Living the Mobile Life

Earlier this summer, I was without my computer for about a week. I had to depend on my iPod touch and a Linksys wireless router to do my personal "computing" and Internet browsing. It was quite usable, since I began to limit my usage to checking the weather in the morning and keeping up with e-mail. More importantly, it was one of the most freeing experiences ever [for the modern computer kid].

I want to return to that. As you might know, I hardly have the time to properly go online with my MacBook Pro (if there is even a "proper" way to do so these days). I do not want to waste the precious time I'm actually awake at home on the computer. I want to do other things--things I do best, e.g. eat and sleep.

I have been using the iPhone as my mobile computer at work, as my calendaring and e-mailing machine, and as my podcast-player. I merely sync the phone to the computer every night to recharge and update. I thought (while bored at work), why not spend otherwise wasted time at work catching up on news, my RSS feeds, photography research, Apple, Digg, and, Facebook, etc?

I hope the mobile experience will dissuade me from being online in excess. As long as I get through my Google Reader, Digg, and a few Google News pages, I all set for the day. Throw in a few AIM conversations for good measure, but that's about it. The rest of the time is for more important and productive things.

Things like sleep.

$700 Billion

After reading this Neatorama article, I had to really stop and thing just how much $700 billion really is. There are 11 zeroes after the 7. That is a hell of a lot of money.

It helped me to see the following graphic. (Graphic copied from Neatorama.) Hopefully, it'll help you too.


For example, picture where your entire college tutition fits into this picture. Or where the value of your house fits here. Think of your school textbooks, which you once thought was expensive (which is so for the majority of college students), is negligible on this scale of money being discussed today.

Wow...

First Presidential Debate 2008 Results



If this political ad by the McCain campaign is real, how is it that they can distort the truth so much so quickly? While McCain and Palin may have some decent ideas, they appear as if they know very little, stressing keywords like McCain is a "maverick" and Palin is a "maverick", as if that is all they have going for the campaign now.

To me, titles mean nothing, and his repetitive use of "maverick" to answer interview questions, for example, makes me feel a little scared if that is all he can say for himself and his campaign.

And according to a CNN poll about last night's debate:

(1) Who Did the Best Job In the Debate?
Obama 51%
McCain 38%

(2) Who Would Better Handle Economy?
Obama 58%
McCain 37%

Who Would Better Handle Iraq?
Obama 52%
McCain 47%

A CBS poll of uncommitted voters shows the following:

(1) Winner of the debate:
40% for Obama.
22% for McCain.
38% for draw.

(2) Right decision on the economy:
68% for Obama.
41% think McCain would.

(3) Right decision on Iraq:
49% for Obama.
55% for McCain.

More results from MediaCurves.com.

Clarity Test

Click for larger version of the photos, taken with the Sigma 30mm f/1.4 on a Nikon D40. Please leave comments below.







Sigma 30mm f/1.4 EX DC HSM for Nikon

Yesterday was a momentous day for me and my photography hobby (or perhaps, misplaced addiction). After work, and directly to Penn Station via the LIRR, my friend and I went to B&H to purchase my first real lens (albeit, not a genuine Nikon lens; how sad!).

I came prepared with research and consideration for the Nikon 35 mm f/2, Nikon 50mm f/1.4, and Sigma 30mm f/1.4, in that order of preference. Some how, I left the store (having paid $200 more than I wanted to) with my third choice--the Sigma. Thanks a lot, Ricky.

I went in skeptical of the Sigma, and I still am. I had never liked Sigma's rough focus and zoom rings, and its top quality still didn't feel as good as Nikon or Canon's own lens. But compared to the two Nikon lenses (which do not autofocus on my D40, a fault of having a cheap camera body), the Sigma was nicer overall.

The Nikon lenses was designed for film cameras nearly 20 years ago. They had an extremely smooth focus ring and were much smaller than the Sigma. The Sigma, as I had expected, had a nasty focus ring. Then I thought, since it has the benefit of autofocus, I wouldn't really need to be touching the focus ring anyway! Or at least, for the most part. The Sigma had other problems of its own, but I did not notice them and wouldn't have noticed them if not for the reviews I read online.

I immediately dismissed the 50mm because that wasn't the focal length I really wanted. The final decision came after I made a few test shots with the Nikon 35mm and the Sigma 30mm. The Sigma was faster and had noticeably better bokeh. See below for a rough comparison. This is Alan in the blue, and I thank him.

NIKON 35mm: A little dark.

SIGMA 30mm: Brighter than previous using about the same settings.

NIKON 35mm: Decent Bokeh. Poor Focus (I'm not used to manual focusing).

SIGMA 30mm: Much Nicer Bokeh.
To me, this purchase is significant in a number of ways: 1. Dedication now to the Nikon brand, even though I didn't buy a true Nikon as my first lens. 2. Exceeding the beginner-level braket of lens quality and cost. 3. Finally getting a feel of what sharpness and aperture really mean. 4. Understanding how a crop-body camera affects lenses and lens choice. 5. Tying Adrian in lens-count and leading Ricky by one. :-)

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It felt as if I can shoot anything and the lens can make the shot magical. I took some test shots at home. I shot my sister first. Pictures came out nice, and the lens worked quite well in the dark. It's definitely not what I'm used to in a lens, although I notice I now need a flash (or two, or three). The lack of sharpness is likely my fault. Heh.


Note: For editing my sister's photos, I only cropped; nothing more. Alan's photos were straight from the D40.

On the Way to Work

Just for kicks, I'll post this, taken with the Nikon 18-55mm in the morning.

Edit: This was taken yesterday.

Reclaiming the iPod

After getting my iPhone, which has thus become my primary iPod, I passed the iPod touch 1G down to my sister, and she in turn passed her iPod nano 1G to my mom. Just today, I have re-inherited the iPod shuffle 1G I had given to my mom about 3 years ago.

Ah, the circle of life [of iPods].

I generally listen to podcasts in a particular order. So the iPod shuffle, named "ShufflePod", will be used as a podcast player. (My original iPod 5G was named "USunkMiPod" and my iPhone was named "USunkMiPhone".)

Catch Up With Sleep

Trying to catch up with my sleep. The black under my eyes needs some help to make them go away. I believe they have gotten worse, in fact. :-/

About One Real Week of Work

After two week or so of work at National Grid, I have very little to show for it. Aside from the rings under my eyes from the lack of sleep, I only have the following:



The SmallCar was made in AutoCAD, with a length of a little under 10 inches. It was drawn largely by eye, using rounder numbers and the overuse (and abuse) of OSNAPs.

As for my inspiration: it was Taylor's 3-D flying car from this past Spring. As for the model, it was the current Nissan Altima Coupe and Toyota Camry, as well as the Honda Accord of the past.

It is a prototype and is meant to be a proof of concept of sorts. I plan to make a "nicer" car in due time.