Suramya's Blog : Welcome to my crazy life…

November 15, 2022

Extracting Firefox Sites visited for archiving

Filed under: Computer Software,Linux/Unix Related,Tech Related — Suramya @ 3:01 AM

I have been using Firefox since it first version (0.1) launched back in 2003. At that time it was called Phoenix but had to change its name due to a trademark claim from Phoenix Technologies to Firebird which was then renamed to Firefox. Over the years I have upgraded in place so I had assumed that all my Browser History etc was still safely stored in the browser. A little while ago I realized that this wasn’t the case as there is a history page limit defined under the about:config. The property is called

places.history.expiration.transient_current_max_pages: 137249

and on my system it is configured for 137249 entries. This was a disappointment as I wanted to save an archive of the sites I have visited over the years so I started looking at how to export the history from Firefox from the command line so that I can save it in another location as part of my regular backup. I knew that the history is stored in a SQLite database so I looked at the contents of the DB using a SQLite viewer. The DB was simple enough to understand but I didn’t want to recreate the wheel so I searched on Google to see if anyone else has already written the queries to extract the data and found this Reddit post that gave the command to extract the data into a file.

I tried the command out and it worked perfectly with just one small hitch. The command would not run unless I shutdown Firefox as the DB file was locked by FF. This was a big issue as it meant that I would have to close the browser every time the backup ran which is not feasible as the backup process needs to be as transparent and seamless as possible.

Another search for the solution pointed me to this site that explained how to connect to a locked DB in Read Only mode. Which was exactly what I needed, so I took the code from there and merged it with the previous version and came up with the following command:

sqlite3 'file:places.sqlite?immutable=1' "SELECT strftime('%d.%m.%Y %H:%M:%S', visit_date/1000000, 'unixepoch', 'localtime'),
                                                   url FROM moz_places, moz_historyvisits WHERE moz_places.id = moz_historyvisits.place_id ORDER BY visit_date;" > dump.out 

this command gives us an output that looks like:

28.12.2020 12:30:52|http://maps.google.com/
28.12.2020 12:30:52|http://maps.google.com/maps
...
...
14.11.2022 04:37:17|https://www.google.com/?gfe_rd=cr&ei=sPvqVZ_oOefI8AeNwZbYDQ&gws_rd=ssl,cr&fg=1

Once the file is created, I back it up with my other files as part of the nightly backup process on my system. In the next phase I am thinking about dumping this data into a PostgreSQL DB so that I can put a UI in front of it that will allow me to browse/search through the file. But for now this is sufficient as the data is being backed up.

I was able to get my browsing history going back to 2012 by restoring the oldest Firefox backup that I have on the system and then extracting the data from it. I still have some DVD’s with even older backups so when I get some time I will restore and extract the data from there as well.

Well this is all for now. Will write more later.

– Suramya

November 14, 2022

IBM Unveils the worlds largest Quantum Computer with 433 qubits

Filed under: My Thoughts,Quantum Computing — Suramya @ 2:01 AM

Scaling up Quantum computers has become a race between the various players in the market and IBM has raised the stakes by unveiling a 433 qubits Quantum computer that is more than a 3x increase from their previous setup of 127 qubits. Even with this massive gain they are still ways off from a making a 4000 qubit computer by 2025 which is their goal.

In this new setup IBM replaced the “quantum chandelier” used in the previous processors with flexible ribbon cables that are designed for cryogenic environments. These new cables allow a more efficient flow of microwave signals which in turn decreased the interference caused by the cables. This gave them a 77% increase in the number of connections to the chip, which in turn enabled them to scale up more easily. They also separated the wires and components for control and readout into their own layers, which further reduced the interference with the qubits.

