Tag Archive for 'toys'

Airbus A380

What a great plane the Singapore Air A380 is… quiet, big screens, those old flash games, nice food. The flex in the wings is rather impressive too!

New lens

I’ve started playing with my 20mm f/2.8. I don’t think I’ve got the hang of how wide compared to my 50mm it is…



New lens!

my nikkor 20mm f/2.8 is in the mail!


How to use the Olympus E3

We happened to be near Buckingham Palace around 11:30 yesterday, so went to see the Changing of the Guards. It was chaos and needless to say hard to get a clear shot of anything. This fortunate person owns the Olympus E3, I think the first digital SLR with a tiltable LCD. Here they are using the live view to take piccies of the guards…

Changing of the Guards

Changing of the Guards

Setting up my new MacBook Pro

So just scored a new MBP and a 24″ iMac for work. First impression is that the screen on the MBP  is WAY brighter than my old MBP. I thought it might be handy to keep track of everything that needs to happen to get it up to speed… here is the list so far.


There will be plenty more, I haven’t even thought about the Perl modules I need or Python yet, but this is enough to get me started…


I’m the super-proud owner of a brand spanking Nikon D700. How stoked?

ear to ear stoked in f/1.4 glory

ear to ear stoked in f/1.4 glory

Velvet Burger

Go to Velvet Burger in Dunedin, NZ for a good burger. They have connect four!

burger + beer

burger + beer

connect four!

connect four!



Crayon physics

Remember “The Incredible Machine?” Crayon physics is kind of similar but perhaps a lot more fun…


Polarising filter example

Here are two photos, the first without, and the second with a polarizing filter

without polarizing filter

without polarizing filter

There is quite a difference…

with polarizing filter

with polarizing filter

My day

Having printed my thesis, this view pretty sums up the last few days. Staring out the window and deciding whether to get a better camera, inspired by a check for USD$1800 and the exchange rate, and the much better viewfinders on full frame dslr’s.

doing nothing

doing nothing

Yes, life is tough…

New camera

I’m now the proud owner of the bullet-proof Olympus Stylus 1030SW. It’s rather different to using my E500 SLR, but should be a fun thing to have in my pocket for those “I wish I had my camera” moments.

my computer

Olympus MF-1 OM adapter

So Christmas has been a great time for sitting in front of the TV doing pretty much nothing. It’s also a time to drink some beer and play with my camera. I am fortunate to have in my possession an old 50mm f3.5 zuiko OM macro, and to use it I went and bought the adapter Olympus have to use these old lenses on the new digital SLR’s. Really there’s little to review. At about US$100 it’s a pretty expensive annulus, which is rather tight to get both onto my E500 and the lens, but it’s fun, and worth it if you have old OM lenses you want to bring in to the digital age.

I haven’t used a macro much, but here’s part of the sticker on one of my favourite Magic Hat beers…

mmmm Magic Hat beer, fresh from Vermont

I also too a few photos of the cats we have here, and the good ol’ National Geographic world map.

where I live right now

Winter is a comin’

There were wisps of snow as I walked to school this morning… and I’ve just taken delivery of my new snowboard!

Today it’s actually snowing…

snow outside my office window

Macbook Pro battery issues

This morning my macbook pro’s battery was clearly in trouble. It had been charging overnight, and was displaying 74%. I unplugged it for a while, and it went flat in half an hour. It then wouldn’t charge, remaining at 2-4% for an hour or so.

I found this article, showing how to reset the “system management controller.” I did this, and now the battery is charging as normal. No new battery for me! (for now at least)

UPDATE: Now my battery is completely screwed. iStat Pro tells me I have about 25% health and I usually get less than half an hour of charge. My computer tends to die randomly when the charge goes below half or so, so I just leave it plugged in all the time now. A trip to my local mac shop is order when I find time…

UPDATE AGAIN: Battery replaced for free!

Raw problems with Aperture

Olympus raw files for exposures over 3.2s come up looking all blown out in Aperture. The files are bigger than usual, so I guess they have some noise reduction information within them that Aperture doesn’t know what to do with.

illustrating the problem

Hopefully someone has a suggestion… and they did!

A solution is to convert to DNG files using Adobe’s DNG converter. A possible advantage of doing this for all files is that the DNG is about half the size of the equivalent ORF, a potentially huge saving on disk space. There are further dicussions about this around the place (e.g.).

