Archive for the ‘Movies/TV/Music’ Category

Too Serene

Posted: January 7, 2012 in General, Movies/TV/Music

A good book has no ending ~R.D. Cumming.

I was recently sucked into watching all thirteen episodes of Firefly again. This is only the third or fourth time I’ve watched the entire series despite being a huge fan. Honestly, I had forgotten how great the writing and acting was. I finished off the marathon viewing session by watching Serenity. This is where things take a wrong turn. I’ve never actually watched Firefly followed by Serenity before so I’ve never been forced to recognize the disconnect between the show and the movie. More importantly I didn’t realize how my feeling of Firefly was negatively affected by Serenity.

To be honest, I’ve never truly loved Serenity. I’ve wanted to. I was lucky enough to go see one of those private screenings for fans before the movie was released. I, of course, went to the theater after it was released and saw it again (hoping I’d like it better the second time). I always thought the issue was the plot and the special effects (which do carry some of the fault). The fact is though, Serenity lost what made Firefly special. It doesn’t have any heart. Characters who we love in Firefly die without my tugging at the heart. The sad part is that even looking back it would have been difficult to make Serenity with the same heart.

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A while back I posted about picking up a Fuji Finepix F30 and how great the camera was, even compared to newer cameras. I don’t know what happened, but the camera ended up broken and couldn’t be recovered. Although I was tempted to get another, instead I bought a Panasonic Lumix DMC-TS1. The Lumix is waterproof and was supposed to have excellent low-light capabilities.

Although on paper the camera does seem to be quite good, the photos just never look all that great. We still use it from time-to-time, but now that Cara and I have the iPhone 4, it’s rare that we need it. To be honest, even the Canon Rebel rarely gets used (and it takes great photos).

So recently I’ve started to think about finding a good low-light camera again (I know I’m a little daft about cameras). The fact is, the iPhone is decent, actually its quite good, but it’s not great. So I began my research again.

One of the issues with current cameras is that as the pixel density (i.e. the megapixels) has increased, the amount of light that each pixel receives is reduced. The F30 was only 6MP (which is actually fewer pixels than the iPhone4), but the sensor is more than 0.37″ (compared to the 0.18″ sensor for the iPhone). A large sensor means more area for the light to hit, which means better low light (for comparison the Canon Digital Rebel has just over a 1″ sensor so there’s no comparison there.).

A recent article I read heralds the Finepix F80 EXR as a nice successor to the F30 that I loved, and the best current-generation point-and-shoot for low light photography. At higher ISO the camera reduces its pixel density to capture more light, which sounds like a great feature. Unfortunately the quantitative results aren’t nearly as great. First off the sensor on the F80 is actually significantly smaller than the F30 (0.31″ which is about 80% of the size), and the real world examples bear out that if you look at something like f30 vs f80 comparison or this comparison.

So the long and the short of it is… the F30 is still the superior camera when it comes to shooting low light with a point-and-shoot camera. Not bad for a camera that was released half a decade ago.

It's no Firefly…

Posted: March 24, 2011 in Movies/TV/Music

I recently finished the 13 episode season of Day Break. Apparently it was on ABC in 2006 (although I don’t recall ever hearing about it before), and was canceled after 6 episodes. I have to say that it is truly a shame.

Taye Diggs stars as police detective Brett Hopper, whom when first we meet him had just endured the worst day of his life, culminating in his arrest for the murder of Assistant District Attorney Alberto Garza. Although he had an airtight alibi, Hopper was unable to convince anyone of his innocence, suggesting that his arrest was part of a conspiratorial frame-up. That day ends in a rock quarry with the conspirators telling him that he is going to confess to murdering Garza. He is then injected with a sedative.

Hopper awakes to find that it’s morning, but it’s the same day. He relives the day over and over (ala Groundhog Day), as he discovers new clues and finds out who’s out to frame him, and why.

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A Photo in Time

Posted: October 12, 2010 in Baby, Computing, General, Movies/TV/Music

Looking through my iPhoto library the other day I realized something profound. My son’s generation will be memorialized in a way never seen before. A hundred years from now, it is very possible for my son’s great-great-grandchildren to pour through hundreds of photos and video from the day that he was born until possibly the day he dies. The images that we take today have no life-expectancy.

The first photograph was taken in 1822, but the first truly consumer camera didn’t come about until 1888. At $25 for 100 photos, though, it wasn’t really reasonable for a household whose yearly income was less than $500.

It wasn’t until World War II when personal photos started to become an approachable consumer technology. In the sixties photographs were joined by Super 8 film. Followed by VHS in the eighties.

This accelerating progression found an important new medium in the early nineties with digital imagery. Becoming truly approachable in the new millennium. The cost of capturing a quality photo or video has dropped to almost nothing.

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Chugging Along

Posted: August 29, 2010 in Construction, House, Movies/TV/Music

I’ve been seriously neglecting my blog. Call it a casualty of Facebook. It’s really a shame too, this blog is part voice to the world/part diary of life. Facebook does neither very well. Admittedly it’s a lot easier to write one or two sentences in a Facebook update, but all the same it doesn’t capture the path of life.

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So we all know that the iPhone doesn’t allow 3rd party apps to run in the background. Push notification is a great solution (for battery life and even may even be a better solution than background processes for many apps). There are a few app ideas that we’ve had in the past that just don’t work well because of the lack of background processes.

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To those who still deludedly think they prefer Star Wars over Ghostbusters, all I need do is ask you this: you don’t really want to be a Jedi, do you? In a greige cowl, getting off with your sister, without a single gag across three films? I think if you thought about it a little while longer, you’d realise that you’d far rather be a Ghostbuster: a nerd in New York with an unlicensed nuclear accelarator on your back, and a one in four chance of being Bill Murray.

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