Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Bluetooth Mouse up for Grabs

Mouse for rBay
Originally uploaded by saaby
I purchased this off eBay about a year ago, in my pursuit of a full-sized Bluetooth mouse. I didn't personally care for it, the buttons are a little too stiff for my liking -- but it's a perfectly nice mouse! It features a scroll-wheel with left and right scroll as well (The wheel tilts), 2 programmable buttons on the left-hand side, and an optical sensor made by Logitech. I'll even let you keep the batteries that are in it.

First one to speak up gets it.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009


West Valley plans to fix problem road

"...workers will re-stripe the west lanes of 4700 South and make them on lane."

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Christmas with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir

I got to go see the Music and the Music and the Spoken Word version of Christmas with the Tabernacle Choir with Natalie Cole and David McCullough. AS always, perhaps some of the best parts of the event were the parts that were not broadcast.

In 2003 The Mormon Tabernacle Choir and Orchestra at Temple Square put on a Christmas concert, as a gift to the community. PBS picked up the recording of the event, and broadcast it at Christmastime of 2004. This has been repeated in the years since...with the 2004 version being broadcast on PBS in 2005, and so forth.

The concert is a 90 minute concert. It's cut down to 60 minutes for the PBS special, and a 30-minute version is performed for Music and the Spoken word. Since we only got to see 30 minutes of a 90 minute concert, they performed a 'mini' concert immediately following the broadcast. At the end of the mini-concert they re-performed the last song from the broadcast. I got online and watched the end of the broadcast today, and I believe that happened...Natalie Cole is supposed to come in at the end of the song. Well the end builds up and builds up and builds up, and then it kind of peaks...and then Natalie Cole comes in...really weak...about 4 measures after the peak, and really weak. If I had to guess, I'd guess they were having Mic problems. I am pretty sure this is why they re-performed the last song, for the PBS special. SO we'll have to see when the CD of the performance comes out (and later the DVD) if that last song features a stronger performance by Natalie Cole. If it does, we'll know they used (or edited in anyway) the version that was /not/ broadcast on Music and the Spoken word.

Speaking of the Microphone, did you know Natalie Cole has a diamond-encrusted Microphone? I thought maybe there were some sequins on it, but I looked up Natalie Cole when I got home, and found a picture of her with the same sparkly microphone. Who knew.

Speaking of Microphones and such...what a production! They had gigantic ornaments flying in and out over the choir, light cues, it was the real deal. What impressed me the most though...there were at least 6 cameras. 1 man roaming around the stage, 3 cameras on hydraullic lifts (The same ones they use for conference) and 2 cameras on what must have been 30' boom poles. Watching the broadcast, I'm amazed...stunned really, at how good a job the cameras do of not catching each other in the shot, because they were all over the place! And as for those boom operators? I'm just glad I am not the one responsible for swinging a 50lb broadcast camera around on the end of a 30' pole near Natalie Cole, David McCullough, and the Orchestra at Temple square!

This is all fluff though...so let's get to the heart of what I came here to say. After the mini-concert was over, they brought 'special guests' Natalie and David on stage to present them with flowers, something in a big frame (I think there was a copy of the program and some photos of the choir, or something along those lines), and tell them thanks. President Monson was in attendance, and he said...not exact words, but something along the lines of "I have chosen 5 of the most important words in the English language this morning. We are proud of you. Thank you." and that was it. Natalie Cole talked for a second. She dropped a lot of names, thanked President Monsion and his people for their extreme hospitality, and talked about how much she loved the last couple of days. David McCullough, on stage with his wife, thanked President Monson for incuding "The Boss" and said that he and his wife had been married for 55 years? this week. Then David McCullough said something really special, I wish I had a recorder to grab the exact words...because I simply did not...but it was something along these lines.

I wish I wish I wish I remember exactly how he set it up, but David McCullough said that at one time an aging John Adams met a young Ralph Waldo Emersen, and he said to him "I would that there be more ambition, that is ambition of the laudable type, ambition to excel." David said that, the past 4 days with "our people" that is what he has felt. An ambition and drive to do better and excel. It was a really sincere and hear-felt complement. What's more, looking for that quote, I have found out that it's one of David McCullough's favorite historical moments...a moment he wishes he was a fly on the wall to experience. David McCullough used his favorite quote to describe us.

