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Showing posts from July, 2011

A TouchPad Has Landed

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I've been a webOS fan since I first saw it demonstrated at the Consumer Electronics Show way back in January of 2009. It looked quick and responsive and promised easy app development using web standards. It also had the unheard ability (for 2009) to handle multi-tasking as easily as playing cards. Fast forward to June 2009 and I jumped on a Sprint Pré and absolutely loved it; its only problem was seeing my iPhone toting friends showing off how many apps they have to choose from. Over the years my Pré has been showing its age, so in February when the Touchpad and Pré3 were announced I was excited.

Textures (Photocentric)

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This is another taken from a recent day at the beach. I really like the look of the grass, against the dunes with brush on them and finally the puffy clouds. The different textures of the 3 subjects makes it interesting to my eye at least. The first shot is a "normal" processing of the shot. Meaning it's a single exposure with a little tweaking in Topaz Adjust. The second shot is the same shot that I tweaked first in Aperture to get under and over exposed shots then HDR'd in Photomatix and topped off with some work in Topaz. Though I like HDR a lot, I find I like the original shot more than the HDR version. What do you think? Or, what could I do different in either one to improve it?

Review: In the Garden of Beasts: Love, Terror, and an American Family in Hitler's Berlin

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In the Garden of Beasts: Love, Terror, and an American Family in Hitler's Berlin by Erik Larson

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

In the Garden of Beasts: Love, Terror, and an American Family in Hitler's Berlin, a long if not accurate title for Erik Larson’s latest book, is one that might be hard to read for some. See, when looking back on history we’re able to point out what should have happened, or how we should have done things, or exclaim disbelief that we let things happen the way they did. But when you’re living during history you can only hope that the decisions made, the actions done, and the final outcome will be good.

Steam Donkey (Photocentric)

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Pulling from the not too far back archives for this week's shot. Taken during my visit to the Fort Humboldt State Historic Park this is a Willamette Steam Donkey whose purpose it was to pull logs out of the logging area and into a staging area where the log was prepped for transport. This photo is a 3 shot HDR with a little finishing in Topaz.

On a more modern note, Fort Humboldt is slated to be among some 70 other state parks to close this year due to budget problems. If you feel so inclined take some time to visit the link and voice your concerns to your state representative.


Review: Isaac's Storm: A Man, a Time, and the Deadliest Hurricane in History

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Isaac's Storm: A Man, a Time, and the Deadliest Hurricane in History by Erik Larson

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

To be honest I had low expectations for this book. The subject of a killer storm is of course intriguing, but Erik Larson's previous books had a more human element, and let's face it, they had crime as the subject, which always makes for an interesting read. Isaac's Storm, though a different subject than his previous books, actually had a lot in common.

Sunrise (Photocentric)

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Over on Google+ I've been seeing a lot of great sunset photos. I enjoy taking a good sunset shot almost as much as I enjoy looking at sunset shots. The colors are wonderful, and what some of the photographers have done to make them unique is really interesting. But often times just as beautiful and colorful, sunrise photos seem to get left out. Of course it takes a little more work on the part of the photographer to get the sun rise photo, like getting up before the sun rises, but the shots are unique in their own way.

I think this shot was shown before on my previous blog, so if you've seen it before I apologize, but this is one of my favorites. This shot has the rising sun over the hills and a blanket of fog over the bay. The series of shots I took really showed how quickly the sky's colors changed from a deep purple, to looking like it was on fire.

Beach Grass Redux (Photocentric)

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I was looking over my library on Aperture, in the mood to process some HDRs, when I came across the source photos of my earlier Beach Grass post. I really enjoyed this panorama and then I noticed I had shot it with RAWs and JPEGs using the camera's Panorama Assist function. I realized I could scratch two things off my photography to do list: a) process an HDR shot using one photo, and b) create an HDR panorama. So I got settled in to start the process.

First was deciding on the process. Should I HDR each source shot first, then merge into a panorama? That didn't seem a good idea as I couldn't guarantee the panorama would look uniform at the end. Plus I didn't really want to process 6 separate shots. So after adjusting the exposure in Aperture for +2, 0, and -2 I went to Photoshop to make 3 panoramas. I was nervous that Photoshop would render each one differently, but got lucky that, as far as I could tell, they were the same. Then I brought the 3 source panoramas into …

Sharks Moves

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It's been awhile since I last talked about the San Jose Sharks. If you don't follow hockey you can safely assume that means they didn't win the Stanley Cup, and in the end that's all that matters. We got about as far as we did last year. So what will it take to get us to the Stanley Cup Finals? Apparently General Manager Doug Wilson thinks unloading Devin Setoguchi and Dany Heatley for Brent Burns and Martin Havlat from the Minnesota North Stars Wild are, if nothing else, steps in the right directions.

Review: The Jungle

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The Jungle by Clive Cussler

My rating: 3 of 5 stars


The Jungle is a Clive Cussler book. It's not deep, it's not going to be literary gold decades from now, but it is just good fun. It's a little more toned down than his Dirk Pitt novels, which are basically James Bond based in water, but still pretty fantastical stuff. A group of ex-CIA, Special Forces people make up the Corporation whose base of operations is a tramp of a boat that is actually the fastest, and most advanced boat in the world. They hire themselves out to wealthy people/corporations/countries that are deemed "good" to do high risk/high reward jobs. If you can get past that then the rest of the books, and the series, is quite enjoyable.

A hallmark of Cussler books is starting off in the past with an event (usually involving an object that gets lost) and bringing us to the present where an evil genius has spent his entire life looking for this object that happens to get un-earthed by some unknowing 3…

Google+

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As some of you may know Google's been on a rampage lately. At the minimum you should be seeing a different layout in the search results pages, and if you use any of it's services you'll be seeing other changes. Right now you can see changes in Google Calendar, and if you want you can check out the new GMail theme, just go into Themes and select the one of the two previews available. That's just at the basic level. Coinciding with these changes Google has unwrapped it's biggest push into the social networking arena yet, Google+. It's not yet open to everyone, it's not perfect, and it is a beta, but it's already got me hooked.

Google Music Update

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I've been using and liking Google Music Beta a lot, especially now that all my music is finally up on their servers. But one small issue I have is that the Music Manager software provided to get your music up there doesn't upload iTunes' Smart Playlists. I can understand why, since those lists are dynamic and can change minute to minute, but there's got to be a way to get around that. I mean I keep Music Manager running all the time, so why can't I tell it to, say, check my library a couple times a day to just make sure nothing's changed?

In my listening I rely heavily on Smart Playlists, and it kind of defeats the purpose if I have to make a Smart Playlist, then make a standard playlist with the same songs. So that's my biggest gripe with Google Music. Well, that and there's no webOS app for it so I can cache songs on the phone for when I don't have a data connection.

Happy Fourth of July everyone! Hope you have a good one.