Category: Media

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Painful Changes

My blog relocation has turned out to be quite an exhilarating experience. On Saturday, I managed to delete all the content and my Movable Type export file. Everything was lost! Oh, it’s a harrowing tale.

Some background: I made the move on Wednesday to pmachinehosting, which a few days later changed its name to EngineHosting. I also moved from Movable Type to ExpressionEngine. I lacked two things: A new design and fix to a troublesome problem, that ExpressionEngine inserted index.php/comments in the path of posts (e.g., http://www.joewicox.com/index.php/comments/painful_changes. 

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What They Saw

Today, a couple released video footage they shot on September 11, 2001, “36 floors up and 500 yards from the North Tower” of the World Trade Center. The video, “September 11, 2001: What We Saw“.

The video is riveting, because of the raw emotion expressed by the observants’ disbelief and grief shared by so many of us that day—and because the viewer knows what is yet to occur: The second plane hitting the South Tower, the collapse of the South Tower, and the collapse of the North Tower. If there is a perspective of looking with hindsight, this video is it. 

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Labor Day Parade 2006

This morning, Kensington, Md., held its annual Labor Day parade, which was my first real-world test of the Nikon D200. I love the camera, but some kinks remain.

I snapped 380 pictures, on 4GB and 2GB memory cards. I chucked 110 pictures; many images were blurry. I’m finding that Program mode consistently favors ISO over shutter speed, even when set to Auto ISO. The best shots came later in the parade, when the sun shone and I switched to Shutter Priority at 1/500 sec. 

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The Corporation

End of last week, I watched a startling documentary, which resonated well with some suspicions I already had. Staunch capitalists probably wouldn’t be moved by “The Corporation“, although hard-core liberals or even communists might delight in the documentary.

My response is neither political nor economic, but rooted in my sense of right, which in part defines good as putting the wellbeing of others above oneself. People or organizations that prosper by harming others do wrong. Many societies recognize cannibalism as wrong, yet those same peoples often do not recognize as wrong another kind of cannibalism: The consumption (or sacrifice) of one person’s livelihood or well being to support another person, group or organization. 

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DO Download This Song?

Weird Al Yankovic is at it again, with a nice parody of file trading and copyrights. His upcoming album “Straight Outta Lynwood”, features track “Don’t Download This Song”. The music video trails a young kid’s descent from peer networks to prison.

But this is something from Mr. Parody, so there is legitimate question which side of the file trading/copyright debate Weird Al belongs. As an artist, he might want to get paid for his work. Yet, his lyrics also stab at his profession. 

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An Inconvenient Theory

Earlier today, my daughter and I watched “An Inconvenient Truth” at the AFI Silver Theatre, which likely is the best movie house in the Washington area. A harsh critic of the science behind global warming, I hoped that maybe the film would live up to its hype. No way. For people predisposed to the idea of global warming, the film probably would be moving. The movie did affect my thinking, nevertheless (I’ll explain how in a few paragraphs).

Here’s what I most liked: Former Vice President Al Gore relied more on historical data to make his point than use forward-looking forecasts. Oh, I hate computer modeling for proving climate change. The major reason I’m so critical of global warming theory is bad science. There are too many assumptions and too little reliable data to develop reliable forecast models. In best-case scenario, the computer models are only as good as the data put into them. 

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Mutual of Yamaha

I took the day off from work (a rather rare action), for a family day. I’m out of town on business two days this week and another two days next week, and then my wife will be away for three weeks at a church workshop. Who ever said that only kids go to summer camp?

I also used the time to buy and set up a Yamaha YDP-213 electronic piano, from Music & Arts Center. My daughter and I have both committed to learn to play the piano. 

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SmugMug, Finally

Back in February I praised photo-sharing site SmugMug. I sporadically and half-heartedly uploaded photos there, as I pondered Flickr. I was strongly attracted to Flickr’s community—everybody seems to hang-out there—appeal. Last month, Thomas Hawk joined Zooomr, which created another quandary. Thomas’ Zooomr support simply couldn’t be ignored.

After weighing Flickr’s community and Zooomr’s Thomas endorsement,, I’ve decided to stick with SmugMug and really start using it. I spent part of the last two days adding new photos to my SmugMug site. The decision comes with angst, because Flickr and Zooomr also appeal to me, for different reasons. 

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A Matter of Perspective

We spent July Fourth with friends in Fredricksburg, Va., which is about 70 miles south of Washington. I had hoped to take fireworks photos, but we got stormed out. So I settled for pictures in the bathroom, instead.

Our friends have a skylight above the john, which gives a great view of the clouds while doing your business. Of course, the crooning strains the neck. But gazing at cloud formations is kind of relaxing, even in the WC’s confines.

I’m amazed to hear men talk on cell phones while sitting on the john in public toilets. So, I figured that carrying in my Nikon D200 wouldn’t be any more offensive, considering that I would only be taking pictures. The door was open, folks. 

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Superman’s Story

Well, Roger Ebert didn’t like it. New York Times found plenty to fault. EW was much kinder, as was Rolling Stone.

I liked “Superman Returns“.

Whenever a movie follows a successful franchise—whether on screen, on stage, or in print—the hurdle is raised high. And sometimes, reviewers can’t let go of how things were done in the past. They compare against expectations, such as in the case of “Superman Returns” the performance of Christopher Reeve as the Man of Steel.