Sunday, April 13, 2014

It is time to start writing again?

Monday, April 30, 2012

Say Hello to Daniel

Untitled by reboot95
Untitled, a photo by reboot95 on Flickr.

Say Hi to my Son.

Saturday, April 03, 2010

I have seen the Lord

“I have seen the Lord” these words that are recorded in John 20:18. These words are the Hallmark of Christianity they are one of the prime characteristics of the Christian religion and experience. They are spoken of the very Deity that is the center of our Faith. A Deity that was fully God and Fully man who dwelt among us and gave up His very life for our benefit. The grave held Jesus with utmost tenacity. Yet that grip of the grave was not sufficient. In Glorious Triumph He burst the chains of death.

“I have seen the Lord” signifies that we serve a living God not a dead god hidden in a grave somewhere, trapped in stone, nothing but an image, a recollection. Our God has lived with us, triumphed over death and dwells in glory. Our religion is of a relationship with a loving, living Deity. One Who desires to bridge the gap between humanity and Himself. Instead of mankind reaching into heaven, instead of mankind trying to make themselves acceptable, God reached down to us and lifted us up with the Lord. We have seen Him.

“I have seen the Lord" proclaims the hope of all Christianity. The knowledge that the grave is not absolute. That our God and Redeemer has power even over what we see as completely final. The Resurrection of Jesus is a precursor to what awaits those who are redeemed, those who are buried in the same death as Christ, Death to Sin. We will also share in His resurrection. In His Everlasting Life.

“I have seen the Lord” is the personal testament of the Christian. Each who have known redemption and been freed of Sin can proclaim boldly they have seen the Lord in their own life. We know the working of a Risen Lord in the conviction that brings repentance, in the sorrow that accompanies realization, in the comfort of forgiveness, in the joy of triumph. We have seen the Face of God and have known the truth by faith we have seen the Lord.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

It Is Finished.

It is Finished! The words recorded simply in John 19:30. Echo down the corridors of History. These words announce with absolute finality with no room for doubt. It is Finished. In all of History these words are among the most important ever uttered by anyone. These words ushered in a Covenant made by God with mankind.

The Genesis of this event goes back to the beginning of our time. When Holy God in His wisdom created a Man and a Woman knowing that they would reject Him. God knowing the awful price that would be required to reconcile that relationship gave the Man and the Woman freedom to make their own choice. In that moment of decision they rebelled and were exiled from the fellowship of God who loved them.

Yet at that moment Holy God decreed a promise. He told the Man and the Woman that a child would rise up to crush the head of the serpent and pay the debt for sin. Then History waited, and waited. At the appointed time a Woman conceived a child that was in nature fully man but also by nature fully God. God had sent His son into this world.

God in the person of Jesus Christ dwelt among men. He taught us many things. He established His Church to carry on His Word and Work. He Healed the sick, and sinful, He forgave the guilty. But most important of all He came to a place and time. Where Man in his own wisdom cried out crucify Him. Our very creator came to be with us and we in our own wisdom cried out for His death. Oh, Shame on all of mankind, when confronted by God we wish to destroy Him.

The Cross where Christ died in agony brings us to these words. These Precious words, where a Holy God in the person of Jesus Christ paid the debt of Sin. Where the Son of God took upon Himself all the sins of the world, all the sins ever committed all the sins ever to be committed. There on a hill in this small insignificant world the Creator took the burden of Sin upon Himself. When the transaction was complete he uttered those three words “It Is Finished” and mankind was redeemed. By nothing good in our self, no act was capable, only by the Blood of Jesus and the words “It Is Finished”.

Now what will you do with these words? Will you accept them, in your life? Will you take this healing blood and cleanse the stain of sins from your entire life? Or will you reject the Holy God that offered Himself up, on that cross? Will you reject Him and make the choice to walk into Hell knowing that so long ago “It Was Finished”?

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Words

There are many important words in our lives. Some words are nonsense others convey great meaning in our lives. Of all the words that we can focus on in all of history the three most important words ever uttered were “It is Finished”. Without context these words may mean little. In the context when they were voiced by a bruised and bleeding man hung on a cross they become the most important words to Human Kind ever. It was in the person of that Man that the Creator of the Universe paid for the sins of us all. It was there where my sins were redeemed. Those words echo across history calling out to the lost and dying world that Christ came to purchase with His own life.

In each of our personal lives there are words of significance. Perhaps the most important of my life were tied to the three words of Christ. They were “Jesus please come into my heart” Those words occurred in my mind one night as a young boy. That was when I accepted the gift purchased for me by the life of Christ. It took me years to realize just how significant those Words were for me. That they would be forever etched in the fabric of my life. They have set the course of all the Chapters and Sentences to follow.

