Other Stuff

22
Dec
2008

Four Days in Luang Prabang

A monk on a bridge

Have just returned from a four day visit to Luang Prabang. Four days is hardly long enough to get to know a place and the people that live there - but it was all the time I could spare on this occasion. The trip began with an eventful arrival. I had less than the required six months left in my Canadian passport and so decided to travel on my UK passport - obtaining a tourist visa from the Laos embassy here in Bangkok. I used my Canadian passport to leave Thailand, and when I tried to enter Laos with my UK passport I was asked to 'have a seat' in a small office and wait while several officers of various rank (over a period of about an hour) came in and explained that I would have to pay a US 200 dollar fine because there was no exit visa in my UK passport to prove that I had come from Thailand.

For the most part I pretended to be clueless (not that difficult for me to do), pointing to my Laos visa, and at one point feigned a decision to go back to Bangkok. Smiling a lot probably helped. In the end the fine was reduced from 200 to 100 US dollars paid in Thai Baht. I'd love to know how it was divided up amongst the 'officials' on duty that day.

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Nikon D700It's taken me about a month to settle on an auto focus strategy for my D700. I skipped several generations in film and digital SLRs, so getting up-to-speed with the D700 as well as re-learning some of the basics in focus and exposure has taken me a little longer than I'd thought it would.

Thanks to a couple of good forum posts - in particular this one - D700 and autofocus at Photo.net - I now have a much better understanding of how auto focus works in the D700, and in particular the focus points and what to expect in terms of different scenes, lighting and camera orientation. There's a consensus that the cross type focus points - 15 of them located in the centre of the 51 AF point matrix mean that you may occasionally find it hard to focus vertically (portrait) when using one of the edge focus points. In low light with little contrast and a lack of horizontal lines under the focus point this might be true - and I've been able to reproducibly see the difference in test shots against a target - but in practice - outside and focusing on people at events, or on the street, I'm finding the edge focus points are working ok.

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28
Nov
2008

That Time Again

Well partly as an act of procrastination (the books and reading are piling up), and partly in recognition of the fact that the previous design sucked big time... I've redesigned the blogs and photo gallery. It took three days in total - and I think the results are ok. At least I think it sucks less than the previous design.

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26
Oct
2008

Nikon D700

D700

Not sure what came over me. It's not my birthday, and it's not Christmas. And I'm so deep into studies at the moment that I'll only be able to use it on and off over the next few months, but... ...I bought a Nikon D700 yesterday. What an amazing camera. 12.1 Mpixels, full frame (FX), 3D Color Matrix II, 5-8 fps, and unbelievably fast and sharp in low light.

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09
Oct
2008

Collon Biscuit Rolls

Hehe... couldn't resist. I've seen quite a few product names in Asia that become lost in translation, but I'm struggling a little to understand what was on the mind of the Glico product executives when they decided to launch 'Collon Biscuit Rolls'.

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08
Sep
2008

Agoda Cancellation Policy

An unfortunate incident today with Agoda Online Travel.  This is a site I've used once before to make a reservation for a hotel in Hong Kong. Unfortunately on that occasion we had to cancel.

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08
Aug
2008

Why Marriages Fail

At dinner with friends last night - and one of my friends gave the quintessential Occam's Razor answer to why marriages fail. Occam's Razor...

"One should not increase, beyond what is necessary, the number of entities required to explain anything".

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01
Aug
2008

Last.fm

Having spotted a tweet on Pandora.com - and then of course discovering that Pandora.com is not available outside the U.S., I was inspired to take a proper look at Last.fm. Incredible.

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02
Jul
2008

Even my Cleaning Lady?

This made me laugh. You know a product has long since reached the 'tipping point' when even your cleaning lady tries to sell it to you. I was sitting here minding my own..

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