November 25, 2014

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via SFGate:

 

Vasquez finally notified the Giants at about 2:20 p.m. PDT that Sandoval had chosen Boston. Sandoval also phoned Giants assistant general manager Bobby Evans to tell him personally.

 

“It was somewhat of an emotional phone call,” Evans said. “He was overwhelmed with this process but said he was ready for a new challenge and wanted to inform us of that.”

 

“He’s been such an important part and integral part of this organization for a long time. He was certainly the talked-about prospect in the system, a year or two prior to his callup. He made a big splash on the scene. All that he’s accomplished here, it was a terrific story that he wrote while he was here. It is hard. It rally hasn’t sunk in yet.” 

 

Evan said he, general manager Brian Sabean, manager Bruce Bochy and team president Larry Baer all reached out to Sandoval during the negotiations. Several Giants teammates phoned him, too. Evans said when he spoke to Sandoval on Saturday, “You could tell Pablo was really laboring over this decision. I felt the sincerity of his efforts to try to make the right the decision. He was really contemplating what was best for his family, the way he put it.”

Good for Panda. I’m really stoked for him. 100 Million for 5 years of playing and he’ll be free again to go wherever with a few more years left in play. 

 

Pablo has been my favorite player since my first SF Giants game in late-2008 when I first moved there. I’ve cheered him on for dozens of games from right behind 3rd base and his game attendance, power hitting and quick moves are really great. He’s contributed greatly to an awesome team but the Giants will find a replacement and the coaching staff will fill the hole well. They’re ready for this and Pablo will be going to the Red Sox who have such a history and a club that is full of tradition that he’ll have a great time. I’m not sure if he’s ready for those cold October games but we’ll see. I’m sure he’s getting off the plane in Boston in a couple of hours and wishing he had bought a heavier coat.

 

It’s been a good run. Good for him.

November 25, 2014

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via TheBoldItalic:

Looks like Pablo Sandoval is on his way out of San Francisco after he decided he liked Boston’s money better than the nearly identical sum of money the Giants offered him (5 year contract worth $95-$100 million). But hey, maybe Pablo is tired of clam chowder in SF and wants to go to Boston to enjoy … clam chowder? Nevermind. San Franciscans are already trying to figure out what to do with their Panda hats.

 

You’re not alone, buddy. The #whattodowithmypandagear trend kicked off this morning. (As did the first Panda Red Sox art. Jeez … that hurts to see.)

I don’t get this actually. I’m first of all, a San Francisco Giants fan and second, a Pablo Sandoval Fan. I’ll for sure go to a Red Sox game next year to see him play but still go to 5+ SF Giants games because I’m still a huge fan of the team.

 

In fact, last week I ordered my 2014 World Series authentic jersey w/ the number 48 on the back. I have a 2010 Sandoval World Series Jersey as well. I’m even prouder to wear the jersey because Sandoval was a big player in this year’s World Series race and, as a Giant he deserves the respect and admiration. I have no issue with him moving on and will wear the 48 numbers with pride going forward.

 

November 24, 2014

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It’s been a while since I posted a home setup of my computer desk and since I cleaned up last week, everything looks nice and a photo was in order. I’m still on the fence about the Retina iMac although it seems like a very appealing upgrade and the iPad pictured has been replaced by the iPad Air 2 (Gold) so I guess this photo is already out of date? Oh well.

It was back in 2011 that I went from a mobile only setup to an iMac + MacBook and haven’t looked back. iMac + MacBook Air was my setup but then I started editing RAW photos with my Olympus and now editing 4K Video so the MacBook Pro being the only notebook Apple makes with a dedicated GPU, I upgraded. The setup is still pretty simple. 

