Thursday, December 27, 2007

18 Ways To Be A Good Liberal (Wait, is that an oxymoron?)

1. You have to be against capital punishment, but support abortion on demand.

2. You have to believe that businesses create oppression, and governments create prosperity.

3. You have to believe that guns in the hands of law-abiding citizens are more of a threat than U.S. nuclear weapons technology in the hands of Chinese and North Korean communists.

4. You have to believe that there was no art before federal funding.

5. You have to believe that global temperatures are less affected by cyclical changes in the earth's climate and more affected by soccer moms driving SUV's.

6. You have to believe that gender roles are artificial, but being homosexual is natural.

7. You have to believe that the AIDS virus is spread by a lack of federal funding.

8. You have to believe that the same teacher who can't teach 4th-graders how to read is somehow qualified to teach those same kids about sex.

9. You have to believe that hunters don't care about nature, but PETA activists do.

10. You have to believe that self-esteem is more important than actually doing something to earn it.

11. You have to believe that Mel Gibson spent $25 million of his own money to make The Passion Of The Christ for financial gain only.

12. You have to believe the NRA is bad because it supports certain parts of the Constitution, while the ACLU is good because it supports certain parts of the Constitution.

13. You have to believe that taxes are too low, but ATM fees are too high.

14. You have to believe that Margaret Sanger and Gloria Steinem are more important to American history than Thomas Jefferson, Gen. Robert E. Lee, and Thomas Edison.

15. You have to believe that standardized tests are racist, but racial quotas and set-asides are not.

16. You have to believe that the only reason socialism hasn't worked anywhere it's been tried is because the right people haven't been in charge.

17. You have to believe that homosexual parades displaying drag, transvestites, and bestiality should be constitutionally protected, and manger scenes at Christmas should be illegal.

18. You have to believe that this message is a part of a vast, right wing conspiracy.

sent to me in an email

Friday, December 21, 2007

Sony A700 Conclusions - From Dpreview

Here is the final analysis from dpreviews -

Sony Alpha DSLR-A700 Review


Overall conclusion

The Alpha 700 was introduced as a complementary model to the Alpha 100; aimed more at the serious amateur and semi-professional photographer it enters a segment of the market which is buzzing with new models (EOS 40D, D300 and E-3). The A700 clearly has a lot of Minolta DNA (it's a natural successor to the popular Maxxum 7D) but also exhibits a range of development which can be attributed to the new development team that has come out of Sony's purchase of the Konica Minolta DSLR division.

Konica Minolta were the first manufacturer to put a sensor-shift Anti-Shake system into a digital SLR (again, in the 7D which shipped in early 2005), this same feature graces the A700 but has now been renamed 'Super SteadyShot', refined possibly since then but it works in exactly the same way. In our tests it worked well enough to make a difference providing somewhere between 1.0 and 1.5 stops of 'improvement' which it has to be said is somewhat less than Sony's claims.

One thing that is clear when you start shooting with the A700 is that Sony has worked hard on performance; it feels very responsive, button presses for menus or image playback occurring instantly and there's no feeling of lag when changing settings. Other performance criteria such as continuous shooting speed, buffering and write speeds were all very good, with a pretty blazing 34 MB/sec write speed with SanDisk Extreme IV cards. I should also make special mention of that new high resolution LCD monitor which really does make a difference to the whole shoot & review experience.

My primary gripes were around a couple of questionable decisions; firstly that RAW files already have noise reduction applied to them, this in effect means that the photographer can't treat RAW as the 'digital negative'. This subsequently removes the ability to successfully apply any third party noise reduction method (either now or in the future) or to make his or her own decisions about the balance between noise and NR. I understand that this is because a certain amount of noise reduction occurs very early in the image pipeline (at or around the sensor) but why that can't be simply disabled by choice is a curious to say the least.

The second oddity is the fact that this camera's base sensitivity appears to be ISO 200 (not ISO 100), subtly hinted by the fact that the Auto ISO range begins at 200 and supported by our own dynamic range tests. Sony managed to indicated that ISO sensitivities above 3200 were 'out of calibration' but not those below 200 (the trade-off below this point is highlight dynamic range). This gives rise to the rather ridiculous situation where most users (who try to stick to the lowest ISO wherever possible) will not only be shooting at a setting that doesn't produce the optimum image quality, but also losing a valuable stop of sensitivity at the same time.

