Category: Media

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Towering Over Thanksgiving

My daughter and I just got back from Tower Records (while my wife stayed home to review home school materials). I was so stunned by the posted holiday hours, I just had to ask at the counter about them. My local Tower Records will be open 10 to 10 on Thanksgiving. Oh, did I mention Tower has Christmas hours, too?

I pretty much had accepted McDonalds’ half-day Thanksgiving hours, but 10 to 10 over at Tower Records? Geez. Get a life! I’m tempted to drop in and see just how is business, considering not only the holiday but day before Black Friday. 

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No One is Safe

I am increasingly troubled by the implications of the Sony rootkit DRM, uncovered on Halloween by renown Windows expert Mark Russinovich. Essentially, Sony used a cloaking mechanism, typically the tool of malicious hackers, to hide digital rights management software installed on PCs from copy-protected music CDs. Like malware, the rootkit occasionally sends out information (to Sony), is nearly impossible to remove and when removed usually damages Windows.

I’ll skip over all the ways that Sony has turned its copy-protection mechanism into the worst kind of public relations disaster. I couldn’t imagine how any company could create more negative perception about DRM, but I’ll skip that, too. 

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It’s Miller Time No More

Earlier today, the New York Times officially dismissed reporter Judith Miller. In a to-the-point, bare-most-of-the-facts story, Times reporter Katharine Seelye writes of her colleague’s departure. While the Times and Miller “reached an agreement yesterday that ended her 28-year career,” it was a dismissal, as far as I’m concerned. The story carries tomorrow’s dateline.

I cheered for Miller when during summer she went to jail rather than give up a source. But since, oddities emerged about her involvement in the CIA leak case, her real reasons for going to jail, and her eventual testimony before a grand jury. 

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Girl in the Window

I am debating whether to keep the Canon 70-200mm f/2.8L USM lens. My main reason for choosing the lens was the f/2.8 (and, of course, the “L” glass). I sparingly use flash and wanted a lens more suited to this shooting preference.

On Friday and Saturday evenings, I took the lens out at dusk for some difficult shooting. The picture here is of my daughter, goofing off through her parents’ bedroom window. I had to adjust this image quite a bit, using Apple’s iPhoto to change the brightness, contrast, and exposure. 

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Now I’ve got two Canon f/2.8L Lenses

Last night’s jaunt down Scary Perry left me rethinking my recent Canon EF 70-200mm f/4L USM lens purchase. I had such a lovely time shooting with the Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L USM lens that I decided to go back to Penn Camera for a possible trade in for the Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L USM.

Biggest concern: Size and weight. The f/2.8 lens measures 84.6mm x 193.6mm and weighs in at a hefty 1310g. There are computer notebooks that weigh less, and that’s not taking into account the heft of the Canon EOS 20D. After holding and shooting with the f/2.8 lens attached to the store’s 20D, I decided to take the chance. 

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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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‘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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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”.