product!

Jul. 29th, 2008 10:25 am
nathanjw: (Default)
We're now publicly announcing and shipping the product I work on here at ThingMagic, an integrated RFID reader with PoE and 802.11 capabilities.

Astra (press release).

Only $995 MSRP! Mount one near the door and track your pets! Install them throughout the house and never wonder where you left your keys!
nathanjw: (photo)
I've continued to stew over getting a new camera, as I discussed a while ago. Today, the consumer-electronics world once again delivers the benefits of waiting, when the latest camera in Canon's Digital Rebel line was announced: the XSi (aka 450D) (see Gizmodo and DPreview). It looks very nice. Of course, if I actually wanted to buy it, I'll have to wait until April.

+ 12MP
+ Live view, 40D style (and then some)
+ 3" LCD
+ Bigger viewfinder
+ Kit lens is now an IS lens
+ Spot metering
+ Bigger battery
? SD/SDHC card instead of CF

Other than that last item, on which I'm agnostic-to-slightly-disappointed, what's not to like?
nathanjw: (gadget)
My current cell phone seems to have tripped its warranty-expiration circuit, and now misbehaves in maddening ways. For example, if you can make a call, it tends to drop in about 30 seconds. Or it will show five bars of service, and show the carrier on the network list, but claim to not be registered on a network. Or displaying incoming calls but not actually letting you answer them, and so on. So I've taken the sim card out and put it in my backup phone, to have something that works, and I've been reminded that I replaced that phone for some good reasons. It's large and has a clunky UI, and the assorted gadgetry like data speeds and camera resolution aren't as good.

So, livejournal readers, what phones should I be looking at? I'm somewhat attached to t-mobile, since I have an unlimited data plan for relatively cheap that you can't get anymore, and I definitely want to use data+bluetooth to connect my laptop to the world (very important when I visit my broadband-deprived family), but I'm not on a contract anymore. I have a preference for flip phones, and I've become kind of attached to having a megapixel+ camera, but those aren't dealbreakers. I definitely don't care about playing music.
nathanjw: (photo)
I'm thinking about buying myself a new camera. My current camera is OK (Canon S230), but I think I'd like to move into SLR territory. I know that some of you have done this or researched it, so I'd appreciate some thoughts on the various issues of kitting up.

The biggest question is brand and body. As a SLR newbie, I'm not even in a good position to lust after the more "professional" cameras, or really to have a good sense of the advantages they confer, so I'm definitely thinking of the more amateur/consumer/entry-level models. The Canon Digital Rebel line seems to be the most common among people I know, and I'm certainly familiar with and reasonably happy with their pocket cameras. The obvious thing to do, then, would be to pick up the XTi and be done with it. However, I know that there's the whole rest of the world out there. Are there particular reasons to look - or thoroughly ignore - the lines from Nikon, Pentax, Panasonic, Sony, or others? Recommendations for specific models or lines there would help, since I don't know as much about them (the Nikon D40X seems like the immediate competitor). I don't currently have any lenses, and I'm not aware of a secret stash of great old lenses I'm about to inherit or something.

Next is the lens question. DSLRs all seem to have the option of coming with a stock zoom lens (18-50mm or so) or without it, and I've seen arguments (like this one) that the zoom lens isn't great and a prime lens is better, both in terms of the pictures that result and developing photographic skill. At least in the Canon universe, there's a 50mm f/1.8 that is about the same cost as the stock zoom lens (though reportedly quite fragile), so that's an interesting possibility. Any thoughts on which way is good to go, or if they're cheap enough that one should have both a vanilla zoom and a cheap prime lens? (Also, I'm a bit on how the third-party lens ecosystem works these days - notes about how that affects brand would be helpful). Are there any other "seriously consider this for starting out" lenses, or should I just wait and see?

Flash - I know the least about this area, except that having a "real flash" is supposed to be a serious advantage, but I don't know what the spectrum is like, or what I should be looking for. Any advice here would be helpful. I assume the world has changed enough that the old Focal DA-2000 flash that goes with my old film camera isn't relevant to anything.

Other kit - any other critical accessories I don't know about or don't know the importance of? A spare battery seems key. Lens filters? Hoods? Tripod widgets? (I'm sure the limitations of my current crappy tripod will become quickly apparent if I actually have a reason to use it)

And finally, the reality check. Should I bother? Should I not get into another set of expensive toys of limited utility? This is really a question for the other DSLR owners - has it been worth it, particularly if you haven't set out to Do Photography?
nathanjw: (fuzzball)
Here I am, deveoping and debugging a system built in 2007, and the best mechanism I have for loading software onto it is XMODEM.

