September 2005 Archives

BBC Online has a rather interesting article today on the subject at:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/4291912.stm

Please enjoy.

ModuleRecords has a nice overview/review of portable flash audio recorders for professional use. While you can use your iPod or other flash MP3 player for recording interviews, you might want something with better audio fidelity if you're doing video work or recording concerts. I've been looking for a good device that I can use with external mikes and later sync up to my video tracks. The best devices let you use balanced mikes (less noise on extended cable runs) and mikes with phantom power (higher sensitivity mikes).

The M-Audio Microtrack seemed to be the ticket, but the review has me thinking about the Zoom PS-04 or Edirol R-1. I think I need to do more research.

20858706.GIF.gifOfficeMax currently no longer has the Canon MP780 4-in-1 (scan/fax/print/copy) on sale for $199 (usually $249), but other mail-order companies are still selling it at a reasonable price (just Froogle for it). I mention the MP780 because it has an auto-document-feeder (ADF) which allows you to put a stack of papers in it and scan them all at once. This page contains tips on how to make the best of the MP780 or other ADF scanners.

I've been thinking about getting an ADF scanner for a while, so that I can scan to PDF all of the print articles that currently occupy several boxes in the corner of my office. Dedicated ADF scanners tend to go for about $500+, so this seemed like an inexpensive way to go. The MP780 has duplex printing but not duplex scanning, which is about the only thing that the more expensive ones have.

My MP780 arrived yesterday. Here are some of my notes:

On the Japan Photo list, Gen Kanai suggested we look at Kazuhiko Kawahara's work, saying "He's an architect in Osaka, but is doing some of the most innovative photo manipulation I've seen in quite sometime." Check it out: http://www.pallalink.net/

Digg.com posted a useful link to Printing definitions and glossary of terms:

Glossary of Printing Terms

This glossary of printing terms was created by people working in today's printing industry and is brought to you by the printers at printusa.com who provide free printing quotes. It has been
revised and edited to help the desktop publisher understand the printing trade by TentMaker Publishing.
We have rewritten some technical descriptions in every day language to help the non technical person....



Accordion fold: Bindery term, two or more parallel folds which open like an accordion.

Against the grain: At right angles to direction of paper grain.

Alteration: Change in copy of specifications after production has begun.

Artboard: Alternate term for mechanical art.

Author's corrections: Also know as "AC's". Changed and additions in copy after it has been typeset.


....

Work and turn: Printing one side of a sheet and turning it over from left to right ussing the same side guides and plate for the second side.

Wove paper: A paper having a uniform unlined surface with a smooth finish.


(Via Digg.com.)

XLH1pdodurtphoto-1.jpgCamcorderInfo.com has the latest coverage of the new Canon XL-H1. It's $9000 MSRP, which should put it about $7500-8000 retail, which is pretty good. There's now an optical stabilizer and it'll come out in November. I'm sold. CamcorderInfo.com also has links to other sites.

I'm hoping that the actual shipping XL-H1 isn't all-black like the press-release photograph to the right. I actually liked the white/black/red color of the XL2 units. It made the different from the usual run-of-the-mill shoulder camcorders.

And also call me a luddite, but I prefer eyepiece focusing to flip-out-screens. Of course, the best of all worlds is to have both (the flip-out-screens are especially good for reviewing shots in the field), but the XL-H1 now has an enormous 2.5" LCD lurking behind their viewfinder, and it's designed so that you can flip the eyepiece out of the way for low or high-level shots or for reviewing. Of course, you can also just hook up your laptop in the field or get a small auxiliary LCD screen.

For super-luddites (of which I am not), Canon even sells a black-and-white high-resolution eyepiece monitor. The eye has better resolution in black-and-white, which makes critical focusing easier. The B+W monitor is extremely expensive and the new XL-H1 has some built-in focusing aids such as automatically zooming in the eyepiece magnification when focusing or increasing contrast.

Check this wonderful short public advertisement made by the EDF: http://www.ad-awards.com/inc/video.swf?id=104.

Absolutely fantastic.

