I flew up to McLean Wednesday afternoon to attend the 10th SOA e-Government Conference on Thursday. Pack, rush to MCO, catch a long jam-packed United flight to Dulles, then spend the night at a local McLean hotel. Up the next morning at 6:30am to make the opening session at 8:30am. Listen to a rapid-fire series of presentations, lunch, more presentations, then a rushed trip back to Dulles, just in time to step aboard another long jam-packed United flight, finally home again and enjoy a late supper with my wife. Flying as a mode of transportation has become so unappealing.
Sunday evening, around 8pm, we had one hellavu thunderstorm roll through my neighborhood. The day had been hot, with the high in the low 90's. I thought we weren't going to get any rain; on hot days like that it usually starts earlier in the evening, usually around 5pm.
I was cooking supper out on the grill, and was nearly finished when the storm really began to intensify. The bolts were striking very close, so close that there was not time difference between the strike and the sound of subsequent thunder.
By 8:30pm the storm was literally right over us. I lost count of the strikes (that is, strikes close around the house). The lightening reached a peak with a house-rattling boom that I really thought had hit the property, if not the house. The lights even flickered, and I lost the network connection between the cable modem and my (now damaged, as it turned out) Linksys wireless hub.
We finally ate and I was cleaning up in the kitchen. That's when my daught…
I had an interesting comment show up on one of my posts. The reader said, in part: I know it has been a while since you ranted something on Linux...That's an interesting observation. It really has been a while since I ranted about Linux. Before I became a Linux ranter I was a happy user, writing a thread of positive advocacy pieces on Linux, especially OpenSUSE (10.2). I branched out with Ubuntu (7.2) and Mandriva.
But in the end I grew tired of watching my system grow less useful and more broken with each new distribution release. My patience with this madness came to an official end on March 16, 2009, when I finally declared I'd had enough with OpenSUSE 11.1, and Linux in general. To quote Béranger at the time, I defected from Linux back to Windows as a rational act.
Today was a holiday, and I spent the morning doing something I seldom get a chance to do; walk around downtown Orlando with my cameras, taking photographs like a tourist. I walked through downtown with another photographer friend, Jim Thompson. He carried a pair of Oly E-510's, while I was a serial carrier; first I carried an E-3 with a 12-60mm, then put that away and spent the rest of my time using an E-P2.
Today was also unique in that it was pretty deserted downtown. There were very few people out and about. It was almost like a ghost town. Great time and great fellowship.
Olympus E-3 with Zuiko Digital 12-60mm ED SWD
Olympus E-P2 with M.Zuiko 17mm, M.Zuiko 14-42mm, Zuiko Digital 40-150mm w/MMF-2, Zuiko Digital 9-18mm ED w/MMF-1
Shopping at a grocery a grocery store is a wonderful teaching experience, and today was no example. I had to make a morning run to a local Publix to pick up a few items for breakfast. While I was in the citrus juice section I naturally gravitated towards Tropicana, the "quality" brand.
Tropicana does taste pretty good. But this time, for whatever reason, I paid attention to the printing at the very bottom of the juice carton.
When you walk into to a well-maintained grocery store such as Publix, you'll find all products are neatly arranged, lined up in rows together, on their respective shelves. Orange just in two quart containers is no exception. Being square, it's very easy to dress them up by pulling them tightly against the front lip of the shelf edge (figure 1). Note that the lowest 1/4 inch or so of the bottom of the carton is cut off from view (figure 2).
You don't appreciate what's happening until you push the carton back less than an inch …
The latest Apple Carnivàle, replete with Stevenote, has come and gone once again. In its wake we've been blessed with new versions of iPods, various and sundry new products, and iTunes version 10, the latest and greatest release, to help tie it all a little tighter to the Apple mothership.
Pardon my Apple apostasy, but the Jobs' Reality Distortion Field (or RDF) doesn't reach as far nor have the potent sway it once held over me. I've lived with enough contemporary Apple technology produced after the Second Coming of Jobs to see the spots on the Apple. Saturation, indeed. I've been repeatedly exposed to the point where I could probably do Steve better than Steve.
And this latest batch of iPods shows a fresh set of spots. Let's count them all, shall we? Apple TV - This second generation is 1/4 the size of the original, and made completely out of plastic. It's lost its Mac OS X roots along with the Intel processor and hard drive. In its place is an ARM-based Co…
Playing with my EP-2 tonight, I learned to appreciate one of it's nearly infinite number of built-in features: continuous autofocus with tracking. When you partially press the shutter, a big green box with small cross hairs poking out each side will appear in the center of the LCD, over the part of the composition that will remain in focus. Then, with your finger over the shutter, as you recompose the photo by moving the camera, the box will track that area, making sure it still stays in focus. This is very handy for close focusing and/or shallow depth of field with lenses set at their widest aperture.
For example, in figure 1, I focused the E-P2 on Lucy's extended paw. If I'd taken the photo immediately at close distance, then I would have cut off a good portion of her head. Instead, I simply recomposed to bring her head and paw into the composition I wanted, then took the photograph. The paw remained in focus, with the rest of her fading into a pleasing out-…
Show me a thoroughly satisfied man and I will show you a failure. Thomas EdisonI have been, and never will be, a thoroughly satisfied man. Not in my job, not in my hobbies, not in my personal passions. Especially photography.
With photography that dissatisfaction comes in two parts; dissatisfaction with my ability, and dissatisfaction with the camera equipment I use.
The dissatisfaction with my ability will never be completely satisfied. It's not false modesty that forces me to admit that my talent is mediocre at best. All I have to do to be reminded of my limitation is look at the fire hose of talent that streams constantly on the Internet, from amateur to full-up card-carrying pro. I can work on my technique, and attempt to substitute a good looking photo for a photo worth looking at. But I'll never, ever be as good as many that I admire and respect. So I chalk that up and move on.
The dissatisfaction with the equipment with the equipment I use will never be completely satisf…