I’ve been an enthusiastic photographer ever since I was a kid, holding my Dad’s Zeiss up to my eye and shooting, then marvelling at what came back from the printer’s. I’ve had a gazillion cameras, and taken as many photographs over the years, and find that the genre I seem to do best with is the sunrise/sunset variety. And yet, I am sick of it. Been there, done that. I no longer get excited when I see someone else’s great sunrise or ocean shot. The joy has simply left me. And yet, I still carry a camera wherever I go.
Perhaps its just a slump, or perhaps its the sameness of the shooting that is really getting up my nose. I have taken so many photographs of the Newcastle beaches at sunrise, and Lake Macquarie at sundown, I am simply fed up with it all. It bores me absolutely witless. So, what next? I need to shoot (yes I do) so what… macro? Nope, bored with that too. The cat? Yes, I will always find time to photograph Tom or whoever follows him into my life.
I think its going to have to be people. I am going to have to bite the bullet and do some street photography. I have done some, in the past, and in the distant past actually did quite a lot but back then, people didn’t want to punch your lights out if you dared shoot them, and there wasn’t this rampant paranoia if you happened to photograph a kid. So generally, I’ll stay away from kids (I dont much like shooting them anyway, I am not kid friendly these days)… but I think I am going to have to start walking the streets with a compact in hand (not the DSLR: how to scare people off in one easy lesson).
Here’s some stuff I have done in the last few years… I just don’t maintain the momentum… but I must.
I don’t think any of the shots I have taken of Tom in the past, have been as good as this. Its been taken with my Pentax K-5, and the DA35mm f/2.8 Limited lens. Until the last firmware update, I liked the lens. Now, I love it. Autofocus is suddenly really speedy, and I am nailing the focus every time. I like the bokeh in this shot, also.
I’ve been watching a couple of dragonflies in the yard, lately, and waiting to see where they might land, so that I could… again… try to get a decent shot. (Its something I have failed at, for a number of years.) Yesterday, I only had a 55mm manual lens on the camera (Pentax K-5) and did not expect much, the dragonfly was flitting here and there and barely remained in any location for very long. However, he took pity on me (thats what I like to think, anyway) and hovered nearby for just long enough.
The shot is cropped, resized and post processed, it looked a little less, straight out of the camera
Nobody was more surprised than I, when I decided to read this ebook, written by G. Norman Lippert, and based, fairly obviously, on the Harry Potter universe, that I would actually like it. I’m not a fan of fanfic, but in the case of Lippert’s writing, I have made an exception: I’ve already begun the second book, plan to read the third (and fourth when its released). We cannot expect Lippert to write exactly as J.K.Rowling does, but he makes a decent job of it. Lippert’s Potter books are free to read in their ebook format and the links here go to Goodreads, where they have been published.
This is the first in the series, and tells of Harry’s son, James, in his first year at Hogwarts. James struggles with his father’s reputation, and his own expectations of how school will be. There are the inveitable bad guys, new characters (and some old ones) and a few unexpected twists and turns in what has turned out to be a delightful story. No, I’m not going to give a critical review, I don’t feel I have nearly enough expertise. All I can say is that I am finding Lippert’s books enjoyable, and once I have finished his Potters, I will probably end up buying one or two of his other books, as well.
That is, on your iPhone, iPad, or iPod.
We’ve been reading on iOS since its very early days. My first ereader on my iPhone was, in fact eReader, which read palm (pdb) files. It was a competent little reader but if you didnt have books in that format already, there wasnt, back then, a way to read them. You can’t get it anymore, but if you happen to still own it and have it stored somewhere, it still works. Then came Bookreader and Books, if you had a jailbroken device, through “Installer”, the predecessor to Cydia. “Books” has gone through several iterations since then and is currently in the iTunes store as “Tomes”. Its a good reader if you like scrolling rather than flipping pages. I don’t, now there’s a choice.
I moved very quickly to Stanza on my iPhone2G, and abandoned Books and Bookreader, discovering that Stanza could do so much more than any other reader around. It was flexible, you could mould it to your own preferences and that made it so much more than the other readers which were pretty much set in font, style, margins, day/night and so on. You could also add your own catalogs to Stanza, as well as access those listed as a default. Amazon decided Stanza had to go, bought it, and killed it. I suppose they saw it as competition to their Kindle app… but they could not have been more wrong. It appealed to a completely different market. A market which has not got many alternatives. The last released Stanza, 3.2, still works, more or less, in iOS 6.1.1 but you lose access to some of the settings pages (freezes the app and sometimes the phone itself) which is a pain in the behind. I still use it on my phone.
