Happy Holidays 2011

Craig and Dana - May 2011, Miami

I guess I didn’t do a very good job last year of blowing the dust off of this site or my work blog. One big reason for that has been the sheer busy-ness at work this year. And working here is a lot like work, even more so this year, and I want to unwind from work when I’m at home. I hit my 10-year anniversary at UF last March and it’s still my dream job. Two other reasons for inactivity here are called  Facebook and Twitter, which make sharing brief updates very convenient.

But the biggest reason is that I’ve been working on something very big offline and it’s shown wonderful progress. I’m happy.

Here are some photo albums from the past year:

Some older stuff not linked here previously:

Find me elsewhere online:

Check back. I might not be done yet.

Blowing the dust off the blogs

I started by blowing the dust off the work blog last week. And yesterday it got a new template with an assist from my departing work assistant Charlotte Porter.

I’ve got plans to do more here, too. I changed the template last weekend to the new WordPress default after discovering a problem with the old one. I’m also planning to shake up the content a bit, first by getting rid of the old photo galleries. Some of those may move to my Flickr, others will just live forever in an archive on a hard drive at home.

I also have some cool new content plans that I hope to start executing in the near future (hint: think kayaking). And there may be a new template, too.

Happy Holidays 2009

Here are some links to stories and photo sets from my adventures of 2009:

Kayaking

Travel

Miscellany

Find me elsewhere online:

A note about iPhone cases

I took the iPhone plunge in early 2009, getting a 3G a couple of months before the 3GS came out because my old Motorola Razr died.

I knew I needed to get a protective case for it because I’ve had previous phones meet their demise due to repeated drops, a couple of friends with iPhones have dropped theirs and cracked the glass, and, well, it’s the most expensive phone I’ve ever bought.

Dave (boss, colleague, friend) solves this with a belt case, but I have long been opposed to the concept of the Batbelting of geekdom. I like to carry my phone either in a shirt pocket or in the front pocket of my pants.

My first case, purchase when the phone was less than a week old, probably, was an incase Slider. The case served me well with my only complaint being that the lower, smaller part of the case that was intended to slide off for docking more often stayed put while the larger part slid off. This wasn’t usually an issue because I don’t have a dock that requires removal of the small part. The case also started to lose its matte finish over time and became speckled with shiny spots.

My second case purchase was an Aquapac Waterproof iPhone case. I bought this for kayaking and other water sports after having a good experience with an Aquapac camera case. The iPhone fit is a little tight, but the phone can be fully operated inside the case, which allows texting and checking the weather while paddling (or during a rain-drenched football game).

My most-recent case purchase is an OtterBox Commuter TL (in blue). This is a two-part case consisting of an inner, colored silicone jacket that is nicely textured for grip along the edge. The jacket incorporates shock-absorbing coring to protect the phone from drops and has covers for the dock, headphone jack, and button covers to help keep dirt and moisture out of the phone. It is not, however, a waterproof case. The second part of the case is a hard, clear plastic spine that provides extra protection for end drops and covers most of the silicone to make getting the phone out of a pocket easier than with an all-silicone case.

My only negative (barely) observation so far on the Commuter is that the plastic spine has less friction than the Slider on hard surfaces like desks, dining room tables, and nightstands. As a result, it tends to slide around when I’m trying to type on the phone at my desk, for example.

The Commuter is also thinner than I expected. I was worried that it wouldn’t fit into the Aquapac case. I was wrong (though either case is easily removed). I’ve tried it once and it may slide in and out of the Aquapac more easily than the Slider due to the low friction of the plastic spine, apparently.

Succinct camera buying advice

Many of my readers now that being asked for camera buying advice is a somewhat regular occurence for me. Mike Johnston of The Online Photographer summed it up about as well and succinctly as I have ever read in one in a series of recent posts:

“But seriously, here’s how to buy a camera: figure out what lenses you need first, and who has them; figure how big a camera you want to carry; figure out (from that and from the pricing and your budget) what level or tier you’re going to be looking in (and this level is a good one); then pick one and get on with it.”

My usual advice is to find the Canon camera that best fits your budget and desired features and then talk yourself into the next higher-priced model. If someone complains about not wanting to buy a Canon, I tell them that they asked the wrong person for advice. That’s not entirely true, though, since I do occasionally recommend Panasonics too.

Update: The day after writing the above, New York Times personal technology columnist David Pogue offered this even-briefer bit of advice in response to the cocktail-party question, “What camera should I get?”:

“The Canon PowerShot SD880. Or, if you’re willing to carry around a bigger, heavier model (an S.L.R.), the Nikon D5000.”

I’ve recommended the first camera. The latter I’m not very familiar with, but I have long found Nikon’s user interface to be confusing.

Happy Holidays 2008

Here are some links to stories and photo sets from my adventures of 2008:

Travel

Kayaking

Miscellany

Keep checking back. I might not be done yet.

Musings from the fourth row and the road between Jax and UF.