Dwight Can Has iPhone

Dwight Can Has

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Dwight Can Has

Looks very cool larger and on black

Dwight Silverman of The Houston Chronicle’s Tech Blog and co-host of Technology Bytes proudly shows us his iPhone. I chose to let the iPhone remain in color while desaturating the rest. I find the contrast between the shiny new technology and the not so shiny new tech geek rather compelling.

Nothing personal, Dwight!

Show Me The Money

Microsoft will pay you to use their search engine. I’m not kidding.

I know it sounds like that “Bill Gates Is Sharing His Fortune!” e-mail hoax many years ago that said that AOL and Microsoft were going to pay you money to forward this message, but it’s not like that at all.

I was casually shopping around on EBay to see what lenses were out for my camera. I was particularly interested in something along the lines of the Tamron 17-50 f/2.8 or the Sigma 18-50 f2/.8 for a little versatility on the wide side in low light situations. As I was reading up on one auction the seller mentioned that the current promotion from Microsoft Live would enable the winner of his auction to save 25% if they were to use the Buy It Now option and pay through Paypal as part of the Microsoft Live Search Cashback Program.

This sounded interesting. I was pretty sure that I would, at some point, purchase the lens once I could justify the cost and the idea of saving 25% pushed the acquisition further into the realm of feasibility for a more immediate purchase.

I did my research and the cash back program is real, as are the discounts.

Basically, once I determined which lens I wanted (I decided upon the Tamron SP AF17-50mm F/2.8 Di II LD) and looked around on EBay to see if I could find one at a competitive price being sold by an EBay member that could be trusted.

The lens retails anywhere from $428 to $475 on average. After hunting a bit I found one for $440 which was in the right price range BEFORE the discount and about what a reasonable person would expect to pay for this hardware.

Once I located the lens I wanted I put it on my watch list in EBay and then browsed over to live.com to execute my search. I used the word Tamron and looked for the cashback option in the results. This is what that looks like:

Note that this one says 10%. When I did it the search result came back with a 25% link to EBay and when this promotion started the discounts were as high as 35%.

I clicked the link and once I was on the EBay site via that link I was basically locked in to the cashback option so I went to my watch list and clicked on the lens I had found earlier and bought it with the Buy It Now option and checked out via Paypal earning myself a $110 discount. On top of that, the auction I won included FREE shipping and a FREE UV filter so that saved me some additional moolah.

The catch is that you pay the seller the full amount and then you get a message in your EBay mailbox telling you that you’ve earned cash back. You click the link and sign up with Microsoft to receive your cash rewards. There’s a delay of about a week before the funds come available to make sure you don’t get the money and then return the item.

The limit is three item purchases per account and a maximum discount of $250 per item. That means if you had $3000 to spend on stuff you already planned on buying, Microsoft would pay you $750 to do it via their search engine. Not a bad deal. They paid me $110 to purchase a lens I was already planning to buy.

Sadly, the largest discount I have seen since I made this purchase is a paltry 10%, but you never know what tomorrow (or later this evening) might bring.

100 Years Ago Today

Today is the 100th anniversary of the explosion that flattened some 500,000 acres of Siberian forest near the Podkamennaya Tunguska River on June 30, 1908

Commonly referred to as the “Tunguska Event” it is widely accepted that the explosion was the result of an air burst of a large meteoroid or comet fragment at an altitude of 3″“6 miles above Earth’s surface.

I remain unconvinced.

I Can Has Video (in my pocket)

I remember getting access to a super 8mm camera back in high school and shooting some film of a field trip. I also remember the pain of getting the film developed and then having to arrange to borrow a projector just so I could show the film to my classmates.

Ever since then I have been nothing more than a spectator as video production has become more and more accessible to the common man via video tape recorder, mini disk and now digital cameras.

On our last vacation I considered taking a small handheld video DV camera with us just to have, but even the newest palm sized devices were going to be too unwieldy and I opted to forgo the video in favor of my preferred medium of digital still photography.

Now it appears that Pure Digital Technologies has come up with a device to lure me to the dark side. Meet my new friend, the Flip Mino.

Flip

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Flip

Very impressive specs. It runs about 4 hours on a charge and records up to 60 minutes of video.

Internal Memory: 2GB (60 minutes)
Screen Size: 1.46″ (transflective TFT)
Screen Resolution: 528 x 132 pixels
Video Resolution: 640 x 480

And the size is right. 3.94″ x 1.97″ x 0.63″ (H x W x D) it fits easily into your pocket making it as readily available as a small camera phone.

It’s also very easy to use. Out of the box all I had to do was charge it up and go.

Flip

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Flip

The software for managing and editing your videos installs right from the device and it make sharing and uploading of your videos quite simple.

Día del orgullo friki

It’s Nerd Pride Day.
Shouldn’t there be a parade or something? I want a parade….

Basic rights and responsibilities of nerds

Rights:
1. The right to be even nerdier.
2. The right to not leave your house.
3. The right to not have a significant other and be a virgin.
4. The right to not like soccer or any other sport.
5. The right to associate with other nerds.
6. The right to have few friends (or none at all).
7. The right to have all the nerdy friends that you want.
8. The right to not be “in-style.”
9. The right to be overweight and have poor eyesight.
10. The right to show off your nerdiness.
11. The right to take over the world.

