Category Archives: today’s new thing


my laptop is the machine that i do most of my non-photo processing work. email, IM, and web browsing are mostly done on this machine. i’ve been trying to keep this machine as commercial software free as possible. i’ve also been trying to change the user experience of this laptop as much as possible as well. i’ve played with various windows managers and other windows desktop enhancement tools.

i love stardock’s object dock and most recently i found out that konfabulator has become freeware after yahoo acquired it. i also really like rainlendar. all these little things really make my desktop feel clean and neat.

i’ve also hacked xmtheme.dll (a task which was way harder than it should have been) and am now using a custom windows theme style that is very much inspired after the macos GUI. i know i’ve said this a million times, but i really do hate macs. but i love their interfaces. i love widgets, too.

i just made a very important decision based on my magic 8 ball widget. i think that i’m going a little crazy.

guess it’s safe

the announcement was just made to the company so i guess it’s safe to talk about this now. i’ve been thinking about leaving the company for quite some time now but it has only been recently that i’ve felt compelled to act on these feelings.

two days ago, i gave notice to the company. i’ve resigned my position as super k-rad cool dude and have given them the customary two weeks notice for knowledge transfer.

it’s a strange feeling to be here again. it was about 4 years ago that i quit my last position and didn’t have something lined up. the next year that followed was filled with ups and downs. i don’t think that i’ll go vacationing for a year again, but i think i will take some time off. it’ll be nice to relax a little and get revitalized. i don’t have a job lined up, but i’m not too worried about it. whatever my next job will be, there will be no more commuting 100 miles a day, please!

so anybody who is looking for a k-rad cool dude, shoot me an email. =)

now that my mind has been made up and the announcement has been made, i feel like a big weight has been lifted from my shoulders. i think a lot of the stress has melted away and it’s nice to sleep well again.

maybe one day i’ll write about all the things that happened at this company. i’m sure that it’ll make for some entertaining reading.

new LCD

my new LCD came today. i tested it and it has one stuck on green pixel. dammit. oh well, aside from that it looks pretty clean so i’m going to have to go home tonight and figure out what i’m going to do with my desk. i suspect that i will have to use one of my monitors in portrait mode or else it just won’t come out clean. we’ll see. this’ll make two widescreen 21 inchers, though. man, i have more monitors than i know what to do with.

i was the least excited with this monitor. probably because i already have one and all this one does is obsolete one of my old ones.

why i feel compelled to buy things mostly because they are a great deal is beyond me.

still, it’ll be niiiiiiiiiiiiiiice.

bad influences

paul: hey, did you see the 21″ widescreen LCD for $384?
me: shut up!
paul: unless i’m reading this wrong, go check it out.
me: no way!
paul: it’s for real, right?
me: are you getting it?
paul: yeah.
me: ok, me too.

dammit, what am i going to do with ANOTHER one of these things? my desk already looks like a big monitor as is. now i’ll have 4 LCDs. man…it’s a sickness, i tell you.

cheap hot studio lights

makeshift studio light makeshift studio light

i already have a multi-flash studio light setup for my portrait work, but i’ve always sort of wanted to have some hot lights so that i don’t need to do so much guess work sometimes when taking pictures. i’ve always been torn about whether or not to get some dedicated lights or softboxes. the problem has always been cost. i don’t anticipate using these lights often, so i didn’t really want to spend hundreds of dollars to get a setup like this, especially when i have close to what i need already with my multi-flash setup.

but then i read an article about cheap home studio lighting and was intrigued with the possibility of adding lights to my setup that are always on. the problem i saw with this first article’s use of work lights is that the light thrown on the subject is pretty harsh and you’re going to need a lot of extension cords to power this setup.

but it was this article by dan that really made this a reality for me. he has a very similar setup in terms of equipment and so i decided to check it out a little more and try it out. i never thought about using my umbrellas with work lights and this seems to give a much more diffused light.

i have 2 umbrellas, 2 light stands, and 2 photoflex multiclamps for my flash-based setup already so all i had to do was go to sears and purchase the halogen work lights on sale for $10 each.

after getting the two work lights, the only problem i had was that the bolt that came with the work lights were a little too long and the threaded stud that fits into the multiclamp only was threaded about 1/4″. i had about 1/2″ of play and so i went to home depot and got a few washers and a nut to fill in that gap. then it all screwed in pretty easily and i’ve now got a diffused light source that’s always on. these things run pretty hot, though, so if you do choose to use them, be careful when handling them.

i plan to use the tripods that the work lights came with as a reflector holder. all i need is a clamp to hold the reflector to the tripod and i think i ought to be set.

early birthday present

canon eos 20D canon eos 20d too many eos'

i think my camera addiction is getting out of hand. my early birthday present is the canon eos 20d. now…i told myself i wouldn’t buy this camera because i didn’t really need to, but for some reason, unknown even to me, when it came down to thinking about what to get for my birthday, i happened to order this.

