May 30, 2005

I've lost my mind. Shit.

Today, while purposely attempting to overexpose all of my pictures by a varying number of stops, I ran into a problem.

I couldn't remember the standard aperture and shutter speed scale. Well, mainly the aperture scale. Shutter speed's easy... aperture's the one that's weird.

But I haven't used it in so long (plus all my cameras have had half-stops sprinkled here and there) that I couldn't actually calculate an exposure to save my life. So I did what anyone would do: I faked it! I threw caution and depth of field to the wind, opening to a hearty f4.somethingorother, and set my exposure time to more than 1/60 of a second (which is really too long to handhold with my zoom lens, but alas, you're blowing it out anyway). And it sort of worked.

Now I have the overwhelming need to sit down and work out the aperture scale again. Wait: 2 2.8 4 5.6 8 11 16 22? Yes... that's right. Now why the hell couldn't I think of it when I was behind the viewfinder? Bad brain. Bad, bad brain.

Posted by Colin at 5:26 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

May 26, 2005

Where's the good CRM?

The business world is rife with meaningless buzzwords, and among them is the ever-popular Customer Relationship Management (CRM). It sounds appealing, particularly to small biz guys like me who actually want to cultivate a _relationship_ with their customers. Except "Customer Relationship" is actually an industry codeword for "Money-Grubbing Sales Call". When you actually set out to find a readymade CRM program, you generally end up with some hideous pile of rubbish that's altogether obsessed with how much "potential" is in your "pipeline" and how many possible sales you've blown. Many of them even suck at allowing you to keep track of a customer's product needs. It doesn't care what your relationship with the customer is beyond "gives me millions and millions of dollars." I thought I might have found some way to keep track of my customers with a CRM package today, but nope. Not only was it the typical dreadful CRM software, but on top of that it was ungodly slow and required far larger browser windows than I use. And way too obsessed with its own ill-planned workflow that boils down to creating a person so you can create an association so you can create... it's like Lego bricks without all the fun and with a kick in the groin every time you snap two together. This suckitude, like many other things, brings me back to the solution I hate: make my own. While that solution usually works out well in the end (since I get something custom-tailored to my own needs and wishes), it's a horrible solution. There are only so many hours in a day, and every hour I spend on some internal project is an hour I can't spend actually improving a product or developing a new one or answering e-mail or photographing things. At any rate, I suppose it gives me an excuse to learn more about Ruby on Rails since that's what I've chosen to write the damn thing in.
Posted by Colin at 5:39 PM | Comments (0)

May 10, 2005

Duh.

If you're not a legal resident, you don't deserve the benefits a legal resident is accustomed to. That's why they're called an illegal immigrant. They don't pay the taxes that make those services happen, ergo, they don't deserve them.

Do I agree that Prop 200 is a little over the top? Yes.

Do I agree that it's unfair to illegal immigrants? Hell no!

Posted by Colin at 11:15 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

May 9, 2005

Billy has invaded

This afternoon saw a repeat trip to Ikea, this time complete with two bookcases heading out the door to find a place in my bedroom.

The one thing I can take away from this experience? Bring a friend. Given the cheap-ass cases I've currently got, I never would have imagined Ikea's popular Billy would be so heavy. The standard size -- 31 1/2" wide and 79 1/2" tall -- weighs 95 pounds flat packed. The corner shelf is even worse at 110 pounds.

A few things remain to be picked up later. A Gruva lamp will eventually sit atop one bookcase (probably the corner one) -- nice little buggers, and they include a UV filter to be safe for lighting artwork. At least one more bookcase still needs to be purchase, size yet to be determined. I also want to green up the rather barren room (there's not a lick of plant life present), probably doing so with the bamboo stalks they sell for cheap in the garden section. Bamboo's green, rather difficult to kill, and rather easy to care for. In short, it's a fine choice to put some life in a room without being married to it.

Posted by Colin at 1:46 AM | Comments (0)

May 4, 2005

Tiger, iSync, and Bluetooth Phones

Here's a scenario not too uncommon with Tiger upgraders:

1. You have a Bluetooth-enabled phone.
2. Your phone was set up for iSync in Panther.
3. iSync's "Add Device" window says the device can't be added.

Before you chuck the phone out the window or blame Apple for participating in planned obsolescence (or purposely breaking iSync because they hate you), stop and take a deep breath. It's simple to fix.

Here's what you do:
1. Open System Preferences.
2. Go to the Bluetooth preference pane.
3. Delete the pairing between your phone and your Mac.
4. Re-pair the phone to the Mac.

I don't have a damn clue why things don't upgrade like you'd expect, but most of the people I know of with this problem are -- like myself -- using older Bluetooth phones. It may be related to the use of SyncML to sync with newer models. Whatever the cause, deleting and re-creating the pairing between phone and computer will let you do the sync thing again.

Your trusty T68i will be making that triumphant noise again as soon as you finish pairing it and hit that sync button for the first time.

Posted by Colin at 10:30 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

May 2, 2005

Take it back: Bookcase Wishes

I popped open the 2005 Ikea catalog today to look at the rest of their bookcases, and slap me silly -- they just about satisfy my wacky idea that companies sell extra shelves for their bookcases.

Ikea comes close. They offer a height extension unit for $20 that attaches to the top of any Billy-line bookcase. Minor problem: their full-height bookcases are already 79 1/2 inches tall -- the height extensions add another 13-ish inches. Hope you've got tall ceilings.

Strike That: Ikea nails it -- it's just not in the catalog. They have a glass shelf for $5 in the 2005 catalog, but the website also lists a normal, wood (useful!) extra shelf for $8. Brilliant!

Posted by Colin at 8:48 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Fuck me with a rusty spoon.

I was just watching channel 10's insipid morning show, and among this morning's segments was one on melanoma.

I had nothing better to do while I was waiting for breakfast to finish being nuked, so I watched it.

Turns out I have a spot on my back that matches three out of four warning signs for possibly being melanoma.

Whoops.

Guess I'll be going to the doctor in the near future to have that looked at. And probably (ouch) end up having it biopsied, knowing how doctors like that whole "being cautious" think (as do I, frankly).

I've been burned -- and badly -- so many times in my life it really wouldn't surprise me if it is cancerous. But here's hoping it's not anyway, because I'd prefer to put off cancer until 65 or so when I'm doomed to get prostate cancer like both of my grandfathers.

Posted by Colin at 10:17 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

May 1, 2005

IKEA Billy Sale

Everyone's favorite manufacturer of affordable Swedish crap, Pikea Ikea, is running a sale on their Billy bookcases and a few other things from May 5 to May 8.

25% off select Billy bookcases. It only applies to the versions in beech, but nothing's keeping you from altering them yourself if you really can't stand beech. Basically this brings the beech prices temporarily down to the prices for white and grey.

Me, I'm all over this. I have two bargain basement bookcases in my bedroom that have certainly seen far better days. Every last shelf is wildly bowed, and they're both kinda short anyway.

Billy bookcases are available 10 inches taller than my current bookcases (a whole extra shelf!), plus the shelves are reinforced to prevent bowing.

That said, I wish somebody -- are you listening, Ikea? -- would start selling shelf and peg kits for their bookcases. Like nearly every other bookcase available to purchase, Billy is adjustable. Problem is nobody sells extra shelves and mounting hardware, so the most you can manage is however many it comes with.

I've got a ton of trade paperbacks, and it's an immense waste of space to leave the enormous gaps traditional bookcases force you to.

Posted by Colin at 11:36 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack