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Missed anniversary

09 Jul

Not my wedding anniversary, never forget that, but Cyberphreak.com has been online since June 1, 1998, making it 15 years old now!

My first post:

Welcome to CyberPhreak.com. The place to discover why so many of us love this place called ‘cyberspace.’ The term cyberspace was originally coined by William Gibson in his novel Neuromancer. It is a place of pure data, a collective of all the world’s computers and data systems. In his novels, this matrix was accessed though a cyberspace deck and was similar to a hallucination. The technology for that type of access is not here yet, but it is coming. In the meantime, enjoy CyberPhreak.com and all the mixed writings, music, and beliefs of its creator and viewers.

Now, 15 years later we all carry computers in our pockets more powerful than anything short of a supercomputer in 1998.   Over a billion people access social networking sites every day and interact with people, in real time, around the world.  We are still moving towards Gibson’s vision of everyone, everywhere connected.  I still marvel at how far we have some and how far we have yet to go.

 

DSLRs are fine and dandy

06 Jul

DSLR cameras are nice tools, when used properly.  I personally stick to a point and shoot with an ultra zoom, SX260HS. Case in point, I got to overhear a couple fiddling with their Canon DSLR, while trying to take a photo of a tiger in Brookfield Zoo.  I think think they took one shot, maybe two.  In the meantime, here are how many shots I took:

Not all of them are perfect, but in the time it took to adjust an aperture setting or manually focus, I got some really amazing shots.  I am not a professional photographer, so why use the excessive and expensive tools?  At the end of the day, I got the shots that I wanted, in focus, and properly exposed.  Which shot is your favorite?

 
 

Fun day

04 Jul

Taking a break from Facebook, so might as well give my website some love.

Had a great day today, went to Brookfield Zoo, for you non Chicagoans, it is a zoo in the western suburbs of Chicago.  Been a surprisingly cool summer so far, so it made for a pleasant day at the zoo.

Saw the Dinosaurs alive exhibit, some life size dinosaurs we on display:

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Also, there were feathered dinos there as well.

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What I found interesting, even looking a little chicken like, they are still dangerous looking creature.

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I really liked how they were in a forest setting, with real plants.  There were control panels for some of the dinosaurs to make them breathe, roar, swing their tails and move a bit.

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At the end, there was a full sized T-Rex.  That alone made the entry fee worth it.  There were also real fossils and reproductions of fossils in the air conditioned tent.   Later in evening we went to see fireworks, which I learned a long time ago, to never try to take photos of.

 

Migrating, again

10 Jun

Looks like I have most things moved over to an update service.  Same company, 90% cheaper.

 
 

Scams: Lessons Learned

23 Mar

After leaving home over 20 years ago, I guess I can consider myself an adult at this point.  Here are some lessons I have learned:

Scams:
Multi blade ‘fancy’ razors. They cost way way too much and don’t shave any better.  Go online and get a double edged safety razor and blades.  The blades cost about 15 cents each and last just as long.  You may have to relearn shaving, but about about two or three shaves, you will actually prefer them.

“Service” plans. All these plans do is make money for the store selling them.  With the exception of fine jewellery rings, they are a complete waste.  In 21 years of buying electronics, I have had ONE device fail that would of been covered by a service plan.  The item cost about $80.  I figure I have said no to about $10,000 in service plans.  No way in hell is there any way I would of recouped any of that cost.

Paying more than 0.9% for an auto loan.  If you have good credit, you should pay 0 or close to 0%.  Anything more, look for another dealer.

Cleaning your apartment when you move.  Don’t bother, they will always find something wrong and get some or all of your deposit.  Just leave it, they will have a professional crew come in an clean it anyway.

Mortgage brokers. They are not in your best interest and are generally just schmucks. Go directly to your bank. A lot less paperwork and you will get a competitive rate.

Eating out. It is a good treat to reward yourself, but monetarily and health wise, you would do much better to head to the local grocery store. You can save thousands of dollars a year (and a lot of health issues) learning to cook and eat at home.

