Back Into The Swing Of Things

Over the last few months I've been caught up with work, and life, and have neglected posting to this site as often as I've wanted to. I've decided to step it up and update here more often than I've been able to do in recent memory. What does this mean? Well, I'll just keep posting things that I enjoy or want more people to know about. This mainly will focus on software, hardware, cool stuff I find, or politics. I make no promises that it will be in anyway focused, but then again, I never have. Recently I've just gotten home from a long trip that I took for both business and vacation out to San Francisco. For the first 10 days of my trip, I was managing all of the technology setup for a 25,000 attendee conference at Moscone West/South/North in downtown SF as well as the live-streaming of all of our major events at the conference. I do this annually, which involves about 6 weeks of prep work prior to the conference followed by an intense 10 day period of working 12-14 hours a day during the conference. My wife flew out the day after I was done and we stuck around in San Francisco for Thanksgiving with my best friend and his partner. This allowed us to also meet a lot of our "Internet Friends" and see some of them again. I left so soon after the election (on November 8) that I haven't had a lot of time to think about the win for our team and what this means. I'm so relieved that the President was able to win re-election. Also, during my trip, the picture below happened. I can't imagine any photo such as this ever being taken in a Romney White House and it makes me all the more grateful that the election turned out the way it did.

The Camera You Have With You

Marco Arment wrote an excellent post tonight:

As part of my 2012 computer-setup shuffle, I also replaced my laptop with a Retina MacBook Pro, and the first thing it screams for is a high-resolution desktop wallpaper. Great, I thought, I’ll just use one of my photos. (On my desktop, I use a solid gray background, but on my laptop, I like to have a bit of fun. And it would be a crime to put a solid gray background on that screen.) Almost nothing I’ve shot since 2010 is usable. Marco came to this realization because he has been using his iPhone 4 and now, 4S due to it being the first iPhone camera that was a "good enough" replacement for an actual point & shoot camera. And because you always have your iPhone with you, it is way easier to use what you have in your pocket than go hunt for your DSLR or carry it around with your when you're out of your house. I do the exact same thing, and have done so ever since I got my iPhone 4 in the summer of 2010 (which I've now replaced with a 4S as well). Marco makes an excellent point though, we're all going to regret this in 5-10 years when all of our screens are Retina-class and the photos we took from 2010-20?? look like shit. Marco's solution is to go back to using his 5D MK II. I only own a Canon 40D myself which is really showing it's age. Because of this, and because I do not have a spare $3000 I can afford to spend on a 5D Mk III, his point has me browsing and looking at Canon's recent small point & shoot options. The S100 looks like a solid candidate. Off to DPReview I go... Update: John Yuda makes an excellent point.

Space Shuttle Discovery, Washington DC Flyover - The Photos

The Space Shuttle Discovery took its final flight this morning from Florida to Washington, DC on the back of one of NASA's 747 carrier planes used to carry the space shuttle's around the country. I went down to the National Mall this morning and stood in front of the Washington Monument to photograph its many fly-overs it took before making its final landing at Dulles International Airport where it will be put on display in the Smithsonian National Air & Space Museum, at the Udvar-Hazy Center. Below are what I think are some of my best shots I got with my 28-300mm lens (which on my crop sensor camera, turns into a 480mm zoom).
Approaching over the Lincoln Memorial.

Nice side shot with the NASA T-38 in frame.

Another good side shot.

Flying almost directly overhead.

Washington Monument flags in the foreground.

Coming out from behind the Washington Monument.

With the White House in the foreground.

Another pass with the White House in view.

Another good side shot from close underneath during its last pass.
And while I did not take this picture, I could not resist posting this awesome shot that was posted on the NASA HQ Flickr account:
Also, here is a video from my friend Ted Severson shot from the steps of the U.S. Capital building this morning:

Finally, here is a slideshow of the entire 284 photos I took and posted on Flickr:

Facebook and Instagram: When Your Favorite App Sells Out

Paul Ford, at New York Magazine:

Facebook, a company with a potential market cap worth five or six moon landings, is spending one of its many billions of dollars to buy Instagram, a tiny company dedicated to helping Thai beauty queens share photos of their fingernails. Many people have critical opinions on this subject, ranging from “this will ruin Instagram” to “$1 billion is too much.” And for many Instagram users it’s discomfiting to see a giant company they distrust purchase a tiny company they adore — like if Coldplay acquired Dirty Projectors, or a Gang of Four reunion was sponsored by Foxconn. Paul's take on this is excellent.

Rare Photographs Of The Titanic

Jason Kottke, at has posted a wonderful piece on old photographs from the Titantic, before it sank. I love seeing old photos such as these, especially of historic places or events, before the event itself took place. So much of the time we think about the event itself, but not what the place, object, person or setting was like prior to this famous historic event happening. Jason writes:

I was under the impression that not many photographs of the Titanic existed...especially those taken on the ship. But amateur photographer Francis Browne was aboard the Titanic from Southampton to Cobh, Ireland and captured many images of the ship's interior, exterior, and voyage. The photos were widely known in the aftermath of the sinking but have been little seen since then. Make sure you check out Jason's post, as there is an additional gem at the bottom showing a screenshot of twitter displaying the ignorance and/or naivety of today's youth.

Nikon Announces the D4

Boy, that was fast. You can already preorder the just-announced Nikon D4, which will ship in February, from Amazon. The Verge has a hands-on preview already posted. Vlad Savov writes:

You know you're in for a treat when Nikon decides to upgrade the very top of its camera range, the single-digit DSLR flagship. Taking over from the D3s is the D4, a $6,000 camera that gleefully upgrades just about every spec from its predecessor while also weighing less and lasting longer on a smaller battery. Notable features: * 10/11 frames per second continuous shooting in FX-format for up to 150 frames * Nikon FX- format (35.9 x 24.0mm) CMOS Sensor with 16.2 effective megapixels * Full 1080p HD broadcast quality video * View simultaneous Live View output on external monitors and record uncompressed video via HDMI terminal * Multi-Area Mode Full HD D-Movie: FX, DX (1.5X crop) and New 1920X1080 (2.7X) Crop modes settings They also have posted an excellent comparison of the D4 against the D3s, D3x, Canon EOS-1D X, EOS 5D Mark II, and Sony Alpha A900. And finally, for those of you who just want to look at it, a photo gallery of the D4 shows you every angle you could want to see. Also, Strobist noticed something very cool: