Saturday, November 07, 2009

Canon S90 review

LumLan reviews an interesting compact camera, the Canon S90.
"The just released Canon S90 ... is currently the world's smallest and lightest shirt-pocket-sized (SPS) camera that shoots raw*. It has an almost 4X zoom (28–105mm equivalent) and has a remarkable f/2 as its widest aperture at the wide end of its range."

* Update:
Bruce said:
Re: "The just released Canon S90 ... is currently the world's smallest and lightest shirt-pocket-sized (SPS) camera that shoots raw."
Simply not true. Panasonic FX-150 is smaller, shoots RAW. Several days ago I wrote a note to Luminous Landscape pointing out their error. I included a link to the side by side comparison at dpreview in my note to LL. No question that FX-150 is smaller. And it does have RAW.

Here's one of the pictures Mike took with the camera, I really like it:

XO-2 (updated)


Looks like a very ambitious machine, especially since durability, economy and simplicity were the starting ideals.
I must say though, my first thought is: good luck touch-typing on a virtual keyboard.

Update: it seems it's canceled. [Thanks to Bert.]

Balls-out jeans

This is from MAD TV. I got a bit queasy, I have to admit.

But it's interesting that you can't show a split-second of a nipple on US TV, but apparently you can show men's testicles quite clearly. It's a weird world.

Stephen Schaub's camera accessories

Stephen Schaub's camera accessories, Wrist Wonder, Y-Strap, Bare Bones Bag.

... The "Interweb" has made it much easier for intrepid entrepreneurs like Stephen to have a good business. Gotta love that.

I have not tried the Bare Bones Bag, but it's probably very good. I like his approach to his products, he goes for good, simple ideas and high quality materials.

His service is also good, I found out that two of my cameras could not be fitted with the wrist strap because the slots were too narrow for the big ring. I wrote to him, and he sent me a couple of smaller connecting rings for free. Not only that, when they got lost in the mail, he sent them one more time, and in a couple of varieties to see what I liked best.

Friday, November 06, 2009

Does Technology Reduce Social Isolation?

Does Technology Reduce Social Isolation?, article.
"... people who regularly use digital technologies are more social than the average American and more likely to visit parks and cafes, or volunteer for local organizations, according to the study..."

Leopard and mouse

Despite the title, this post is not about Apple's OS and their new pointing device, it's about their flesh/blood namesakes.

Giving "the talk"

A friend of mine has a pubescent son who is showing signs of interest in sex and the pleasures of his own body.

I think many kids are embarrassed by having the world of sex and the world of their parents mix, or even touch. So instead of "an earnest talk", I suggested getting the kid a couple of books, and not even handing them to him, but placing them on his shelf for himself to find.

I know I would have preferred that when I was young (And it was pretty much what happened). Don't you think many kids are like that too?

Or maybe another way is to have a friend of the family do The Talk. But personally I think it's too big a subject to be covered in a talk, I think some study is the ticket. Of course I was very much a Reader from an early age. What do you think?

Cheryl Jacobs Nicolai

Cheryl Jacobs Nicolai photography. (Thanks to tOP.)

She's really an outstanding portraitist. Perfect light and technique, despite using available light, and catching people at their most lively and beautiful.

Deer hunting

[Thanks to Tommy] [The rest of youse, send something good to balance all the kool sheet Tom's been sending lately.]

This is an old joke, one of the most popular ones ever, nicely done as a skit.

GF1 vs E-P1 (updated)

Mike Johnston weighs in on the Panasonic GF1 vs Olympus E-P1, the new "big compact" cameras.
[Update: part II is up.]

One thing he says is something I've been trying to suppress in my mind: they are not quite as good in low light as DSLRs with the same size sensor. I love my GF1, but the pictures at 1600 ISO are just barely usable, you really have to fiddle with RAW and such. I'd have expected them to be easily usable at that setting.
It's a little bit disappointing, and I have not heard much talk about it, much less any explanation.
After all, the whole point of the larger sensor, compared to "traditional" compact digicams, is better low-light performance. Which they do have, but not as much as hoped and expected.

