Monday, December 31, 2007

Something to brighten your day

A very funny look at studio photography in the '70s. The photos and captions are just great.

Photo of the day


Sunday, December 30, 2007

Nonja (1952-2007) RIP

I was sorry to learn that Nonja, the world's oldest living orangutan died Saturday at Miami's Metrozoo. She was 55 years old and was not suffering of anything more than arthritis at her advanced age, according to Zoo authorities.

I saw her many times at Miami's Metrozoo as you can see on this photo from September 2007

We'll miss you Nonja.

January 1st Airline Battery Ban

New TSA regulations banning rechargeable lithium batteries as checked luggage goes in effect January 1st.

You can carry batteries inside your devices (phones, ;aptops, ca,eras, mp3 players). Spares have to be carried with you in your carry-on baggage, and you may not carry spares in your checked-in luggage unless they are inside the devices.

This is more paranoia from the government. They are afraid of fires. Whats next? Sedate us and carry us in strait jackets?

The rule comes with a chart.

Let's look at this from an engineering perspective.

My Nikon camera battery is rated at 1500mAh (current time, or IT) at 7.4V (voltage or V). The formula for power capacity in watt-hours is :

PC = IT x V

Therefore, the battery's power capacity is 11.1 Watt-hours.

Note for those folks who don't play with these units, mA is milliamperes or 1/1000 of an ampere, the unit for current flow. We'll come back to this issue later.

This is below the 100 Watt-hour threshold. To meet the threshold, I need nine of these batteries. All of my spare batteries are in the plastic "sleds" that they are sold with - note that the isolation of battery contacts is another very important part of the TSA directives.

The open question is how the aggregate is managed by TSA, and how we can provide TSA with definitive information to show that the batteries are below their thresholds. Unfortunately, most manufacturer's sites for the do not show the technical specification for the battery with a watt-hour rating.

We're all going to be needing to be able to explain the battery systems to TSA, or not to have spare batteries in our carry-on bags. As pleasant as some TSA folks can be (or not), it's highly likely that they will not have been trained on units like mA, A, or watt-hours anytime soon. Understanding the issue of Li gram equivalents is going to be like advanced doctoral studies for most of the screeners, so we should be prepared to have to either throw away spare (expensive) batteries at the security checkpoint or to not bring them any spares on these trips.

Wait till the insurance company finds how many rechargeable lithium batteries I have lying around the house. Then I'll be in trouble.

This sounds like one of those stupid decisions by committee.

Photo of the day

Purple Gallinule

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Photo of the day

Brown pelican
Yesterday at the beach in Bal Harbour

Friday, December 28, 2007

Penn and Teller Explain Sleight of Hand

Penn and Teller explain one of their tricks. (YouTube)

I saw them live in their Las Vegas show. Well worth it.

Photo of the day

Handsome fellow

Brown pelican - Bal Harbour pier

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Photo of the day

Toy car - Las Vegas Auto Collection at the Imperial Palace

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Photo of the day

Toy car - Las Vegas Auto Collection at the Imperial Palace

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Oscar Peterson RIP

We miss you already Oscar!

Oscar Peterson on YouTube

Photo of the day

Food fight!
Brown pelicans on the Bal Harbour pier

Monday, December 24, 2007

Photo of the day

Sanderling - Bal Harbour pier.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Photo of the day

Peekaboo - Ruddy Turnstone - Bal Harbour, Florida

Saturday, December 22, 2007

How many megapixels do I need?

As a photographer, I get asked about cameras from time to time. One question has to do with how many megapixels are needed to get a decent print. My answer is generally that megapixels do not matter as much as other features of a camera. It is only valid when you want to print extra large sizes where it starts to be a factor (or also for big crops but that will degrade resolution and print size).

Generally speaking any recent camera that has 5 megapixel or better resolution will do fine in the common sizes such as 4x6 and 5x7. Even when you get to 8x10 it is hard, or almost impossible to tell the difference between at 5mp and 10mp camera.

Thom Hogan wrote a very good article and chart on this subject, that might be helpful to help you understand the relation between megapixels, resolution (dpi) and print sizes.

Photo of the day

Red-bellied woodpecker at Green Cay wetlands - Delray Beach, Florida

Friday, December 21, 2007

The 100 year old photo blog

Shorpy, an amazing portal into the past. 260+ pages of vintage photos. A must see.

Asteroid could hit Mars January 30

A newly discovered asteroid has a 1 in 75 chance of hitting Mars on January 30. The original odds were put at 1 in 350 then 1 in 75, which are unusually short odds. They say they could refine it even closer in days to come.

The information comes from Near Earth Object Program at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory. The size is estimated at around 50 meters (160 feet) across. It might be a miss (most probably), but if it hits, it could have a force of 3 megatons of TNT.

Looks like we may be in for a show in late January.

