I posted a birthday card of shots from the past  year, here.



Russia, Georgia, Nick Hayes

This is cool. I like Nick Hayes' commentary. Enjoy. LINK


Picnic at Whitewater

We had a great time picnicking at Whitewater, celebrating Betsy Jean's birtdate and our anniversary.


Last week we camped at the Red Barn campground near Spooner, Wisconsin. Great time; I only wish we could have gotten up to Lake Superior. So close.


Easy freezy Apps 2

Sketchbox gives me all the remindering that I care to get: little snippets on my desktop and a countdown timer with an annoying alarm. I got the job done today; creds to the app. [Film at 10.]


Easy Freezy Apps 1

 Easy Envelopes picks up an address from the copy board and imposes for printing an envelope or label. Click the stamp to print. Don't blick; it's done.


Naren's B'party

We had supper last night at Smith's Garden, to celebrate Naren's birthday. Nice evening.



Anytime I catch a bigger fish than John, it's worth a post. 


The Ghost Map

Maps represent a high form of visual information. Here's a great example:

The 1854 Broad Street cholera outbreak was a severe outbreak of cholera that occurred near Broad Street (now renamed Broadwick Street) in Soho district of London, England in 1854. This outbreak is best known for the fact that John Snow discovered that cholera was spread by contaminated water....Snow later used a spot map to illustrate how cases of cholera were centred around the pump. SOURCE


Image Stabilization, take 2

Here's a better test of my new camera's IS capabilities. Again, these are full zoom, handheld shots. Click to enlarge.

I can see that the next camera I get will have to include geolocation ability. Always something.


Image stabilization

These handheld shots were taken shooting images playing on a DVD on a Mac, using image stabilization and with full 2.5 optical zoom, on my new Canon. See entry below. Stills are from the history of England by Simon Schama. Click to enlarge.

Location, location, location

We visited the new Book Shelf/Blue Heron today. Nice! Turn down the volume control before playing.


Create your own newspaper

Cool app. Times organizes RSS feeds into a newspaper format, with sections, pages, and sources I choose. What's RSS? It's a way to subscribe to a site so that new entries are automatically fed to your RSS reader; it's a subscription service. RSS links are so common, it's a wonder it took me about five years to figure out why I would want to use them. Times makes it obvious.


Dream Compact Camera

My research on a camera brings me, inevitably, back to Apple, with the Apple of Your I compact digital camera, with killer diller features. We consumer types simply refuse to haul around DSLR monster cameras. I'm throwing it up here as a summary report on the research.

* Add HDR, high dynamic range imaging, onboard the camera. If you ain't seen it, check out Hydra or Photomatix. HDR makes great postcard photographers out of anybody. Can you say "photography for the rest of us"?

* Let me HDR my shots immediately while in the field. When I bracket a shot, make it happen automatically. Let me see it on a big bright screen.

* Put multitouch on it, so I can blow up the shot and see if I caught the spinach in Aunt Gertie's teeth. So what if it means building in OSX; so does creating the Touch.

* Let me mail my photos directly from the camera with WIFI.

* Add Ive's design touch, a great lens, image stabilization, burst mode, no shutter lag, a 1.6 sensor, and an uncompressed file setting. Sell it for under $750 list, $650 street, and send me the invoice.

Can you say unique selling proposition?


OK, why this camera?

I cancelled the order for the Canon below because it was delayed delivery. Looking around a bit more, I found another Canon that has a bit more of what I need: a bigger sensor chip, smaller body, image stabilization, no shutter lag, better low light imaging, a decent burst mode, and a great review at Steve's.


So why buy a new camera? Why this camera?

My search for a great compact camera continues. I refuse to purchase a big camera because I know I would not take it traveling or hiking. No photo is worse than a less than great photo.

I have been happy with my current Olympus S350: it can shoot a quality snap and create uncompressed RAW files. Nice. But when it comes to family and social photos, it's limited by slow shutter response time and poor low light function. So I have purchased a next step camera with a better lens, a Canon Powershot A720. It's highly rated and cheap enough that I can just do this.

Here's a site providing information about digital camera sensor sizing—mystifying info for us consumer type shooters. The sensor size decides how well a camera will shoot compared to a traditional 35mm camera. The megapixel measure is less important. Who knew? After days of research, apparently I am waiting for Canon to produce a G10 model with a 1.6 sensor chip. How's that for buzzwording?

Crabapple Thursday

I like to mess around with Photoshop filters. The top example buffed up the highlights on this shot. The lower shot offers example of extreme filters, which are a nice way to study color composition.
Click to enlarge.



