Thursday, 27 December 2012

Review time

I don't know what the next line of this entry is likely to be but as we're coming toward the end of the year I normally write a little review bit and I think I shall tonight.
I'll start of talking about the sites I joined or belong to where a number of you readers belong, where we talk about all manner of things such as current affairs, music, fashion and anime. Well I'll take my hat off to you  all as even with the Presidential Election we didn't have much drama and certainly at Google Plus we had some interesting conversations as well as people sharing their talents in photography and digital art.
We had the Olympics and Paralympics, held in London which went extremely well showing just what people really are capable of, those amazing volunteers who helped everyone out.
When it comes to music, I was really impressed with the Roxy Music studio albums cd collection and deserved moans about manufacturing quality control of the American made copies aside, the new Beatles stereo lps that offer some real advantages over previous editions that had been out of print for good period of time.
I'm enjoying having a fibre to the cabinet broadband connection that is reliable and jolly fast for downloading files and watching video content which seems to be altering my habits as regards using the internet goes.
This blog gained some new followers and a big increase in readers over the year so I guess I must be doing something right.
I'd love to see the back of the rain we've had for most of the year flooding people out, damaging crops and leaving me soaking wet when goings.
Thank you, angelic types, bones, Google plusers, weird people of CR for being around
Happy New Year

Wednesday, 19 December 2012

The changing face of computing

I just love this illustration  for the Microsoft Surface tablet that converts to a netbook although one hopes you can tweak the operating system to restore the Start button replace Internet Exploder 10 with Firefox or Chrome and install Foxit PDF reader rather than the bloated Adobe one that nags you every two to three weeks.
In 2012 we expect to keep up to speed with life online so products like this slot much better into our personal lives than old style desk top computers that still may have advantages for some types of work.
Having just visited one forum where this came up, I''ll end by saying online North American English is very prevalent and whatever your feelings around that might be, it's as well to get to grips with it.

Thursday, 13 December 2012

R.I.P Tinier Me

Some three and a bit years ago, a buddy of mine invited me over to a manga style gaming site with social interaction called Tinier Me cos we were hacked off with those other kinds of social sites whose patrons were either clingy, stalkers or playing mind games.
Unfortunately they appear to be have been another victim of the Gamification of the internet not least social networks such as Facebook and so yesterday 12/12/2012 closed down for good having put new membership on hold for three weeks previous.
Although sadly I wasn't able to use it as much as I'd of liked, I thought I'd save a screen image for posterity.
Some patrons have moved on over to Subeta

Sunday, 9 December 2012

Image capture - a few thoughts

I was just reading for what was for  once an interesting discussion on Amazon and feel like writing an extended response here.
Man has been in love with images for a extremely long time, noting his favourite or most important images in caves or drawings on paper moving into what we call today painting with paints. They document his times, his civilization and important events he wanted permanent records of to share with subsequent generations. The Victorian era saw advances in chemistry making it possible to store images using emulsion based film moving through ever more easier to use film based cameras before in the last decade of the twentieth century it became commercially viable to store such images as digital images on silicon chips both in cameras and also other devices such as cellphones and tablet computers.
That series of changes over time fuelled millions of people to create and store their own images of family, vacations past, their local communities as well as those who were paid to create images for local media initially newspapers and magazines but increasingly internet based sites.
For much of this era regardless of the final means of capture and storage their have been two main types of camera made depending very much on personal needs.
The first group were mainly for ordinary people who required something simple to use usually a single item of equipment for capturing family pictures and vacation snapshots with a single unchangeable lens.
The second was more around people who needed equipment that allowed a higher degree of control, the options of many interchangeable lenses for specialized uses such as close ups, sports, etc, elaborate flash systems for low light photography and so on.
These were aimed mainly at professionals who work for the press, magazines and the wedding and glamour market.
A secondary line was established using less expensive  camera bodies designed for more delicate usage by amateurs who wanted more control  than everyday cameras supporting a smaller and usually less expensive set of lenses and accessories, trading on the image of the professional models.
Such cameras were the first to use plastics initially for levers and take up spools and later on to the whole outer body.
The digital revolution  has to an extent blurred the line between so called compact cameras and  the pro sumer all in ones that offer the equivalents of 7 or more fixed focal length lenses on a single long zoom lens. Often compact cameras have 3.4 or more times zoom lenses fitted too.
Equally for all those whose employers wanted digital from the mid 1990's,  it led to Nikon and Canon ditching their professional single lens reflex film bodies with interchangeable lenses, that move lead to packaging plastic digital bodies and lenses to offer the same immediacy to enthusiastic amateurs.
The battleground for sales it seems is routed in the numbers of megapixels each body uses in much the same way that in pre-digital times the numbers of exposure modes offered and their metering options were pushed.
It always amazed me the number of times I showed people of photographs shot on a camera system focused by hand, carefully metered by a human, shot using a single focal  length high quality lens properly supported.
They didn't understand my equipment with less bragging rights than theirs produced better pictures for intervention, human knowledge and an oft forgotten maxim an image is only as sharp as the optic focused on it itself permits.
Many of the cheap zoom type lenses packaged with them, were of lower quality and critically offered less scope for controlling how much in front and behind of what you had focused on was in sharp focus.
An unfortunate by-product of using lenses designed originally with film use in mind on digital bodies is that it's harder to get background out of focus because the focal length for any setting is bigger and also the sensors don't render as much out of focus at wider aperture settings. The only real cure would be to have designed new lenses to work with digital sensors in  mind which is what Olympus did with their digital single lens reflex bodies.
This problem may not be an issue for vacation snapping where most of the time you want most things in sharp focus but is for creative photography.
It is one reason apart from some undoubtedly preferring the kind of image film makes for some of us to continue with their older film systems for work with less of short time frame requirement having our images scanned at the point of processing 

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

On gender transition

As some may know I'm very much in favour of equal opportunities, supporting those who challenge older stereotypes as well as supporting groups like Press For Change. 
In the last few days the American Psychiatric Association board of trustees approved the latest proposed revisions to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders otherwise known as DSM-5 to the effect that unlike previous guidance no longer places being Transgendered as a mental disorder.
Today I felt like talking about it.
There are and have been many definitions   of what Transgendered means so much so fallings out over them aren't exactly uncommon but the simplest is you feel an overwhelming urge from within to present socially in a gender role the opposite of what the social norm of someone with your anatomical appearance.
I can see how that can regarded as progress although you say if you yourself are Transgendered, well how do I argue I have a medical need for say re-assignment surgery?
I've always had a this take on it.
It's a language issue at the core. Mental Disorder to some equals mental health issue and you don't wish to be bracketed say with people who maybe deluded. I'd say it's a social/psychological issue stemming from other peoples refusal to allow you to be you.
In order to live you life as you, you don't have to go down the route of taking hormones or having body surgery although hormones apart from developing the breast tissue also have other effects such as mood and so on.
It's a step that takes you toward 'full participation' in the gender role you feel but it's not the whole of it. The whole of it is about your personality, how you project that out in that World that may not know what to expect and for male to females the whole of ones femininity.
Sometimes I feel some people obsess more around GRS as a procedure that has to be gone through rather than the cultivation and expression in their lives of their sense of self.