Here are three of my favorite photography books for 2011 which should make for easy gifts for any photographer. Rather than instructional books, I’ve picked these because I find them to be inspiring looks through the lenses of 3 different photographers. Two of these books were published in the last year the third was published in May of 2010 making them all unlikely to already be on their bookshelves. I’ve also tried to pick exceptional books that may not be that well known.
First up is Vivian Maier – Street Photographer. This is part of the incredible story of a prolific street photographer who worked from the ’50s until the ’90s shooting all over the world without showing her work to anyone. Her photography was first discovered posthumously when her film, much of it undeveloped, was purchased at an auction by John Maloof in 2007 and then revealed to the world as he attempted to unravel the story behind the photographer. Here, published for the first time is a collection of her phenomenal work.
Next, I’ve selected Johor: Asia Latitude One by National Geographic photographer Justin Guariglia and writer John Krich. This book was a commissioned project from the Princess of Johor, the southernmost state of Malyasia. It features a combination of landscape, portrait and aerial photography showcasing the country. The book itself is unique in that it’s hand bound with uncoated French-folded pages. I found the aerial photography to be particularly stunning and the book to be an interesting look into another part of the world.
My last pick is Yvon’s Paris, the only book of the three not published in 2011. There are plenty of photo books of Paris, so why choose this one? Yvon’s Paris stands apart in that it is the iconic Paris of classic postcards captured between the two world wars by Pierre Yves-Petit. He worked primarily in the moments of the day when the city was the most enigmatic and poetic. Somehow able to find shots that capture that special character of the city at just the right angles. These are the shots of Paris that we wish we could take, walking the streets waiting just for the right light through the clouds or in the fog.
I dig my iPad, but a week ago it started losing wifi connectivity all the time at home. When I first got the iPad, it worked great, but all of a sudden I was having to reconnect to my wifi network every time I picked it up.
It turns out that it had to do with the brightness setting. I had turned down the brightness all the way because I was using the Kindle app to read. For some strange reason this affects the iPad’s ability to connect to wifi networks. Sounds insane, I know but it’s documented here: http://support.apple.com/kb/TS3304
and setting the brightness back to the default did fix my issues.
I used Lifehacker’s handy guide for setting up an XBMC using an Acer Aspire Revo R1600 a while ago. The result was pretty good, but I noticed that 720p videos wouldn’t play smoothly. I figured I needed to upgrade to a more recent version, and this time around I looked a bit more into the installation process.
A few notes:
- Most guides mention using a large (2GB or greater) flash drive. This only applies if you need/want to run XBMC off of the actual flash drive. You actually don’t need this if you are just going to install onto the pc’s hard drive. It just needs to be large enough to hold the XBMC LIve image (~512MB). You can go even smaller if you want to run XBMC on Linux, which brings me to my next point.
- Install a minimal version of Ubuntu… In order to get smooth playback of 720p and 1080p videos, you’ve got to make sure VDPAU is set up properly. I wasn’t able to get this to happen with the XBMC Live 9.11 image even when I tried switching around drivers. Also if you just install Linux, you can use a tiny cheap USB flash drive instead. I think it needs <20MB. From there, you can use XCI script which really just does everything for you. And you can do so from your laptop SSH’d into the machine. It’s kinda annoying for me to sit in front of the TV using it as a display for installing and configuring things. A reasonable set of instructions is here in this post.
- Linux has the added advantage that it’s well setup for hooking up to SVN and GIT depots where you can get the latest versions of skins like Aeon (pictured above). XBMC Live images are also running Linux, but you’ll find yourself installing more packages if you plan on tinkering around yourself.
- Many guides also mention setting the iGPU setting in the Acer’s BIOS. On newer BIOS versions, it’s listed as a DMA option. It’s the same thing, bump it up to 256MB and you are good.
