Thursday, August 29, 2013

Lightroom 5 Full Version for only 100 Bucks! You have less than 24 hours to grab one!

This is a steal folks. B&H Photo – one of the most reputable dealers out there – is selling Lightroom 5 for 50 bucks off retail, which makes it dirt cheap for a world class photo organizer and editor.

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They have the retail package and the downloadable version (no doubt a key that enables the Adobe download) for 99 bucks … the link that the graphic above takes you to is the download.

Canadians should note that shipping from BHPhoto.com is fast and cheap, so if you want the retail box then this is your glorious opportunity!

Don’t wait … this thing is over sometime tomorrow.

My one disappointment is that the upgrade is not similarly discounted. It should be down to 50 bucks, in which case I would have already bought it … but alas, it is still the full 75 bucks.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Bell, Rogers and baby brother Telus are worried that the big bad wolf (Verizon) will eat them up …

So they launched the “Fair for Canada” campaign to convince us to rally against the invasion of this US giant. Of course, we’re not stupid, are we? We know that we have the highest rates in the world and that this comes from an almost total lack of meaningful competition in our cell services market.

Read about the consumer backlash here: http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/story/2013/08/26/telecom-public-relations-campaign.html?cmp=rss

My favourite quote from that article:

Four or five years ago, the CRTC would receive about 900 complaints a year about telecom companies, Pliniussen said. Now it's over 7,000.

Well, duh. There is no mystery as to why a “help us continue to overcharge you and penalize your every move” campaign would fall totally flat.

Rogers Internet – A quick singing of the praises …

I had a network interruption this morning where the little “not connected to Internet” decorator popped up on the signal strength icon in the task bar, indicating that somewhere along the chain we lost connectivity with the world. (Oh no!)

Simultaneously, my laptop disconnected from the remote desktop session in which it was displayed, indicating that this was more than just a simple DNS issue in the network.

So I rebooted both devices in the Internet chain … unplug the router in the living room – yes, I ran 50 foot cables to and from the demarcation so that I could place the router in the exact center of the house, giving every corner fantastic signal strength – and then unplug the cable modem in the basement. Wait 30 seconds and plug them back in in reverse.

I got upstairs after a few minutes doing a small task downstairs and everything was running smoothly again …

But I was not prepared for the amazing speeds I got … the final speed of 75Mbps is simply amazing when you consider that it is far above the level I am paying for. Rogers, in this area, is giving great value for money (don’t get me started on cell phone charges though) … and this does not even show the real-time speed graph, where the first half of the test ran at 100Mbps+, a speed I have never seen before.

By contrast …

The rewiring of the family home in Winnipeg by MTS has gone very well, and they get within 10% of the top speed available in their neighbourhood. That being 20Mbps … they are getting about 18Mbps … not bad, but you can see the difference in technologies at play here. I think Rogers is in a class by itself.

I am still tempted to take advantage of Bell’s amazing offers for Fibe TV and Internet, but I am held back by the same issues they have in MTS. Their technology is limited such that the best speeds I can get in my neighbourhood are 25 down and 10 up. While I  would like to get the 10Mbps upload speeds, dropping back to 25Mbps is not in the cards. Sorry Bell, but until you can match Rogers in my neighbourhood (and since it is not in Toronto, that is not going to happen :-)) I will be staying with the speed kings … (And one other thing … I cannot find Rogers One sports network on the Bell Fibe TV listings … and that will never fly in this house :-))

Sunday, August 25, 2013

A person is smart, people are dumb mkII – and the first phrase is incorrect if this video is anything to go by …

Seriously, one of the better ones I’ve seen, although it gets repetitive … but a glorious example of a profound misunderstanding of the laws of physics in the general population …

I Will Always Love You – Cover by Josh Weathers – I think he just took the falsetto crown from Chris Isaak …

This cover speaks for itself … I just became a Josh Weathers fan … thanks go to theCHIVE.com

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Josh Weathers at the historic Kessler Theater in Dallas, TX.

From one of the comments in response to one of the people who just had to point out that the song was originally written by Dolly Parton:

The opening of the video has been omitted. In it, he explains that his mom had a '92 Lumina and played a tape of the soundtrack to 'The Bodyguard' in it until the car died. It was her birthday when this was recorded, and he dedicated the song to her. Technically, it was a cover of Whitney Houston's version.

