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Showing posts from January, 2012

January Final 2012

It's almost 9:30, the quarter moon is up high and bright, and I've just come in from a walk with the Labs. A quick check of all the news sites continues to affirm what everyone predicted would happen - Romney beat Newtorious like a drum in the Florida Republican primary.

I will, of course, reserve any predictions of future outcome based on what just happened here in Florida. Why?

Firstly, because as highly (and as richly deserved) as I think of myself, I can't foretell the future. If I could, then I'd be president, and we all know how that's worked out.

More significantly, politically speaking Florida is a big, complicated state. Florida is the forth populous state in the union, and our record shows we're the largest swing state by population. We are as prone to vote Democratic as Republican, and by very narrow margins each time, as noted by the 2000 presidential election.

Our population is a reflection of the rest of the nation, but built in reverse of US popu…

You Tell 'Em, Fidel!

There are times where you just can't make this stuff up.

From The Guardian, 25 Jan 2012

Fidel Castro attacks 'idiocy and ignorance' of US Republican race

Fidel Castro has lambasted the Republican presidential race as the greatest competition of "idiocy and ignorance" the world has ever seen, and also criticised the news media and foreign governments for seizing on the death of a Cuban prisoner to demand greater respect for human rights.

Castro's comments came in a long opinion piece carried by official media two days after a Republican debate in Florida presented mostly hardline stances on what to do about the Communist-run island.

Cuba has become an important issue as the candidates court Florida's influential Cuban-American community in an effort to win the biggest electoral prize so far in the primary season.

Castro said he had assumed the candidates would try to outdo each other on the issue of Cuba, but nonetheless he was appalled by the level of debat…

Our Deal With the Devil

The title is pinched from an editorial written by Dan Lyons, "Apple's Deal With the Devil." It's an excellent editorial that asks a lot of hard questions about our destructive addiction to the latest and greatest haute gadgetry. While he initially aims his ire at Apple and the Apple faithful, he soon opens up his broadside to cover us all:
As the Times article points out, this isn’t just Apple. It’s every company. It’s every product we use. It’s our entire way of life, built on the backs of people who are being treated in ways that we would not allow ourselves or our countrymen to be treated.Just about every item we now buy in Amera, whether it's cheap or expensive, seldom has "Made in America" or "Made in the U.S.A." on it any more. My Android cellphone with T-Mobile and my Barnes & Noble Nook Tablet (also running Android) were assembled in China. Nearly all of my Olympus camera equipment was assembled in China, especially my E-3 and E-P2…

Those Fine Young GOP Cannibals

We have witnessed something very disturbing this week. The Republican establishment which fought Ronald Reagan in the 1970s and which continues to fight the grassroots Tea Party movement today has adopted the tactics of the left in using the media and the politics of personal destruction to attack an opponent.
Sarah Palin, "Cannibals in GOP Establishment Employ Tactics of the Left", 27 January 2012You know what I so like about Sarah? He completely comical disregard for any facts, starting the the very first paragraph of her of her nearly 1,400 word turgid screed she "penned" on her Facebook page. Since we're talking about facts, let's talk a few facts about Ronald Reagan, especially around the 1970's when he allegedly fought against the heinous Republican establishment.
1964 - Ronald Reagan campaigns for Barry Goldwater, releasing his "Time for Choosing" speech which raised $1 million for the Goldwater campaign and launched his political career …

Republican Hypocrisy in Florida

It's early voting time for the Republican primary here in Florida, and the hypocrisy is flying about fast and furious. According to a report on CNN, Romney is being attacked for alledgedly committing Medicare fraud by a pro-Gingrich super-PAC. This mud slinging is bad enough, but what really pushes it over the top is it's being voiced by former Florida state Attorney General Bill McCollum.

To fully understand why this is so hypocritical, especially for anyone associated with the Florida Republican establishment, you need to consider our current governor, Rick Scott. Before he moved to Florida to meet the absolute minimum residency requirements of seven years before running for governor of Florida, he was chairman and CEO of Columbia/HCA. He was forced to resign by the Columbia/HCA board of directors in 1997 when agents of the FBI, the IRS, and the Department of Health and Human Services served search warrants on Columbia/HCA facilities in El Paso as well a dozens of doctors a…

M.Zuiko Digital ED 40-150mm f4.0-5.6 R Reviewed

In case you're interested I reviewed this lens on thewsreviews.com. Basically I gave the 'R' lens a very good recommendation, but you'll have to read the complete review for the details. I'm going to expand on a few observations made of the 'R' version at thewsreviews and take more of an editorial/grumpy opinionated tone in the process.


