Tuesday, May 24, 2005


I'm going to New Orleans on Wednesday with Hillary for a quick vacation before my internship starts on the 31st. Hopefully I'll get some good pictures, but I'm a bit nervous about having my stuff stolen. I've heard some bad stories, but taking pictures of interesting things is exactly why I got my camera. It would be pointless to leave it home. Kinda like buying a car just to keep in the garage because you're afraid it will get wrecked. I'll post some pictures when I get back.

Yet another. Gotta love free.
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And another....
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And another....
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Pic with my ancient free lens
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Monday, May 23, 2005

Some new pics...

My uncle is a photographer/videographer and has a HUGE collection of assorted audio/photo/video equipment. I was visiting him a while back, and he gave me a really old looking Tokina Manual Focus lens that had a Nikon mount. He doesn't use Nikon equipment, so he gave it to me. At first, I let it sit on my shelf for several months because it was a really old lens, and didn't do any of the metering and stuff automatically, and I had to manually set EVERYTHING. Because I was new to the camera, and SLR photographay to boot, I didn't want to mess with it. I was looking to see how much it would fetch on eBay a few days ago, and saw that it was only about 25 bucks. I decided that I should take some pictures to see what it could do.

I was very pleasantly surprised, as you can see from the pictures above. It's kind of a pain having to take a billion exposures at all different aperture and shutter settings in order to get a few good pics, but for a free lens, I'm pretty impressed. I think I'm going to pretty much just use it for macro work, until I get a better one. But that could be some time, due to budget concerns. I know there are much better lenses, but I have to say I'm pretty impressed with the capabilities of this FREE lens.

You should see the originals, they look a lot sharper.

Friday, May 20, 2005

Ahhh...Summer. The time for...WORK.

I've got an internship set up this summer. I'm pretty excited about it, but a little nervous at the same time. I hope all of my paperwork goes through on time, otherwise I might be in bad shape. I also have the standard "Hope I don't screw up!" thoughts going through my head. I felt very comfortable in Trial Advocacy by the end of it, and really throughout most of it, but this will likely be a different ballgame.

On a positive note, I really think my sales experience will help me in a courtroom. I've spent countless hours convincing total strangers to trust me enough to buy something from me. I understand that different people require different approaches when trying to win them over. I'm fairly glib when I need to be, and can think on my feet. If my big selling point on Item X is Feature Y, but the customer doesn't care about Feature Y, I don't get stuck in the embarrasing situation of telling him he needs something he doesn't want. I ask questions and figure out what the customer wants before I tell him what he needs. They think I'm a genius when I make my suggestions, but I'm really just reinforcing what they wanted to hear in the first place. No wonder they like the idea, it's actually theirs.

People are remarkably similar to televisions. If you know which buttons to push in the right order, you can get them to do what you want them to. All of these things apply when asking for a sale, asking for a verdict, or asking for a raise.

Trying to stretch my dollars....

I'm really into my D70. There is so much that I can do with it that I hardly know where to begin learning. Just when I think I have a decent shot, I see something here that makes me feel terribly inadequate. Check this out. People using the same camera as me, but with either 6 times more expensive equipment, 6 times the talent, or both. Pretty much all of the people there are more talented, but the equipment doesn't hurt either. I'm trying to get as much bang as I can out of this camera for as little buck as possible.

I got a free lens from my uncle. It's old, and similar ones go for about 25 bucks on eBay, but it seems to do a decent job. I just have to adjust all of the settings manually. I took a decent closeup of a flower today, it's just that the flower was dying and I loaned out my tripod and remote shutter release, so it's a bit blurry. But sharper than I expected. I'll have to see how it works out when I get my stuff back.

I'd like to get a ton of stuff for this guy, but I just can't justify the money. Top of my list is either an SB-800 or an SB-600 flash for it, a backpack that will fit it, my lenses, and my Powerbook, and this $400 dollar lens. But if I'm going to get any of those, I'd better get back to WORK. Seriously. You can buy it from me. Ships worldwide. You only think I'm joking.

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Apple(I don't)Care

I got a call today from a lady working for Apple Computer. She asked me how I was enjoying my new iPod I bought in February. I told her it was working fine, except for the fact that they forgot to engrave it with the birthday message that I requested, since it was for my wife. She then went into a sales pitch for the extended warranty. I was pretty irritated, particulary because it was the second time in a month that they've tried this on me. I didn't buy the warranty on purpose, they're not going to sell it to me over the phone, especially the second time.

What's worse, is that both representatives either didn't know what was covered under the standard policy, or they were lying. I think it's probably a combination of the two. I was told that if I bought the Apple Care, they'd be willing to fix the fact that it didn't get engraved. If that was an option, I should have that for free with or without the extended warranty. It was their fault that they didn't do it in the first place. I was also told that my warranty had expired. I called her on that. My 90 days tech support had expired, but I still have the rest of the 1 year parts and labor. She told me that labor isn't covered unless I buy the Apple Care, which is a lie. I did the Platinum card trick anyway, so I've got parts and labor for 2 years without the Apple Care.

It really makes me mad. They've called me trying to sell me a two-year, $70 extended warranty on a $200 item, when the first year is covered anyway, and both are covered with my extra credit card protection. Apple Care tech support sucks anyway, at least in the 4 times that I've had to call them. I wanted them to help me set network a printer hooked up to my Windows desktop so that I could print from my Powerbook wirelessly. Neither of the two techs I talked to knew how to do it. I eventually figured it out on my own.

Another time the motherboard in my first iBook went out. It was part of a worldwide recall. I had only had the thing for 6 months, but the guy was trying to tell me it was out of warranty. I told him it didn't matter, because it was a recall and Apple was supposed to fix it for free. He looked it up, and realized I was right. Then he told me that in order to diagnose the problem to see if it was actually the problem, it would cost me $50, because I was out of warranty. Disgusted, I hung up, redialed, and talked to another tech that authorized the repair for free. Guess it depends on who you talk to.

If you have any doubts as to why the warranty is a bad deal, think about my iPod situation. For a $70 warranty, it is worth it to Apple to pay someone to call me, TWICE in one month, and try to sell me the warranty, with a success rate that on the average customer is probably around 5%. Add in the costs of how much it takes to run a call center, and the expenses that occur when they actually have to fix the things, and when you consider it's still worth it to Apple to do that, you've gotta know they're betting on not fixing the thing.

Of course, there's always the chance that you'll get your money's worth out of the warranty, but there's a chance you'll get eaten by squirrels too. I don't know about you, but I don't have a squirrel-related death rider on my life insurance, and I don't buy extended warranties either.

Sunday, May 01, 2005

Nice day today

It's pretty nice out today. Clear, blue skies. A little cool though. Beautiful though. I think Hillary and I are going to take Scout down to Massachussetts Street and walk him around. People seemed to love him the last time we took him. Some lady rolled her window down and told us that our dog was beautiful. It was a nice feeling, made us proud. I can imagine what it'll be like when we have kids.