Plane Panorama

Today was the day to test out the new little digital camera. It’s been about 4 years since I bought a new camera. Plenty has changed and improved. This time I decided to go with the Sony DSC-TX9. This is a fine device. Uploading photos to my Mac is a little different than before. But it works. So, I went out to my friendly neighborhood airport to test the panorama function. You simply press the shutter button and turn to the right. The camera automatically takes the photos and assembles them into a finished piece. Take a look by clicking on the photo to open it in a separate window which will give you the entire sweep.

This was a challenging test because of the low angle of the sun, the different light levels, and the subject matter. You see a little bit of lens flare on the right of the frame. This is not the camera’s fault. In fact, it dealt with it very well, exposing for the bright sun and somehow still capturing the details in that last plane. In a word: impressive. I would recommend this camera for all your general photo needs. It’s barely the size of a deck of cards. With a single SD card you can shoot about 500 photos. The battery is easy to slip in and out for recharge. Not bad for one low price. Enjoy the sights.

Published in: on October 31, 2010 at 10:41 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Jim Croce’s songs

Remember when music was intelligible? When you could understand the lyrics? When the music was produced by people playing instruments as opposed to computers regurgitating digital samples of who knows what? Whether you remember or not, may I suggest thumbing through some old vinyl or surfing down through the download device of your choice to Mr. Jim Croce.

Croce was a guy with talent for the ironic. You’ve heard his songs in all manner of venues, but take a moment to listen to them on their own. Maybe in your car or sitting on the porch with a nice cocktail. One of my favorites is “Two Less Footsteps.” The man gets it spot on here. The song tells its story, moves along like an ambling freight train, delivering a wry smile and clever grin before it’s over.

I’m not sure who produces this kind of music today. Maybe no one. At least, not in English. (In Spanish I can recommend Julietta Venegas for one.) Too much doom and gloom. Too much bass, not enough skill, and precious little irony or finesse. Your suggestions to rectify the hole in my present music library would be much appreciated.

Published in: on October 30, 2010 at 3:13 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Fall Foliage Flight

The leaves have started to turn here in Pennsylvania. That means it was time for a flight to check them out from a higher perspective. First things first, and that means a solid flight plan. Of course, Mr. Vernon Fletcher offered his help. Here he is in action.

Note the seriousness of Mr. Fletcher’s countenance. He doesn’t fool around when it comes to chart stabilization or Coca-Cola sipping. Anyway, flight plan properly made, it was off to the skies. I headed west to the Allegheny Mountains and was not disappointed. Take a look.

And check out this winding lake between the hills.

I’m sure there will be another couple of weeks of fall colors to be seen. I’ll be up there, crisscrossing the area in search of nature’s glory. It’s worth every cent.┬áHere’s a look at Altoona Airport from about 3000 feet.

Another couple of hours in the log book. Don’t forget to watch your airspeed, look out for other traffic, and always do your checklist.

Published in: on October 13, 2010 at 11:54 am  Leave a Comment  
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Getting Spacey

I ambled through several bookstores last evening. My how things have changed. Over the past couple of years I did notice a thinning of the ranks of books on the shelves, an increase in general merchandise, and the ever present smell of coffee. However, last night the point hit home hard. There are fewer books than ever in some of the major chain stores I visited. More space is dedicated to presenting electronic readers to the typically paper-book-buying public. In one location, fully 20% of the floor space was occupied by long counters with only two or three of the devices on display. That’s a lot of real estate that used to be filled with examples of the printed word.

Electronic readers are on the march, and rightly so. They offer instant purchases on the fly, without having to spend time going to and from the bookstore. They have the ability to increase the size of the text, contain an internal dictionary, and are lighter than traditionally published works. Furthermore, the ability to tote many large volumes within a single unit is wonderful for people who are reading several different tomes at one time.

At the same time, I’m sad to see bookstores waning. I’ve always thought of a trip to the bookstore as an adventure, a mission to find treasure or discover a secret. Searching with an electronic unit is more akin to checking airline fares than spelunking through the cave of the book master. But these are romantic notions from a previous age. Todays new readers seem unaffected by such quaint ideas. Price and selection count above all and the bricks and mortar stores can’t compete with digital inventory in the sky.

Long live the book! In whatever form. Read, it’s good for you.

Published in: on October 12, 2010 at 10:55 am  Leave a Comment  
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