Monthly Archives: January 2005

Kitty on desk

Kitty on desk

The Kitty, who is arthritic and losing her ability to walk wanted up. What can you say? So, up she came. Once she settled in she knocked everything loose on the desk, on the floor and then spread out over my taxes which I was in the middle of staring at (with nothing happening).

I figured if I couldn’t crunch numbers I might as well crunch some pixels so out came the camera, off came the Stomp-shooting 28-135 and on went the sharp-as-a-tack 50mm portrait lens for a fashion shoot.

The cat was a willing subject, continuing to shift position as if to ask me “how’s this one, sexy enough?” By the time the shoot was over all pens and paper clips were scattered on the floor and the tax papers looked like a fur coat. And, it’s pretty wintery and dry here so the static is extreme so the hair is not coming off. The accountant is gonna love this…

Stomp in New Haven

stomp1I’ve seen Stomp 4 times (this was my 4th), 3 in New York when it first came over from England and yesterday in New Haven, Connecticut. The three times I saw it before yesterday were pre-drumming but now I play drums and had a whole new appreciation for what they’re doing.

I went armed for bear with lenses to the max in a small backpack but alas, during the first piece with brooms, with me clicking away sans-flash the house manager came over and said if I took one more picture he’d take the camera. It went in the bag fast, but I did get two nice pictures of the broom piece, which was beautifully performed.

stomp2We did not have great seats but it didn’t matter as almost all of us had seen it before but what was aparent was this: the show, while now quite old has gotten better. There’s a lot of the original show still in it but all the pieces are honed even more and better than ever. I enjoyed it more this time, partly because I was making mental notes and partly because it was a better, more worked out show, than ever before.

If you’ve never seen this show there is a national tour and I highly recommend seeing it. Depending on the theater, I’d say first row balcony is the best seat in the house for this one as some of the action takes place high. Good stuff, Stomp.

New PowerBooks

PowerBook

Today Apple announced upgrades to its linup of PowerBooks.

Lower prices, faster processors, faster hard disks, faster SuperDrives and other more subtle upgrades to hardware. Nice. I will undoubtedly bite on one of these very soon.

I think this is a very good move: it will get folks like me who are already PowerBook users to upgrade because the price/feature set is aggressive and it keeps the line updated until IBM can come out with a low power, cooler version of its G5 chip, which will probably be quite a while off.

Visual Thesaurus

The Visual Thesaurus is both an online tool and a piece of software that you can buy on CD and install locally. It’s the Inspiration visual mapping program on steroids with live animation: click on a word in the map and it becomes the locus and all of it’s connected words spring forth. Do the trial, it’s free and highly addictive. If I were still in the business of show and tell in the educational technology world I’d buy it for sure. I might subscribe for a month or two, just to play.

Source: DrunkenBlog

The Lock Busters

WIRED has a great article in this month’s issue on competitive lock picking: The Lock Busters.

Talk about your interesting subculture. Mix hacker with puzzle solver with mechanic. Add a bit of “tude” and you have one of these guys (and gals although mostly guys, of course). Might as well leave the house opened, any one of these people could get in in 10 seconds flat.

Panasconic Phone Box “Repacking Method”

I’m just opening a new Panasonic cordless phone system I’m putting in the house and noticed on the box a wonderful graphic: repacking instructions. Wow, what a great idea as sometimes, say, if I want to return this thing, I might have to figure out how it was packaged.

To their credit, Apple has been doing this for years with all of their computers and I’ve only noticed it recently with other manufacturers. It’s a useful info graphic although hopefully this new phone will be just what we need and I won’t return it.

5.8 gigahertz cordless which hopefully will not interfere with our 802.11b or future g.

PowerBook dilemma

I have an interesting situation and since I’m writing a lot today and was just talking to a friend about it on the phone, I figure I’ll let it out and see if I can get a few comments.

Background
I currently have a 3 year old, 800mhz TiBook (titanium PowerBook) that has served me well, still serves me well but is long in the tooth and needs replacing.

I do not run photoshop nor do I do much high end DTP. I do run Garageband which heats my machine up to red hot. So does prolonged use of iSight. So, given what I do and where Mac stuff is going, I need a processor upgrade for sure.

Our house is wireless and I like being able to move around the house with this machine, although, truth be told, I tend to sit right here in my office with it. Yes, on very cold mornings I unplug and use it down by the woodstove but that’s rare.

I was in an Apple Retail Store the other day and checked out the 20″ flat screen connected to a PowerBook. I loved it and might consider getting one or a bigger screen somehow as it allowed me to see more of a page and more stuff.

powerbooksForeground
A friend just sent me the Apple employee price list and all the PowerBooks are on it at prices approximately $600 lower than current retail. This is a good indication that Mr. Think Secret is right and there are new PowerBooks coming out soon. I tend to think these will be a speed bump of current models, not the rumored G5s. But, even if they were G5s I doubt I’d want to be an early adopter of one of those.

