Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Nikon D40X

Just recently purchased a Nikon D40X for my wife, for her birthday. She already had a Cybershot and it is nice but she wanted a "real camera" and spent a lot of time researching the D40. Opted for the D40X for the extra mega pixels, 10.2 instead of 6.1. I like the fact that it is an SLR and that it has a nice sized screen on the back for menu access and picture review. It is light enough and the "package" I purchased included a set of lenses. I wound up upgrading the telephoto lens to the AV version for an extra $50. We both are getting older and are not as steady as we used to be so I am hoping this will help on those long shots.

So far it is working out nice enough. It cycles fast enough to do 3 fps for 3 or 4 seconds and can go longer with faster SD cards. At max resolution I was told to expect 200 +/- pics on a 2 gig card. We'll see. That was a bit of a disappointment, that the cards for the Nikon are different from those used in the Cypershot so back to the electronics store for more. I like the weight and feel of it and just love that SLR sound it makes when you take a picture.

Update: 11/6/07

We have been using this camera for a bit now and we continue to like it. The menus can be a little complicated because there are just so many setting you can adjust and control. It supports multiple menu styles and has a programmable button that you can setup for that thing that you want to do that this is not already a button for. Most people use it for the timer but as it is programmable, you can use it for whatever you want. We got the camera from Ritz and the package I purchased included a set of 18 classes that cover the camera as well as things like photo editing and taking different types of photographs. We have only been to a couple but so far they are nicely organized and useful.

You can use the camera in full auto mode or select from about 10 different preset specialties like portrait, close up, action and full manual. The picture are very nice and we can tell the difference in quality between pictures taken with this verses the CyperShot (as you would well hope based on the higher pixel density). The battery seems to last a good long time and we did wind up getting very close to 200 photos on that memory stick. We did have a small issue getting some of the on-screen setting changed but the class we took walked us through it so no problem. The biggest complaint we have about the camera so far is that we had a real problem finding the menu setting that allowed us to adjust how long the LCD displayed the menus when you were using the camera. The default time is very short and the documentation was not clear on how to set it for a longer delay. The instructor of the class knew about this and walked everyone through setting it to a longer display time. Like I said earlier, we like this camera and so far it is a real winner with us.

Update: 1/14/08

We continue to have fun with this camera. We have taken a class or two and expect to take some more. The first class was on the basic D40X (using it, menu access, configuration changes, changing lenses and what all of the buttons and options are for). Was very useful if only for showing us where to go to check the default menu timeout (make it longer). I really like the 10 MPix of this camera. It allows even a "fair" shot to be zoomed and cropped a lot, to improve it. I also really like it being all digital. We have an HP all-in-one as well as a dedicated HP photo printer (4 X 6) and create many of our own prints. We got the camera at Ritz and that is where the classes are given. They have a lot of nice services there along with the cameras and accessories. We took our own Christmas photo and turned it into a card at Ritz. They are knowledgeable and know their stuff. I would like a better telephoto lens for this camera and will most likely pick one up this year.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Smoke signals on the horizon

Many on the left like to talk about how we live in a fascist state and that all of our personal liberties are being destroyed. Based on their examples, they have little to no clue what a fascist state is. It is when the government uses its power to restrict and punish citizens for performing perfectly legal activities. An example of this type of behavior is; State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP), Senate Concurrent Resolution 21. (JCX-43-07). This resolution will add additional taxes to tobacco and most notably cigars. Specifically a cigar tax of 53.13% PER cigar up to a maximum of $10. Cigars are sold by the box or individually and individual cigars range in price from less than a dollars (for something that you would not really want to smoke) to mid-range $3 to $5 per cigar to high end smokes that top out at $20 to $25. Under this law, a $5 cigar will cost about $7.50. A $10 smoke goes to $15 and a $20 goes to $30.

