Places I should be traveling to

NASA posted high resolution scans of all the Apollo photos, so obviously I had to browse through them. A few thoughts: When you see the Apollo Lunar Excursion Module at high resolution, or in real life, it looks really crap. It’s like something welded together out of dented leftover sheet metal and wrapped in aluminium foil. Obviously part of the design problem was making it as lightweight as possible, but it’s hard to believe that something so flimsy looking landed on the moon and took off again.

How Kodak invented digital photography but went bankrupt

Eastman Kodak employee Steven Sasson invented the digital camera — in the mid 1970s. Management at the time were not impressed: “They were convinced that no one would ever want to look at their pictures on a television set,” he said. “Print had been with us for over 100 years, no one was complaining about prints, they were very inexpensive, and so why would anyone want to look at their picture on a television set?

Amazing Week, Day 6: Digital cameras

My dad was very into photography. He had several SLRs, and even a Mamiya 645 medium format camera for a while. Inevitably I got interested in cameras too, and before long I had one of these: Here I am using it: The big problem with film cameras, from the point of view of learning to take photos, is that it can be weeks between taking the photo and seeing how it turned out.

iLife 09: iPhoto

I have a confession to make: until this year, I didn’t have all my photos in a properly cataloged database. I’d tried various programs, but none of them quite satisfied me. iView MediaPro seemed to have bugs in its ITPC handling. I e-mailed their support address reporting the problems, and got no reply at all. Then they were bought by Microsoft, so that was that. QPict works well as a browser for large numbers of random files, but I don’t find it a very helpful tool for organizing them.

Happy medium needed

In Chicago, the police are asking loyal citizens to report anyone seen using a map or binoculars, or taking photographs. Meanwhile in California, police are stopping drivers who have done nothing wrong in order to compliment their driving and give them $5 gift vouchers. Both of these seem to me to be misguided. The former is obviously nutty; do they really want the 911 dispatchers bothered by some paranoid who just saw someone take a picture of Chicago’s art deco architecture?

Spy squirrels captured in Iran

Quote: According to IRNA, the official Islamic Republic news agency, the national Police chief has implicitly verified the news about the confiscation of a number of squirrels, equipped with eavesdropping devices, on the Iranian borders. He has declined to give any more details, but, reportedly, when asked about the confiscation of 14 spy squirrels, he stated, “I have heard about it, but I do not have precise information”. IRNA adds, “These squirrels were equipped by foreign intelligence services, but were captured two weeks ago by the Police”.

Scan this, Nikon

The infamous Nikon scanner decided it didn’t want to scan any more. Or rather, it would scan, but the scan head wouldn’t move, resulting in some interesting modern art. I took the case off and looked for any obviously fixable mechanical problems, but couldn’t see any. It would probably be possible to get it working by disassembling the mechanism, but I’m not that mechanically oriented. It’s not like I’ve abused the scanner, and it has only had light residential use.

Camera populist

The most popular SLR on Flickr is the Canon Digital Rebel XT. The most popular point-and-shoot is the Canon PowerShot SD400. Guess which two cameras I use? It’s a bit of a surprise to me, because I generally don’t hold with the theory that the best product wins. However, perhaps it’s the case that the product that’s most popular with the kind of enthusiasts that post to Flickr, is the best.

You are here

In a few years, cameras will all have single chip GPS units in them. They’ll tag their photos with the location where you took them as a matter of course, like they already tag the time and date. Some of us are unwilling to wait a few years. I’m sure you, like me, have sat down with a map and a stack of holiday photos and thought “OK, where on earth was that building?


OK, I think I now realize why I’m the only one surprised that digital photography has changed things so much. Dan wrote: In my experience, most people can’t count on getting more than 2-3 usable prints out of a roll of 27 shots. Wow. If I only got 2-3 usable shots out of a roll, I’d have given up photography a long time ago. Let’s consider our recent Extreme Squirrel Feeding outing.