“Luxury” watches and jewellery. I am a collector of watches. If you go into a store and they call them ‘timepieces’ be prepared to be separated from a lot of money. Only Rolex has the gall to charge $6,000 for a steel, three handed watch, with no date. If you want to be cheap, stick with Timex. If you want something to last AND look good for
decades, go with Seiko. With jewellery, ignore the sale price percentages and really ask yourself, is it really worth how much they are charging?

Speciality household cleaners. Turns out that you really only need about 3 cleaners; Perfume and dye free dish detergent. Used for cleaning just about everything, including the sink, toilet, even your hands. Works great. All purpose cleaner than can clean glass. Does just about everything else. And, finally vinegar and baking soda, for the really hard stains. That is all you need.

Non powder laundry and dishwasher detergent. Powder is cheaper, leaves less residue and is much ecologically friendly than liquids or convenience packs. Try it, you will be amazed how much you save and how well they work.

Buying the cheapest or ‘best’ of anything.  If you buy the cheapest, expect it to break and you have to replace it way too often.  A complete waste of time and money.  Buying the best will cost you a lot also.  With every product there is a price versus quality curve.  This generally follows a bell curve and means you can pay 10 times more for an item, and it will only be twice the quality of the lesser priced item.  Use common sense on this one.

HP/Compaq computers.  Don’t be lured by the cheap prices versus features.  They are built like junk and are loaded with bloatware.

Expensive wines.  They all taste the same after about $20 a bottle, or even worse if they are improperly stored.  I’ll take a properly stored $5 California wine before a $200 improperly stored French wine.  A corked bottle of wine is horrible at any price.

Overpriced kitchen knives.  A $400 knife cuts about the same as a $15 one.  Pick the ones that work the best with your hands and cutting style.

If you can think of any more, drop me a line in the comments section.

 

 

 

 

Updates

23 Mar

Turns out my web host is discontinuing support for MySQL 4 soon so I had to update some of my less used blogs.  Cyberphreak.com runs on the latest WordPress, so no worries there, but this allowed me to do a little culling from blogs I don’t update any more.  So, what is left standing?

http://www.cyberphreak.com/  Duh, that is where you are now.

http://watches.cyberphreak.com/  My watch site, gets more hits than the main site.

http://blindwino.cyberphreak.com/  My homage to Mark Driver, since his main blindwino.com disappeared years ago, I wanted an easy reference to his works.  Creepy on my part, but oh well.

http://zaurus.cyberphreak.com/  A lonely spot now.  I maintain it for the lonely Zaurus users out there.  The software feed still generates a fair amount of hits.

That is all for now.  Now that I am off Facebook, I should have more time to update the sites.  I also use twitter, you can follow me at:

https://twitter.com/Cyberphreak_Com

I also use Instagram quite a bit, you can follow me at:

http://instagram.com/sandbender1414/

If you are feeling old school, you can always e-mail me dave at cyberphreak dot com.

 

 

Blogging on the go

21 Mar

Earlier this week I received an unexpected gift, an Adesso bluetooth keyboard.  I have really been wanting a full keyboard for my phone or Palm Pilot, so now I finally have something usable.

The keys are about 3/4 size, about the same as a mini laptop or netbook, with good tactile response.  The overall height is amazingly thin, around a quarter of an inch!  It charges via USB, but looks like it works via bluetooth only.  I will post a follow up later once I have used it a while and get to know what the battery life is like.  For now, it is a great little toy, and large enough to touch type on.

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Photography, a personal journey, Part 3, digital matures.

14 Feb

This is part 3 of my photographic journey.  It is now November of 2000 and we finally have cameras that can rival film.

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The C-3000 Zoom camera was finally a camera. Made by a camera company, with Olympus glass lenses, optical zoom, LCD viewfinder, and a flash that could light up a large room.   The optical viewfinder even had a diopter adjustment for people with glasses.  The image quality was surprisingly good, considering it was over 12 years ago!  I think the only major limitations were the SmartMedia card and the use of AA batteries.  SmartMedia cards maxed out at 128megs, which is not all that much for a 3.3 megapixel camera.   The AA batteries are surprisingly heavy, but available everywhere.

On the plus side, even now, the styling would not look out of place.  Great ergonomics and solid as heck.  Another really cool feature was the included IR remote, that could control the zoom and shutter.  A well used camera that taught me a lot.