The new setup also includes a state of the art cryo-CMOS prototype controller chip implemented using 14-nanometer FinFET technology that reduces the power requirement for the setup from about 100 watts per qubit to about 10 milliwatts per qubit. The new beta update for Qiskit Runtime allows the user to trade speed for reduced error count and a new option called Qiskit primitives called a “resilience level” lets users dial in the cost/accuracy trade that is suitable to the task being worked on. Both functionality is expected to be ready for production release by 2025.

Quantum computing makes my head hurt but there is no doubt that it is changing the computing world in a massive way.

Source:
* IEEE Spectrum: IBM Unveils 433-Qubit Osprey Chip
* New Scientist: IBM unveils world’s largest quantum computer at 433 qubits

– Suramya

November 9, 2022

FOSS: Asking folks to run their own servers/services is not the answer

Filed under: My Thoughts,Tech Related — Suramya @ 1:06 AM

A few days ago a discussion was going on in a FOSS (Free and Open Source Software) group that I am part of about Twitter and how it is imploding due to the recent changes. One of the members commented that “Both Twitter and Gmail are private services (not public utilities). Hence FOSS. Hence self-host your blog / email.” This is a very problematic view that is unfortunately quite common amongst techies. They (we) tend to believe that everyone has the time, knowledge, interest and resources to do things the way we do.

In the early 2000’s I hosted my site & blog on a VPS (Virtual Private Server) which I maintained on my own. It was a great experience because I got to learn Linux Sysadmin skills on a live environment and I did it for a few years. Then as my responsibilities and workload started increasing I had less time to devote to managing the server, plus I had issues with the costing so ended up moving hosting providers and to a shared hosting plan. Since I was moving to a different role, I just wanted to host my site and not worry about managing the server and this move allowed me to do that. I can move back to a VPS if I need to since I have the tech background and skills to manage it. Expecting everyone to do the same is nonsensical and impractical. I know the time it took me to walk my parents through how to access their email from various computers & phones. Just thinking about asking them to manage sendmail/postfix servers and secure them is enough to give me nightmares about hours on the phone trouble shooting.

FOSS is a great thing, it has made life easier and allowed us to retain control of the devices that we use to manage a large portion of our life. However, it is not practical to expect everyone to have the skills to host their own servers. Imagine if other services did the same thing, you would need to run your own sewage treatment plant to process your waste and have to manage your own power generation plant, or grow your own food. That sounds pretty nonsensical right? Which is how you sound when you tell folks to run their own servers for stuff that shouldn’t need it (like email or social media). Unless you want to only communicate with a microscopic portion of the population and feel superior to everyone.

Our goal is to encourage people to use FOSS whenever possible and that requires us to make the software usable, stable, have a shallow learning curve and smooth/easy onboarding. If you think that people will learn about server configs to access your product then you are dreaming. For example, GIMP is an awesome software but its UI sucks, which is why it has been unable to gain popularity and beat Photoshop. One of the great mods for GIMP which came out in 2006 called GIMPShop modified the UI to make it similar to Photoshop and people loved it. Other software / systems have the same problem as well. The most recent example is Mastodon which is a pretty cool software but onboarding process that explains how you would access it and setup accounts is something that I still am confused about. I had a client I worked with early in my carrier who would ask me to “Just make it work” when faced with complicated software setup. She was smart as hell but didn’t have the time to waste to setup/configure software as that took her time away from her core responsibilities.

The general user will go for ease of use, they will go for easy onboarding and accessibility. IRC was an amazing protocol but the clients sucked (I mean they worked but didn’t have mobile clients and were not user-friendly) as the years passed newer protocols and clients came into the picture and they had snazzy UI and clients (e.g. Slack) which enabled them to take over as the communication channel for a lot of communities. We can moan and complain that IRC was much better but from the end user perspective it wasn’t better because it didn’t allow them to do what they wanted using the devices they wanted to use. Like it or not mobile is hear to stay and not having a native mobile client made IRC a hard sell. (There are a few clients now, but the damage is done).