With the gripes out of the way I have to say that overall image quality was very good, with the A700 producing as much resolution / detail as the competition at lower sensitivities and noise reduction keeping noise levels in check at higher sensitivities without losing too much detail (although we personally would prefer less luminance reduction and more chroma reduction, which is Nikon's approach). Color was predictable and neutral and tonal response was good without ever being over contrasty (nice roll-off in highlights from ISO 200 upwards).

Overall then the A700 is a good performer with good overall image quality with a nice range of features - even if on the negative side there are some quirky design decisions which may or may not affect you. Best of all though is the fact that it weighs in at the lower end of the price band for this category of DSLR, that makes it about $400 less than the Nikon D300 and $300 less than the Olympus E-3.

Detail (D-SLR)
Rating (out of 10)
Build quality 8.0
Ergonomics & handling 8.5
Features 9.5
Image quality 9.0
Performance (speed) 9.0
Value 8.5

Highly Recommended

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Taxes

The next time you hear a politician use the word 'billion' in a casual manner, think about whether you want the 'politicians' spending YOUR tax money.

A billion is a difficult number to comprehend, but one advertising agency did a good job of putting that figure into some perspective in one of its releases:

A. A billion seconds ago it was 1959.

B. A billion minutes ago Jesus was alive.

C. A billion hours ago our ancestors were living in the Stone Age.

D. A billion days ago no-one walked on the earth on two feet.

E. A billion dollars ago was only 8 hours and 20 minutes, at the rate our government is spending it.



While this thought is still fresh in our brain, let's take a look at New Orleans. It's amazing what you can learn with some simple division.



Louisiana Senator, Mary Landrieu (D), is presently asking the Congress for $250 BILLION to rebuild New Orleans. Interesting number, what does it mean?

A. Well, if you are one of 484,674 residents of New Orleans (every man, woman, child), you each get $516,528.

B. Or, if you have one of the 188,251 homes in New Orleans , your home gets $1,329,787.

C. Or, if you are a family of four, your family gets $2,066,012.

Washington, D.C .. HELLO!!! ... Are all your calculators broken??

Tax his land,
Tax his wage,
Tax his bed in which he lays.
Tax his tractor,
Tax his mule,
Teach him taxes is the rule.
Tax his cow,
Tax his goat,
Tax his pants,
Tax his coat.

Tax his ties,
Tax his shirts,
Tax his work,
Tax his dirt.

Tax his tobacco,
Tax his drink,
Tax him if he tries to think.

Tax his booze,
Tax his beers,
If he cries,
Tax his tears.

Tax his bills,
Tax his gas,
Tax his notes,
Tax his cash.

Tax him good and let him know
That after taxes, he has no dough.

If he hollers,
Tax him more,
Tax him until he's good and sore.

Tax his coffin,
Tax his grave,
Tax the sod in which he lays.
Put these words upon his tomb,
'Taxes drove me to my doom!'

And when he's gone,
We won't relax,
We'll still be after the inheritance TAX!!

Accounts Receivable Tax
Building Permit Tax
CDL License Tax
Cigarette Tax
Corporate Income Tax
Dog License Tax
Federal Income Tax
Federal Unemployment Tax (FUTA)
Fishing License Tax
Food License Tax
Fuel Perm it Tax
Gasoline Tax
Hunting License Tax
Inheritance Tax
Inventory Tax
IRS Interest Charges (tax on top of tax),
IRS Penalties (tax on top of tax),
Liquor Tax,
Luxury Tax,
Marriage License Tax,
Medicare Tax,
Property Tax,
Real Estate Tax,
Service charge taxes,
Social Security Tax,
Road Usage Tax (Truckers),
Sales Taxes,
Recreational Vehicle Tax,
School Tax,
State Income Tax,
State Unemployment Tax (SUTA),
Telephone Federal Excise Tax,
Telephone Federal Universal Service
Fee Tax,
Telephone Federal, State and Local Surcharge Tax,
Telephone Minimum Usage Surcharge Tax,
Telephone Recurring and Non-recurring Charges Tax,
Telephone State and Local Tax,
Telephone Usage Charge Tax,
Utility Tax,
Vehicle License Registration Tax,
Vehicle Sales Tax,
Watercraft Registration Tax,
Well Permit Tax,
Workers Compensation Tax.



