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DPReview’s in-depth hands-on preview of the Olympus PEN E-P3

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Andy Westlake and Richard Butler of DPReview gives you an extensive hands-on preview of the Olympus PEN E-P3:

The E-P3’s similarity of appearance to its predecessors could, all too easily, suggest that Olympus has again been subtle with its changes. But this isn’t the case at all, and the new model brings with it a whole raft of updates and refinements. Olympus has addressed many of the key criticisms of the older models, to the extent that we’d be tempted to say that the E-P3 is finally the camera that the PEN has always promised to be.

I’m always impressed with the utter depth and thoroughness of the reviews of the guys over at the Digital Photography Review website. Whenever I read any of the reviews from their site, it feels strangely enough as if I am about to read some sort of dissertation or a doctoral thesis–only, written in lay man’s terms. In other words, they write their reviews as if their very lives depend on it. Everything you ever wanted to know about every bit about the cameras they review is there. For me, DPReview is where you need to go on the net when you want to read greatly exhaustive camera reviews.

Too bad though, where it actually may matter, it would seem that the picture sample galleries for each camera reviewed usually fails to match the awesome quality of the written reviews. The way I see it, the pictures they show are not as interesting as the reviews themselves. In my opinion, the pictures in the reviews never live up to one’s expectations of the kind of images the cameras can do, and it can be a little bit of a let-down. One may be inclined to wonder, “Is this the only kind of picture that this camera can take?”

Great reviewers aren’t necessarily great photographers.

My ideal American city

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A list of most stringent and non-negotiable requirements:

• A really huge public park
• Lots and lots of interesting (and preferably, tall) buildings designed by world-famous architects
• Lots and lots of interesting people from all walks of life, and from all over the world
• Great public transportation system (bus, cab, subway, train, plane, helicopter, trolley, boat, etc.)
• Awesome current AT&T 3G network coverage, and soon, awesome AT&T 4G LTE network coverage
• Fantastic public library system (and bookstores)
• Wide swath of strong and stable (and usable) free WiFi coverage
• A Starbucks in every corner (and a whole lot of artisanal coffee shops serving French press coffee)
• Museums and galleries, as well as art centers, art foundations, art colonies
• At least one fabulous emporium of a brick-and-mortar photography store
• Famous and historic landmarks
• Celebrates gay pride month
• A throbbing gay district (bars, clubs, etc.)
• A thriving shopping district (clothes, shoes, accessories, etc.)
• A thrilling entertainment district (movies, plays, concerts, etc.)
• A well-known financial district (banking, finance, etc.)
• An international business district (of all kinds)
• A media and publishing district (of all kinds)
• Four seasons (not the hotel, but the weather)
• Deli shops and stores that are open 24 hours a day
• The best pizza in the world (outside of Italy)

I bet, there’s only one city in the whole of the continental United States that has all these, and more.

Written by dominiquejames

July 1, 2011 at 10:54 AM

Andy Baio’s art of copying Jay Meisel

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Mike Masnick, techdirt:

Photography, by its very nature, starts with simply copying what’s on the other side of the lens. Yes, there is more to it on top of that. There are all sorts of artistic choices to be made about how to copy. How to frame, how to focus, how to light, how to shade, how to dodge, how to print, etc. That’s what makes it an artform. But it’s incredibly hypocritical to then decry others similarly making a copy, with similar artistic choices, by somehow claiming that that version of copying is “theft.” So, photographers, please don’t be so quick to decry other artforms that also start with copying, but which also then apply additional artistic choices. If Jay Maisel’s photograph of Miles Davis is unique and original artwork (and I believe it is), then so is the cover of Andy Baio’s album.

The sides of “good” and “evil”

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Tom Acitelli, New York Observer:

The head of the nation’s second-largest Catholic archdiocese and the president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, a man 60 Minutes had declared “The American Pope” only months before, felt himself staring into the abyss. And the abyss seemed to be staring back: New York was on the eve of voting in gay rights—at the urging of a Catholic governor, no less!—and his months of trying to stop it had come to naught. So he did what a lot of us do and vented on the Internet, seemingly resigned but combative nonetheless.

It was 9:26 a.m. on June 14—10 days, it turned out, before gay marriage would pass.

What the “American Pope,” Archbishop Dolan, wrote on his blog:

Last time I consulted an atlas, it is clear we are living in New York, in the United States of America—not in China or North Korea. In those countries, government presumes daily to ‘redefine’ rights, relationships, values, and natural law. There, communiqués from the government can dictate the size of families, who lives and who dies, and what the very definition of ‘family’ and ‘marriage’ means.

But, please, not here! Our country’s founding principles speak of rights given by God, not invented by government, and certain noble values—life, home, marriage, children, faith—that are protected, not re-defined, by a state presuming omnipotence.