  1. iMac 27” Late 2012 w/ Core i7 Processor and 1 TB Fusion Drive. It also has 24GB of RAM
  2. MacBook Pro 15” Late 2013 w/ Core i7 Processor and 512 GB SSD. It has 16GB of RAM and the faster GPU
  3. I use the AudioEngine DAC plugged up to the AudioEngine 2.0 system. Sound is crisp and these can get very loud. I was looking for accuracy and not loudness and it’s nice these have both
  4. I keep two LaCie D2 Quadra drives (FW800, not Thunderbolt) each with aftermarket WD Green drives both at 3 Terabytes. These are local Time Machine backup + storage of media I’m working with in LightRoom or Final Cut Pro at the time. They stay half-full pretty much at all times.
  5. I have the Magic Trackpad but use the Magic Mouse more mostly for Civilization and Sim City game play where a mouse is better. 
  6. The Docs for iPhone & iPad are Twelve South and I think the MacBook Doc is Twelve South or Griffin, I got it for free a few years ago at Macworld.
  7. Although not a part of the setup, I have a Roomba 770 that cleans the house twice a week at 8AM and serves as my alarm clock on those days
Out of sight is an HP multi-function WiFi Printer, Synology NAS with 12 terabytes of storage, Cisco ISR, Cisco Gigabit Switch, Two Unifi 2.4Ghz Base Stations and two more 4 terabyte drives attached to the Synology that hold more backups. I keep those in the basement out of sight chugging away to keep the network going.
 
Notable upgrades TBD would be Retina iMac but I’m waiting I think for the next revision (1 more year with this one) and I’m very enthusiastically hoping for the Haswell upgrade to my MacBook Pro with more GPU power to support more 4K image editing. 

New Home Setup

November 24, 2014

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Another great piece on SixColors:

I’m with Marco. I have always appreciated using my iPhones as they were born, a naked robotic core with no adornment. And I’ve never dropped one. But I’ve been using an Apple iPhone 6 leather case for the last couple of weeks, and really liking it.

Yes, it’s true—the curved glass on the iPhone 6 screen is glorious, and the case completely blunts that feature. However, the leather also makes the entire device more grippable.

My God, yes. Since 2007, I’ve owned every single iPhone released and I buy 1-2 cases per iPhone to try out and each time, I go back to my old ways of a naked phone in my pocket, car dock and home dock. Mostly because cases make the iPhone un-dockable and un-pocketable. Silicone cases get stuck in my jean pockets and make the slick phone hard to remove and the cases make the iPhone not compatible with every car / desk dock I’ve ever used (and I LOVE docks).

The (red) Leather case for iPhone 6 is so thin, adds a great grip, is pocketable and works with all of my docks including the awesome 12 South iPhone dock that is currently on my desk.

I went case-less last week for a day and while I LOVED the naked iPhone’s feel and comfort, I missed the case and wanted it back.

Is this the perfect iPhone case or are our phones finally so thin that a case actually improves their functionality?

November 24, 2014

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I’ve always loved RC Cars and the radio helicopters but now that video cameras are getting much smaller (see Hero 4) and copter parts are cheaper, I decided to grab something not too fancy to learn more about this hobby. There’s also a group at my office who meets once a month with over 10 copters so I have a small support network to get my feet wet. 

This is the Walkera Scout X4, one of the few copters that supports iOS devices (most support Android only and some Windows Tablets). I’ll post more as I learn more about the equipment and plan upgrades. Note: i’ve already ordered more landing gear and blades because this thing has a nice learning curve. 

PB210005-2

PB210009-2

PB210012-2

PB210013-2

PB210017-2

PB210019-2

PB210021-2

PB210022-2

November 21, 2014

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via Jalopnik:

If we take a “generation” of cars to be somewhere in the range of 10-20 years, then I think what we’re seeing today at the Paris Auto Show, and what we’ll be seeing in the next year or so, is the vanguard of the last generation of cars where you can assume, by default, that the cars are intended to be driven by a person.

I wrote on the subject back in July but can agree with the author of this piece. The future of driverless cars is inevitable but luckily, the next 10-20 years will be very exciting. My kids may not care about the car that takes them to and from their 9-5 job (if those are even still a thing in 2030) but I’ll still keep my 2025 Audi S4 in the garage for those fun Sunday drives on roads that still allow driver-controlled automobiles.

November 20, 2014

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I spent 5 days in Poland with one of those in Warsaw and the rest in Łódź. For Americans, you can poorly pronounce the city as wooej. My company has an office here and there were meetings to be had. First of all, Poland is an inexpensive country to visit, not much to do or see if you’re a beer lover but a lot to take in if you have any interest in the 20th century history of Europe specifically World War 1 & 2 and the cold war along with the super power of Communist Russia. Everything about this area feels like you’re back in time. 