I have added a widget so that you can subscribe to my blog. Saves having to check it by notifying you of new entries. I think.



I am trying out a new program that creates posters out of hundreds of shots. Has some real possibilities for gifts of posters combining the best shots of the year, for example.



I have begun posting some shots on Google's Panoramio, where they are geo-tagged and added to Google Earth. See my links. The two below are scenes from Sicily. I'm thinking of adding a bunch to Winona and Düsseldorf.


Pattern Language

Bumped into the topic of pattern language on Merlin Mann's 43 Folders (see favorite links). Further search linked me to the original book site and this nice summary quote about the concept.

"Normally what happens when you build a house, for example, is that an architect, tries more or less or understand what you want and makes a blueprint. But a blueprint and CAD designs are mostly guess work about what is going to be just right for the dimension of a room or the placement of a window. It's like tossing thirty coins all at once and hoping they all land on heads. Never works. A sequence is figuring out which decision has to come first and getting it right and then moving to a second decision. Like tossing one coin at a time, which is actually a much better, faster, and less expensive way to get to thirty coins all on heads. But if you work from a blueprint you are stuck with your guesses and the builders, who aren't the architect, just have to follow the blueprint, even when they know a much better solution. It's a silly way to do things." SOURCE

The link below, which Merlin references, takes "pattern language" out of its architectural source and applies it to projects generally and to personal productivity. The general idea seems to be to stress process and to avoid defining product or outcome prematurely. One step at a time. LINK


Two Fundamentalisms

I saw reference today to the term "secular fundamentalism," which sent me alooking for Mary Midgley, a great philosophical mentor to moderates. Mary is still writing. And she of course has something useful to say on the topic. It's good to hear her voice again. WIKI

"It should surely be obvious that there is nothing scientific about atheism. God’s existence is not a question for the tests of physical science; it belongs to metaphysics. What is wrong with fundamentalism is not its theism—theists do not need to take this line—but its sheer irrelevance." LINK

Another article on the topic.


OSX Finder Trick 3

OSX has a built in screensaver called Collage that displays photos from a selected album in iPhoto.



Apple and Jobs break into consumer sector industries that take their eye off of value and service in favor of profits and control: music, video, games, telephone, and eventually banking—money being the ultimate content stream. Greed creates gaps. Unless the plutocrats wake up, it's a fruit flavored future. I am reminded of Richard Brautigan's wonderfully ironical poem, "All Watched Over by Machines of Loving Grace."


America bikes

Following a link a friend sent, I found this map of the US with the national bike routes shown, many of which go through the Winona area. It's the "bikeway" for both north-south routes involving the Mississippi River and for northern tier east-west routes.


OSX finder trick 2

Today I wanted a simple tool for organizing my bookmarks—one that would simply sort them by frequency of use. Not asking much. I couldn't find one. But I did find a free cool tool that allows me to bookmark anything—tunes, messages, files, sites—and keep them handy at the top menubar. Hallon. Take a look. Great for creating project resource lists for the day's work.


OSX Mail app trick 3

As you can see, Mail will add a web link to a message either either using the "mail link..." command or, better, dragging the link into a message. Dragging the link embeds it within the site name. Much more useful.


OSX stupid finder trick 1

Quick Look is a cool feature that displays documents by hitting the space bar after selecting some files. It works particularly well with fonts. Take a look.


European vacation '08

If you have a couple minutes, here's the short-form slide show.


Museum Schnütgen, Cologne

While in Cologne, we visited the Schnütgen Museum. It seemed a quaint, out of the way sight, but in researching now, it is apparently quite prestigious. Makes sense. According to Frommer's,

this is Cologne's best collection of religious art and sculpture. It's all displayed in an original setting, St. Cecilia's Church (Cäcilienkirche), which is a fine example of Rhenish-Romanic architecture. The works displayed include several medieval ivories, woodwork, and tapestries, including one showing rosy-cheeked Magi bringing gifts to the Christ Child (1470). There are also many Madonnas, of all sizes and descriptions, carved in stone, wood, and metal. LINK

The Schnutgen was the find of the trip for us and a favorite of Chris's. Some of the wood sculptures were astonishing and affecting. The connection with the figure as art and with the character of the person depicted and with the artist—it all was immediate and powerful.

We could shoot without a flash; video shooting was a good as it got.


Yosemite shot

Just thought I would put this up. Nice warm, sunny day. Big tree.