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Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Picked up my camera!!!

My apologies for the lack of posts in the last 2 weeks... But I have some news to report; I've picked up my new camera, courtesy of Henry's in Ottawa!!! After extensive research, I was a little torn between the Rebet XTi and the 40D, but finally decided that the extra expense was worth it, and got the Canon 40D. It's the successor to the very popular Canon 30D, and so far I am very, very impressed!

For those who are familiar with DSLR cameras, the 40D is a real treat! Fabulous construction quality, with a solid feel and weight. And the camera's still OFF!!! Powered up, it's like a sports car; fully loaded with all the options one could possibly want and more. Here is a good shot of the front of the camera:
and the back:

Several very complete technical reviews have been done on this camera, so I will spare you the details, but is still recommended. Here is an image by Canon, providing an inside view of the camera components:

More to follow later!

Friday, January 11, 2008

Shopping for a new camera

For those who know me, I've decided to get back into photography. I was very interested in photography for several years, and gave it up when the Digital SLR camera launched. I was fully aware that one day, the dSLR would eventually replace film cameras, but I knew that I would have to wait a while until the technology evolved to the point where these cameras were really competivite.

So I have been doing some research to find the best camera I can get for my money. Currently, I believe I have settled on the Canon 40D, and I'm really anxious to get my grubby little hands on it!

More to follow!

Friday, January 4, 2008

Modern and minimalist housing...

For those who know me, my obsession with modern and minimalist housing is only increasing with time!!! Good Lord, I should have been an architect rather than a computer geek! Actually, the concept of this type of housing includes several ideas that really appeal to me, such as prefabrication, energy efficiency, use of natural materials and more.

Currently, it seems that there are many, many concepts, but very few actual products for sale. As I discussed in a previous post, architect Rocio Romero has been selling her idea for quite a while now. Some others are doing the same, including a Canadian company called sustain, which has been marketing the MiniHome:

The MiniHome is actually listed as a travel trailer by the Canadian government, so it can be towed to its location, without special permits:

And here is a look at the interior:

The more I research this topic, the more I realise that I am not the only one with this obsession... I wonder what I will find next?

More to follow...

Thursday, January 3, 2008

More of my obsessions...

Ever since I got a look at some modern, prefabricated housing, I have been bitten by the bug... This is exactly the type of house that I have been looking for, and I believe that I have found the one!

After doing some extensive research, I have pretty much settled on Rocio Romero's design for the LV house. Although there are several interesting designs available online, this is the only one that I have found that has been built several times, and the layout seems to be the most rational:

One of the main reasons behind my interest in this type of housing is my concern about the lack of thought going into today's North American housing market. Careful research has led me to conclude that most builders in Canada (if not the USA as well) are far more interested in profit than intelligent construction. I have also concluded that most houses do not cater to the needs of their inhabitants, but rather seem to be built to impress visitors more than anything.

Here is a look at the internal layout for the LV house:

More to follow.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Software review: iBank

I've decided that this year was the year I would get my finances back on track, and being a OSX user, I thought I would forego the usual PC choices and select an application that was designed from the ground up for this platform. This led me to iBank. Now, keep in mind, I'm not sure if this is the solution I would select if I was a multimillionaire, but I think that in my case, the scale of the application mirrors my needs perfectly.

I can tell this was designed by someone from my generation, when one of the built-in expense categories is Dining: Coffee! In my book, that truly deserves a category of it's own! Here's a look at the main interface:

It's been a pleasure setting up my budget, and the excellent Budget Monitor feature let's me see at a glance if I am sticking to my budget. With scheduled transactions, alarms and reminders indicate bills and due payments, so missed due dates are a thing of the past (knock on wood!):

I have been having some technical issues with the application though, with several crashes in the last couple of uses. Of course, I have not yet rebooted the system, and I would like to make sure that the OS is not the culprit here, rather than this program.

More to follow...

A weird obsession...

I have developed a fascination for japanese lunchboxes, also known as Bento boxes. After seeing my first bento box, I was completely hooked. I have searched the Internet to find out as much as I can about where I can procure these fabulously designed boxes. I have been looking at a specific model for some time, and have now located a source in Ottawa:

This particular model is made by the Zojirushi Corporation in Japan, and they have several other models available, apart from a wide range of products for Japanese households.

For those who have never seen a bento, it is essentially a lunchbox with separate containers, that fit together to make a complete lunch package. Very efficient design, and I believe that it can adapt well to Western cuisine. During my research, I found several types and makes of boxes:

I will let you know more as soon as I pick up my new bento!

New Bluetooth keyboard

Hello all! First of all, my apologies for not creating a new post in quite a while, but I plan on making the most of 2008.

For my first post of the year, I thought we would take a look at Apple's new Bluetooth Wireless Keyboard:

This keyboard follows Apple's new design and improves on the portability of the keyboard by removing the extra numeric keyboard available on the wired version.

A side view of the keyboard is a testament to the minimalist design philosophy that Apple has adopted lately, and as some have said "either you love it or you hate it!"

Personally, I am in the LOVE camp, and I can't wait to get my grubby hands on one. I don't make much use of the Bluetooth functionalities of my Mac, and I think it's high time that I did. The keyboard is wisely powered by 3 AA format batteries (included with the initial purchase no less!!), and the smart power management turns the keyboard off during periods of inactivity, only to resume function as soon as the user begins typing again. I would really like to know what real-world power usage is like for one of these babies!

More information will follow as soon as I have performed some testing.

Until then...
Well, I do have an update. My wonderful wife got me a new Apple Keyboard for Christmas, and let me tell you, it is by far the best keyboard that I have had the chance to use. Not only aesthetically pleasing, this keyboard has a fantastic action that is the same as the wireless version. I was very happy to receive the wired version, as I make use of the USB ports on the keyboards, and these are still available on the new version.

A sweet keyboard!!

Resolutions for 2008

Since the new year is upon us, it's time for some new resolutions... Of course, I know how traditional it is for us in North America to simply abandon our resolutions at the first sign of trouble, but I am determined. I want to make some of these changes, and could even say, need to make some of these changes.

First on my list is quitting smoking, and today's -18C weather is helping my resolve. I have decided to take a moderate approach to quitting this horrible habit, and am confident that this will be the year I quit for good.

Second on my list has been to create and maintain a budget and I have enlisted the help of an OSX software called iBank, and with careful tracking, I believe I will also meet this goal.

Of course, I have several other resolutions, but I really believe that the two listed above are really the critical ones! I will continue to update you with more news on how I cope with these two changes to my life!