Author: Joe Wilcox

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My New Canon Lens: Canon EF 70-200mm f/4L USM

Yesterday, I traded in my Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 IS USM lens at my local Penn Camera, in Rockville, Md. I was never happy with the lens, which focused slowly and produced too much noise. Yes, I know the photographer is always to blame. There are bum lenses sometimes, too.

As result, I relied mostly on my Canon EF 24-70 f/2.8L USM lens, which dramatically changed my shooting style. When I had the Nikon D70, I liked to hang back, typically relying on the Nikon 70-300mm f/4-5.6D ED AF Zoom-Nikkor lens. The Canon L lens means getting in closer. 

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Yeah, I’m ‘Lost’

Tonight, I broke down and purchased “Lost” Season 1 from the iTunes Music Store. The time had come to start serious testing Apple’s new video service. I wanted to see if the shows really could be watched (and enjoyed) from the new iMac’s Front Row. Yup. Quality is a tad VHS, but w-a-a-y better than I expected.

The download put the Verizon Fios 15Mbps DSL service to its toughest test yet. Surprisingly, the nearly 5GB of data—that’s 25 episodes—downloaded in well under an hour. I timed the first couple programs at about two minutes each, then left the PowerBook G4 downloading while I washed dishes. 

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Judge Cracks the Whip

Seeing as I covered Microsoft’s antitrust trial for about five years, when I worked as a reporter, new developments interest me. According to a Computerworld story, U.S. District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly cracked the whip across Microsoft’s back.

Biggest problem: Compliance with a portion of the antitrust settlement for disclosing communications protocols, which have been a contentious issue since Microsoft agreed to disclose them; and it seems to me the company really doesn’t really want to comply with this portion of the settlement. I should point out that inclusion of the protocol licensing in the settlement wooed as many as half the 18 state litigants to join the Justice Department’s agreement. 

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‘Good Night, And Good Luck’

I just returned from the AFI theatre in Silver Spring, Md., where I watched the film “Good Night, And Good Luck“. I can’t speak for George Clooney’s motivation for making the film, but the topic certainly is timely considering the U.S. government’s anti-terrorism stance.

As a writer and former journalist (former in current job only), the topic attracted my interest. I credit the director for creating a real sense of being there, even filming in black and white. Wikipedia and Museum of Broadcast Communications offer excellent bios on the film’s protagonist, Edward R. Murrow. 

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iMac boots the Media Center

This afternoon, my buddy from down the street dropped by a new, 17-inch iMac, the hot model with built-in iSight camera, Front Row, and remote control. We had planned an Apple Store trip together, when the iMac arrived for sale. But my work schedule wouldn’t accommodate the time off. We had agreed to an even swap. He would take my Dell Media Center PC, so he had always planned on buying the iMac anyway.

The Media Center’s departure is emotional, because of the attachment to watching television. The dual-tuner let me record two TV shows at the same time. The DVR also meant more TV watching and still too much time wasted channel switching like a mindless hamster running a wheel. Going nowhere. 

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It’s Not a Fact

Just about every year, PC Magazine columnist John Dvorak writes about the death of Apple. He’s been wrong every year—actually about lots of things he writes about. Now he claims that there is media bias in favor of Apple, because, “today’s newspaper and magazine tech writers know little about computers and are all Mac users. It’s a fact”.

He continues, “I could list 50 [technology writers.] Readers should thus not be surprised by the overcoverage of Apple Computer. Every time Steve Jobs sneezes there is a collective chorus of ‘Gesundheit’ from tech writers pounding away on their Macs”. 

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It's Just Too Easy

Yesterday, I received a postal mail offer from one of the local car dealers for a pre-approved auto loan. The paper had a toll-free number to call with a code to get the loan amount. Being in a curious mood, I rang and discovered that (supposedly) I was pre-approved for $22,500. Walk in and walk out with a car, no money down.

We drive a clunker 1989 Volvo 740 that my wife curses almost everyday. So the idea of a new car is appealing, and $22,500 is lots of spending power. It’s a helluva lot of debt, too. As momentarily tempted as I was, no car loan. We’ll drive the clunker and get by. 

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Whew, It was worth the Risk

Well, it is great to be mostly right. Apple did in fact launched a video service today, with music videos and TV shows, and even video podcasts, so I’m three for three there.

The company also announced a new video-based iPod. I even got the Mac entertainment repositioning right. Apple released a new iMac with built-in video camera and new entertainment interface called Front Row. 

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Because I’m a Risk Taker

I feel more comfortable hanging myself out in the wind over here on my personal site than my work blogsite. Normally, that’s where I’d put a post like this one, but there is just too much chance my speculation is wrong. So…regarding Apple’s mystery announcement planned for tomorrow, I’m ready to make a prediction.

For some time, I’ve suspected that Apple might have a an iTunes-like video service in the works. And that’s where I’ll place my bet on tomorrow’s announcement, a video service, perhaps with music videos, TV content, and video podcasts. I’ll go further and predict a video-capable iPod and (if Apple is smart) Mac repositioning around digital entertainment.