Saturday, March 28, 2009

The Getty – Family Festival (Japan)

This weekend The Getty museum hosted a festival in honor of japanese culture.  I wasn’t early enough to see some of the more interesting things, just got to listen to some traditional drumming, and check out some lacquer artwork.  Here are some photos from the day (and a video):

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Mac Mini

So recently I was having computer problems.  It ended up being a shot power supply.  But before I was able to resolve that issue I decided to embark on an adventure and try something new.  So I picked up a Mac Mini to tide me over until I was able to get my computer up and running.

First things first, the unboxing of it I don’t have pictures of (will get better at that since I got my new camera and am going to try and be more official in my posting).  But as with all of Apples products the packaging was clean, to the point, and very attractive.  The hardware was covered by a thin plastic scratch resistant sticker.  But other then that there was no packaging, the box came apart and there was the Mini.  Underneath it was the cables and manuals (etc), so the process of unboxing probably took 5 minutes at most.

Setup was easy, plug in the power (which comes with an external brick power supply much like a laptop), monitor, keyboard and mouse, and it was up and running.  The initial setup of OS X is simple and just involved choosing the current time zone, and the user account name you wanted to be your default user.  I would say within 20 minutes I was on the internet and surfing in Safari.

OS X is definitely a very pretty operating system, but coming from a Windows background there is a learning curve.  Instead of CTRL being one of base keys for quick commands, it is all done with the apple command button (looks like an apple).  I would say after getting Firefox loaded it took me at least 2-3 days before I wasn’t hitting CTRL-T to open a new tab and move to Apple-T.

The Finder application is in my opinion inferior to the windows Explorer alternative.  They wanted to make it feel different and break the mold that all other operating systems use, and in doing so they made something that isn’t quite as intuitive and useful as Explorer.

Gaming on the Mac Mini is as expected not that great.  The 8400M graphics chipset is not really powerful enough for the 23” LCD monitor I run at 1600x1200 resolution.  Running World of Warcraft on the Mini I had to do a lot of tweaking to get it to run smoothly, but once I got past the setup it worked great.

The reason why I returned the Mac Mini.  Well actually there were several.  First I heard that Apple might finally be announcing a Touch screen Mac soon, at least those are the rumors.  With a wife who is a graphical artist this would be something to keep an eye on.  Second when my desktop was back operational I realized that the Mac Mini was probably going to get pushed down to a glorified external harddrive, and I could buy a cheaper solution for that.  Thirdly with the up coming release of Snow Leopard, it seems waiting for new hardware with the new OS loaded already would be a more cost effective strategy if I really wanted to make the switch.

The Conclusion:

Apple products are very well designed, and work well.  I did not have any crashes while testing out OS X although I have heard of others having issues.  Without the support of the game development community the poor selection of games makes it not very interesting for me.  If I were strictly a web surfer / writer / coder / whatever I would probably end up going Linux for the over all savings.  But since I’m primarily a gamer a Mac will not be useful for me in the near term future.

P.S. Game Development Companies, porting to an Intel Mac shouldn’t be that hard, step up already ;)

Monday, March 23, 2009

Panasonic Lumix LX3K

Hey all, this is still not a review of the camera, I haven’t had enough time with it yet but here are a couple of first photos.

First the Sunset shot, not bad, I like that there isn’t the graininess you get from some other cameras on low light:



And here is a simple little bracketing HDR test with a shot of our current dining room table mess.

1) Normal shot:

2) Now an HDR touchup:

Upcoming reviews

HP TX2-1020US Touchscreen Laptop

Mac Mini

D&D 4th Edition Players Handbook 2

Additionally I just got in the mail a new camera so pictures and reviews to come soon:


Eye-Fi Review

Product Details 

Amazon Link

Description: The Eye-Fi series of Secure Digital memory cards are intended for digital camera’s.  Basically you set up the card with your computer and your WIFI router.  And whenever you turn the camera on within range of the WIFI router your computer automatically sucks the pictures out of the memory card and can additionally post them onto one of the internet photo sharing sites (Flickr, Picasa Web Albums, etc).

The Good:

  • Built with the idea to save time for people who take a lot of pictures and like posting to the social networking sites.
  • Some versions of the product support internet hot spots that are found around the country (world).

The Bad:

  • I could not get it to work with my WIFI Router using WPA2 security, as such I can’t give a complete review
  • The service will not work with RAW images, so if you are using a DSLR or other camera, you will need to set your camera to shoot RAW+JPEG (thus slowing down save times)


The concept of the product is excellent.  I think that unfortunately the usability is lacking.  Reading numerous reviews it seems like for those who it works for they love it.  But there are numerous complaints about the WIFI range of the card not being large enough, and the card not always being detected on the network so the computer doesn’t pull the pictures off of it.

So I would say hold off and wait and see where the technology is going.