A few days ago there were words given to me that will change my life once again. They may be the second most important words of my life. Strangely they are tied to the other words I’ve talked about. The Words of Jesus on the cross and the Words thought by a small boy in his bed. The Context of those words are rooted in the leading of God in two different lives of two different people from opposite sides of the world. Both share a love of God and His redemption. Both have sought the leadership of our Great Creator and Redeemer. The words were in answer to a question. Those Words were “Yes I’ll Marry You”.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Reflections on the Third Cross

Luke 23
32Two other men, both criminals, were also led out with him to be executed.
...
39One of the criminals who hung there hurled insults at him: "Aren't you the Christ? Save yourself and us!"

40But the other criminal rebuked him. "Don't you fear God," he said, "since you are under the same sentence? 41We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong."

42Then he said, "Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.[f]"

43Jesus answered him, "I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise."



Think about this.
Here is a man that has wasted a life, he is now near the end, he stands accused and is sentenced to die. We don't know much about him. What exactly were his crimes? We know from Mark at one time both men heaped insults on Christ. We know that one of the criminals expresses the desire for his life to be spared. But then he mocked Christ, little did he realize the power right beside him. However this other man eventually defends Christ. Admits that he himself is being punished justly getting what his deeds deserved. Then he proclaims this man (Christ) has done nothing wrong though. Only by the Holy Spirit could this man have known what to do next. It defies all logic. He looks at the man hanging beside him. Seemingly powerless, dying as well. And says to Him "Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom". Jesus replies "today you will be with me in paradise". Oh the joy at those words... Did this common criminal understand the full meaning of what he had just heard. Today even you who are a sinner condemned by your sin to death. Today you will be with me the King of all Heaven today you will join me in my home...!!!!

There are a great many things we can learn from this....

It was not the righteousness of the criminal that saved him. He starts by hurling insults on Christ. He had no chance to do good works. He repents and admitted his evil deeds. All he could grasp a hold of was the grace and mercy of Christ. That was all the he could claim.. And that was more than enough.

Baptism was not required. Although our faith stresses the importance of baptism. This man entered the Kingdom of Heaven with out it.. He received assurance from the ruler of heaven that he would be with Him without undergoing any ritual. Once again the grace of Christ was all that was required. No ritual needed.

Even on his death bed so to speak the criminal found mercy in Christ. We should never give up on anyone. We should continue to tell them of Christ up until the last moment of their lives. This man wasted all of his years and in the last hours he accepted Christ.

The Love and Compassion of Christ goes beyond our understanding. Here is Christ hung on a cross in agony. Suffering the turmoil and punishment of our sins. Bearing the burden for all of us. Standing in our place so we could stand in His. But in the very midst of that he reaches out to this Criminal and draws him to Salvation. Oh the Love Christ has for the lost.. And the desire He has for them to be saved is marvelous.

The criminals are a picture of all of us. We may think of ourselves as having lofty thoughts and mighty deeds. We might see our selves as John standing there at the foot of the Cross with Christ's mother. But we are truly represented by these criminals. Sentenced to death by our sins, rightfully so. Heaping insults on the Creator of the universe. No way of denying our guilt. We are completely and totally dead in our sin.. But there just beside us reaching out to us is Christ. There are no acts of righteousness on our part. We don't have anything to bring to impress the Lord of Creation. We are nothing but Criminals. However the King of all Heaven reaches out to us and says I have a gift for you. All you have to do is receive it. One of the Criminals brazenly rejects that gift and hurls insults at the Lord and stays condemned for all eternity. However the other Criminal humbles himself repents and begs the forgiveness of the Lord and resides with Him to this day in Heaven.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Grace Mud and The Living Sacrifice

We are sinful we reject God. While we were still sinners God dwelt among us walked with us and loved us. He then gave up His life on the cross to redeem us.. God comes to us with the gift of Grace but we still want more... We ask what is it God wants for us.. I think we really are asking a lot of times why doesn't God give us what we want... What we really need to be asking is what does God want from me...??

We so often want a complicated answer something that we have to search for and work long to find. But God gives us a simple answer. Romans 12: 1 And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him. (NLT). This is how I picture it... We crawl off and sit down in the Mud and go wow I'm in mud how did I get here. What is God doing in my life. I wonder what it is He wants for me.. I wonder what it is God wants to give me.. Then God appears to us and we say God look I'm in the mud.. Why did you put me here? What is it you want to give me. God holds out the hands that were pierced for our Sins and says "I have given you my Grace it is sufficient". We would reply but God I'm in the mud please what do you want for me. God would then point to the the alter and tell us "Give your life to me dear child". I think at that time most of us say well God that is not really what I had in mind. I would like to go over there and sit in the field under that tree. It looks exciting... Please God I "want" that excitement.

