Saturday, December 25, 2010

Post-Eclipse Report

Post-Eclipse Report, article and photos.
Ctein reports on his experience in photographing last week's lunar eclipse. Quite successful, this is one of his photos.

Site about Fujifilm X100

There is a new and I think beautifully made site for the upcoming Leica-like digicam Fujifilm X100.

tOP sniffed out an otherwise yet unpublished page about the new and unique viewfinder.

It is clear that Fuji has done everything they could to make this the highest quality camera they could make in a compact form. It will be interesting to see how it lives up to this intention when it's released (I think early in 2011).
(Oooh, it seems it has no image stabilization? That's an unfortunate omission.)

Mike J has a good comment.
"...what do you suppose the chances are that the Fuji X100 will get here and not have some big glaring distressing dismaying stupid flaw in it that ruins the whole thing?"

Gawd yeah. I know!

Note on Spot Healing Brush

A seemingly excellent innovation in Photoshop which appeared a couple of versions ago is the Spot Healing Brush. It means that unlike the normal Healing Brush, you don't have to find and select a section for the brush to use as a texture to cover the flaws you want removed. Instead it just compares to the immediate surroundings and removes the spot. Saves time.

Or it should. I just find that it is really poor. If a spot (say, a pimple) is close to an edge in the picture, that edge will usually get a ghost in the area you have Healed. And often, sometimes the brush simply removes all texture in the area, which just doesn't work, it looks like a clumsily airbrushed area.

I find it remarkable that such a central tool continues to work so poorly through several upgrades of Photoshop. When you think of the prices Adobe commands for their apps, they just mess up a little too often.

A Visit To Revision3 - GeekBeat.TV

I think it's kewl that a web TV company is so darned big. The web's (video) position as underdog for "real" TV won't last long. And there's nothing amateurish about this either.

This episode is funny too. Well, hit and miss, but pretty funny. :-)

Little Uzu

I don't have any games on my iPhone or iPad, but I do have a few different kinds of "screen candy", like clocks, landscape time lapse videos, etc. And now Uzu, which can run auto, or which you can play with. It's amazing.

Now there is also Little Uzu for iPhone.

By the way, two of my favorite iPad screen candy apps are Magic Window and Magic Picture HD.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Tiny snow panic

Here in the North West UK, we had a couple inches of snow last week, nothing since. I can go out without boots, just normal shoes. Everybody is getting around like normal. It is frost, but not windy, actually sunny much of the time. And yet, get this, garbage collecting is cancelled this week due to "severe weather"...

The Great Wall of Kitties

[Thanks to Maurice]

(Fair notice: the videos show plaster casts of vulvas, and the second one even show glimpses of the real thing. Do not watch if this offends.)

A melly melly xmas

A customer mailed me today, Dec 24, and said he'd lost some data, could I recover them for him please.

And then he added: "PS.. please don’t worry about this until after you have had time for a Happy relaxing Christmas."

Isn't that sweet?

Merry Christmas and a great new year to you all.

How The Average U.S. Consumer Spends Their Paycheck

How The Average U.S. Consumer Spends Their Paycheck, article.
Reading: 0.2%. Tobacco: 0.7%.

And about 17.6% on transportation!
That's a nice savings on working from home. Add to this the time you spend sitting in traffic. For many people that is hundreds of hours every year which could be productive in some other way.
Of course many places in the US it is just not practical or even possible to live without a car, unlike Europe which is much more compact. In my native Denmark, the country is so small  and developed that you can go virtually anywhere with public transportation, comfortably.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

John A winter-pictures

These are new from my local friend John A. I think are real dang lovely.

(Slight Photoshop polishing done by me.)

By the way, John works mainly with a pocket-sized camera, and again this proves you can do excellent works with those. I have seen these images on a 30-inch screen, and there is nothing obvious which separates them in quality from photos coming from a honkering professional camera. In fact you have to be experienced to even notice the differences, and even so only on a few of them, mostly when light was low.

United States of Tara

This is one of the excellent new kind of TV series we've been seeing in the past decade: basically a drama, but with a very strong overtone (undertone?) of comedy.
This one can't have been easy to write or act, to make multiple personalities not be too sad or scary or serious, and yet not go over the top with the comedy.

United States of Tara: Season One

Mini airports

Mini-airports with small planes for localized traffic. Sounds cool, but I doubt it'll take off. (Pun not intended.)
At least it would be cool if they can keep the noise limited like they say. We don't need more traffic noise.