lovely. it is rather beautiful, though. this camera is FAST. way faster than the 10D and it’s also a lot less noiser than the 10D. those were my first two reactions to the camera. i’m pretty happy with it and i can’t wait to stress test it out. i’m thinking about doing a location shoot in the city next week on my holiday. that should be lots of fun.

this brings me to 3 canon digital SLRs and 1 film body. heh…film. how barbaric! i really need to do something with the D30. it really hasn’t seen the light of day in a long time. i’m thinking that the 10D can be a secondary camera when i do shoots, but i really probably should sell that too. i wonder how much those cameras go for these days…maybe i’ll just keep them all for sentimental value. you know…like, remember the time my camera fell off my tripod and the hot shoe on my flash got ripped off and the hot shoe on the camera like all messed up? yeah, good times.

tennis racket

oh yeah, i forgot to mention that i got a tennis racket. my roommate had mentioned that she wanted to play, but my racket broke a few years ago and i never bothered to get a new one. so today while i was out shopping for my lighting bag, i also took the opportunity to look at tennis rackets. this one happened to be one sale at sportsmart so i decided to pick it up.

now, the question is, am i really going to play or not? will my roommate really go and play or not? that is the question. if not, i gotta go find me someone else to play tennis with…man, it’s been YEARS since i’ve picked up a racket. i wonder if i can still hit the ball.

with the weather getting better and the rain going away, i’ve got to take advantage of what i can do outside. tomorrow i will be going on a little hike and taking some pictures. hopefully it won’t be too hard on the ankle which has been a little tender as of late.

productive day

today was quite the productive day. so many things have just been thrown by the wayside lately and many things have been piling up to do. this morning i finally went to home depot to pick up some things to build out the storage gear for my lighting equipment. paul has been pondering about what equipment to get and that finally prompted me to finalize on what i wanted to do about my lighting gear.

you see, transporting my lighting gear has always been a bit of a hassle. the lighting stands i have are too tall to fit in my backpacking backpack and it is not big enough to carry the stands, my umbrellas, flashes, and other such nonesense. so i’ve been looking around trying to find a bag big enough to hold everything i have. this actually is harder than it seems.

i did find a golf bag cover for $10 at sportsmart, but the prospect of having to lug all of that heavy gear on my shoulder scared me, regardless of how cheap the bag was.

i did contemplate briefly making my own bag, but i’m not so nimble with cloth-like materials. i am, however, reasonably decent with PVC pipes.

my original idea was to build canisters out of PVC pipes that will hold my lighting stands and umbrellas. it turns out, however, that i would have needed a 5″ PVC pipe to hold the lighting stands and those pipes start to get pretty heavy and thick. so i opted not to make canisters for the lighting stands and just let them be in the cardboard boxes that they came in.

now, my umbrellas are a different story. they came in a cheap flimsy soft plastic shell and it offers no protection at all. i wanted to get 2.5″ PVC pipes for this, but home depot didn’t have it. (i doubt that they even make any of this size, actually, in home depot’s defense. the 3″ PVC pipes just looked HUGE though and a little too heavy to really make it worthwhile, so i crossed my fingers and bought 2″ pipes and caps.

i got home, measured the pipes, cut them, and cemented one of the caps on each and let them set. now i’ve got two containers that the umbrellas *JUST BARELY* fit into.

next was finding the bag. i went to sportsmart to check out their duffle bag selection. most of the duffle bags were just too small and couldn’t fit the 36″ light stands. i was disheartened and about to go home when i spied a wheeled duffle made by alpine design. they are probably some generic brand nobody has heard of, but they offer everything that i could want in a duffle bag. reinforced bottom, wheeled base, and an extending handle so you can comfortable roll the duffle bag anywhere you need to. it is GREAT. and it fell in my budget. (i had sworn that i would not pay the outlandish costs of specialized bags made to hold lighting gear that start at around $80. that’s ridiculous! it’s just a bag, people.

AND the wheeled duffle has this extra compartment on the top that is separate from the rest of the duffle bag. it UNZIPS from the duffle bag to become a separate backpack! how cool is that?!

so this bag now carries everything i need to become a portable studio: 2 light stands, 2 umbrellas, 2 flash brackets, my tripod, 2 reflectors, 2 optical slaves, 2 slave flashes, and enough batteries to light up a christmas tree.

so this is what i ended up with:

[imgthumb=/images/2005/0312/IMG_8344.jpg] [imgthumb=/images/2005/0312/IMG_8347.jpg] [imgthumb=/images/2005/0312/IMG_8348.jpg]

[imgthumb=/images/2005/0312/IMG_8353.jpg] [imgthumb=/images/2005/0312/IMG_8355.jpg] [imgthumb=/images/2005/0312/IMG_8354.jpg]

[imgthumb=/images/2005/0312/IMG_8357.jpg] [imgthumb=/images/2005/0312/IMG_8359.jpg]