The world would be a better place with more talent like this …


And now a note for anyone trying to embed the Kaltura player used by theCHIVE

It is difficult to find any useful documentation on how to disable auto play, which is horrifically defaulted to ON. Well, after a half hour of spelunking their documentation (not all that impressed I must say) I did find the secret … in the embed code itself, you will find a statement

    <param name=”flashVars” value = “”/>

which you will change to:

    <param name="flashVars" value="autoPlay=false"/>

Thursday, August 22, 2013

A master and a legend – Chris De Burgh — Where Peaceful Waters Flow

I saw this on Facebook and just had to pass it on …

I think Chris is one of the best in the world. An absolute master of melody and harmony with the voice of an angel (demonstrated in this song so very clearly) …

I saw him live on the Road to Freedom tour and will always remember the moment he sang and strummed his guitar 5 feet from me …

Conservative Thinktank says that it is cheaper than ever to raise a child in Canada – unfortunately, they are idiots …

From this article:

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First comes this quote:

The Fraser Institute says it's never been easier financially to raise a child in Canada, with the annual cost much lower than many believe.

The conservative think-tank says it is possible to raise a child on about $3,000-$4,000 a year, and even less if parents only include necessary expenses and are careful with their dollars.

And later this one …

Very few frills are included in the Fraser total, including no allowance for daycare or lost income if one parent decides to stay home to take care of the children.

Gulp … no allowance for daycare or the lost income that comes from not having daycare? What moron thought that the people who need daycare had suddenly become independently wealthy?

This is the kind of writing that reminds me of this paragon to critical thinking on how to make 10 million dollars in 10 years:

Every year, you put 1 million dollars in the bank and in 10 years you will have 10 million dollars.

In a world where conservative governments fully support the kind of deregulation and related policies that have efficiently destroyed our economies, it is just another case of idiocy to assume that the people most affected are not in fact affected and thus do not have any need for daycare since one job is still enough to raise a family. Perhaps the conservative “think tank” in this case decided that parents could raise children cheaply through the use of magic.

Read the whole article here …

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/story/2013/08/22/child-care-costs-fraser-institute.html?cmp=rss

Monday, August 19, 2013

Chillies – a new Indian restaurant in Barrhaven – highly recommended …

So Jon and I tried a new restaurant this evening in Barrhaven. It is called Chillies, although there may be more to the name than that. It is located in the Sobey’s strip mall on Greenbank north of Strandherd. The restaurant is near the Quiznos restaurant, about half way down from the grocery store.

This was only their 3rd day open and there was definitely some traffic, not bad for a Monday in a new restaurant. They do take out, but the sit in service is very good and the décor is nice. A kind of modern feel with separators between most tables for a small level or privacy.

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I forgot to bring a camera (we did not start out going here, but Jon remembered it at the last minute and we changed direction) so I had to shoot what little I could on the Galaxy S3. It did an adequate job, though, as the décor comes out quite clearly.

I started with a Mango Lasse, which I try in every restaurant. Theirs is quite nice, although the more milk-shake like thickness and stronger flavour at Haveli’s still has that one as the top Lasse for my taste. Still, I drank every drop so it was perfectly tasty.

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What really shone, though, was the food. We did not get creative, wanting instead to try two dishes we’ve had in many places to get a good comparison. We had Vindaloo Beef and Butter Chicken. We also asked for two Naan bread and of course the complementary Basmati Rice.

Well, we were blown away.

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The Vindaloo is an off menu item, but as soon as we mentioned it he said that they could do it. And I am very glad they did. Thick and rich with a generous portion and a fair bit of “kick” … just how we like it. We like it better than our other local favourite – Karara. The Butter chicken was also a treat, although Jon is not a fan in general. I have always liked butter chicken so long as it was not overwhelmed by cream (as it is sometimes at The Clay Oven in Winnipeg.)

It was tough to get through it all, but we soldiered through Smile

I have to give this place a very high recommendation. Great food, prices are good, service is very good. Unfortunately, I cannot find an online reference so if you did not receive a flyer in your mail box (I don’t recall getting one) then you might just have to drive there to try it. It will be worth it …

The Government Wants a Break from that Pesky Accountability Thing

Yes, it is time once again to shut down the parliament unceremoniously …

Before the government rose for the summer break (why call a holiday “rising” when it is just the opposite :-) they were under constant fire over the horrid financial track record of the conservative senators of late. So, as they have done twice before since 2006, they are simply going to “shut ‘er down” … of course that means asking the Governor General to prorogue the parliament.

See the whole story here:

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Sigh … only two more years until we see a Trudeau running things again … I for one can’t wait …

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Three Extremely Important Life Lessons from an Unexpected Source – Ashton Kutcher?

You’re darned tootin’

Ashton Kutcher gets an award at a teeny bopper show and dispenses some of the best advice I have ever heard … it kind of blew me away as it completely defies one’s assumptions about the personality required to become and stay a heart throb.