Camcorderinfo.com has the scoop on the new HDV camcorder from Canon, based on its XL-2 model:
CAMCORDERINFO.COM EXCLUSIVE

Canon USA will announce a high definition HDV camcorder next week at the Canon EXPO event in New York. The new model will be very similar in shape, style, and features to the XL2 MiniDV camcorder. A reliable source close to Canon has given CamcorderInfo.com exclusive information about the model, its feature set, and its pricing. Although the announcement was under tight secrecy, Canon Europe displayed a model of the HDV camcorder at their booth at the International Broadcasters Conference in Amsterdam.

The Tomorrow's Professor mailing list is a wonderful resource for new and old faculty and graduate students. Here's a gem of advice from TP#661 that I found resonated to the concept of "dashing" yesterday:

PUBLISH AND FLOURISH; BECOME A PROLIFIC SCHOLAR

The myth persists that prolific scholars are born, not made, but research suggests otherwise. Much is known about how to become more prolific-and any scholar can.

These steps will show you how.

Step 1. Write daily for 15 to 30 minutes. Many scholars believe that writing requires big blocks of time. They're wrong. Research shows that scholars who write daily publish far more than those who write in big blocks of time. The problem with big blocks of time is that they're hard to find. In contrast, when you write daily, you start writing immediately because you remember what you were writing about the day before. This leads to impressive production. In one study participants who wrote daily wrote only twice as many hours as those who wrote occasionally in big blocks of time but wrote or revised ten times as many pages (Boice 2000:144).

....

Step 4. Post your thesis on the wall, then write to it. When you sit down to write, take a stab at describing what you are going to write about. Don't make this difficult by trying to write the perfect sentence. Just jot down a word or a phrase; you can develop it later. Treat this as a working thesis: You can and should change it later. Better theses will almost invariably arise from this writing process. Eventually, you will want a short, memorable sentence that tells your reader what is at stake, what problem you are trying to solve, what claim you are making, or what your result or conclusion is. Just assert your point; don't burden the thesis with trying to prove it-you have the rest of the paper to do that. Post your thesis on the wall. Then define, refine, and write to your purpose. Keep coming back to your thesis. Work back and forth between your thesis and the rest of your paper, revising first one and then the other.

...

Step 12. Kick it out the door and make 'em say "No." You are almost ready to send your paper out, but two obstacles remain: perfectionism and fear of rejection. Expect rejection and plan for it. Select three journals for every manuscript. Address three envelopes-and stamp them. By choosing three journals, you have a long-term plan for your paper. If your paper is rejected at the first journal, you are prepared to send it to the second journal without the usual delay. And, keep your perfectionism in check. You may say that your paper is not really done. It could be better. That's true today, and it will be true 10 years from now. It's tough to know when "enough is enough." As a writer, you must find the balance between "making it better and getting it done" (Becker 1986: 122). You've written it. Trusted colleagues have read it. You've responded to their criticisms-it's time to kick it out the door (Becker 1986: 121). Artists are encouraged not to over-paint a !
picture, and bury a good idea in a muddy mess. And so it is for writers: don't overwrite your paper and bury a good idea in a muddy mess (Becker 1986: 131). Don't worry-if your writing needs more work, you'll get another chance. Anonymous reviewers are not known for being over kind. Your job is to write it and mail it. Their job is to tell you if it will embarrass you publicly. You've done your job so make 'em do theirs: Kick it out the door and make 'em say "YES!"

The ever-so-useful 43Folders site has an excellent article on how to beat the procrastinating blues - running a dash (doing timed short spurts of activity):
Procrastination can drive most of us into a spiral of shame that’s as mundane as it is painfully personal. We know what we should be doing, but some invisible hang-up keeps us on the line. Unfortunately, the guaranteed consequence of procrastination is growth in the scale of the task you’ve been putting off—as well as the anxiety that it creates. All the time you’re putting something off, your problem’s getting bigger—both in reality and in your head, where your colorful imagination is liable to turn even the most trivial item into an unsolvable juggernaut that threatens to overwhelm you. And that means extra stress, more procrastination, and the music goes round. My favorite tonic for procrastination—which I have mentioned in passing previously—is what I call a dash, which is simply a short burst of focused activity during which you force yourself to do nothing but work on the procrastinated item for a very short period of time—perhaps as little as just one minute. By breaking a few tiny pebbles off of your perceived monolith, you end up psyching yourself out of your stupor, as well as making much-needed progress on your overdue project. Neat, huh? (read more at 43Folders)
This advice is useful for both grad students who should be working on their dissertations as well as faculty who have a ton of miscellaneous projects that they should be doing (EHEM...). We know who the guilty parties are. :-)

Destitute peapickers in California; a 32 year old mother of seven children. February 1936. Dorothea Lange.