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Early, small SLRs

On the "Death of the DSLR Camera?" post, Neeraj commented:

Something historical: At the end of the seventies I had a Minolta 110 Zoom SLR camera. That was an amazing piece of camera for me: Pocket film format (!), BUT a SLR with zoom ... so, it was very flexible to use and additionally small and convenient enough for me to take it with me during strolling around or traveling. I loved it. I never wanted a bigger camera. The only limitation was to make bigger prints, but that was not very important for me. When I was picking up my pics from the shop after processing, I was often asked, how I had been able to make these fucking pics with POCKET film ... nearly nobody knew about this camera. For example, sometimes I experimented by mounting some own additional lens system in front of it in order to make pics like through a microscope - it worked quite good, because with SLR I could always see what I would get on the film. So, I was able to make some kind of "super-macro". Or I loved to make kaleidoscopic collages by using e.g. 20 prints of the same pic, and invented a technique to produce pentagonal or octagonal or whatevergonal collages with appropriate pentagonal or octagonal or whatevergonal frames, because you can't buy something like this ... I had a lot of creative fun with this camera. Unfortunately it was stolen during traveling in South France, about mid eighties. After that, I had no camera for about twenty years until I started again with a Canon PowerShot A70 and now, after some years, with a PowerShot A630 ... and still I don't want a bigger camera.

Oh yes, that Minolta 110 zoom!! I had totally forgotten about that.

For the younger readers, "110" was a very compact cassette film which Kodak had success with in the seventies, but the negative was very small, so when compact 35mm cameras arrived with better picture quality, the cassette 110 (and 126) formats died out.

And how about that Pentax 110 SLR with exchangeable lenses? That's a little beaut. I think by far the tiniest SLR camera ever made.

Still, too small format for me, I want at least sharp 8x10 inches (20x25 cm).

But the modern Canon Ixus (Elph) will do that, and more!

ZZZZZZ, early Phone Phreaking

ZZZZZZ, early Phone Phreaking, article.
"About 1000 years ago (well, it feels that way, but it was actually back in the early '70s or so), I was sitting one day in a conference room at the L.A. offices of the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC). I must have been somewhere around 20 years old at the time.
With me were two friends (both just a little bit older). AT&T was attempting to shut down our free telephone entertainment service -- the last listing in the Los Angeles telephone directories -- ZZZZZZ"

Sending 60 gigs

Somebody needs to send me maybe 60GB of data. That's unwieldy over FTP.
I'd use a compact external hard disk in the mail, but he uses PC, and so far as I know, my Mac can't read PC-formatted HDs, right?
Then there are CF cards. I can get two 32GB ones for about $150, and I could probably use them in a camera after. That would work.
Anybody has other ideas?

Update: Tim and Kronostar point out that Macs and PCs can indeed share a hard disk, I had no idea. I'll look into that then.
... I'll just have Amazon send him a compact USB2 disk for the purpose. (LaCie's "Little Disk" is no larger than a hand and 200 grams, even at 500GB, and bus-powered.)

More Ziegfeld girls

My friend Jim in Seattle has an online gallery with more Ziegfeld girls, some of them nude.

Storm Large 8 MILES WIDE

[Thanks to Drew.]
Not what you expect!

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Pics, including more Morning Glory

(The Morning Glory clouds (as we have seen before) photo is from here.)
"Morning Glory clouds can reportedly achieve an airspeed of 60 kilometers per hour over a surface with little discernible wind."

Vampire romances

I agree. Whenever Buffy "loved" Angel, I felt like yelling at her: "Hey! He's a vampire!"
Of course the thing is, an astounding number of people put themselves in relationships that metaphorically are just that. So I guess that's what it's about.

Futuristic bike

Futuristic bike, post.
They say it could be made right now. Maybe so, but in any case, quite the eye-catching design, I must say.

Aston Martin One-77

Aston Martin One-77, article.
One-point-two million pounds Sterling! Ouch!
I'm sure it's a very good car, but what car is worth the price of a high-end home?

Update: OK, I give in, it's a beautiful car, frig the price, the Hasselblad can wait another week.

Using a backup

I found a new way of using a backup, more specifically the wonderfully simple Apple Time Machine backup.
I'm probably not the first to think of this, but I'm also sure there are many who haven't thought of it.
Normally the backup Time Machine is used like this: you go back to the time the file was not yet messed up, and you restore it to replace the file you have now.
You can also elect to keep both, but the restored file will anyway take the place and file name of the present one. So if you have have made changes since then that you would like to keep, they are lost, or you have to mess around a bit.

But an alternative is to open the backup volume, go into the chronological backup hierarchy, and select the file which has the content which was lost. Then you open it. And you also open the present version of the file. And then you can copy/paste or just drag the content from the restored file to the present one, without losing the content you'd put in it since then.

If the RED Epic-X ever does arrive...

It might look like this. (Article.)
But personally I hope it'll be prettier.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Patterns in Nature, photos

Patterns in Nature, photos from NatGeo.

