Posts Tagged ‘resolution’

Tiger in the Tank

12 February 2010

Dear J-

Somewhere along the way innocent turned into guileless, guileless into naive, and naive into stupid: the cynics of the world will assert that the world isn’t fair and that if you’re not out to get it, then it’s out to get you. Naive is a word associated with a Candide-brand of optimism that everything will eventually turn out for the best. I understand it from a change perspective: you’ve got to be willing to take action to make things happen because you can’t rely on anyone other than yourself to do what you want.

It’s the Machiavellian qualities that folks justify that make me nuts; “by any means necessary” is one rallying cry I’ve heard plenty of before. Is there any reason sufficient to abandon tolerance and dignity in the face of desperation? I suppose it’s a personal value; the best of us can spin compelling reasons for the most ridiculous actions when given the right motivation; we tell ourselves it’s just the once but it only gets easier and easier every time we do it.

I haven’t put my finger on it exactly but i think much of my frustrations lie in not having said that things bother me; if I don’t speak up, there’s no way to change them. It’s an admirable quality to be able to assert yourself un-forcefully yet effectively, and one that I clearly haven’t mastered (or even attempted). The road to recovery starts with recognition, so I’ll make it a resolution (hey, it’s not too late for me; while the rest of you are seeing red this Sunday, I’ll be seeing it for a different reason, Year of the Tiger) to not let these things build up inside.

Mike

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Just Maintain It

5 January 2010

Dear J-

At this point the bike is waiting on a lot of deferred maintenance: the right pedal has lost a fair number of bearings, though I haven’t had a pedal fail on me outright, that will be the second set of pedals I’ve gone through on this bike. It’s still better than the first one, which broke at the bottom bracket, but I’m breaking things I never did when I was riding to school: one chain, two right pedals, and the stem. The answer is not, as I might want, a new bike (my imagination, or does the Abio look a lot like the Beixo?) that I’ll just end up breaking like this one.

The Sube’s got a lot of miles on it (although thanks to carpools and vanpools, not as many as you might think for a 1997: 130K, give or take. It is the car I learned to drive stick on and consequently that first month filled with burning clutch smell is now starting to catch up as even mildly aggressive throttle will result in the clutch slipping, revs building, and me petrified of trying to get up to speed. It’s another vehicle that deserves more than it’s gotten (the tires are probably marginal now, as I haven’t replaced them since they got slashed in Davis nearly ten years ago, and if I keep putting off replacing the battery it’s going to strand me somewhere through no fault of its own).

We live in such a disposable society; it’s cheaper to discard than mend. To impress a girl I liked once I fixed her Panasonic-branded Walkman; it was easy to crack open and diagnose (the single-layer circuit board had broken a corner off; all I had to do was bridge the gap with a few soldered wires. Another friend found out and brought over a Sony, which I struggled to get open, and then failed to fix as the build was even more compact. I’m still amazed at those who can open us up and tinker around with the insides — we can transplant organs nearly as easily as swapping engines in a car now. Yet in the end it seems the body heals itself, and the maintenance we end up performing is on our own (exercise, reflection, resolution) which makes us a perfect target for New Years hopes.

Mike

Micro 4/3rds

14 September 2008

Dear J-

Panasonic have announced the G1, which has a Four-Thirds-sized sensor and no opto-mechanical path filled with prisms, screen, and flappy mirror directing light from the lens up to your eye.  If you’ve been following the micro 4/3rds initiative at all, they’ve taken the next logical step following the implementation of Live View — using a direct read from the imaging sensor for framing and shot setup prior to taking the image.

If you accept the camera evolutionary tree as being one where it “evolves” towards the SLR — a single lens being used for both viewing and shooting — through such branches as folding pocket cameras (separate optical viewfinders), range/viewfinders (again, the separate yet now focus-coupled view), and TLRs (one lens for shooting, one lens for viewing) — this could be viewed as the next rung up.  With a SLR, you need a large prism and mirror to provide full-frame coverage at an acceptable magnification.  The reduction in weight from taking that large chunk of glass off the top of the body is one thing, but now Panasonic have said that the electronic viewfinder that replaces the optical path actually has superior magnification, if not resolution, to a typical SLR viewfinder.

The proof is in the eye of the beholder, though, and since I haven’t had much experience with EVFs (aside from the poor one in the LC1), I’ll reserve judgement until I get my eye up to one, but I will say it does sound promising.  It uses a variant of digital projector technology — liquid crystal on silicon — that’s been proven to have a high fill rate (e.g. you won’t get much, if any, of a “screen door effect” looking at the border between individual pixels).  Aside from the resolution (1.4 million dots — assuming that all are being used for each color, as it’s a sequential-color technology, that makes it 1366 x 1024, or roughly the same resolution captured by my first digital camera, a Sony DSC-D770), there’s interesting tricks you can play — estimating the effect of shutter blur by integrating a view over time is something flat-out impossible with optical viewfinders.  It’s why I believe that it’s another evolutionary step up.

One thing that hasn’t been addressed yet, though, is how they’ll deal with lens design.  The two zooms that have been announced with the body are still bulkier than I’d like, and they’ve dropped any connection with Leica.  With no mirror box to design around you’d expect to see some kind of return to small, symmetric designs, but there’s been no word on whether or not those designs, which lend themselves to oblique rays, will be suited for digital sensors.  Leica’s own M8 used off-set microlenses to compensate.  Plus, as what seems to be a camera system to entice folks into their first step up the imaging chain, they’ll be necessarily zoom-heavy, and I’m not sure that the system of small primes I envision will be implemented soon.  Perhaps we’ll be blessed with mechanical adaptors before long for the Contax G and Leica M lenses, though.

Mike