The iPhone Bump – great idea!

Personally I like the iPhone bump. It makes the lens easier to clear of fingerprints and dust before I take a picture, especially if the phone is in a case. I used to have to roll up a tissue to try to clean the lens by twirling it around in the lens hole of my iPhone case, which just left more tissue dust. Not any more!

Apparently with THIS guy picture quality is not an issue:

SO… is it Day-tah, or Dah-tah

You sure can tell the geeks from the uninformed masses. Geeks pronounce the word DATA, DAY-TA. I believe there is a singular reason for this… Data said so. In that infamous scene when Dr Pulaski meets Data for the first time, she calls him “Dah-Ta” (or ‘Dada’ actually). If he was human he would have been annoyed. Surely ships doctor would do her homework… But Data’s not human. He’s a brilliant android longing to be more human, so using his best inter-human communications protocol, he states, that “My name is Day-ta”. That was enough to seal the pronunciation for me, as it was for a generation of young computer geeks. Nowadays, newscasters, financial weenies, and the otherwise ill-informed, like the stubborn Dr. Pulaski who never learned, say Dah-tah. 


Next week… is it Jif or Gif? Just kidding. I won’t go there. Data didn’t.



edit: I heard a suggestion that Day-ta is singuler, as in a single day-ta point, Whereas Dah-ta is plural, as in “if we look at all available dah-ta…”. Maybe there’s something to that.

Don’t you hate it when the CLOSE the comments?

First Read the context – my comments at the end…
Has a snow plow ever damaged your property?
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Daryl Sawatzky
  • Daryl Sawatzky

I said ‘no’, but if you count the 16 feet the city owns between the curb and my property line (but I had to SOD and have to MOW), then I’d say YES, they damage the sod every year. More maddening to me is when they trap my car in the driveway with a 2×4 foot berm of ice chunks.

  • 2 days ago
Grey Fox
  • Grey Fox

@Daryl Sawatzky If you shovel it right after it’s been plowed it’s not a problem. Also crews aren’t allowed to remove that berm (private property) and it’s not feasible to do it anyway, that is unless you want residential snow clearing to take even longer because they have to do this for thousands of homes. It’s not just about you buddy.


OK so, what’s wrong with this picture? Some guy hiding behind the pseudonym ‘Grey Fox’ slipped in a nasty comment, essentially calling me a self centered whiner. He spouts off some B.S. about the [un?][in?]-feasibility of the city clearing the ends of driveways when the maintainer operators block driveways with giant berms of ice, and claims to know why… because it’s private property.

I know absolutely nothing about how things are in Grey Fox’s neighborhood, but I know how it works in mine… the yard I have to mow is 56 feet wide but my lot is a 40 foot lot. That means that 16 feet of my yard is city property. A community mailbox sits on some of it, city trees are contained within it. The maintainer operators push up berms or ice blocks when they clear the streets, and front end loaders come along and clear every single approach, so people can get in and out of their driveways. Grey Fox thinks that doesn’t happen. He thinks the city can’t touch the end of my driveway because it’s private property. It’s not — it belongs to the city. He thinks that because my driveway was missed, and I spoke out about it, that now it’s all about me. WHo else would it be about? I can’t speak for Grey Fox. I can’t speak for my neighbor. I can only speak for myself. At least I know the facts… and don’t hide behind a nickname.

Starbucks is slow. And it’s my fault.

That’s right, MY FAULT. How dare I contribute to the long lineups at Starbucks. How DARE I take advantage of their rewards program, which adds several milliseconds to every transaction, annoying 58% of the people behind me. How DARE I buy coffee for someone other than myself, when they weren’t willing or able to stand in line themselves? One order, one payment. That’s all you’re allowed! (according to one manager, who shall remain nameless. Because I don’t know her name). I don’t WANT to be a burden but since I am, apparently, I will stop bugging that manager and stop going there. FREE disappears

Any half computer-savvy family go-to computer guy knows that Remote Desktop support can and should be free. There are plenty of free ways to log into a remote system to troubleshoot, update, or to use as their own (with permission of course ). happens to have the simplest web-based front end, which is why I chose to use that tool. I used to access my various family members computers for support reasons, to access my church file server to run updates or to fix the wi-fi router, and to access my own ‘headless’ fileserver in my back room. But that has all come to an end. LogMeIn free is no more. The funny thing is, I’m not even that upset about it.