As I noted on thewsreviews this is an all-plastic lens from bayonet mount to lens shade mount at the seeing end. The only parts that aren't, obviously, are the lenses and the electrical (focusing motor) and electronics. Olympus isn't the only camera manufacturer to do this; the vaunted Canon and Nikon sell kit zooms that also have plastic mounts. But that doesn't make it any more acceptable in my book. I mentioned in the review about how I held back purchasing this lens because it was selling for $300. If the lens had had a full metal bayonet (and maybe a little more plastic?), I would have purchased a copy then …

Afternoon Walkabout

The youngest came down to visit with mom and dad for a few days this past week. We missed her at Christmas because she'd traveled to New Your. She made a promise to help a friend drive up to New York. The deal was she'd help with driving up and down, would pay very little, and would stay at the friend's parent's house to really keep costs down. While she was up there she'd get to see New Your city. She'd never been to New York before then, so she jumped at the chance for a road trip to exotic New Your. And I can understand that.

But she had gifts down here from her folks and relatives, and she was getting home sick, so when work allowed she rented a car and drove down to Orlando on Tuesday. The next two days were somewhat hectic as she worked to take care of personal business and visit a high school and  later college friend. She also decided to spend a few hours photographing with her old man. And so on Thursday afternoon she loaded up with her E-1 and I loade…

The Next Generation

Nothing will focus your attention on the future like having children. Especially when they've hit their twenties, and you see them making their way about the world. As a parent you hope that you've given them every possible opportunity to prepare for the future, and you hope that you've given them a decent enough world to build on. Over the past few years, however, I've come had my doubts about both.

When each girl was born we took out a Florida Prepaid account for both. My wife and I had decided that we would give them good education at a Florida state school. I worked through college and my wife had taken out loans; based on those experiences we wanted to give our children the opportunity to just go to school and graduate without any financial burdens. We hoped that the girls would do well academically through K-12 on up to college and beyond. Fortunately for all concerned, that's pretty much the way it all turned out.

When my youngest daughter graduated Spring …

The Silly Season

The Grand Old Party Four Ring Circus (Romney, Gingrich, Santorum, and Paul) came ramblin' into Florida after the wild show they put on in South Carolina. They held one political performance art installation in Tampa Tuesday, and they'll hold a second Thursday evening. Then the Florida Republicans will vote next Tuesday which of them entertained best. I hope the Florida Republicans can count better than the Iowa Republicans. But we Floridians, since 2000, really have no room to comment about how votes are tallied elsewhere by others.

In the meantime the economy seems to swerve and spin and eddy like a slow moving stream in a swamp, with a lot of trash churning around in it. Junk seems to slowly rise to the surface, while other junk slowly sinks out of site. And so it is with the little slice of economy on University at the entrance to UCF.

These three businesses are opening where three former businesses used to be.


The Centra Care went in where a private walk-in clinic used to…

At Work with Linux: A Failure to Update OpenSUSE 12.1

Back in early December I installed OpenSUSE 12.1 as a VMware virtual machine hosted on Windows 2008. At that time I'd written that I'd installed Chrome from the Google repository, and wondered if it would automatically and independently update like it did for all the other distributions I'd installed the Google version on. As fortune would have it I was overwhelmed with end-of-the-year work and the holidays, and forgot all about it. Then, every so innocently, someone asked in the comments of the December post if Chrome had auto-updated. So I went back into the lab, fired up the VM, and decided to check and see if the installation would update, and what parts would update.

The update started off automatically and innocently enough. Because the VM had been off since I finished the installation, there were some sixty-plus updates sitting in the queue.


Which, when expanded, showed "132 packages to install" and "110 packages to update". Hidden in plain site …

Waiting for the Next Big Thing

There's been considerable speculation about the next camera allegedly to come from Olympus, the OM-D. You've seen little "peeks" of it on the rumor site, 43rumors.com. I've seen them, and while I find that they certainly pique my interest in this new camera coming from Olympus, they've now started to raise even more questions about what Olympus is planning to introduce the first week of February.


Although I've taken photos of the E-P2 next to the OM-4T in the past, I've not gone to the trouble to make them look as accurately together before now. While it looks like the E-P2 and OM-4T bodies are essentially the same size, they aren't. First off, if you butt the bodies bottom-plate to bottom-plate, the E-P2's length is a good half-inch shorter than the OM-4T. The overall body depth is the same. Secondly, the OM-4T has a large mirror box; the E-P2 doesn't.

Another interesting feature are the lens sizes. I deliberately photographed the M.Zuiko…

Yes, Throw Hollywood Under The Bus

This post has been a long time coming. The seed for this post was planted way back in 1998, when a Democratic President (Bill Clinton) signed into law the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, or DMCA. Among its many far-reaching strictures was the criminalization of the production and dissemination of technology, devices, or services intended to circumvent Digital Rights Management (DRM) features built into digital technology, as well as the act of circumventing said DRM, "whether or not there is actual infringement of copyright itself."

