sounds of Samothrace post, you might have heard a lot of wind causing an unpleasant situation with the microphone. I have crafted a solution to this problem that would make MacGyver proud:

Thanks to my Dear Husband and my future Son-In-Law for helping me figure out what to do, and to Stephen Koob, who is here teaching the students in the conservation lab, for helping me with the taping. I knew that extra piece of foam would come in handy!

4. Now I’m off to work on my analyses. We don’t work on Sunday, so no post tomorrow. See you on Monday!

I have a lot of gear with me. Approximately 100 pounds of gear. I would guess that only 20 pounds or less of that is clothes and toiletries. The rest is all manner of computers, associated drives and cables, cameras (I am packing 4 of them), the Gigapan. And then there are the plugs, adapters, and batteries, lots and lots of batteries. Here is a picture of my work station.

iPad, MacBookAir, iPhone, plugs, cables, adapters, thumb drives galore.

Alas, yesterday the Great God of Technology  was vacillating in the favors shown to me.

The Good: About a month ago I ran across 123D Catch, a product of AutoDesk that has an iPad app. The app supposedly allows you to take pictures with the iPad of a person, place, or thing, then it stitches them together to produce a 3d model that you can rotate in space. It was free, so I thought, why not?

Yesterday, during the Ugly, I tried it out. I decided to see if I could reconstruct this object:

This is an architectural fragment from one of the buildings here.

So I took a bunch of pictures of this object and let 123D Catch work its magic. It is difficult using just still photography to get a really good sense of how easy it is to manipulate this “object” as it has been reconstructed by the program. But here is how it initially appears

and now I have swiped my fingers across the screen to rotate “it” “in space”

It took 45 minutes from the time I started the tutorial until I had this finished “object” – this is just too cool for words.

The Bad: Internet service is really slow here. We must be only one step up from dial-up in terms of speed. And cell phone service is even worse. A lot of the time I have no coverage, and there are at least 3 different companies that alternately appear as the roaming service provider.

The Ugly: My focus on this trip has been in doing statistical analysis, and I depend on SAS, a widely known software package, to do this. Now for days my SAS log has been saying that my license is due to expire in 45 days. But yesterday afternoon I noticed that the log said that my license is due to expire TOMORROW! Yikes!!

I dashed off an email to the help desk back at home. I even tried to talk to them twice, but the call was dropped both times before I could do much more than to say hello. Fortunately both Reuben and Sidney were most responsive – Thanks, guys. Unfortunately I might be out of luck beginning midnight EDT until sometime late afternoon my time on Monday if they don’t figure out how to upgrade my SAS installation to the next version, then renew my license. That means I would lose all day Saturday of working as well as most of Monday. Since I leave on Thursday on the 7 am ferry, I am not very happy with this prospect. Let’s hope that they can figure out a way…