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Nexus 10 review

I decided to drink the Google kool-aid and buy the Nexus 10

Not my best work or illustrative of what the Nexus 10 can doHaving used it for almost a month now, I’m somewhat surprised at how much I’ve used this tablet around the house. I’m a first time pad user, but I’ve got a lot of work experience with smaller portable devices for data entry. What follows are the thoughts of an old-school computer user learning the new-school portable device paradigm.

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Canon Image Square

Went to the Canon Image Square store last week. I wasn’t really that impressed, but YMMV. I decided to try them out on three things retail sucks at:
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Your next great photo is just around the corner

I decided yesterday to walk over to the mailbox to drop off a letter. The temperature had climbed to a balmy -16C and I was tired of being in the house all day. I took the DSLR with my 10-22 zoom (equals 16-35mm film) along as it was late in the afternoon with a bright sun going down in the south west. Good light can much improve the possibility for a good picture. Besides, I need more practice with the wide angle.
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Viewsonic 15″ digital frame

Since I took the time to post on, I might as well re-quote it here:

Viewsonic’s 15″ digital frame is a cut above the no-name brand frames in terms of both picture quality and frame quality. The frame has a nicer fake cherry wood veneer, with a cream colored matte, much less harsh than the standard black with white matte of most other frames. Be careful to not scratch the frame – the veneer will come off, especially on the corners revealing the light particle board underneath. Fit and finish are good – expect the quality level of a nicer frame from a department store.

The picture quality is very good, IF you can view the picture from the right angle. The LCD has no problems on horizontal viewing, but vertical is another matter. The image will go dark & change colors when viewed from below – making the frame a poor choice to hang on a wall. You will be able to see your photos just fine standing at eye level with the frame, when you sit down to admire your work, you will see darkened off-color images. The frame is clearly designed to sit on a desk, where you tend to view from above. The problem is, this is a pretty large frame to put on a desk, similar to size of a monitor. It is a shame really, because if you can set this frame up on a low shelf or TV stand, it displays colors as good as a monitor, and does a nice job of downsizing to the frame’s 1024×768 native resolution. I estimate the optimal view angle vertically to be from zero to 30 degrees up – only slight darkening above that. Any angle of view below darkens immediately to unacceptable levels. The frame is unusable in portrait mode – unless you can keep the viewer on the “good side” of the frame.

I’d still buy this frame again due to overall better quality. I would not hang this frame on a wall. Note that many other frames suffer from view angle issues – you may want to look at some on display in a store before you buy.

I’ll add to this that nothing has changed since my 3:2 rant from 2010, other than quality has improved. I see at Adorama that they have a 17″ size from Digital Spectrum now. It is 1280 x 1024 which is a 5:4 ratio, even more square than the 4:3 of consumer digital cameras. This means the 8 X 10’s that you expect from a portrait view are native in this frame, and look properly proportioned. 4×3’s still look a little too tall, but most people will find it acceptable. I’d have to buy one to see if the viewing angle is workable or not, perhaps a late Xmas present for myself is in order, we will see.

If you want bigger, you pretty much are buying a large TV to display your images on, which is not classy, and not even close to the right ratio to display images. I still think there is a market for some really big frame you wall mount – especially since such sizes are well under $1000 now for something that would fill a modest sized living room.

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Security Camera D-Link DCS-942L

The D-Link DCS942L camera is a feature rich security camera, but a bitch to configure manually. Even the setup wizard, once I finally got it working, didn’t work without some issues. It turns out most of the wizard issue is due to DLink no longer providing you a CD. If you copy the wizard you download to a stick and run it from there it works, even if registration on the mydlink site appears not to work – just login with the account info you gave it. I suspect it’s a problem with the so if you’re USA, this might work just fine. You can skip the wizard completely and just log on to the device directly browsing it through your network places. The initial login is admin with a blank password. The only think you’ll not be able to do is use Dlink’s site to see your camera remotely- for that you have to get the wizard to work – no manual registration is provided.

What follows is a long story detailing all the issues I had in pretty much two days of trying to get everything working.
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Teaching Myself Composition

I’m trying to teach myself better photo composition today. So, this essay is as much me talking to myself as it is me trying to teach you something. Composition is very important – you can’t fix very much of it in post processing beyond cropping. In photography, it involves mostly where you position the camera in taking a picture. Most people, including me, have a tendency to just point the camera at the object of interest and shoot. They get boring pictures because many times there is so much other crap in the frame that the viewer really has no idea of what the photographer was trying to capture. Come to think of it, photographers often have no idea what they are trying to capture either.

Here are a couple of photos of a really simple subject: an old speed limit sign. It doesn’t get much easier than this. I just needed some reasonable light, and the ability to get my subject in the frame, which I got. I have post processed these pretty much the same – tighten up the contrast levels a bit, bump the saturation levels a bit. These are 1/2 original size. Extra mgapixels don’t make these pictures any better. No cropping, as I tried to frame my subject tightly right in camera. I didn’t have all day to think about it either, as I was walking with a guest.
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Tax time eased with StudioTax

Just finished doing my taxes using StudioTax. It’s completely free, no bullshit, no income limits. They just ask for a donation, of which they bug you about only once, when you go and submit your netfile file. Studio Tax isn’t some light weight program either; it handles most situations and small business just fine. I give them $20 every year after filing because I think it’s so good of them to just give their software away. It’s worth more than $20 in saving me hours of going through a paper copy since I refuse to pay a service to pay my taxes. Yes, I can find cheaper pay services, but I’m donating to StudioTax in order to help keep them going so that those people facing tight finances regardless of income can get a free ride. Just pay it back when you do have money.
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Turning Science Fiction into Science

In this day and age, so many years after the first man in space, first moon landing, first supersonic flight, first test tube baby I forget that just once in a while, there is still the occasion when we manage to turn science fiction into science. I was reading BBC, and was reminded that Curiosity is to land on Mars, on I quote, “Monday 6 August, at six o’clock, 30 minutes and 13 seconds. British time” Britain and a good part of the world will be obsessed with that sports show the Oi-limp-icks which I don’t give a crap about since it’s all commercial anyways these days. I will be obsessing about the landing of Curiosity – wondering if those NASA boffins can pull this one out of their ass and get their complex landing system to actually put this Mini-Cooper sized robot down in one piece.

Consider this video – if you have not seen it, is well worth watching for it’s elegance in showing the complex nature of this robot’s transition from free-flight in space to being on Martius firma, all in six minutes, where every last planned event has to go off exactly as planned to get this 2.5 billion dollar 1 ton beast on the ground, ready for it’s next journey:

You could consider this a piece of science fiction, speculation on what might happen – someday. But that day is coming, August 6th to be precise, and if everyone converted their American Imperial to Metric properly this time, we might actually get to see the results some some extraordinary science being done for the very first time. Lest we forget, Opportunity is still doing amazing science, now beginning it’s 9th year of operation on Mars. Some people’s cars don’t last that long. This robot is our eyes on another world formerly imagined – now being seen from above and on the ground for real.

I hope that NASA can keep turning science fiction into science.

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My iPrayer to Steve Jobs

Hello Mr Jobs.

I see you’ve been busy in your new role as heaven’s technology innovator. I really thought you’d take it easy for a bit, but no, you’re right back in it, stirring things up as you always did in the mortal world. But I have to ask: what did I do to deserve today?

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