Monthly Archives: November 2007

Canon EOS 1Ds Mark III Tour Video

An introductory video of Canon’s new, high-end camera: The Canon EOS 1Ds Mark III.

The question you might ask is, do I want this? Answer: No. I am supremely happy with my Canon EOS 5D and I doubt I could ever grow into all of its capabilities in two lifetimes. And, this camera makes such big images (21.1 megapixels) that one would need a totally new storage system and computer just to open and edit them. More isn’t always better and one has to think of the entire image flow when changing an important part of it.

My guess is that the next version of the Canon EOS 5D will be enough camera for me and even when it comes out, I’ll be slow to upgrade to it.

Campus Battleground

We saw the documentary Campus Battleground last night on student protests concerning Israel and a Palestinian state at both Columbia University and UC Berkeley. It’s one of a series called America at a Crossroads which, frankly has been spotty so far. This piece, however, was brilliant even though the subject of Middle East peace seems insoluble. There are articulate, smart, and pro-active students on both sides of this issue and listening to them gave me hope, less for peace in the Middle East, more for the future of America.

Trees in Fog on Baldwin Hill

Trees in Fog on Baldwin Hill

Washington, Connecticut. Driving home from an errand my left peripheral vision caught these trees with the fog behind them and it took my brain about 1/4 mile to register that I should stop, get out of the truck, set up the camera on tripod and take a picture. Some days wanting to get home and warm up by the fire really gets in the way of photography, other days photography gets in the way of getting home. When these two forces hit simultaneously one is frozen and it’s interesting to see what tips it one way or the other.

Turning Nonworking Gizmos Into Money

Turning Nonworking Gizmos Into Money

About a year ago, Mr. Mosley started BuyMyBrokeniPod.com and began purchasing, refurbishing and reselling used or broken iPods. Mr. Mosley, who is apparently comfortable around a soldering iron, started the company by posting an iPods-wanted ad on Craigslist. He has since launched a Web site, hired two employees and fixed over a thousand iPods. He recently renamed his company BuyMyTronics.com as he expanded into iPhones and video game consoles.

Icy Rescue as Seas Claim a Cruise Ship

Icy Rescue as Seas Claim a Cruise Ship

What I want to know is, did the people get to rescue their luggage?

If I were on a trip like that I’d have my laptop computer and all of my camera gear with me, would I have to leave those bags of gear behind, like evacuating a plane? This evacuation seemed to have been done in a way that might have allowed passengers to bring luggage with them, but if there’s not enough room on lifeboats of course the luggage stays behind. I’d be happy to be alive but it would be rough to watch this computer and all of my camera gear sink to the bottom of the sea.

Photo Cubes

Photo Cubes

Warren, Connecticut. Being the sort who loves making objects when I saw the template tool for Photo Cubes in the flickr blog I had to try it. Dozens of cubes later, I’m hooked and I have cubes everywhere printed with pretty much every image type I’ve ever shot. Anne thinks I’m nuts but likes the smile on my face when I’m folding them.

My only wish for the template is that it had a bottom; that the cube was a solid instead of open on the bottom. Then we could make strings of ornaments out of them.

HP started a group to support this stuff (HP – Printing your Flickr photos) but it looks to be poorly administered and my guess will be orphaned. Doesn’t matter, these cubes are addictive and fun.

Potential auto focusing issues on Canon DSLRs

Chuck Westfall is Canon USA’s main media spokesman for new camera products. Here are his November Tech Tips

This detail caught my eye:

In the case of EOS SLRs with less than 45 focusing points, the AF frames are engraved directly on the focusing screen. In some cases, the focusing screen may become very slightly shifted to the left or right of the actual focusing point position.

For us 5D users (and all Canon DSLRs with less than 45 focusing points) it might be that a small nudge of the focus screen is necessary to get better focus. I’m noticing that things aren’t perfectly lined up when I use the center focus point (which I do most of the time) and I wasn’t sure what it was. Now I know and am going to see about the alightment of that screen.

David Pogue on Kindle

David Pogue seems to like the Amazon Kindle more than most: An E-Book Reader That Just May Catch On.

He makes excellent points and he gives a more detailed look at the various features of Kindle: the screen, “ink” and reading experience, and the user interface. I have to say, his review softens me on this device and given that Amazon has deep pockets, they can keep tossing money at it until they get it right and if they do get it right they have the best back end infrastructure to do something like this. Time will tell.

Amazon Kindle

This reminds me of the birth of the Mac, the birth of the iPod and more. Steven Levy at Newsweek has written the opening big story about the new Amazon reading device and service: The Future of Reading. It’s just too bad that this device/service doesn’t seem like it’s going to be a winner.

You can read about the Kindle on Amazon’s product page: Kindle: Amazon’s New Wireless Reading Device

What it seems Amazon has done is use their powerful leverage in the publishing world to build a new way for them to market books and for you to read them. They’ve taken Apple’s iPod model, the device becomes a player for content downloaded and stored elsewhere. In the iPod’s case, the content comes through iTunes and lives on your computer and you can use it there, share it, do as you like with it. In the case of Kindle, there is no computer, the content comes from Amazon through a free cell network and lives both on Amazon’s servers and in your Kindle.

