26 September 2009


Links of interest (2009-09-26):

  • Photo sharing site Flickr has these new Gallery things.
  • Homemade stratosphere camera rig goes sub-orbital to 93,000 feet (18 miles). Total cost? $150.
  • Suw Charman's life is "infested with yetis."
  • AIS is the way that commercial ships and boats report their near-coastal positions for navigation. The Live Ships Map uses AIS data to show almost-real-time positions for vessels all around the world. Zoom in and be amazed.
  • Strong Bad Email #204 had be laughing uncontrollably. Make sure to click around on the end screen for the easter eggs.
  • Julia Child boils up some primordial soup. Really.
  • Funky bracelets made from old camera lens housings. Nerdy, yet cool.
  • Adobe Photoshop Elements 8: most of the cool features, about 85% cheaper than regular Photoshop.
  • Vancouver's awesome and inexpensive Argo Cafe finally gets coverage in the New York Times.
  • When people ask me to spell a word out loud, I notice that I scrunch up my face while I visualize the letters behind my eyelids.
  • Via Jeff Jarvis: in the future, if politicians have nothing embarrassing on the Net, we'll all wonder what it is they're hiding and why they've spent so much effort expunging it.

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25 July 2009


Zap: Vancouver's July 2009 lightning storm

We had a bit of a lightning storm in Vancouver tonight, which is unusual around here.

Lightning 8

My photo was featured on the website for The Province newspaper this evening too. Thanks to my wife Air for suggesting I send it to them.

UPDATE JULY 26: While my photo above was one of the first posted on Flickr (and on a newspaper website), many other more spectacular shots appeared once people got home from the Celebration of Light fireworks and so on, especially with pictures taken as sunset cast the sky a Martian red. Check out some of the lightning images I found from happygilmore_s_d, drlube, gordzilla68, danfairchildphotography, weaktight, andy6white, another from andy6white, shiftybatter, one more from shiftybatter, cisley, and an extra from cisley, bobbybobbydigi, An Eagle in Your Mind, c-a, lenlangevin, n8brophy, Fleeting Light, uncle_buddha, melodiedawn, treygeiger, cazasco, chrissyshome, mystify, vitrain, kingtoast, and realaworld.

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14 July 2009


Links of interest 2006-07-05 to 2006-07-13

Yup, still on a blog break. So, more of my selected Twitter posts, newest first:

  • Vancouver to Whistler in one minute (okay, I cheated):

  • We're in the mountains, but in a civilized way. Pool/hot tub, grocery store across the street, Wi-Fi. But, uh, there is mountain weather.
  • Super-duper stop-motion movie with 60,000 photo prints (ad for Olympus, via Lisa Bettany and Photojojo). Chris Atherton points out that this follows Wolf and Pig.
  • Okay camera nerds, here's some rangefinder pr0n for you.
  • The stereotypically blingtastic (and boobtastic) video diminishes Karl Wolf's tolerable version of Toto's "Africa." (And I'm no Toto fan.) It's like a live-action Hot Chicks with Douchebags. Yes, the choirboy harmonies are actually kind of charming, but he's going P-Diddy on it in the end.
  • In the storage closet, my kids found something of mine from 1976 that is EVEN GEEKIER than my U.S.S. Enterprise belt buckle:
    Aye Captain!
    Red shirts were available back then, as well as the blue Mr. Spock style, but I chose Kirk. Of course.

  • The only sounds I can hear right now: the dishwasher, the fan in the hallway, and the birds in the trees outside the window.
  • During my biology degree, Platyhelminthes was a favourite organism name. Now there's a plush toy! (With 2 heads!!)
  • When I used to busk with the band, our biggest victories were scaring away the holy rollers across the street (we got applause).
  • Neat. When a ship is built, here are the differences between milestones: keel laying, christening, commissioning, etc.
  • AutoTune the News #6. Even more awesome.
  • Picked up kids from Aldergrove camp. Sadly, there was a terrible accident on the Port Mann Bridge. We took a long Langley/Surrey/New Westminster detour.
  • Google's changing culture. Point: Google now has more employees than Microsoft did at launch of Windows 95.
  • Time lapse: 8 hours from my front window in about 1 min 30 sec, made with my new Nikon D90 and free Sofortbild capture software (and iMovie):

    Something like John Biehler's Nikon Coolpix P6000 is better for timelapse long term; the D90's mechanical shutter, which is rated for 100,000 uses, would wear out in less than 6 months if used for time lapse every day. P.S. Andy Gagliano pointed to a useful Macworld podcast about making time-lapse movies.

  • Depressing: most Internet Explorer 6 users use it at work, because they're not allowed to use another browser.
  • These Christopher Walken impressions are way funnier than I expected.
  • The way monkeys peel a banana shows us we've all been doing it the needlessly hard way all these years.
  • Um... hot!
  • Most appropriate Flash cartoon ever?
  • Drinking whisky and Diet Dr. Pepper, watching MythBusters. Pretty mellow.
  • A good photo is "not about the details or the subject. It's what your subconscious pulls out of it all without thinking."
  • Just picked up another month's supply of horrible, nasty, vile, wonderful, beautiful, lifesaving anti-cancer pills. Thanks, Big Pharma Man.
  • My wife tells me she's discovered a sure-fire tip for a gal to attract quality guys in public: carry a huge SLR camera over your shoulder.
  • "For the great majority [...] blogging is a social activity, not an aspiration to mass-media stardom."
  • Just talked to younger daughter (9) for first time after three days at summer camp. She's a little homesick, but having fun.
  • I took a flight over a remote landscape:

  • The 50 worst cars of all time (e.g. "The Yugo had the distinct feeling of something assembled at gunpoint").
  • I haven't seen either Transformers movie, but that's okay, I saw this.
  • Dan Savage: cheating on your spouse should now be known as "hiking the Appalachian Trail." Good point in the article too.
  • You can still buy a station wagon with fake wood paneling!
  • Train vs. tornado. It does not end well. Watch without fast-forward/scrubbing for maximum tension.
  • Just lucked into a parking spot on Granville Island. Time for some lunch.
  • Sent the kids off for a week of horse-riding camp today. Wife Air and I had sparkling wine in the garden. Vewwy vewwy quiet around here.
  • Just sorted a bunch of CDs. Still several discs missing cases, and cases missing discs. I feel like a total '90s throwback.
  • Rules of photography (via Alastair Bird).
  • When did the standard Booth Babe uniform become cropped T-shirt and too-short schoolgirl kilt?
  • Listening to "Kind of Blue." It's been awhile.
  • "A two-year old is kind of like having a blender, but you don't have a top for it." - Jerry Seinfeld (via Ryan).

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13 June 2009


Blog break

Stairs HDRExcept for the occasional vacation or trip to the hospital, I've written on this blog most days since October 27, 2000 (and more intermittently for three and a half years before that, before it was a blog). Including this post, that's 3446 entries in 3152 days, or an average of 1.09 posts per day, through raising our kids and work and travel and illnesses and treatments galore.

For most of my life I've written compulsively. In the words of Tim Bray and Mark Pilgrim, I write this blog because I "can't not write." Or at least I did. But today it feels forced, an annoyance, something it should not be.

I need a break. So I'm taking one. I don't know how long.

I'll probably still post to Twitter and Facebook, but not as much. I'll be on email too, though I plan to unsubscribe from a lot of lists and notifications that clutter up my inbox, and maybe try to pare down the 1800 messages sitting there. There will be photos on Flickr. Maybe I'll find a way to bring some of that material over here automatically. We'll see.

Other things also won't change. I plan to continue co-hosting with Dave Chick the Inside Home Recording podcast once a month or so. I won't be offline or off the grid. If you subscribe to my RSS feed you'll see when something new appears here, whenever that might be. I'll let you know if there's any big news.

In the meantime, it's almost summer. Go outside. Be with your friends and family. Talk. Love. I plan to.

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14 January 2009


Parlour tricks

Knowing that I can raise my lip, Stallone-style, my older daughter asked me to make this silly 20-second video:

No strings were harmed during filming. The song is my own "P and P," from 2005.

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07 January 2009


Are there perhaps too many digital SLRs on the market?

One way to get lots of people to see a photo of yours on the image sharing site Flickr is to take a good picture. That requires talent, skill, and dedication. A few of my pictures have become popular simply because they're good photographs—at least I think so.

But my most popular pictures on Flickr aren't like that at all. They're nerdy: pictures of wacky guitars or geek conferences, of old computers or Linux running on a Mac.

And what do you do to attract huge numbers of viewers and comments and favourites? Simple, go full nerd: just make a picture of a whole bunch of cameras and encourage people to argue about them. More than 38,000 views in six months, 208 favourite votes, and dozens and dozens of comments:

Old image of almost 25 cameras

State of the DSLR market: Nikon vs. Canon vs. Sony/Minolta vs. Olympus vs. Panasonic/Leica vs. Pentax digital SLR cameras, as of June 2008
State of the DSLR market - June 2008 (old)

An earlier attempt of mine at the same thing even had commenters threatening to kill each other about the kind of camera they like! But my favourite comment was from Axl Van Goks: "I like the black one with the buttons and stuff."

Since the digital camera market changes like crazy, my big collage from June 2008 was out of date within weeks. I waited for all the pre-Christmas camera introductions to shake out, and now I've made a new version that includes all the current digital SLR cameras I could find (almost 40) from Nikon, Canon, Sony, Olympus, Pentax, Panasonic, Leica, Samsung, Sigma, and Fujifilm:

New image of almost 40 cameras

State of the DSLR market: Nikon vs. Canon vs. Sony/Minolta vs. Olympus vs. Panasonic/Leica vs. Pentax vs. Samsung vs. Sigma vs. Fujifilm digital SLR cameras, as of January 2009
State of the DSLR market - January 2009 (new)

I expect the arguing to begin soon in the comments. The picture has 139 views and 4 favourites since I posted it three and a half hours ago. And yes, yes, I know, I know: they're not all strictly SLRs, but I think they're all of interest to SLR buyers.

Ah, art. Have at it.

UPDATE: My thesis appears to be correct. As a rule of thumb, the more cameras you put in a picture on Flickr, the more popular it is:

Shameless link baiting? Success!