For the first time in this country, a law had been passed that made it illegal for you to open up a device fully bought and paid for by you, and perform certain actions that might alter any built-in functionality, specifically DRM, because Big Content had convinced Congress that their High Holy Intellectual Property had to be protected. And they weren't going to release their High Holy Intellectual Property, particularly digital movies, int…

Touchdown

All this time I've been photographing airships, they've been pretty much moored on the ground or flying high in the sky. I've never seen one come in for a landing until today. Whoever was at the controls made it look as easy as can be, although I'm sure that it's not, especially if you have no training at the controls.


Technical

All of these were taken with the Olympus M.Zuiko 40-150mm 'R' zoom lens on the E-P2. While I was very pleased with the results of this lens in Atlanta, I noticed with these photographs that the resolution was not nearly as great as the Zuiko Digital 50-200mm SWD. This is particularly true with the lines in the photos. If you're wondering why the top photo has the airship looking more brown, it's because there's currently a layer of smog over Orlando, through which the airship was passing down through the lower boundary above the ground.

The Great SOPA/PIPA Internet Day of Blackness

Just a collection of screen shots of some of the sites I happened to visit today that were "blacked out" protesting SOPA and PIPA. Wikipedia came across as the de facto leader of today's protest movement.



Matthew Robertson, Canadian proprietor of 'thews reviews, darkened his site in solidarity as well. I'm sure there were many other smaller sites than that did the same.

The rest of the sites that followed were all the 'big names' that advertised their intention to go dark as well.









Two variations on a theme were Ars Technica and Wired. Ars went black but spent the day writing stories about the issues surrounding SOPA. Wired put up a clever site that showed what was underneath the blacked out areas when you rolled your mouse cursor over the redacted sections. Ars stayed up to educate about the issues, and did a very good job. Wired stayed up trying to look cool and make money at the same time. Wired wound up looking 'tired' if not a little lame out …

My Trip to Atlanta ‒ Some Camera Lessons Learned

I traveled by Greyhound bus from Orlando to Atlanta to visit my parents over the Martin Luther King holiday weekend. I carried two pieces of luggage with me, a wheeled bag for all my spare clothing and a Kata DR-467 digital rucksack that carried my Dell notebook, my Nook Tablet, and my Olympus E-P2 with a small collection of lenses. Along with the primary devices I took chargers, spare batteries for the E-P2, and an FL-50R flash that never once came out and did nothing but waste in the rucksack. I put it in there on the irrational fear that I might need it. I never did.

The E-P2 lens collection consisted of the M.Zuiko 17mm, the Panasonic 20mm, the M.Zuiko 45mm, and the M.Zuiko 40-150mm 'R' zoom. The lenses used most to least were the 20mm, the 45mm, the 17mm, and the 40-150mm zoom, in that order. If you twisted my arm I could have whittled it down to the three primes. If you'd strung me up by my thumbs, maybe down to the 20mm and the 45mm.

The surprising realization (at …

The Long Way Home

Monday didn't start quite as early as Friday did, but it was early enough at 4am. My brother shuttled me down to the Forsyth Grayhound terminal so I could catch the 6:30am bus south to Miami and points in between, including Orlando.


Getting into the Atlanta Greyhound terminal was as simple as walking in, getting a tag for my one piece of luggage, and then queueing up at door #6. Loaded into the bus starting at 6am, and then on the road back to Orlando by 6:30am.


Buses don't just make a beeline trip between destinations. They make numerous stops a long the way. The first stop was in Macon about an hour after we started. Most of the stops were fairly fast, with passengers getting off and new passengers getting on. Two of the stops were 30-minute layovers where the passengers could get a bite to eat. The first was in Tifton, the next stop after Macon, and the second was in Ocala, right before the final leg (for me) to Orlando.


The Greyhound buses are undergoing something of a tran…

The Dinky 104

The Milstead 104 "Dinky" Steam Locomotive is a 0-6-0 1905 Rogers Steam Locomotive from Patterson, NJ weighing 94 tons with an overall length of 50 feet. It is one of three left in the world.


Originally owned by West Point Railroad as a switch train, the Dinky was sold to Callaway Mills in 1948 and operated along the 3.3 miles of the Milstead Railroad from the textile mill to the main line in Conyers, Ga. The Milstead 104 hauled bales of cotton to the mill and returned to the main line in Conyers with the finished woven fabric ducking.


In 1960 Callaway Mill closed and relocated its operation to LaGrange, Ga. The Dinky remained in Milstead until 1973 when it was bought by the State of Georgia and located at Georgia Agrirama in Tifton, Ga. A community fundraising effort spearheaded by the Rockdale County Historical Society in 1983 returned the beloved engine to the Conyers area for its final stop. (Transcribed from a sign located at the site of the engine).



I have an interest …