Monthly Archives: September 2006

A new toy

Well I took the plunge and bought a new digital camera after my old camera (a Sony DSC-P5) was finally starting to show signs of its age. I’ve had the P5 for about 5 years or so and it’s been a great camera but just lately its started to shut itself off for no apparent reason and the picture quality definitely seems to have reduced, the pictures just don’t seem as ‘vivid’ as they used to.

I looked at quite a few different cameras before finally deciding on the Sony DSC-T30, one of the main things that swung me towards the T30 is just how small it is, the camera is billed as ‘credit card sized’, but in reality it’s actually just a bit bigger:

Sony DSC-T30

Obviously it would have been silly of me to put a credit card in that picture, so I’ve laid the camera next to a business card and a pen just so you can get an idea of scale. That picture was taken with my old DSC-P5 and actually came out better than I thought it would (did I replace it too soon?!).

Just to test the new T30 out, I took a few pictures in the garden and was lucky enough to catch our cat with her eyes open, during one of the rare breaks in her 23 hour a day sleeping habit:

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Now, I’m the first to admit that I’m no professional photographer, but I’m quite happy with the way the T30 has coped with overcast skies to get the colour balance looking right.

I also took the ubiquitous pictures of some plants and flowers, just to test out how closeup the T30 can focus:

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There is also a ‘super macro’ mode where you can focus as close as 1 inch away:

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With my old camera, trying to focus that close (I was probably about 3 inches away from the dandelion) would have probably resulted in two things:

1) A blurry photo due to the camera shaking too much.
2) The lens motor whirring away like mad trying to constantly readjust.

The T30 has also made me realise just how bad the shutter lag was on my old camera, you know the feeling…you try and take a picture of a group of people, you tell them to smile…press the button…and by the time the camera takes the picture people have started to look away from the camera (or you catch them mid-blink). With the T30 there is no noticeable lag at all (at least not to me), also it seems to save the image to the memory card extremely quickly, so you can easily take pictures in quick succession.

So, all in all, I’m extremely impressed with this little camera. Just one thing remains now –

Read the manual to learn how to use it properly!

Surprisingly Addictive

Google has a problem….when it indexes websites it picks up a lot of images, however it cannot really “know” what that image represents in the same way that you or I can in an instant by looking at it.

So, Google has launched a ‘game’, where you and a random partner have 90 seconds try and match keywords on as many images as you can, it’s much more fun than it sounds (honestly!). I had a quick look and then 20 minutes later I was still ‘playing’ it.

I have to congratulate Google, they’ve found a great way to encourage people to work for free (which is what we’re doing of course, by providing keywords that Google can use to index the images).

Try it out, it’s definitely worth a look –

Google Image Labeler Project

A Nice Surprise

I blogged a few posts ago about becoming an Oracle ACE, so I thought I would followup and show you (if anyone is reading this?) the nice surprise I got through the post

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As I mentioned in the previous post, I didn’t ever expect to become an Oracle ACE and I certainly didn’t expect to receive a nice award like this through the mail. Infact, I was slightly confused the morning it arrived since I’m always ordering one thing or another online and practically know the couriers by first name. However I wasn’t expecting anything that particular day so when the courier knocked on the door and asked me to sign for a package, I thought perhaps the signs of senility were creeping in a few years early.

I’m not quite sure what couriers use to seal their bags with these days, but it took a pair of blunt scissors, a sharp knife and 2 burst blood vessels to remove the first (of many) layers of wrapping. In my ‘wisdom’ I’d actually taken the package through to the kitchen to try and open it, this turned out to be a bad choice since when I eventually pulled the package apart it went with such force that the ‘mystery object’ fell out of the box with gravity giving it a helpful hand towards the stone floor tiles.

Fortunately the award was still wrapped in lots of bubble-wrap at this point so I managed to break its fall (towards the stone floor) by sticking my foot out, this is where I learned just how heavy the award is!

Anyway, disaster was narrowly averted and I’m extremely overwhelmed to get this award (don’t worry I’m not going to break into an ‘Oscar speech’), now I just have to tidy my study so I can display it in pride of place.

As an aside, trying to take a picture of a glass object is a nightmare, I took about 10 different pictures before I managed to get one I was happy with, either the writing kept being out of focus or the ‘glare’ back from the reflection was too bright. It’s also made me realise that it could be time for a new digital camera since mine (a 5 year old Sony DSC-P5 3MP) is starting to do ‘funky things’ like turning itself off at random times (and no it’s not the powersave), or when it thinks my picture is too boring it will add a nice blue tint to the right hand half of it for no apparent reason.

So, if anyone (is anyone reading?) has any good recommendations for a reasonable camera let me know.