Saturday, October 23, 2010

MacHeads

MacHeads, free, full movie. Thanks to Norm.
(Unfortunately it's Hulu and can only be viewed in the US. I could watch it at Lovefilm.com because I'm a customer there. But I don't know if it's hosted for free any other places.)

It's amazing how this documentary divided the audience. Many hated it, but for wildly different reasons. I quite liked it, it had a succinct history of Apple and the Mac Community, and it featured people I know and like, for example Shawn King, Adam Engst, and Andy Ihnatko. I think it makes many good points too.

posted by Eolake Stobblehouse @ Saturday, October 23, 2010   0 comments links to this post

Background colors

If Apple was serious about photography, they should get rid of that handful of silly colors (including about *two* useful greys) one can select as full-color desktop background, and instead just give us the whole spectrum to choose from. How hard could that be? They already do it for the background for an image.

In the meantime, there are two solutions for serious photographers: make your own backgrounds in form of a one-color image, make several in the tones and shades of grey you like.

... Or one could get really smart, make a small GIF image, which only consists of transparent pixels. It seems that in order to accomplish that in Photoshop, you have to make two layers, the background one deselected (invisible), and remove everything from the upper one, then save as .gif. Seems one can't remove everything from the background layer, it just takes on the current background color set in PS.

... And then you just set this empty image centered, and set the desktop background to the exact tone you want.

Update: Craniac said:
To make a transparent image in Photoshop simply rename the Background layer by double-clicking the name and changing it to anything other than Background. It then becomes like any other layer and can be transparent. It seems that there is special connotation attached to the lowest level having the name Background.
.

posted by Eolake Stobblehouse @ Saturday, October 23, 2010   5 comments links to this post

Friday, October 22, 2010

A happy little comment

[My twin Leonard Lightfoot weighs in for a mo.]

Oh, Darlings, isn’t the 11-inch Airbook just to die for? Eleven inches, one kilo, just the thing I’ve been wanting to stick in my backpack. I just hope it'll fit! Tee-hee! I am sure just fingering its smooth surface will be pure delight.

But, oh my, couldn't they have selected a new wallpaper by now? I know it's the signature of the sexy "Snow Leopard" system, but really, the purple thingie by now is so... 2009. The hardware is to die for, sure, but to die in last year's fashion is not something a gentleman wants!

posted by Eolake Stobblehouse @ Friday, October 22, 2010   3 comments links to this post

Sandisk MicroMate

Sandisk MicroMate is a lovely little thing I may never have found out about if I hadn't gotten one once in a bundle with a memory card. It's simply an SD-card reader with no cable, the USB plug is right on it. Which means it's not much bigger than an SD card. Cheap and handy for getting your pictures or data into your computer. You just take the SD card out of the camera and stick it in the MicroMate (it has a slot at the bottom), then plug the micro-mate in the computer’s USB port.
(With an empty SD card in it, this thing can also be used like a "thumb drive", to transfer information between computer, or to put confidential data on away from the computer, etc.)
Given a free USB port, you may even just let it sit in the machine (if it's not moved around much), no unsightly cables to lie around on the table top. 

(The blue part is just packaging of course.)

(By the way, I didn't mean to feature Sandisk as if it's special, I don't think it is. It's just that I did not see similar products from anybody else.)

posted by Eolake Stobblehouse @ Friday, October 22, 2010   14 comments links to this post

The Song of the Lark

She used to drag her mattress besider her low window and lie awake for a long while, vibrating with excitement, as a machine vibrates from speed. Life rushed in upon her through that window - or so it seemed. In reality, of course, life rushes from within, not from without. There is no work of art so big or so beautiful that is was not once all contained in some youthful body, like this one which lay on the floor in the moonlight, pulsing with ardor and anticipation.
           -- Willa Cather, The Song of the Lark

posted by Eolake Stobblehouse @ Friday, October 22, 2010   0 comments links to this post

Safari Extension Hides You from Google and Facebook

Safari Extension Hides You from Google and Facebook, article.