Responsibilities:
1. Be a nerd, no matter what.
2. Try and be nerdier than anyone else.
3. If there is a discussion about something nerdy, you must give your opinion.
4. Save any and all nerdy things you have.
5. Do everything you can to show off your nerdy stuff as though it were a “museum of nerdiness.”
6. Don’t be a generalized nerd. You must specialize in something.
7. Attend every nerdy movie on opening night and buy every nerdy book before anyone else.
8. Wait in line on every opening night. If you can go in costume or at least with a related t-shirt, all the better.
9. Don’t waste your time on anything not related to nerddom.
10. Try to take over the world!

New Weezer Video

Via Laughing Squid

Pork and Beans by Weezer, A Mashup of Internet Memes

This is not the first time Weezer demonstrated their tech savvy nature. In 1995 their video for Buddy Holly was included on the Window 95 CD and featured some pretty state of the art video effects that made it appear they were playing in Arnold’s Diner of Happy Days fame.

This has everything to do with why we use the song Buddy Holly performed by Moog Cookbook as the theme song for Technology Bytes

Researching Camera Gear + Camera Geek Humor

The Sony Alpha 100 has been a good camera for me and I have gotten some very good results. Overall, I simply cannot complain. Still, I find myself jonesing for something new in my camera world and the desire runs the gamut from just just buying a new lens or upgrading my current camera to the Alpha 700 all the way to changing platforms completely to the Nikon D300 or the Canon 40D.


Side by side feature comparison of the A700, 40D and the D300

These cameras stack up VERY well next to each other in terms of features and capabilities. But try to make a decision based on unbiased opinion? Forget it! Discussion forums are littered with evangelists for each of the brands. Nikon and Canon devotees seem to be the worst. They bash Sony for simply being Sony and project a brand loyalty comparable to religious zealotry. Ask a Nikon user what to get, he’ll tell you Nikon and that’s that. Same for Canon users. And there’s a growing number of Sony-heads joining the fray.

So I’m left doing a ton of research on my own, educating myself and looking at samples and reading reviews and so forth which is not necessarily a bad thing. In fact, at a moment when I was feeling rather overwhelmed and somewhat frustrated I did have a camera nerd/geek moment when I found a discussion thread announcing the upcoming release of the Nikon D90. In reading the specs I started to get a little excited thinking this is what I’ve been waiting for! As I kept reading my enthusiasm turned to confusion and then I just burst out laughing! Read for yourself.

I needed a good laugh at that point and that article delivered in spades.

There are many things to consider in staying with Sony, not the least of which is the financial commitment I have made in purchasing my lenses. Obviously to stick with Sony means less money out of pocket. The Sony A700 has dropped to around $1,300 whereas the Nikon D300 hovers up in the $1,800 range. The Canon 40D comes in the least expensive of all at around $1,200. But when you factor getting some good image stabilization and/or prime lenses for either Canon or Nikon and the cost of upgrade via platform hopping is moves close to, if not well into, the 4 digit range.

And really, would spending a ton of money changing brands yield better photographic results? Would I see such a difference in my output? Would someone really look at a picture and think “wow, great shot! If only that picture had the enhanced highlights and color depth of a Canon! Or the ever so slightly sharper detail of a Nikon with the uber-expensive lens?”

I am thinking “no”

Also, Sony has indicated their top of the line or “flagship” dSLR will be released later this year. The “Alpha 900” was announced by Sony for release later this year so there is hope that they are in this for the long-haul.

Keep in mind that I am by no means ready to drop $3,500 to $5,000 on a pro camera yet…Canon, Nikon OR Sony. But knowing that there’s an upgrade path remains a strong consideration. And who knows what will be on the market when AND IF I decide to take my camera gear to the budget disintegrating professional level?

There’s some pretty cool stuff happening with digital video that could completely change the landscape of professional photography. As Tom Petty says; “The future is wide open” (unintentional photo pun there).

I was thinking maybe I could the put aside the idea of any large purchase by just keeping what I have now and that’s when I started looking for lenses for the A100 as a possible pacifier for my desire to get something new.

In my research I found the Tamron SP AF 10-24MM F/3.5-4.5 DI II LD Aspherical (IF) and thought OOOOH! Super wide angle zoom! That would be cool. But then I saw it was just announced and is not available yet.

So here I am, musing the whole thing over and browsing the web and I keep learning more while spending nothing. And maybe that’s the best upgrade of all.

Jay Lee vs. Zombie Strippers

For awhile I was enjoying being the #1 result of a Google search for Jay Lee. Pretty nifty to be able to say “If you need to reach me, just Google me.”

Recently I noticed that I had dropped to #2 and #3 for baldheretic.com and The Helpline Blog respectively with the #1 spot being held by an IMDB page for Jay Lee (I).

A little known film blip of a guy who was easily eating my google dust until recently. His rise to the #1 spot seems to coincide with his lastest cinimagraphic effort, a movie called Zombie Strippers featuring porn star Jenna Jameson and Robert “Freddy Krueger” Englund.

I can’t compete with porn, zombies AND cult-class horror stars bundled together. Sure, maybe a one on one cage match versus any of them individually, but not the whole bundle.

And here’s the trailer.

Of course my linkage only feeds the fire. Hopefully the movie hype will die down and I will resume my rightful place at the top of the search results.