Usability is not a curseword. We need to start embracing making the software/systems we create more userfriendly. I am not saying remove the advanced / power functionality, I would be one of the first to leave if you did that. A good example on how to balance the two is the approach Firefox takes: they have the general UI for all users with sensible defaults and a configuration setup that allows power users to go in and modify pretty much every aspect of the system.

Coming back to Twitter, the fix for this current issue is not to run our own servers but to make the existing systems interoperable the same way Email systems are interoperable. Cory Doctorow has a fantastic post “How to ditch Facebook without ditching your friends” where he talks about how this could work. It would require pressure (regulatory/government/user) on the companies to adopt this model but in the long run that would removed the walled gardens that have popped up everywhere and restore the old more distributed style of internet.

I still need to figure out if I want to join a Mastodon server and if so which one, I will probably look into this later this month once I have some free time.

Well this is all for now. Will post more later.

– Suramya

October 21, 2022

Disable Dark Theme in the Private Browsing mode in Firefox 106

Filed under: Computer Software,Computer Tips,Knowledgebase,Tech Related — Suramya @ 10:09 AM

A lot of people like Dark themes for their apps but I am not one of them. For me the Dark mode strains my eyes more so I usually disable it as soon as possible. In the latest Firefox update (v106), Firefox changed a bunch of defaults and one of the changes is that when you open a window in incognito mode it uses the Dark theme by default. As per the release notes this is a conscious decision:

We also added a modern look and feel with a new logo and updated it so Private Browsing mode now defaults to dark theme, making it easier to know when you are in Private Browsing mode.

The dark theme really annoys me so I started looking for ways to disable it. Unfortunately, it can’t be disabled without having to change my default Theme (which is to use the System Defaults) which I didn’t want to do and a quick internet search didn’t return any useful results. So I decided to check out the about:config section to see if there is a hidden setting and lo-behold it was there. A quick change disabled the theme for the Private browsing mode and things were back to normal.

The steps to disable the dark theme in incognito mode are as follows:

  • Type about:config in the address bar and press Enter.
  • A warning page may appear. Click Accept the Risk and Continue to go to the about:config page.
  • Search for “theme” in the Search preference name box at the top of the page and you will see an entry for “browser.theme.dark-private-windows”
  • Double click on “True” for the entry to change the value to false.
  • The entry should look like the following. Then you can close the tab and you are done.


To revert the change, just repeat the steps and set the value back to True.

– Suramya

October 20, 2022

I am a Certified Threat Intelligence Analyst (CTIA) now

Filed under: Computer Security,My Life — Suramya @ 10:17 AM

I’m happy to share that I’ve obtained a new certification: CTIA (Certified Threat Intelligence Analyst) from EC-Council.


Certification Number Certification Name Issue Date Expiry Date
ECC8907421563 Certified Threat Intelligence Analyst October 17, 2022 October 16, 2025

With this I have completed 4 out of the 5 certifications I am eligible for after my degree in Cyber Security. The last one is CHFI and I will be attempting that shortly.

Well this is all for now, will write more later.

– Suramya

October 13, 2022

No you are not disliked because you are a nerd. You are disliked because you are obnoxious and love gatekeeping

Filed under: My Thoughts — Suramya @ 10:57 PM

There is a ongoing thread on Twitter where someone is complaining that the girls who were ignoring this person in the 80’s because they liked comics and ‘geeky stuff’ now love guys who are into the same thing in 2022. (See the comic below). The idea being that girls are mean and only chase whatever is ‘cool’ at the time.


Girls didn’t like me because I was a Geek

This is of course absolute nonsense and multiple girls responded stating the same. One memorable response by dan-hell badford stated:

I have seen this behavior first hand in multiple communities. As soon as a girl (or anyone who is not a white male) tells that they are a fan of a particular comic/art/tv show etc almost immediately the response is “Prove it”. Once we had gone to Comic Con and a friend of mine was wearing a T-Shirt with an image & quote on it from one of the famous series and this random guy came up to us and started a conversation with a statement that went something like (it was a few years ago) “you are wearing this t-shirt but I can bet you know nothing about the series. If that is not the case then you should prove it by answering this question”. My friend basically told them to get lost. They were a fan and they didn’t need anyone’s approval or permission to be one. Others have comeback with similar idiotic takes. There is one post on twitter where this person basically states that only non-pretty/non-handsome people became geeks because they were outcasts and pretty people became popular. (I wish I had taken a screenshot but I didn’t and now can’t find it).