LogMeIn has been getting ‘flakier’ in the last year, forcing me to adjust the way I worked with the tool:
When you log in to you’re shown a list of your registered computers, and their current status – Offline, Online, options to turn them on (if they support remote power-on), or to wake them up. The client installed on each remote computer monitors the computer’s current IP address, and phones home to to keep that IP address current. That way the computer could travel anywhere in the world, and as long as it had a connection to the internet, the new IP address will get updated on the LogMeIn servers, making them available to me. Then after a connection is made, passes off the connection to the installed client app which provides the computer to computer interface. If you don’t have the client app installed, offers to install it for you. Then the client app is supposed to pop up in front and present you with the computer you’re logging in to. THAT for me was continually breaking. LogMeIn forgets that I have the client and re-instals it every time I connect, The client takes forever to load, the client does not come to the front, I end up with multiple client apps on my desktop.

So now It has come to this: LogMeIn is not working properly for me AND they want to start charging $100/year to use the service. has minimal storage needs. They broker security for remote connections, and provide value-added services to those who pay. I guess that is not enough for their investors. Investors want the small time players to pay as well.

Cutting off free options is like fishing without a worm on the hook.

In contrast, FLICKR offers UNLIMITED storage for $25/year (if you’re in on that grandfathered agreement), or 1TB to each account for FREE, which is about 30 years of JPGs at the rate I’m going (and I take a lot of pictures). I just don’t see what LogMeIn has to gain by cutting off free users. Those same users might have been agreeable to a pay-per-use scheme (like a buck per day that their services are used) or a smaller permanent subscription like $20/year with a 5 computer limit.

There are plenty of free alternatives, though perhaps not as convenient… but what kind of person using in the first place would be afraid of a little extra inconvenience?

f2.8 Abuse

So I finally reached my camera kit target, that I set a long time ago, of one full frame SLR, and two lenses: a constant f/2.8 short zoom and a constant f/2.8 long zoom. In the meantime, while I was waiting for this day, I amassed several other interim lenses that have now been added to either my film camera bag, or my crop-sensor camera bag, but may still be called upon for use with the full frame camera, especially the f/1.8 and f/2 lenses.

The transition to a constant f/2.8 short zoom on a crop sensor camera was my first upgrade. The learning curve was small, the zoom being wide enough to never feel the ‘squeeze’ of too narrow depth of field (DOF). The extra several f/stops of the f/2.8 over the f/5.6 kit lens that came with my crop sensor camera was a breath of fresh air, and the sharpness upgrade was impressive.

My next upgrade was to Full Frame. Wow, the image improved several hundred percent (unscientific observation), and the learning curve was still fairly easy. The major differences were that my wide angle zoom was even wider and the max ISO jumped from 1600 to over 4 ISO stops more.

But the upgrade to a constant aperture f/2.8 long zoom does have a learning curve. And the lessons it will teach you can be painful. Of course the immediate impulse when I got the lens was to shoot everything at f/2.8. The subject isolation and bokeh is beautiful, and low light hand held shots are amazingly clean and bright. However this lens requires constant attention to produce the best results, for the following reasons:
1. Depth of field changes with subject distance. I might get a fantastic portrait of my dog at f/2.8 with the dog 30 feet away, but as he runs closer, the DOF shrinks – to the point where when he is at minimum focusing distance of 3 or 4 feet, only the texture of his nose is in focus. Unless I’m adjusting the aperture dial as he runs closer, most of my pictures will be unusable.
2. I now have to choose between subject isolated shots, or group shots. I was shooting a group event, which included a bike race. As the groups of bikers passed, I was shooting with aperture wide open, and I got good shots of individual bikers. However when reviewing the pictures, I saw that bikers before or after the biker I was shooting were often waving or smiling or doing other interesting things that I didn’t get in focus, because I was focused on one person. I took a number of pictures at a wedding reception – not as the official photographer, just as the camera crazy uncle – and I got a lot of portraits where just one eye or just the nose was in focus…
At that point I decided that what I needed was to make up a set of guidelines to use when shooting with this lens. I can’t say that I have anything yet. I have a feeling that it would look something like this:

