July 29, 2010

Smile For The Camera!

About a week ago, I asked y'all for recommendations about a digital camera.  Well, I've made my purchase, and the winner is the Nikon Coolpix L22, in red so it matches my cellphone (note: while it does match my cellphone, that's not the reason I got it in red.  They didn't have black in stock).  It's not quite as hands-on as I'd prefer, but it was about $60 less than one that let me set the shutter speed manually.  I can live without that feature for $60, and I suspect that once I get into the users guide, I'll find there's plenty I'll be able to fiddle with.

It's 12MP with a 3.6x zoom... here's an example of its capabilities:

Hi, Rusty II!
This is a 4000x3000 picture, reduced down to 640x480, or a factor of 6.25.  2.7mb in size.  Pretty good quality, that.  Now, here's a 640x480 crop from the original, full-sized, picture:

If ever there was a picture that let you know that Rusty II isn't your normal yellow duckie, this is it.  He's actually cast iron, weighs maybe 1.5 pounds, and you can see the little pits and dimples that occurred when he was cast. 

Oh, and that's at normal zoom from about three two feet away, under overcast skies.  Like all point-and-shoot cameras I've ever used, it has a problem focusing on on something that's much closer. (...but see the UPDATE below!)

Me likey!

UPDATE:  Two things.
1) I've discovered something called "macro zoom."  Goodbye problems focusing on things close in.  Here's a macro zoom shot, 4000x3000, reduced to 640x480:

That's from about half a foot away, more or less.  Now here's the 640x480 crop from the full-resolution pic:

Yes, that's his left eye.  I probably won't be getting THAT close very often... kinda creepy, actually.
2) My media card reader may not be able to deal with a 4GB SD card.  Whoops.

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July 21, 2010

I'd Like Your Input

I'm looking for a good, relatively inexpensive ($120 in a brick'n'mortar store, or thereabouts), digital camera.  See, all these years that I've been posting photos of my duckies, I've been using either the Duck U. Bookstore's 3 megapixel Sony or Ph.Duck's 5 MP Samsung.

The thing is, I have absolutely no idea what makes a good camera anymore.  When I was working for CowPuters lo these many years ago, a 5 MP camera was the top of the line at the consumer level, and even then I knew that the ones we carried were... um... not so good.  I do know that all the megapixels in the world don't matter if the lens is crepe, and being able to zoom in on something from a mile away isn't useful if the camera can't do anything with the input.

So all you shutterheads, I need your advice!  What's a good camera for someone like me?  I've been looking at THIS one, but I really don't know if the one on the shelf right next to it is better, worse, or exactly the same... help?

Posted by: Wonderduck at 07:35 PM | Comments (7) | Add Comment
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July 15, 2010

Summer Days

Wednesday was probably the hottest day of the summer here in Duckford.  It got over 90ºF for what felt like the thirty-first day in row, but it was the oppressive humidity that really made it miserable.  Eh, it's summer in the upper Midwest, what do you expect, right?  That's the nature of the beast.

Wednesday night, it only got down to 77º, and though I didn't think it would be possible, the humidity got worse.  When I dragged myself into bed at midnight, it was still over 80 and the dewpoint was 76, according to the National Weather Service's station at the Duckford International Airport, which is just a couple of miles from Pond Central.

Then Thursday happened.  It was 86 and still thickly humid by noon... simply miserable.  Here's the bad part: that temperature was recorded inside the Duck U. Bookstore!  Yep, still no air conditioning.  Even with a fan blowing directly on me, because of the humidity I was still soaked with sweat.  Other people work in that sort of heat every day, I know... construction workers, for example... but they're paid more than me, and it's pretty much part of their job. 

Not so much for members of the Light Music Club
At 1215pm, the Bookstore closed for the day, the first time in the 6+ years I've worked there that we've shut down because it was hot.  Snow?  Of course.  Rain?  Yep yep, mostly because of power failure.  Heat?  Never before.  Most of the U's offices either closed or moved to the newest campus building, which has it's own air conditioning system, for the day.  Of course, it's not like we could pick the store up and go there ourselves. 

Hopefully the new a/c system for the U will be turned on Friday, as the Ops staff plan.  Cross your wingtips we don't blow any transformers or something like that...

UPDATE, FRIDAY 7/16:  It was cooler at the Duck U Bookstore, but not because the a/c was turned on.  Instead, it's because it actually got down to the low 60s overnight and a lot of the humidity went away.  Still, I'm glad I wasn't working today, and the a/c might still be fired up today.  It'd make working tomorrow a lot nicer...

ANOTHER UPDATE, SAME DAY:  They did try to turn the new chiller units on at Duck U this afternoon.  ComEd, bless their little hearts, told them that the transformer would be able to handle it.  Nope!  Transformer trashed damaged, new one scheduled for arrival on Tuesday.  Might even get the day off on Tuesday, because most of the campus is powered through that transformer, including the IT center, which means no internet and no phone service when they replace it.  We'll find out on Monday.

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July 08, 2010

The Pond Is Five!

When the Lord of MuNuVia, Pixy hisownbadself, sent me an invitation to join his growing blog empire, I had no idea that The Pond would still be a going concern five years later.  But yet, here we are!

Five years.  Phew.  Long time in blog terms, that. 

Anybody want some cake?

Posted by: Wonderduck at 06:51 AM | Comments (5) | Add Comment
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