Saturday, August 30, 2008

Family guy

So I'm watching Family Guy season five. It's often funny, but some things puzzle me:

1: Who wrote the lyrics to the theme song? He needs grammar lessons. "Lucky there's a family guy"?

2: When they fall down, how come they always lie still like a statue?

3: How come they are so gruesomely nasty to real people? To point out that Kathleen Turner has lost her looks is not funny, it's just unkind.

Internet user reviews

I love the Internet, the way it's so easy to get information from many viewpoints on anything, fast.

Take for example now: I am considering a week's vacation in Copenhagen, and I wanted a central location, so I remembered the famous Hotel D'angleterre, which has a fabulous location, right in the middle all the best of Copenhagen. And I mean right in the middle: you step out of the door onto the end of the doubly famous Walking Street.

It is regarded as the best hotel in Copenhagen, and it seems to be the most expensive, so I figured this was correct.

But I decided to just check up a bit, and it was quickly revealed that it has very mixed reviews indeed (13 five-star reviews and 12 one-star reviews!). And on the average much poorer reviews than the Mariott (128 five-star reviews and only 8 one-star reviews), where I stayed last year, and which was cheaper. So there you go.
(Right now the Mariott is only a little cheaper, I don't know how I got those amazing rates back then, they were only about half, I think.)

Update: on the square Kongens Nytorv (The King's New Square), where Hotel D'angleterre is, is this equestrian statue*. It's the king Christian V, apparently. It is not common for Danish art to be this brutal, I guess it's from a time when we were more aggressive. I don't know who or what he's is downtrodding, but it/he looks very odd.

Here's a big picture, which includes some cute Danish students after exam.

*Denmark has many equestrian statues. The town where I grew up is oddly proud of having the smallest one in the country, only about two feet tall if I recall correctly.

Denmark: paradise or ultimate totalitarian state?

Denmark: paradise or the ultimate totalitarian state? Article.
You'd think it would be easy to tell the two apart, wouldn't you? Seems not.

[From one of my comments:]
I always wonder about that about immigrants who live in one country, but always talk about how wonderful their own country is...

Brian said:
You do that a bit sometimes. Except you do admit that England's taxes are kinder than Denmark's.

Yes, I guess I do that.
And I think except for the taxes I'd never have moved out.

But the funny thing is that the more I live abroad, the less super-special does Denmark seem.
The article does have a good point, it's a really pervasive belief in Denmark that it is the best country in the world in almost all ways. And it's very hard to get exterior to such a belief.


monsieur beep said: "I can recommend J A Pugsley: The Alpha Strategy for more basic info."

TTL intoned:
Pugley's book is one of the clearest introductions to economics I have read. It is so clear that it is downright entertaining due to its clarity. By the way, Eolake blogged it on 2007-09-07.

A noisy post

Mike Johnston has made a post about noise reduction, on my initiative. (My 15 minutes of fame.)

Frozen Angels

I was not aware that already in 1924 you could photograph with short enough shutter times to freeze people jumping.

Everything I do sucks

What the Duck

Fun design

Isn't this a wonderfully weird design? Looks less like a camera and more like... I dunno, a transistor radio or something.


It seems to me that Nikon left the megapixel race before Canon. Nikon D3 has only 12 megapixels, while the big Canons left that behind years ago. And that has allowed Nikon to become Top Dog in the low-noise department and shoot to stardom.

And the new Nikon D90 also has twelve megapixels, whereas the new Canon 50D has fifteen. And according to persistent rumors, the update to the fabulous 12-megapixel Canon 5D will have at least 17 megapixels.

I've decided that until the day I have need for really big specialized prints, if that ever happens, then 12 megapixels is as much as I want. In fact I have prints on my wall in A3 size (about 12x16 inches) froma six-megapixel camera (Nikon D100), and you'll have to do close side-by-side scrutiny to tell the difference between those and some from a 12-megapixel camera. And who does that with wall art? In fact the bigger the print, the greater the viewing distance.

