1. Cost of living: March 14, 2012

    Dow 13,194.10
    S&P 500 1,394.28
    Nasdaq 3,040.73

    Hard drive storage: $0.055/GB
    (Samsung EcoGreen F4 HD204UI 2TB 32MB Cache SATA Hard Drive for $109.99 via NewEgg on March 14, 2012) - Hard drive prices are settling down after massive floods in southeast Asia shut down a big portion of hard drive manufacturing last year.

    Solid-state hard drive storage: $1.20/GB
    (OCZ 120GB SATA II Solid State Drive for $144.99 via Newegg on March 14, 2012)

    Flash memory: $0.686/GB
    (Wintek 16GB Class 6 microSDHC Card for $10.99 via Newegg on March 14, 2012)

    Highest interest rate savings with minimal deposit requirements: 0.84%
    (Ally Bank via bankrate.com on March 14, 2012)

    Gallon of (regular) gas: $3.829
    (US National Average, pulled from US Energy Information Administration on March 12, 2012)

    Gallon of diesel: $4.123
    (US National Average, pulled from US Energy Information Administration on March 12, 2012)

  2. American Idol judges go lame

    I was joking around last night when Steven Tyler gave his second performer the same empty, thoughtless feedback of “I liked you when we first met you and I still like you now.”

    Then J.Lo did the same thing.

    After some 400 shows, it seems the American Idol judges have run out of criticisms.

  3. WTB: Dynaudio “Amp” 3C0-035-456-A or 3C0-035-456-C

    If you have a DynAudio amp (Volkswagen Part Number

    3C0-035-456-A (3C0035456A)

    or

    3C0-035-456-C (3C0035456C)

    ) for sale, please send me an e-mail at:

    speed-tdi@transmit.net

    .

  4. Karateka

    Who knew? A Karateka is a practicioner of Karate. Also, the creator of Karateka (Jordan Mechner) was also the creator of Prince of Persia.

  5. Remember, if you aren’t paying for a service, you aren’t the customer, you’re the product.

  6. Migrating Movable Type blog content to tumblr with mt2tumblr

    This process was quite easy using mt2tumblr script.  It took about 5 minutes total to migrate several hundred blog posts from Movable Type.  It was not perfect, but a good solution for getting all the contents moved.  Some manual reformatting was required on some posts.

    SixApart, Movable Type, we had a good run, and thanks for the great software platform.

  7. Art is the most beautiful of all lies.

    — Claude Debussy

  8. Men on the moon

    Only 12 humans have walked on the Moon between 1969-1972.
    We’re coming up on 40 years since a human has walked on the Moon.
    We’re just now talking about putting another person on the moon in 2022.
    That’s 50 years after the last human walked on the moon.

  9. When you absolutely have to know…

    now, check a news wiki (Wikinews or Wikipedia)

    within a couple minutes, check a news website (Drudge Report or CNN or Fox News)

    within a couple hours, listen to radio news (1440 WLWI-AM)

    within a half day, check television news (BBC or ABC or CBS or NBC on TV)

    within a day or two, try the newspaper (Montgomery Advertiser)

    within a week, try the weekly newspaper (Prattville Progress)

  10. My favorite photos… (not taken by me)


    Fiddler on the ferry
    by maessive on Flickr.

    \;
    Stacked
    by Waseem Sayegh from Flickr.


    wall of banks
    by Dystopos from Flickr.


    Diane Varner - Bloom

    from her excellent photoblog Daily Walks.

  11. Interesting Times: Things my kids will never know

    My kids won’t know what life was like without the Internet, before computers were in every home. They’ll never know what a modem is or the wonderful (yet grating) sounds it would make when you dialed a BBS. They won’t know the joy of getting online 1200bps (and all the free time you had when you waited for downloads to complete.)Even their perspective on the Internet will be different. They won’t know about Mosaic browser or text-based (only) browsing with lynx. They’ll never know Prodigy or Compuserve. AOL is just a website. They won’t know that Yahoo was a directory of links, or that Altavista, Excite, HotBot, and WebCrawler were once prosperous search engines with a large market share. They won’t know that there were years of Internet without Google at all…

    They won’t know of life before the convenience of microwave ovens.