This made my mind turn to the statement I've heard over and over.. God has a wonderful plan for your life. I realized that God does have a wonderful plan for my life. But it is from the viewpoint of God that it will be wonderful. I think I have a hard time seeing how wonderful it is because I don't have the viewpoint of God.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

The Nature of Worship

What is the nature of Worship? It is a question that has been on my mind a lot lately. Really the last few years. The word Worship is used to refer to a great many things. But what does it mean to God? That is the question that concerns me.

A few years ago I heard a definition that probably put me on to this line of thinking. "Worship is a personal expression of the Love we have for our God and His son Jesus". An expression of gratitude for the reconciliation offered through the sacrifice of Jesus. The word that really struck me was personal. It is what I myself do. That has been a revelation, one of the good ones. It tells me Worship is first between God and me. Worship can take place at any time and any place! It can be expressed in many ways!

But what has Worship come to mean in the modern Christian Church? My thought is we have come to think of it as the part of a Church service where we sing or listen to someone else sing. Christians are starting to call this part of the service Praise and Worship. To a lesser degree Christians might call the part of service where a, Pastor or Preacher delivers a message, Worship as well. Christians are even calling the place this occurs a Worship center.

Why does this trend cause concern? Foremost is confuses the nature of Worship. Actually it constrains the nature of Worship. It promotes the idea that Worship occurs in a certain way, at a certain time. It even goes beyond that it changes Worship into something we watch for the most part instead of taking part in. I believe that these ideas are contrary to what God desires of us to experience in our time with Him.

Now to be clear watching a music performance that is of a Christian nature or listening to a Preacher expound on the Bible and the nature of God can certainly be parts of a Worshipful experience. There are many times I have heard a song that impacted my thoughts of God at that moment or heard a Sermon that helped me to have a profound appreciation and Love for God. I have always been a person that has filled their life with music. If I'm not listening to music I'm usually humming a tune or two. But sometimes we do need to turn that off and know God in the Silence.

So if Worship isn't these things or if these things are only a part of Worship, what is it that God desires for us? My personal thought is that God desires every activity and event in our lives to contribute to Worship of Him. God desires to be with us in everything we do. When we go in and come out, when we are in our rooms alone, when we are in a crowded school or workplace. God desires for us to express our love and adoration for Him in a personal way at all times of our life.

Thursday, April 02, 2009

Macbook Pro 15 Inch Unibody


_MG_4126
Originally uploaded by reboot95
I recently purchased the Macbook Pro 15 Inch at the Applestore. The buying experience was very good. If you are employed by a large company or the Government make sure you inquire about a discount. Also remember that Students and Teacher get a discount as well. These discounts can range from 6 to 8 percent.

The technical specs of the laptop are impressive. The performance is extremely snappy, but it is hard to see a difference between it and my old Macbook. However the screen is noticeably brighter and richer than any laptop I've ever looked at. Now every laptop looks like I'm looking at it through a layer of dust.

I have noticed that at low screen brightness there is a very annoying flicker visible. My understanding is that due to the nature of LED back lights to get a dim light they are cycling the LED's on and off very fast. Some people can see the flicker. I'm one of them.

Carrying the Laptop is a joy compared to anything else I've every picked up in this screen size. It is sturdy and light. I really don't notice a difference in weight between it and the old white Macbook.

PROS: Light weight, beautiful screen, Sturdy construction, lighted keyboard, processing power to spare.

CONS: Expensive, screen flicker at low brightness.

Nutshell: If you can afford it, this is a great laptop.


Wednesday, March 11, 2009

DD-WRT Linksys Wrt-54gl slowdown

I have a fairly complicated wireless set up in my home. My device of choice has been a Linksys WRT-54GL loaded with dd-wrt. Recently I noticed that my transfers over wireless were running about half the speed they should be. I was actually at the point where my Charter Cable connection to the internet was faster than my wireless connection. After verifying that the problem existed for multiple laptops I started trying to track down the cause. Switching wireless channels, simplifying things a bit, going back to WPA from WPA2, switching to G only. By the way the G only broke my WRT-54GL that acts as a client for the TV computer downstairs. None of the changes fixed the problem.