Audrey Kawasaki paintings

Audrey Kawasaki paintings.
Lovely work. I like her combination of precision and loveliness with a bit of rougness and accidents, to keep it from becoming too saccharine, too "chocolate box".

She paints a lot on wood. Last year I wanted to do the same thing, and I even went to the local big home-handyman's store, but I did not find any good looking wood.
What I want is something with the patterns of cut wood, not pulped wood. But it also has to be laminated wood, I think, otherwise it'll tend to warp over time. Anybody got an idea where to get such a thing?

Primitive times on TV

Bert pointed me to Riese, a new web "TV" series.

I'm not sure, immediately it did not appeal too much to me. I ran into the problem I've had so many times before: the primitive people living in stone age conditions look fake. I don't know, maybe they just look too healthy, comfortable... well fed. Even if they made their faces dirty, they simply look like dirty modern actors, not people who have lived their whole life without safety, good food, good bed, health care, heated houses, dental care, etc.
I must admit I don't know how I'd solve the problem if it were me. But it never convinced me.

Rain and darkness

Me and Laurie Jeffery was having a little net-chat, and I mentioned that right now, at about 4 in the afternoon, it was already quite dark, and the rain made it quite atmospheric too. He told me to blog it. I said I had nothing interesting to say about it off-hand. So he told me to tell you that he made me do it. Hereby done.

I'm quite pleased with the photo though.

(Panasonic GF1, 20mm F:1.7, full opening.)

I love the speed you can do things with these days. From idea to publication in 8 minutes! This is power (article I wrote ten years ago).

Zoom pictures

[Thanks to Tommy]
It seems one of the new media made possible by the web is the "infinite zoom" picture of various stripes. Here is a cool example.
(I actually thought about making picture mosaics like this even before the web. But without computer help it's virtually impossible.)

The Omo body paint

[Thanks to Beth]
(The text is a bit schmaltzy, but some of the body art is kewl.)

Stephen Gillette art show

My friend and fellow compact-camera aficionado Stephen Gillette has an art show with big photos of small objects in water. It is in Cypress College, located in Orange County, California.
They are very cool pictures. I had actually planned something like it (even took a couple of such pics a few times in the past), but well, he who snoozes, loses.

By the way, not only are some of the print huge, 48x48 inches (122cm x 122cm), but there are also smaller prints made on Japanese handmade paper with a lot of texture and little colored bits in it, the world's most expensive print paper no less.

Get info on his site.

It's funny, by the way, I love all kinds of creativity. But abstract art, art for art's sake, that to me is pure art. Purity of life and purpose. For me.

Monday, November 02, 2009

Largest cruise ship squeezes under Danish bridge

Largest cruise ship squeezes under Danish bridge, article.
More about The Oasis of the Seas. It's nearly 40 percent larger than the industry's next-biggest ship. And five times bigger than Titanic. So I guess if it goes down, future film makers will need more actors to star in the tragic love story they make about it. (I am still not over Titanic being a success. Talk about a lame idea.)

Body painting art by Craig Tracy

"Can you spot the woman's body in this picture of a leopard? The creature's eyes, cheeks and chin have been painted onto the floor while the back of a female volunteer forms the rest of its face - her bottom is used as the big cat's nose and top lip"
(From the Telegraph newspaper site.)

Optimus Prime

(Read the sign below.)
I find it rather amazing how important people take their heroes.
Especially considering that Optimus Prime is:
1: A robot, not human.
2: Fictional.
3: From a TV cartoon.
4: Which was based on a toy line.

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Time and waste

Time is the most valuable thing a man can spend.
-- Theophrastus

I think this is pretty important. Many people seem to make very little effort to optimize their use of time. And many seem to have way too much patience with people who waste their time.
As one small example, I now refuse to talk business on the phone. It was my experience that those who insisted on phone did not say more in a whole hour than I could have read in an email in three minutes. They were just lazy or not very good at condensing and writing their thoughts, and so preferred to waste my time instead.

Jes and Chris:

"My thinking is, if you're enjoying your time, then it's not being wasted."

My thinking exactly.
People have varying amounts of complexity surrounding how they enjoy life or not. Some need to feel like their life amounts to something, while others are happy watching the clouds drift by. What irritates me is people who are certain there is an "absolute" purpose. That's why I commented on the initial quote here.

The problem with time is you can not know how much you have. So if you don't enjoy doing business, I don't see why you should spend what is potentially your last days pursuing money, as an example.

I agree. One might think that only "work" or "production" is to be counted as not wasting one's time. But the situation is much more complex than that, and I guess can only be gauged by the individual.