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Date: Monday, 11 Nov 2013 17:12

No stranger to iPads, Fraser Speirs writes about the latest iteration and wraps concluding it with a late-2010 11” MacBook Air:

My iPad Air is faster than that 11” MacBook Air and it has the same amount of storage. My iPad gets at least twice the battery life of that laptop and tips the scales at less than half the weight. It cost 65% of the price of the MacBook Air and has integrated cellular networking that can’t be had on an Apple laptop at any price.

It’s amazing what Moore’s law combined with smart system design has been able to do. We don’t all have jet-packs yet, but our computers continue to exceed all reasonable expectations. 

Author: "--" Tags: "ipad, apple"
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Date: Monday, 11 Nov 2013 02:48
Can a $400 blender change your life?:

Catherine Price writes on Slate about the Vitamix:

I got mine on sale a couple of years ago after hanging out with a lot of raw food enthusiasts. While I’m more paleo, the Vitamix has become one my favorite kitchen tools. Every time I travel, I miss it. In fact, I’d give up my coffee grinder first—and that’s saying a lot.

Author: "--" Tags: "vitamix"
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Date: Sunday, 10 Nov 2013 23:36
Quinn on Women and the Internet, part 1:

Quinn Norton on the misogynists who fill the Internet—and real life—with hate towards women:

Taking this speech off the internet doesn’t fix the fundamental disease. It sends violence against women back to being a silent problem that disproportionately hits disadvantaged women around the world. Women with no voice, women who are not in public, not famous, are out there suffering more than I do. But they are here with me too, when you look at me, the threats I get, and the stories I can tell about violence. You can see them, even if just a little bit. They are every so slightly more visible. Online violence reflects a very real world of the offline torture of women around the world.

Quinn’s writing has always been fantastic, but this latest round of writing that she’s doing on Medium is really strong and brave stuff.

Author: "--" Tags: "misogyny"
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Date: Sunday, 10 Nov 2013 21:51

After a few folks expressed some interest, I’ve put my Tumblr theme up on Github. It’s called IO, after the new domain name I’m using. It’s not quite to the point where I can submit it to Tumblr’s theme garden, but as soon as I finish tweaking a few post types—notably, the chat type—I’ll do that so that anybody on Tumblr can pick it up and use it.

In the mean time, if you want to use it, you’ll have to pick it up from my Github repo and paste it into Tumblr as a custom theme, like Conner McClure has done. And of course, you’ll have to rinse and repeat as updates are made.

If you do use it and have suggestions or tweaks, let me know. As far as licensing goes, I’ve put it under the MIT license. For those that would like to kick back a bit of appreciation for using it, I’ll put a tip jar up before putting it on the Tumblr’s theme garden.

Author: "--" Tags: "iotheme, tumblr"
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Date: Sunday, 10 Nov 2013 20:24
Jen Bekman is rebooting 20x200:

Somewhere along the way, Jen Bekman’s 20x200 project went off in a direction that wasn’t the right one. I remember unsubscribing from the mailing list with a heavy heart, but the emails had taken on a tone and frequency that weren’t appealing anymore. Apparently, I wasn’t the only one. Now, it looks like Jen and her crew are rebooting the concept in a way that feels like the original take. I’m looking forward to seeing how this iteration unfolds.

Author: "--" Tags: "art, prints"
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Date: Sunday, 10 Nov 2013 17:12
Adobe’s leaked passwords as crossword puzzle:

As usual, XKCD provides an easily understandable take on what Adobe’s misuse of block mode 3DES for encrypting passwords means. 

Author: "--" Tags: "adobe, security, xkcd"
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Date: Sunday, 10 Nov 2013 02:48

John Wilson asks on Twitter:

Have you read the @LensRentals blog on the quality of lens adapters?

It’s a good read and the results that Roger Cicala publishes aren’t unexpected. But, as Roger says in his wrap up, test results aren’t always indicative of real-world usefulness. He says:

Like a lot of laboratory testing, probably not a lot. Adapters couldn’t all stink or people wouldn’t use them. Like a lot of tests, you can detect a very real difference in the lab that doesn’t make much difference at all in the real world.