I finally ran across a post on the DD-WRT forums that talked about a similar problem. Their solution was to restore to factory defaults and set the router up again. This solved the slowdown problem! It also prevented the downstairs WRT-54GL from working with the newly factory defaulted router upstairs. To solve that I had to reset it to factory defaults and set it up again. When all was said and done I'm back to transfer rates around 2 Megabytes per sec. Which is about the best I ever get out of wireless G.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

They Speak English Here Right?

I've discovered that one cultural myth about foreign countries is true, every one does speak English, however the part they don't talk about is none of them understand English... The airport in Japan had a very nice lady holding a sign that said United Bangkok and kept saying "Bangkok, Singapore" and pointing to a line. But when you asked her if this was the line we were supposed to be in she would repeat the speech say "ANA" and nod emphatically. I guess it worked I ended up in Thailand not Singapore.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Pack Rat

I'm preparing for a large long trip overseas well it will be about a week and a half which seems a long time for me having never really been out of the country. Well there was that trip to Canada but that doesn't really count does it.

I have found that for the last two weeks I have been obsessively going over the things that I should take and the things I should leave at home. Like which clothes I need to take, which chargers, will they work, which cameras, how much does this weigh, on and on. So the virtual duffel in my brain has been filled and emptied many times. Now I just need to do that in real life...

The clock is ticking.

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Exceeding Expectations

With this post I make this my most prolific year of Blogging. Sure it might seem unfair to make a post about exceeding my previous number of blogs for a year the one that pulls ahead, but hey it is my blog I set the rules.

This year I refound the joy of taking pictures, so many of my posts were about this picture or that. Digital makes taking photos so much easier and cheaper in the long run. I think I grew weary of it in my film days mainly because of the cost of developing pictures. But being able to take multiple shoots to see what works at little to no cost is great.

The year of Geotagging. I'm addicted to geotagging photos now. I love being able to pull a picture up on a flickr map and go oh so that is where I took this.

This is the first year since 2002 or 2001 I have not bought a new computer. Well if I can just hold out a few more hours it will be :-)

Monday, December 29, 2008

Empty Mart


Empty Mart
Originally uploaded by reboot95
This is a photo that can only be taken one day a year.

It is so odd to see the parking lot of a Walmart complete and totally empty the doors all shuttered and the carts stowed away. I saw this a few years ago on my way out of town. This year I purposely drove by in the afternoon to capture this shot.

Incidently when I turned in to the lot three cars followed me. Each person drove by the door with a look of anticipation on their faces. They slowly left the lot in disbelief that a Walmart could be closed. While I was taking the pictures four more cars came through the lot and repeated the ritual.


Sunday, December 21, 2008

Amazon the only way to Shop

I Had the occasion to go out to the local Mall on Friday. I and a friend both live pretty close and know the back ways in so getting into the parking lot is painless for this time of year. Also I had a great experience at the Apple store talking to a sales person about Aperture and the new MacBook Pro's. Barnes and Nobles check out line was a bit on the long side though. But that works as long as you are willing to get a Hot Coca and check out in the cafe. As painless as all this was I still really prefer to shop by internet.

It really is no surprise that I prefer shopping on the internet at Christmas I usually shop that way all the time. I sort of like coming home and finding boxes on the doorstep. When it comes to giving gifts I just go in pick out what I want to send, put in the shipping address and it shows up two days later at the recipients home. That way I can spread around some of the joy of finding boxes on the doorstep.

What makes Amazon the best for this? There are actually a number of things. One is the Prime Membership I have, free two day shipping, this includes items given as gifts. Amazon's selection of items is nearly unsurpassed buy anything. Their price is generally the best. The wishlist feature that allows you to view friends desired items. And when you need them their Customer Service is pretty customer focused. All of this combines to make Amazon the perfect shopping experience.

Oh and by the way I just ordered light bulbs from Amazon...

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

One Lonely picture


_MG_3004_corr
Originally uploaded by reboot95
I'm really getting interested in Geotagging photos. This is accomplished by syncing the time between your camera and a GPS device. Then using the tracking feature of the GPS to keep a log of your coordinates. I then use Gpsphotolinker to match the log file with the pictures and presto you now know where your pictures were taking.

I took this particular picture of an old Baptist Church out in a rural area called Handy. This is near Doniphan MO. When I started to look at the map data on flickr I realized this was the only picture geotagged in a large area. Sort of cool to be the first someplace.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Niagara Falls and the Scam.


Recently I was on vacation and ended up at Niagara Falls. There are a few things people really need to know about traveling there. As you get within 100 miles you start to see these little road side dumps that claim to be the "Niagara Falls Visitor Center" avoid these they are trying to sell you very over priced tour packages.