    They will think (rightfully so) that everyone has a phone and they are almost exclusively cordless or completely wireless. They won’t know that at one time all phones were wired into the wall, that long distance calls were expensive and infrequently used. They will never know what a party line or a rotary dial phone was. They won’t realize that phones didn’t used to have cameras, games, music, and full QWERTY keyboards on them.

    They won’t know that people used to shave with just one blade.

    Lightweight 27-speed mountain bikes with disc brakes and super travel full-suspension will be mainstream and affordable. They won’t know the relatively low tech, heavy, inefficient bikes we had to ride. They won’t realize that mountain biking was started in the mid-1970s.

    My kids will never know what a caboose is for. They will only see them in train museums (and so we take them.)

    Film photography will be some long-forgotten technique that people used to use before digital photography. They won’t know what camera film looks like. They’ll never know the growing pains of digital photography from low resolution to slow, delay-prone cameras. Everything will be high resolution, automatic, and instantaneous. It seems normal to them that you can store thousands of photographs on a memory card smaller than your thumbnail. Digital photo frames will seem normal to them. Static real photos printed and tucked into frames will seem pointless.

    They’ll think ketchup has always poured easily from a flexible, upside-down bottle.

    They’ll never know what a reel-to-reel, an eight-track, a vinyl record, a Mini-disc, or a cassette tape is. Even CDs are going to the wayside as things gradually swing towards completely digital music delivery, played on the all-pervasive MP3 player. Walkman and Discman will be largely historical and unfamiliar to them. They won’t ever know about VCRs and Laserdisc players. They’ll have always known DVD, Blu-Ray, and DVR.

    They’ll think televisions were always flat and thin. HDTV will be the norm for what they are used to viewing. Their music will be all-digital and all multi-channel. They will think that films were always projected off perfect digital copies with high-resolution digital projectors. They won’t know the magic of the imperfections of a real film projector.

    My kids won’t know what a floppy disc was (8”, 5.25”, or 3.5”) Wow! They won’t know DOS (and I’m doing all I can to make it so they won’t have to use Windows.) They won’t know about daisy wheel printers, slow and noisy dot-matrix printers or fan-fold paper.

    My kids will probably never know much measured in terms of ‘megabytes’ and will likely be more familiar with the concept of ‘terabytes’ rather than with ‘gigabytes’.

    I’m excited about the rapidly changing world they’ve been born into, but I’m sad they won’t know the world as I do. I’ll try to teach them what I can and maybe if I’m lucky they’ll help me see their world through their eyes someday. Wired recently published an article titled: 100 Things Your Kids May Never Know.

  12. What does P Av Tv M (or P A S M) mean? Understanding your digital camera’s modes

    It can be daunting and confusing to depart from your camera’s ‘Auto’ mode and explore the capabilities of your digital camera. There is, however, a lot of power and flexibility hidden just behind these letters P Av Tv M (or P A S M depending on your brand of camera) once you learn a little and experiment with them. I had previously only dabbled with these modes on my first two digital cameras (P&S) for the first 6 years of my digital photography. Since I got my first DSLR, I’ve jumped in head-first trying to learn the finer points of my camera’s capabilities and why (and when) I might use these various modes. Experimenting with these modes and observing the results will both improve your understanding of photography and hopefully open doors into what you can capture creatively with your camera.

    Full Auto - Just like it sounds: the camera will choose your shutter speed, aperture, focal points, ISO, metering mode, white balance and whether or not to use the flash without any input from you. This will result in a "correct" exposure and a decent picture most times. The modern camera is a machine with numerous sensors and intelligent brains, but it is basically responding to measurements from its sensors, not “comprehending” what it is taking a picture of or what your intended picture should look like (though more and more point-and-shoot cameras are including face recognition and even smile recognition.) It may deploy the flash when you would use a longer exposure and natural light, or it may over- or underexpose the image because of how it metered the scene instead of what you “meant” for the camera to capture. These unintended results can be controlled more accurately and creatively by learning how to control you camera in the different modes below.

    P (Program AE (or Flexible Program) Mode) - I find it easiest to think of this as a semi-automatic mode that will allow you to make certain general adjustments to shutter speed and aperture. The camera calculates the shutter speed and aperture for “correct” exposure and allows you to choose from several different shutter speed/aperture combinations (with the main dial just behind your shutter release switch) that will all form a “correct” exposure. ISO, AF Mode, White Balance, Metering Mode, and Flash are all completely manual in this mode. This is a good mode to start exploring, it’s like the camera is guiding you, but still letting you make decisions to affect the outcome of the picture you are taking (you can choose a different exposure time or different aperture for a particular effect, for instance.)

