Archive for 2007

Open Your Eyes So You Can See What Happens Next

Open Your Eyes So You Can See What Happens Next

Australia Joins China In Censoring The Internet

Australia Joins China In Censoring The Internet

Wow, Australia institutes mandatory censorship. That’s too bad.

The Overpriced HDMI Cable Rip Off

:: – New and Improved ::

I hate seeing overpriced cables. $100 for an HDMI cable is definitely a rip off. Avoid the scam.

“So where’s the scam? You can find the scam by going to any big box electronics retailer and looking in the cable aisle. There you will find HDMI cables priced as low as $25 or $30 (if not, definitely head toward your local discount retailer for better prices). But you will also find HDMI cables priced above $100. And if you talk to a sales person, he will definitely be steering you toward the most expensive model. That is the scam. You can understand the scam if you understand how an HDMI cable works and what it does.”

Moving Files With Vista is Awesome

Moving and Replacing Files in Windows Vista

Ok, playing around more with Windows Vista today and I have to say that I absolutely *love* the moving files functionality of Vista.

One of the problems that I have with my photographs is that frequently photo titles get reused. As many of my titles come from song lyrics or just thoughts that pop into my head when I view the photograph, I find myself frequently reusing titles. This is especially true if a title is one word. Discover, Good Times, Alive… you get the idea.

One of the things that I hated about XP and Mac OSX as well for that matter is that frequently I’d try to move my photos from my MacBook to my drobo after I uploaded them and I’d get a message reminding me that I already had a file with that name in the folder and would I like to replace the file or not replace it. The problem though was always that I didn’t know if it was an actual physical dupe file or a different photograph using the same name.

Well now with Vista when it notifies me of this conflict, it actually shows me thumbnails of the photos in question and then gives me three choices. To replace the photo, not to move it, or to move it and give it a new title.

This one little thing makes it so much easier for me in helping to organize my photos. That, combined with easy photo keywording and keyword search from the Vista OS thus far make Vista look like a far better operating system than XP to me.

More details as I experiment more with the OS.

You Say I Can Be Found

You Say I Can Be Found

A Series of Mistakes

A Series of Mistakes

Part of my “Reflections on Manhattan” project.

Taking the Vista Plunge

A Jolt to The Operating System

Well today I’m finally taking the Vista plunge. I’m upgrading my home office PC to Windows Vista. By way of disclosure, a friend of mine at Microsoft, Charlie Owen (thanks), sent me the copy of Vista to try. I gave Charlie some rights to use some of my photos so you might say that I bartered for the copy.

So far my experience looks like this.

First hurdle was that the operating system was on DVD and the PC that I wanted to upgrade didn’t have a DVD drive, just a CD RW drive. This problem was quickly fixed though as I simply shared the DVD drive on my Media Center PC in my living room over my network and started the upgrade over the network.

The upgrade thus far has been pretty painless but it’s just taking a long time. This might be due to the fact that I’m upgrading over a network or that I’ve got a huge digital media library, not sure. But it’s taken about 4 hours now and the upgrade status tells me I’m about 74% of the way done.

Why am I upgrading to Vista you might ask?

Well, most significantly I’m hopeful that I’ll be able to search for photos by keywords with Vista. Recently I bought some boards approx 4 ft x 6 ft to begin making my first photo collage installations and it will be helpful to me to be able to search for photos on my drobos by keywords. I tried searching by keywords from my MacBook over the network (the drobos are formated NTSC and thus can’t be connected directly to my Mac which won’t read NTFS) but my Mac kept choking on the search queries. I think this is because my digital library is too large for the Mac to search it over the network.

I’m also upgrading though to try out Media Center on Vista. I’m hopeful (but not expecting) that Media Center on Vista will be more responsive in handling my large digital library (over 100,000 mp3s and close to that many digital image files).

If I like Vista enough I might buy a CableCARD Media Center PC later in 2008 and use XBox 360s as extender units in my home to handle all my digital media. This of course depends most of all though on whether or not I can get Media Center to effectively handle my large digital media library.

