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dballance

Profile Information

Name: Dave
Gender: Male
Hometown: Gallatin, TN
Home country: USA
Current location: Portland, OR
Member since: Mon Nov 6, 2006, 02:59 PM
Number of posts: 5,756

Journal Archives

If you think the NSA/CIA/FBI are Scary, Have you ever used Ancestry.com?

I've been using Ancestry.com to put together my family tree. It's very scary how easily they come up with records on people and link them all together.

Then, of course, I'm only helping them out by building my family tree. Linking people together -especially the older records with simple name variants for the same person.

Thanks for this month's photo contest - HDR

I was a bit pissy when I first saw the contest about HDR because I'd never played with that sort of thing in my camera and software. I didn't even know it existed.

Then when I went about researching HDR and followed up by dragging my tri-pod out and getting exposures I was really happy I had to learn something new.

Anyone know of a "reliable" fire & water-proof safe for media?

Like most people these days I archive my photos/videos and my docs etc. on DVD (soon to be Blu-Ray).

Is there a fire safe out there that actually works? I checked consumer's reports and just did general google. This one from SentrySafe http://www.amazon.com/SentrySafe-QA0110-Fire-Safe-Waterproof-Storage/dp/B001F7HPMS keeps popping up.

Other background. I've tried the online backups - too slow given my connection speed. Yes, I'm kind of just thinking about stashing my backups at a friend's house in return for doing the same for them. That's off-site storage but a pain to maintain.

I was listening to NPR this morning. They had a photographer on as their guest.

It was fun to listen to NPR. Yeps, I'm such a liberal lefty.

It was fun to listen to a professional photographer. He admitted that luck had a lot to do with his great pictures.

I take tons of photos and I hope one of them will be special. I hope luck will grant me a time and place for a great picture.

Filing System/Photo Management Suggestions?

So how does one file photos and get back to them easily these days? I started out just creating folders by broad subjects like Family, Landscapes and so on an then folders by date under those. It just takes forever to find a photo though.

I see stuff on the web about Lightroom and other software. Anyone have experience and suggestions they'd like to share. Inexpensive and simple is good. I guess at a minimum I should be able to tag people, places and keywords for search.

On Edit: I'm primarily a MAC user.

Can anyone reccommend a good English translation of the Qur'an?

I'm a curious type of person and I like to be educated. I have read the Bible, the Book of Morman and yet haven't read the Qur'an or the Vedas. As a student of life I think I should read both of the latter among other things.

I went online to the Kindle store and there were so many versions of an English translation of the Qur'an I didn't know which one to pick. Reviews on many of them claimed some bias by the translator of the particular version.

Is there a recommended version I should choose? It's okay if it's not downloadable I can pick it up at a bookstore I'm sure. And any study guides/commentaries that are useful would be nice too.

Thanks!

Morning Philosophy Thought

"Are you merely finding that for which you look? Or are you looking for that which you find? Only one is the path to real discovery."

- Anonymous

I Think I Made A Breakthrough. Also, Anyone Have Recommendations for Nikon-Compatible Lenses?

Okay, so never underestimate the benefit of just sitting there with your camera and it's manual (or the third-party manual I got on sale at Powell's bookstore) and just clicking through all the settings. I knew the basics of what f-stops and shutter speed meant but never really fooled with them on my current DSLR. It's a Nikon D40 and I have the stock 18-55mm/3.5-5.6 that comes with and a 18-200mm/3.5-5.6 that I picked up refurbished.

I finally figured out how to adjust the aperture, shutter speed and ISO with the camera in full manual mode. Now I can start trying to be really artistic (after much practice). Full-auto has allowed me to take some excellent pictures but then I think "Why do I have a decent body and two lens for if I'm going to use it as a point-and-shoot?" Thank goodness it's digital so I don't have to waste a lot of film and processing $$ to try things out. My photography is pretty standard amateur stuff. No professional portraiture or anything like that in my future.

So I'm getting the idea I probably should have a 35mm or 50/55mm prime lens with as low an f-stop as I can afford. Nikon has a 35mm 1.8 I see online for under $200. I've never used third-party lenses with the camera. I'm not all that tied to the auto-focus and understand my D40 can't focus certain lenses even within the Nikon line. That's okay since I used to use a film 35mm without auto-focus I could live with it. When I upgrade I'll stay within the Nikon D-series.

Anybody had good luck with third-party lenses? Which ones?

Also, any advice, and "are you nuts - you don't know what you're doing" comments are okay too. I'm just now transitioning from using the camera as an expensive point-and-shoot to a real camera.

Here's a picasa gallery of photos I took I don't hate

https://picasaweb.google.com/111080945812562422368/DUPhotos#

Why Any Desire to NOT Change the Filibuster Now is WRONG.

The reason I keep hearing is that Dems & Reid don't want to change the filibuster now because the GOP will someday be in control of the Senate again and then Dems won't be able to use the filibuster.

Well, that's just more self-immolating stupidity on our part. Given how McConnell and the GOP have acted with such impunity to their "gentlepersons' agreements" not to abuse the filibuster then we're crazy not to wake up and smell the coffee. The moment they get control of the Senate they'll change the rules. Even if they have to use the "nuclear" option. They don't give a crap about what the people of the country would think of that because it would only live in the news cycles for a week or two at best.

Then they'll start cranking out horrible, horrible GOP bills through both houses and stating how much better a GOP-controlled congress is because, gee, look at how many bills have passed compared to the last two congresses. And the worst part is, as we all know, the fawning media will let them get away with touting how "successful" they are.

We're insane if we think they'll do anything else. If we change the filibuster now, perhaps we might get some of Obama's appointments approved. Since those are life-term positions they have decades of influence and can undo a lot of bad GOP laws down the road. We've seen how important this is with the two appeals courts that ruled Obama's recess appointments were not valid by taking a brand new reading of the President's authority to make recess appointments and throwing out a couple of hundred years of history of Presidents doing exactly the same thing, more often actually, as Obama has done. Some past presidents have made recess appointments when the Senate was adjourned for as little as a day.

If Bush had made those same appointments I doubt the courts would have even granted a right to review them. No, they would have said that they wanted to follow past practices and respect the separation of powers.

I'll be damned if somebody didn't try to break into my car

Silly them. They didn't know I'm a night owl and would hear the alarm.They were gone by the time I got to the parking lot. The police got here very quickly. I didn't call 911 I called the non-emergency number but they stopped by within 15 minutes.
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