Archive for the ‘Things’ Category
I’m out to prove something to myself… that even with an old point and shoot digital camera it is possible to take great pictures which rival those taken with higher end gear. Why the hell am I doing this? Motivation by seeing someone else’s sub-par work. Also, it doesn’t hurt when someone says that a piece of equipment is outdated junk.
This topic comes up for me not necessarily as a rant, but as I was going through some old notes before tossing them away, and this issue came up. How much damage can an organization do to themselves by hiring discount, unqualified programming resources?
The answer: A hell of a lot.
If you own a small software development shop, do yourself a huge favor and keep reading.
The Sarawak Chamber is the largest known underground chamber of its kind in the world. It is part of the ‘Good Luck Cave’ system which is located in Gunung Mulu National Park, in the Malaysian state of Sarawak on the island of Borneo.
The chamber is not yet fully explored, and roughly measures about 700m (2,300 feet) long, 400m (1,300 feet) wide and at least 70m (230 feet) high. To get a sense of how much space this is, imagine the amount of land you would need to park ten Boeing 747-400 aircraft in line. That’s a lot of space! The irregular shape of Sarawak Chamber would probably fit at least 30 more inside if the ground was flat, and the entrance was big enough… well, it’s safe to say that I would have to be making a good number of assumptions indeed. In any event- It’s BIG.
Is your 1st edition or 3G iPhone home button stuck?
Does it take multiple presses to get back to the home screen?
Does it sometimes not respond at all to the touch, even though the clicker mechanism seems to be intact and not making any grinding noises?
Is your phone no longer under warranty so you fear those sales reps er… Genius Bar technicians are going to try to gouge you on repair costs?
Is your phone not going to be serviceable because it’s been jailbroken?
Well, I’m not saying I have all the answers, but consider this before you take matters into your own hands and begin dissecting your iPhone looking for a way to replace the switch.
Here are some photos I stumbled upon on Flickr, which I felt were quite good… subjectively valued by their framing, artistic merit, emotional content, and the vaguest of them all, sheer beauty:
Now for the fun part. These pictures come from two of the WORST digital cameras ever manufactured. Again- the pictures are absolutely beautiful and nothing bad can really be said about them… but the hardware is almost universally derided.
The first four photos were taken with a Polaroid i-Zone 550, a camera regarded as a toy. Its own user base tends to not really like it all that much. Not only a camera, it also comes with a built-in MP3 player, and unfortunately is good at neither task. Advertised as a 5.1 megapixel camera, it was shown to be a 3MP CCD that was upsampled to meet the specification- yet look at the nice shots that came out of the camera in this particular case.
The next four shots were taken with a Pentax Optio E-10, a camera known for its technical crappiness and generally hate-filled user reviews, and for its CCD imager chip randomly dying or batteries mysteriously being drained in abnormally short times.
Again, this is proof that the camera really does not make you a better photographer. Good tools help, but that’s all they are- tools. Many pixel-peepers today simply fail to grasp that.
I have to say I am hooked on pancake lenses. What are they? Well, they’re very flat compared to other lenses, hence the name. Other than their compact size, they don’t offer distortion effects like fisheye lenses, or tilt-shift lenses. The name just implies their diminuitive footprint and possible roots in the Zeiss Tessar lens package design. Now I’m motivated to start a little project that provides some centralized information about them.
I’ve got the first four lenses added into my “Index of Pancake Lenses“, a little database-driven side project that I just launched. I hope to add more in there as I get collect information and develop better understanding of lenses as a whole. Any hints/corrections/additional info are greatly appreciated!
Yesterday, Canon issued a recall on one of their flagship DSLR cameras, the EOS 1D Mark III. One of the problems is related to autofocus issues when not using the center focus point – which I don’t experience because I almost exclusively use the center point. There are a total of 45 autofocus points on the camera viewfinder, with 19 of them being selectable. The remainder are “assist” points.
The autofocus has had knocks on it because under certain conditions it totally freaks out – high temperature heat/haze in the backgrounds, and under low contrast conditions (such as a dancer wearing black against a black background). The EOS 1D Mark IIn, its predecessor, apparently did not have these kinds of issues.
The other problem which is potentially more serious and troubling are ‘ERR99′ messages that occasionally pop up and without real regularity. These cause the camera to become unusable until powered off.
Canon’s biggest problem though is that they are perceived as covering things up.
It’s a lot like when a Windows desktop would crash- you had no idea what happened, and like voodoo in the Microsoft way- with the reboot of the computer, and the waving of a dead chicken, everything would come back just fine. Some users have had to leave their cameras powered off for extended periods of time, while others just remove the battery to reset it, and everything is okay again. I have personally never experienced this problem, so I can’t comment on it.
Canon’s biggest problem though is that they are perceived as covering things up. Having some camera bodies out there that work, and some that can’t focus, and now finally acknowledging some that randomly crash makes this problem worse. In some ways, I wished that ALL of the cameras had failures so that it would be easier to clear the mess away and start over. Then they could issue a credit on current 1D Mark III owners towards the newer model. But I can’t
You’re probably here because of a random search. Well, i’m no expert, but i’ve got some equipment, and i’ve been shooting for only a little while. I’m probably the perfect person to offer an objective point of view! I’m a newbie too. Just like you, but the only difference is that I have some gear, and you don’t (yet).
Well, I want to help you. I want to help you save money, time, and frustration. So without further do, please allow me the opportunity to set you straight on a few things.
- The equipment DOES NOT really matter!
- Persistence and patience do matter, however.
- Being creative and curious helps a lot.
- Special effects are easy. Time consuming, but still… easy.
- Connections help more than expensive lenses.
The explanation for each of these points continues after the break.
We use Xythos at our workplace to provide a file repository for students and eventually faculty and staff. It’s basically a web front end for a file system.
My personal feelings about the product are somewhat ho-hum and indifferent. It makes funny noises under the hood, it’s a bit clunky, but it works, runs on Linux and it’s reliable.
So you’re probably here because you searched on this error:
java.lang.ClassFormatError: Truncated class file
The problem is that you’re probably running your Xythos installation over port 443 (as you should) but there are still components trying to pull files down from port 80. With Xythos, if SSL is enabled, any requests to port 80 get dumped over to 443, and you will get truncated errors like above.
Well, this is the long-delayed next part of my ongoing comparison between the Canon 1D Mark III and the Canon SX110. For those of you wondering why in the hell I am even trying to compare one of Canon’s premier digital SLR cameras versus one of their budget point-and-shooters, check out this posting in which I try to explain some of the insanity.
Can you tell the difference between output from the two cameras? (Comparison gallery is posted after the ‘read more’ button)