December 30, 2003

A short eternity

Pentax Optio S4 as photographed by a Largan ChameleonThat's how long it took for the battery for my new camera to charge this morning before I could start playing with it.

Back in August I was pining for a better pocket camera

The main thing holding me back was the price tag (oh and my usual obsessing about which one to settle on).

Five months later, the Optio S had dropped to as low as $275. But wait, the Optio S4 with 4mp resolution is out too. And available for $327 delivered. And an anonymous donor made a sizable contribution to my camera fund.

I tried out the controls at a local chain camera store and they seemed usable. Placed my order last week at a place with a good price and decent ratings, and it arrived today.

The Chameleon has served me well, but it's getting handed down to Becky's purse and my new pocket camera is this little wonder. Have to create a new category on the blog though since 4 mega-pixels isn't exactly low-rez...

Here's a couple of comparison shots (taken with the old warhorse Kodak DC290) with the Optio S on the left and the Chameleon on the right. They're actually pretty close to the same size, but if you compare features, the Pentax is relatively enormous.Optio vs. Chameleon sides (shot by Kodak DC290)Optio vs. Chameleon fronts (shot by Kodak DC290)
Posted by jeffy at 02:03 AM in Photo Log | Comments (1)

Honor the flag

tattered old gloryThere's lots of reasons to fly the flag. We've got a pretty good country here, and displaying Old Glory is a good way to assert our pride in it. It bugs me that the flag is largely synonymous in popular usage with support for US military action. It makes me crazy that some of our representatives waste our time with their efforts to make burning the flag illegal. The treatment the flag in this picture has received seems more disrespectful than burning it would have been. But I wouldn't make this illegal either.
Posted by jeffy at 01:27 AM in Photo Log | Comments (3)

December 21, 2003

Birch bark cherry

birch bark cherry trunkI thought I remembered reading that these trees, which are planted along Rainier Boulevard here in Issaquah, were called "Birch Bark Cherry", and a quick google confirms it and further provides the Latin name Prunus serrula.birch bark cherry branch
Posted by jeffy at 11:41 PM in Photo Log | Comments (4)

Lost Glove #11

glove in the grassI wonder if this is the mate of LG#6 from back in June? It's a half a mile away and six months later, but it is the right (left vs. June's right) hand and same basic flavor... Hmmm.

Previous lost gloves:

#10 | #9 | #8 | #7 | #6 | #5 | #4 | #3 | #2 | #1

Posted by jeffy at 09:50 PM in Lost Gloves , Photo Log | Comments (0)

December 18, 2003

Lost Glove #10

glove in the roadglove in the road at nightAnother victim of the Bridge of Lost Gloves. The picture on the left was taken on my way to work, the one on the right on the way home. In seven hours it had moved about 10 yards to the west, but was still in the same location in the same lane. Maybe I could get a grant to study glove migration patterns...

Previous lost gloves:

#9 | #8 | #7 | #6 | #5 | #4 | #3 | #2 | #1

Posted by jeffy at 07:44 PM in Lost Gloves , Photo Log | Comments (1)

Candidate selector

SelectSmart builds surveys for making decisions. They have one up for selecting a presidential candidate for 2004. They seem to base the questions on the constellation of answers available among the various options. They give you a ranking of the available choices based on how closely their stated opinions coincide with your answers to the questions.

Here's mine:

1. Your ideal theoretical candidate. (100%)
2. Green Party Candidate (92%)
3. Socialist Candidate (83%)
4. Sharpton, Reverend Al - Democrat (81%)
5. Dean, Gov. Howard, VT - Democrat (80%)
6. Clark, Retired General Wesley K., AR - Democrat (75%)
7. Kucinich, Rep. Dennis, OH - Democrat (70%)
8. Moseley-Braun, Former Senator Carol, IL - Democrat (67%)
9. Edwards, Senator John, NC - Democrat (65%)
10. Kerry, Senator John, MA - Democrat (60%)
11. Gephardt, Rep. Dick, MO - Democrat (57%)
12. LaRouche, Lyndon H. Jr. - Democrat (50%)
13. Lieberman, Senator Joe, CT - Democrat (47%)
14. Libertarian Candidate (37%)
15. Hagelin, Dr. John - Natural Law (11%)
16. Bush, President George W. - Republican (6%)
17. Phillips, Howard - Constitution (5%)


They don't have any questions about Transportation or Energy policy and the only Environmental policy question is whether you agree with the League of Conservation Voters.

It's interesting to see how their rankings change as you adjust your answers. By trying really hard I was able to get Bush up to 84%. I'd be interested in seeing what kind of ranking an actual conservative would get.

It's tempting to use the correlations of the candidates to my answers to make assumptions about their correlations to each other, but that wouldn't make sense.

Posted by jeffy at 04:46 PM in Soapbox | Comments (0)

December 16, 2003

Life in our republic

Congressman Sherrod Brown of Ohio tells the tale of how the recent Medicare bill was passed in the House.

It's not the sort of image that comes to mind when you think of a vote being conducted by grown-ups.

(via Electrolite's Sidelights)

Posted by jeffy at 07:34 PM in Soapbox | Comments (0)


This is getting ridiculous.

My apologies to anyone who's been popping in here expecting some actual content! (probably just Dan and my mother ;-)

I have lots of excuses.

  1. I used to do a lot of blogging at work, but I've been trying to actually work at work, so there went 6-8 hours a day of blogging time (of course, I'm at work now...)
  2. I started taking piano lessons last month from my sister-in-law Rachel so I've lost another 30-60 minutes a day to practicing (I don't begrudge that time unlike #1)
  3. ...I can't think of any other excuses that don't sound lame.

I've read some good books and seen some good movies recently. I want to review them and I will. Real Soon Now.

Posted by jeffy at 05:46 PM in Administrivia | Comments (0)

December 07, 2003

Doomsday Book by Connie Willis

doomsday.jpgIn the middle of the 21st century, historians use time machines to send scholars back to observe past events as they happened. Doomsday Book tells the story of two epidemics, one in the modern day, the other in the past. I don't want to reveal too many plot points since the book depends on your desire to find out what the heck is going on to keep you turning the pages. The story telling is actually sort of clumsy, relying on fairly broad coincidences and some implausibly clumsy computer interfaces to keep the characters with important information from sharing it with their compatriots (or the reader).

In the end, the book reads like an argument against the accepted scholarly view of what the Middle Ages were really like. That part of the story seems exhaustively researched, and plotted with a deep appreciation and understanding of human nature. The modern story line is laced with academic political machinations that add another level to the critique of historical scholarship.

It's a good book marred only by a couple of painfully implausible technical bits and 30% too many pages. The copy I read is further marred by the 70% cheesy cover shown here. More recent editions have a less garish cover.

Posted by jeffy at 02:16 PM in Book Reviews | Comments (1)