2007 Nov 30
Here are a couple .mp3 ringtones I am using right now. They are recordings of the chimes you hear in Japanese train stations. I don’t remember which particular stations these are from, but I used to hear them all the time. Very natsukashii (good memories) ... Enjoy!
Train Station Sound 1
Train Station Sound 2
2007 Nov 28
I just don’t understand the fascination with Steampunk!
I can no longer find Vienna Sausages nor Spam at my Costco! WTH?!
I have always liked the widescreen and panoramic aspect ratios in films and photos. I think the format is so much more interesting that the 4:3 aspect ratio (for most landscape images). So, I finally got around to making some Photoshop CS2 presets to make it easier to crop to these ratios. I made three presets for both the rectangular marquee and the cropping tools. The cropping tool will bring the image down to 72dpi, at either 16:9, 2.35:1/800 x 340px (Star Wars Cinemascope), or 2.66:1/800 x 301px (extra-wide Cinemascope). The rectangular marquee tool presets will create selections at those same aspect ratios.
Now the trick will be to frame the image in the camera with these widescreen formats in mind. Perhaps I can find a different focusing screen? My old α507si film camera has a “panorama” switch that would mask off the top and bottom in the viewfinder (and also the film) which would be nice to have on my dSLR for framing wide shots. My current focusing screen does have a couple marks that I could use to get a general idea of the framing, but it shouldn’t be too hard to eyeball it.
You can download the custom Photoshop tools here. You should be able to just load them in the Preset Manager.
2007 Nov 25
The past couple days have been both cold and rainy, which means we haven’t gone out much. Yesterday we went out only to buy a couple fish for the aquarium. Today is also a grey, gloomy, wet day. Such a bummer because I was looking forward to spending a couple hours fishing with the boys. :(
2007 Nov 24
When I first started building my Victoria, I thought I would just go totally stock and modify it later. I had read that the instructions for the boat were great and it would be smooth sailing (pun intended) all the way until it was finished. Well, the instructions are, in fact, really good. However, there were some parts that left me scratching my head as to why they did it that way. The measurements for some of the rigging pieces were also a little suspect.
I ended up doing the rigging pretty much stock, though, but then decided to tear it down and modify it a bit. First, I ditched the blue rigging line that came with the kit and went with a combination of 50lb braided (spectra) fishing line and “tiger tail” jewelry wire from the craft store. I also added some fishing snap swivels to make the mast fully removable without cutting any rigging. I re-routed a lot of said rigging to make this happen, and had to use some small screw-eyes from Home Depot. These work well since they are low friction, and go into the plastic deck really easily.
There are a few more minor mods I will make over the next couple days, plus I would like to get a lighter mast and new sails someday. And I need to finish the paint job. But in the meantime, the “Brezza di mare” is pretty much ready to hit the water as is!
RC Sailboat Flickr Set
2007 Nov 21
There is a new Japanese restaurant that just opened in North Austin (Arboretum). It’s called “Kenobi”. Mariko was telling me that they probably wanted it to mean “Beauty of Swords” (Ken no Bi), but instead it sounds like “Growing Hair”. Star Wars fans probably have a different take altogether.
I just watched the promo video for the new Amazon Kindle ebook reader, and I am impressed, but also a little disappointed. First, the technology looks really nice. The quality of the screen looks good and with the SD card slot, you can hold thousands of books on it. Plus, all the books you buy from Amazon are “backed up” in that you can download them again if you ever delete them off the Kindle. And the free wireless data connection to download material is great. You can preview titles and them buy them instantly, from wherever you are. It also has support for blogs and newspapers, has a dictionary, and connection to Wikipedia.
But I am disappointed in that it is so expensive ($399) and that it looks like ass. I mean, it’s so dumpy! (maybe the design will grow on me?) The Sony Reader is so much better looking. Of course the Sony Reader doesn’t have the Amazon.com library available all the time like the Kindle does, but still, the display is great and it’s a bit cheaper ($299). I’d wonder about the longevity of the Sony eBook store, though, while I wouldn’t have any worries about Amazon.com. Hopefully v.2 of the Kindle will look nicer! But who knows, maybe the design is all about ergonomics and not about aesthetics.
I have to wonder though if the $399 for the Kindle would be better spent on an Eee PC, though, which can do so much more…
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