Unfortunately, work was 8AM to 7PM almost daily with after work dinners planned so the time I was able to actually go out and photograph was extremely thin. I spent in total 3 hours by myself roaming around and the weather was 35F, I didn’t see the sun at any time as it was low-level overcast, clouds and fog with bursts of rain most of the time.

It reminds me of winter in San Francisco but the sun never comes out. I’ll probably come back but not any time soon so that’s why taking as many photos as I could was so valuable. 

Here are a few of my favorites and as always, the rest are on Flickr.

Łódź - Poland

View from my Hotel room, DoubleTree Hilton. An active nuclear plant in the background

Breakfast in Łódź Poland

Breakfast at the hotel, runny eggs pickles, cottage cheese, salty ham and sausage.

Exploring - Lodz, Poland

Bikes are not as common here as in western Europe but still there are dedicated lanes.

Exploring - Lodz, Poland

Exploring - Lodz, Poland

Exploring - Lodz, Poland

Exploring - Lodz, Poland

The Soviet style buildings are literally everywhere. Beautiful but also cold.

Exploring - Lodz, Poland

Exploring - Lodz, Poland

View of the massive public works project for a city center, train station, bus depot and museums.

Exploring - Lodz, Poland

Exploring - Lodz, Poland

There are hundreds of abandoned textile factories with overgrowth of vegetation 

Exploring - Lodz, Poland

Abandoned mills.

Exploring - Lodz, Poland

Exploring - Lodz, Poland

Exploring - Lodz, Poland

Team Dinner - Lodz, Poland

Team Dinner - Lodz, Poland

Beats, Potato, Mayo and Pickled Herring

Team Dinner - Lodz, Poland

Team Dinner - Lodz, Poland

Making soup with Ham, Pickles, Sauerkraut and other veggies

Team Dinner - Lodz, Poland

Meatballs (made by yours truly), very fatty beef with bread crumbs, picked and various cheeses

Team Dinner - Lodz, Poland

Lodz Poland @ Night

Lodz Poland @ Night

Our team had an outing and found this awesome mural.

Lodz Poland @ Night

Night out in Lodz Poland

Night out in Lodz Poland

Night out in Lodz Poland

Night out in Lodz Poland

Night out in Lodz Poland

Aside from the fact McDonalds is everywhere, you have to really love Fish, Beets, pickled veggies and Pilsener beer to like this country. Most fish is pickled or heavily salted. Fish Pate is everywhere. Most of the sandwiches are very cheap in ingredients with bologna and maybe some cured ham. I enjoyed eating the food but my body did not

It was a fun place to visit. I hope that next time I have a weekend to explore and some more sunshine.

November 19, 2014

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via VanityFair:

But then again my reaction stems from the fact that I am looking at Millenials from the POV of a member of one of the most pessimistic and ironic generations that has ever roamed the earth—Generation X—so when I hear Millenials being so damaged by “cyber-bullying” that it becomes a gateway to suicide—it’s difficult for me to process. And even my boyfriend agrees that Generation Wuss is overly sensitive, especially when dealing with criticism. When Generation Wuss creates something they have so many outlets to display it that it often goes out into the world unfettered, unedited, posted everywhere, and because of this freedom a lot of the content displayed is rushed and kind of shitty and that’s OK—it’s just the nature of the world now—but when Millennials are criticized for this content they seem to collapse into a shame spiral and the person criticizing them is automatically labeled a hater, a contrarian, a troll. 

Very thought provoking piece. if you were born between 1982 and 2004, it’s difficult not to see yourself in at least one of the traits the author outlines and that’s okay. Like every generation that proceeds us, we are blamed for the future problems our world will experience but Im interested to see how the first millennial functions in the White House. Luckily, we have another 15-20 years before that happens.

November 19, 2014

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I’ve taken close to 8,000 photos this year with the Olympus EM-1 since it’s arrival in February. I ordered a few lenses for it which were added to my previous collection of lenses (outlined in this post). 

 

There are a few annoyances discovered after so much intimage use with a camera like this that you rarely pick up in a review. Without a lot of planning or notes, I’m documenting a few here and I believe most of these can be fixed via software updates. In fact, some of these issues were supposedly already fixed but are recurring almost daily.