And here is an article which reveals the shocking disrespect FaceBook has for your privacy. Basically they can, and generally will, reveal anything about you to anybody at any time (they can change their privacy policies retroactively!).

posted by Eolake Stobblehouse @ Friday, October 22, 2010   2 comments links to this post

What the point is about High Quality


What the Pundits Are Missing About New MacBook Air, TMO article.

I think the article says it well. The new MacBook Air, even the delightful 11-inch model, is not a netbook, despite the highly compact size. It is not, because it's not poorly built with substandard materials, and with under-sized keyboard and screen and a slow processor, which is what netbooks are.

By the way, our token critic, the lonely-wolf-crying-in-the-night, "Anonymous" or "Josie" as we sometimes endearingly call him/her, has more than once made fun of me for being excited about excellent hardware, not the least Apple's. He compares it to sexual excitement, which I guess is intended to downgrade the experience to something vaguely sordid.

Well, if he thinks sexual excitement is sordid, that's okay with me. And if he thinks that getting highly interested and excited about fine products is... I don't even know what he is hinting at... somehow wrong... then he is free to think so. I am proud to be associated with a group who cares about good tools, tools which make work and play a pleasure, rather than a constant battle with software updates and patches and conflicts and obscure files. I love products which lets you be productive four minutes after you start opening the box, instead of making you spend all Christmas day trying to whip the system into shape and do what you want.

I love and care about not only fine tools and machines, but all products of extraordinary quality, not just from Apple, but any company. Take for example the lenses and cameras made by Pentax, or the chairs made by Herman Miller, or the bags/cases made by Waterfield Designs. They clearly care about making the best products they possibly can, they care about giving their customers a superior experience every time they use their product. This is what makes the world bearable to live in. I would hate to live in a world where everybody was only competing only on price, so every product you could find was shoddy and ugly and unreliable. But I love that we have a world where in almost any field we can find the exception, something which is made with thought and care. Sure, they often cost a bit more, but they give better and longer-lasting joy.

posted by Eolake Stobblehouse @ Friday, October 22, 2010   14 comments links to this post

What the point is about High Quality






What the Pundits Are Missing About New MacBook Air, TMO article.

I think the article says it well. The new MacBook Air, even the delightful 11-inch model, is not a netbook, despite the highly compact size. It is not, because it's not poorly built with substandard materials, and with under-sized keyboard and screen and a slow processor, which is what netbooks are.

By the way, our token critic, the lonely-wolf-crying-in-the-night, "Anonymous" or "Josie" as we sometimes endearingly call him/her, has more than once made fun of me for being excited about excellent hardware, not the least Apple's. He compares it to sexual excitement, which I guess is intended to downgrade the experience to something vaguely sordid.

Well, if he thinks sexual excitement is sordid, that's okay with me. And if he thinks that getting highly interested and excited about fine products is... I don't even know what he is hinting at... somehow wrong... then he is free to think so. I am proud to be associated with a group who cares about good tools, tools which make work and play a pleasure, rather than a constant battle with software updates and patches and conflicts and obscure files. I love products which lets you be productive four minutes after you start opening the box, instead of making you spend all Christmas day trying to whip the system into shape and do what you want.

I love and care about not only fine tools and machines, but all products of extraordinary quality, not just from Apple, but any company. Take for example the lenses and cameras made by Pentax, or the chairs made by Herman Miller, or the bags/cases made by Waterfield Designs. They clearly care about making the best products they possibly can, they care about giving their customers a superior experience every time they use their product. This is what makes the world bearable to live in. I would hate to live in a world where everybody was only competing only on price, so every product you could find was shoddy and ugly and unreliable. But I love that we have a world where in almost any field we can find the exception, something which is made with thought and care. Sure, they often cost a bit more, but they give better and longer-lasting joy.

posted by Eolake Stobblehouse @ Friday, October 22, 2010   0 comments links to this post

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Storing and using the sun's energy

Shooting for the Sun, article.
A bottle neck for the use of natural energy has been efficiency. They have found a novel way of storing it and using it which may be a big step forwards towards making natural energy a dominant phenomenon.

posted by Eolake Stobblehouse @ Thursday, October 21, 2010   1 comments links to this post

Deliveries in this golden age

I finally got a delivery estimate about a lens I'm buying from the US. The estimate is, get this:
"Estimated arrival date: November 05 2010 - December 15 2010"


Wow, now that's helpful. I'll be sure to watch out for it on those days, all 40 of them. 


