Month: August 2010

Lovely Geek Tools

These appeal to my manifest geekiness, thus are awesome. I wonder, though, if one is of greater geek cred than the other.

This one?

Or this one?

Anyway, I’d delight in either one.

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I love these photographs – Dewey Nicks of the NYTimes

I was quite impressed form the cover shot of this piece from oday’s NYTimes, a section called “Women Who Hit Very Hard”. Dewey Nicks does some fine work. I love the composition, in particular the color choices. But, of course, what really makes these are the motion captures. Anyway, give them a look before they get locked behind the paywall.


Reflections on a Blog

I came across this blog from an internal Microsoft news source. Before his death Joshua Isaac was an internal communications specialist here at Microsoft. His blog captures the journey he took as a cancer patient, through hospice care, to his untimely death. The first thought I have is one of sadness. Dying at 37, with young children, is a tragedy on multiple levels. With my own mother’s death, at cancer’s hands, his story resonates strongly with me. This resonance speaks loudly, reminding me to be present; present with my family, with my friends, with all that I love. One never knows when it returns to dust.

I admire his courage, facing death with openness and honesty. In his blog he shared a great deal, opening my mind to so much. Amazing character! Not too many people would respond to cancer by crafting an independent film. My Left Hand documents this part of his of his life; cancer and it’s ravages.

Though we both worked at Microsoft, the vastness of this company (even here in Redmond) prevented our lives from intersecting. I’m lesser for that. However, with the blog and the film, I still stand to learn from Mr. Isaac. A miracle of sorts.

Math

I noticed this inversely proportional relationship years ago, while studying nuclear physics, of all things. Though it’s been over 15 years since my last calculus class, I can still remember the basics of differentiation. Computing a 15% tip still mucks my brain. Go figure.

Photography Du Jour

A friend of mine, and I, are playing with double-exposing film. She shot a roll of film some time ago, and I’m going to take it and shoot over it. Geek that I am, it provided a great opportunity to overthink things. Should I use aperture or shutter priority? Perhaps I should pull the film? (Main limitation with that was not being able to figure out how to change the ISO setting on my Maxxum, and isn’t pulling more focused on the developer, anyway?) My salvation comes with a series of overcast days. So, camera in hand I head out.

I’m reminded, with all the geekiness above, how much I love photography. And how much a role it played in my youth. Taking classes in junior high and high school, submitting photos to the year-book (though not fully credited, sadly), and my playing around with old (ancient?) cameras at second-hand stores.

I have every intention of recapturing this part of my life, delving much more deeply. My main complaint is how expensive a hobby this is. I guess it’s time to buy lottery ticket, eh?

update: finally got this project done, and uploaded to my Flickr stream. Check this out here.

Saturday Morning

I love the light of overcast mornings. A greyish-blue quality to things that just calms me. I find these mornings very tranquil. The colors subdued. Today the wind is calm. As I write this, a small breeze picks up. The trees move abruptly. This movement’s drama simply due to the abruptness of the change. And, of course, my expectations. Slowly, light brightens, colors emerge; but not to garish excess, just present. Green grows more visible; lighter green within the maple leaves, darker for the fir trees. And the grass somewhat in-between.

The End of the Print World as We Know It

Ah, Negroponte is at it again! Stirring up the masses with a prediction. This time, the doomed in focus is our old friend, the printed paper book. Negroponte points to the fact that ebook sales have overtaken hardcovers, and are expected to outpace paperbacks within the year. Of course, this statistic is solely for Amazon. When Barnes and Noble makes such a prediction, this might be more valid…at least from a larger, macro-social perspective. I expect there will long be a market for paper based books. I expect a good many things need to happen before e- truly replaces print as the way books are consumed.

Before print ‘dies’, first more and more materials will be printed solely electronically (I expect many top tier/NYTimes bestsellers, for instance). Also, the cost of readers will need to come DOWN. Until there are <$50 versions available, i.e.: until the e-reader has become commoditized, will this distribution method truly become mainstream. With that, I expect that the cost of e-publications will need to come down further in price before attaining true mass-market appeal.

Anyway, I see many challenges before Negroponte’s prognostication about print books being dead in 5 years (with whatever qualifiers you mix in there). Really, this is very aggressive and likely vapor. I do expect e- to replace paper, but slowly and iteratively. Printed, paper-based materials will be with us for quite some time.

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Edit: I felt the need to adjust this sentence: “Anyway, I see many challenges before Negroponte’s prognostication about print books being dead in 5 years (with whatever qualifiers you mix in there) is very aggressive and likely vapor.” Mid-sentence as I type, yet my mind is well on to the next topic. When I lose focus, sentences merge.