This is basic gatekeeping and part of the reason why I am not part of any Fandom. I am nerdy, I love comics, books, tech and techy topics and if you give me the chance and show interest I will talk your ear off talking about the latest tech-advances or a new TV show I have been watching. The more I like something the more I would want to introduce others to it. Unfortunately, these gatekeepers seem to think that the only way to be ‘a true fan’ is to adhere to their definition of a true fan, which is basically be a carbon copy of their thought process. To give you an idea of how these nincompoops think, check out this post that claims that all sub-cultures are dead because “that as soon as subcultures start getting really interesting, they get invaded by muggles, who ruin them.

This guy, seems to think that all cool things follow the following life flow:

  • Something is invented/created by the scene
  • Fanatics become aware of it and they contribute energy (time, money, adulation, organization, analysis) to support the creators.
  • Members of Public (MOPs) become aware of it and make it popular
  • Someone (‘Sociopaths’) work out how to monetize mops and fanatics get pushed out
  • Due to this the ‘cool’ dies.

Apparently you are only allowed to like something if you willing to be obsessed by it. Meaning that you need to spend all your waking time talking about just one thing. Thanks but no thanks. I love a lot of things in life and have better things to do than to obsess over one single topic for the rest of my life. Read the entire post if you want to be infuriated. My favorite part was: Mops relate to each other in “normal” ways, like people do on TV, which the fanatics find repellent. During intermission, geeks want to talk about the New Thing, but mops blather about sportsball and celebrities. Also, the mops also seem increasingly entitled, treating the fanatics as service workers. . Treating people with courtesy and talking about other things in the world doesn’t make you repellent, it makes you a normal human being.

These fans define their whole identity by their obsession with a particular show/comic/game/movie etc so any change or disinterest by others is taken as a personal attack. Another aspect is that they are not willing to understand that people dislike them not because they like xyz but because they are actively obnoxious. I remember one instance from college where there was this one guy in our class who was obnoxious in the extreme, would be rude to others and refuse to engage in common courtesies etc so I (along with most of the people) would actively avoid them as much as possible. One day I was cornered by them and they commented that “You don’t like me and don’t want to be my friend because I am Muslim”. So I responded that “I don’t avoid you because you are Muslim, I avoid you because you are an obnoxious ass”. They were shocked because they had created this mental image that ignored their behavior and blamed others for not liking them because they were Muslim (this was a few years after 9/11). These ‘nerds/fans’ are the same way. They can’t process the fact that people don’t like them because of their behavior so they create this fantasy that they are an outcast and not liked because they are Geeky/Nerdy.

This happens not just in Tech, Comics or Gaming but in every single art form or hobby. A little while ago a song by Metallica was featured in Stranger Things, this introduced a whole new generation of people to the band and their popularity/downloads spiked. Then some idiot posted a message stating “I’m Sorry Metallica for all the fake stranger things fans love ya”. The group immediately hit back stating “Don’t be sorry. Everyone is welcome in the Metallica Family. If they like Puppets, chances are they’ll find plenty of other songs to get into.”

It is worse for girls as they are constantly being asked to prove they are ‘worthy’ of being a fan. If you look at the comments to the first Tweet I linked to, the responses show how badly they were treated when they just wanted to be part of the fandom. I sometimes wonder what we could have achieved if all the stupid gatekeepers were no longer there and more people could be an active part of the fandom.

