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Showing posts from April, 2009

Back in Kansas

I'm back in Lansing Kansas for another week. The morning started out with packed flight on Southwest from Orlando to Kansas City International. Then a short rental car ride up 29, then west on 92, and then south on 7 to Lansing and my favorite Econo Lodge.

Since this is the second time I've been to this particular garden spot I came armed with my camera kit composed of the E-300, the Sigma 30mm, the Oly 14-45mm and 40-150mm kit lenses, and the Oly 9-18mm ultra-wide-zoom. While I still like the 30mm, I'm also discovering the limitations of the 30mm, such as its limited close focusing of 15 inches (my 12-60 focuses to a little less than 10 inches), it's CA in very bright sunlight (high contrast) and small aperture, and the peculiarity of my having to override exposure by anywhere from -1 to -3 EV on the E-300 with that lens mounted. Most importantly, it's not a zoom. Duh. I didn't realize just how dependent I'd become on zoom ability until I realized how I kep…

What am I missing?

Schmap contacted me back in the middle of March to announce that a number "of your photos has been short-listed for inclusion in the seventh edition" of the Schamp Washington and Orlando Guide. They couldn't pay anything but they would include attribution and a link back to the original Flickr photos. I agreed and then waited for the guides to be published.

Sure enough, just as they'd promised, the guides were published (online) and my photos were included. It's just how they were used that surprises me. All three photos are part of my Economy set on Flickr. That's the set where I document the closed businesses I've been coming across due to the "recession" we've been living through. Schmap used one from Tysons Corner Galleria in McLean, Virginia, and they used two others from here in Orlando; an out-of-business boarded-up Sonny's near the intersection of West Colonial and Kirkman, and a closed-and-empty Belk's department store at Wes…

Linux Mint 6 KDE on europa

After my surprising success with Linux Mint 5, I was emboldened enough download Mint 6 KDE Live DVD and give it a whirl (note: it's too large to fit on a blank CD, so it must be burned on a DVD).

It's a good thing europa has two DVD drives. The primary is a NEC ND-2510A player/burner. The secondary is a LITE-ON LTC-48161H DVD player/CD burner. Mint 5 had no problems booting on the NEC drive. Mint 6 failed with the NEC but succeeded with the LITE-ON. Both Mint 5 and 6 were burned with the NEC. This is not the first distro that has failed to boot with the NEC using the latest kernel. Ubuntu in particular did this.

As to be expected Mint 6 KDE booted up with the KDE 4.2 desktop. Nothing spectacular about Mint's KDE desktop, except that performance was usable if not spectacular. Which is a far cry from what happened when I upgraded to the final release of KDE 4.2 on openSUSE 11.1. With Mint 6 I was able to see all my older disk drives and areas. I was able to double click my rip…

Riskiest Places for U.S. Homeowners

While slumming about Yahoo, I came across the alarmist article "Riskiest Places For U.S. Homeowners." This, in turn, was linked to a Forbes' slide show (pictures, some words, but nothing in depth, as usual) showing the 25 worst places to invest in real estate. I've grabbed the locations from Forbes' slide show, since it's much better to have that information in one convenient form. So, in ranking from worst (#1) to least (#25), I re-present the 25 worst places to own a home (according to Forbes).Mission, TexasDetroit, MichiganMiami, FloridaBrownsville, TexasMerced, CaliforniaLakeland, FloridaBakersfield, CaliforniaFort Lauderdale, Florida  San Bernardino, CaliforniaVisalia, California  Stockton, CaliforniaModesto, CaliforniaEl Paso, Texas  Ocala, FloridaPort St. Lucie, FloridaFort Myers, Florida  Flint, MichiganFresno, CaliforniaOrlando, FloridaMemphis, TennesseeDaytona Beach, FloridaLas Vegas, Nevada  Rockford, IllinoisTampa, Florida…

Prius Report, Week 2

It's the middle of the second week since I drove off with the 2009 Prius, and I finally had to purchase my first tank of gas.

The Prius fuel gauge is a digital display located to the right of the digital speedometer at the very top edge of the dash. It's divided into tenths. I knew I needed a fill up this morning because the last tenth was lit. But the Prius (or the Prius designers) are a little more insistent that you know you need a fill up. As I started to work this morning a little chime was emitted by the car, and that final lit tenth started to flash. I kept on going, first up I-4 and then onto the 408. The more I drove the more frantically the final tenth flashed. I managed to get to work on that flashing tenth, filling up at a BP on the work end of town.

I filled the tank with a little less than ten gallons, or $20 total. The last time I filled a car for around $20 was when I first bought the Kia Sorento in 2003. Gas was selling for 88 cents/gallon (there was a local pri…

Back to the Future

Yeah. That's Linux in the screen cap above, specifically Linux Mint 5 (Elyssa) based on Ubuntu 8.04. Running from the Mint 5 Live CD. After reading about the troubles another user had with Mint 6 and his move from Mint 6 back to Mint 5, I decided to download the Mint 5 ISO and boot europa with it.

