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track PMS – the threat of global bitchiness exposed

30-Jan-09

pms tracking

funny, was just talking about this. questions like, do women actually have to track their cycle? can’t they just feel it coming on? apparently there are many who keep a record on a calendar. (fortunately for me, this is not an issue, my lady is as cool as a cucumber.)

while the site is targeted to men, perhaps the ladies too, could saddle up to a new e-pal – for the good and civility of a peaceful relationship.

argh

related links: pmsbuddy pms stories, pmsbuddy tips!

When all else fails, flowers will always do the trick. They are kryptonite to PMS.

[via slantback]

download “hope over fear” – President Obama’s inauguration speech

20-Jan-09

took way too long to find this; we have certainly entered an era where “traditional search” engines are fail. I finally found a link for Pres. Obama’s inauguration speech on twitter search after going through countless pages on y!, goog’ and utube. the reality is clear: news publications and search engines are too slow for news, now.

crooks and liars has the speech for download in wmv and mov formats.

44th president obama

enjoy and be humbled by our 44th president’s speech, which was written 27 year old, Jon Favreau.

indie sitcom The Remnants pilot episode

13-Jan-09

Very happy to see Ze in something.. anything. seriously, I guess I still miss the show.

The pilot for The Remnants, written and directed by John August. Starring Justine Bateman, Michael Cassidy, Ben Falcone, Ze Frank, Ernie Hudson, and Amanda Walsh.

It was shot during the WGA strike in February 2008, using the SAG internet agreement.

The project is currently in development with 60Frames in association with NBC/U, so it could in theory become a series at some point. Either way, we had a good time making it.

watch below, or go to vimeo for the hd version.

The Remnants from John August on Vimeo.

via the writer’s blog, john august. here’s wishing him and all involved luck in bringing the series to fruition!

Canon Civil War – SD880IS vs SD990IS – part three

08-Jan-09

In a war this close, choosing the victor is far less fun than waging the battles themselves. I say this because it was a tough call and regardless of outcome, have thoroughly enjoyed both of these memory-capture devices.

Aesthetics and usage

While I generally prefer the color black to silver, I can’t get over the awkward wannabe-sports-car shape of the SD990IS. Further adding insult to injury is that those odd contours lead to a physically clumsy holding position. The thumb has no home like it does on the SD880IS. Holding the 880 feels far more natural. Insignificant as it may sound, this small difference has led me to generally enjoy using the 880 more than the 990.

Even so, the SD990’s optical viewfinder will inevitably be missed by SD880 users, and the quick-shot mode which makes specific use of, is very cool.

The SD880’s wide angle lens is fun – useful in both indoor and outdoor situations, simply a great feature I wish the 990 had an option for.

Manual-mode on the SD990 is as it is on all Canon camera’s – useful if you read the manual and/or are particularly meticulous about photography. The SD880’s program-mode offers a few manual options such as exposure time. I figure, if you’re the type to really tweak, you probably have or are in the market for a D-SLR camera.

Win: SD880IS (but very close)

Overall photo quality

So do the additional 4.7MP spec-advantage of the SD990IS equate to better pictures? Absolutely – the SD990IS has superior IQ and a bigger sensor (however slight) than the SD880IS. This is apparent in the clearer less noise better focused pictures in every shooting environment. Noise is the single largest complaint of the SD880IS and after taking some 200 photos with both cameras, I can see why.

Photo file sizes (.JPG only used, in auto-mode) are also advantage SD990 – at 9MP/Large which is comparable to the SD880’s 10MP setting, files – in general – are almost ½ as big as the 880. With the larger file size there is no discernible quality advantage. At full resolution, a typical 14.7MP 990’s image file range from 3.5 to 5.5MB depending on settings.

Win: SD990IS


Which to choose?!

From the first moment I held the both, I generally wanted the SD880IS: ~$100 cheaper, wide-angle lens, huge LCD and subtle-yet-slick styling. In the weeks I wavered between the two, I really wanted to want the SD990IS for it’s better picture quality and optical viewfinder which I knew I’d eventually miss. However, I found myself more often picking up and snapping shots with the SD880IS. Its elegant and modern form factor as well as “handling” I can only continue to say is totally natural won me over – the slightly lighter and smaller body certainly helped pull the tide, too. Undeniable though, was the nicer photos the 990 consistently delivered.

