Blog entries from September, 2007

Playing around with a digital SLR

Friday, September 21st, 2007 at 11:04pm

Further to my thoughts about getting a digital SLR camera I have borrowed Hamish’s Canon EOS 300D. In particular his 28mm f/2.8 lens for candid shots in low light without needing the flash.

Tonight we had a family dinner and during the evening I took over 500 photos, almost all of which were of my nephews. The large number was thanks to continuous mode which allowed me to capture interesting actions and expressions. Looking through the photos later it appears that there is only one good photo from each burst. However, that still results in a fair number of good photos.

Something that worked out well for some photos and not so good for others was my decision to attempt to select a appropriate white balance setting:

  • The kitchen has fluorescent lights and the fluorescent setting worked out very well.
  • The dining room has a single incandescent light and with the incandescent setting the photos are slightly yellow. But that could be expected as there isn’t much light in that room.
  • The lounge has compact fluorescent lamps but I was using the incandescent setting. It was only when I was reviewing the photos later that I saw that all of these ones had a green tinge.

For a while now I have been using Picasa as a way of browsing through all my photos. I was pleasantly surprised to find that the automatic colour adjustment did a very good job of removing the green tinge and the fill light control is good for lightening up the photos that are a bit dark.

So, apart from some mistakes that experience should eliminate, using a digital SLR was worth it.

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Thinking about a digital SLR camera

Tuesday, September 18th, 2007 at 11:06pm

Early last year I chose convenience in my choice for a digital camera. This has allowed me to have it with me almost all the time, including being readily accessible while out riding.

Ever since one friend got a secondhand Canon EOS 300D and another got a new Nikon D80 I have been thinking about getting a digital SLR of my own. What impressed me was the speed and sensitivity of the camera, in particular in low light without using a flash and an appropriate lens.

The other area I would appreciate an SLR is in taking photos for my computer collection. It would give me much greater control of the photos and also allow me to rely less on the flash (although better lighting would also do that).

So what would I get?

I’m not yet sure. Over the last couple of days I have been reading up on two cameras that are at a similar price point:

The Canon is much more popular and there seems to be a much availablity of lenses for it. Also, the Canon has now been out for over a year and should be replaced in arond six months, while the Nikon has only been out for a few months. I don’t know how this affects any decision I make.

I suppose my next step is to go to some camera stores and have a look at them in person. It would also be interesting to see what the salesperson “recommends”.

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Joining a walled garden

Thursday, September 13th, 2007 at 10:26pm

Despite some arguments to the contrary I have joined another walled garden: Facebook.

Why? Because I wanted to see what all the fuss was about. However, since everything is secret you have to join to see all the stuff that used to be accessible. But that is the only reason and I am resolved to not contribute any of my own content. For example my blog posts will remain here and my photos will remain on Flickr. I have two classes: content that I want others to access (without jumping through hoops) and content that I keep private (that will simply not be made available to anyone).

The other walled garden that I am a member of is LinkedIn. Over the couple of years that I have had my LinkedIn profile I have spent a few hours entering information and adding connections. I have yet to get a single thing out of it…

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A minor update

Tuesday, September 11th, 2007 at 10:44pm

Over the past few weeks I have been slowly, but steadily, sorting through my collection in order to bring it down to a more manageable size. For example I did sort through my pile of Macintosh LC’s to eliminate the ones that weren’t actually complete.

One small thing I have done is to put up some updated photos:

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The ultimate spam comment

Thursday, September 6th, 2007 at 07:43pm

Ever since I enabled comments I have been using the Akismet Plugin to combat spam which has been remarkably successful:

  • Around 1,000 comments are identified as spam per fortnight.
  • One or two comments are marked for moderation per week, all except one has been handled by clicking the ‘recheck queue for spam’ button.
  • One comment slips through a month that I need to manually remove and mark as spam.

Today the following comment slipped through:

hello , my name is Richard and I know you get a lot of spammy comments , I can help you with this problem . I know a lot of spammers and I will ask them not to post on your site. It will reduce the volume of spam by 30-50% .In return Id like to ask you to put a link to my site on the index page of your site. The link will be small and your visitors will hardly notice it , its just done for higher rankings in search engines. Contact me icq ________ or write me __________ , i will give you my site url and you will give me yours if you are interested. thank you

I was speechless…

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Maps of Midkemia

Monday, September 3rd, 2007 at 09:56pm

Before last month’s OSDClub meeting I saw that Jacinta was holding a copy of Magician. Since this wasn’t the revised edition (which is the only one I have read) this led to a discussion of the differences of that book and the also revised Prince of the Blood.

One interesting thing Jacinta pointed out was that Salador was missing from the map in her book, even though it is featured as a significant stop between Krondor and Rillanon. So when I got home that night I looked at the maps in my books and it was present in all of them, as it is in this colourful map.

This also raised another point, there are a lot of places mentioned in the maps. But many of them haven’t been mentioned in any of the books to date (apart from the map itself). Will they be?

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