Saturday, February 24, 2007

Currently Watching...

One positive to often having no hands available to do anything is that it gives a good excuse to watch anime. Currently I'm watching:

Tokyo Maji Gakuen Kenpuchou Tou
Tokyo Majin Gakuen Kenpuchou

Busou Renkin

Code Geass
Shijou Saikyou no deshi Ken'ichi
Legends of the Galactic Heroes
Pumpkin Scissors
Shounen Onmyouji
Tenpou Ibun Ayakashi Ayashi
Bakumatsu Kikansetsu Irohanihoheto

No hands = no video games. :-(

Babies are camera makers' best friend.

When one has a baby, there is an inevitable desire by parents (or grandparents telling the parents) to take pictures and lots of it. I wonder how many new camera sells are directly related to a new baby coming into the world with an eager dad ready to satisfy that urge to take pictures and that inner desire to buy gadget? I think camera makers should be like the diaper and baby food makers who sends you tons of samples before the baby arrives to get you hooked on their product. Send the expectant father a new camera body and a brochure of all your lenses and watch the money flow from daddy's credit card.

Not being immune to the this bug either, I started looking for a new camera after missing some good shots with the digital point-and-shoots that I have. I started photography in high school as a sports and yearbook photographer with traditional 35mm b/w film SLRs, but as time when by (along with the lack of a darkroom) I stopped photography as a hobby.

I bought a Sony Cybershot DSC-S85 a few years back so that I can take pictures on trips. It's a great camera with a good balance of features, but more importantly, it was convenient. I just need to take it out, point and shoot and the images are good. Compare to current point-and-shoot digitals, however, it is a bit bulky and I was envious as people started to whip out little itsy-bitsy cameras out of their shirt pockets with bigger LCDs, more mega-pixels and faster shooting speed. I started looking for a replacement for the S85 starting with newer Sony models. Sony has gotten its hook on me with its brand on my camcorder, TV, PDA, camera and notebook (had 2 over the years), but over the past few years I've been getting more disappointed with the quality of their stuff.

After some research, I decided that it's time to break out of the Sony grip despite the investments I put in Sony chargers, memory sticks, etc., and eventually decided on the Canon Powershot SD800IS. It's a small and compact camera that feels solid and shoots at 7.1 mega-pixels. It's a nice camera, but honestly I don't see the difference in image quality between it and my 4 mega-pixels S85. In low light, the S85 seemed to come out a bit better for my pictures. It could be that I'm not used to the Powershot yet, but regardless I realize that both camera is limited in how quickly they can power up and shoot fast shots. I could go back to my film SLR but I didn't want to deal with the processing time and getting prints then scanning it, etc.

It was time to get a digital SLR and I narrowed down my choices to the Digital Rebel Xti (EOS 400D) and EOS 30D Digital. The Xti is cheaper, newer and is 10 mega pixels, but the 30D can shoot at 5 fps continuous. After reading various reviews and speaking with some friends who own the Xti and hearing that they would upgrade to the 30D as soon as they could, I decided to just go ahead and get the 30D with 2 basic lenses (50mm prime and 28-105 Zoom). It's been a long time since I used an SLR and I'm excited.


So there, Canon sold two camera because of one baby.

Completed Backyard

Ever since last summer, we've been planning to re-landscape the backyard. Now, months and months later, the final touches have been completed.

We actually wanted to re-landscape the yard when we first moved in because the original English garden style wasn't us and required a lot of work to maintain. We had a few designers come in to give us estimates and they either flaked, was really slow to respond or just couldn't do what we wanted. Eventually we gave up and kept things the way it was until it became a jungle back there that nobody wanted to go into! :-)

With the big news of last year, we decided it was time to finally get the backyard done along with other home projects that we've put off including a Phantom sliding screen and wood flooring. We got a landscaper through a recommendation from a friend at work who came in to clear out the old garden and recommended the patio and designer that we ended up using.

Since we wanted an Asian theme, the goal was simplicity, natural and asymmetrical and the designer helped us with the basic layout, elements and plant suggestions which we then went over with the landscaper to make adjustments.

We're pretty happy with the results. :-) I especially like it at night when the lights comes on. If I can figure out how to do good night shots, I'll try to include some.

The next step is getting that grill...

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

RHEL Version

Had to look in /etc/issues to find out which version of RHEL was installed machines.