Tie (yes, I know, COP-OUT!)

So… wait, what?

I’m keeping the SD990IS. The facts are that aesthetics are ultimately irrelvant and awkwardness is hardly a reason to dismiss an otherwise superior camera. I want to take great pictures after-all, and while the wide-angle lens is a loss, the additional zoom and capabilities are definite gains.

The final factor was made by a weight neither camera had control over. Dell is fantastic for returns and I waited too long to return the 990IS to Adorama (they only offer 14 days from order, oops!)

Ultimately both Canon’s are fantastic point and shoot cameras. Their differences place them in similar yet different target audiences: SD990IS edges towards the professional photographer type and the SD880IS is certain to be a favorite among party-goers, like those who love(d) the infamous Polaroid camera.

—-
Miss part one or two of this “series?”
one) Sizing up the competitors
two) Through the eyes of the combatants

talk to the hand cuz the face ain’t listenin’

08-Jan-09

talk to the hand

Place The Hand on your car, home or apartment window (suction cups included) and let the world know how you’re feeling! Simply press one of the buttons on the wireless remote (with visor clip) and choose 1 or all 7 of the built-in hand gestures.

[Gestures include:] I love you, Hang Loose, Devil Horns, The Bird, Loser , Power and Peace gestures.

ahh technology, the world is so much more fun wit’ ye’.

via senor slantback, and it can be purchased at perpetualkid for $40 (though, no thx, my hands work just fine)

Canon Civil War – SD880IS vs SD990IS – part two

26-Dec-08

Through the eyes of the Combatants… (aka Sample Photos!)

Seeing is believing and this battle aims to expose what each competitor is made of. So, I took many many auto shooting-mode photos to simulate the typical life of the point and shoot camera. that is: no tripods, no ideal lighting, no expert photographer (me.)

The best practice for sample shots, as determined by the sum of various intarweb photologists, is to take a crop of a 100% untampered photo (i.e. not resized.) In most cases, the size of my crop is 1280×900 and the flash is disabled. I am not a fan of the flash as it often seems to bleach the subject. But because of this, you will plainly see that a lot of these shots fair on the too-dark side. None of them have been photoshopped in anyway.

Let us begin with one of my favorite subjects both to blog about and photograph, the motorcycle.
Default focus, outside, night-time, cropped, flash on sample shot:

  • rain drenched motorcycle handlebars
  • SD880IS:
    handlebars crop sd880is
  • SD990IS:
    handlebars crop sd990is

We see the SD990 capture more sharply the intricacies of each shape than the SD880. Additionally the 990 has more accurate and less washed-out color representation, partially attributable to the greater focus it has on the subject, versus the 880’s blurry concentration.

More…

Canon Civil War – SD880IS vs SD990IS – part one

22-Dec-08

Sizing up the Competitors

SD880IS and SD990IS retail boxes

These are Canon’s brand-new Digital ELPH ultra-compact point and shoot cameras, currently top of the line in each of their convoluted-naming-scheme classes. While I could list all of each camera’s specs, I won’t because their feature sets are essentially the same. (Feel free to read up on them on Canon’s website: SD880IS, SD990IS.) Like in war, it’s the differences that are the heart of matter.

Here is what each packs in its armory, aka spec deviations:

Megapixels:

  • SD880IS – 10.0 Megapixel, 1/2.3-inch sensor type Charge Coupled Device (CCD)
  • SD990IS – 14.7 Megapixel, 1/1.7 inch … CCD
  • Be sure to check out Justin’s comment regarding what these numbers actually translate to (the short of it is that the SD990IS leads with a slightly higher concentration of MP/Sensor size.) Thanks Justin!