There have been other incumbents. I’ll list them, but won’t dwell, because they just haven’t made the grade, or haven’t been updated sufficiently well (or at all), to even get close to Stanza in functionality… Bluefire, Megareader, Apabi Reader, Readme, eBooksMobi all seemed to be good replacements at various times, but failed the test of longevity. None were able to replace Stanza for me. In spite of its limited functionality now, it is still a better option for what I want to do.
On the horizon though is a new app called Marvin. An unlikely name for an ebook reader, and had Kris, the dev, not posted on mobileread.com I would probably never have given it a second glance. Its only for iPad right now, but iPhone version is coming. I have it on my iPad and if I am going to read on there, its the current best option. It has all the functionality that Stanza had, and then some.
Its best seen on its own website before you hit iTunes to take a look.
When Marvin has read your book, you can:
✔ Look up characters, places and names in your book to see their biographies, articles about them or their photos.
✔ See the first time names appear in your book to remind you who they are.
✔ Find articles about the book and its author. Was the book ever made into a movie, a play or a radio drama?
✔ Pin any review, article, video or website to your book.
✔ Build summaries. Marvin actually creates a new eBook that you can read, annotate and share separately.
✔ Save all your research and share it easily with your friends.
✔ Warmth and tint in addition to brightness controls to reduce harsh lights especially when reading at night.
✔ 2 column layouts.
✔ Customizable gestures, swiping to control brightness and warmth, page turn directions, snapping to bookmarks and chapters, etc…
✔ Dropbox integration, OPDS catalogs and a built-in web browser.
✔ Text selections across pages.
✔ A reading timer.
✔ Faithful layouts, extensive formatting and customization.
✔ A selection of beautiful reading fonts.
✔ User-defined themes.
✔ A bottom-heavy, specialty font to assist users with dyslexia.
✔ An alternative to a missing table of contents.
✔ Resizing tiny links such as footnotes to make them easier to tap on.
✔ English, Spanish, German and French dictionaries.
✔ Metadata editing, including changing book covers.
✔ Calibre metadata support.
✔ And much more…
In short, its probably the most brilliant ereader to come out for iOS in a very long time. Get it while its still free!
1) Well, in the end, it seemed that taking private hosting wasn’t worth bothering with. I never really got into it, and generally preferred to post here at wordpress.com instead. Even after exporting all my posts to a self hosted blog, I still came back here. I decided to keep the domain, and maintain hosted email at google. The costs are about the same, I guess, but here, I don’t have to fret over whether the script is up to date, or whether security holes have been plugged.
So, both the wordpress subdomain, and the TLD will work to send people to this location. All good, and a whole lot easier than private hosting.
2) I’ve been doing very little photography since last November when my car broke down for the first of a few times. Have not been able to get to my usual favourite places to shoot, and have been restricted to opportunistic shooting instead… and there isn’t much to recommend the area in which I live, photographically. However, the car was repaired yesterday (yes, it took me that long to save the money to get it done, because there were intervening cat-to-vet incidents) and I hope to be out and about a lot more now.
3) Diabetes is under control, pretty much, now. Only when I am bad, do I get big numbers. Two medications have been ceased, both by myself. The endo approved of the one but doesnt yet know of the other. Actos has a lot of dangerous side effects and I reached a point where I decided I did not wish to risk it any longer. Apparently it is banned in the USA and some other countries because of this, but not yet in Australia.
4) I’m reading more and enjoying it more since upgrading my iPhone from a 3GS to a 4S. The screen is so much better. I’m hoping the next iPad Mini will have a “retina” screen, because I can’t any longer get used to the lesser resolution, and I find the iPad3 just a bit too heavy for comfort. Fingers crossed for the next version. I think I’ll probably sell the 3 in any case. I’m just not using it enough at all.
5) I’ve been good and have not spent any more money on new cameras since November 2011. Very happy with what I have but am currently tempted by the new Fujifilm X-20, and by the Fuji X-Pro. I would have to sell almost all my current gear in order to afford both of these, but my X100 will go nowhere. I just love it.
I guess there was 5 posts worth in this, and no doubt anyone reading will give up before getting to here, but if you made it, congratulations. I plan to be much more active in the blog than I have been, so keep watching this space
University has typically been referred to as a privilege. This is true, especially in the age where a girl can get shot for wanting to receive an education. The Cooperative Institutional Research Program (CIRP) of UCLA surveyed thousands of "college freshmen" (for those who are not American, "college" refers to both university and college students) on their perception of their own abilities.