Anyway, fantastic performance, great experience, Merry Christmas, onto finals for me.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Open Source Art

Well I've been sitting on this blog post for weeks...and I don't mean it's been sitting in blogger waiting for me to hit publish, I mean the whole thing has been written up in my mind, spell-checked and all, (though I can't vouch for the grammar) just waiting to sit down at a keyboard and let the thoughts come out.

Speaking of which -- when are we going to get the implants? I'm not sure I'm ready to have my whole computer implanted in my brain, but despite my above-average typing speed, I can still think a lot faster than I type. I need to learn dvorak, that would help...

...but I digress...

It's no secret, at least I think it's no secret, and after this confession it most certainly will be no secret, that I love flickr. According to flickr, I joined in March of 2005, so that means that we're just shy of 5 years together. I love that, with a Pro account anyway, you can upload all pretty much all the photos you could ever imagine taking. I love the metadata that flickr lets you put on your photos, like tags, notes, and geodata. I love the social aspect of flickr (I'd even go as far as to say that many people were talking to other people on flickr long before facebook) and I love how they'll run analytics on your photos. Here's my most viewed photo. It's also my most favorited. Here's my most interesting (As determined by Flickr) photo, and here's my photo with the most comments.

Another thing I love is open source software. A quick survey of my currently running apps...ok I don't have anything running right now that's open source, but that doesn't change the fact that many apps I love and depend on are open source.

I wish I could contribute more to the Open Source community, but I'm not a coder. One way I've tried to contribute to things, however, is through making my Photos "Open Source." I do this through a Creative Commons license. Most of my photos are licensed with a "Attribution-Share Alike" license. This is, as far as I know, is the closest to the OpenGPL license put on most Open Source software. This means people are free to use my photos however they want, but I ask that -- in return -- people who use my photos give me credit, and share their work the same way I am sharing mine. I don't, by default, license my photos for commercial use.

Is there anything to govern this? Well not exactly. If I found somebody using one of my images commercially, I could technically press charges, but really how would I ever know if my photo of ____ were being used by ____ in China? I'd never know!

Some really cool things can come of this plentiful sharing though.

Remember how I just said I'd never know if somebody was using my image? Well I lied. That's not completely true. There is the possibility that I'll bump into some of my work sooner or later. For example, when I came home from my mission, I was trying to explain to somebody online where I'd been for 2 years. I looked up the Wikipedia article on LDS Missionaries, and...wait a minute! There's my photo. I'm published!

Now sometimes people actually tell you when they use your photos, and that's always a very polite and nice thing to do. Sometimes they tell you, because they are asking permission to use a different license on your photo than the one you originally placed. This is what happened to me recently.

A few weeks ago I got an email...

The image he was referring to was this one, from a set of photos that I took years ago, after my dad had just purchased his first Saab. I like stuff, I like the design and look of stuff, so naturally I like to take photos of stuff. These photos were taken long before I owned a professional-grade camera or RAW processing software. Of course I offered these to share, but I never imagined that somebody would actually want to use them -- especially in print!

Here's the finished product:

Here's all the other materials, along with a hand-written letter from the head designer on the project.

View all the printed materials (PDF)

In photography, especially as sophisticated photographic equipment capable of producing high-quality images becomes more accessible, there seems to be a growing trend to watermark, copyright, and lock down every image a photographer takes. Now certainly if you have a commercial interest in photography, there are reasons for this and I completely support this decision, but if you're out taking cool pictures, perhaps you'll consider sharing just a few of your best, or maybe your favourite even if they're not your best, photos with the community at large. You never know, you might be published!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Focusing on what's important

Just a short post tonight.

I've been involved a lot with entrepreneurship and such lately. Surely it's an exciting world, driven by the dual, elusive opportunities for fame and fortune.

Every book or bit of information I've read about entrepreneurship eventually gets to the part about how you need to learn to give it away, even when you have nothing to give, if you ever want to be successful.

I was reading in the Book of Mormon today, and it even states this, pretty clearly actually. I don't know why I'm surprised.

(Note: For my Book of Mormon class, we split the scriptures up into little "sense lines" -- lines that can /almost/ stand on their own. I really like it. I'm presenting these verses split as such)

Jacob 2:17-19

17. Think of your brethren
like unto yourselves,
and be familiar with all
and free with your substance,
that they may be rich like unto you.

18. But before ye seek for riches,
seek ye for the kingdom of God.

19. And after ye have obtained a hope in Christ
ye shall obtain riches,
if ye seek them;
and ye will seek them for the intent to do good--
to clothe the naked,
and to feed the hungry,
and to liberate the captive,
and administer relief
to the sick and the afflicted.