Archive for April, 2005

sFIR 2.0

sFIR 2.0 is officially released. This is the text image replacement method that uses Flash. I’ve implemented it on timches.com as well as this site. Works well if you don’t use too much of it on one page because there’s a second of loading time, but this new version allows for the basic HTML text to show while Flash is loading.

Mike Davidson is awesome.

Plugging Lem Photography.com

Lem took a Macromedia…er, I mean Adobe Flash course in his Photo Journalism program at Brooks Institute of Photography, and worked up a pretty nifty flash-based portfolio website, Lem Photography.com. Check it out and hire him to do your wedding, birthday, or bar-mitzvah.

I’m just glad we’re over the era of really bad flash, just for the sake of having flash. For example, the really bad Flash intro. While we’re on the subject of websites, check out some good guidelines for starting a good website.

Nikon D50

The new Nikon D50 comes out in June–smaller, lighter, and cheaper than its big brother, the famous D70. DPReview has a hands-on preview of the D50 already up.

In comparison with the D70, for the lower price you lose the second command-dial, lose the plastic lcd protector, and get a slightly slower fps. It’s got the same solid build-quality of the D70. It’s still the “only” 6.1 MP, as opposed to the 8.2 MP you get with the Rebel XT, but given Nikon’s superb image quality, that doesn’t matter much.

The black version looks a whole lot better than the really ugly fake photos of the silver D50 that were circulating around the web earlier this month. The real silver version isn’t much better-looking than those fake photos though…

On the subject of photography, Canon just posted new firmware for the 20D. With all the dead 20Ds after the last firmware upgrade, I’ll let other users upgrade first…

Adobe Gobbles Up Macromedia???

What the? The optimist in my says, Great! We’ll get new software that has the best that each of the software giants have to offer. The pessimist / realist in my says this is the end of competition and innovation (Microsoft, anyone?).

Those are my first impressions anyway, but I really have no idea what will happen. Keep Dreamweaver and scrap GoLive, please.

An Air Purifier that Pollutes?

Consumer Reports released a finding in their May issue that reports that the much advertised Shaper Image Ionic Beeze Air Purifier not only doesn’t work, but actually makes air quality worse by releasing large amounts of ozone into the air, making air quality especially bad for asthma sufferers…like me–we own one of these!

We bought an older model a couple years ago when we lived above smokers whose smoke came through the vents and into our apartment. Not such a good thing, especially when Chesney was pregnant. I have to say, it does it job (or i think it does) of eliminating odors. It got rid of the smoke odor and now takes care of Caleb’s diaper smell.

Because this report isn’t just a rumor from a tabloid or some obscure website, it’s being taken very seriously–so seriously that The Sharper Image’s stock has plummeted! There’s a good story on the whole issue in The Washington Post.

If this finding is accurate (and it sounds like it is), I smell a lawsuit a’comin’. Maybe I can feign frequent asthma attacks and join in (just kidding).

On a side note, the Sharper Image’s marketing of this product has done its job. This thing isn’t cheap and is a best seller for the company.

Tiger Unleashed

Today Apple announced April 29 as release date of the update to OS X , “Tiger.” For those who have only ever used Windows, there IS a much better operating system out there. Just peruse through Apple’s Tiger showcase and see an alternative operating system that you could be using.

I had the good fortune of watching demos of the nicest features of Tiger at January’s MacWold Expo in San Francisco, and it was pretty impressive. One of the coolest new things was Spotlight, Tiger’s new search tool. It finds and categorizes search results as you type search term in. No need to hit a search or submit button. It also brings up results within e-mail messages, text within pdfs, and even photo meta info. To see what I’m talking about, you have to see Spotlight in action.

That’s just one of the great NEW things about Tiger–OS X’s previous versions full of features that make life a lot easier both for the average Joe who wants to do simple tasks as well as power users who want speed, efficiency, and the freedom from the quirks and frustrations of Windows. Oh, and I’m told various Linux flavors have the same advantages over Windows…

I run a pretty tight ship, but even after defragging, uninstalling, and cleaning up, my Windows machine at home was running so very slow that I finally had to do a clean wipe and re-install of Windows just 2 weeks ago. My startup time went from 7 minutes (I used to have to restart my computer and go make myself a cup of tea while waiting) to less than 2 after my reinstall. Everything else ran so much faster too. Users shouldn’t have to deal with this sort of thing!!!

DPReview.com’s Digital Rebel XT Review

In case you were hesitating to buy the Rebel XT–don’t–it’s a downright awesome camera. No surprise, it gets a rave review from the premier digital photography website, DPReview. I’ve gotten a chance to handle one of these babies for a few minutes, and they are quite impressive.

Pertaining to image quality, Phil Askey writes, “It’s interesting that not only does the EOS 350D not use the same sensor as is used in the EOS 20D but that Canon deliberately designed the pixel count of the 350D to be less than its bigger brother. Despite this there’s really no visible difference between the performance of the two in this test.”

Buy it Lem.

Name Voyager

Check out the Name Voyager, a really interesting web app that could help someone who wants to make sure to choose a unique baby name. Not that I need to be thinking about baby names.

Thanks to Phil Hagelberg for pointing out this link.

A Weekend with the Family

I think I’ve now almost recuperated from the long weekend of driving. Man, driving down to LA is rough, but all the way down to Escondido is killer, especially with the gas prices!

It was worth it though–I got to spend time with my family for longer than several hours, which is how long I get to spend with them when they come up to visit. Without having to worry about time, we had a great time hanging out, talking, watching movies, and even playing a board game.

Besides Chesney (and Caleb, I guess), my family are the only other people I feel like I can truly be myself (…Chesney could argue that this is not such a good thing). It felt good just to talk about dumb guy stuff with my brothers, to simply catch with how things are going with my parents, and to see what kind of a person Rachel is growing up to be. Can’t get all of that through e-mails or even phone calls.

So thanks family, it was a great weekend! Let’s do it again sometime.

By the way, there are photos from the weekend posted on timches.com

Google maps now has a satellite view

Google just keeps improving their mapping system! Now you can do everything in google maps with a satellite view instead. Just click on the link in the upper right of the page. I was wondering if Google was going to do this, since they aquired Keyhole a while back. (Though I’m pretty sure that you get better resolution with the full keyhole service).

Photoshop CS2

Yesterday Adobe officially announced Photoshop CS2, the next version of their flagship imaging software. I’m especially excited about the high dymanic range tool that allows you to easily combine 2 photos with different exposures into one image with more dynamic range. The new image browser, RAW plug-in, sharpening tool, and built-in noise reducer will also be really awesome.
There is an interesting preview here.