As John Scalzy put it Who Gets To Be a Geek? Anyone Who Wants to Be. There are so many interesting things out there, we should share them with others so that they can take joy in it as well. I wouldn’t have known about Babylon 5 if a random person in a book store hadn’t sat with me and told me about it because they saw that I liked Star Trek and recommended it to me. Similarly others have recommended stuff to me that I loved and some stuff that I hated but that doesn’t make it bad, it makes it different. Keep in mind that no one was born being an expert on something; every single person started off as a newbie at some point in time.

This gatekeeping is ridiculous as I want more people to like the stuff I like and its ok even if they like it and like something else. Because remember, variety is the spice of life. I don’t want to be reading/watching endless remakes/rewatches of the same trope/show, there are enough new stories to read and topics to learn about.

Or to put it another way, get a life. I/we don’t need your approval to be a fan of something.

– Suramya

October 8, 2022

Thoughts about some of the new TV shows

Filed under: My Thoughts — Suramya @ 6:19 AM

Over the past few months there have been constant whining by a certain group of people who think they get to decide what should be shown on TV and anything that keeping with their view of what is right is ‘Woke’ and should be removed from TV and never shown to anyone. Never mind that they are a minority and almost everyone else likes the changes. These folks have been trying to stream roll Lord of the Rings: The rings of Power, Sandman (The Netflix show), She-Hulk and a bunch of other shows that dared to show non-white/non-male people in major roles.

This is the same nonsense they pulled with Star Wars, Ghostbusters amongst others, unfortunately it did work for the most part for in those instances as the studio rolled back some of the major changed. Thankfully, this time people have wised up to this tactic and with show runners like Neil Gaiman there is a snow-balls chance in hell that they will be listened to. In any case, in this post I just wanted to talk about some of the shows I have been watching and thoughts on them (Used to do this quite often in the early years of the blog but haven’t in a while):

Lord of the Rings: The rings of Power

I am not a fan of the LOTR, the movies were ok but nothing that I would go back and watch again and the books were painfully verbose. I don’t enjoy reading a multi-page description of a walk from one place to another along with a description of what they ate on the way and I still haven’t finished the 3rd book (don’t plan to either). But, the Rings of Power is a fantastic show and the cinematography is awesome. The show is enjoyable and has a consistent storyline that makes sense even to someone who doesn’t know the details of how the story ends in the future. There has been a lot of grumbling/whining about black people having a prominent role but they can suck it up. The characters are likable, believable and most of the time the decisions they make make sense. Which is not always the case in such stories as sometimes the decisions are made to further the story and that gets annoying. Looking forward to the season finale and the next 4 seasons of the show.

Sandman

I have not read the comics and will rectify that as soon as I finish watching the show (currently at episode 7 of 10). What a fantastic world and I love how it has been brought to life. The Lucifer TV show was a spin off from the Sandman comics so I was aware of them but never got around to reading the comics. One complaint a lot of people had was that they should have asked Tom Ellis and Lesley-Ann Brandt reprise their roles as Lucifer and Mazikeen in the show. I felt the same way initially but after I watched the episode I have changed my mind. Tom Ellis is a fantastic actor and his take on Lucifer is awesome but it wouldn’t have worked in Sandman as the tone mismatch between his take and the rest of the show would have been painful. Gwendoline Christie’s take was sublime and I loved it.

Can’t wait to see how the season ends so no spoilers please.

She-Hulk

Lots of crybabies have been complaining about the show and while it is not super brainy and serious it is a fun watch. You just need relax and enjoy the casual fun. They do tackle some serious themes that might not be obvious immediately such as the toxic comments and fandom. They have taken actual comments posted by folks and incorporated them into the show which in turn really pissed of the ‘fans’ making the comments in the first place. They talk about toxicity, the glass ceiling and a lot of serious topics in a fun and engaging way.

Not the most intellectual shows but is a lot of fun and you should check it out if you haven’t.