1. Photowalks: keep a large aperture for narrow DOF. Open up if the situation demands it.
2. Events with lots of people: adopt the photojournalists rule of thumb – f/8 and be there.
3. If a single object or person stands out: dial all the way down to f/2.8 and take the shot.
4. In close quarters: Keep the aperture at f/4 f/5.6. No point shooting at f/2.8 if I can’t get farther than 20 feet from the subject anyways.
5. Landscapes: f/4 for sharpness, not necessarily DOF. If foreground objects are in the picture and there’s lots of light, f/8

It’s easy to get enamored with f/2.8 on a long lens, but it’s all too easy to abuse it.

Adobe Creative Cloud $10 Deal…

adobecc     Well, I got it. Photoshop CC and Lightroom5 for only $10. Per month… that’s right, $120 per year for current versions of Photoshop and Lightroom. While that may sound like a lot if you’re used to not paying for the shareware or cracked software you use, it is a lot cheaper than keeping up to date with the two products the old way – by buying each product and yearly updates for not only one, but for for two computers.

Photoshop costs a lot of money if it’s not making money for you. I purchased a full version of Photoshop a year before the first version of Lightroom came out. If I had Lightroom at the time, I wouldn’t have bought it. But money earned from shooting a wedding gave me the cash to purchase it. At least now  that decision qualifies me for this great $10/month deal to keep both products current on two computers. That’s cheaper than keeping current with Lightroom alone.

So now I downloaded the installer, which is a toolbar icon dropdown interface that displays all of Adobe’s products, and highlights those products that your license qualifies you to download and use. All other products are available as free trial software. In addition to PS and LR it appears that I can download all of the Edge apps (Animate, Code, Inspect and Reflow), Bridge CC, Exchange, Extensions, and Scripting managers, Gaming SDK, Scout CC,  and Touch app Plugins. I’ll have to look these up to see what they can do for me.

The only downside is that the Apps are not compatible with my second computer which is running OS X 10.6.8. I’ll have to find a way to upgrade the OS on that old Mini. But at the price of $10 per month, It’s still a good deal on one computer.

If you own Photoshop CS 3 or better, you can take advantage of this offer too. Just head on over to but hurry, you need to join by December 31, 2013.

MacBook HD Upgrade

Upgrading your MacBook Hard Drive, user accounts and OS at the same time couldn’t be easier. There are only five steps:

1. Plug in a new [presumably larger] hard drive or SSD into an external case or adapter cable via USB.
2. Download the free [for 30 days] app called CarbonCopyCloner (CCC)
3. Format new hard drive as you would any other drive you would want to boot a Mac from (ie: HFS+ journaled GUID)
4. using CCC clone everything from the internal smaller drive onto the external larger drive or SSD. This part takes the longest. My 450 GB of data took all night and most of the next day to clone to the larger drive.
5. Open the MacBook and swap the drives.

That’s it. There’s nothing more to do.

Oh, well there’s one more thing… most apps carry on happily as if nothing happened. Some, like Dropbox for example, know that the Matrix changed. Maybe Dropbox saw the same black cat twice, and suspected that something was wrong. Anyways, it asked me to log in again, where it usually remembers its log in information.

The rest of the system didn’t blink. It even remembers wi-fi passwords entered years ago.

This method is way faster than going the Apple recommended route of reinstalling the OS from scratch, and then restoring your user data via Time Machine. That way doesn’t restore all of your applications, and their associated hidden authentication files and your user customizations like third party presets and Photoshop filters. Unless you want to shed excess apps and start fresh, CCC is the way to go.