I actually don’t mind the model of a “dumb terminal” approach to serving up some content, but I’m pretty sure that books are not the right content to serve up this way. The iPod is successful because the particular content it serves up is appropriate and the delivery model works. It makes perfect sense that Bezos/Amazon would get into this game and it will be interesting to track Kindle over time.

Anne and I watched Charlie Rose interview Jeff Bezos last night after the introduction of Kindle and Anne, an avid reader said “don’t get me that for me for Christmas, I don’t want it.” Anne is not a typical target for Kindle marketing but her reaction was so fast it interested me. My reaction was to give it a chance (for the length of the interview anyway) and I was more interested in the model than the actual device. After all, I read a lot of content on the screen of my 15″ MacBook Pro and might consider even a smaller screen if Apple came out with a solid state portable computing device (bigger than an iPhone though).

There are enough detailed blog reactions to the Kindle to keep you reading for hours today so I won’t bore you with more details which you can get better elsewhere. I will say that I feel about Kindle the way I feel about Bezo’s other big project, Blue Origin, a reusable space capsule for taking small number of people for a sub-orbital ride into space. Both of them may work (toss enough money at things and they work) but I don’t think either will fly.

Steve Martin at 62

With Mustache, Without Arrow

In person, Steve Martin, now 62, is far from a wild and crazy guy — if he ever really was one. His hair is snow white. Though still youthful, his famously mobile face is mostly in repose. He’s a lot like your tax accountant, only a little shyer.

Steve Martin is a hero of mine. His humor, both visual and verbal is timely yet not cynical, and visual without being slapstick. He can do slapstick as well as anyone and his face is so plastic watching it is like watching clay animation, but he’s uniquely Steve Martin. Saturday Night Live, Parenthood, Roxanne, Plains, Trains and Automobiles, Father of the Bride, Leap of Faith, Grand Canyon, and now The Pink Panther. The guy is a genius, having written plays, casuals in The New Yorker, and more and I chuckle at the thought of any of his many amazing roles.

[via Gary Sharp]

Morning Hoarfrost on Bramble

Morning Hoarfrost on Bramble

Warren, Connecticut. We’ve had cold nights for a few weeks now and by the time I’m outside each day the evening hoarfrost has melted from plants. This morning I was out early enough so that many plants was covered in a most interesting way. Unlike the dead of winter where plants can seem lifeless, this morning it seemed more like someone sprayed a summer scene with liquid oxygen, preserving the movement and life of the scene but coating it in frost.

Sunrise on the Shepaug River Valley with Morning Fog

Sunrise on the Shepaug River Valley with Morning Fog

Warren, Connecticut. My friend Zarinna called me at 6 am this morning "come quick, the light is incredible." I reluctantly left my place next to the now fired up woodstove, threw clothes on, grabbed camera bag, tripod, and most important coffee and headed over to her place, slowly waking up on the drive. When I got there the sun was just coming up which seemed too late but as I stood and watched the changing light on both the trees and fog around the Shepaug Reservoir I had a feeling even with the sun up there would still be something worth shooting. An hour and 50 shots later I was pretty sure I got something interesting and took off for the warmth of our woodstove, a hot shower, and breakfast.

Sunrise on Trees in the Shepaug River Valley with Morning Fog

Yahoo and Jailed Journalists Settle Lawsuit

Yahoo and Jailed Journalists Settle Lawsuit

Yahoo Inc. on Tuesday settled a lawsuit with two Chinese journalists who were jailed after the company provided Chinese authorities with information about their online activities.

At least they settled and didn’t argue it forever. Still, it makes me mad that they bent down just for the sake of business. Bad deal Jerry Yang. No amount of bowing to the mother of the jailed dissident now will make up for what you did.

Does the U.S. Have a ‘Nuclear Double Standard’?

Does the U.S. Have a “Nuclear Double Standard”

Two Bush administration officials – United Nations Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad and deputy State Department spokesman Tom Casey – made simultaneous remarks that illuminated the nuclear double standard more starkly than ever….

Contrary to Casey’s declaration, the U.S. government is hardly conceding that “any country” meeting his stated criteria is acting in a manner “perfectly acceptable to us.” The Bush administration, instead, subjectively and unilaterally, is assessing the “record, rhetoric, policies and connections” of both Egypt and Iran, and pronouncing, in our wisdom, that the one may proceed down the nuclear road while the other may not.

No other possible conclusion can be drawn, since Iran, in pursuing, so far at least, merely a nuclear “capability,” is in fact in accord with its obligations under the NPT.

They’re fully within their rights to go that way.

- Tad Daley

Yes.

As the only country to ever drop a nuclear bomb (and we did it twice) who are we to decide how others will use nuclear power? I don’t think the Bush administration, which has invaded and destroyed two countries, is in a position to be passing judgement about the intentions of other countries.