Full specs are here.

Sample Images:

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As you can see, the image quality is acceptable for all but the largest prints.  We had this camera from late 2000 to March 2004.  Cameras were improving a lot year to year in the mid 00′s, so it was time after almost 4 years to upgrade.

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Ah, the C-5060WZ (Wide Zoom).  A heck of a camera that served us well for almost 8 years!  This was the camera that took Glenn’s (our son) first picture and hundreds of other important moments in our lives.  Rock solid magnesium body and an amazing twist-able, reversible LCD screen, great for versatile shooting.   Just shy of a SLR, it even had a hot shoe for an external flash.  Color reproduction was great, and it had a proper lithium-ion battery pack for extended shooting.  For a 5.1 megapixel, it took amazing photos, mostly due to the superior lenses.  Lasted over 30,000 shots before it developed a serious issue, the auto focus system failed.  It also had a IR remote and gobs of features even modern cameras lack.

Images taken two and a half years ago, during a beautiful fall day:

I remember taking the above photos, experimenting with exposure bracketing on the camera.  I was truly sad to see this camera go, but technology and good old fashioned wear and tear did it in.  For a while I used only my cell phone for photos.  More on that in the next post.

 
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Black and White LaGrange 2013

13 Jan

A small gallery of some photos taken in La Grange, IL.  I wanted to experiment with black and white photography.  These photos were taken on an overcast day, so look oddly flat with no shadows.  Taken with a Canon PowerShot SX260 HS.  My first CMOS camera in a long time.

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Photography, a personal journey, Part 2, digital infancy.

06 Jan

In part one, see below, I wrote about the film cameras I used growing up.  As an adult, I was introduced to digital cameras.  In the beginning, they really could not compare to film.  With comically low resolutions, as low as 320×240, they were useless for prints.  However, once the ball started rolling, it never stopped.

Jam Cam 2.0

The JamCam 2.0.  Our first digital camera.  More or less a toy, it could take 320×240 or 648×480 photos and store them in internal memory.  It could store up to 8 photos at ‘full’ resolution.  I, however, don’t regret getting this camera and have some fond memories of taking photos with it.  Very rugged and I don’t think we ever changed the batteries.  Optical viewfinder with just an 7 segment lcd on the back showing you how many shots you had left.  Serial RS-232 interface with no memory expansion.  The 3.0 version could have MultiMedia card, but our version did not.  Owned from early November 1999 to late April 2000.  Even then we knew at the time the photos were just unacceptable and the camera was soon replaced with an I/O magic MagicImage 500.

Specs:

 	Real resolution: 640 x 480 
 	Maximum picture capacity: 24 
 	Power: 9V alkaline battery- Not included
    Resolution and Display Capacity

Display Resolution Picture Capacity
r1 640 x 480 8
r2 320 x 240 26
r3 240 x 179 48

 

Sample Shots:

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Luckily, it looks like we took photos at the Museum of Science and Industry Chicago with most of the cameras we have owned over the years, so you can really see how far the technology has come.  Only outdoor shots looked halfway decent, and color reproduction was very poor in low light.

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Our next camera (in case you are wondering, us means the wife and I) was an I/O Magic Magicimage 500.  A big step up from the JamCam.  0.8 mega-pixels native, 1.3 interpolated.  The flash worked well and the image quality was somewhat acceptable for web images, with the possibility of printing actual photos with it.  We took many photos with the camera, and, luckily it was expandable with 3.3V Smart Media cards.  It could also take macro photos, for the first time.   It used AA batteries, and had decent battery life without the flash.  Used as primary camera from April 2000 to November 2000.

Specifications:

  • Resolution 0.8 megapixels / 1.2 megapixels (interpolated)
  • Total Pixels 800000.0 pixels
  • Optical Sensor Size 1/3″
  • Image Recording Format JPEG
  • Lens System

    • Type – F/2.8
    • Focal Length Equivalent to 35mm Camera 47.0 mm
    • Min Focus Range 4.3 ft

Sample Photos:

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The photos are better, but still not what I would call printable.  In November of 2000, we bought our first non toy digital camera, the Olympus C-3000.  More on that in the next post.

 
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