Apple, JavaScript, PHP, Programming, Software

Turn your Mac OS Photos library into a Web photo album

Six years ago, I released iPhoto Disc Export, a tool for exporting an iPhoto library as a standalone website. Now that iPhoto is no longer supported on the newest versions of Mac OS, I was force to update the software to work with Photos. Enter Photos Disc Export.

Photos Disc Export is a a PHP script that exports a Mac OS Photos library into folders of image files (one folder per day) and builds a minimalist JavaScript-powered website that provides a simple photo viewing experience. The website can be put online, or it can be run entirely offline (like from a burned DVD). The code is all open source and the usage instructions are in the README.

Here’s a screenshot of the main page of the website it generates:

all

And here’s an example of a single photo’s page:

I know it’s a pretty niche project, but hopefully it will come in handy for anyone looking to make their Photos library more shareable and accessible.

Photos Disc Export

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Woodworking

Box with a Vengeance

My son needed to bring a box to school earlier this year for holding valentines, and he asked if I would make him one, so I made him one.  It’s walnut with a maple inlay, and it has a slot in front so that valentines can be put in without opening it.

This was my first time trying a wipe-on polyurethane, and I have to say that after putting on four coats and barely getting the same effect as a single coat of brush-on poly, I’m not impressed.

See also Box, the Sequel, and My First Time Boxing.

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David Tewes, Publicity

TPT (Twin Cities Public Television, also known locally as channel 2) did a story on David Tewes and his museum exhibit, which grew out of the website that I created in 2017.

Amateur photographer David Tewes captured scenes in Minnesota and out west after World War II until 1955. About 800 Kodachrome slides were found by a distant relative, who uploaded the images to a website in Tewes’ honor. The images were found by Minnesota Marine Art Museum curators in Winona, Minn., and they decided to show the work.

“Distant Relative: The Chris Finke Story.”

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Minnesota, Publicity

This happened last summer, but I forgot to mention it: Minnesota Public Radio ran a story about my research from 2013 on which state has the most shoreline.

“Chris Finke is a software programmer who is originally from Minnesota. He remembered watching an advertisement in 2013 from “Explore Minnesota” that claims there’s “More to explore in Minnesota,” including more shoreline than California. […] Finke decided to use an open-source mapping resource called OpenStreetMap and write a program to calculate the total shoreline for each state.”

It just goes to show you that genius is not understood in its own time, nor until it moves out of state.

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David Tewes, Minnesota

A website I made is now a museum exhibit

A photo of the New England Furniture Company building in downtown Minneapolis in 1950 by David Tewes Three years ago, I wrote about how I found old Kodachrome slides in my father-in-law’s attic, scanned them, and put them online at DavidTewes.com.  In an unexpected turn of events, photos from that website are now on display at the Minnesota Marine Art Museum.

Jon Swanson, the curator of collections and exhibits at the museum, reached out to me early last year. He serendipitously came across the site and felt that David had taken a number of photographs that fit in with the museum’s mission of exhibiting art inspired by water. I sent him the slides, and after what I’m sure was a significant amount of work on his and the museum staff’s part, the exhibit launched on January 10: Shutterbug: The Mid-Century Photography of David Tewes.

Minnesota Public Radio covered the news:

“Dave Casey, assistant curator of education and exhibitions at the museum, said the images carry both artistic and historic value that merit an exhibition. In addition to documenting that era, they also serve as a lesson of what photography was like and how it was experienced in the 1940s and 1950s. And Tewes’ unique eye and experimentation created visually interesting work.”

Their story generated almost 15,000 pageviews on DavidTewes.com and surprised my sister-in-law’s husband when he heard my voice on the radio on his way to work.

KSTP, the Minneapolis/St. Paul ABC affiliate, did a segment about David and his photos as well on the evening news:

If you’re in or near Winona, Minnesota (yes, the same Winona from the Super Bowl commercial), the exhibit of David’s photographs runs through May 3.

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Maker, Woodworking

Whoever named the fireplace, good job

This was the fireplace in our living room.

It never worked properly since we moved in, since the previous owners didn’t use it once in twenty years. Fixing it would have cost as much as replacing it, and in order to replace it, we would have had to tear out the surround, and in order to tear out the surround, we would have had have to remove the bookshelves… Long story short:

We planned on replacing it all with a setup that looked like this:

We hired a professional to install the new fireplace and run a new vent line, but I did the rest myself.

We bumped the fireplace out into the room so that it would be more of a focal point, and we replaced the side bookshelves with different shelves on the top and a drawer/cabinet combo on the top.

The panels next to the fireplace open up to reveal storage with adjustable shelves — a good spot for video game consoles.

The panel above the fireplace opens up to allow access to the area above and behind the fireplace, just for good measure.

Because the fireplace was no longer embedded in the wall, it opened up a space between the living room and the utility closet behind it, so I built a shelving unit to use that space.

 

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Maker, Woodworking

The name’s Bed. Murphy Bed.

Remember that scene from Full House when Jesse gets trapped in a Murphy bed?  Well, I do, and I realized that if John Stamos ever visits my home, I wouldn’t have a Murphy bed for him to get stuck in, so I built one:

I used this hardware kit and set of plans from Rockler. The build process was pretty simple, so I didn’t take any pictures of it, but here’s a photo of John Stamos trapped in the bed after it closed on him while he was visiting my house.

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Maker, Woodworking

I Turned One Desk into Two End Tables

I got this old desk for free. Once I got it home, I realized it was too big to fit anywhere in our house, so I left it under a tarp in my shop.

