The World's Only Cybermorphic™ Weblog
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Recent thoughts on recent news

I want to say, on several matters great and small, to the principals involved: You are trying to solve the wrong problem.

Help Me With My Dumb Idea: a classic digital photography magazine

This photo was taken in 2004, using a Sony DSC-V1. It was a five-megapixel compact camera (introduced in 2003, MSRP US$700):

Pretty good, huh? That's a low-light situation, so the camera took this photo at 1/15 shutter speed. Of course, I also had ISO 100 set. I can't remember if that was because it was hard to change the ISO on that camera, or because high-ISO performance was not its forte.

For some time I've been mooting the creation of Classic Digital Photography, meant as a magazine-ish website documenting the early days of digicams.

20 Books

"Don't take too long to think about it. Twenty books you've read that will always stick with you, not necessarily in any order. First twenty you can recall in no more than 15 minutes. I did this quickly and then went back to correct errors and clean it up. Tag friends, including me because I'm interested in seeing what you've enjoyed. Now, in no particular order..."

  • The Princess Bride
  • the camel book
  • The Rider
  • The Escape Artist
  • Lance Armstrong's War
  • Eat the Rich (P J O'Rourke)
  • the Encyclopedia Brown stories
  • something (anything, really) by Erma Bombeck
  • Haynes Yamaha Vision (XV550) Repair Manual
  • Longitude (not great, but a great story)
  • Snow Crash
  • The Restaurant at the End of the Universe

Speaking Truth to Horsepower

I believe what follows is one of the infamous ten percenter pamphlets, this one from the NDP. I don't remember a Liberal one off-hand, and it's hard for me to distinguish the Conservative ten percenters from the stuff they send me because I'm a known right-wing kook. On to exhibit A, which is most of the text from the pamphlet:


I'm biased, but "A hat trick for families" sounds like the kind of slogan you'd come up with if you had a vague understanding of hockey, and a vague understanding of Canada.

The camera of my fantasies, the reviews of the damned

No, the doughty Pentax K100 D Super is not going anywhere, and I'm not giving up on the Canon SD1000 super-compact until I get a phone with a decent camera, but Olympus went and built the interchangeable-lens "rangefinder" I expressed a desire for in 2005.

Behold the Olympus Pen E-P1. That's the short Wired review. the long DP Review is longer. It's based around the micro-4/3s standard, and seems to be the first camera to really exploit the 4/3 system's benefits. On the down side, it sacrificed any built-in flash (it has a hot shoe) and a built-in optical rangefinder (there's a hot-shoe mounted one that's matched to the available 17 mm pancake lens (like 35 mm in OG full-frame focal lengths)).

Lady the dog, 2001-2009

This is an obituary I was not expecting to write for some time.

On Friday morning, Lady went in for a routine checkup, plus rabies and distemper shots. The doctor said she was in perfect health for a small 8-year-old dog. She was fine for most of the day. By late evening, she was a little groggy, and I made a note to see if she'd gotten worse by morning. I slept on the couch with her, and she was a little shivery but nothing scary.

She was worse in the morning. We had her in the vet's office at 11:20 Saturday morning. By 3pm she was dead. We don't know why, but blood work and a possible autopsy bring answers.

Instead of dwelling on the morose details of her sudden death, I want to remember this charming and photogenic dog, who brought much joy into our lives.

News and the future

2009: Auto-Tune the News #1

2010: Brothers Gregory get a regular segment on TV

2011: MSNBC is the first channel to go to an all-autotune format.

2014: A web-only news broadcaster starts up. Key gimmick: the newsreaders sing in their natural voices.

A few weeks back I had a slight discussion on the fb with keith about the Guardian's experiment with crowdsourcing analysis of a data dump. I made the hubris-plagued claim that in the future, more news would be made that way than by traditional reportage.

Drink While Pregnant: a Wired Cola PSA

Karen "Tinybites" Hamilton is expecting! As makes sense for a food-blogger, she talks about a lot of the food-and-drink changes this has brought to her life.

And of course, there's the drinking thing. You're not supposed to drink while pregnant, right?

In this Very Special Episode of Wired Cola, we'd like to urge you to drink a little bit. Science is on your side.  

Key point from that page: moderate consumption, and we're talking 1-2 drinks/day here, has no measurably negative effect on your baby, and may be modestly better for their development.

The always-reliable (or at least in this case, impressively footnoted) Wikipedia article on the subject is straightforward:

A different kind of weird email

So, I get a lot of spam just like everyone else, though Gmail ensures I never see it unless I want to.
Gmail says I got 1288 spam emails in the last 30 days (I'm basing this on how Gmail's spam filter works: it auto-deletes spam after 30 days, and I never touch my spam folder). That number may be off a bit either way: the rare bad message gets through, there's probably a false-positive or two in the spam folder.
But ever since I wrote about my trip to Greece, I have started getting a very odd message, one that, well, you be the judge:

From: mike.power200@[popular mail system redacted].com
Subject: How much does 1 week in greece cost

A Weird Kind of Coup

Ah, news from Honduras. Can't get enough of it! No, literally.

This sounds bad. Censoring the press? Bad! US President says coups are bad, too!

Only, hm. This Wikipedia entry gives one pause. And here's a WaPo (those notorious kowtowers to the right) columnist limning some subtle details like the fact that the Honduran supreme court ordered Zelaya's removal from office after he tried to pursue an already-ruled-illegal plebiscite by force, and was replaced by a member of his own party.

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