More megapixels than a certain minimum eat up your diskspace and tax your processor for no real gain.

Also, for anything over 12MP, you need really good lenses to tell the difference. We're talking about lenses costing over $1500 and weighing the better part of a kilo.

I hope Canon will wize up and learn from Nikon, and leave room in the line-up for cameras with reasonable MP counts.

I regard this a fortunate last-minute maturing on my part. When I was young I would have thought that if six megapixels was better than three (and it clearly is), then twelve would be better still, and of course twenty-four would be twice as good as twelve.

Friday, August 29, 2008

The Joys of Yesterday's Tech Today

The Joys of Yesterday's Tech Today
By: Tommy Thomas

Clickity-clack... Clickity-clack... What's that sound off in the distance? It's the sound of something long since gone in the modern era of computing... productivity. To be more specific... it's the sound of getting work done in the writing realm.

In technical terms, the sound you hear is from one of the best pieces of primitive, yet simple technology ever introduced... my new AlphaSmart Neo. There once was a time, not all that long ago, where the digital age of writing was looked at with marvey and joy. Back in the day before the days of social networking, IM's, emails, games and other distractions, the computer made it possible for writers of all genres to sit down and well... write.

Enter the internet age along with excessive eye candy and unneccessary software bloat. Suddenly, the computer had become more of a distraction rather than a tool of creativity. But along the way, companies saw that we were going backward instead of moving forward. AlphaSmart was one of those companies. With its long line of writing machines, AlphaSmart not only reached out to education, but inadvertantly reached out to writers who want simple tools to get the job done!

I'm no stranger to simple, easy-to-use devices such as the Neo. I've been a rabid fan of the long since defunct Apple eMate 300. A machine which I believe is solely responsible for making machines like the Neo a reality. My eMate recently succumbed to the great beyond due to a careless accident on my part. I started checking into trying to find another eMate when I found the AlphaSmart Flickr group. With money being extremely tight these days, Eolake was kind enough to send me my own brand new Neo, on which I type this article now. Many thanks and a hug goes out to you sir!

I've taken to this gem just as I did the eMate! It's light, compact, and the keyboard has a great tactile feel. There's no doubt I'll be writing a lot with my Neo. I write the Welcome To Macintosh column for Low End Mac.

Bottom line: If you want a good, simple, durable writing machine, look no further than the AlphaSmart Neo!

Eolake sez:
Note: the Alphasmart Dana has a bigger screen, but sadly the screen contrast is woefully low, so I did not like it. (Though I intend to try learning to type without even looking at the screen.)
The Neo is also durable. The instruction manual says that I can drop it and it will keep on working. Rumor has it one was run over by a car with no harm.
For advice, Flickr has a most helpful discussion group about AlphaSmart Writing tools.

Bruce added:
"Note: the Alphasmart Dana has a bigger screen" But the Dana also has a disadvantage to a writer.
The Dana runs Palm OS, which means it can distract a writer just as easily as a laptop computer. Solitaire, other games, and even (from the Alphasmart web site), "Dana Wireless offers Wi-Fi (802.11b) capability for checking emails, instant messaging, and more."
You might as well buy a used iBook instead.

Good point. The One-Trick-Pony aspect of the Neo is a strength.

Neo review "The ultimate writing machine" in four parts, here.
Another review.

It's a testimony to the love the owners have for the Neo that you can almost never find one for sale on eBay. How many gadgets can you say that about!?

Reflecting on China

In the Olympics post, Pascal reflected:

One of those gold medalists has become such a national star in previous Olympics, that he now has his own --quite successful-- sports shoes brand. He hires the same chinese workers who make Adidas and Nike shoes, except he's not as insanely greedy for profit as Western corporations, so his prices are very competitive! :-)
You may have noticed him, he's the one who made a national apology a few days ago after a terrible tendinitis prevented him from properly competing in some race, and most of the Chinese public left the stadium in disappointment.

