Goodbye, Mr. Wizard

June 14, 2007

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It's a sad day for the world of science. The L.A. Times is reporting that Mr. Wizard has passed away. I hadn't thought about him in years and then mentioned him in a post about the Mythbusters two days ago. Not a happy coincidence. Having lived to 89 and probably done more to inspire young scientists than just about any other individual, I think it's safe to say he had a good life. Everyone should do a kitchen-sink science experiment this weekend to pay respects.


That's Not Photoshop

June 14, 2007

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Here's one of the images I was scanning. One of my favorites out of all the ones I've ever shot. Yes. The flames are real. Dave ended up with second degree burns on his nose. Can't say he wasn't willing to sacrifice for art. Fire Eyes


Scanning film

June 13, 2007

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I'm scanning in some old film negs that I want to have printed. I had forgotten exactly how time consuming it used to be to get a digital version of an image. And this is film that is already developed. Wild to think that with a tethered (or wireless) connection today, you can be editing in image in Photoshop about as quickly as you can put the camera down after taking a shot. I have some nostalgia for the darkroom days of film, but not really any at all from that middle time period when I was shooting film but doing edit work digitally and had to transfer the analog to digital myself. (There is a faint, faint, faint smell of fix on a few of my old black and white negs. That smell brings a flood of great memories.)


What happened to 3 liters

June 13, 2007

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None of the grocery or corner stores that I shop at carry 3 liter bottles of coke. Do they exist anymore? It seems like they would be a natural fit in these days when you can get a 1 gallon Big Gulp. Weird.


Donating Computer Gear

June 13, 2007

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There is a local company in Jax called Unlimited Solutions, Inc. that has some pretty good karma. They take donations of old computer gear and get it to folks that otherwise wouldn't have a shot at it. Their mission statement from their website:

Unlimited Solutions, Inc. is a non-profit 501(c)3 organization dedicated to providing refurbished computer equipment, training, advocacy, and other assistive technology services to individuals with disabilities, their families, and others in the Florida community who would otherwise not have access to empowering technologies. Our goal is to improve the quality of life of individuals with disabilities, by providing them the digital technology and training necessary to open the doors of independence, employment, education, and community.

I've donated some of my old stuff to them in the past. I think that just about the only way I'm ever going to become less of a packrat is by donating stuff. On a lot of levels it bugs me to throw out something that works just because I no longer need it. I'm really glad that these guys exist because Good Will here stopped taking computer donations a while ago. This struck me as strange, but from what the attendant said they were worried about the privacy aspects of accepting computers. The fear being that someone would donate a computer to Good Will that would then be picked up by someone else and they could possibly steal personal info from it and the original owner would hold Good Will responsible. There are, of course, some pretty easy steps to make sure this doesn't happen if you know what you are doing, but I can see where Good Will wouldn't necessarily have the resources to carry this out. I hung onto a ton of old gear for a while because of that till I found these guys. Good stuff.


Condensed Mythbusters

June 12, 2007

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I really get a kick out of the show "Mythbusters" on the Discovery channel. Problem solving, science, not infrequent explosions and urban ledgends…. what more could a tech geek ask for. Of course, it seems to do a great job of reaching a fairly broad audience which is great as well. Reminds me a lot of Mr. Wizard's World where just about everyone was entertained by science and everyone got a little smarter because of it. One major gripe that I have about the show though is it quickly starts to feel like one of those "Top 10 Worst Car Crashes Caught On Tape" shows with its editing. I don't mind a general introduction at the start of the show that lets you know what's coming up, but before each commercial break they tease the entire rest of the show. By the time you get to the last myth they are examining, it feels like you have heard a "Coming up later" voice over about it a half dozen times. And then they recap all the stuff you have seen leading up to it. Some of which you just saw 30 seconds ago. It's huge overkill. I'm sure that this is largely done so that they can make sure that each show is an hour, but sadly almost enough enough to turn me off from the show. While I'm over-exaggerating a little, it would be interesting to see someone slice up the show in time blocks and figure out how much is 1) commercials, 2) teasing later content, 3) reviewing previous content and 4) actual mythbusting content. My guess is that it varies from show to show and is largely dependent on the complexity of the setup for the respective myths, but I'd put the over/under at about 21 min of actual content in a broadcast hour of the show.


Lens review site

June 12, 2007

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For those interested in an Excellent lens review site, check out: http://www.the-digital-picture.com/. The person who puts it together is to be applauded. Great details about a huge array of lenses as well as comparisons between options within given ranges. A shining example of internet coolness.


Photoshop Softfocus

June 11, 2007

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I'm still looking for a soft focus effect in photoshop that I like. The latest one that I'm working with that I quite pleased with so far is to run a Gaussian Blur with a radius of 9.0 pixels on a full size image from a 5D then fade it out to 45%. The effect reminds me a lot of my old glass Nikon soft focus 1 filter that was a favorite of mine.


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