A year later, I was cleaning up my shop and found a giant desk under a tarp.  I decided to either get rid of it or cut it up and turn it into end tables, and my wife cast the tie-breaking vote for end tables.

I unscrewed the desktop and cut the base of the desk in half. Because there were only two legs on the rear of the desk, each end table needed a new leg on the back corner. I made the legs out of walnut:

Each leg has a quarter-inch mortise cut into two different sides to accept the panels from the back and side of the table.  They are also tapered, about 3/16″ over the bottom seven inches of each side of each leg (taper not yet cut in the picture above).

The bottom panel of the left section of the desk was in rough shape.

I replaced the rail in front by cutting a new one out of maple:

I also made a new tenon for the top stile out of red oak.

I cut up the desktop to fit each table, glued strips of red oak to the cut sides, and then sanded and restained them. I used a mix of Varethane’s Ebony and Kona stains (black and very dark brown), which worked especially well on the new legs, which match the color of the old legs almost exactly.  The oak didn’t stain match as well; I wish I had had some walnut long enough to make veneer out of, but I only had enough to make the legs.

The left section of the desk had a typewriter lift in it. It was neat, but we couldn’t find a reason to keep it.

I replaced it with just a static shelf cut out of the remaining portion of the desktop.  I can still re-attach the typewriter lift if we find a use for it.

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Beekeeping, Life, Maker, Woodworking

I’ve Got Bees!

Previously, I posted about about having hives. Not content to stop there, I have filled the hives with bees!

I bought three nucs and moved them into my hives on a dreary Saturday.

(After taking this picture, I added another five empty frames to fill the rest of the space.)

The nucs were positively buzzing. The bees had built some burr comb on the side of the box and had already started filling it with nectar.

The store was out of entrance feeders, so I built three myself, using this Instructable. I used scrap poplar and the same aluminum flashing that I used for the hive lids.

(I’m experimenting with the bucket and some floating hardware cloth for providing water to the hives.)

A week later, during my first hive inspection, the bees had started drawing comb on the new frames I had installed and were bringing lots of yellow and orange pollen back to the hive.  Check out those bees’ knees! I think they are the bees’ knees.

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CNC, Maker, Woodworking

I Built a Custom Closet System

My daughter’s closet was just a 4′ x 5′ space with two hanging bars and a shelf, which was not an efficient use of the space. If I had taken a “before” picture of this project, you would be able to see that, but I didn’t take any pictures until I had ripped out the shelf and started installing the supports for the custom organization system, which you can see here:

I also didn’t take any pictures of the construction process, so you’ll have to trust me that it happened.

The finished system comprises seven separate cabinets: two sets of drawers, two corner units, and three shelving units with adjustable shelves.  Everything is made of melamine with edge banding, except for the drawer faces, which are poplar and plywood.

For the corner units, I made the shelves with a rounded inner edge, which I think is pretty snazzy.

If you think the empty closet looks good, you should see it full! And now you will!

The hanging rod on the right is adjustable, since it is attached to the bottom of the adjustable shelf.

This project took 58 hours of work over about three weeks (plus half an hour two months later to finally install the moulding).

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Maker, Woodworking

Turning Billy Bookcase into William Bookcase

Years ago, when we were young and poor, my wife and I bought a Billy Bookcase from Ikea. It looked like this:

Now that we are sophisticated wealthy adults, we wanted — no, needed — something classier. So, I painted Billy, gave him a face frame, and added moulding to the top and bottom. I made the moulding myself using a roundover bit, a cove bit, and some strategic tablesaw cuts. I also replaced the waxed cardboard that was acting as the back of the bookshelf with some lauan plywood.

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Christmas, CNC, Maker, Woodworking

Secret Santa 2018: Japan in Maple and Walnut

For my workplace Secret Santa gift exchange this Christmas (you know, the one that very recently took place), my recipient was a Japanese citizen who likes to hike, so I made him a 3-D topographic map of Japan out of maple and walnut.

The steps to build it were pretty simple, so I won’t caption all the photos, but basically, I glued up a walnut panel, carved Japan out of maple with my CNC router, and then magically conjoined them. Tada in Japanese!

 

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Maker, Woodworking

I Built a Bed That Is Also a Playhouse and a Slide and a Dresser and a Bookshelf

My five-year-old daughter saw my wife browsing Pinterest, and long story short, I ended up building this bed/playhouse/slide/dresser/bookcase for her room:

I planned it out in SketchUp. It’s an original design inspired by a number of beds online, and the slide is based on The Wood Whisperer’s bunk bed slide. (My SketchUp file is available here.)

The stairs have built-in drawers, so they double as a dresser.

The bottom three drawers don’t run the full depth of the stairs, so there’s space at the back for books and baskets.

There’s another bookshelf built into the space underneath the slide. One side is accessible from inside the playhouse…

…and the other side is accessible from under the slide.

The slide is made of melamine, the structural portion of the bed is poplar, and most everything else is MDF.  The cedar shingles were left over from my Infinity Wishing Well project.

From start to finish (although not including the time to design it), this project took 107 hours over two months — well worth it, considering my daughter will spend at least 3,000 hours using it every year.

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CNC, Maker, Programming, Woodworking, X-Carve

Generating and Cutting Halftone Images on the X-Carve

Halftone is an app I’ve written for making halftone-style carves with Inventables’s Easel CNC design platform. A halftone image uses different sized dots to represent light and dark areas.

Upload an image, and Halftone will convert it to a grid of holes with each hole sized to reflect the brightness of the image at that point. Darker areas are represented by wider holes; if you’re going to backlight your carve, you can invert it and have lighter areas use wider holes.

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