Vampire Academy

Its an interesting show based on a book series with a significant fan following. I haven’t read it yet and will prob do that once the show is over. I like the concept, the characters are interesting and believable and the storyline is engrossing. Not very gory like True Blood and very little nudity and sex. (Fans of Game of Thrones/True Blood will be disappointed)

Check it out if you like Vampire shows.

House of the Dragon

I did not like this spin-off just as I didn’t enjoy GoT. I barely got through half the first episode and stopped watching. The show is not my cup of tea even though it has a fantastic cast.

Well this is all for now. Will post more later.

– Suramya

October 7, 2022

I am now a CEH (Certified Ethical Hacker)

Filed under: Computer Security,Linux/Unix Related,My Life — Suramya @ 6:23 PM

Gave my CEH (Certified Ethical Hacker) exam on 3rd Oct and have successfully cleared it.


Certification Number Certification Name Issue Date Expiry Date
ECC8907421563 Certified Ethical Hacker October 3, 2022 October 02, 2025

The exam was interesting and required a bit of memorization but over all not bad. I do wish they allow us to access the books or use the tools on the computer. I have a hard time remembering the parameters for commands and there were a few questions in there about what parameter would you use to do x. Normally I would do a man command before running it but here I had to remember the commands so it was a bit more annoying and required some extra effort to memorize, other than that the questions were great and required a lot of thinking and knowing the system.

Well this is all for now, will write more later.

– Suramya

October 6, 2022

Why you should High-Five your child often and frequently tell them that you love them

Filed under: My Thoughts — Suramya @ 1:46 AM

Saw this on Twitter earlier this week and I was flabbergasted to know that people have such high/strong opinions about high-fiving. This person is a strong believer in the fiction that children should be seen and not heard. Some of what he says I do agree with, such as “Children should not call parents by their first names” and “Should not be allowed to watch certain movies that their parents watch”, but the rest of it is nonsense. Before we start with the critique, you should first read the op-ed in question and then we can proceed.

The whole article is a mess but I especially love the way he explains his objections to his son when their grandkid (5 years old at the time) didn’t understand why they wouldn’t high-five them. The answer given was “I don’t expect him to understand and I am not going to explain it to him”. When the son responded saying that they don’t understand either, instead of explaining the logic the response given was “I am not going to explain myself to you either”. This is not the response you expect from someone who is sure of why they are doing something, this is the answer you get from someone who thinks they are always right and anyone not agreeing with them is wrong. Basically the typical strong/alpha man response where any sign of affection or love was a sign of weakness. The best way to get someone to understand why you are doing something is to explain it to them, decree’s like this are not the way and sure as hell don’t make you loved or liked.

Lets step back a bit to look at the meaning of High Five, according to Cambridge Dictionary it is a “greeting or an expression of admiration in which two people each raise a hand above their shoulder and bring the fronts of their hands together with force”. Every other definition that I have been able to find is similar and no where does it say that the people have to be at the same age, equality, gender, economical status. Of course practically speaking, I am not going to go high five a random grandmother or someone walking on the road. But there have been instances where this has happened and is appropriate. For example, if a big win happens or something worth celebrating (such as a rocket launch, or a sports win, or massive sales) everyone will be celebrating it and you will have random people high fiving and giving hugs to celebrate. It is normal behavior.

Another reason to high five someone is to encourage them and acknowledge their work, especially a kid. It is a way to make them know that people around them are proud of them and this doesn’t have to be for major tasks. Sometimes it is the acknowledgement from small achievements that stays with you the longest. If a five year old is taught to set the table for visitors and they do it well, a simple high five will let them know that their work was appreciated or if they managed to recite their alphabets correctly for the first time they need to be supported, celebrated and encouraged. A high five is a simple easy way of doing that…

Your relationship with your kid is not the same as the one you have with your boss. Treating both the same way is a recipe for disaster. You can celebrate the small wins , be approachable but still maintain discipline. I know I don’t have kids so there is a limit to how much I know about raising kids. However, I am the self appointed cool mama who gets to teach the kids about cool stuff I find and while the kids will come to me with any questions they have no disrespect is tolerated.

