param and I drove down to Kailashgiri, a Shiva temple near Kaivara to do some to do some start gazing. I was keen on observing the moon and param wanted to do his usual star charting. Ofcourse you don't need to head out of town to obverve a bright object like the moon. And an almost full moon makes stargazing a lot harder. We did see Saturn again and Jupiter and two of it's moons.
All in all a good trip, though we'll probably do some place closer next time. And do it on a starless night.
Wednesday, March 28th, 2007
Welcome back Paramananda My old pal paramananda seems to have returned after a long break from blogging. The reason for the break, he lost his password. Well lets not dwell on such things. Keep posting paramp
It is amazing fun, lots of little activities to demonstrate various concepts. Good clean educational entertainment for kids and geeks. The place also demonstrated the very different approaches to solving problems paramp and I take, he would read the instructions for each experiment before trying anything while I would start pressing the buttons and try and figure out what the experiment was about by seeing what happened, something that paramp found quite irritating.
There is something about space that has always captivated humanity. The ancients respected it even though they were never able to appreciate its size. We now realize it's enormity but we are still no closer to understanding it. Of course you don't have to understand it to enjoy the beauty of the stars.
I've been engaged in a spot of stargazing recently thanks to Parmananda. Once with Mridul's reflecting telescope off Bannergatta Road. And once on Parmananda's terrace with his little refracting telescope. The first time was a bit of a washout in terms of actually using the telescope. We didn't know how to set it up, and once it was set up we didn't know how to use it. The second time was better, we were able to look at Saturn and see it's rings. Parmananda figured out the general area we would find it, and I just pointed the telescope at the brightest non-twinkling object there.
There is still a lot to learn, learning is really where the fun is. And there is that simple pleasure of lying on your back and staring at the stars.
Wednesday, March 7th, 2007
There was this long period when I couldn't look at faces. I'd try and look by my eyes would just slide off them. This might have been why I was so bad at recognizing faces. I could meet you, walk out come back not be sure you were the same person. I think I was better at recognizing people from the back of their heads based on their hairstyles than I was from the faces.
Thursday, March 1st, 2007
I have always been a loner. This is strange because I crave human companionship, I'm just unable to construct anything meaningful. Why do all my relationships have to be so shallow. Maybe I'm just alone.
Wednesday, February 28th, 2007
As a child, I was in complete awe of the altar boys at Sunday mass. They managed the keep their attention through the entire mass and were able to remember the entire procedure of what to do and when. I on the other hand could never concentrate on anything for more than ten minutes.
I don't watch TV but I'm really interested in knowing why the news channels considered it necessary to broadcast this video. It seems to me that news channels are not simply about delivering news and opinions of their subjects, but providing a form of shock reality programming.
PS I'm guessing that the video I posted is the same video that was aired on TV, its is the one everyone is linking to. The problem is that a couple of apparently legitimate news sources have described stuff that isn't present in this video.
I need to pick up a camera bag, preferably a back pack. Theju was suggested getting a backpack for the lenses and a front pouch for the camera, somehow I don't really like the sound of that. Will probably get one of those UV Filters when I get the bag.
The other near term purchaces I will be making are a spare battery and a good tripod. I can wait on memory as I intend to stick to jpegs for some time.
I've also decided to wait on a flash and any lens purchase as I don't know what to go for one as of right now.
Software is getting to be a problem, I've already taken more than a thousand pictures. I'm going to need something to manage all of that iPhoto would have been fine but it loads all the pictures into its own folder plus I doubt it supports raw. I checked out bluemarine as an alternative but it is a memory hog, the author recomends 2gig. So I'll either have to upgrade my laptop to 2gig or wait till I but myself a 2gig desktop.
I've been using gimp to fix some of my pictures before posting them. I'm quite happy with it. But if I shift to RAW gimp might not be enough for post processing.
The commercially available software is pretty expensive, can't afford any of it right now.
As always suggestions are welcome. Looks like I'm going to end up with some serious cash flow problems in the future.
A canon rebel XTi with 2gig flash and an 18-55mm kit lens.
I've taken a lot of snaps and realize I suck, with smaller cameras lack of ability is easily covered up by the camera. Not so with an SLR. You look at your pictures and it hits you that you have a lot of work ahead. Should be an interesting learning experience.
Phishing attack throught Yahoo Messenger If you get a link from a friend on Yahoo Messenger that asks to you to log into a Yahoo service it could be a phishing attack. Check the url of the page, if it isn't login.yahoo.com be cautious. There seems to be a phishing attack going around on Yahoo Messenger that uses a fake login page to steal usernames and passwords.
One is from the name it self. The Image in the viewfinder is a projection of the same image that will be photographed. This is particularly important if you are trying to use manual focus or do some depth of field tricks.
The other is the fact that you can change lenses, choosing the best lens for the current situation. This is also the bit that makes SLRs so expensive as a hobby, good lenses aren't cheap.
The current top of the line Point and Shoot cameras have become pretty sohisticated. Providing a whole amount of contol previously found only in SLRs. Also in terms of picture quality, if all you use your camera is for point and shoot work you'll find similar results from both kinds. I have the point and shoots very limiting when I needed to have some control over the pictures I took. That was a Canon A69, things should have changed since then given the amount of development happening in the world of digital cameras. Also post production tools like photoshop have become popular over the years. A lot of pictures can look simply amazing after a slight touch-up.
SLRs are of-course premium products even the hobby models are much more expensive that a top of the line point and shoot camera. The Canon Rebel XTi costs about $900 with a 18-55mm kit lens. The Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ50 on the other hand costs around 550$. The lumix comes with a 35 - 420mm zoom out of the box with macro support.
I've boiled down my options to these three
Canon Rebel XTi
Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ50
The Rebel is my current top choice, for right now. It's cheaper than the Nikon for one, and Cannon lenses are apparantly the better bet to invest in.
The lumix is there because I liked the manual focus ring, I almost did consider this as my first choice then realized that it had an lcd viewfinder. I'm not too impressed with manual focus with an LCD Viewfinder.
So why should I choose the Canon over the Nikon or vice-versa?
The trip to Madurai made me realize just how badly I need to get my own camera. While cameras are easy to procure from friends and such. The problem is that since I don't use the camera often enough I find myself spending too much time teaching myself the interface and how to use it and very little time actually taking pictures.