Home > Pyla-Koutsopetria Archaeological Project, Web/Tech > Three Little Birds: Pyla-Koutsopetria, Photos, and Ubuntu

Three Little Birds: Pyla-Koutsopetria, Photos, and Ubuntu

The second week of classes is upon us and the excitement of the first week has given way to the somewhat uninspiring bustle of the semester’s routine.  But sometimes there are moments, challenges, and successes that seem to propel the week forward and cut through some of the routine.  Here are three such “Little Bird” moments (after the Bob Marley song):

Rise up this mornin,
Smiled with the risin sun,
Three little birds
Pitch by my doorstep
Singin sweet songs
Of melodies pure and true,
Sayin, (this is my message to you-ou-ou:)

Singin: dont worry bout a thing,
cause every little thing gonna be all right.
Singin: dont worry (dont worry) bout a thing,
cause every little thing gonna be all right!

1. We had our first meeting to plan the 2010 Pyla-Koutsopetria Archaeology Project season yesterday.  Every year, it starts a week or two earlier.  I fully expect our 2011 planning meeting to take place in Cyprus or perhaps even before the 2010 season.  David Pettegrew, Scott Moore, and I convened by conference call and in an efficient hour meeting charted a course of action (subject to change, of course, or at least redirection).  It was such an efficient and focused meeting that it made me glad to work with such capable folks.  In a nutshell here is where we stand.  We decided that we would run a hybrid study season/field school/study tour this year drawing undergraduates from Messiah College, Indiana University of Pennsylvania, and graduate students from UND and elsewhere.  We also set some deadlines for our work to compile a complete inventory of our paper and digital data for the projects.  We started this considerable undertaking last spring, but it was interrupted (at least on my end).  Now is the time to finish this work.  Our data inventory will be the foundation for writing the monograph.  To that end, we even set deadlines for monograph sections.  We want to have the basic text of our catalog of survey finds, methodological discuss, and our analysis of distributional data from the survey complete by January 15th next year. 

2. One small crisis is our PKAP photograph collection.  We have thousands of field and artifact photos that need to be checked, (re)labeled, and available for study to the directors of the project and their senior collaborators.  We have not developed an image database, but, instead, use the photo’s filename to identify the object. It’s not a particularly powerful identifier, but for artifacts our unique numbering system locates it spatially and keys it to a proper description in our finds database.  In most cases, the artifact number (and the file name) are visible physically in the photograph.  We feel that the system is pretty ironclad and stable.  The only issue is that because the photo itself contains the artifact number (i.e. the file name) we have allowed ourselves to fall behind in labeling the actual files.  This isn’t the mini-crisis, however.  The crisis comes when we have the photos all labeled and checked.  How do we make them available to the team?  We need to be able to download them individually or in batches (e.g. for a trench or a particular area in the survey).  We need our solution to be inexpensive.  And if it is server side software, we need to be able to run it on fairly simple and limited equipment.  In other words, our server folks while helpful and generous, do not want to have to radically restructure their hardware and software infrastructure to accommodate our needs.  Any thoughts on this would be great.

3. Ubuntu.  This is just one of life’s small triumphs.  I am now running a Ubuntu powered Dell XPS. Ubuntu has breathed new life into a 4 year old laptop. After I figured out that the ailing optical drive would not function as a port for booting and installing the new OS, I figured out that with a minimum of effort I could boot from a USB drive.  10 minutes later (and one false start, hang, crash, beeping issue), I had Ubuntu running.  It boots in less than 25 seconds.  Seems stable.  Runs Open Office 3.0, Gimp, and Firefox (and soon my new favorite toy Opera 10) without a hiccup. When something that everyone tells you actually works and works just like people tell you that it will… well, it’s just a nice thing.

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  1. January 20, 2010 at 12:36 am

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