Interestingly, this view is a minority view and folks across the internet are speaking up against this. As per a 2015 study by researchers at Notre Dame, it was found that “parental soothing, constant physical presence with plenty of affectionate touch and playful interactions with caregivers are vital to a child’s wellbeing as an adult. Without parent touch, play and support, the research says children have “poorer mental health, more distress in social situations and are less able to take another’s point of view.”. Giving a high-five is a simple tactile way of showing the approval and love.

When questioned about the negative response to his op-ed, John’s response was blunt, condescending and dismissive stating:

“The reaction was also HUGELY negative, and I still stand my anti-high-five position. ”

“The majority of respondents failed miserably at countering my opinion with intelligent opinion of their own; rather, they engaged in ad hominem, which is the refuge of the inarticulate. I’m perfectly willing to engage in intelligent discourse on the subject. Unfortunately, I have yet to find any,”

The way John wants to raise their kids and grandkids is how the old British folks used to do, where any love or affection shown was a sign of weakness. Personally I think that is a miserable way to live. I much rather have folks show their love and regard honestly. I still give my parents, relatives a hug when I meet them. For some I touch their feet, for others I try to lift them up (or now more frequently they try to lift me). We all know our place and the relations are bound with love and mutual respect rather than obligation.

Well this is all for now. Will post more later.

– Suramya

October 5, 2022

3D Scanning was used over 160 years ago to create photosculptures

Filed under: Interesting Sites,My Thoughts,Tech Related — Suramya @ 1:32 PM

When we talk about 3D scanning we all assume it is one of the emerging technologies and with the recent advances it has been growing more and more popular. A usecase that is becoming popular is to scan a sculpture or art installations so that the scans are published online and can be converted to VR or used to 3D print an exact replica. For example, The State Darwin Museum in Europe has been slowly digitizing / 3D scanning its collection. Other museums have been doing the same as well.

But interestingly, this is not a new technology and it was in use over 160 years ago to create what is known as photosculptures. A recent article on Hackaday.com talks about how in the late 19th century (1861) the art of creating realistic, 3-dimensional replicas using a series of 24 photos that were combined to create a 3D image was extremely popular. This process was called photosculpture and was invented by François Willème, a French painter, photographer and sculptor.


Example of a photosculpture created using this technique. (PC: University of Virginia: Department of Art)

He perfected the art of taking photos from 24 camera’s in a circle with the subject standing in the middle, synchronizing them to create a 3D model that could be projected on a screen. Then a pantograph was used to cut the layers of the picture into thin sheets of wood. The artist would then assemble the cuttings to create a rough 3D replica of the object. Once the base was created they would fill in the details using materials such as bronze, plaster of Paris and terra cotta to create a realistic result.


A visual overview of how Photosculptures were created

This whole process was a lot cheaper than having a sculpture created via the normal process and a lot faster so it became quite popular for a while with the public. But with other competitors patenting their own versions and the demand reducing he had to shutdown the studio by late 1868. Check out the following article for more details on the process More than 100 Years before 3D Printers, We had Photosculpture which is quite fascinating.

It made me think that we have this unspoken assumption that the previous generations were not as smart/advanced as we were and only in the modern world we have these amazing breakthroughs that wouldn’t have been possible earlier and then you read about these inventions and techniques that were there hundreds of years ago that does the same thing (albeit a bit more crudely) as our modern cutting edge technologies. There was a lot of scientific advances done historically that were lost due to various reasons and sometimes I dream about how the world would have been if we had not lost the Library of Alexandria or the Nalanda University which were amongst the many institutes destroyed by invaders and their staff & students slaughtered. Imagine how many advances were lost, how much wisdom was lost over the years due to this…

– Suramya

« Newer PostsOlder Posts »

Powered by WordPress