I too used to resent the fate of all chinese sportspeople forced to train very hard since a tender age. But since then I've put things into perspective: the average Chinese works very hard regardless, usually for very meager salaries and with no job security whatsoever. In China, becoming an athlete, or a performer in the Circus of Beijing, is a very envied position. A genuine privilege. You don't really work harder, you make a very good living, AND you get great social status.
Before we Westerners criticize the way things work in China, perhaps we should think deep as to exactly WHY things are and still remain that way. How many huge Western corporations do tell China: "We'll sign multi-billion contracts, but we insist that the factory workers get minimum rights and a cut of the profits they are bringing to all of us, let's pay them well with reasonable work hours and an employment contract"?
It's easier to give lectures when you are not the same person encouraging things to remain the same.

It always was tough being a Chinese. They don't have it any tougher than 100 years ago. Mao Zedong was a dictator, but not really worse than any Emperor of Divine Birth Right. At least, he put the Chinese to work, while before him they were only busy smoking opium... including under Western administration. Read Tintin and the Blue Lotus for a refresher...
The average Chinese income is steadily increasing. More and more can now affort meat, which is (in part) precisely why the world price of cereals is skyrocketing. One billion Chinese starting to eat pork, that's a lot of beasts to feed.

Also, from things I heard, the current President of China is definitely engaged in reforms, but it's a very delicate endeavour. I can confirm just from the example of Lebanon! Widespread corruption is very complicated to tackle, especially when it goes very high up. One has to be constantly careful. You think the Syrian President, being his daddy's son, has it all easy and safe? Think again. His hold on power remains uncertain. Originally, his elder brother was to be the trained successor of old Haffez, but he died in a mysterious car accident which might not have been an accident. There are always factions in your own clan ready to stab you in the back. And the corrupt factions are always the most willing to act with a coup.

Even current change isn't simple: now that chinese salaries are rising, China itself is becoming less attractive and competitive as a cheap labor country, outsourcing more and more to the poorest countries, like Vietnam, Bangladesh and Kirghizistan, where people would LOVE to enjoy as much human rights and good living conditions as a Chinese. In Kirghizistan, the State police pulls all the country's children out from school every year for the cotton harvest, and they don't even get fairly paid the meager minimum wage of adults. This you won't see in China. Neither will you see forced unpaid labour as in Burma, pure State slavery. 2008 China is NOT Tintin in the Land of the Soviets.

Laidback Laptop stand

TTL directed me to the Laidback Laptop stand. I've ordered one. I could have used this back when I had my neck troubles.

I would have liked the wooden version, but Laidback We R tell me they are fresh out of them and don't plan to make more.

TTL added:
Actually, you directed me to it! I just followed your link to the AlphaSmart Neo and somehow landed on this page. I thank you for this discovery!
I wish could find the reference but I once read about a study that concluded that problem solving and creative thinking is easier when laying on your back. I've tested this many times and have come to the same conclusion. Also, I know several people who do all their mental "heavy lifting" when laying down. I've never typed when laying on my back, though. This will be an interesting experiment.
Of course, there's a risk of falling asleep. But if you're that tired, then the moment probably wasn't right for problem solving to begin with, and a nap is in order.

If you find that reference, let us know. It does seem that I'm most inspired when lying down. Maybe it's just the freedom from distractions.
I suspect, though, that that Inspired state of mind is different from the state of mind necessary when actively writing.

Jana Kratochvílová - Úlet

Rather raw, but full of life. And some humorous moments too in this.

Arabic Real Estate

"The World" triggers my dislike from the word go by using an over-generic term for itself. And it doesn't do much for it's cause with the super-hype. And the video makes it worse by taking too long to simply explain what the heck it is.

But in a nutshell it seems to be an artificial-islands real estate development for super-rich people who like to be a good distance from the riff-raff of the world.