    A or Av (Aperture Priority AE Mode) - The camera will allow you to select an aperture (with the main dial) and it will automatically adjust the shutter speed to make a correct exposure. A wider aperture (that is a smaller f/number) will have a narrow depth-of field and a smaller aperture (a larger f/number) will have a larger depth-of-field. This allows you to control the range of objects in your photo that are in sharp focus and control the blur of the background in your photographs. Keep in mind the effect of the shutter speeds the camera is selecting in terms of freezing or blurring motion and minimizing camera shake. ISO, AF Mode, White Balance, Metering Mode, and Flash are all completely manual in this mode. As an exercise, try shooting a moderately close shot of a flower, a letter, or the back of a playing card. Shoot with a wide open aperture, a medium aperture, and a stopped down aperture. Notice the difference in effect on your resulting photograph. Here are some examples illustrating the concept of depth-of-field from my photography.

    S or Tv (Shutter Priority AE Mode) - The camera will allow you to select a shutter speed (with the main dial) and will adjust the aperture automatically to make a correct exposure. Basically you’ll control the time the shutter is open and the camera will adjust the aperture setting to make a correct exposure. A faster shutter speed tends to freeze motion and reduces shake. A slower shutter speed allows photography in lower light settings, blurs motion, and may unintentionally reveal shaking of the camera operator. ISO, AF Mode, White Balance, Metering Mode, and Flash are all completely manual in this mode. Here are some examples of longer exposures from my photography.

    M (Manual Exposure Mode) - ISO, AF Mode, White Balance, Metering Mode, and Flash are all completely manual in this mode. The exposure scale which usually shows your exposure compensation, acts as an exposure meter in real time. You must choose both the shutter speed and the aperture you want to take the picture with every time. If you don’t change the setting, it will use the setting from the previous picture or the previous session. Experiment with manual mode my noting what the camera is guiding you to use (especially the shutter speed and aperture settings) in Program (P), Aperture Priority (A), and Shutter Priority (S) modes and use them as a starting point. Manual mode can be very useful when shooting multi-part panoramas as it allows you to keep the exposure consistent as you pan through your shots, making the images easier to stitch together accurately and smoothly. This mode puts all the exposure/aperture decisions in your hands. The camera will indicate whether or not the exposure is correct, but won’t do anything to correct it, that’s your job (or you may be over-/under-exposing for a particular reason or to get a specific effect (silhouettes, for instance.)

    Specialty Modes - Almost all cameras have a range of preset modes for Sports, Fireworks, Portrait, Landscape, Indoor, Snow, Beach, etc. Please read your owner’s manual for which modes your camera supports and how to use them. There are a large number of options on the average digital camera today, just remember that you’ll only be adjusting a handful of them at a time typically. Don’t get overwhelmed with all the choices. Take some time in a controlled environment with no time constraints to experiment with your camera. Play with shutter speeds and understand how they can freeze or blur motion. Take a series of the same shot with different apertures and notice how the depth of field changes. Experiment with Autofocus (AF) Modes and Metering Modes. Consider how and where you’d want to use the techniques you’ll discover. When it all clicks and you can understand and control this machine in your hands, it’s so much more than just hitting the shutter release and “hoping” for a good result. Please stop by and see more of my photography.

  13. How to skip the trailers at the beginning of a DVD

    A friend’s child recently watched me fighting with FBI & Interpol warning screens, distributor logos, and trailers while trying to play a DVD when she asked me why I didn’t Press Stop-Stop-Play I looked at them funny (as I’m prone to do), tried it and now I use it every time. It will start playing the main feature without all the junk they packed in before it. Depending on the player, you may want to wait a second between presses. One player I have says “Pre-Stop” on the first Stop, “Stop” on the second Stop, then “Seq. Play” on the Play. Don’t know if this always works, but it works on almost every DVD I’ve tried.

  14. Hot MK4

    Hot MK4

  15. When building sand castles on the beach, we can ignore the waves but should watch the tide.

    — Edsger Dijkstra