And it's amazing. Everything. Just. Bloody. Works. Everything.

I can see everything on the existing partitions, I can run all my ripped content, I can even stick a DVD in the other drive and it comes up and plays. Automatically. In freaking Totem. And Flash is there. With full multi-media, which means I can go anywhere. To places like CNN video. Or YouTube. Places like that. With absolutely no hassles.

It's too late to do anything further tonight, but I'm sorely tempted to install Linux Mint 5 on europa, when I have the time, and then just leave it the fsck alone.

Olympus E-3 System 90+ days on

It's been a good three months since I got the Olympus E-3, and I've had tons of opportunities to use the equipment in many different and challenging situations. One such situation for me was at the Central Florida Orchid Society's Celebration of Orchids Show they held this past weekend at the Central Florida Fairgrounds. They were in one of the buildings, and it was filled with hundreds of flowering orchids, many I've never seen before.

It was a photographer's dream; they invited photography (as well as purchasing orchids; I purchased two and won one as a door prize Sunday) and there was no-one to throw me out. So I took as many as I cared to, especially the ones that caught my eye. The orange orchid to the right was a little thing that was tucked down in between many larger ones, and I almost missed it.

What the photo to the right helps illustrate is a key feature of the E-3 (and a number of other Olympus models, in particular the E-520, E-620, and E-30), and that&#…

Netbeans 6.7 Milestone 3 released

It's been a while since I commented on either the Eclipse or Netbeans IDE. Depending on the project, I've been using both. As I've noted in the past both are of very good quality, so it's a matter of personal taste as well very specific requirements which one you select for a given job.

The Netbeans project is currently working on its next release, version 6.7. Milestone 3 was just released, and you should take a quick look at it's "New and Noteworthy" section (along with New and Noteworthy from milestones 1 and 2).

Of particular interest is the dependency graph in Maven support. I'm reminded of Doxygen and the graphical support in Together (now owned by Borland). Doxygen and Together are for software engineering as apposed to project management and control with Maven, but the core needs are the same. I could see myself working on extending UML support and round-trip engineering with dependency viewing just like in Doxygen (assuming it hasn't been d…

North Korean Satellite Launch Epic FAIL

If you haven't been to Failblog.org, you should go. Really. It's a collection of stills and YouTube videos of all the ways that human beings can fail at just about every task in life. Failblog needs to open a special section just for North Korea, to include their "successful" 2006 nuclear bomb test and the original rocket test where it disintegrated within minutes of lift-off.

Right now the North Koreans are claiming (along with the Russians, who should know better) that the North Korean Commies did indeed loft a satellite into orbit "transmitting the melodies of the immortal revolutionary paeans 'Song of Gen. Kim Il Sung' and 'Song of Gen. Kim Jong Il' as well as measurement data back to Earth." Riiight.

My only regret is that the North Koreans barely had enough good sense to shoot their new rocket away from important Japanese targets and every other target of value. Both Japan and the U.S. were primed and ready to shoot that sucker down. I…

A personal tale of bad ol' Detroit

There's an interesting article cataloging the automotive sins of the Big Three. In "10 Cars That Sank Detroit" author Rick Newman maps the road(s) to destruction of Chrysler, Ford, and GM starting from the 70's up to today.

I'd like to add a bit of personal history to that sorry saga. My dad was a GM buyer, going back to a second-hand black Chevy he purchased when I was about 3 (we're talking the 1950's here, folks). I distinctly remember standing up in front of the steering wheel in my dad's lap, with both hands on the wheel, while we drove ever so slowly in front of the apartment we lived in at the time. From that time forward we seemed to buy nothing but GM, mostly Pontiacs. During the 60's in particular we kept getting a new one every two years. I even purchased two used Chevy's, a dark blue '63 in 1971 and a gold '67 in 1972 when I totaled the '63. The only Detroit-built non-GM car we ever purchased was in 1970 when my dad got …

Prius usage: week 1

I've had a solid work week to drive the new Prius around Orlando (hereafter referred to as the "Red Rocket", so named by of my friends and former co-worker). It's been driven up and down the freeways (I-4, the 408, and the 417), as well as up and down surface streets from my neighborhood to the area around U.C.F. and points in between. Average MPG since the day I drove it home from the dealership stands at 46.2. I actually had a 5-minute slice hit 100 MPG today while driving around my neighborhood, something I probably won't see very often.

Driving the Red Rocket and watching the Consumption meter out of the corner of my eye, I've come to observe the following.
It costs fuel, and lowered MPG, to overcome inertia and get the vehicle up to speed. How much? MPG drops down to the teens when getting started. A similar effect occurs when going up a hill, though not nearly as bad, unless you combine the two, and they MPG drops down to single digits.You get that initia…