Ah, I get it now, it's called The World to support the illusion that it is a little independent world.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008


Canon has ordered to stop using a domain with "canon" in it. I'm a little bit surprised, since for instance has operated for over a decade without incident.
(When I was young and naïve, I thought AppleLinks was an official Apple site. Which was dumb, but not as dumb as one of my friends who thought MacWorld magazine was published by Apple.)


I just found out that "Dumpster" is a brand!*
Genericizing trademarks seems to be a specifically American habit. I wonder why. It's not like they put it up to the vote, so why would one country do a thing like that and others not?

* Bart: "Otto-man, you're living in a dumpster?"
Otto: "I wish. Dumpster brand trash bins are top of the line. This is just a Trash-Co waste disposal unit."

D90 video

Testing the Nikon D90.

Update: this has the same video, but includes text.
It looks like a home run for Nikon.
(Dang, they even have me using sports metaphors now, and I've never even seen a single baseball game.)

Update: as usual, Imaging-Resource has one of the best articles about the Nikon D90.
(Dang, it's not, as I'd guessed from pictures, smaller than the D80. Ah well, still a very competent camera for the size. Image quality should be the same as the much bigger D300.)

Update: first test shots. ISO 3200 default setting, medium noise reduction in camera. More.

... I downloaded the 3200 shot with no in-camera noise reduction applied, and then I used Noise Ninja on it. The result is a lot better than the default camera result. (Copyright for the picture:
Update: to my surprise even the 6400-ISO pictures, when run through Noise Ninja, are very usable. Very impressive.

AlphaSmart Neo

I may have found my typewriter.
Like I said, the Dana from Alphasmart is near perfect, except the screen contrast sucks.
But I found out that the Neo from Alphasmart has the same wonderful keyboard, and while the screen is smaller, it has much higher contrast (due to no overlay for touch and no underlay for underlight).
These machines have great, full sized keyboards, with a full key travel unlike laptop keyboards. And yet they only weigh about 900 grams, are very rugged, and run for like 100 hours on three AA batteries.

Update: articles/reviews about the Neo. (See other links on that page too.)

It's more like 700 hours on 3 AA batteries. I've actually experienced it.

Linda M Au:
Chet beat me to it. Definitely more like 700 hours. Or, as I think of it, changing the batteries every January. :)
You'll love the Neo. It's like an epiphany to a writer. :)

Author Tera Lynn Childs uses an Alphsmart, writing in cafes too.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Canon 50D

Canon 50D announced.
There's some debate whether it will be complementing or replacing the 40D, but in either case it seems a very desirable camera. Big resolution upgrade in both the sensor and the LCD, and improved high ISO performance despite that. Impressive. And it's not even bigger than the 40D.
Personally I would have been as happy with no resolution upgrade and just even better low light performance, but heck.

They have also announced a new superzoom to match Nikon's, which I have and love. And Canon is very proud of the performance. This is sure to be an extremely popular lens, just like Nikon's.

Both the 50D and the new Nikon D90 are very strong cameras. But it is beginning to looking like neither Canon nor Nikon is ever going to get in-body image stabilization. What a gyp. This means, amongst other things, that there is no way to combine a really fast lens with IS for a super-low-light camera.

Canon has also announced one of the smallest and cheapest superzoom compacts yet.

Pogue interview

David Pogue interview. Not a fresh one, but there were several good tips in it for me about Mac and software and such.

Vancouver view

[I hope I'm not overwhelming y'all with all the posts in the past couple of days.]

This lovely Vancouver panorama was shot and spliced by Ray.

You want it is super-large version.

The woman paradigm

The woman paradigm, today is still the past.
By Pascal Rassi

Ever wondered why women are a living conundrum to men? (Come on, don't pretend!) Well, they aren't given much choice. As a matter of fact, men are a similar mystery to women. And for the very same reason.

