My subscription to Life expired, but I still have a subscription to Mad.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Surfin': Hamming on the Edge


This week, the denizens of the Surfin' visit blogs intended for ham radio hackers and makers.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

groundhog day


Saw my first groundhog of the year today.

The property around my workplace is an old apple orchard and groundhogs have the run of the place during the warm weather, but until today, they were hibernating.

I saw only one today, but I expect his friends and family will be up and around in another day or two.

The photo above was taken with my new Canon PowerShot SD940 IS. I was about 100 feet away from the groundhog when I took the photo with the camera's built-in zoom lens set to maximum zoom. Not bad!

Friday, March 19, 2010

Surfin': Hodgepodge Is Just Another Word for Mishmash


This week, the Web surfers update past installments of Surfin' to bring you the latest and greatest concerning a hodgepodge/mishmash of radio-related topics.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

new PowerShot continued

Continuing from yesterday's post about my new Canon PowerShot SD941 IS digital camera...

I don't know how long it took to charge the battery because I was distracted using TurboTax. It was less than two hours, but I cannot be more specific than that.

I am very impressed with the camera's power supply. I have been playing with the camera off and on for four days and it is still running on the original battery charge.

While I was checking out the various shooting modes, Oliver, our eldest feline, curled up next to me on the couch. It was a perfect time to try out the camera's Digital Macro mode.

I took a handful of shots of Oliver with the camera two or three inches away from him. The photo at the top of the post is his nose and whiskers (watered down to 72dpi for Internet display). I think it is impressive even at that low resolution --- as you may imagine, the original is much more impressive.

Some people have complained that selecting modes is more difficult with this camera as compared to earlier Canons, like my PowerShot A520, which has a dial to select modes. The SD941 IS has a three-position switch that selects the automatic mode, other modes, and the video mode; place the switch in the other mode position and you select the desired other mode using the camera's menu system.

With the dial selector, I learned the hard way that you can inadvertently change modes just by handling the camera. I often found the camera in the wrong mode --- typically, not in the automatic mode --- after taking a shot. This problem goes away with the SD941 IS.

I am still exploring the camera. I have not even tried the video yet, but here are my likes and dislikes so far.

Dislike the lack of a printed manual. The camera has a printed quick start guide, but its full-blown manual is only available as an Adobe Acrobat file contained on the CD-ROM that comes with the camera. While I am learning how to use a camera, I like to have the manual handy; this is impossible unless I want to drag my laptop along.

Like (love) the size of the camera. Its miniscule size allows me to carry it everywhere. I bought a pouch to protect the camera and I can still stuff the pouched camera in the pockets of my jeans and jackets. Despite its size, I have had no problem using its tiny buttons and I have found that the size of its LCD is more than adequate.

Like the color output. They seem more natural than my A520.

Like the low light sensitivity. Most of the indoor shots I have taken have been without flash and they look great.

Like the speed. The SD941 IS is lightning fast compared to my A520.

That is all I have so far. I will have more after I use the camera more.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

new PowerShot


I used the generous (thanks, Sis) Amazon gift card that I received for my birthday and bought a new camera.

My "old" (circa 2006) 4.0 Mpixel Canon PowerShot A520 had served me well, but it has been showing its age for awhile now. It was time for an upgrade.

I have been very happy with Canon digital cameras, so I planned to spend about $200 for a new one. After comparing features and reviews, I ponied up for a model SD940IS in retro black for $222.

Amazon shipped it from Nashua, NH, at midnight on Thursday and predicted that I would receive it on Monday. Since Nashua is just 150 miles up the road, I hoped I might receive it earlier.

Saturday, I found a small Amazon shipping box stuffed in our mailbox. The box was so small that I figured it contained the spare battery I ordered for the camera. Opening the box, I discovered I was half right; its contents included the spare battery and my new camera!

After opening the box containing the camera, I was shocked at its size. It is smaller than my daughter's Motorola Rival cell phone and easily fits in the palm of my hand.

I was anxious to try it out, but I had to charge its battery first. While I waited for the camera's battery to charge, I turned my attention to TurboTax.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Monday, March 8, 2010

marker

I took today off to go hiking through the woods surrounding us up here on Compounce Mountain. My goal was to find a concrete marker that I spotted in the middle of the woods a few years ago.

That occurrence was in the spring or summer and my hiking companion did not want to check out the marker because we would have had to cut through 100 to 200 feet of heavy brush to get to it.

I figured that it would be easier to get to the marker in early March before the foliage appeared, so this morning, I set off with my daughter to find the marker.

About 30 minutes into the hike, I found a marker, but not the one I had seen years ago. This marker was located on the north side of Old Alcott Road in Wolcott, which is a dirt road that served long-abandoned homes in the area. Now the road serves two purposes: access to the New Britain Reservoir and the Tunxis Blue (hiking) Trail.

The initials engraved into the marker (TLWS) did not make any sense to me, so I photographed the marker (image above) and we continued on our hike for another 90 minutes, but we did not encounter the other marker.

Returning home, I looked at my maps to retrace our hike and then I realized the purpose of the marker. The marker was located on the border between Wolcott and Southington, so I assume TLWS stands for Town Line Wolcott Southington.

I am trying to determine how old the marker might be, but so far, no luck.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

skunk cabbage

Despite the fact that the ground on Compounce Mountain is about 80% snow-covered, the skunk cabbage is poking through the earth, which is the first sign of spring in this neck of the woods.

Friday, March 5, 2010