Kafka's Koffee

Here's a really interesting little web comic. It's funny, it's surprising, and it even has a point.
(The ending is different than it seems at first, take a close look.)

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Astronomy Picture of the Day

Astronomy Picture of the Day, for good reason a very popular page.

Bilingualism affects Alzheimer's onset

Bilingualism affects Alzheimer's onset

TORONTO (UPI) -- Canadian scientists say they've found evidence that people who speak two languages can escape the onset of Alzheimer's symptoms by as much as five years.

Researchers from Toronto's Baycrest's Rotman Research Institute examined the clinical records of more than 200 patients diagnosed with probable Alzheimer's disease and found that those who were bilingual and speaking two or more languages consistently over many years experienced a delay in the onset of their symptoms, an institute release said Monday.

While bilingual Alzheimer's sufferers still show deteriorating pathology, their ability with two languages seems to equip them with compensatory skills to hold back the tell-tale symptoms of Alzheimer's, such as memory loss, confusion, and difficulties with problem-solving and planning, researchers say.

"We are not claiming that bilingualism in any way prevents Alzheimer's or other dementias, but it may contribute to cognitive reserve in the brain which appears to delay the onset of Alzheimer's symptoms for quite some time," lead investigator Fergus Craik says.

The study adds to growing evidence that lifestyle factors such as regular cardiovascular exercise, a healthy diet, and speaking more than one language can play a central role in how the brain copes with age-related cognitive decline and diseases such as Alzheimer's, scientists say.

Copyright 2010 by United Press International

Monday, December 20, 2010

Good or bad girl art?

[Thanks to Anthony B]
Here's when good and bad girl art gets confused...

"Nude snow sculpture in Rahway leads police to request 'snowlady' cover-up", article.

You just have to say: no, come on... really?...

M. Pipolo said:
You may or may not have seen this, from just this Friday in sunny Florida. This kind of stuff makes me ashamed to call myself a Christian.


Though I don't think anybody said it was a Christian thing. Also, I'm not even sure I can think of any religion which does not have a big faction at least who has problems with nudity.

Good Girl Art

From Wikipedia:
Good girl art (GGA) is found in drawings or paintings which feature a strong emphasis on attractive women no matter what the subject or situation. GGA was most commonly featured in comic books, pulp magazines and crime fiction. When cited as an art movement, it is usually capitalized as Good Girl Art.

Gotta love that.
(Maybe I'm stretching the definition a little here, but I think there's a clear connection.)

Photos by Đặng Thiện. I think his work is very fresh and somehow "youthful" without the usual earmarks of a young creator.  (Below, unknown.) 

And of course there's also Bad Girl Art. Which naturally is about attractive, but nasty or "naughty" girls.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Total Lunar Eclipse Monday Night

[Thanks to TCGirl]

Total Lunar Eclipse Monday Night.
(Monday 20 Dec 2010.)

Cold shock (updated)

Holy friggin' frig, how cold it is this morning!
The real winter of much of the UK has now reached the North-West too, real snow, real frost.
The temperature fell so radically this night that I have elected to forego views of the pretty snow  and instead preserving warmth by leaving blinds and curtains shut and having the lights on.
My weather services continue to predict only barely frost locally, one may hope.

BTW, here's a tip: long underwear.
I'm sure many will say "duh!", but I've found that many are not aware of how big a help it is when it really gets cold. Many are even too vain to use it at all, which is dumb.

When I got up this morning, it felt like neither I nor my apartment would ever become warm enough. But like I knew would happen, after having eaten and later having taken a walk, when I came in again it was just too hot! And of course it was only a couple degrees warmer if that.

During the walk I nicked into Currys electronics and browsed a couple of minutes. Bought some batteries and a matte screen cover for my iPad. (It helps against both reflections and fingerprints.) I was helped by the Indian-heritage girl they have who is just immoderately beautiful. Oh-my-gaaawd. She's just got it all, she knows it, and she knows how to show it to best advantage (even in the boring dark blue shop uniform). It's a pity though how such beauties apparently sometimes feel they have to be somewhat cold. I guess if they are warm and pleasant, they'll just never get rid of every third man they talk to. ... On the other hand, some of them manage okay even though they are very sweet too, what do I know.
(Hey, this bit even fits into the cold/warm theme of this post.  :-)