A couple of software development gems

A couple of posts caught my eye as very useful this week. One is Doug pointing us to John Robbin's Code signing in Vista, cheaper and easier than you thought. I don't do apps for Vista as we are still in XP at work but I use Vista at home and the "an unidentified program wants access to your computer" message gets old fast and it does look a tad unprofessional.

The other one is "Updated ASP.NET wwCaptcha Control on the WebLog" by Rick Strahl. Quick an easy way to add CAPTCHAs to your webpage.

Photo of the day

Great Blue Heron in the early morning light at Wakodahatchee wetlands, Delray Beach, Florida.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Photo of the day

Another one of yesterday's Anhinga. She talks too!

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Alt.Santas Put the X Back in Xmas

Why is there one Santa, with no competition in a country no two people order the same coffee drink?

Lore Sjöberg gives us an answer with a set of other possible Santas, to improve on the current Santa monopoly.

I like the Atheistic Santa's gifts: a set of wooden periodic-table blocks and a scale model of archaeopteryx.

(Via Pharyngula)

Photo of the day

Anhinga (female)

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Ennio Morricone's theme of "The Good, The Bad and The Ugly"

Ennio Morricone's "The Ecstasy of Gold" from the movie "The Good, the Bad and the Ugly".

(Via C&L)

Photo of the day

Bryce Canyon National Park

Monday, December 17, 2007

Photo of the day

Ring-billed Gull

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Photo of the day

Ring-billed Gull

Saturday, December 15, 2007

FSX SP2 released

Microsoft has released Flight Simulator X SP2

Here's the download link in English:

For other languages (many are offered), here's a complete list.

Note that SP2 has the same functionality as Acceleration, without the additional aircraft and missions.

Jon has a list of fixes included.

(Via Jon Patch)

Photo of the day

1956 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Gullwing
Las Vegas Auto Collection at the Imperial Palace Hotel

Friday, December 14, 2007

Photo of the day

1963 Jaguar E-Type at the Las Vegas Auto Collection at the Imperial Palace Hotel

When you visit Las Vegas, do not miss this huge collection of antique and classic cars.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Gift for geeks list: 2007 edition

Jeff at Coding Horror published his annual gift for geeks: 2007 edition list.

Don't miss it. There's some good stuff in it.

Photo of the day

Royal tern - Bal Harbour beach

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Photo of the day

Ruddy Turnstone. The same guy as yesterday, but showing us a profile.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Photo of the day

Ruddy Turnstone - Bal Harbour Beach, Florida

Monday, December 10, 2007

Photo of the day

Let's see. This past month I visited Las Vegas and Southern Utah, then Thanksgiving at Disney World in Orlando and visited with photo friends to shoot the Central Florida wetlands. With the gorgeous weather this time of year (sunny, drier and 72F to 82F during the day) I'm visiting the local wetlands on weekends, therefore I have lots of new photos to share.

Today I'll show a nice looking bird found at Animal Kingdom. Enjoy.

Masked Plover

As always they are all in my gallery.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Photo of the day

Royal tern - Miami Beach

Saturday, December 08, 2007

CompUSA goes out of business

End of the line for CompUSA

The irony of a big-box store, after pushing mom&pop stores out of business for many years, has now been pushed out of business by bigger-box stores...

Photo of the day

At the Brown Derby restaurant in Disney's MGM - Orlando

Friday, December 07, 2007

Photo of the day

Gertie the dinosaur

I always loved Gertie since I saw the cartoon decades ago. Most people who visit Disney's MGM see Gertie as an ice cream shop sculpture, and have no clue about the reasons for paying a homage to her. In short, Gertie, the brain child of early cartoonist Winsor McCay was the star of the first animated cartoon in 1914.

Here you can see the complete McCay's movie on the making of Gertie, from 1914 (You Tube).

You can see Gertie from 1921.

Here's a shorter version of "Gertie the Dinosaur" from 1914 (YouTube).

If you are a movie and cartoon buff, you'll love Gertie, the one that started it all.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Coding Horror: Please Don't Steal My Focus

Jeff Atwood from Coding Horror a has a good post on software that steals your focus. Talk about nasty! Besides being very annoying and cutting productivity, it is potentially dangerous as he attests.

I love this comment by Jack:

We don't need no pop-up windows,
We don't need no modal box,
No focus-stealing bad behaviour,
Coders leave my apps alone,
Hey! Coders! Leave my apps alone.

Whatever happenned to instaling updates that don't require an immediate reboot? Microsoft should learn from this.

Photo of the day

Neon sign found in a mall in Las Vegas

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Photo of the day

Bryce Canyon National Park

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Laugh at Sudan

Pat Condell's latest

Photo of the day

Tree bark

Monday, December 03, 2007

Photo of the day

Mr. Potato Head - MGM Studios - Orlando

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Photo of the day

Photographer catching the early morning light at Bryce Canyon National Park

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Photo of the day

Bryce Canyon National Park