Monthly Archives: September 2006

Sad news …

With all the sadness and trauma going on in the world at the moment, it is worth reflecting on the death of a very important person, which almost went unnoticed.

Larry LaPrise, the man that wrote “The Hokey Pokey” died peacefully at the age of 93. The most traumatic part for his family was getting him into the coffin. They put his left leg in. And then the trouble started.

Shut up. You know it’s funny.

[tags]Funny, Hokey Pokey[/tags]

Camera Shops

The Chicago suburbs seems to have a distinct shortage of camera shops.

I’ve been looking for a new tripod to replace my old one (that broke).

I went to Helix in Lombard … they had a good selection, but nothing that I really liked.

Wolf Camera in Schaumburg had a someone more limited selection … including one that I really liked. It had everything I was looking for … light weight, good size when extended, and very small when collapsed. But it cost $249. Of course it was made of carbon fiber, which was why it cost so much.

bg718shb.jpgA bit of research found another camera shop in Glen Ellyn … P.J.’s Camera shop on Rosevelt Rd. They had a few tripods, including one that I liked.

It’s a Manfrotto 718SHB … it’s reasonably light, good height, and very small when collapsed. The only problem was the shop didn’t have a spare mounting bracket (for Ginny’s camera). I had to search the internet to find a place to get one.

[tags]Camera, Tripod, Manfrotto, Bogen[/tags]

Camera Recomendation

The following is a post I made to the LUNI mailing list regarding digital camera recommendations … I thought I covered a lot of good suggestions, so I figure I would post it here too.

Someone on the LUNI mailing list wrote:

What brand of digital cameras do people on the list use? Right now, I have one by Fuji, but it’s a bit on the cheap side and I am thinking of getting a new one.

I’ve had great luck with Canon EOS digital cameras.

My Digital Rebel (300D) was great … although the frame rate & buffer was a bit lacking (3fps with a 4 frame buffer). My new Canon 30D is even better at 5fps and a 30 frame buffer.

Of course Canon makes excellent optics … so the pictures come out great.

My personal recommendation would be to go with a digital SLR … that gives you the most flexibility. You can be in fully automatic mode, or play with shutter priority, aperture priority, or manual modes.

One thing to look out for is the storage media and connection mechanism.

Personally, I like the compact flash medium. Secure Digital isn’t bad either. I would stay away from the memory stick cameras, as the media only works in a small selection of cameras. CF memory is nice because it’s widely used and there’s a lot of ways to transfer data from the card. You can use a USB reader or PC Card adapter for a laptop.

The connection mechanism is also a consideration … don’t get a camera that requires a dock, as you might have to take that around with you all the time. Get a camera that has a *standard* USB connector. My dad has a camera that connects with USB, but the connector is non-standard on the camera side. So if he looses the cable, he has to go to the vendor (Olympus, I think) to get a new one. All my Canon digital cameras (300D, 30D, and Powershot A85) use mini-usb connectors on the camera side. If I loose the cable, I go to an office supply store and get a new one.

Also get something that has good battery life … nothing worse than running out of juice when that perfect shot comes into the frame. I’ve got a spare battery for my 30D and the A85 uses AA’s.

[tags]Canon, Digital Rebel, 30D, 300D, Compact Flash, Digital Cameras[/tags]

Reading and Understanding

Clearly, reading and understanding is on the decline.

Three times since the article in IBM Systems magazine about me was published, people have walked up to me and congratulated me on having my article published.

As much as I appreciate the comments … I really wish they would READ the article … so they would know that the article is not BY me … it’s ABOUT me.

[tags]reading, understanding[/tags]


I found this modem in my dad’s den today … it’s an Everex EV-941 …. I think it’s a 1200 baud modem.

Yeah, you’re right, my dad is a packrat.

But I love him anyway.

[tags]hardware, modem, antique[/tags]


I need to figure out how to setup a watchdog timer on my linux systems.

While Ginny and I were out on a mini-vacation this weekend … gondor, my main web server, went weird on me.

It would respond to pings … but none of the servers would respond. I could telnet into the specific port, and it would connect, but the server itself would not respond.

So we cut our vacation a little short and came home (Gondor is kind of important) … when I looked at the system it wasn’t locked up (which I didn’t expect, because it still responded to some things), but it wasn’t doing anything.

Nothing serious was showing up on syslog, but the system was still hung up.

I ran a bunch of diagnostics, which didn’t indicate any problems… so I’m pretty much at a loss. Diagnostics were run on memory, the main-board, and the hard drives. I should note that one of the hard drives is making an odd whining noise … which indicates to me a potential problem … but the diagnostics didn’t indicate a problem.

Once I can figure out how to get a watchdog running, if the system goes weird on me again, it will at reboot itself. Not a prefect solution, but workable until I can figure out what is going wrong.

[tags]Linux, hardware, diagnostics, Dell, watchdog[/tags]