Monday, December 28, 2009

Fort Myers Resto - Canon 7D short film - 24p PC workflow

So I got my newly unpacked gift, the new Canon EOS 7D DSLR camera. As an owner of the full-frame 5D camera and Rebel series cameras, and as someone with some photography experience, it was nice to feel 'at home' when using the Canon 7D. A lot of the functionality I was used to remain the same. Thank you Canon!

Canon 7D field test: video + low lighting
With my camera in hand, my new 35mm f1.4L lens, AA batteries and a Canon 7D battery grip, I was prepared to test out the video functionality of this camera right out of the box.

I posted the video results below of my field test. If you want to learn about my workflow (I use a PC), you can check it on

Saturday, December 26, 2009

First terrorist attack since 2001 foiled: Northwest flight 253 from Amsterdam

It's official, it is the first terrorist attack since 2001. As we know, since 2001, there has been no terrorist attacks as Bush-Cheney policies pushed the limits on constitutional surveillance (wiretapping), terrorist detention (Guantanamo Bay), and advanced interrogation techniques (water boarding).

Strangely enough, in the first year of the new presidency, in the spirit of change and wanting to have audacious hope to separate himself from the evil Bush-era policies of making terrorists uncomfortable, coincidentally, the first terrorist attack in U.S. territory happened. Thank God it was foiled.

So here's what we know based on U.S. official statements and press reports:

  • A White House official has confirmed with Reuters it believes its an official act of terrorism.

  • The New York Times named the suspect as Abdul Farouk Abdulmutallab.

  • ABC News and NBC News reported that he attended the University College London, where he studied engineering.

  • Congressman Peter King of New York (R) said the explosive device was "fairly sophisticated". Bloggers and security experts suggest something was mixed on flight vs. prior to boarding.

  • Rep. King also reported that the suspect is 23 years old.

  • Rep. King also reported that there is now a "worldwide alert to make sure this is not part of a larger overall scheme."

  • Canadian airport officials reported that there have been new regulations placed on all U.S. bound flights and it may affect travel delays. This includes physical searches of carry-on baggage and pat downs. This also includes limiting passengers to only one carry-on baggage instead of two.
  • Sunday, December 20, 2009

    Dell Online Store: Order verification nightmare!

    Dell Online Store: Order verification nightmare!

    I'm providing feedback to Dell's online store as a loyal Dell customer. Dell's online store stinks compared to other online retailers. If Dell needs feedback on why their online store is being kicked around by the likes of, I will breakdown some of the process problems on what I thought should have been a straightforward transaction. I shop on Walmart, Amazon, and a variety of online e-tailers with no issues. Even when I travel and surf internationally. But not Dell. They are so strict that they drive legitimate customers like me away from their store.

    PROBLEM 1:
    I wanted to order a Canon 35mm/1.4L lens today for my brand new Canon 7D but apparently Dell Financial Services (DFS) has to authorize my charges.
    I have to dial DFS' order verification line at 1-866-821-0266. That's fine, it's all anti-fraud. It's all good. So I dial and about 7-9 minutes later everything was resolved. They had to dial my phone number just to verify that I was the one who I claim to be.

    PROBLEM 2:
    DFS authorized my charges! Yey! So I dial back the normal customer service line at 1-800-624-9897 and I checked up on my order. It's still on HOLD! This time it is held up by another department called the credit card order verification group. To think I even used my debit card for this. I said, hey no problem. The phone agent gives me the following number 1-866-383-4713 to dial. If it was going to be a 'breeze' like the DFS notification, I can actually get this lens by 12/30.

    PROBLEM 3:
    The agent gave me the verification number but he forgot to mention one tiny detail. They're closed on Sundays.

    PROBLEM 4:
    I call back at 1-800-624-9897. Apparently they are not given any empowerment tools to verify and finally I gave up. I said, please cancel the order because my bank shows it is being charged, DFS shows it is authorized --- yet the order still is on HOLD. I have no idea if it is going to reach my house in time before I travel.

    The Dell Store payment and verification process is tedious and annoying.

    Friday, December 18, 2009

    Iraq insurgents hack Predator drones through SkyGrabber

    Interesting news today, apparently unencrypted video feeds from the Predator drone has been downloaded by Iraqi insurgents/terrorists on the ground.

    SkyGrabber, a $26.00 software that you use with any satellite dish, can give you a view of satellite feeds...designed mainly to listen in to video, images, and entertainment, it apparently was used to listen in to military communications. Ouch.

    An embarrassing incident for the Pentagon, but unencrypted communications happens anywhere and everywhere -- from cell phones to satellite phones to emails to whatever. I'm just kinda shocked we didn't even encrypt it...

    Thursday, December 17, 2009

    How to change drive letter assignments in Windows 7, Vista, and XP

    I had to change drive letter assignments for my external Iomega Prestige 1 TB USB 2.0 Desktop External Hard Drive 34275. I saved some video and wanted to make sure that when I opened it in my video editor on my laptop, the paths would remain the same. Unfortunately, the laptop assigned it a different letter than what I wanted. After a few tries, I figured out where to do it on Windows and documented it below. (Just right click Computer, click on Manage, go to Disk Management, change drive letters.)

    I made a video below to help others who are looking for a similar solution.

    Friday, December 11, 2009

    The hidden cost of green technology: lithium dependence

    For years I believed that green technology could reduce our dependence on foreign oil and reduce the influence of cartels like OPEC. With new wind farms and large solar farms, we could start utilizing energy freely available to us. We could stop paying outrageous gasoline prices at the pump by buying fully electric cars or at least reduce it significantly using hybrid cars like the Prius (Prius uses NiMH not lithium-ion batteries).

    But there's a roadblock to total energy independence. We need lithium batteries! Yes, those crazy little critters that run our hybrid and electric cars, that store our solar and wind power, are all in need of lithium-ion based batteries. Even our consumer electronics need them.

    Lithium is a metal that needs to be mined on foreign soil and most of the supply is located in countries like Bolivia, that more or less have the same policies and anti-American leanings as Venezuela.

    As we start weening away from foreign sourced fuel like oil and leverage more of green technology like electric cars, more lithium will be needed.

    And unfortunately, we will still be depending on foreign sourced fuel.

    Sunday, December 06, 2009

    Windows Security Essentials - Free Antivirus Protection by Microsoft

    Microsoft Security Essentials is the best thing since slice bread!  I always like things FREE and have been using AVG's Free AntiVirus program for a long time.  But with Microsoft offering of their very own anti-virus program, who can resist?  Backed by one of the largest corporations in the world that knows the ins and outs of your operating system --- why not go with the obvious choice?  No more McAfee or Norton AntiVirus subscription fees!

    This is also a smart "anti-piracy" move on Microsoft's part, ensuring that you have not only the latest operating systems (Windows XP minimum required), but that you also have a legitimate copy of it.  

    What I like about it so far...
    • So far it's stopped viruses and malware on one of my 'shared' PCs.
    • It seems faster than AVG / Norton AntiVirus / McAfee.  It blends in with Windows well.
    • It's free.