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Adobe Ideas Photography Software

Image Keepsakes for Kids

Every parent wants pictures of their kids, especially over the years, but have you ever thought about trying something different to capture that moment?

Here are a couple of ideas to try out!

Got Kids?
Got Kids?

These images are easily done with today’s imaging software, and can be very unique!

Going Down Hill... Fast!
Going Down Hill… Fast!

and with summer right around the corner, why not start planning your shoots today!

If you need some help, please let us know!

- Andrew
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If you found any of the images or information useful, why not consider making a donation today!

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Audio Books Audio.com Blogging Information Personal Project Gutenberg Software Web

Listening to Books (Again)

Over the past several months, my work is required me to be more critical of what I’m doing with my hands and eyes, so I no longer have the luxury, of being able to view TED conference videos.

If you are not familiar with TED, and you enjoy learning and hearing about new ideas, I strongly recommend that you visit the site and listen to some of the most interesting talks that are available free on the web. Well worth your time.

I had been using my laptop as my interface to the TED lectures, but being tethered to such a device was no longer an option, and my wife was nice enough to give me her old Creative Zen MP3 player.

To me this was a major upgrade, considering last book that I had listened to, was on a cassette tape player, two cars and 10+ years ago.

Would you believe, I still have the two cassette tape collection (4 sides), The Tao of Physics by Fritjof Capra with a copyright date of 1990.

I’m not even sure if I have a device to play them back anymore.

In mid December 2011, I signed up with Audible.com for their three-month introductory offer, and yes I was influenced by their various TV commercials and banner ads.

It was a relatively standard new account setup, and I was off and searching.

The Hunt Begins

I was very interested in finding several authors, that I had just been reintroduced to, by  watching on the Discovery Channel, “The Profits of Science Fiction“, namely H.G. Wells and Arthur C Clarke.

I was also trying to find several of the Speakers that I heard on TED, most notably Richard Dawkins and Douglas Adams.

Audible.com

So the downloading begun, at least on Audible.com:

Not bad collection start with, but I knew I was giving go broke if I was going to stick with Audible.com only.

Project Gutenberg

From previous web meanderings, I was aware of the Project Gutenberg and decided to do some hunting.

Also at this point, having already listened to several of the books mentioned above, I finally broke down and bought an Apple iPod touch.

The addiction is growing…

With the aid of the Audiobooks app, I downloaded several classics:

  • Dracula – Bram Stoker (Done)
  • Dubliners – James Joyce
  • Flatland: A Romance of many dimensions – Edwin Abbott Abbott (Done)
  • Relativity: The Special and General Theory – Albert Einstein
  • The Art of War – Sun Tzu (Done)
  • The Invisible Man – H.G. Wells
  • The Legend of Sleepy Hollow – Washington Irving (Done)
  • The Time Machine – H.G. Wells (Done)

and several others that I have only as a reference at this point, such Aesop, Confucius, Lao Tzu, and Robert Frost.

A very interesting collection of works so far, and as indicated, I have already put in many hours of listening.

In the Gutenberg collection, I first read Dracula in the 7th or 8th grade while at Rectory school, and the Dubliners while at St. Andrew’s, and Einstein and Abbott in college.

Needless to say it’s been a few years for some of these books, and I am debating on whether to do reviews on my blog.

Problems

Difficulties always arise when moving from one medium to another, and moving from a hardbound paper book to an object that can hold volumes of books in your shirt pocket, is no different.

Highlighting and Notes

One of my biggest peeves right now, is the inability to efficiently bookmark sections of the audio book, in a highlighter fashion, or be able to write notes in the margin, but I have a feeling as audio book applications mature, there will be these enhancements, and possible improvements, such as a singular platform Reader that can catalog your highlights and notes!

Readers/Narrators

One of the biggest things that can kill an audio book, is the Reader/Narrator.

I cannot imagine the effort involved all reading some of these chapters or books at length while being recorded.

I applaud those that can do it, but please do not add over dramatization while reading!

A good example of this, is to find and download the Jabberwocky by Lewis Clark, and listen to the various readers as they repeat this poem again and again and again.

