For $150, Third-World Laptop Stirs a Big Debate: “The debate is centered on whether cheap laptops are the best way to improve education in the developing world.”
(Source NYT > Business.)
I wonder if any social photo sharing site get traction with flickr having so many users worldwide? This site looks beautiful but users seem to care less about beauty and more about community. Time will tell.
Kevin Kelly has a nice post about Photostamps (being able to use your own images on real postage stamps).
20 stamps, 39 cents
Available from Stamps.com
(Source Cool Tools.)
Last week we went to see Laura Love and Jen Todd at The Towne Crier Cafe in Pawling, New York. It was one of the better concerts I’ve been to in a long time and even my wife Anne, who’s quite jaded about these kinds of things had a great time and loved the music, Laura’s personality, and the entire evening at the Town Crier.
The duo plays what has to be called “folk funk” but could also be called “folk blues” but could also be called “folk rock.” I have no idea how to characterize the music except that Laura has a fantastic inner musicality, arranges songs in fun and upbeat and surprising ways, and has a great stage presence. Laura plays bass, Jen plays both rhythm and lead guitar, they both sing and it feels like there are 5 people up on stage; they make a lot of great sound with just two guitars and their voices. And what voices. Wow.
And, while The Town Crier is kind of a funky place, they engineered this concert perfectly. It was loud enough but not so loud our ears were hurting. Perfection in sound engineering.
Laura Love has been around a while and has many CDs out (all of them great) and is listed in the iTunes Music Store but somehow has never broken through to be hugely popular. Since we all love her CDs and enjoyed the concert we’ve been speculating on why. Maybe it’s that her music is hard to categorize? Maybe it’s that she’s been a “bad girl” for much of her life (and this fact is in her lyrics), or, maybe she’s impossible to work with. I don’t know but I do know that she is one amazing talent and I’m going to try to see her again in January when she’s back on the east cost.
NPR Interview: Laura Love: Two for ‘Easter’
Richard Lohmann is a professional photographer who does monochromatic work with medium format cameras and film and prints with an inkjet printer using carbon pigment inks.
His work is fantastic but it’s his printing process that caught my attention. He uses a high end ink jet printer but he fills his own cartridges with his own blend of these special, long lasting inks.
Source: Dale Allyn
Warren, Connecticut. We have an old volunteer apple tree in our backyard that a friend pruned and saved when we bought our place many years ago. I do my best to keep it happy with pruning and spike fertilizer but no matter what I do it will never produce great eating apples, it’s just not that kind of tree. However, it produces great "camera apples" and even its branches are photogenic.
Lasse Gjertsen doesn’t play drums or piano but he’s diced up and reassembled small chunks of sound and video into a wonderful composition.
Watch it a few times to pick up on the small stuff. Great.
Note: Scott James, I’m thinkin’ about you on this one.
Ben Saunders has posted a link to a Speedflying movie that is mind blowing: two French extreme skiers parasail and ski down various faces of the Eiger in Switzerland, including the famous (and terrifying) north face. There are two video links at the site, watch them both for a taste of what extreme skiing is all about.
(Source kottke.org remaindered links.)
BuzzFeed looks like a bit more than digg.com in that it’s aimed at social trends, not anything that’s popular. They track sites and then editorialize content to comment on trends. This seems like a more mature and possibly interesting tracking service than digg which relies on users voting and commenting to create buzz. And, on digg, many of those users are less than responsible.
BuzzFeed is well designed and the concept is excellent. Let’s see how long they last and how soon google buys them.
Apple Teams Up With Six Airlines to Deliver iPod Integration: “Apple is teaming up with Air France, Continental, Delta, Emirates, KLM and United to deliver the first seamless integration between iPod and in-flight entertainment systems. These six airlines will begin offering their passengers iPod seat connections which power and charge their iPods during flight and allow the video content on their iPods to be viewed on the their seat back displays.”
(Source Apple Hot News.)
It finally came in, I got it and I’m very pleased.
On my old G4 PowerBook I had a PCMCIA slot card reader that I loved: fast, stayed inside the machine, and inexpensive. Alas, this new MacBook Pro has an "ExpressCard/34 slot" (seen here to the right of the black USB cable) which won’t accept my old card reader.
The question is, USB 2.0 or firewire? I’m a great believer in firewire as it’s a faster protocol and while this machine does not support firewire 800 newer MacBook Pros do. Sandisk’s firewire equivalent of this card reader supports both firewire 400 and 800. The firewire model is $79 and lacks the second SD slot this reader has. However, for cards loaded with RAW images it might be enough faster to be worthwhile. I might end up with one of those too.
Here’s what’s great about this card reader:
* USB 2.0 is fast enough for most situations
* Second slot for SD cards, another popular digital media format
* Very light weight
* The small and light USB cable is the same as what comes with most cameras: the same male USB end that’s on the camera’s USB cable. This cable can double as the camera direct attach cable if you need to go that route.
If you don’t have a card reader this is one to consider.
The MacTech 25: The 25 most influential people in the Mac technical community.
