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Showing posts from February, 2012

Leap Day

An extra day in February. No different than any other day in February in central Florida. I had the E-P2 with M.Zuiko 40-150 'R' lens with me, just in case I came across the red hawks that were nesting near my office. Sure enough I found one of them in a pine, apparently gathering materials for a nest. I found it sitting up in the pine calling for its mate, a small oak branch in its claws. It saw me and began to get annoyed. As it started to turn in the tree to better keep an eye on me its oak branch fell to the ground.

Then it really started to yell at me.

As I said I took this, along with a lot of other photos, using the E-P2 and the 40-150mm. I am not a bird photographer by any stretch. Out of all the shots I took, this was the only one decently in focus and I had to crop this one extensively. Tomorrow when I go out I'm taking the E-3 with the EC-14 and the ZD 50-200mm. That combination will give me about 300mm on the long end, double the 40-150mm's long end. Not o…

A Fine Doobie Afternoon

Last year it was the "free" concerts at Universal. This year it was the "free" concerts at Sea World Orlando. I qualify the word "free" because in order to get in and see the acts you had to buy a year pass, both times at a discount. When the Universal discount passes expired, something funny happened; the prices went up significantly (not so funny) and the quality of the acts went down (still not so funny).

Then Sea World Orlando started advertising their Bands, Brew, and BBQ series, with park pass prices that were considerably less than what we would have had to pay to renew at Universal. We finally broke down and purchased them for the Doobie Brothers Saturday show. We signed up at the tail end of the promotion just to see the Doobies.

There aren't that many shows left, and I doubt we'll go and see them because we've got commitments on those weekends when the final acts come to Orlando. But at least we can go back to Sea World and enjoy th…

Grow Up

It's now open season on President Obama from every presidential candidate in the Republican party, along with his or her legislative lackeys. The rising cost of gasoline is one of a number of attack fronts that the GOP is concentrating on. The basic GOP pitch is it's all Obama's fault.

I certainly don't like the rising cost of gasoline, and neither does U.S. Rep. Allen West, the congressional republican representative for Florida's 22nd congressional district. Poor old representative West was so incensed that he had to spend $70 to fill up his 2008 Hummer 3 a few weeks back that he posted his displeasure on his Facebook page.

What kind of H3 model does the good Mr. West drive? The only clue we have is it's a 2008 model, so I'm going to make a few assumptions.

The H3 was originally released with an in-line 5 cylinder engine that was charitably described as anemic when attempting to haul the H3's 2.5 ton curb weight around. Gas mileage is a laughable 13mpg…

Can't Tell The Players Without A Scorecard: Florida Politics 2012 - UPDATED

I decided to go back and tweak my Florida congressional table today after reading about the latest idiocy of U.S. Representative Allen West, republican representing the 22nd district. That's because in my original table I had Allen West in Orlando, which mortified me no end. But then I noticed I had three representatives in Orlando, which made no sense, so I started to visit every representative's website as well as look for an overall Florida congressional district map. And I'm glad I found the overall map, because I was able to finally determine, once and for all, that I live in the 8th congressional district. You'd have thought I'd have figured that out after living here since 1984, but apparently not.

The original table was built from what is now a single questionable source, especially the city they representatives are supposed to live in. I've adjusted the table by going to each representative's website to verify and adding their district and closest …

More at the Citrus Bowl

I went back again to the Citrus Bowl and Tinker Field for another afternoon session. This time I concentrated on the southwest corner of the Citrus Bowl where Tinker Field is located, and arrived a good hour earlier than the previous evening. The light was more neutral.

I used two cameras this time, an E-1 with the ZD 50mm and the E-P2 with the Panasonic 20mm. Both were used at base ISO; 100 for the E-1 and 200 for the E-P2. Because the light was bright the lenses were both stopped down at least three stops from wide open. Oddly enough, the 50mm was stopped down to f/5.6 (E-1, ISO 100) while the 20mm was stopped down to f/4 (E-P2, ISO 200). you would have thought it would have been the other way around, but I believe it was my subconscious training taking effect; I have gotten into the habit of closing the 50mm down as much as possible because I want maximum depth of field, especially in macro mode, while for the 20mm I've gotten into the habit of opening it up as much as possibl…

Downtown Detour

Late afternoon drive home. I-4 is tied up west-bound, so I stay on the 408 because the traffic is much clearer. As soon as I pass over I-4 I see the Citrus Bowl off to my right. The setting sun lights the big hulking structure rather dramatically, so I exited the 408 at John Young and looped back east towards the bowl.

