I’ll buy what he’s buying…

A rant based on Flickr threads here and here.

I think my feeling about which dSLR camera someone should purchase is, to apply Louis Armstrong: “Man, if you gotta ask, you’ll never know.” The simple reality is that after a year and a half, the D70 is still too much camera for me. Maybe one day I’ll reach the point where I am limited by the D70 and not my lack of talent, but it hasn’t arrived. Both the Canon Digital Rebel (300D/350D) and the Nikon prosumer dSLRs (70D/50D/70Ds) have electronics even more sophisticated than Nikon F-series cameras up through the early 90’s. Some pretty amazing shots were taken by pros back then. Have they suddenly lost their value because their camera sucked?

No. That’s because at the end of the day, a camera body is just a light-tight box with a adjustable hole and a flap. Digital sensors may be different, but they are more limited by the state-of-the-art during the time it is built and simple physics than by anything else. What is going to be the most important thing is how it feels to the operator.

That’s why I can be a touch short with people who diss a camera choice with one breath and then take cover by calling anyone who disagrees with them as spewing “cult garbage.”

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Hoodman woes

My second D70 FlipUp LCD cap broke.

Hoodman started by making clever hoods for LCD displays. The most ubiquitous use of a Hoodman is when you see NFL referees peering under them during an instant replay review. In a recent DVD produced by Nikon, I saw Life photographer Joe McNally peering under one for instant outdoor 17″-diagnol image reviews. After the initial, “Gee, I wish I had a six-pack of SB-800s controlled by a Nikon D2X tethered via USB 2.0 to my Powerbook,” I thought, “neat stuff.”

I first heard about Hoodman when they made cloth and velcro shades in the early days of pocket digital photography. LCDs were really the suck back then—they make the Canon 5D’s LCD look exceedingly bright by comparison. People like me were often caught holding our hands up against the screen to review shots. The Hoodman was a great idea, sometimes it even came with a magnifier to make the small LCDs review much bigger.

It was only natural that when the FlipUp cap came out, I bought one:

Continue reading Hoodman woes

Judging character

I know I implied I would not link TimesSelect, but this gem from Paul Krugman deserves special mention.

This article is a great introspective on limitations of our ability to judge character (“thin-slicing” in Blink-speak). It makes a great case on how our judgement of character can easily be manipulated by a personal impression created under the right frame. If you aren’t interested in politics, you should read that article for the implications it has on business relationships and interviews and stop reading this one.

Here is what I want to talk about:

Let’s be frank: the Bush administration has made brilliant use of journalistic careerism. Those who wrote puff pieces about Mr. Bush and those around him have been rewarded with career-boosting access. Those who raised questions about his character found themselves under personal attack from the administration’s proxies. (Yes, I’m speaking in part from experience.)

That is an amazing quote.
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Ahh, the Rapture. At last!

Thanks to Pat Robertson, I have been told to prepare for the Second Coming. The fact that this Catholic knows about the rapture is an unfortunate byproduct of a paying too much attention at evangelical summer camps and an taking too much Latin to avoid my high school language requirement.

I suppose if I wasn’t blessed with an analytical mind, I’d find it comforting to find out that the frequency and devastation wrought by hurricanes has nothing to do with global warming. Tell me, Pat, should I be sacrificing my children now?

Continue reading Ahh, the Rapture. At last!

The music subscription model

I had almost forgotten that Microsoft was supposed to launch their iTunes Music Store killer this year, perhaps even their own player (but more likely to be co-launched with some hungry electronics conglomerate). What ever happened to that?

Now we know.

Reuters reports that Microsoft has stopped licensing talks with the big 4 music labels.

The most informative note in the article was this one:

According to several people briefed on the matter, the labels separately were seeking royalty payments of $6 to $8 per user, per month. People close to the labels say that is in line with what existing subscription-music services pay, the Journal reported.

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Web 1.0

Saw that Cal has a badge tag from the Web 1.0 Summit today, which bills itself as a whole heck of a lot more fun than Web 2.0.

Flickr the Book

I would have loved to give a talk on the value proposition of B2B applications of push technologies.

Too bad they didn’t have the facilities for projection. I could have made some kick ass slides using the single pixel gif trick.

I’m sorry I missed it.

Fox Snooze

book cover: Amusing Ourselves to Death
Amusing Ourselves to Death from Penguin Books

Former Fox news correspondent, David Shuster explains how Fox distorted the news to right editorially. While this is normally so obvious that it doesn’t deserve mention, there was an interesting quote from him:

“Editorially, I had issues with story selection,” Shuster went on. “But the bigger issue was that there wasn’t a tradition or track record of honoring journalistic integrity. I found some reporters at Fox would cut corners or steal information from other sources or in some cases, just make things up. Management would either look the other way or just wouldn’t care to take a closer look. I had serious issues with that.”

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DxO Optics Pro 3.5 announced

book cover: Bridge to Terabithia
DxO Optics Pro 3.5 from DxO (email)

In November, DxO just announced they will be releasing DxO Optics Pro 3.5.

Maybe a bit of history is in order.

DxO started with DxO Analyzer package used by magazines and websites in order to evaluate the quality of lenses and cameras. Taking some shots of specialized targets at specific distances and camera settings, reviewers to analyze quantitatively things camera design compromises such as image sharpness, ISO noise, vignetting, chromatic abberation, and spherical distortion.
Continue reading DxO Optics Pro 3.5 announced