"The Past is Now." In this fabled futuristic Third Millenium that's eventually come for real, the vast majority of our planet is still made up of phallocratic societies where women are just "not really equal to men", to say the least. "It's a men's world, return to your place in the kitchen." Talk about advanced civilization! In many places, which the Western vision prism belittles as not being the MAJORITY of planet Earth, the females of our species are, more or less officially, owned like objects, treated like cattle, viewed as the unreliable location of their family/men's honor, and commonly deemed as having only the quarter of a man's mind and intelligence (at best). In the Middle-East, that's actually a proverb! Even in so-called evolved countries, we all know that modern principles are often one thing and reality another... The worst part in this, in my opinion, is that women are imprisoned inside their own minds (the best prison ever) by deep-rooted traditions and life-long systematic indoctrination. Imprisoned in their very feminity.

It's a cultural thing in Lebanon, and usually similar in all phallocratic societies: women are socially expected to never want sex, it would be... "improper". So the only way they can enjoy it, is thanks to the excuse of being forced, dominated, etc. Hence the classic "rape fantasy", which is never meant to be fulfilled but acts as a mental safety valve. Add to it the mandatory male fantasy of a very socially proper woman, the kind you'd marry, but who is revealed to secretly be a total nympho (the kind you'd love to f**k with).

Mediterranean male mentality, as I've read and personally confirmed, sees only two completely opposite --and incompatible-- types of women in the world: whores, and wives. (Neither are expected to think much.) If a girl loves sex, especially if she consents to it --or you just believe she does-- before getting married, then she's got to be a whore; you sleep with her, "everybody does", but you don't marry her and make her part of your family. And therefore, it cannot be allowed to happen to your daughter, not even if she's nearing fourty! "Proper", shy and obedient virgins, THOSE you marry. But then, you can hardly have sex with them except to have babies, because a married woman is destined to become a mother, and the mother's figure is taboo ever since one raised you the same way one raised Jesus H. Christ. A proper wife/mother feels no pleasure from icky, sinful sex, she just grits her teeth to fulfill her child-giving duties to her husband. And after that, she'll spend her most fulfilling life raising the tots and getting fat, therefore un-sexy and undesirable. And diabetic.

Before you ask me how this fits with the nympho wife fantasy, remember what I said at the beginning: men too are a living contradiction. They just don't bother to stop and think about the logic of it all, since they get the upper hand of the deal! Men, naturally, have no problem about sleeping with lots of "whores" and then marrying a virgin. Why should they, right? That's what "real men" do: being virile. Where would whores come from then, if everybody follows the same rules? Bah, who cares!

And voilà, this is why Mediterranean societies, and all those built on the same hypocritical model, are so unfailingly messed up between the ears. This also explains why a mistress will enjoy great sex and romance, until the fateful day when that bloddy fool openly expresses that she's expecting to replace the wife. A normally healthy man needs a spouse and a whore, BUT SEPARATE. White in the right hand, black in the left, each in its reassuring place. And the whore should know that her place is forever in the shadows of make-believe secrecy.

There's also this very relevant analysis about why traditional women are so invested into motherhood, and so possessive towards their sons. You could call it the Holy Virgin Mary syndrome. Mary was born without the Original Sin, according to catechism. She remained a virgin, and became a mother, and was made an ideal to all women. Because, "of course", the Original Sin is sex, and not rabidly despising its defilement. The catch is, either a "proper", "respectable" woman becomes a nun, remaining a virgin, or she becomes a mother. Therefore, the most perfect mortal woman can only hope to approach HALF of perfection! Minus the fact that the "factory defect" of being born without the Original Sin was only generously granted to that one impossible role model. Non-christians do not have that reference, but it doesn't matter. The Christians were simply crafty enough to explicitly express everybody's mentality through a glorious holy icon. Ever since judaism, sex was made ca-ca. Even in non-monotheist societies, it is very frowned upon by nearly every tradition. Including in a country like India, who has the world-famous Kama-Sutra sex guide as one of their holy religious books.