Last I checked, smoking is still a legal activity in this country. The government and society as a whole, don't want you to engage in this activity but it is still legal. So instead of being “adult” about it and out-right banning the growing, manufacturing, sale and consumption of tobacco products, the government (at nearly every level) instead chooses to tax it for your own good. The government’s financial reward is then used to help offset tax shortfalls elsewhere. Smokers are treated as a bottomless pit of money that the government can hit up any time it needs a little extra cash. Why should you care you ask, you don’t smoke and it is a filthy, disgusting habit that affects the smoker and those around him (or her) and should be stopped anyway. Maybe but until the government gets off of its fat, lazy *ss and outright outlaws it, it is still a legal activity that any American adult is free to engage in. Another reason you should care is that today the government is going after tobacco partially because it is a risky activity that they feel “safe” attacking. What is next, after the tobacco train stops running? Firearms and bullet taxes? Higher alcohol taxes? Risky sports taxes? SUVs? Gambling winnings? The list of “bad” or “evil” targets is as great as the vices of man and there is always someone somewhere that will disapprove of some activity and want to “punish” it by tax or law “for your own good”. I only smoke an occasional cigar so I have no direct dog in this fight but I am getting just plain fed up with the nanny state chipping away at what was once considered adult responsibility and self determination.

37 million people live in official poverty

In the richest country in the world, this is a shame…though, it does depend on what your definition of “official” poverty is, doesn’t it? In America today, if you are “officially” poor, the odds are you exist as follows:

  • 46 percent of all poor households actually own their own homes. The average home owned by persons classified as poor by the Census Bureau is a three-bedroom house with one-and-a-half baths, a garage, and a porch or patio.
  • 80 percent of poor households have air conditioning. By contrast, in 1970, only 36 percent of the entire U.S. population enjoyed air conditioning.
  • Only six percent of poor households are overcrowded; two thirds have more than two rooms per person.
  • The typical poor American has more living space than the average individual living in Paris, London, Vienna, Athens, and other cities throughout Europe. (These comparisons are to the average citizens in foreign countries, not to those classified as poor.)
  • Nearly three quarters of poor households own a car; 31 percent own two or more cars.
  • 97 percent of poor households have a color television; over half own two or more color televisions.
  • 78 percent have a VCR or DVD player.
  • 62 percent have cable or satellite TV reception.
  • 89 percent own microwave ovens, more than half have a stereo, and a more than a third have an automatic dishwasher.

As a group, America’s poor are far from being chronically undernourished. The average consumption of protein, vitamins, and minerals is virtually the same for poor and middle-class children and, in most cases, is well above recommended norms. Poor children actually consume more meat than do higher-income children and have average protein intakes 100-percent above recommended levels. Most poor children today are, in fact, super-nourished and grow up to be, on average, one inch taller and ten pounds heavier than the GIs who stormed the beaches of Normandy in World War II.

There are indeed “poor” people in America, those that go hungry and those that have nothing. This is not the norm for American poor though. Most poor Americans are not “dust bowl, migrant worker poor” and are instead “can’t afford the new X Box” poor. Big difference, though most government agencies and class warfare politicians don’t want you to know that.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Oh how the mighty have fallen

It is also true that The New York Times is not a crusading newspaper. It is impressed with the responsibility of what it prints. It is conservative and independent, and so far as possible -- consistent with honest journalism -- attempts to aid and support those who are charged with the responsibility of government. There are many newspapers conducted along different lines, some of them vicious, ill-natured, and destructive of character and reputation, and for mere purposes of sensation they frequently terrorize well qualified and well meaning men to the point where they are discouraged from accepting invitations to give their ability, genius, and experience to the administration of public affairs."

Those words were in a letter written in 1931 by Adolph Ochs, the publisher of The New York Times.

This came from a Power Line post with William Latz. That those words quoted above were once said by the publisher of the old gray lady is both exceedingly funny (in light of recent NYT events) and at the same time exceedingly sad. Sad that the "paper of record" has become a caricature of a news paper, has sold its integrity and reputation for cheap partisan shots and has done all that it can to soil the profession of journalism. It is though the paper has spent the last 30 years doing all that it could to invalidate that once proud quote.

Texas, U.S.A

Statement by Robert Black, spokesman for Texas Governor Rick Perry, concerning the European Union’s appeal that Texas enact a moratorium on the death penalty:
August 21, 2007

"230 years ago, our forefathers fought a war to throw off the yoke of a European monarch and gain the freedom of self-determination. Texans long ago decided that the death penalty is a just and appropriate punishment for the most horrible crimes committed against our citizens. While we respect our friends in Europe, welcome their investment in our state and appreciate their interest in our laws, Texans are doing just fine governing Texas."

That was a lot more polite than I would have expected...