So good on him ….

p.s. You can skip to about 1:00 in the window below to get to the meat … or just click here: http://youtu.be/zuBSRC1zpHw?t=1m

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

A person is smart, People are dumb …

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Read the whole thing on BBC’s site: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-23681200

Anyone out there not know the movie reference I am making with the title? If so, then consider your nerd license revoked.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kkCwFkOZoOY

Win the Fujifilm X-M1 with the 16-50mm kit lens! -- Fujifilm Announces Photo Contest

That’s right Fuji shooters, there is a seriously nice kit up for grabs. The contest runs on the Fujifilm Digital Cameras Facebook Page and goes from today, 14 August at 12:01 am until 14 September at 11 pm.

Photo: Our new photo contest is now live! Show us your best reflection photographs for your chance to win a Fujifilm X-M1 kit!<br /><br />The tab located at the top of our page will direct you to the contest.

The text from Fuji:

Fujifilm est heureuse d'annoncer la tenue d'un autre concours photographique sur sa page d'appareils numériques Facebook. Le concours commence le 14 août à 12 h 01 et se termine le 14 septembre à 23 h. Le thème du concours est « Reflets et images réfléchies ». Toutes les photos incluant un reflet ou une image réfléchie seront admissibles au concours, qui donne la chance de gagner le tout nouveau systèmeFUJIFILM X-M1 avec objectif de 16-50 mm. N'hésitez pas à partager cette nouvelle sur votre blogue pour faire part de l'occasion à vos lecteurs !

We at Fujifilm are pleased to announce a photo contest to be held on our Fujifilm Digital Cameras Facebook page. The contest launched today, August 14 at 12:01AM and will run through September 14 at 11:00PM. The theme of the contest is "Reflections."  All photos depicting a reflection will be valid. The one winner of our photo contest will be the lucky owner of a brand new FUJIFILM X-M1 w/ 16-50mm lens

Best of luck to you all.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Disingenuous Marketing in “Big Food” – Axiomatic?

Decide for yourself …

Why Portion Control Matters

Another gem from Joni Freedhoff at the Weighty Matters blog

You would be shocked at how many extra calories you get when you are not measuring … the following shows one reason why this happens.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Perseids 2013 – Tonight (Aug11-12 after 2am) is the peak!

The sliver of a moon sets mid-evening … the skies appear to be clear for tonight here in the mid-east of Canada, and the Perseids will peak tonight.

AWESOME!

Last night, as we left a friend’s daughter’s stag and doe party in Almonte, Karen and I looked up to see a crystal clear Milky Way Galaxy in the center of town, the parking lot across from the Royal Canadian Legion. I commented that the Perseids would peak in a few days (not knowing that it was the next day in fact) and so we looked up for a while. After a few minutes, Karen got into the car and I turned to get in but saw a flash across the sky just above a closed bicycle store. I won’t regale you with the language I shouted when I saw it (something along the lines of holy f-----g s--t!) … but it got Karen back out of the car.

So we watched for a while longer and she saw one above the store as well, and I saw one across the sky in the North East skies (we had been looking East-South East so far.)

At the last moment, I saw one more tiny one out of the corner of my eye (so it may have been a hallucination) and thus the final tally is 4 meteors in the space of about 10 minutes around midnight (not a peak hour, which starts are 2am) …

2013 is going to be a banner year!

Here is a shot of the Perseids from 2012, shot inside Ottawa … I hope to do better than this tonight.


Nikon D700  Nikon 50mm 1.8D  1600iso  f/2.8 10s

Friday, August 9, 2013

Take a look at this excellent blog … Disrupting the Rabblement

A fellow named Niall Doherty writes a blog that has some pretty excellent critical thinking in its posts (I should be so lucky as to have such clarity of thought.) Here is a link to an excellent post regarding his adoption of a vegan diet and later reversion to an omnivorous diet. Very interesting …

http://www.ndoherty.com/quit-vegan/

A plug for a very good eBay seller and some great headphones – MEElectronics M9

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I removed the tracking number …

Note the delivery date range. Tomorrow through the 21st. Well, they actually showed up in one day, two days ago. I had not really understood how fast this was until I saw it in the email they had sent confirming the order.

The item was a bit more expensive than other eBay merchants, but this merchant has terrific ratings and offers free shipping, which I took to mean first class mail. But instead, a Loomis truck showed up the next day and delivered the item, brand new in a sealed box. Wow …

About the headphones – this is my second pair, and I bought them because the first pair got washed in the laundry along with my iPod Shuffle. The iPod survived, but the headphones made a strange squeaking sound, so I ordered these. As an aside, I fixed the original headphones yesterday (looks like the rubber ear inserts were just loose) and gave them to my eldest, who previously had a set of Marleys that came to an unfortunate end.