Even violence, big and small, is usually linked to this genitocentric paradigm. Rape comes from sexual frustration, and that dominating outlook on women, with the male's need to assert that he's "always in control" when he's failed to "score" by sticking to the rules of the game. (In their minds, rapists simply cheat their way to a deserved victory of the male.) Incest and child abuse is typically a convenient way to secretly go round all these complications. Most homicides are from "love crimes", as they are so elegantly called: abusive and/or jealous husbands/lovers are insecure in their possesiveness, so they prove their masculinity with the very manly act of killing. Bush's crusade is for the "good universal American values", built upon the rock of Holy Virtue and its openly admitted obsession on controlling people's every thought about sex. Islamist kamikazes turn their very life into a weapon, in good part because of the tantalizing promise of an afterlife of eternal orgy with everlasting virgins of supreme beauty, "seventy, all yours". Et caetera.
Typically, the weakest spot of men is their manhood, be it physically or mentally. We all know that a blow to the genitals can bring down the strongest man (even kill, by cardiac inhibition through a vagal nerve reflex). But striking at a man's sense of manhood is just as efficient a cowardly "low blow". The magical formula to defeat a macho is by pushing him to do something dangerous and/or stupid, with the (not so) "secret" words : "I dare you to do it, if you're a man." For as far as I can remember as a child, boys are trained into reacting that way by society's standards. "Be a man. Be strong. Be in control. Violence is manliness is honor."

I can never forget, when I ponder this issue, Al Pacino/Milton's rant in The Devil's Advocate. How normal and harmless tendancies are relentlessly smothered in the name of righteousness, replaced by arbitrary fearing frustration for all, ending up in an accumulated steam pressure that can only blow the lid eventually and cause general sorrow. Replace in that rant the word "God" with "the Clergy", or with the version of God shoved down our throats for centuries by the authorities to whom we relinquished our power to decide and think, and you'll have an absolute earthly truth.

There you have it, the Ego's Guiltland Theme Park in a nutshell. Emphasis on nuts. ;-)
© Dr Pascal Rassi M.D., Lebanon, Aug 2008, all rights reserved.
If you wish to use all or part of this text, please contact me first:


Goggle has started with autocompletion for popular searches. Could be cool.
It might even sometimes help you find search terms you'd otherwise not have thought of. For instance, if you remember that the next 007 movie starts with "Quantum" but can't remember the rest, the popularity of the title will help you.
(Google seems wisely to have chosen to rank topicalness high.)

Double Oh Seven

James Bond with a big machine gun? Oh, come friggin' on.
Sure, the films always had less subtlety than the books, but this is ridiculous.

Monday, August 25, 2008


Olympics: the good, the bad, and the ugly. Article.
"And here's a prediction: In the run-up to the 2012 Olympics, Londoners will complain about the traffic; politicians will carp about the cost; critics will call the ceremonies tasteless; no one will use the phrase Olympic triumph. But there won't be arrests or police intimidation; there won't be forced expropriation of property; there won't be stony-faced acrobats marching in formation—and in the end, the whole thing will be a lot less sinister, a lot less damaging, and a lot more fun."

Camera rumors

The next four weeks will have many camera announcements as we near Photokina in Germany in late September.
And it seems there will be several very interesting cameras. A couple of important upgrades from Canon, possibly a rangefinder from Nikon, and for sure the eagerly anticipated Nikon D90, which looks kewl. I like that it looks like it is compact. (In fact it looks like it will be not much larger than the D40, which is fantastic.)
And a 3200 ISO setting is most welcome. It seems it will also be the first DSLR to do video.

There'll also be a new kit lens for it, a 18-105 mm with stabilization. If this lens is in the new higher optical quality that many new lenses in the past year have been*, then that's highly interesting. A compact, high-quality all round kit in one.

*It seems to me that there has been a quantum leap in optical engeneering in the past couple of years. New lenses are coming out that are far better than anything has been in their respective classes before.

Lawrence Ripsher

Review of Panasonic LX3.