As you approach the State Park that is the falls you will notice a big glass building with an international food court. There will be some one with a tan shirt and a flag waving you into the parking lot. Pass them by... This is not the park these are people that are trying to make money on tourists. Once you have passed by you will see a nice paved lot that is part of the Park. It still costs $10 but I would rather my money go to the park.

Here is the other thing everyone will be trying to sell you some sort of tour package. Just walk past them go through the visitors center and take a look at the falls. After you have done that you can decide what sort of tours you want to take and then pay for them.

It is free to look at the falls it is free to walk over to Goat Island and get a much better look at both the American Falls and the Horseshoe Falls. I would advise walking around the park and taking the grandeur of falls in before you fork over any more money. It is an awesome sight and well worth the trip.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Mac OS X Your network has been compromised revisted

To see a description of the problem check out this old post.

Mac OS X Your network has been compromised

It appears one of the latest updates to Mac OS X has fixed this problem. I can now have my MacBook remember networks that have multiple access points under the same SSID.

I think the specific update that corrected the problem can be found here AirPort Extreme Update 2008-004

This has been a problem since around the First of 2008. Little bit slow on the old repair.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Road trips in the age of Starbucks

Let me start off by saying I don't drink coffee, I don't understand people that do. But I like a glass of Coke with my breakfast to each his own I guess.

But a few of the friends I like to travel with do drink coffee. I recently took a long road trip with one of those friends and witnessed what is like to travel with someone that really I mean really likes Starbucks. The first thing I started to notice was the intense attention to road signs and strip malls next to highway exits. There was the constant look from side to side the brow furrowing in frustration then their face lighting up, the look of calm when their eyes fell on a Starbucks sign. I'm sure if you think back you may have witnessed this too.

Maybe I exaggerate just a bit but I was astounded at my friends ability to spot any Starbucks within a mile of our route. Then there would be the sort of nonchalant "oh hey look there's a Starbucks, lets just swing by". Needless to say I never realized just how infested our country has become with these oasis's of coffee goodness.


Monday, September 29, 2008

Unsharp Mask I see Clearly now

Before Unsharp Mask
Hunger_IMG_0366

After Unsharp Mask
Hunger_IMG_0366_usm
You really need to look at larger sized images to see results.

I have learned one of the most important aspects of taking photos with a DSLR, they inherently make soft looking photos. But I've seen pictures that people have taken that look crystal clear. I was always disappointed that my pictures were just a bit less clear. I figured I was just not very good at selecting the aperture or my focus was off a bit or I was jerking a bit when I pushed the shutter button.

Then I read this article Understanding USM started playing with Unsharp Mask in Photoshop and it was like a veil was dropped from my pictures. All of a sudden I too had those Razor Sharp images that I was so envious of.

Go ahead click on the link understand the mystery that is Unsharp Mask and you too will be amazed at the results.

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Img_0232 and post processing

Okay here is something I've done more than once get my camera out play around with some settings on it then put it back in the camera bag. Soon after that I'll grab the camera bag to go out and shot some picutres. Usually after 10 or so shots I will figure out something doesn't look exactly right. The pictures might be a bit too light or a bit too dark. Maybe they are all a bit fuzzy or other some defect. This is usually due to the fact I left the exposure compensation a few clicks off 0, the iso some where around 1600 or I've gotten creative with white balance. While these little issues can be a pain they may not have to ruin a great photo especially if you are shooting in RAW format.

Here is an example of such a photo. The night before I went out to the St. Louis Zoo I was playing around with my camera in my office trying to see how exposure compensation effected my photos with a flash. I deleted the test photos and put the camera away forgetting the exposure compensation was a bit off.

Next day I walk into the zoo pull out my camera get the lens cap off and see a Grizzly Bear posing for photos. Here is one of the photos I snapped.

IMG_0232
I bit over exposed this is the jpeg off the camera
Well that was not what I was hoping to capture.

Enter Adobe and Camera Raw here is that example.

Bear_IMG_0232
Better I think.

Then tonight I was playing around with the photo in Canon's Digital Photo Professional. Here are the results from that tool.
Bear3_IMG_0232
The Best?

Something about the third photo just freaked me out. The Bear's eye seems to be penetrating right to the core of me. This is the emotion I wanted to evoke with one of these Bear images.