Mississippi Delta Negro* children.
July 1936. Dorothea Lange.
Label titles are by Dorothea Lange

I'm still too blisteringly angry to blog about Katrina, but this is photography related, so let me rant. The Wall Street Journal today (2005.05.07 pB1) has an article titled "Americans who fled drought in the 1930s found little sympathy" about the Okies and Arkies who left the dustbowls of the Great Plains. The last paragraph of the article reads:
The Resettlement Administration, under the leadership of Rexford Tugwell, did something else for the Dust Bowl refugees. It hired photographers such as Dorothea Lange, Ben Shahn, and Walker Evans to produce a pictorial record of the Depression's effect on the rural poor. In a 1965 interview, Mr. Tugwell explained why: "Because this was so dramatic, and because it meant misery and tragedy for so many families, and because we hoped it would never happen again, at least not in the same way, we thought we ought to have a record of it for future generations ... and also to show people who weren't involved in it how extremely serious it was."

Scroll forward to September 7th, 2005. The National Press Photographers Association had filed an official complaint based on reports (such as this one by Reuters and the Washington Post) that photographers have been systematically prevented by DHS and FEMA from taking photographs in New Orleans and other refugee sites -- even after securing permission from the people they are shooting:

NPPA Opposes Any Suggestion Of Photography Restrictions In Hurricane Katrina's Aftermath


NEW ORLEANS, LA (September 7, 2005) The National Press Photographers Association opposes any attempt whatsoever to prohibit or restrict photography and videotaping of any events, including the recovery of bodies, following Hurricane Katrina.

Photography, both still and video, is an essential form of speech and a fundamental part of the Constitutional right to freedom of the press and freedom of expression.

It is entirely inappropriate for a federal agency to make demands on what journalists can and cannot shoot and publish, NPPA president Alicia Wagner Calzada said today from the scene of the hurricanes aftermath in New Orleans. Calzada is a staff photojournalist for Rumbo in San Antonio, TX, and is on assignment covering Katrinas aftermath, which now includes the effort to recover bodies from homes, buildings, and outdoor areas as flood waters are pumped out of the damaged region.

How have we gone from a government that was so ashamed of how it handled the 1930s Depression that it commissioned photographers to forever sear those images into our collective memories, to one in 2005 that is so ashamed of its response that it wants to forever prevent those images from ever being made?

Meta: New Haven Road Race

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CRW_6286.jpgThis morning was the annual New Haven Road Race. It just happens that the race runs right by my new house on City Point. If you look at the course map, I live near the intersection of Howard and Sea street on the very bottom. My whole block was out to cheer the runners (and two wheelchair racers) along.

My little Yamaha SR250 thumper* had been feeling under the weather recently. The rear sprockets were dangerously worn down and the rear brakes weren't working too well. I took it down to my local dealer in New Haven, Libby's. I've been shopping at Libby's since 1994 when I first came here as a grad student until I left in 2000. All the same staff were still there when I stopped by, and they all remembered me from five years ago. Fantastic service.

Somehow, Steve at the parts desk convinced me that I could do the sprocket, chain, and brake repair myself. I was feeling much more gung-ho at the store Friday afternoon than when I opened up the bag of parts and began taking my motorcycle apart on Saturday morning....

* Thumper: Single-cyclinder, four-cycle motorcycle. Named affectionately for its vibration. Also, many single-cylinders are kick-start and the strong right leg you develop from repeatedly kicking over an incalcitrant motor will earn you the nickname "thumper" among your electric-start, four-cylinder buddies. The SR250 doesn't have a kick-start so it's only half a thumper. A thump?

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This page is an archive of entries from September 2005 listed from newest to oldest.

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