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Another month gone by…

May 15th, 2007 · 14 Comments

I think I’ll call this “SPURT BLOGGING!”

Ick.

Perhaps not.

I hit my second anniversary with the company on the 11th. Another pay increase! How should I spend the additional $1000 every month?

I went right out and ordered a new computer rig. I was desperately in need of a new system, as the old one just didn’t have the poop to reliably do what I needed it do do. I regulary run programs like Photoshop Lightroom for my photo processing needs as well as video editing tools like Videora to squash DVDs into a size that is compatible with my iPod. The old computer would hiccup and freeze, as if to ask “You want me to do what?” When it finally did start on a rather complex task, it would take quite a while to complete it while leaving the remainder of the system completely useless to me (which meant no web-surfing while transposing video). So that old Dell system will be relegated to the living room’s entertainment stack. There’s a new system in town, now!

I spent far far too much, but I bought top-o-the-line. So if it lasts me as long as the last one did (which was also top-o-the-line when I bought it), I shouldn’t have to worry about another computer for at least seven years. It’s a Dell XPS, and I bought it through our company’s discount program. That shaved nearly $600 off the total price! Two terabytes of storage for pictures and video, plenty of speed/power/expandability, and best-of-all, a new 24″ flat-panel high-def monitor. Sweet!

*****

I don’t write about my photography hobby much, but some pics I’ve taken have made their way into my posts. I’m a Nikon guy…almost by default, really. When my dad passed away, his collection of camera gear came to me. For several years, I faithfully used his Nikon F3 film camera. But over time, film development costs got to be too much for me and it ended up in the closet to gather dust as I snapped pics with a little Olympus point-and-shoot digital. Over time, I began to miss the functionality of a single-lens reflex. Several years ago, I sold the F3 on Ebay to a kindly gentleman in England and went out and bought my first Nikon digital SLR, the D100.

I shot all kinds of things with my D100. For three years it was my workhorse. Then I was handed a new D200 by the manager of my camera-store of choice. He didn’t say anything besides, “Here. Snap your lens on that.” The speed of the D200 was AMAZING compared to the older D100. Two days later, I had my D100 sold on Ebay to a kindly gentleman in Colorado, and I was off on my trip to Vero Beach with my new D200.

(Non-techie types can skip ahead two paragraphs to avoid mind-numbingly boring technical crapola).

But my entire experience with digital cameras had been in taking photographs in .jpg mode. What’s that mean? Well, digital cameras can take pictures in any of a couple different modes, and the .jpg mode (as most computer-friendly folks know) is a well-used standard for internet images. There is a high degree of compression involved in order to keep the file sizes of each image as small as possible. With compression comes data loss, so every time you edit your image and re-save it, you lose a little bit of that image’s functionality.

Most digital SLR cameras will also shoot in an uncompressed format, called camera raw. Because there is no image compression, there is no data loss. I never figured that data loss was a big deal until I shot a few hundred images in raw format and started playing with them in Adobe Lightroom. I was simply blown away by the difference in image quality and the flexibility of editing an image that has 1000X more data in it than the same image shot in .jpg mode. Simply put, there is more data, so there is more detail, so there is more for processing programs to work with, so there is a greater chance that bad pics can be saved through processing. Now I’m hooked on camera raw images and I won’t shoot .jpg ever again. Lightroom is an AMAZING program for processing camera raw images, by the way.

(Okay non-techies…pick it up again here).

My pictures are much better now.

Here’s some that I’ve shot and processed over the past few weeks.

*****

I have an issue with this blog template that I can’t seem to figure out. I’m hoping that one of the seven of you who actually read this will know what to do.

I’m wanting to widen the template so that it fits more text with less need to scroll. I’d like the sidebars, header, and content column to match up the way they do now, but I want the whole thing to be wider.

Anyone know where in the template I’d go to do that?

Tags: Uncategorized

14 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Hamish // May 15, 2007 at 4:26 pm

    G. — nice pix! I’m a Nikon D2X / Photoshop guy myself, but I love Lightroom, and I still have my old D100 (two of them, actually, as backups).