One of the things I’m looking forward to trying when I get my Sony A7 is to see how well my Nikon lenses work with it via a lens adapter and what it means in real-world shooting. In particular, I’m looking forward to pitting the bodies head-to-head with the same glass and seeing what happens.

Author: "--" Tags: "a7, sony"
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Date: Sunday, 10 Nov 2013 00:22

Fall leaves somewhere along NW 14th avenue in Portland.

Author: "--" Tags: "fall, photography"
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Date: Saturday, 09 Nov 2013 23:36
Why Frank Swain isn’t a TEDx Speaker:

Frank Swain was invited to speak at a TEDx event and turned them down because they wouldn’t pay him. In particular, he signs off with:

If money in the short term is what you’re looking for, then taking the time to prepare and give a TED or TEDx presentation is definitely not a wise choice for you to make. Of course, there are other currencies in the world and only paying attention to money may be shortsighted, both for your long-term earning potential as well as the non-monetary currencies that sustain you.

I’ll also add that it’s a bit unfair to conflate TED and its independent TEDx events. Yes, the brand is shared, but nobody working on a TEDx event gets paid. As far as big TED, yes, the tickets are expensive and some of the help is paid (disclosure: I charge TED to photograph the events, but not my full market rates), but that money is what fuels the massive online distribution apparatus that ensures the talks get out to the world. 

But, that’s neither there nor here. You should always do what you want to do on the terms you are comfortable with. If the deal doesn’t work for you, don’t do it. Simple as that.

Author: "--" Tags: "ted, tedx"
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Date: Saturday, 09 Nov 2013 23:09

Katerina sat down at my desk the other day and imitated me working, right down to my love of wearing a hoodie while working and my brain exploding when interrupted. The sigh at the end totally makes this video of the Greek imitating the Geek.

Author: "--" Tags: "video, biliouriful"
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Date: Saturday, 09 Nov 2013 21:45

Last night, I got a chance to catch up with my friend Rael Dornfest. We don’t get to hang out often enough, but when we do, the conversations are great and always include a healthy amount of geekery. The subject of our nerdy attention last night was his new Nexus 5. 

Even though I’m a confessed hardcore iPhone user, I like to keep tabs on what’s going on in Android land and I own a Nexus 4 for occasional use traveling and to do website testing with. It’s been a good phone—totally acceptable in most every way, the first Android phone to score that high in my book—but not a great one.

The Nexus 5, on the other hand, just might break into the great category. It’s lovely in the hand and that 5” screen isn’t nearly as bulky in hand as I expected it to be. Furthermore, its colors are a lot better than the Nexus 4. Photographs look right, not dull nor over-saturated. 

Finally, it’s impressively fast. Every version of Android has been getting better and better when it comes to scrolling, but the Nexus 5 and Android 4.4 takes that work to a whole new level. I was trying to break scrolling and couldn’t. 

In short: it’s impressive. If I were a full-time Android user, I’d probably upgrade to it if I needed a new device.

Author: "--" Tags: "android, nexus"
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Date: Saturday, 09 Nov 2013 20:24
Nikon Df vs Sony A7:

The Verge compares the newest cameras coming from Nikon and Sony, and hits the nail on the head when it comes to describing the essential differences between the two:

The Df has an optical viewfinder with 100 percent coverage—not an electronic one like the Alpha 7 does. And more importantly, it takes lenses on Nikon’s F-mount, meaning there’s a wealth of glass available for it, unlike Sony’s still-spartan offerings.

The first will be a big difference for many, no doubt about it. If having an optical viewfinder is a primary requirement, the Df is the hottest game in town.

The second is more nuanced as the Sony will be able to use any Nikon lens—as well as Canon and Leica lenses—through adapters. The open question is how well they will work. That’s a question that Rick and I intend on getting to the bottom of when our A7s arrive. 

Author: "--" Tags: "nikon, sony, df, a7"
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Date: Saturday, 09 Nov 2013 19:20
Plastic Murmurations:

Photographs of starling murmurations are pretty incredible, but French photographer Alain Delorme has taken the idea to a new level. At first, his photographs look like startling formations of the birds, but they aren’t real. Instead, they’re manipulations comprising of thousands of plastic bags made to look like murmurations.