Lens and Focus:

  • SD880IS – Wide Angle Lens 5.0-20.0mm f/2.8-5.8 (35mm film equivalent: 28-112mm)
  • Macro: 0.8 in.-1.6 ft./2-50cm (W), 1.0-1.6 ft./30-50cm (T)
    Digital Macro: 0.8 in. – 1.6 ft./2-50cm (W)
  • SD990IS – 7.7-28.5mm f/2.8-5.8 (35mm film equivalent: 36-133mm)
  • Macro: 2.0 in.-1.6 ft./5-50cm (W), 1.3-1.6 ft./40-50cm (T)
    Digital Macro: 2.0 in. – 1.6 ft./5-50cm (W)
  • BOTH – Normal: 1.6 ft./50cm-infinity

Canon SD880 and SD990 front shot

Viewfinders:

  • SD880IS – No optical viewfinder, 3″ LCD, 230K pixels
  • SD990IS – Optical viewfinder and 2.5″ LCD, 230K pixels

Shooting Modes:

  • SD880IS – N/A
  • SD990IS – Manual, Quick
  • BOTH – Auto, P(rogram), Special Scene (Portrait, Foliage, Snow, Beach, Sunset, Fireworks, Aquarium, Underwater, ISO 3200, Indoor, Kids & Pets, Night Snapshot), Color Accent, Color Swap, Digital Macro, Stitch Assist), Movie

Zoom:

  • SD880IS – 4x Optical/4x Digital/16x Combined
  • SD990IS – 3.7x Optical/4x Digital/15x Combined

Canon SD880 and SD990 back shot

Flash Power/Range:

  • SD880IS – 1.0-13.8 ft./30cm-4.2m (W), 1.0-6.6 ft./30cm-2.0m (T)
  • SD990IS – 1.6-15 ft./50cm-4.6m (W), 1.6-7.9 ft./50cm-2.4m (T)

Continuous Shooting Speed:

  • SD880IS – 1.4fps
  • SD990IS – 1.3fps

Shooting Capacity (shots per charge:)

  • SD880IS – Still Image: approx. 310 shots (LCD screen on*)
  • SD990IS – Still Image: approx. 280 shots/700 shots (LCD off)

Weight and Dimensions:

  • SD880IS – 3.69 x 2.24 x 0.93 in./93.8 x 56.8 x 23.6mm; Approx. 5.47 oz./155g (camera body only)
  • SD990IS – 3.81 x 2.45 x 1.10 in./96.7 x 62.2 x 27.9mm; Approx. 5.64 oz./160g (camera body only)

Canon SD880 and SD990 top shot

Price:
The SD990IS is about 50-100 $USD more; I purchased the SD880IS for ~$200 and the SD990IS for ~$300. (approx. Dec. 15 ’08)

Conclusion:
Essentially the SD880IS has it all, at 1/3rd the price. The wide-angle lens is certainly fun and oft sought after. Not having an optical view finder is a detriment however, as it can be used to gain steadier shots (use your head) and gain additional battery life. Additionally, the SD990IS has a couple of shooting modes (namely *manual*) some people will require. The dramatic sounding 4.7 sounding megapixel contrast is a toss up; chances are we won’t see the loss unless we’re blowing up our photos, poster size. Lastly, macro focus appears, according to the spec, superior with the SD880IS but I sense that is not the whole story.

The war continues: Canon Civil War part two, through the eyes of the Combatants

p.s. please excuse the pics in this post as they were taken with my elderly PowerShot S50.
More…

addressing the v-strom, aka windstrom, buffeting problems

18-Dec-08

it is well known that the biggest (arguably) design defect in the v-strom is the wind buffeting that can be described as . I experienced it immediately and bought a madstad adjustable windshield bracket which helped, a little. as the winter weather really started kicking in, and I swear my hearing was getting worse, I went for the slick looking and larger (in both width and height) than stock GIVI D260ST Wind Shield.