Links from John Gruber and 37signals didn't hurt either.

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03 January 2009


Favourite photos of 2008

Here are my 200+ favourite photos from 2008, posted to my Flickr account. I took most, but not all, of them:

Martin Sikes memorial 25 Martin Sikes memorial 36 Excursionists return to Denny's 1 Edison and Leo - Leo with mouth Hangdog hats Six oranges Sledding at Forglen - 07 Sledding at Forglen - 03 Gone swimmin' - 10 Gone swimmin' - 14 New glasses 2 Mirror prep Little Red Riding Bonham Rock out! Drum solo Mountain view 2 Slushy sledding - 19 Rick's 1966 Fender Jazz Bass - front Simone - 04 Simone - 06 Simone - 08 Chocolate sundae - 1 20 years on Birthday swim - 20 Vac-u-girl Miss M and her pals Science World birthday - 02 Science World birthday - 32 Science World birthday - 48 Moon and Saturn Lunar eclipse - 34 Moon and tree Northern Voice tiki dinner 2008 Northern Voice tiki dinner 2008 Slide pileup MooseCamp 2008 - The Millers Crazy Kingsway - 3 Crazy Kingsway - 7 Northern Voice 2008 Quick 'n' dirty Mullenweg keynote panorama Northern Voice 2008 - Buttons Footie Legs only Mossy 1 Lauren! Happy Easter from M Happy Easter from L Geek spawn Paparazzo Grandpa Ralph and the girls Sticky and Swingy Neurotic Train wheels 1 Toque boy Air and the BlackBerry Pearl Washing the deck 1 Cartwheel Très orange Derek with Artigiano latte Central Park Leaves HDR Test Central Park Leaves HDR Final Jesse Tucker 3 L and her mom at Old Orchard Park Stylin' girls Papa, Mimi, and the girls Two spooners Catch a falling star Georgia Strait solstice sunset - 9:25pm 21 June 2008 English Bay summer solstice 2 - 10:30pm 21 June 2008 Simone at the Millers' 2 Vancouver City Hall Hubcaps for sale Construction Last day of school! 1912 House Downtown Vancouver skyline Lonsdale Quay with fireboat 2 Container cranes Second Narrows 2 Under the Line East Van Mom and Wellington In the fountain! Two smileys Miss L sleeping Miss M The girls Flowers Beach ball Miss L Nikon D50 Derek with Nikon F4 Big roller Cross-processed flowers 8 Summer spray Splash zone Back at the car M portrait L portrait Yes, there was a bear Family above the clouds A and M ready for the mountain Off the peak Leap Wet spin Peach smoothie Little customer At your service Keep runnin' Balloon release 4 Yaletown swings Dizzy and Jeff Yard monsters (4 and 8) Little Miss A Door dawg Stoplights Jeff D. Holloway Lift truck HDR Air and kk+ Air and Ponzi ROSCO at Harmony Arts B&W 15 Never touch my car again Simone - Labour Day weekend Arbutus Club - Daughters and Sticky Fire dancer 18 My cousin T Sleepy M Cry cry cry Misses L and M Burnaby Mountain sunset HDR Metrotown bridge 1 HDR Me Right Now Little BarCamper BarCamp party - Jenn Lowther L's first glasses M's new specs Sticky Neurotic on guitar Liking the new glasses Miss M and Tooth Cottony clouds 2 HDR Basket BlackBerry Car wash 3 Power chord time (faux Polaroid) D.Q. Neurotic 2008 - 3 Trophy girl 2 Autumn front window 2 HDR Fender Princeton Reverb (circa 1978) and MXL990 condenser mic Renaissance HDR Kids on the roof - Coast Mountains behind Crazy living room photo shoot 2 Crazy living room photo shoot 6 Crazy living room photo shoot 9 Crazy living room photo shoot 13 Family Christmas 2 Tracks Leaves 1 Leaves 4 Hat man Sliders Waiting in the waves Station Square roof HDR iPodder Mt. Baker from the Fraser River HDR Derek's crazy mutant post-chemo eyelashes Overpass HDR L and Air Big eyelashes again Tree silhouette HDR Air and Karen Best of 604 - Lip Gloss and Laptops wins Vignette sample - DX crop-frame lens on full-frame camera Navarik kids' Christmas - Princess Navarik kids' Christmas - popular Santa 2 Air and Dizzle B&W Bokeh dots 3 - multi Bokeh dots 4 - Christmas colours Bloedel Conservatory HDR Mount Baker from Queen E Park HDR Lip balm redecorated Santa M Solstice sledding - 03 Solstice sledding - 04 Solstice sledding - 09 Solstice sledding - 11 Solstice sledding - 12 Burrard Station Cathedral Mountain and cloud HDR My dad, mom, cousin Tata, and TJ Miss M White white white white white Christmas New sweater It's a Quatchi Christmas The Balvenie bottle 195 of 350 Big hat M Our front yard light buried in snow Ferry line HDR Daughters in the wind Shutter speed L at Nautical Nellies Fan Tan Alley Active Pass and Ferry HDR Look out below

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