Olympus 50-200 zoom lens review

Having just taken delivery of my brand spanking 14-54mm f2.8-3.5 lens to replace the factory one that came with my E-500, I realise I’ve never said anything more about the 50-200mm I got a while ago. So here’s a few comments from an amateur…

First off, the lens feels solid in the hand. It feels like a thousand bucks, which is good since that’s about what it’s worth. I just took it though Peru for three weeks and I think it survived all the dust admirably, especially since I used it more than the normal zoom, and we went places like Cerro Blanco, which is a combination of sand dune and desert. I think photos like the one below speak volumes for what one can do with a lens like this…

Child at the llama farm

So what are the bad things? The first downside (though maybe this applies to all lenses, I don’t know) is some reflections when pointed directly at bright lights (e.g. the sun). The way around this is obvious I guess… though I do like sunsets.

sunset in NY, note massive reflection

Another thing is some vignetting at medium zooms, like around 100mm. I’ve only noticed this recently in photos with even backgrounds, such as the sky so it’s not particularly obvious. The image below is at 117mm and f/5.6.dog nasca line with fading around the edges

Aside from those two things, I love this lens, and currently use it more than the normal 17-45mm (this may change with my new purchase however). I like that it feels solid, I like the sleeve tripod mount (which I use to carry it with sometimes. I don’t own a decent tripod yet, which you need for the weight of the lens), I like that I can get close to things without having to.

I think I’m finding that this lens is consistently sharper than my 14-54mm f/2.8-3.5, which has never really wowed me. I’ve recently become somewhat disillusioned with the Olympus ISO performance and picked up a D700 with a 50mm f/1.4G, but have kept the Olympus basically because the 4/3 2x crop means the 50-200mm is a great zoom to have, and way cheaper than anything comparable I could get for a FX Nikon.

So go on, buy it! However, I’m not any more than someone who likes taking nice pictures, so if you want a proper review by someone who knows there are some out there (e.g. here here and here).

MacBook Pro needs 2Gb

Were you cheap like me, and bought the cheaper of the two MacBook Pro’s? the one with only 1Gb of ram? tsk tsk…

As long as I’ve had it, I’ve been slightly disappointed with the performance of this supposedly lightning fast notebook. Recently I actually stopped to look at how the memory was doing with the Activity Monitor, and not surprisingly it was sitting on about 1Gb constantly… obviously short of RAM. It only takes running my standard everyday things to do it: Mail, Firefox, iCal, iTunes, Terminal, Emacs, maybe X as well, and it’s all over. And that’s without using iPhoto, Maple, some Python plotting windows or other miscellaneous stuff like rsync’ing 100Gb to my external drive for a backup…

So yesterday I put another Gb in, and voila! It’s a whole new computer, and does things when I ask it. So if you were cheap like me, go spend the $60 or so dollars it costs for a whole new machine!

Fancy phones and eBay scams

So in the aftermath of my Chicago trip I was in need of a new phone, and started trawling eBay for something. I quickly found the super fancy Nokia N95, a device that does pretty much everything, and is also a phone…

Next I found that some persons had a number of these phones, and were seemingly eager to move them at “fell of the back of a truck” prices. Thinking I could get a few, and sell them off I did the ol’ google on the supplied email address, and found that the phones probably didn’t fall off a truck, and probably don’t even exist. As outlined here and here, these are scams where people steal reputable eBayer’s accounts and then use them to steal your money.

Instead of a super flash phone, I settled for a repeat of my stealthy-yet-high-tech Nokia 6230i, hopefully I didn’t get scammed…

Olympus 50-200 lens

mmmm expensive…

I’ve just become the proud new owner of the Olympus 50-200mm f2.8-3.5 zoom lens. It feels very well built, as it should for something that costs about a thousand dollars and weighs about a thousand grams.

My first chance to play with it was at Niagara Falls, where I got the chance to let the lens do what it does best: zoom and have a short depth of field, without the need to lug a tripod amongst hundreds of other tourists. Here’s one of my favs.

niagara falls

The rest of the Niagara Falls pics are here.

back to the drawing board

This is the coolest whiteboard ever! The guy doesn’t seem all that excited about it unfortunately.

If you remember spending hours playing that old school game The Incredible Machine then you’ll love this…

and Trevor Mallard

New phone!

Haha I love new toys! Hot on the heels of my iPod follows the shiny Nokia 6230i, it does lots of cool things…one of which is take photos. It’s nice.

Below is a picture of my backyard, and the one taken at the cricket is also a phone pic. There are a few others here.

my backyard

toys and election

well another exciting weekend has passed. i figure if i keep trying to put in entries documenting what i did each week i’ll be able to look back and convince myself i haven’t wasted my life.

i finally bought an ipod, and can now back up my computer without having to exclude the pictures and other stuff. maybe it’ll excite me into riding my bike more too.

on saturday we watched the nz election on tv. the most exciting parts were when nobody won (just like in germany), peter dunne opened his victory speech by complaining about the media coverage, and some guy stole a plane and threatened to fly it into the skytower in auckland, classic.