I was going to pursue an AppleTV option (I got AppleTV for Christmas but took it back to the Apple store — sorry Mom), but I think I’m going to give Media Center and Vista a chance first before completely throwing in the towel and trying an Apple strategy. I like the idea of the XBox 360 strategy that Microsoft has going for them as well as the fact that Media Center PCs can record HDTV which can then be distributed to the various televisions in my home.

I’ll report more on Vista after I get it up and working.

Have any of you upgraded to Vista yet? If so what do you think of it? Love it? Hate it? Indifferent? If you haven’t upgraded your PC to Vista yet, why not and do you plan to?

Update #1: Ok, Vista is now installed, but we’re off to a bit of a rocky start. First off, it looks really really slick. I like the design much more than XP. It did not seem to recognize my Dell 20 inch monitor — at least by name. It has it down as some sort of a default Microsoft monitor but that’s not much trouble. I was able to set the resolution to the highest setting and the desktop looks great. When it boots though the boot graphics are jagged and look kind of crappy on my monitor. No big deal of course.

I got the system up for about 2 minutes and tried to do a photo search by tag neon on my drobo drive. It got about 85% of the way through the search progress bar and then the screen went totally black. I couldn’t get the screen to come back on and the only way to get my system back up was a reboot (which I did).

My first observation is that booting up my PC takes a lot longer on Vista than it did on XP. I didn’t actually time the boot time but if the PC craps out again I’ll time the reboot next time.

Charlie (from Microsoft) told me that I should have run the Windows Vista Upgrade Advisor before installing (which I never did).

Update #2: Ok, upon reboot and playing around with Vista, I have to say that my display has never looked better. The fonts look different, everything is sharper, especially when viewing my photos online they look 1000% better than they did before with the same display on XP. I’m still not sure why this is the case, but it’s a welcome improvement.

Especially when browsing with Firefox everything looks amazingly sharp on the display.

I’m running a search for neon photos on the Drobo again. It’s taking a long time but there is a disclaimer that it will take a long time on a non-indexed drive. Hopefully I’ll be able to figure out how to index this drive for faster searching of my photos in the future.

Update #3: Ok, tag search works brilliantly. My first tag search for “neon” pulled up almost 1,000 photos of mine that I’ve keyworded neon using Adobe’s Bridge. EXCELLENT! I’ll have much more to write about the OS later, but the fact that I can now do keyword searches for my photos in Vista adds a lot of value for me.

And the Recording Industry Wonders Why Everyone Hates Their Guts

Defend Your Rights

Download Uproar: Record Industry Goes After Personal Use – “Sony BMG’s chief of litigation, Jennifer Pariser, testified that ‘when an individual makes a copy of a song for himself, I suppose we can say he stole a song.’ Copying a song you bought is ‘a nice way of saying ‘steals just one copy,’ ‘ she said.”

To me it is utterly absurd that the recording industry would equate ripping a CD that you buy with stealing.

I hope that the greed of the music industry continues to chip away at their entire business model until it collapses beneath their feet.

Personally I don’t buy any digital music with DRM. I purchase CDs and then rip them into crystal clear DRM free mp3s. This way I can put them on my iPhone, on my wife’s iPhone, listen to them on my Media Center PC or my XBox Extenders, or anywhere else I’d like.

And yes, every so often I’ll even send one of these mp3s to a friend. Which I feel I’m perfectly within my fair use rights to do.

It’s sad to see an industry go to war with consumers — but the lobbyists lobbying for horrible sanctions for mp3s seem to have more clout and power in Washington than the millions of people who each year convert CDs into digital music.

Personally I’d like to see someone like Steve Jobs step up and use his clout to push an agenda in Washington that made it legal for you to rip CDs for personal use.

More from TechCruch.

The Headless Man and the Wheelchair

The Headless Man and the Wheelchair

More Details on Tiger Attack At San Francisco Zoo

Sumerian Tiger, #2

More details on the tiger mauling that took place at the San Francisco Zoo. I took the above photo of one of the tigers at the SF Zoo about 2 years ago.

SF Chronicle

Associated Press
Los Angeles Times
Tatiana Wikipedia Page
Tiger Beat at Metroblogging San Francisco