YAFAP

Jan. 4th, 2006 03:14 am
nathanjw: (Default)
4560684 nathanw-Val-Hum-Fem-Law ascended to demigoddess-hood. 193 [193]

And with that, it is time for bed.
nathanjw: (su ping)
"So then I thought, maybe it's a bug in the compiler itself!"
nathanjw: (fuzzball)
Paranoid, yet easy-to-use IM encryption: http://www.cypherpunks.ca/otr/

I'm currently using the proxy version on OSX on my laptop; it took about three minutes to set up.
nathanjw: (fuzzball)
Bug N-1: Three bits in a register bit definition off by one. Result: writing into a reserved register and causing very strange things to happen. Three days to find .

Bug N: A set of macros converts register numbers from one number range to another (this device is sort-of compatible with a different device, but with the register numbers scaled differently. One place doesn't use the macros and thus was writing to the wrong register entirely. Two days to find.

Aaarrrggh.
nathanjw: (Default)
1. Grab the nearest book.
2. Open the book to page 123.
3. Find the fifth sentence.
4. Post the text of the sentence in your journal along with these instructions.

"The output waveform in Figure 4-4 is created by writing PWM_PERVALn[PV] with a decimal value of 10 (11 clocks) and PWM_DUTYn[DCYCLE] with 6."

(Stupid computer books with N-M page numbering. It's not like word processing and publishing can't do better....)
nathanjw: (Default)
This isn't a very good picture, but it still seems like a great icon of Silicon Valley to me.


nathanjw: (Default)
And nothing demonstrates how crowded it is better than the fact that I spent an hour in a traffic jam in the middle of the Mojave desert. It's the DESERT. It should be the middle of NOWHERE and be EMPTY (the problem, of course, is that it's smack between LA and Vegas, and a lot of people make it a weekend trip).

But I made it to Barstow yesterday, and Mojave this morning, with time to spare, even if the spare time came out of my sleep. My somewhat arbitrary estimate is that there were 5000-10000 people present, based on my parking pass number, the size of the RV lot, and other fudge factors. Unexpectedly, I ran into [livejournal.com profile] thomb's group (having spotted his Dogwood Moon shirt), and stuck with them for the duration.

Spaceplane launches aren't terribly photogenic, but that wasn't going to stop me, or any of the other gazillion people with cameras:
Ascent of SpaceShipOne carried by White Knight and chased by Starship )
Lousy picture of SpaceShipOne's rocket trail )
SpaceShipOne glides back down )
Chase planes perform flyover after SpaceShipOne lands )
SpaceShipOne and the pilot on the ground )
SpaceShipOne, Government Zero )
Well, yes, this is what private funding means )
nathanjw: (Default)
I just watched last Friday's Nightline - the special edition that was solely a reading of names and display of pictures of all of the US military war dead in Iraq.

But I watched it on TiVo's 3x fast-forward speed, which is slow enough for me to read the names, but I didn't listen to them being read. Is that less respectful, somehow?
nathanjw: (Default)
This morning the New York Times changed some of the typefaces they use for headlines.

I noticed it before I saw the little "See anything different?" blurb in the bottom corner of the front page.

This makes me feel very smug. Nerdy as all get-out, but smug.
nathanjw: (Default)
Laptop
Cell phone
PDA
Camera
Gameboy

(I suppose the biggest rechargable battery of all is lead-acid, but still...)
nathanjw: (Default)
Part of my day job involves debugging Mozilla's interaction with some code I wrote. Today I fired up a debugging build, did a little browsing, and got this very wrong image:

Amazon eats LiveJournal )
nathanjw: (Default)
The exterior LCD on my cell phone was damaged this weekend, so I've switched to the backup phone (idential model, from when Sprint sent me two replacements for a phone with dead software).

Copying the names and numbers out of the old phone and typing them into a text file wasn't too bad. Entering them back in to the new phone is much more of a pain.

(Yes, Sprint sells software to do this, but it works by synchronizing to MS Outlook, and even though I have the data cable I have neither a Windows box nor Outlook. If I thought I was going to do this much with this model it might be worth setting up and sniffing the serial port, though).
nathanjw: (Default)
.. to realize that there was a time before Federal Reserve notes.
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