With this, and for the Catholic Church, through it’s “American Pope,” the war between good and evil is being waged.

The question though that some are likely to ask is, which side is good, and which side is evil?

Improve your Flickr experience

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Let Derrick Story tell you how:

Many people don’t explore all of the personal settings in their Flickr photo sharing account, and end up using the default controls. But with a little customization, I think you can improve your Flickr experience.

Click here.

Written by dominiquejames

June 28, 2011 at 12:14 PM

Starting the day with a printed newspaper

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This morning, I read a newspaper. I read today’s issue of the USA Today–section by section, page by page. While having coffee, I went through almost every headline, and actually read all the articles I happen to be interested in. In fact, I was so thorough that I even dutifully scanned almost all of the QR codes to look at more photos, watch videos, hear passages, and read more news–all from my iPhone. I must say that it has been quite an immersive experience.

And as if it weren’t enough, I even read yesterday’s issue of the USA Today when I finished with today’s papers. I went through it like I did with today’s newspapers–studiously. I even took out and set aside a total of three articles from yesterday and today’s newspapers that I want to read more at leisure later on. I believe the antique word to describe this kind of behavior is called “clipping.” (I read a bit about Vivian Maier yesterday from an official website about her, the nanny from the 50s who was made sensationally famous as a street photographer, who compulsively clipped thousands and thousands of newspaper articles during most of her adulthood and methodically compiled them together in hundreds of ring binders. Today’s digital equivalent of this behavior would be to use Marco Arment’s excellent software called Instapaper.)

I wouldn’t have read the newspapers were I not staying for a week at a hotel where they are delivered door by door every morning. I suppose I can tell them to stop the delivery if I don’t want it, but I didn’t. I surprised myself because I actually want it. Though I already know most of the gist of the news that’s printed, having been receiving news streamed constantly throughout the day from my computer and smartphone, I must admit that it actually feels nice to read the news from an actual newspaper–for a change. I like the feel of the paper in my fingers, the smell of the ink, and the look of the text and photos in print. I can’t honestly remember when was the last time I read the morning’s papers. The last time must have been from when I was staying at another hotel. So this is how it actually feels for the so millions of people around the world who still starts their day with a newspaper. It feels good. It feels normal.

Now this got me thinking–despite the fact that I like it, will I actually ever want to personally subscribe to a print edition? I know I like my news very much. I even think I’m addicted since I like to get them all the time. I’m one of those news junkies, so to speak. But it seems that I can’t imagine myself actually subscribing to a news source that’s printed on paper. I have nothing against printed pages. As I said, I like the experience. (For what its worth, I still buy and collect lots of printed books, the latest of which is the hardbound edition of “Onward” by Starbucks President and CEO Howard Schultz, which I got yesterday from a Starbucks store despite the fact that I’ve already bought and read the e-book edition almost a month ago, and despite the fact that I’ve actually since fallen into the habit of buying and reading e-book editions for quite some time now.) But when it comes to newspapers, for all its charms, I would much rather get my news whenever I feel like it, and when I have the time and chance, streamed throughout the day, from any of my desktop or laptop computers or from any of my electronic handheld devices. I know I am already comfortable with the idea of giving up the printed edition of the news on paper, despite and in spite of its charms, and I can see myself subscribing and amply plugged, into a motley of digital news services online.

U P D A T E: Since I’m staying at a hotel for three more days, I called the front desk and asked them if they can deliver the New York Times instead of the USA Today. They said yes they can deliver the New York Times for $2 a day.

The (very) long wait

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The Apple fanboy that I am, I’ve fallen into this crazy habit of checking out Apple stores wherever in the world I happen to be. So, I’m at the Apple Store in Galleria, in St. Louis, Missouri. This is the 24th Apple Store I’ve been to. It’s Monday afternoon, at a mall. The store is busy, but not nearly full. In my hands are a couple of boxes I plucked out of the display shelves, an Apple Battery Charger and a Mophie Juice Pack Reserve. And I pulled out my wallet from the back pocket of my jeans, ready. I’ve been at the store almost an hour. And so far, not a single blue t-shirt has approached me, let alone acknowledged my existence. I waited, and waited, and waited. After almost 2 hours, and after taking the humiliating initiative of finally approaching a blue shirt (who I learned goes by the name Barbara), I can now confidently declare that this Apple Store holds the record for the longest time I’ve been in one without anyone saying hello. Congratulations? Even during peak hours at my favorite Apple Store, the one in 5th Avenue in New York, someone invariably finds the time to say hello within minutes of stepping in, almost without fail.

U P D A T E: It was a very strange feeling to be ignored inside a lively place such as an Apple Store. It feels very surreal, lonely, and surprisingly, offensive.

Written by dominiquejames

June 27, 2011 at 2:59 PM

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