Living Web

The Chair

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In the winter of 1996, the World Wide Web had drawn big attention, but few businesses opened online shops. I placed an order that thoroughly amazed me, and later disappointed, because this one outfit did so well and I’ve rarely seen such good service since.

My family lived in northern Maine, returned home for what would prove only to be an 18-month adventure. I needed a new chair for my office, and the local stores sold selection that, well, failed to impress. Catalog ordering meant three weeks to delivery, according to the local office supply store, and I was too impatient.  Read More


The Housing Bubble Pops

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Serious are the signs that the housing bubble has started rapid deflation here in the Washington, D.C., area. Summer 2004, my family chose not to purchase a house in Bowie, Md., because, even then, I was convinced that housing prices were way over-inflated. Since, I’ve warned plenty of people the end would rapidly come.

Earlier, I expected the housing bubble to stay inflated into 2006, but Hurricane Katrina’s widespread economic rumblings appear to have put on the squeeze. As recently as October, New York-market deflation forebode coming trouble.  Read More

Microsoft Web

Take Back the Web

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Well, I couldn’t resist, because this is so damn funny. Some guy from Massachusetts (or so says the WHOIS database) has used the Kill Bill movies as a nice motif for a website aimed at getting people off Microsoft’s Internet Explorer and onto Mozilla’s Firefox.

Kill Bill’s Browser gives 13 hilarious reasons for switching from IE to Firefox (Warning: Some reasons aren’t kid friendly).

Editor: Site no longer exists; surely you can write your own list of 13.

Digital Lifestyle Gear

The Five-Year Plan

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Lots of people are probably digging under rocks trying to uncover what will be the next, big, earthshaking technology trend. I won’t say, but I will offer an observation about reading the signs.

The first CD players started selling in the United States in 1983. By 1988, CDs surpassed vinyl records’ popularity (See Wikipedia, Gramaphone Record). Another two or three years would pass before music CDs reached mass-market dominance. Read More

Ethics Fair Use Free Speech Rights

Copyright, Copy Wrong

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I don’t see how the Bush Administration’s proposal to stiffen copyright laws synchs with the intentions of the framers of the Constitution and Bill of Rights. Last decade’s Copyright revisions were bad enough and prostitute the whole-purpose concept of public domain. My concern is bigger than copyright expiration. These laws designed to protect intellectual property, particularly with the Internet and digital distribution as justification for revision, increasingly are threats to free speech. Read More

Ethics Journalism News Media

It’s Miller Time No More

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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.  Read More

Gear Photo

Girl in the Window

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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.  Read More

Fair Use Responsibility Rights Web

The Web Miracle

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The World Wide Web turns 15 this month, a milestone that simply shouldn’t go unobserved. Researcher Tim Berners-Lee created the first Web browser and server in November 1990, with little fanfare and based on acccepted standards.

The first Website wouldn’t come until August 1991. A 1999 Time magazine profile of Tim offers a great for-the-masses explanation of his work developing the Web and championing for the openness that made the network extensible and successful. Read More

Gear Photo

Little Miss Shutterbug

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This evening, I took my daughter to the camera store, where we purchased a Canon Digital Rebel (black). She has shown great interest in photography, outgrowing her Canon PowerShot S410 and constantly begging to use my Canon EOS 20D. She didn’t ask for a new camera, but she got one. The older Rebel is more than she really needs and cost less than the newer Rebel XT.

Photography will join her growing list of homeschool topics. She has shown great initiative taking pictures and appears to have a good knack (at least for an 11 year-old) for composition. I snapped the above picture at her request. Composition isn’t great, and the picture required extensive retouching (it really needs more). If had more time, she and the camera would be both in focus.

The new digital camera is an expense but an investment, too. Photographs are a great way of serving other people, of spreading a little kindness. My daughter plans to spread lots of joy.

Gear Photo

Now I’ve got two Canon f/2.8L Lenses

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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.  Read More