I parked in a sand lot next to Lake Lorna Doone, grabbed an E-1, and just started walking towards the north end of the bowl next to Church Street. It was very late, the sun was almost set, and the rich gold light bathed everything with a warm radiance. I thought about trying to compensate in post but decided to just let it stay the way the E-1 essentially recorded it.

On the way back to the car I walked along the edge of Lake Lorna Doone. It's a sink-hole lake, used as a drainage basin for that part of Orlando. The water's edge is filled with rushes, and cypress trees grow right on the shoreline. I parked next to a huge spreading live oak. When I came back a de…

More Observations

Another day and more construction done. This is the larger plot of land being worked across the street from the smaller I photographed yesterday. Notice all that rich dark soil? That soil is dark and rich because that land was wetlands before they tore down all the small cypress and willow trees that grew there and dug it all up. All that lighter soil was hauled in to be spread over the darker. By the time it's all done there'll be more buildings and parking lots over another piece of Florida paradise.

Once again the First Baptist Church of Orlando has put up their "Cemetery of Innocence" in the big field that sits between the church and L.B. McLeod. They've put this up in time for yet another pre-Easter first amendment expression of their disapproval of abortion. According to the sign out in front this year, 4,000 babies are being aborted "daily."

Since I'm a raging liberal, I immediately felt the number was suspect. So I went out and used the evi…

Mixed Blessings

It becomes more difficult for me as I grow older to ignore the destruction of green habitat in the name of economic progress, and to quietly accept it. The developers have "opened up" another heavily wooded tract by knocking down all the trees growing in the area. You get a pretty good idea of what used to grow over the denuded land at the far edge of the plot.

And yet, this is a sign of economic recovery in the area. Pretty soon a new store or office complex will rise on this land, supporting more businesses that employ more people. Or so we all hope. But there's still a lot of empty buildings in Research Park or large empty sections of half-filled buildings along Corporate Blvd, which is where this "prime" piece of property is close to.

If there's any beauty, it was the blooming azaleas that stood on the edge of the road next to where they'd cleared the land. Azaleas that have bloomed very early this year, even for Florida.

The Local Photo Shop

There's a camera store on Mills, on the south side of the intersection of Mills and Colonial in Orlando. Colonial Photo and Hobby has been in business at that spot since 1954.

Colonial Photo was one of the first stores I learned about (after groceries and gas, so you know where my priorities were) when I moved down to Orlando in 1984. At that time I was shooting film with my OM-4 and I went to Colonial to buy film and get it processed and printed. Over the years I found other spots to get my film processed, but I always went to Colonial to "do it right", and to pick up the odd but always important accessory that nobody else in town seems to have.

It was at Colonial that I purchased my Nikon N90, and it was Colonial where I took it to get it repaired when I fell into a North Carolina river with the camera around my neck one summer while on vacation. I had no intention that day of tripping over a tree root, rolling down the bank with $2,000 worth of camera and lens dearly…

A Day of Restful Work

Sunday might be a day of rest for some, but for me it's just another day of work at home. Weekends are never long enough to do work around the house. These past few weekends have been taken up with raking all the oak leaves from all the oaks around the house. It's my third time raking around the yard this season, starting back in late December. Right now I've got a dozen 44 gallon bags full of leaves for Wednesday pickup, and if I have time after work this next Monday and Tuesday, I'll probably fill another half dozen or so.

