Big Ass Grasshopper

October 09, 2007

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While hanging out at CJ's family place a few miles north over fourth of july, this little guy showed up: Big Ass Grasshopper Took this photo with my most recent point and shoot. I'm pretty happy with the quality.


New look and Cloud photo test

October 08, 2007

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I've updated the "theme" of this blog to a new look. Mainly, I wanted to get a wider base width. If you are on a smaller monitor size, sorry about that, but progress marches on. I'm also using this post to test a photo size (680x510 620x510 if you are wondering) to see how well it fits in the design. It's a shot I took out the window on one of my many trips to Atlanta over the past few weeks. Clounds from a plane


Someday, I'll get to Inbox Zero

October 08, 2007

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I should make Inbox Zero a higher priority. Ironically, I feel like I have too much going on right now to mess with the way I work.


Proprietary Cables and lots of storage space

October 08, 2007

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I'm notorious for taking forever to get my photos in a state where people can see them. In the old days, this meant that I had a lot of film that it would take me forever to develop. (Okay, it's still those days now since I have a lot that I still haven't developed.) These days, in my digital shooting world, it means I take forever to get things either A) downloaded off the camera/cards or B) get them posted on a site so someone can see them. I got a new point and shoot camera a while back with a 2GB card. I'm not sure how many photos it would take to fill, but it's a lot. Probably 800-900. This camera has a different size memory card than my other ones so I was planning to just use the USB cable to pull them off in the sort term. After I took the camera out of the box I took a quick look to make sure it had a USB connection on it then thru the cables that came with it in a box with two or three million other cables since I already keep the standard USB cables in my bag. Turns out, the end of the USB that plugs into the camera is a proprietary Fuji plug. Still USB, just not the same shape. This is one of those things that's really annoying. It doesn't appear to be a size issue since the cable is almost identical to a standard USB. It's just a little bit different. Just enough so that Fuji can sell you their replacement instead of being able to get a standard one off the shelf if you don't happen to already have five other ones laying around. So, I finally dug thru the box and got the cable. I've had the camera for a few months now and have 414 shots on it. The good news out of all this is that I could have continued to shoot for at least a little while at the same rate without running out of space. Most photographers I know have a story about a friend or relative who finished up a roll of film in the good old days and when they got the prints back saw that not only did they have this years 4th of July photos on it, but last years as well. (Nuge just posted a similar thought.) What is increasingly both good and bad for me is that with the amount of storage you can get these days, it's less critical to pull stuff off immediately. This is good because I don't feel rushed, but can be bad since without a deadline I'm likely to leave stuff on a card for a long time.


Even Better Batteries

October 03, 2007

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From an environmental perspective, I love rechargeable batteries. Not throwing old used batteries in a land file is very nice thing. Also, when I some day put solar panels on my roof, there won't even be a carbon cost on the back end to get them juiced up. And, of course, there is the financial aspect that once you pay much less for a set of rechargeables and the electricity for a decent number of charges than you would for a comparable number of one time sets. The one gotcha that the rechargeables I own have is that they don't really hold a charge. The main thing I use the batteries for is to power my small on and off camera flashes. When they are fully charged up, the NiMH batteries do a great job of this. The problem is that I don't shoot that often and with the battery leak, I pretty much have to plan a day in advance if I want to be able to use them. Otherwise, the last charge that I have given them is likely to be a few weeks in the past and the batteries won't have enough juice in them to provide more than a few bursts of light. Enter: Eneloop Rechargeable Batteries and their ilk. I recently saw about them in this Cool Tools post. Looks to have almost all the good parts, but the ability to hold a charge. I haven't purchased any yet, but they will be on the way soon enough. I'm sure the technology will continue to improve, but for me, this is a really significant improvement and hopefully will be the start of a sea change that also means less stress on the environment and less toxic shit leaking from batteries into our ground water.


New Credit Card

October 03, 2007

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My main credit card expires at the end of the month and I just got the new one in the mail today. It expires 10/10…. As in 2010. I mean, I know that year is close, but the fact that I've got something now that is specifically tied to that year (and way late in that year) is a little wild. While I don't expect us to have shuttles to the moon base and insanely smart (and just plane old insane) AIs by then, we do have some pretty cool shit. Like HDTV which makes football games even more awesome to watch when you aren't at the stadium. Another interesting number on the card is the "Member since". For me, that number is 1994. I graduated high school in 1993 and start college in the fall of the same year. I can't remember exactly, but I think that I actually signed up for the card late in my first semester, but didn't get it till January of

  1. I've mentioned before that like a lot of people, I had no idea how to properly handle a credit card at that point. I quickly maxed it out and was just paying the minimum each month until they would bump my credit line up a bit in a few months. Rinse, repeat. 1994 means that I've had a credit card for well over 1/3 of my life. Luckily, I figured out quicker than most how important it is from both a financial and basic mental health perspective to get to the point that I wasn't carrying a balance from month to month. I don't remember exactly when, but it has probably been eight or nine years since I had a monthly balance that I couldn't pay off. I've had a good job for several years now, but I think that it's important to point out that I actually got to where I was paying off the balance each month while I was still in college. It's a critical point that the reason I was able to get out of credit card debt was not because I got a good job, but because I figured out at some level how I was wasting a ton of money by paying interest to the credit card company and cut down my spending to the point where I could chip away at the debt until it was paid off. Before this clicked in my brain, I went thru two other credit card paradigms. The first was after I first got my card and it was just a neat way to get stuff (mainly photo stuff) without it seeming like it was costing me extra. It felt like, I could simply get something that I wanted and then pay it off over time. While this is, of course, true at the top level, the fact that I was paying interest for this priviledge and exactly how much that interest was costing me were way below the surface of my thinking. The second major thought pattern happened when I started to realize how much I was paying in interest. From that point, I start to rationalize that the reason I was in debt was because I was a poor college student and that when I got out and got a Real Job, I would pay it off. While I might have been able to pull this off, it would have been harder to do if I had kept piling debt on. And frankly, I know several folks with really good paying jobs that still struggle to pay their bills each month. That is much more the rule than the exception. I got lucky and got out early, but if you haven't had a chance to pull that off yet, I would really encourage you to take a step back and run a few numbers to see how much more you are paying for things if you tack on the interest of a credit card on the purchase. For me, it was a tough process at first. It's not unlike trying to focus your thoughts on an aspect of your personality/relationships/body/life that you don't like. It's not fun, but if you can give it a good go and make a change based on it for the better, the reward from both a personal satisfaction as well as a financial perspective are great.

Wet Socks

October 02, 2007

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We've been having a monsoon here in North Florida over the past few days. This morning, I had to go to a meeting in another building. It was less than 200 yards away so we walked. I had an umbrella, but the rain was coming down so hard that it was bouncing up so much that by the time I got to the meeting, my pants were completely soaked up to about my knees. So, I got to sit in a six hour meeting with wet socks. Not so much fun.


Lightroom Resize not so good

October 01, 2007

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I've been batching up some photos to get ready to post and was using Adobe Lightroom to resize them down to the proper dimensions. Surprisingly, Lightroom isn't actually very good at that. Even with all the sharpening turned off, I kept getting halos around areas with high contrast. I couldn't figure out what was going on because if I export the image full size form Lightroom and then do the reduction in Photoshop, it looks fine. I've done some digging around and according to this pote it appears, this is just the way Lightroom does it, and there is no override. Here's hoping they work on this to make it better. As a commenter mentions, Lightroom is supposed to reduce the number of steps in the workflow.


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