On the same note I ordered something from SF in the US almost a week ago, and it's still slowly working its way though UK customs and delivery red tape. (They claim they tried to deliver it yesterday at 7.15 am, but I was there, and there was no note.) 
In contrast I used Fedex for another parcel from the same place yesterday, and it looks like this one will be day-to-day delivery! 


-------
On another note, does anybody else have the issue that Firefox (on Mac) just regularly stops responding? So you have to reboot it? Happens all the time for weeks now. 
Also by the way, typing gets a little slow in Safari after a while, a bit irritating. 

posted by Eolake Stobblehouse @ Thursday, October 21, 2010   2 comments links to this post

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

iPad for photographers

The newest issue of Amateur Photographer has a good article by an Andy Rouse about how the iPad is excellent for showing portfolios for artists or photographers. This is brave, since AP's readership is by and large quite conservative.
I wrote them this letter as resonse:
---
My compliments to Andy Rouse for coming down squarely on the side of the iPad.
For anybody who might think that “that silly toy” is of no interest to them, let me suggest this:
1: Like Andy says, it’s perfect for showing portfolios.
2: You can carry all your camera manuals in PDF form (searchable) on the iPad.
3: You can carry dozens of photo books on it too.
4: And any other reading material you might need while waiting for the light or the train. Heck, even movies and TV shows.
5: More and more software is coming for image-manipulation on the iPad. How good it is or will become is a big question in itself though.
6: It is an easy way to share images, on a blog, or via the free Dropbox service, even when away from your home computer.
7: unlike a laptop, battery life really is a full day. I once ran mine continually for over 15 hours!
8: It’s ideal for backups and for quick reviews of your photos on the road without carrying a six-pound laptop.
9: it’s also very good for writing anything  and for keeping up with your email. (Some will want an external keyboard like Apple’s very light and compact one, while others are very happy with the screen keyboard.)
----

posted by Eolake Stobblehouse @ Wednesday, October 20, 2010   1 comments links to this post

New Ray sunset

Ray took another great sunset today.


(The pic he took with the jet trail did not included some of the trees below which had been in another shot, and I missed them, so I combined two pictures in Photoshop.)

Hah, I'm reminded of the readers-pictures-critique page in the old Danish mag Foto Og Smalfilm.  The bloke put up sunset pictures, and every time he complained about how much he hated sunset pictures and he wished people would stop sending them. But he kept posting them, so of course people kept sending them!

posted by Eolake Stobblehouse @ Wednesday, October 20, 2010   16 comments links to this post

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Quotes

I believe that all government is evil, and that trying to improve it is largely a waste of time.
           -- H. L. Mencken

If you would be a real seeker after truth, it is necessary that at least once in your life you doubt, as far as possible, all things.
           -- Rene Descartes

It takes too much energy to be against something unless it's really important.
           -- Madeleine L'Engle

posted by Eolake Stobblehouse @ Tuesday, October 19, 2010   0 comments links to this post

Monday, October 18, 2010

Staples art

Staples art.

posted by Eolake Stobblehouse @ Monday, October 18, 2010   2 comments links to this post

Canon Pixma campaign

5000 frames per second!


Canon Pixma: Bringing colour to life from Dentsu London.

posted by Eolake Stobblehouse @ Monday, October 18, 2010   1 comments links to this post

The Brainstormer

The Brainstormer, a neat app for random word/concept combinations for inspiration for stories etc.

I remember years ago I read an essay about how a story takes many more ideas than people realize. And it's true, if you look closer at the very best books you have read, they are probably full of many, many ideas which are each one delightful. (For example take some of the best books by Alan Moore, Neil Gaiman, Iain Banks, Terry Pratchett, Grant Morrison... (funny enough, all Brits) Tim Powers, William Gibson (not Brits).)

So perhaps one spin of this wheel can make a start of a drawing or short story, but maybe several spins, all combined, could made a better basis for a novel?

posted by Eolake Stobblehouse @ Monday, October 18, 2010   0 comments links to this post


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