STILL THINK THIS IS FUNNY?

Not one of these taxes existed 100 years ago, and our nation was the most prosperous in the world. We had absolutely no national debt, had the largest middle class in the world, and Mom stayed home to raise the kids.

What happened? Can you spell 'politicians!'

And I still have to 'press 1' for English.

sent to me by Anderson Nation

A John Glenn Quote

John Glenn

There were 39 combat related killings in Iraq in January.
In the fair city of Detroit there were 35 murders in the month of January.

That's just one American city,
about as deadly as the
entire war-torn country of Iraq.


When some claim that President Bush shouldn't
have started this war, state the following:


a. FDR led us into World War II.


b. Germany never attacked us; Japan did.

From 1941-1945, 450,000 lives were lost
an average of 112,500 per year.


c. Truman finished that war and started one in Korea

North Korea never attacked us.
From 1950-1953, 55,000 lives were lost.
an average of 18,334 per year.


d. John F. Kennedy started the Vietnam conflict in 1962.

Vietnam never attacked us.


e. Johnson turned Vietnam into a quagmire.

From 1965-1975, 58,000 lives were lost ..
an average of 5,80
0 per year.


f. Clinton went to war in Bosnia without UN or French consent.


Bosnia never attacked us.
He was offered Osama bin Laden's head on a platter three

times by Sudan and did nothing.
Osama has attacked us on multiple occasions.


g. In the years since terrorists attacked us , President Bush has liberated two countries, crushed the Taliban, crippled al-Qaida, put nuclear inspectors in Libya , Iran, and, North Korea
without firing a shot, and captured a terrorist who
slaughtered 300,000 of his own people.

The Democrats are complaining
about how long the war is taking.


But Wait


It took less time to take Iraq than it took Janet Reno
to take the Branch Davidian compound.

That was a 51-day operation..


We've been looking for evidence for chemical weapons
in Iraq for less time than it took Hillary Clinton to find
the Rose Law Firm billing records.


It took less time for the 3rd Infantry Division and the
Marines to destroy the Medina Republican Guard

than it took Ted Kennedy to call the police after his
Oldsmobile sank at Chappaquiddick.
It took less time to take Iraq than it took
to count the votes in Florida!!!


Our Commander-In-Chief is doing a GREAT JOB !
The Military moral
e is high!


The biased media hopes we are too ignorant
to realize the facts

But wait!

There's more!

JOHN GLENN (on the Senate floor - January 26, 2004)
Some people still don't
understand why military personnel
do what they do for a
living. This exchange between
Senators John Glenn and Senator Howard Metzenbaum
is worth reading. Not only is it a pretty impressive
impromptu speech, but it's
also a good example of one
man's explanation of why men and women in the armed
services do what they do for a living.


This IS a typical, though sad, example of what
some who have never
served think of the military.


Senator Metzenbaum (speaking to Senator Glenn):
'How can you run for Senate when you've nev
er held a real job?'
Senator Glenn (D-Ohio):

'I served 23 years in the United States Marine Corps.
I served through two wars. I flew 149 missions.
My plane was hit by anti-aircraft fire on 12 different
occasions. I was in the space program. It wasn't my
checkbook, Howard; it was my life on the line. It was
not a nine-to-five job, where I took time off to take the
daily cash receipts to the bank.'

'I ask you to go with me . . as I went the other day...
to a veteran's hospital a
nd look those men ..
with their mangled bodies .. in the eye, and tell THEM
they didn't hold a job!
You go with me to t he Space Program at NASA
and go, as I have gone, to the widows and Orphans
of Ed White, Gus Grissom and Roger Chaffee...
and you look those kids in the eye and tell them
that their DADS didn't hold a job.


You go with me on Memorial Day and you stand in
Arlington National Cemetery, where I have more friends
buried than I'd like to remember, and you watch
those waving flags.


You stand there, and you think about this nation,
and you tell ME that those people didn't have a job?

What about you?'
For those who don't remember

During W.W.II, Howard
Metzenbaum was an attorney
ho was representing the Communist Party in the USA.