 


 

The biggest annoyance comes with the AF (auto-focus) system. It is an issue with every single M43 lens. Scenario:

  1. Turn on camera
  2. Hold shutter half-way down
  3. …no auto-focus
  4. Take photo, no preview is shown of the photo (despite having 2 second previews enabled)
  5. Disable and re-enable AF, still no auto focus and then power cycle camera 3 times and eventually it works. 

This issue occurrs once per day and usually I’m getting shots as I see them with no time to spare. 

 

Second is a problem ocurring a few times which is an error on screen that my SD card is “Write Protected”. I usually confirm it’s not and the only fix is to enter the camera’s menu and format the card which of course leads to a deletion of photos so without a laptop present, I’m unable to save the photos already taken. I heard this is due to turning the camera off while wrting photos to the card. The EM-1 will remain on with off switch toggled while writing the SD card so it looks like a serious bug that needs to be resolved. This has only happened 4 times this year.

 

The Battery grip & using both batteries installed. I have the menu setting confirmed to use both of the batteries that are installed (one in the body and one in the battery grip). However, after a few hours of shooting, my camera reads low battery and turns off. I remove the battery grip and it shows full bars again. Basically, it’s using the grip battery and not the one in the battery. Not a big deal because the grip is mostly for comfort, not for long-life (I’d just carry 2 batteries if I didn’t want the extra grip). It’s just a minor annoyance.

 

UI Lattency and sluggishness. Boot time varies almost daily and changing settings on the fly rarely feel smooth and reliable. This should have been tweaked quite a bit for a product nearing 18 months old but it’s not and Olympus really needs to step it up and make the interface much faster.

 

Another note on Auto Focus. Yes, I can select the AF Point that I’d like to focus on or switch to manual focus but you’d assume AF would work fairly well nearly all of the time. Canon and Nikon nail this down very well. The EM-1 rarely focuses on faces and even when doing the classic…point directly at subject to focus then move to the right (for rule of thirds). Most often, it focuses on something not in the center and I have to delay my subject’s smile or pose to try AF a few more times before finally giving up and choosing the focus point via the D-pad. It takes a lot of time and I imagine if this was a sport photography situation, I’d miss a ton of opportunities for shots.

 

The camera takes fantastic photos and it’s very comfortable. The glass so far is high quality (from Olympus and Panasonic) but it seems that mostly it’s Olympus software that really needs a lot of work. If they can work out these bugs, the camera will be a joy to use. Fortunately, it’s only in high-stress situations that these problems cause an issue. If I’m out with a group taking many photographs and changing settings every minute, it counts quite a bit an failure rate seems to go up exponentially. Either way, it shouldn’t matter what situation I’m in. The camera should just work reliably all of the time. AF issues would make more sense if I was using non-standard lenses but these are Olympus made M43 lenses on an Olympus M43 body…in fact, this is the flagship Olympus M43 body. It should behave like one.

 

Imagine if Canon’s 1Dx had these issues. It would be catstrophic.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

November 17, 2014

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via Six Colors:

But what have I learned? A lot. Some of these things may be obvious, and some may be slightly corny platitudes. But I hope a few will be useful to you. I’m far from an expert on this stuff, even after all these years, so I hope documenting my mindset when writing here might at least serve as a good reference for myself in the future.

and

I love video streaming services. I subscribe to more of them than I probably should, considering that I am now technically a gentleman of leisure. But the constant disappearing of content sours the entire experience.

Fully agreed. I own everything I want to watch. I rented a movie last night for the first time in a few years. I did subscribe to Netflix DVD (Blu-Ray) service 2 months ago and am very happy with it. Netflix HD streaming, 1080P purchases via iTunes and pirated content never compare to the crisp beauty of physical media in the form of Blu-Ray. My only complaint with Blu-Ray media is that I can’t skip the theatrical previews.

I’ve had friends come to my house to watch shows that I own and are stored on my NAS that were recently removed from Netflix before they were done with the series. I often joke about being the community Blockbuster when the cloud finally gets locked down after Zombie Apocalypse strikes.

Until i can pay $100 a month for every movie, TV show and album every produced (even indies), I won’t be switching over from owning content. Glad I’m not alone.