This was all made possible because I was shooting in RAW and had the best source to post process. I used to think that working with a photo after you had taken the picture was cheating. I'm quickly changing my mind about that.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

A trip to the zoo


Bear2_IMG_0224
Originally uploaded by reboot95
I took a trip to the St. Louis Zoo Saturday. Another opportunity for the Canon 40D and Geotagging. I had a great time and my friend turned out to be an excellent guide.

We started off on a trip to the Japanese Festival at the Mo. Botanical Gardens but there was just no parking what so ever. So I dropped some friends off at the entrance and the rest of us headed to the Zoo.

One thing of note about the St. Louis Zoo is the fact they do not charge anything to enter. This is a one of the great things about living in St. Louis. They also have a pretty good amount of free parking around the Zoo. If that does not work out there are some big lots that charge a fee.

You might think that a free Zoo would not be that good. Not so, from what I understand the St. Louis Zoo is on par with any other Zoo in the Country. So all of you that live in other cities, it is alright for you to feel just a bit envious.

If you would like to see some of the pictures I took head over to my flickr account http://www.flickr.com/photos/reboot95


Thursday, August 28, 2008

St. Charles Photowalk 8-23-2008


IMG_0002
Originally uploaded by reboot9I too5
I took Part in Scott Kelby's nation wide photowalk. Saturday Aug. 23. It gave me an opportunity to make use of my new Canon 40D (I bought it for my upcoming Birthday). It turned out to be a very enjoyable experience. I met some nice people from around the area, there was a group from the O' Fallon Camera Club.

The Photowalk in St. Charles only had about 18 people sign up for it so it was a very small intimate affair. I think that worked out a bit better than the other walks that were full to the brim.

If you get a chance to go on a photowalk take it.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Sigma 18-200 OS


I've been using the Sigma AF 18-200mm f/3.5-6.3 DC OS since June now here are some of my thoughts.

Pros:
Optic Stabilization
Lowish Cost
Comes with Lens Hood
Great Zoom range
Compact size.

Cons:
A bit heavy
Slow Auto Focus
Can't nudge the Auto Focus

Nutshell:
With an 18-200mm zoom range this works well as a lens that can stay on the camera most of the time. This is a good thing with the "dust on sensor" problems inherent in a DSLR. The lens ends up being a number of compromises. The price on Amazon is great, the Optical Stabilization works well and is a real plus in shooting. The Autofocus is sort of slow and hunts a lot in low light. The lens could be a bit faster but all and all for the Amazon price of around $462 it is a good buy, and has become my primary lens. Oh yeah, and the pictures turn out pretty good too.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Shooting Raw


IMG_3462_bw_red_blue
Originally uploaded by reboot95
After hearing over and over again just how versatile shooting in RAW can be I decided to give it a try. Friday 8-8-08 I headed up the river road with a friend to do a bit of photography and outdoor fun. I purposed to shoot all my photos in raw format and try different things in the editing process.

I've been using the Digital Photo Professional software that came along with my Canon EOS Rebel XTi. It has a few features that I like. And works really nicely with raw images that come out of the canon. The software allows you to choose different picture styles that mimic the ones available on the camera. The feature I've liked the best is to switch the picture to monochrome and then apply filters to give it different "Black and White effects".

Another thing I have noticed shooting in RAW with JPEGS turned on sure makes a 4 Gig card seem small. My 8 Gig card arrived a few days ago.

With this picture I selected monochrome added a red filter which really made the clouds look great. I then added a bit of blue tint to it. I sort of liked the effect and the way the picture turned out. A number of people have looked at it with puzzlement and asked why it was Blue.

This photo started life as a Canon Camera Raw image with these settings.

Camera: Canon EOS Digital Rebel XTi
Exposure: 0.003 sec (1/400)
Aperture: f/9
Focal Length: 154 mm
ISO Speed: 100
Exposure Bias: 0/3 EV

Thursday, August 14, 2008

It is all Black and White


IMG_3599_bw
Originally uploaded by reboot95
Camera: Canon EOS Digital Rebel XTi
Exposure: 0.003 sec (1/400)
Aperture: f/9
Focal Length: 200 mm
While on a road trip I happened upon this cemetery in IL. The starkness of a Tombstone with the word Wedding on it captured my attention. I felt it would look better in Black and White. I used Canon's Digital Photo Professional to create the Black and White image.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Photoshop Recipes


img_1547_pinhole
Originally uploaded by reboot95
I've taken a class in Photoshop I've played with photoshop, I've read blogs on photoshop and listened to podcasts about it. Yet I have no clue what I'm doing. Still I like the way this turned out even though it was mainly a photoshop recipe I followed.