- I ordered my Acer R1600 from Amazon and with it, I also ordered this cheapo $8 remote . It works great except I couldn’t access 2 functions that I frequently need: The “Info” function and the “Context Menu” function. I also couldn’t figure out what kind of remote it was, whether it sent “real” commands or if it was just functioning as a keyboard over IR. Turns out it’s the latter and I just needed to modify the keyboard.xml file. I picked the “Desktop” and “MyPc” keys to remap. By flipping the HTPC into a console and pushing buttons on the remote, I found that MyPc maps to ‘e’ and Desktop maps to ‘d’. (I’m sure there’s probably a real way to output the mappings, but this was simple). Both ‘e’ and ‘d’ aren’t used by XBMC by default so this worked just fine.
- To test if you have set up VDPAU correctly, press ‘o’ during playback of 720p or 1080p content. Look for the codec, it should have “vdpau” somewhere in there. If not, you don’t have it set up correctly. You should also see that you aren’t heavily using both cores of the CPU. If it’s setup wrong, the CPU will be doing a lot of work instead of offloading it to the GPU.
Now, I’m all setup and not only does 720p content play perfectly, but 1080p content plays perfectly as well. Good luck with your setup.
Looking at graphs.
Going to work early.
Will bring donuts.
So like many others, I got an email last night saying that there was “unusual ftp activity” on my account.
Here’s why I’m so mad:
- You stored customer passwords in plain text!
- As early as 11/7/09 Kyle Brady and others were blogging about this and contacting you about the issue, which you seemed to be blaming on Wordpress. Why did the rest of us get notified starting yesterday? My accounts appear to have been compromised 3 days ago! and it’s been over 2 weeks since you’ve known about this!
- You didn’t publicly respond until today.
- Your response is cowardly and full of weasel paragraphs meant to spin the real issue (You stored freaking plain text passwords). For example, you include a random paragraph about phishing which wasn’t the issue. None of us were phished. You also include a paragraph about “Clear-text” which says “Media Temple has now changed to the encryption method for customers… it is more secure and ultimately what our customers now want.” Understand something: We didn’t ask you to store passwords in clear text!
- And the main reason I’m pissed off is that I’m on vacation and I’m now doing work along with all your other customers because you guys fucked up. We pay you to keep the servers secure otherwise we’d run them ourselves.
Fat Princess = Lots of fun. Well worth $15
UFC: Undisputed = Still playing it, was well worth the money if you like virtually punching people in the face. Much better than the sorriness that is now EA’s Fight Night (stay away from the new version of that crap).
Playstation Home: Not a game per se, but it’s a steaming pile of poo. The absolute best thing about it is that it uninstalls itself quickly. Why it needs 3.5 gigs of HD space is beyond me. You might as well have 3.5 gigs of zero’d out files and that would be more enjoyable.
Also, after nearly 5 years(!!!), maybe there will be something to play on the PSP. Gran Turismo comes out on Oct 1, and I can’t imagine it being a good driving sim with the PSP controls, but fingers crossed.
It appears that my Power Consumption Page has become the most popular page on my site. It’s kinda sad because it’s so ugly. Perhaps I should give it a little green theme. When I first made it I spent a fair amount of time looking at wiki software because I wanted people to be able to contribute the power usage of their own devices to the site. So far nobody has yet added any data. I’m thinking now that it’d be better to make it a regular web app.
There’s a nice little letter at the end of “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” which has been sent by Bard Pitt’s character to his daughter. I felt it’s appropriate for the start of 2009:
For what it’s worth it’s never too late, or in my case too early, to be whoever you want to be. There’s no time limit; start whenever you want; you can change or stay the same. There are no rules to this thing. We can make the best or the worst of it. I hope you make the best of it.
I hope you see things that startle you. I hope you feel things you never felt before. I hope you meet people with a different point of view. I hope you live a life you are proud of. And if you find that you are not, I hope you have the strength to start all over again.
Happy New Year!
The Gibson Dark Fire looks pretty incredible… but seriously I can’t find a single sound demo of the guitar. Kinda fishy for a guitar than is supposed to be able to sound like any guitar. And it’s around $3500 for a pre-order. So far all I’ve seen are some unbelievable claims and some fancy lights.