Givi versus Suzuki stock Windshields

the install was smooth as can be, the Givi attached to my madstad as readily as the Suzuki stock shield did. with the stock shield, I had madstad adjusted all the way up and forward. with the Givi this was unacceptable as I could no longer see over the shield. so now it’s almost all the way down and pulled a little way back from fully front.

with the Madstad + Givi combo, a total cost of ~$230 new, the buffeting problem as close to gone as anyone could reasonably expect. the shield itself is of high build quality and looks great. it does have one element of concern regarding an appearent “lens effect.” in bright direct sunlight it has been reported that the Givi shield can melt the dashboard. there is a warning sticker on the shield that states this as well. while a little disconcerting, not really a problem since I keep mine covered in the summer.

nate's farkled 2008 DL650A

amazon mp3 download first purchase impressions

16-Dec-08

since its glorious DRM-free inception at the beginning of 2008, I’ve thought a few times, “hey I should but that album from amazon.” but then I load up rhapsody, which I already pay a ~$10/month subscription for, and there it is (usually…)

well today, as if the amazonian borg collective finally penetrated my mind, I get a no-strings offer of $5 towards their service just because I aready buy tons of my crap from them.

As someone who purchased $25 worth of products from Amazon’s Music or Electronics Stores between November 28, 2008 and December 25, 2008, you’ve qualified for a $5 promotional credit good for music downloads from Amazon MP3, Amazon.com’s digital music service.

it works, I bite. I go straight for an album I know won’t let me down, Metallica, Master of Puppets.

the process was extraordinarly smooth, even as a Linux user! amazon mp3 offers their little download app in four different software package flavors. I choose the most applicable to me, an Ubuntu .deb(ian) pkg.

within seconds it’s downloaded, installed, and my mp3s are on the way.
amazon mp3 music store

in short: great experience, if I ever need mp3s again I will buy from amazon. I can’t possibly foresee a single negative to using this service whatsoever.

how to set the vstrom clock

09-Dec-08

from the this should be easier than it actually is department. I finally got around to resetting my v-strom’s clock today to account for daylight-savings. anyway, because it has a steeper learning curve than most, I had to look it up… I figured the manual was the best one stop – wrong! there is a little trick (not mentioned in the manual) that I found over at the stromtroopers forum.

turn the key on, and the ignition to run.
push the left button slightly ahead of the right button and hold both for what seems like forever (~10secs or so..)
when you get a blinking minute, increment with the right button.
hit the left button to switch to hours, adjust accordingly,
then left again to finish the job.

set the v-strom clock

how to buy made in usa toys

04-Dec-08

for buying via amazon, which happens to be my preferred medium of choice for gifts, this search technique can also be utilized in other ways by the imaginative conscientious consumer. since toys are predominantly made in china, this is a great example:

http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=&tag%3Dcjh-20?url=search-alias=toys-and-games&field-keywords=made+in+usa

buy “local” and support your aching economy.

the problem with corn ethanol and big-government’s short-sightedness

24-Nov-08

Q: Do you deny global warming? Is Obama right to invest money in green technology? If you don’t deny it, and don’t think Obama is right, what is your solution?

A: I try to look at global warming the same way I look at all other serious issues: as objectively and open-minded as possible.

Just look at the mess government created with ethanol. Congress decided that we needed more biofuels, and the best choice was ethanol from corn. So we subsidized corn farmers at the expense of others, and investment in other types of renewables was crowded out.

Now it turns out that corn ethanol is inefficient, and it actually takes more energy to produce the fuel than you get when you burn it. The most efficient ethanol may come from hemp, but hemp production is illegal and there has been little progress on hemp ethanol. And on top of that, corn is now going into our gas tanks instead of onto our tables or feeding our livestock or dairy cows; so food prices have been driven up. This is what happens when we allow government to make choices instead of the market; I hope we avoid those mistakes moving forward.

this is the kind of insight and logical-factual explanation we’ve come to expect and adore from Dr. Paul. as a Ron Paul supporter, I highly recommend this read at freakonomics: Ron Paul Answers Your Questions, Part Two.

[via slantback]

futurama final fantasy vii

21-Nov-08

a marvelous combination of two of my favorite plots players:

futurama ffvii

motorcyclist rear ended – animated gif friday xvi

14-Nov-08

this horrific cop-cam capture is of a rubbernecker who literally mows down a biker at a traffic light.
this is exactly why I split lanes or flash my brake lights with hold on the clutch until there is a stopped car safely behind me. if only our helmets had eyes.
motorcyclist rear-ended

AGF image note: you may have to open and close the image window if it does not start playing

pushy penguin – animated gif friday xv

07-Nov-08

pushy penguin

thanks Sarah!