Now he's a Senator!

If you can read this, thank a teacher.
If you are reading it in English thank a Veteran.

sent to me by a great friend and guardsman Highpower

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Omphaloskepsis 17

Who first decided that the round thing
coming out of a chickens butt would be something worth eating?
^

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Moblog Test 2

Still checking out this moblogging thing.

Test of Moblogging

I purchased a new smartphone just the other day. It's the BlackjackII and I switched my service to AT&T. We'll see how that goes. I used to carry a phone AND a Palm Pilot. This is my way of making things simpler and carrying fewer devices. With this new phone I will now occasionally make posts while away from home. This is called mobile blogging or moblogging. These posts will usually be very breif and quite often will only be a photo of my current location or activity. Be patient as I don't know what kind of learning curve there will be.

^

The Breck Girls Are Popular

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Perfect Gift For Him

With Christmas less than two (2) weeks away I thought the time was right to start posting some gift suggestions. Women pay attention! I have just found the perfect gift for that special man in your life.

Honestly, what man couldn't use and appreciate this special remote? Hell, I'd like one for every room in the house.
^

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Omphaloskepsis 16

Who is the lucky person that puts out the thin ice signs?
^

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Makes me Appreciate...Does it you?

Let's all remember, support and appreciate our brave troops!


You stay up for 16 hours
He stays up for days on end.


You take a warm shower to help you wake up.
He goes days or weeks without running water.


You complain of a 'headache', and call in sick.
He gets shot at as others are hit, and keeps moving
forward.


You put on your anti war/don't support the troops shirt, and go meet up with your friends.
He still fights for your right to wear that shirt.


You make sure you're cell phone is in your pocket.
He clutches the cross hanging on his chain next to his dog tags.


You talk trash about your 'buddies' that aren't with you.
He knows he may not see some of his buddies again.


You walk down the beach, staring at all the pretty girls.
He patrols the streets,
searching for insurgents and terrorists.


You complain about how hot it is.
He wears his heavy gear, not daring to take off his helm
et to wipe his brow.


You go out to lunch, and complain because the restaurant got your order wrong.
He doesn't get to eat today.




Your maid makes your bed and washes your clothes.

He wears the same things for weeks, but makes sure his weapons are clean.





You go to the mall and get your hair redone.
He doesn't have time to brush his teeth today.


You're angry because your class ran 5 minutes over.

He's told he will be held over an extra 2 months.




You call your girlfriend and set a date for tonight.
He waits for the mail to see if there is a letter from home.


You hug and kiss your girlfriend, like you do everyday.
He holds his letter close and smells his love's perfume.


You roll your eyes as a baby cries.
He gets a letter with pictures of his new child, and wonders if they'll ever meet.


You criticize your government, and say that war never solves anything.
He sees the innocent tortured and killed by their own people and remembers why he is fighting.


You hear the jokes about the war, and make fun of men like him.
He hears the gunfire, bombs
and screams of the wounded.


You see only what the media wants you to see.
He sees the broken bodies lying around him.


You are asked to go to the store by your parents. You don't.
He does exactly what he is
told even if it puts his life in danger.


You stay at home and watch TV.
He takes whatever time he is given to call, write home,
sleep, and eat.


You crawl into your soft bed, with down pillows, and get comfortable.
He tries to sleep but gets woken by mortars and helicopters all night long.


In light of every thing going on in our lives this makes most things seem pretty minimal.

sent to me by a great friend and guardsman Highpower

^

Sony A700 Conclusions - From Imaging Resource

Here is the final analysis from Imaging Resource on the Sony Alpha A700.

With Sony's new Alpha A700, the digital SLR camera market just got even hotter. Sony and Minolta fans have needed this camera, and Sony has delivered. The Maxxum 7D was a great design worth upgrading to keep up with advancing technology, and it seems the Sony A700 will be a more than competent contender in the market. Better, our experience says it should help photographers make great images, which is more what a camera is about than doing well in some spec comparison table.

Great control placement, a good fit, new lenses and accessories combine with improvements in the AF system, noise performance, image stabilization, and overall speed to create what should be an easy choice for enthusiasts.

We're excited to get a production version so we can see what this mature design from two of the biggest names in electronics and photography can produce.