Buffett and the estate tax

There was some discussion via e-mail about Warren Buffett’s recent donation to the William and Melinda Gates foundation. I don’t want to concentrate on that, except to state the inevitability of a man like him donating money on the sure-bet charity created by one of his favorite bridge buddies. Oh yeah, before we go all Nora Ephron on Buffett and Gates, how come nobody has mentioned the Walton family? Certainly the poster family of what I want to talk about:

“It a very equitable tax. It’s in keeping with the idea of equality of opportunity in this country, not giving incredible head starts to certain people who were very selective about the womb from which they emerged.”
—Warren Buffett, on the estate tax

As is widely known but was denied by some, Warren Buffet comes down again on the side of keeping the estate tax.Continue reading Buffett and the estate tax

A look at image stabilization

A long time ago, someone asked for a hypothetical D200 wishlist feature, I asked for simply one: in-camera vibration reduction.

Whatever you call it, this one recent gift from the video world has revolutionized photography by reducing the need for monopods and tripods.

A recent article when Gary “saw the light” about image stabilization in consumer cameras made me think about my wish.Continue reading A look at image stabilization

Digital blending multiple exposures

I received a request on Flickr a couple days ago:

you mentioned taking 3 exposures in one of your shots (a stream in big basin) and combining them together in photoshop. how do you do that?

I can only assume he meant this one:

Redwoods and West Berry Creek
Redwoods and West Berry Creek
Big Basin State Park, Santa Cruz Mountains, California

Nikon D70, Nikkor 12-24mm f/4G
Vari-ND filter, Gitzo 1228LVL tripod, RRS BH-55 ballhead
(3 exposures at 1/4″, 1.3″ and 3″) @ f/16, iso 200, 12mm (18mm)

Here’s how I did it.
Continue reading Digital blending multiple exposures

Why I switched back to Gizmodo

A while back I decided to choose between subscribing to Gizmodo and Engadget, because they’re very similar and I’m not that gadget-obsessed.

First I removed both hoping friends would forward me the interesting stuff. That didn’t happen because I guess I’m a really big know-it-all jerk. I then picked Gizmodo, but switched to Engadget because they leave commenting on.

Continue reading Why I switched back to Gizmodo

Cutting memories from suburbia

Money Clip Knife

Listening to NPR on the way to work, the program was about job prospects for high school graduates.

The first person interviewed was a kid who was selling Cutco knives for Vector Marketing. I’m sure Mark will get a kick out of that.

Though I was spared the opportunity of thinking selling knives was cool, I do have a book with a lot of holes poked in it by a Cutco money clip knife thrown by someone less fortunate than me.
Continue reading Cutting memories from suburbia

PHP coders

I get e-mails often of companies looking to hire me or find a hot-shot front-end Ajax-style PHP coder. It’s very difficult to help and I don’t know who to recommend.

My policy is to cast a wide net and then grill the people in interviews until they break in order to see where their real knowledge is. Others can’t be so luxurious because they’re not me. Anyone who can string a web page together with MySQL can (and often does) call themselves a “front-end PHP coder.” The variance in quality is very high, so high that I often recommend a good solid C programmer over a PHP one, because the former can learn PHP if need be.

The problem here is this doesn’t work well for a front-end UI developer because the web is a tricky business.

Ben mentions a different problem. What should the going rate of such a person be?Continue reading PHP coders