Month: October 2016

Hate your battery charger? Switch to USB.

I have long hated the battery chargers that come with most cameras. They’re big, bulky, expensive to replace, usually quite slow, and their user interfaces are inconsistent and inscrutable — does that flashing LED mean it’s charging, or is it done charging? Or is that a failure mode warning? These aren’t consistent within a brand, much less between different manufacturers. I’ve always kept an eye out for alternatives, and I’ve experimented with a couple of third party chargers that used battery-specific charging plates or some other kind of customization, and ended up not really liking any of them. And...

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New geek toy: Studio Neat Dock

I’ve recently added new toy to the collection that I liked enough I wanted to share it with you: Studio Neat’s Material Dock I saw an article about Studio Neat’s new Material Dock and immediately decided I wanted it. The dock itself has a wood base with Cork bumpers to support the phone and watch. The Watch works in nightstand mode, and from the product images, it looked nice. And happily, now that I have it on my desk, I was right and it’s a pretty, functional product. The phone docks on it easily — not quite as painless as my old Twelve-South dock, but close — and having one dock for both devices de-clutters the office a tiny bit. Charging of both is reliable, which I haven’t been able to say for some watch stands. It replaces my Native Union dock for the Watch, which I may repurpose into the bedroom, since I really like it, too. The one downside: you can’t really get to the home button on the phone while docked, so you’ll have to remove the phone to use it; on the Twelve South stand, you could manipulate the phone in...

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First trip of the season to the San Luis area refuges

I decided to make my first trip out to the refuges in the San Luis NWR system this week. It’s early — I normally don’t make my first visit until early November, but I wanted to see how the refuges looked, and I am still trying to get me head around how to best control the Fuji X-T2 autofocus and wanted to try it in real-world, not easy conditions out in the field. And I kept seeing reports of cranes being seen in various locations around the central valley, and I couldn’t wait. So I set an early alarm,...

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The Mac Draft

During the release notes, the Simple Beep folks recorded a “favorite Macs” draft podcast with Stephen Hackett and Christina Warren that I thoroughly enjored and recommend to you to listen to for a fun bit of Mac history. Through it all I was mentally making my own draft list and wondering if I should post it, and then I noticed that Dr. Drang posted his, and I realized nobody’s list seemed to have the Mac IIci on it, which is an outrage, so without further ado…. Round 1: Macintosh 512Ke: My first macintosh, which had a 68000 running at a massive 8MHz (that’s Megahertz, folks, not gigahertz). And which I modded up to a full 2 megabytes of RAM, and later added a fan after the heat inside the case melted the solder off the monitor wiring onto the motherboard (which I soldered back on; we could do that back in the good old days). What’s even more amusing about this computer is that I was working for National Semiconductor at the time, in a group building computers around the NS 32000 chipsets that were trying to compete with the 68000 (and the Zilog Z8000), and I would occasionally get crap about using it instead of our computers. Which stopped every time I said “when ours can do this, I will…” — and as you see, National Semiconductor is...

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