I just noticed that PSP is #2 in gaming hardware sales in Japan, selling an incredible 50,000 units in a week. Why are people buying these? What is it that they are playing that I don’t know about? Mine simply collects dust in a box somewhere. I don’t even know which box it’s in, it’s just in a box somewhere.
What an ubelievable conclusion to the 2008 F1 season! Such an incredible race to finish off the year. I’m truly glad that I followed every race this season and I feel so lucky that I got to watch one of the races in person. Congrats to Lewis and McLaren for winning the World Championships. I’ve got to get myself to another race next year : )
It pleases me more than you could imagine that Rockband for PS3 now supports Guitar Hero 3 guitars. Activision, the Guitar Hero publisher had been blocking this patch for 9 months. I don’t know what happened, but finally all is well. *clickity clack*
Dean Takahashi has written the definitive article on the Xbox 360 RROD issue. Although I’m not quite sure it will go down as a “one of the greatest snafus in consumer electronics”, but it certainly does suck. As someone who has fixed this problem several times I truly believe their design was flawed. However it doesn’t just put me off of the 360, it makes me wary of all high powered and high heat consoles. I really worry that something will happen to my PS3 as well which is a launch console just like my 360.
- Belgium Prix is on Sunday, and I’m hoping for a strong McLaren showing. Rain seems likely so that should make the race really unpredictable.
- Spore: it’s finally launching on Sunday. I worry that my slightly old PC won’t be up to the task of running it well. Will Wright’s games have always been creative, but have never been programmed in such a way that makes them run well on most machines. Blizzard on the other hand has always done a great job of writing amazing code, but that’s neither here nor there.
- iRacing.com: It’s a little unusual to do a subscription racing game, but with the Papyrus cred, I’m willing to give it a try. Some of the things I’ve read on rec.autos.simulators are indicative of non-pay services (asshats overdriving and causing incidents). I would have hoped a subscription service would get rid of those people.
- Madden 09: I’ve been wanting to play against my friend in LA but it’s been surprisingly difficult. Once you accept an invite it just says the game no longer exists. We think it’s a firewalling issue, which is retarded. Shouldn’t the damn thing just work? So we’ll be trying to debug that this weekend.
Oh yeah, last weekend we walked 8 miles out to the salt ponds of the bay. It was completely unplanned, just decided we’d go out the door and go for a walk. It was awesome. “There and back again…” as they say.
I’ve decided I can be excused from the hoopla around the presidential election. I’ve donated twice now and I will vote. Until then, I will be excusing myself from watching or listening to any of the exaggerated speeches and cheerleading.
Also, I was playing around on Jaiku today and I noticed a bunch of pro-McCain comments. Seriously?? People using status-casting sites actually support McCain? I can’t imagine this is a positive omen for Jaiku.
I’m happy to report that I’m now in the iPhone Developer Program. It almost doesn’t sting to pay $99+tax to write software for my iPhone. It’s an odd situation, basically since I applied as an individual, I have only 1 developer certificate that is tied to me, but I can have 100 devices using this key. I have been amazed at the iPhone when playing Super Monkey Ball, the platform is really far more powerful than I had imagined so I’m looking forward to getting going. It’s also nice now I can actually play with the OpenGL-ES demos and I can stop sorting through Open Toolchain docs.
Sadly, Yahoo Mail’s spam protection is now a joke and I’ve got to set up something else for this blog’s publicly listed email. I’ve got 2 accounts that pre-date GMail that I have used at one time as a primary and secondary mail accounts and now both are unusable. One account just dumps nearly everything into the spam box. If you haven’t gotten a response when you mail mr.donut at yahoo, it’s because of the overzealous rules they are using. My other account on the other hand has the opposite problem and gets a ridiculous amount of spam. Yahoo Mail seems unable to detect even the most obvious spam emails.
This is just pathetic. Give me a moment while I set up a mail account for this site using GMail.