(The first version of this post mistakingly followed the lead of Photojojo’s post linking to them, but @ccgus tweeted a link to Petapixel’s full story of the photographs, which makes these images even better in my book.)

Author: "--" Tags: "photography, murmurations, plastic"
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Date: Saturday, 09 Nov 2013 01:42
Eclipse at 44 000 Feet:

Ben Cooper shot an amazing photo of the total eclipse last week over the Atlantic ocean. Beautiful.

Author: "--" Tags: "eclipse, flight, aerial"
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Date: Friday, 08 Nov 2013 22:06

It looks like camera sling maker CarrySpeed is calling it quits for much the same reason that Luma Labs shut down the Loop. Their website is shutdown and from what I’ve heard, the reason is that the cost of defending themselves from Black Rapid’s patent claims was prohibitive. This for a patent filed for in 2010 that essentially describes the US 1885 Carbine Sling as attached to a tripod socket on a camera. Leica’s 1938 TROOV wrist strap is in the same ballpark as well. Even closer is the LeicaGoodies STRAP from 2005.

In short, there are only so many ways you can take some hardware and webbing and put them together—almost all of which have certainly been tried in mountaineering and gear bags over the last hundred plus years. Sure, CarrySpeed was a competitor for Luma Labs and it’s not like I was rooting for them, but the fates of both companies should have been left to the market in this case, not settled by legal wrangling over a patent that shouldn’t have been granted in the first place.

It’s not just software patents that are a mess right now, it’s the entire system. Reform is needed. Now.

Author: "--" Tags: "patents"
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Date: Friday, 08 Nov 2013 17:12
Time-lapse at the Maui space surveillance complex:

On top of Mount Haleakala lays one of three locations of the Air Force’s deep space surveillance network which tracks the thousands of man-made items in orbit. It’s also a great place for a time-lapse.

Author: "--" Tags: "lapse"
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Date: Friday, 08 Nov 2013 02:48
Confessional from an undocumented farm worker:

Lauren Smiley interviews Odilia Chavez for Modern Farmer:

The current system has essentially created a caste system right under our noses where a group of people separated by language and nationality are needlessly taken advantage of.

Author: "--" Tags: "immigration, politics"
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Date: Friday, 08 Nov 2013 02:11

Last week, we tried to set Katerina up on one of T-Mobile’s $30/month pre-paid plans—including taking a trip to Wal-Mart—and struck out. Without being able to get a SIM package from either a local T-Mobile store or Wal-Mart, I punted and ordered a T-Mobile nano SIM kit online, which is what I should have done in the first place. I didn’t pay extra for the overnight shipping—which turned out to be silly of me—so it took a week to get here, but it finally arrived today.

I’m happy to report that once it arrived, set up was about as easy as you could expect: pop the SIM into Katerina’s iPhone, go to T-Mobile’s activation website, and go through the process. A few minutes later, we were up and running and getting a 4G signal on her iPhone. Just as smooth as you could want.

Really, other than the lousy availability of the SIM cards, I’m quite happy with how it turned out. It’d be nice if T-Mobile could apply a bit of their “Uncarrier” approach to that part of the equation. Now, we’re onto the interesting part of the experiment: seeing how T-Mobile’s signal is compared to my Verizon iPhone in the places where we go over the next few weeks.

Author: "--" Tags: "tmobile, telco"
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Date: Thursday, 07 Nov 2013 23:36
Don’t be a nimble extremist:

Derrick Story writes on The Nimble Photographer, his new joint, about the urge to sell all your gear to invest in a brand new system:

In my opinion, no single camera set-up is going to accommodate every photographic challenge. I think we need a variety of tools to capture the world as we envision. 

Indeed. My Nikon gear still has a purpose even as I’ve been using my Sony RX1 and am looking forward to adding the A7 as a system. But, I’ll be selling off a chunk of my Nikon gear collection soon as I don’t quite need everything I have anymore.

Author: "--" Tags: "gear"
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Date: Thursday, 07 Nov 2013 20:24
Japan with the Fuji XE-1 in hand:

A lovely set of shots from Japan, many made at night, by Flickr user feedback42 with a Fuji XE-1. Makes me want to go back to Tokyo soon and shoot with small cameras for days on end. It’s been much too long.

Author: "--" Tags: "japan, fuji"
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