There were other little chores to do around the house that meant a trip to a local Home Depot to pick up spare parts to fix those things that needed fixing. As I walked in the main entrance I saw this large sign hanging over the front, a sign I haven't seen for quite some time: "Now Hiring." It seems to fit in with a general pickup in people's fortunes around the area. All those hoses in my neighborhood that've been up for sa…

Second Car Shopping Weekend

The price of gas this past Friday says it all. This is as high as it was last summer before the price started to drop. The lowest 2011 price was in December at around $3.15. There's a lot of factors to the current price rise, such as the commodities markets driving up the price of oil due to the saber rattling between Iran and Washington, with Iran threatening to stop the shipping of oil through the Straits of Hormuz. There also seem to be issues with lowered U.S. refinery capacity and the irony that gasoline refineries are suffering from profitability because of reduced demand for gas in the U.S. because of higher gas prices, forcing some refineries to be shut down by their owners, which in turn... raises the price of gasoline even further. Very high and continually rising gasoline prices, combined with the 11 year old age of the Kia Sedona van, are why we're out looking for an affordable non-hybrid vehicle that gets 40 MPG on the highway.

When we looked at high MPG cars in …

Delving Deeper into Android: Building Ice Cream Sandwich for the Nook Color

It was only a matter of time before the siren's call lured me to install the source for Ice Cream Sandwich (ICS, Android 4) and attempt to create my own version for my Nook Color. There are two links I've been following to install ICS from its git repository and then building from the repository. I need to list several caveats before we go much futher;
I am a complete novice (otherwise known as "a noob") when it comes to the use of git[1] and building Android. So I'm depending on a lot of hand-holding at this point in time, meaning reading lots of xda forum threads and wiki pages to piece together a process that works with my Fedora setup.My Dell Latitude D630 isn't some awesome build machine. It's now considered a modest little notebook powered by an Intel Core 2 Duo T7700 processor running at 2.4GHz. It took a long time to pull the git repository, and it's going to take a long time to build the project. Right now as I type this the system load is abo…

Ten Years Ago

Looking at the Android devices that now litter my house (the Motorola Xoom, the Asus Transformer, my wife's and my Android smartphone, our Nook Tablets, and my latest, the re-purposed Nook Color), I'm reminded what I had 10 years ago.

I had one new computer. It was a Compaq Presario 5WV280 running Windows ME. It had a 900 MHz AMD 32-bit Athlon with 256MB of memory and a 20GB hard drive. It came complete with color CRT monitor and speakers, and set me back some $2,000. I'd purchased it at downtown Circuit City, a store that eventually died seven years later in 2009 along with the entire chain. It was the last major purchase I ever made at a Circuit City.

I really used that Presario. I quickly replaced Windows ME with Windows 2000. Soon after I added a second drive and started dual-booting Linux on it, starting with Redhat and later moving to Suse and then to Ubuntu. The other computer I had in the house was an ancient Compaq Presario with a 75MHz 486 and 64MB of memory that…

Delving Deeper into Android: Barnes & Noble's Nook Color

Executive Summary

In which I detail how I installed CyanogenMod 7 onto a Nook Color via an 8GB µSDHC card, added the modified Nook Color to my Android SDK development environment running under Fedora 14, and discovered that Foxconn was involved in the Nook Color's manufacture.

Installation of CyanogenMod 7

I have, since around the first of February, been hacking around with the Barnes & Noble Nook Color. This is the same Nook Color I rather reluctantly returned a little over a year ago, and wrote about it on Matthew's Reviews [LINK]. What changed my mind enough to re-purchase another Color?

Three events:
Barnes & Noble released the Nook Tablet November 2011. I received a copy for Christmas and have been completely happy with it (a review is forthcoming on Matthew's Reviews). It cost $250. Which lead to the next event;When the Tablet was released, Barnes & Noble reduced the price of the Nook Color to $200. Which led finally to;In late January, Barnes & Noble s…

The Weekend

My wife and I spent both days getting out a bit to head downtown and behave a bit like tourists. I wanted to check on the construction of the Dr. Phillips Center For The Performing Arts that's currently going on downtown between S. Orange and S. Rosalind along W. Anderson.

So we headed east on I-4 and took the fairly new S. Street Exit to the heart of downtown. I saw this view and embarrassed my poor wife by stopping off in the emergency lane on the exit and getting out with the E-3. I wasn't out in traffic, but my wife had flipped on the emergency flashers, so I made a quick trip out and carefully shot a few exposures. Considering the paranoia about photographers and photography, I had no desire for a visit from a representative of the local constabulary.

We parked again in front of city hall. As I got out I was caught up in the light reflecting all around the plaza and between the buildings, not just the direct sunlight but the reflected light between multiple buildings mult…