So anyway … these have the microphone and a control switch, so they cost a bit more than the plain version (M9 versus M9P) … the bass is very strong, the mounted ear inserts work perfectly for me, but there are smaller and larger ones to fit most ears. The clarity of the sound is what amazes for this price point – they easily stomp the Sennheiser CX200 and the Marleys I used to use. Those were good, but these are simply better, and I can use these for Skype on my phone.

Just letting you know of a very good seller and a great set of inexpensive noise isolating headphones.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

And again … Published in the Ottawa Citizen

Robbi Hay – editor of the OurTown section of the Ottawa Citizen newspaper – has again delighted me by using one of my images as the header for this Thursday, 8 August.

This image is one that has been used before, and is one of Robbi’s favourites … I like it too of course Smile

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Grab yourself a copy of the Citizen on Thursday and catch up with the goings on around town this week …

Steve Earle – Copperhead Road – Fuji F770EXR

I discovered this CD several years ago and I quite enjoy his style. Kind of a gruff rocker thing going on. I got the chance to see him in Winnipeg when I was visiting, so I took the little F770EXR along in my pocket and was able to shoot lots of images and film numerous songs.

I have not yet got to processing the images (I shot over 2800 images in 12 days and am processing them day by day) but I did process one of the songs I shot – Copperhead Road. The F770 has issues with AF but this is partially caused by my inability to hold the camera steady during filming. As always, I had to do it with some stealth because of the anality of most establishments. I eventually got the dreaded tap on the shoulder, although they were a lot more polite than places like the Scotiabank Center are.

Anyway, here is the video … processed in Sony Vegas Movie Studio 12 64bit as always … lots of audio work, nothing at all done to the video except downsizing to 720p (it was shot at 1280p but there is no point in pretending that it actually retains that much detail.)

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

X Pipe versus H Pipe – Which is better?

Apparently, according to this video from Summit Racing, the X Pipe will always make more horsepower.

I decided to look this up because my brother put an X Pipe onto his gorgeous 2005 Mustang GT and the sound and fury kind of blew me away. He disliked the rather exotic sound and swapped it for an H Pipe about a week later and the results were a quieter exhaust under 2500rpm and less exotic, more hotrod sound. I like both but must admit that I favour the exotic sound of the X Pipe while Trevor favours the hotrod sound of the H Pipe. He did note, though, that he lost some “punch” when he installed the H Pipe, which is confirmed in the video above.

For those who want to hear the actual difference, you are in luck. I filmed a ride in the car with both the X Pipe and the H Pipe and the differences are very audible. The X Pipe occupies about the first 2/3 of the following video with the H Pipe finishing it off.

I had not even heard of such technology before we did the filming … I must admit that I am intrigued. Gotta get me one of those :-)

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Rogers versus MTS

Hmmm … Rogers is running quickly this morning …



MTS not so much …



To be fair, I subscribe to Rogers’ Extreme Plus, which advertises 45Mbps down and 4Mbps up, while my sister (MTS) subscribes to Lite 10, which advertises 10Mbps down and 2Mbps up.

But I’m getting 50% more download bandwidth and a tiny fraction more upload bandwidth, whereas my sister is getting about 80% LESS than she pays for on downloads and 66% LESS than she pays for on uploads. And further, the price for Extreme Plus is only 22 dollars higher than the price for Lite 10, which means that Rogers is miles ahead in bandwidth for the dollar. It is not even a contest …

I am not impressed at all by MTS … while Rogers continues to please and impress, at least in the technology department.

Note: If you are wondering how I measured these speeds in two cities at the same time, I simply tunnelled through the Internet.

Edit: We called about this and MTS said that they were on the "classic" TV / Internet system and thus 5% of the paid for bandwidth was all we could get. My sister correctly pointed out that MTS happily took the full price for 10Mbps though, to which she got no answer. Anyway, the only solution is to upgrade to the Ultimate system and get the whole home PVR and all the goodies. They will finally have HD, which is great. They upgraded to the 20Mbps (embarrassingly, the fastest MTS offers for any price in their neighbourhood) which will allow proper streaming finally. I must admit that the choices in Winnipeg are extremely poor when I compare with Rogers and Bell in Ottawa. Shaw and MTS are way behind the technology curve and their service is apparently no better. But, it is a captive market and that is how the world works, apparently.