    Anyway, as far as changing the template, it’s a little tricky because changing the width of one element can have surprising effects elsewhere, but I’d start with the width:485px CSS element in the style sheet part called “Page Structure” in the template. Change it to (say) 600px and see what happens… you may then need to change other details such as left and right margins, etc. In general, this may need more CSS / HTML knowledge than you’d like to have :-). If you can’t make head or tail of this, email me… (I do this stuff for my day job).

  • 2 Flygirl // May 15, 2007 at 6:59 pm

    Great Pictures!

  • 3 iphlye ( // May 15, 2007 at 7:27 pm

    Take it from an “old guy” – you want to know what to do with that $$$? Invest/save it. By the time you get to retirement, the “big K” will be long gone, and his legacy may well be also. You can’t trust ANY airline for retirement – ecen SWA – so stick it in savings so you can retire when you really want to do so.

  • 4 GC // May 15, 2007 at 7:57 pm

    Thanks for the advice, iphlye. Rest assured that my retirement plans are in full swing with several forms of non-airline investment. The plan is to be able to retire at 55. That way, if I want to work after that, it’ll all be gravy. We’ve also got plenty saved for a rainy day.

  • 5 Anonymous // May 16, 2007 at 12:10 pm

    With respect to your difficulty with the stylesheet we can try this.
    Try increasing 2 entries by the same amount for width:
    #content and #main by equal numbers:
    (for example: #content width: from 740px to 940px and #main from 485px to 685px).
    It appears to work, but like another reader said, I haven’t investigated crossbrowser and in other pages etc…
    cheers

  • 6 Gina // May 23, 2007 at 3:50 am

    #$%# @$%#^^ @#$%#*& Schmucks going to the Finals! @@#$ $#@%$#!!!!

    Stupid hockey.

    When does Beckham get to LA? I’m taking up soccer as a hobby.

    On another note…
    great pics! I used to live in Los Feliz and Griffith Park was a frequent hangout; thanks for capturing some of its beauty.

    I’m not very techie, but if I’m ever in the market for a new camera, I’m coming to you for advice!

  • 7 Dennis // May 24, 2007 at 2:07 pm

    Very nice pics

  • 8 Anonymous // Jun 9, 2007 at 2:59 pm

    G — congrats on your two year anniversary. I’ve been following your blog since almost the start and enjoyed reading your experience. Would you mind posting your thoughts about the company two years in? Is everything as good as you had hoped? Have you run into anything that didn’t meet your expectations?

  • 9 GC // Jun 17, 2007 at 12:28 am

    Ryan Spicer,

    I can’t have my company name mentioned in the blog, so your comment (question, really) was deleted.

    In response: Yes and Yes.

  • 10 Ryan Spicer // Jun 19, 2007 at 3:34 pm

    I have another question. I don’t no if you want your old company mentioned so I won’t say it but at your former employer, after like 20,000 feet do CRJ’s usually climb slow like maybe 800 FPM? Just wondering because when I fly your old airline out of Fresno on CRJ’s it feels as if we climb slow.

  • 11 GC // Jun 19, 2007 at 9:38 pm

    If I remember correctly (and I may not, as its been over two years since I last flew the 50 seat CRJ), the airline of my former life used to have us climb out in the 50-seater at 280 knots until we transitioned to .74 mach. That did result in some rather low vertical velocities through the mid 20s. I seem to remember climb speeds tending to improve if we went to .76 mach.

    The CRJ-200 is rather underpowered, in my opinion. The -700 is MUCH better at climbing right up to altitude, even with a full load!

  • 12 Aviatrix // Oct 1, 2007 at 5:43 pm

    I know you’re busy watching football, but why don’t you post a picture now and again so we know you’re not dead in a ditch. :-)

  • 13 GC // Oct 4, 2007 at 3:06 pm

    I’m still very much alive, thanks for asking! It’s just been quite some time since much has inspired me to write.

    Football sucks. This time of year, its all about hockey for me!

  • 14 The New Toy: Powershot G9… // Mar 16, 2008 at 9:52 pm

    [...] Some of the features I find most useful in this camera are: a RAW capture mode (which I discussed here), a rechargeable battery (which is the same battery as our little Canon camcorder) with great [...]

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