Choices
1. Replace this machine from its equivalent on the employee price list, saving about $600 if the price of the new 15″ remains about the same.

2. Replace this machine with whatever latest, greatest 15″ model is the new one.

3. Replace this machine with a 12″ PowerBook and a 20″ screen.

4. If #2 is at all appealing, why not make that 20″ screen a 17″ G5 iMac and replace this machine with a 17″ G5 iMac and a 12″ PowerBook.

#4 gives me a G5 processor right away and a 12″ machine right away.

The reason I’d even consider #3 is the great application, SuperDuper!which allows me to do incremental backups easily. I could easily keep two machines in sync with this app. Before it, no way I’d want two machines.

Then again, I like having a single machine as my only machine. But, that means either current G4 on Apple list, or new higher speed one with or without an external monitor.

I’m not into the Mac mini so that’s out. If it has a G5 in it I’d be totally into it but it’s the same processor as any new PowerBook so why not get the PowerBook, or, for that matter, why not get an IMac which gives you a screen and a G5?

I can sort of tell how this story ends: 15″ PowerBook, either on price list or off, but every time I consider this stuff I go wild with ideas of other setups. Argh!

Photojournalism and ethics

Photographer Puts Focus on Privacy Debate.

A photojournalist student takes picture in his dorm, of partying, of sex, and of a car theft, publishes them in print and on the web, all without permission or knowledge of subjects. Then he get in trouble and pulls the “I’m a journalist, it’s allowed” line.

If a student were going to commit suicide and he was there with his camera, would he allow it? Shoot it? This is not some meta machine taking pictures, recording life, this is a human being who can interact with the subjects he’s shooting, and does: sounds like he took part in the car vandalism.

It’s an interesting issue and at the same time, I want to shake this dude up. Having taken part in the now infamous Milgram experiment involving teaching through electric shock, there is absolutely no excuse for losing one’s conscience. Just because it’s done, doesn’t mean you have to do it. Wow, I am in a mood today. Better not make any big business decisions.

Source: kottke.org

Brooks Reviews Blink

David Brooks, who is an excellent writer and a bit too conservative politically for my taste has written an excellent review of Malcolm Gladwell’s latest book for the New York Times Book Review: ‘Blink’: Hunch Power.

If you want to trust my snap judgment, buy this book: you’ll be delighted. If you want to trust my more reflective second judgment, buy it: you’ll be delighted but frustrated, troubled and left wanting more.

Or just go to the bookstore, look at the cover and let your neurons make up their own damn mind.

Hey, Republicans! If you voted for this war, go fight in it.

Intervention magazine has a number of excellent pieces but this one just caught my eye: Hey, Republicans! If you voted for this war, go fight in it.

Source: Heidi Trefethen

Warning: flame ahead…

I am mad as hell at the moment. The fact that Barbara Boxer was a lone voice (even Kerry was less than public about it, typical, pussywhip…) in questioning, just questioning the integrity of Rice during the hearings… and Boxer got crap in the news for it. Give me a ####ing break. This country is gone. What a process (or lack thereof).

Hardly anyone questions Bush’s “you’re with us or you’re against us” crap during the run up to the Iraq war and protest and questioning (and democratic process) is not seen as useful anymore. I’m floored and mad.

If you voted for Bush, I don’t want to hear about it when things start to go sour as they are now. You deal with it.

Jerkweed Democrats. I’m so mad at my supposed party. Kerry, a joke. All of you who voted to give Bush power, for the Patriot Act… you should be voted out of office. I’m lookin’ at you Connecticut Democratic senators Lieberman and Dodd.

If you voted for Bush and he gets his way with Social Security, when it all goes south because idiot Americans who buy lottery tickets invest their SS money in a stock that tanks, I don’t want to hear about it and we will not bail you out.

Talk about building a society that amplifies the division of “classes.” You want it, you got it. And the rich Republicans will be laughing all the way to the bank. Note: they don’t need social security but you do. But, that equation is a bit too much for you, right?

The neo-con artists who are running things now are the worst government in the history of our country. I am absolutely floored that more people aren’t going completely out of their minds over this stuff.

These people are the most un-patriotic, un-democratic Americans in history, and they’re war criminals to boot. Send ‘em all to Guantanamo. And George? Give him what he gave Texas during his governorship there. Catch my drift?

Getty Museum Stone

The stone on the outside of much of the Getty is one of its most striking characteristics. Here’s the press release the museum put out describing the buildings:

The Getty Center — Architectural Description
“The 16,000 tons of travertine used in the project were quarried in Bagni di Tivoli, Italy, 15 miles east of Rome. Split along its natural grain, many of the stones bear fossilized leaves, feathers, and branches. Meier and his staff worked for a year with the Bagni di Tivoli quarries to invent a “guillotine” process that would result in such a rough textured finish.”