Apart from a hot wife, Lawrence also has some good points about high ISO:
"... the presence of noise is vastly overrated (misunderstood) as a way of judging high ISO. The presence of noise in images is not always a huge problem - the real issue that is faced with with high ISO images is usually the destruction of colour and dynamic range. This is something that noise reduction algorithms can never effectively repair and a image with poor colour / DR is very evident even at web resolution sizes."


Online image editor, PixlR.

Online apps have come a long way, I'd have thought they still were unusable due to latency.

Drive fast, live long


Just found a fun little app, Hyperdither.
You can do something similar in Photoshop, but this app gives a better result, and faster.
The dithering routine was written by Bill Atkinson for the first Mac.


I prefer vintage cameras over vintage computers (and I don't have the space for the latter), but here's a fun little thing, RetroMacCast. In just one episode, they mention several oddball items I never knew existed. And they interview Tommy Thomas, who writes for a nice site named Low End Mac.

Brainiac and Bert

Very cool comic.

And something different:

Both things pointed to by Litwack.

Physical and limited

I am of the persuasion of those who believe the universe is not real, but created by the Mind.
And it seems provable to me.

Since the universe is physical, it must be limited.
But what is it limited by? Anything that can limit it would have to be in the universe.
So clearly the universe can't be real.

The second part seems bullet-proof to me, but the first part merely seems obvious. How do you prove that something which is physical has to be limited?


The great French Marshall Lyautey once asked his gardener to plant a tree. The gardener objected that the tree was slow growing and would not reach maturity for 100 years. The Marshall replied, 'In that case, there is no time to lose; plant it this afternoon!'


Three couples - a senior citizen couple, a middle-aged couple, and a young newlywed couple - wanted to join a church.

The pastor informed them, "We have special requirements for new parishioners. We require them to abstain from having s*e*x for two weeks before joining the church. Are you ready to do that?" The couples said they were.

Two weeks later, the three couples returned.

The pastor asked the senior citizen couple, "Were you able to abstain for the entire two weeks?"

The old man replied, "No problem at all, Pastor."

"Congratulations!" said the pastor. "Welcome to the church."

The pastor then asked the middle-aged couple, "Were you able to abstain for the two weeks?"

The man replied, "The first week was not too bad. The second week I had to sleep on the couch for a couple of nights but, yes, we made it."

"Congratulations!" the pastor said once again. "Welcome to the church."

The pastor then asked the newlywed couple, "Well, were you able to abstain for the two weeks?"

"I must apologize, Pastor," the young man said, "but we were not able to."

"What happened?" inquired the pastor.

"Well, we almost made it, but then just yesterday, my wife was reaching for a can of corn on the top shelf and dropped it," the young man explained. "When she bent over to pick it up, I was overcome with lust and couldn't resist taking advantage of her right then and there."

"I see," said the pastor. "You understand, of course, this means you will not be able to join our church," he added. "I'm sorry." The young couple left the pastor's office.

"I can't believe it!" the wife said as they walked outside. "Banned from both church and the supermarket in the same week!"

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Horses for courses

Like Mike Reichman likes to remind us, "horses for corses". Or in other words, you use the right tool for the job, and it's often different tools for different jobs.

Here's a nice little article which reminds us that even really "bad" characteristics of a lens, like vignetting and low corner sharpness are necessarily bad for all uses.

I own the lens he talks about (Nikkor 70-200mm 2.8 VR), and it is huge and expensive ($2,000), so I was quite disappointed when it turned out that on full frame cameras it is just lousy in the corners. This article made me look at it in a new light.
(That's not to say that Nikon should not upgrade the lens, because for many uses these flaws are fatal.)

Howard sed:
A friend had one of the earliest Nokia camera mobile 'phones. She bought a removeable cover for it, which had a bevel all round the window for the lens. The quality of the images was pretty poor - tiny lens and barely 1MP - but that bevel added a lovely soft focus feel to the images! In the right conditions the images pretty cool!
Reminds me of the photography course I took a few years back. The pro taking the class said something that has stayed with me. It was words to the effect that "your brain is what actually takes the pictures, the camera is just a tool to make them permanent."