Sunday, February 05, 2012

Sunday Wander About

Following the Footballer
Chasing the ball

It's superbowl Sunday. I have no idea who's playing, no idea what time the game starts, so I won't tune in. I didn't go out and buy empty-high-calorie food and beer to consume like some Conehead. Instead my wife and I went out on a few errands just to get out and enjoy the wonderfully mild winter weather in Orlando.

First stop was downtown at city hall. I intended to re-photograph the sculpture I'd written about in the post about depth of field and subject/scene separation. Matthew Robertson'd sent me an email asking an interesting question about one of my assertions in the post. I went back to city hall, cameras in tow, to prove which of us was correct. I used the E-P2 with the 20mm and the 45mm, and for good measure I took the E-1 with the Sigma 30mm along as well. After taking multiple photos with all three lenses and two bodies, and after looking at everything back home, I decided I didn't like anything I'd taken. Maybe it was the time of day and the lighting wasn't right. But every one of them looked like crap. I guess I'll travel back downtown again tomorrow after work and shoot with the same time and lighting as the first photo (assuming it doesn't rain).

But that doesn't mean I came away empty handed. I managed to pick of a few photos while strolling about the city hall plaza, including the modest soccer monument commemorating Orlando as the best of the 1994 World Cup Venue cities.

Homeless vs Souless
Homeless vs Soulless

Not far from the statue, in the same plaza, sat a homeless man with his cart, a bag of empty aluminum cans sharing space with his possessions. All this in front of the towering cathedrals devoted to capitalism. I didn't see it until we left, but there's space for rent in the CNL Bank, former businesses emptied out by the Great Recession.

The Blue Fence
Blue Fence

Directly across the street from the plaza is a large fenced off tract with the bustle of construction taking place. I didn't find out what's being built there, so that'll give me another excuse to head back down town for more photo opportunities.

Now They Tell Me
Now They Tell Me

Right as I got into the car my wife pointed up to the sign right above where we'd parked. This was the same spot I parked at in January when I photographed the ring sculpture, in front of an EV charging station. I didn't see it either time I've parked there, simply because the sign is a good eight feet up the pole where it's attached, making it a bit difficult to spot while you're driving.

Interestingly the sign on the right says "Electric or Hybrid." Since my little red Prius is a Hybrid, I can park there. The only problem is I can't use the charging station. I'll bet they should have said "Plug-In Hybrid", but then all those extra letter wouldn't have fit on the sign. Oh well. If anyone in our fair city wants to give me a ticket for parking there I can point to the word "Hybrid" on the sign and the "Hybrid" label on my little red Prius and let them figure it out.

After four years of grueling service, my wife's 2008 white plastic Macbook is about ready to give up the ghost. Recently it's been behaving oddly and as the family IT support guy my recommendation has been to buy a new one. On the way back from city hall we stopped off first by a Best Buy, and then by the Apple store closest to us.

At the Best Buy store we checked out three Ultrabooks from Samsung, Asus, and Toshiba. The Samsung and Toshiba were made from composites (plastics) while the Asus seemed poorly constructed from brushed aluminum. All three were priced at about a grand. All three were flimsy and not worth the money. We then headed over to the Apple store to check out the Macbook Air.

Watching the Future Unfold
Watching the Future Unfold

The Macbook Air is probably the most popular classic computer that Apple currently sells. All the demo stations had someone there playing with the machines. It looked like everyone in the store wasn't feeling too guilty about buying an Apple product made in China. My wife and I waited a few moments for one of them to "free up" before she could try them out. She looked at both the 11" and the 13" Airs, and in the end decided that the 13 incher was the best fit for her. Her background is in education; she's got a doctorate in English and a dual masters in English and Communications. She uses her Mac for writing and helping others with writing challenges, as well as other content creation. She needs a real computer, something more powerful than the iPad.

We didn't buy one right then and there; we'll have to budget and save. But we both agreed that when you compare Ultrabooks with Macbook Airs, the Airs come out ahead every single time. If you're going to spend around a $1,000 on a cheaply made Ultrabook, you might as well throw in the extra $200 and get the Mac. The Mac is clearly better and you get what you pay for.

When she gets her new Macbook Air I'm also getting her a silicone keyboard cover. One reason her current Macbook is slowly dying is because two years ago she dumped a large glass of Silk Light Chocolate Soy milk over it. It took two long trips to a local repair shop ($100/trip) to get it back to some semblance of working order. Rather than enumerate what still doesn't work I'll simply say it's a wonder it still works at all.

Technology Selling Technology
Technology Selling Technology

While we were there we checked out the other technology toys on display, specifically the iPod Touch and the iPad. What I found remarkable about the iPad is how it's been used in the Apple store as an interactive advertising sign for ever device Apple sells. It's the neatest example of technology reuse I think I've ever seen. Not only is the iPad used to sell iPods, iPhones, and various Macs, but it's also used to sell itself. And when it's used as a marketing tool, absolutely none of the customers thought of it as an iPad, but treated it as an interactive sign beside the item it was advertising.

Late Lunch
Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays (WTF?!)

On the way back home we stopped by our local Lime Fresh Mexican Grill and ate a nice fresh queso chicken burrito for me and three chicken tacos for my wife. We like eating at that place. There may be cheaper Mexican food at a near-by Tijuana Flats and a Moe's, but they can't compare. We switch between these guys and the local Chipotles, which we also feel is better than TJ's and Moe's.

2 comments:

  1. Apple have nailed it with the current MacBook Airs. I have the 11" and it's the best computer I've ever owned and I'm old enough to remember the Apple II.

    A friend of mine killed her Toshiba netbook with a glass of white wine. Stone dead. Needed a new motherboard and keyboard to be revived, and that was going to cost more than the machine itself.

    By contrast, when one of my cats knocked over a bottle of beer onto the keyboard of my 2007 MacBook all it did was to leave me with sticky keys.

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  2. My old IBM Thinkpads have had tea and beer poured on the keyboards many times. They still work. Plus they feel better than Mac keyboards. I had one apart to add something and noticed how easy it is to replace keyboards, just a few screws. They actually have a channel under the keyboard and spills simply flow out of the bottom front of the computer. I also like the titanium shell inside. I've seen many real videos of them being run over by cars and work just fine. Poke around on YouTube and watch the spill tests and the shell test.

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