Category Archives: Cool

w00tstock Chicago

Last sunday Ginny and I went to w00tstock Chicago at the Park West … it was an incredibly fun time.
W00tstock is the brain child of Wil Wheaton, Paul and Storm, and Adam Savage.   It’s billed as “Three hours of geeks and music”.

Sadly, it wasn’t quite as advertised … the show lasted four and a half hours … and was absolutely laugh out loud funny.

They frequently have local guest stars … and this show had Peter Sagel, Bill Amend, and a few other folks.

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In Flight WiFi

OK, this is pretty cool … I’m on my way to the COMMON Conference in Orlando … and, just before the flight leaves, Ginny sends a text telling me that the blogs are down.

I use the TouchTerm app on my iPhone … but can’t figure out what is going on.

Luckily the flight I’m on has WiFi available … $9.95 for the flight.

Well, I have nothing better to do on the fight (other than read my Wired magazine, which isn’t all that interesting), so I plunk down the fee and log in.

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Nimoy supports Obama

I’ve always thought that Leonard Nimoy and I had a fair bit in common … and I can add another item to the list …

  • He was raised Jewish, but seems to have lost religion … check
  • He’s a photographer … I’m a shutter bug
  • He’s a great actor … I’m … well … ok, maybe not so much in that area
  • And now it appears that he supports Barack Obama for president!

Ginny pointed me to the latest “In Character” piece on NRP that highlights Mr. Spock. Pretty cool article … although I have to wait another hour to actually hear it.

REI Schaumburg

Triad ParkaI gotta hand it to REI Schaumburg … they handled a (relatively) minor customer service issue perfectly.

A few weeks ago Ginny and I went to the newly opened REI store in Schaumburg. I had a few things that I wanted to pick up … including a new parka. The jacket I have now, as nice as it is, isn’t the warmest in the world.

I found a parka that I liked … it was in a rack that had a sign that indicated a price of $144 for “TNF <something> Parka”. Since all the jackets in the rack looked the same, I figured the price applied to all of them.

When I went to pay, the parka rang up for $239 instead of $144. Needless to say, I was quite surprised. A customer service person was brought over and we checked the rack. Turns out that “TNF” stood for “The North Face”, and there were two different jackets on the rack. The REI jacket I was looking at was $239, while The North Face jacket (which was really only a shell) was $144. Suffice it to say I didn’t get the jacket.

After I got home I decided to send REI an email … I indicated that I really like their stores & merchandise, but was a little non-plussed by the pricing issue. I really didn’t expect to get a response to the email, except maybe a perfunctory “We have received your message and will review it”.

About a week later I got a message from Jonathan, the Schaumburg store manager. He appologised for the pricing confusing … and, if I was still interested in the jacket, he would honor the $144 price.

Yesterday I went to the store to meet Jonathan and pick up the jacket. Unfortunately they didn’t have any more in stock, but he ordered it for me.

I gotta hand it to Jonathan … he went above and beyond normal customer service. He didn’t have to honor my perceived pricing error … but had certainly reinforce my loyalty as a customer.

Brookfield Zoo

Well, as you can probably guess, Ginny and I went to the Brookfield Zoo today. It was a really nice day … not too hot, a bit cloudy (but not too bad).

Of course, one of the major reasons I wanted to go was to work with my new camera some more. It’s fairly different than the old one and I still need to get used to it.

One of the things I really wanted to check out is the frame rate (number of frames you can shoot in a second). Now it’s not entirely normal to refer to a frame rate for a SLR cameras, but in this case it’s applies. Actually, the proper term is probably ‘Drive mode’. As I have mentioned before, the frame rate on my old camera was quite low … 3 frames per second with a 4 frame buffer. The frame rate on the new camera is quite nice … as illustrated with this picture of a dolphin jumping out of the water. I was able to set the film on it’s fastest drive mode with the auto-focus in “AI Servo” mode (which means the auto-focus is constantly adjusting itself instead of trying to determine if the subject is moving), and I was able to catch a LOT of action.

I had to increase the light levels on the dolphin pictures, as I was using a pretty fast shutter speed, and the light in the “Seven Seas” exhibit was kind of low, but I’m pretty pleased with the result.

[tags]Zoo, Brookfield, dolphin, Canon 30D[/tags]

Another Article!

Heh … I’m going to be famous yet again!

A few weeks ago I was interviewed by a Neil Tardy of IBM Systems magazine about

The interview went well, and I was really pleased with the first draft Neil sent me.

Turns out the magazine wanted a photo of me for the article.

So, yesterday, they sent out a photographer to take the picture.

Since the article is about me and, the best place to take the pictures was in the basement, Ginny and I had to actually CLEAN the basement up. Talk about a transformation. There’s actually ROOM down here.

Anyways the photographer, Chip, came by and took the picture. He tried a number of different setups … and found a few he liked. I liked working with Chip … he showed me a bit about using the histogram on the camera (although I’m not 100% certian I understood everything he told me, I am going to play around with it).

Obviously I’ll post a link (or at least a PDF) here when the article is published.

Top 10 Fuel Ratings

Ford Motor Co., with its hybrid SUVs, is the only American carmaker to crack the top-10 fuel economy list for 2006 vehicles … Ford Escape hybrid SUVs, two-wheel and four-wheel drive, round out the list.

Ford only US firm in top 10 for fuel rating – The Boston Globe

Way cool!

Although I didn’t realize the Honda Insight got that great milage … I thought it was just a ‘mild hybrid’.

I’ll have to ask Dennis about that.

[tags]Cars, escape hybrid, environment[/tags]

IPod Nano

Ok, I know I told Ginny that I wasn’t going to get an IPod (after she got her IPod mini as an early birthday present) … but this IPod Nano looks pretty cool.

I had thought about getting an IPod Shuffle at one point … but I didn’t like the idea of not being able to control the song that is playing. This new entry in the IPod family looks like a good cross between the mini & the shuffle.

Of course $250 is a bit much to spend on a MP3 player … but who knows. Maybe the price will drop soon. 🙂