Read this list for a wonderful history of Macintosh tech stuff, old and new.
New York City. One of the areas I went to Photo Plus Expo to research was pigment ink inkjet printers for making archival prints. My first round of research (documented here) led me to the Canon i9900 printer which I have and love. But, as I knew, dye inks are less archival than pigment inks (although more durable so are better for notecards and postcards).
If one is thinking about showing and selling prints one needs to consider this stuff, maybe not on a molecular scale but certainly on something a bit deeper than a brand scale. The old saying "no one ever got fired for buying IBM" applies to printers as well: no one ever got fired or in trouble for buying Epson and while I can’t argue with the results of prints done on higher end Epson printers, they are notorious for clogging and high costs of operation. It was just a matter of time before Canon and HP got into this market segment.
This printer, the Canon imagePROGRAF iPF5000 is Canon’s answer to the Epson 4800, the tried and true workhorse of many professional photographers. Canon has come up with their own Lucia pigment inkset and independent reviews seem to say it will last as long or longer than Epson’s K3 inks. For me the bigger issue is maintenance; how easy is it for the heads to clog on these things if you don’t use them that often.
All of these higher end printers (as one of my other photos in this set shows) have ink cartridges not mounted on the head but on the body with plumbing between cartridge and head. When you put a cartridge in, half of it drains just to "charge" the plumbing with ink (shocking given the cost of these cartridges). The issue is, if the printer sits for a bit, does the ink dry out in the plumbing and if so, what is required to get going again short of an angioplasty or bypass surgery.
This printer has a self cleaning routine that it runs from time to time that moves a bit of ink through the system. Yes, it uses some precious ink but the alternative is much worse. The Epson 4800 also has a self-cleaning routine but it, notoriously, is not as good and the printer does clog.
I’m also looking at Canon’s smaller, consumer level pigment printer, the PIXMA Pro9500 but it won’t ship until next year. Same inkset, smaller, less "industrial scale" printer.
Big brother in this printer series, the Canon imagePROGRAF iPF9000. One needs an ego the size of Nebraska to print this big. And, who the heck has wall space for one of these things?
New York City. The light was waning and just as I left the Seagram Building (built by Mies van der Rohe on the right here) I turned and caught the Citicorp tower (Hugh Stubbins) lit up by the setting sun. Because this part of the city is packed with glass boxes forming canyons, it’s nearly impossible to isolate a single building so I decided to use these two darker buildings to add even more contrast to the starkly white Citicorp Building.
The Lipstick Building was designed by Philip Johnson and John Burgee and is unusual for its elliptical shape and offset tiers. It’s not easy to photograph but if you’re in the vicinity of 53rd and Park it’s a quick walk down to 3rd Ave. to check it out. Here you can see the Citicorp tower reflected in it.
My flickr contact Sarah posted a photo and simple explanation on skinning tomatoes: “Stab the skins and then pour boiling water over them, empty it and fill the bowl with cold water. The skins then fall off the tomatoes with no effort at all, hurrah!”
“Second tip – don’t do too many at a time, as the tomatoes need to be hit by the boiling water to get the full “oh my God, my skin’s fallen off” effect. I discovered this afternoon that the right number is evidently about 8. Two at the bottom of the bowl had to be done again with their own freshly boiled water!”
New York City. I walked from Grand Central Station (42nd St.) up Park Ave. toward 54th St. and I was in a canyon of spectacular glass boxes which were doing amazing things with the diminishing light as the sun set. I realize that each of these buildings is a complex "machine" and a container for businesses and dozens of office cultures, but, it’s fun to reduce their facades to textures and just think of them as a varied grid to reflect each other and the sky.
New York City. I went down to Photo Plus Expo in New York yesterday. It’s fun to walk around big trade shows like this to see all the cool new stuff and all the camera geeks (like me) who parade through to gawk at it (like me).
One of the pieces of gear I was particularly interested in was the new Canon 50mm f/1.2 L lens. This image is taken with a demo 5D and the new 50mm L lens of another photographer testing the same lens on a 1D.
I had the wonderful Canon 85mm f/1.2 L and was in love with the results that lens gave but I was not in love with the slowness of it’s autofocus. The new version of the 85 L is only marginally faster (I used one just after this shot was taken) but this new 50 is extremely fast to focus, I’d say it rivals any of Canon’s top L lenses (a few of which I have). I’m not saying this from reading a spec sheet, I’m saying this because I now have some hands-on experience with these three fast L primes.
The 50 L lighter than the 85, shorter and feels extremely good on the 5D. If the 50mm focal length is one you enjoy, this lens should be considered if you can make use of the extra stop it gives you compared with Canon’s 50mm f/1.4. I can’t comment on whether the very high price of this lens ($1600) is worth the difference but I think some people are going to think so and it will be very popular.
My apologies to this very nice gentleman, it’s not the best image but it does give you an idea of what the lens looks like on a camera in someone’s hands, and what the lens can do even to close up backgrounds that you’d like to blur.