Making all news bad news

This is getting ridiculous. If this were happening under a democratic president, the story would be about the economic boom and the low unemployment and how it was so good for the area workers (which it is) but because there is a republican in charge, we get a story on how it is so, so sad for the business owners because they will have to start raising salaries (which it may be) but that is business. When the economy is good, more jobs are created, unemployment goes down and salaries go up. That is over all, a good thing but not when you have a wide spread BDS infection like the one that has hit the media for the last 3+ years.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Good for me but not for the

Well, isn't this a pickle? It seems that some electronic voting machines may allow votes to be recovered and matched back to names. This is a problem because as noted in the article:

Making a secret ballot less secret, of course, could permit vote selling and allow interest groups or family members to exert undue pressure on Ohio residents to vote a certain way.

So people are justifiably worried about undue pressure being exerted on residents to vote a certain way. That is indeed a valid issue. In fact this concern is valid in more than just the voting for politicians. It is also valid in voting for whether to unionize or not. So why is congress moving to do away with the requirement of secret votes for unionization? One could rightfully surmise that union voting is even more of a high pressure event than general elections. These are your co-workers, not just distant politicians. Oh I forgot, unions support democrats much more than republicans and union membership as well as the number of unions is down, that is why.

New York being a bully?

I used to live on Long Island and liked it well enough but have not been back to the big apple in many years and have not had much desire to return. Things like this don't help change my mind...

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Popular Mechanics Investigates 9/11 Myths: FAQs

A conspiracy theory never dies, the names, dates and events just change to protect the theorists.

The Media Mob By James Lewis

Worth a read.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Bias, what bias?

It is this kind of thing that has people thinking that there is a leftest bias in the media, even if there is not (though anyone with even a few years of school can see that there is). The news article makes the congressman's party affiliation part of the lead when he is a Republican but when the story is corrected to read that he is really a Democrat, the party affiliation moves from the lead to the second paragraph. Why does it matter? Well first off, if it did not matter, why not just update his party and leave everything else alone? Instead the affiliation is moved to the second paragraph because most people that won't finish the story, stop at the first paragraph. If they didn't, there would either be no reason to move it or it would have been moved farther down (or not mentioned at all). But the news is not bias, that is just the vast right wing conspiracy talking...

Friday, August 10, 2007

Big media doing what amateur bloggers can't

cause they are professionals and have a big staff of fact checkers and all that...

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Friday, August 3, 2007

If you don't like the outcome, change it...

At that moment, Rep. Mike McNulty ( D-N.Y.), who was in the Speaker's chair, gavelled out the vote, thinking that it was a tie and the motion had failed. But he had miscounted — the motion had actually passed. The Democrats were only able to change this by cheating and changing more votes after the gavel.

And I thought they were different and were going to change the atmosphere of corruption in Washington, I am so disillusioned...

Update (9/6/07): Glad to see that this has not been completely swept under the rug. Republicans have named a panel to investigate this issue. Not that you will hear about it in the MSM...

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Don't forget your daily Stossel

His articles and book "Myths, Lies, and Downright Stupidity: Get Out the Shovel--Why Everything You Know is Wrong." should be required reading by everyone, especially politicians!

Georgia to Require Voter ID in September

Well thank goodness! About time! You need a frigging ID card to cash a check or to buy beer, what is so wrong about requiring proper ID to vote? Unless your problem is you don't want to ensure that only people that should be voting, vote. It should be required in EVERY state.

Exposing the Real Che Guevara and the Useful Idiots Who Idolize Him

This is the second article in two days that I have read about Che and it is pretty refreshing to see the truth about this man being promoted instead of the usual false accolades. The other article. more satire really is here but still truthful. Too many "kids" that sport the Che shirts either don't really know anything about the man or don't care (cause it is a fashion statement, dude). Either way, they are showing themselves to be the "useful idiots" that they are.

I don't know what Robert Redford's excuse is.

HEH, Community Based Reality

More accurate might be members of the Community-Based-Reality. The other way around just plain isn't accurate.

Posted by: TMSG
Tuesday, July 31, 2007 at 05:30 PM

Sorry but I like that turn of phrase. It does seem more accurate to me too.

Indoctrinate U

See the trailer, look for the movie...

I am actually taking some collage courses now and this sort of thing is happening in the most insidious of ways. Classes I have taken on business make sure to push "green business" and the science class I am currently taking makes sure to mention man-made global warming and climate change in the most forced of contexts. What ever happened to just teaching the subject and the facts? Why does every course and every subject have to be politicized?