Mozy backup

March 22, 2007

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You should backup your stuff. It should be automatic. Ideally, it should be at an "off-site" location. Enter Mozy You can backup 2GB of stuff to them for free. Or, you can pay $5/month for unlimited storage. Apparently, they really do mean unlimited. Photographers out there who shoot 5GB worth of images in one shoot, are you listening? Right now, it's Windows only, but there is a Mac version on the way according to their site.


Photoshop Light Room - First Impression

March 20, 2007

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Installed the trial copy of Adobe's Photoshop Lightroom today on my laptop and dropped some test images in from my 5D. I haven't done much with it, but just moving thru the images is a pleasure. It's nice and responsive for quickly moving thru a set of images. Just that is probably enough to make me get a copy. I had been using Adobe's Bridge to look thru my RAW images, and it's just not very quick. It also has a custom name import feature that I like so that I can name the filenames to my spec. For me that is making the file name in a date format: "YYYYMMDD-HHMMSS". For example, "20070223-184203.CR2". While all this data is inside the meta information as well, I like the fact that this effectively produces a unique file name for every image. I need to see if there is a way to add a "-1", "-2", "-3", etc… for times when multiple images get marked with the same second. I haven't seen this yet though. As near as I can tell with the 5D, the timestamp is based on when the file gets finished writing instead of when the image itself was catpures. The camera will shoot 3+ images a second, but it'll take several seconds to write of them. Anyway, first impression is pretty good though I haven't really dug into it yet. I've never really used meta data that much for my stuff. I just save all my shoots in a give directory, but I have a feeling I will start using it more as I play around with lightroom. Adobe has a 30 day trail on their site right now. And for the time being they have lowered the asking price from $299 to $199 for an "introductory offer". Definitely worth a try.


Launchy - quick launch app for Windows

March 18, 2007

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Found this one via Life hacker. The program is Launchy. It's a keyboard quick launcher for windows. The default way to bring it up is by holding down the "Alt" key and hitting the space bar. It pops up and presents you with a text cursor. From there, you start typing the name of the application you want to launch. Usually withing a two or three letters, it'll have what you want and show you its icon. Then just hit "Enter" and the app launches. If you already have your hands on the keyboard, it is much faster than taking one off, grabbing your mouse and searching thru you quick launch bar or under your start menu. Takes a little getting used to, but if you jump around as often as I seem to between software it's very handy.


Google Spreadsheet and the top 100 checklist

March 18, 2007

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Google released their "Apps" to beta recently. After playing around with them a little it seems like they are making good progress. I'm in a very poor position to rate them however since I very rarely use Word or Excel or the like. It's one of the funny little paradoxes about a lot of tech geeks. We tend to have way more knowledge about just about every aspect of computing, but we can't figure out anything beyond the most basic parts of some of the most use software. I still haven't figured out how to complete turn off all the damn "Auto Formatting" that Word does because it thinks I want it. Anyway, one of the first spreadsheets I've done is a check list of the top 100 movies on the AFI list. It's mainly for me, but I'm posting it here. It's also in the newly created "Links" category over to the side. It seems that I'm committing more and more of the data of my life to the trust of google. Here's hoping they keep their "Do no Evil" motto.


E-Trade Savings and Online banking

March 16, 2007

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E-Trade has recently started offering a great saving account that they call "Complete Savings". It's your basic bank savings account except for the fact that they are offering roughly 5% Interest. They have a list of their rates here. All the savings accounts I've had before at traditional banks have had less than 1% interest. For example, I have a Wachovia savings account and their interest rate for balance (like mine) less than $10,000 is 0.2% The E-Trade Complete Savings has no minimum and you can start the account with as little as one dollar. Taking the compounding out of it for now, let's say you put $1,000 in the E-Trade account and $1,000 in a Wachovia type account. After one year The E-Trade account would have made $50 compared to $2 from the competition. To use E-Trade of course, you have to be comfortable with Online Banking. Personally, I don't have a problem with it. In fact, I've been using E-Trade since about 2000 (if memory serves). In fact, I use them as my primary bank these days. In regards to the Wachovia account I mentioned earlier, I still keep that one open cause every now and then, I want to be able to walk into a branch. Also, I use Wachovia for my ATM since they are right across the street from me. This way I avoid racking up ATM fees.


R60

March 16, 2007

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We just got new laptops at work. This model is a ThinkPad R60. It's not a super fast machine by todays standards, but it's really very impressive. I'm going through the process of getting all my apps installed and it got me to thinking about exactly how amazing these things are, especially when connected to the internet. Even more so when you do that on a wireless network. Once again I say, things have come a long way since Mr. Gutenberg started moving his type around.


Notepad ++

March 16, 2007

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Another fine piece of open source (read free) software: Notepad ++ I found this one via the afore mentioned osalt.com while looking for a replacement for UltraEdit. Both applications are plain text editors. In the past UltraEdit was the main program that I used to do my programming. Even though these programs only edit text files, they do a whole lot for programmers. Things like syntax highlighting and auto complete make it much easier to deal with the files. Notepad ++ like UltraEdit is windows only. If you are on windows and you need a good, free text editor, I'd give it a try.


Black and white conversion

March 16, 2007

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The ability to easily convert from color to black and white is one of my favorite things about digital photography. Most of the time when I used to shoot film it would be black and white. Part of this was because it was less expensive, but i also just liked it better. Using photoshop, I was never really happy with just converting to grayscale to make an image black and white. It always looked flat to me. Back about photoshop 3 or 4, I discovered that you could use the "Channels" of the color image to pull a black and white image from the color and get better results. I especially liked the red channel which had a tendency to look a lot like infrared. These days I use a channel mixer adjustment layer to do my conversions. After setting the channel mixer to "Monochrome" by marking the checkbox at the bottom, I set the following: Red: 70% Green: 15% Blue: 15% This makes a balance of the skin tones that I like a lot. If the specific image has a lot of green or blue in it you might have to tweak it some, but it's a good base level to start with. The last thing I do is make a curves adjustment layer and bring up the midtones just a little. Say something like an Input of "75" and and output of "85" to add just a little more punch to it. If you haven't played with the channel mixer before to do black and white conversions, give it a try.


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