Take a look at this post from the Photowalk pro blog. If you would like to try it yourself http://www.revellphotography.com/blog/?p=982

I did not follow his recipe exactly I exercised some creative license and I'm sort of happy with the way it turned out. I sent it to a friend and he thought I had gotten a pinhole camera.

Still on the quest to be comfortable in Photoshop. But for now I am happy to follow recipes.

Know any good ones?

Saturday, August 02, 2008

Canon Rebel XTi one year later

I have now owned the Canon Rebel XTi for a year now. Here are some thoughts.

Pro:
Features both full automatic modes and a full manual mode with various in between modes.
Self cleaning Sensor.
Wide array of available lens.
Takes very good Pictures.
Good Battery life.
Widely used.

Con:
It is like a gateway drug to more and more accessories, lens, bags, etc.
Could be a bit more rugged.
Tends to get bits of stuff on the focus screen.
Did I mention you end up spending a lot of money on it.

Nutshell: Despite it's expensive care and feeding this is a very good starter Camera for the aspiring/consumer photographer. It allows you to stretch your creative side but you can rotate the dial and have all the automatic features of the best point and shoot available. There is the instant satisfaction of looking at a photo on the 2.5 inch LCD and going "oh yeah nailed that" or thinking ick glad I can delete it.

This is no lite weight point and shoot when you start toting it around with you. You will want a nice Camera bag. I've become a big fan of the Lowepro Slingshot series of bags I went with the 100 model since it forces you to stay sparce. You will still want a stick it in your pocket so you can snap photos whenever, compact.

With the new Rebel XSi prices should be dropping on this model. If you are wanting a camera that allows a lot of creative options here is a purchase you won't regret.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Drobo + Droboshare


This is my new Drobo sitting on my poor mans computer rack in my office. I've had it about two weeks now.

This is the older USB 2.0 only model. When the new model with Firewire was introduced this model had a price cut. I was all ready to buy it off the Drobo site with a promo code when I realized that once that added shipping on I could still get it cheaper from Amazon. I also purchased the Droboshare attachment to turn it into a NAS (Network Attached Storage) device. I ordered two 750 Gig drives from Newegg to complete the set. Newegg has consistently had the lowest prices for drives. I've since added a 640 Gig drive to give me a bit of boost in redundancy. I've also added a Dlink Gigabit Network switch to try and improve transfer rates. The one computer I have with a Gigabit card in it only saw modest speed increases.

All my experiences have been with the Drobo in conjunction with a Droboshare so keep that in mind. Expansion of the device is really the hallmark of it's simplicity you just add an additional SATA drive and you increase your redundancy protection and over all disk space. With two 750 Gig drives and one 640 Gig drive I have access to 1.26 Terabytes of redundant data storage connected to my home network. Any one drive can fail and I will have no data loss. This is a comfort since if I have a single drive failure in my Linux server the whole data volume is gone.

One important item with the SATA drives you place in it. Make sure the are set to work at high transfer rates. You might have to fiddle with jumpers to turn this on. SATA drives come in 1.5 and 3.0 Gigabyte transfer rates. Some of the 3.0 Gigabyte SATA II drives are configured to run at 1.5. So make sure you are getting your moneys worth and get the jumpers right. Honestly I did not see a difference in transfer rates but I feel better now.

My purpose for this device was to provide redundant storage from my digital pictures. A 10 Megapixel camera can eat up storage fast. And a place to protect all my music library. I have started using the Drobo as the primary storage device for the pictures but just a backup up for the music. I want to keep the music on the Linux server for now as the primary source.

Transferring vast amounts of data over the network takes time. My transfer rates are much slower than I would have expected I'm not sure if this is because they are coming off a volume group in Linux of if I have an issue with my network. The data is moving at 10 Megabit speeds even though I'm on a 100 Megabit line for the Linux server. The iMac is transferring at acceptable speeds but it is on Gigabit and should be faster. Maybe the USB 2.0 connection to the droboshare is issue.

Pros: Setup is easy, expansion if totally easy. Footprint is small and you don't have to worry about configuring a RAID array on your computer. Your data is protected from hard drive failures. You get a lot of usable storage considering it is also providing redundancy. The set up was fairly easy but some of that will make it into the cons. The tool to manage the device is pretty straight forward and effective. To your computers it shows up as a standard SMB (Windows) file share pretty easy to access. I have a mixed environment to so my Mac's, Linux Boxes, and Windows machines can all see it, use it, and share files. Double plus good.

