Technical Difficulties from on Top of the Mountain
2005-05-19
  Non linear effects
Most of the time I'm struggling with the technical difficulties of the mundane, but sometimes I get to enjoy the results of all my efforts (or just the results of some blind luck). On bit of luck was ordering a new digital camera so that it showed up the same day that Oscar was born. Another bit of luck was picking exactly the right camera.

My old Olympus was an improvement back when I got it, but it just isn't that good a camera compared with modern ones. It takes 4AA batteries, which don't last all that long, the flash takes forever to charge up, it uses compact flash cards (which I'm dumping), and it really doesn't do that well indoors. I have a lot of dark, noisy, blurred pictures of the kids doing various things (which can't really be identified by the picture).

Tim got a good deal on a Canon SD110, and I was pretty close to getting that (its cheaper and smaller), but the A520 just seemed like the right camera for a bunch of reasons that I couldn't put my finger on until I actually got it:

Net result? In the last two weeks, I've taken 2,600+ pictures (1GB cards are really handy, they store > 800 high quality images). Did all the pictures come out? Of course not. But I use the multi-shot almost all the time, and so out of six or seven images in a row, at least two are usually focused very sharp. It takes decent movies too, so we have the kids running around and doing various things in little vignettes.

The dim-light pictures are the most amazing. I've gotten good pictures in dark corners where my eye's weren't picking up that much light. Even badly lit doctor's offices can provide the setting for a wonderful picture.

The thing is, with truly great tools, your enthusiasm feeds your creativity and sometimes you can really connect the dots in interesting ways. Still I was surprised by the synergistic techno-solution that came up in the hospital. I had just taken another couple hundred pictures of the baby and mama, and was showing off some of the better ones to her. She of course thought they were all cute, but a few were especially good and she wanted me to send them to her parents. The problem is that 1) I'm not good at remembering things and 2) I hadn't yet even had the chance to go down to the computer room and do anything for two days; so I didn't think it was going to happen unless I came up with an original idea.

Then it hit me. Both the Canon and the Treo use SD cards, and the Treo has a digital camera so it knows all about the DCIM/ folder and JPEG files. So wha-lah, I popped the memory card out of the camera, popped it into the phone, pulled up the image (after that poor 312MHz cpu chugged with all its might to decode almost the entire folder with of images to display icons on the screen), and emailed it.


I'm still geeking out about that.

 
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You may not want to write in Lisp, but his advise on software, life and business is always worth listening to.
How to save the world
Dave Pollard working on changing the world .. one partially baked idea at a time.
SnowDeal
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Feb '04
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The audience is not listening.

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The Lack of Practise Effect

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Checking out cool tools (with the kids)
A master geek (Ink Tank flashback)
How to play with your kids

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