Cons: You still have to understand about drive formatting to get it up and going but you can get a geeky guy or girl to help if needed. You should just plug it into the network and the client tool supplied with the Droboshare is supposed to find it. I had to plug and unplug and reset and fiddle a while before it finally came up. I have the same problem if I place it in standby mode it really does not want to come back to life. I've had one power outage where it can back fine I had an accidentally unplug where I thought I would have to send it back but it finally woke up and the client was able to see it. That has been the biggest issue I've had with it. Also the Drobo client install keeps wanting to make it load on startup I don't want it to and have to convince it of that every update. Oh yeah it really is an expensive solution.

Needs to have: The Droboshare really really needs to support some type of rsync capability. It based on Linux and they just released an SDK someone really really needs to compile rsync for it. This would make transferring files to it so much easier. My 100+ Gig music library takes over 26 hours to transfer. This is due to the slow transfer speeds off the Linux server but rsync would really fix that.

Nutshell: If you have digital bits of data that you want to share and protect this is the device to buy. It excels at simplicity (when compared to other solutions). Allows you to maintain control of your media. If you are buying music, movies are taking hard to replace photos go buy one today. With today's hard drives it is not if you will have a failure it is when. Remember though it is just an onsite backup if your house burns so does your data, to be truly secure you will also need some sort of off site backup. Like Jungle Disk or Mozy.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Computers are hard

I've been working with computers since the Apple IIe. I've owned more than I will take the time to count up. My circle of friends all have some bit of computer literacy and yet day after day I'm amazed at just how hard it is for people to use computers.

In the days before the Internet people could get a computer take it home put their check book in an application keep track of lists and print out letters. The computers all did that pretty well. There were problems getting the printers hooked up sometimes and you would have to buy an application or two for the balancing of your check book and the keeping of that list or two. Computers were expensive and not that many people had them. Software was expensive too.

Today a computer is a much more versatile tool. It is a digital dark room, a high tech video phone, a music studio, an entertainment center. They cost a fraction of the old one's their power is astronomic compared to what we had in the 80's or the 90's and we are connected to the world.

And there in lies a large part of the problem. We have to get them connected to the world. This entails cable modems, dsl modems, home routers, home switches, wireless access points, wireless cards, network cards, firewalls. Then all this has to be configured to work together and allow communication in certain directions and block communications in other directions. This has happened to me over and over someone says hey this does not work. Heck I've said hey this does not work. And realized hey that can't talk to that, I wonder why? Duh somehow a firewall got turned on. This happens over and over again. And I understand networking. To most people it is something akin to brain surgery or maybe rocket science.

Here is another common occurrence. A hard drive eats a file (consider this hard drives now rely on error correction to read files back) maybe it is a little file may seem unimportant, but too Windows it is one of those critical files required to get going. And there you have an expensive door stop that goes into a blues screen that isn't even animated or it reboots over and over again. If it is under warranty the maker might give you a new drive. But you will have to surrender your old drive and you will probably be told there is no way to get those 10,000 family photos off of there.

How do you keep that stuff safe then. Well there is external hard drive's I've had a friend that has had three of them fail and I think I have had one fail and another is acting strange. There is the Drobo. Wonderful bit of tech I will be writing about later. It is easier than some things to use and offers data redundancy. Here it is in a nut shell if you have digital items that are important get a Drobo and figure out how to store those important digital bits over on it. But then if your house burns down it is not going to be much help.

What about apple one might ask. Well Apple makes a very nice, powerful computer it has a lot of great features and they have done some very smart things. But honestly it is really not that much easier to use than a Windows machine. Sure there are some things that it does to help you out but it is still a mystery to a lot of people. But a geek moment here Unix is cool and OS X is based on Unix. So therefor it is cool.

So how did we get here and where do we go. Computers have a lineage that goes back to when they were used by very geeky people that understood the inner workings of them and they based there development on that understanding. Knowing the end users had the same understanding. Today it is hard for people that have an in depth understanding of how computers work to design things in such a way as to make sense to those people that don't live bits, bytes, or and xor's . Sure we have trained people to use them a certain way and like Pavlov's Dog people have come to expect a certain result from a certain action. If that doesn't work then turn it off and on again.

However computers are still very hard to use, set up and get connected. These things are all done in a way that is not very geared for common people. The terminology while correct means nothing to people outside of the discipline.

Maybe some day we will have devices that can self configure and can be worked with in a more natural way where the interface will make sense with out training. My hope is it won't be through voice commands though. If you think your office is annoying now with just the clicky click of keyboards wait till everyone is trying to talk their computer into doing what they want. Yeah, especially that guy that sits two aisles over is hard of hearing and rattles the windows when he talks on the phone. Yeah that is going to be fun............