When listening to paid audio books, it is not uncommon to have a professional reader, or celebrity narrating. In some cases, you can also find the authors narrating their own work, which can be very delightful.

Conclusion

If you have the time, it is great to be able to listen to a book, while doing something else.

In my case, when I am home, I am doing Adobe Lightroom or Photoshop work, as well as listening in my car during my commute.

It has also been wonderful listening to books I read when I was a boy, and see how much I remember and how much I have forgotten or missed.

Boy I wish I had these technologies back when I was in grade school, things would’ve been a lot different.

Oh well…

– Andrew
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Categories
Blogging Ideas Rants Thoughts

Global Marshall Plan?

Future Construction
Future Construction

Is it time for global Marshall plan?

One of the largest earthquakes ever recorded, hit Japan overnight, and here on the East Coast, it was breaking headline news, that we all woke up.

My late-night friends on the West Coast, reported and posted, that they were beginning to see the first videos from Japan.

The social networks have been taxed with the spiked increase in usage.

The 24-hour news channels have been showing videos all day long.

It is just amazing to watch the Tsunami waters rolling over the landscapes of Japan, and people caught on the highways and bridges looking at the water heading towards them with no place to go.

It is still far too early to know what the final death toll and financial cost of this earthquake will be, but it is easy to guess that is going to cost billions.

While witnessing the reporting, it occurred to me, that there is going to be a need for a great deal of human power to resurrect what is left in Japan.

I have already read reports indicating that Japan has activated their lobbyists to get money from the United States.

As a human I know we need to give them the money to help them, that is not a question, but are we going to put any constraints on these funds?

Maybe, we should require them to buy US goods, thereby helping to rebuild our manufacturing base and our economy.

Maybe, we should revisit the Marshall plan of World War II, that helped rebuild Europe, updated, and apply it to Japan.

We could also use unemployed Americans, which were willing to travel to Japan, a decent wage to help rebuild the Japanese country, or offer them tax breaks.

The problem that I see with restarting our manufacturing base is that it has been so gutted over the past few years, that it may take time to start producing materials, but this maybe a possible kick start is needed for our economy and may be the world’s.

It would definitely take a massive amount of money to do this, but why not pay Americans?

Local resources in Asia, will most likely get inundated by the immediate needs of such a large scale recovery, but here again, American factories may be able to contribute in some fashion.

Another thing that should be looked at, is making a concerted effort to invest in renewable energy sources such as solar power. The Japanese culture in general, is far more open to earth friendly designs then we are here in the United States. This could also spur a growth in research and development within our own borders.

Initially there is going to be a great deal of need for just people power to clean up all the debris that this event has beset upon Japan.

We should also explore the possibility, of reusing as much of the debris as possible in some recycled fashion or another. Plastic and the such gathered and re-manufactured into new items.

This may also be a perfect time to revisit the ideas of apprenticeships in a more hands-on fashion.

There are many experienced people available that could be used as teachers and mentors, to introduce a whole new generation interested in a new potential career. During this crisis we do not have the time for formal classroom training, but needed knowledge can be absorbed by doing the tasks in the field.

If the Marshall plan is going to be used as a framework for this endeavor, we should also look at it as a framework for the potential rebuilding of the Middle East.

Who should run such an operation?

From the beginning of this effort it needs to be realized that this is an international effort, but at the same time there are local customs and considerations that need to be taken into account.

The United Nations would be a likely candidate, but at the same time, tends to be too political in a time where efficiency and urgency is needed.

Maybe we consider, combining two different organizations for this effort.

Because of the large amount of material that needs to be moved in a timely fashion, the military could be used for getting supplies from here to there, which they are ready do as part of their daily routines. They also have the benefit of having the infrastructure to already do this.

But once the supplies are on site, who would run the efforts from there?

The organization that runs this part of the operation needs to be very much aware of the local environment. Obvious issues include language and cultural barriers.

There also needs to be concern for the potential corruption of local efforts that have been witnessed in the past. Record-keeping and accountability need to be monitored for any possible anomalies that could occur, and if any rules or regulations are broken, there needs to be swift remediation. If too much politics gets involved, there will be needless losses.

These are just some quick thoughts…

– Andrew
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Categories
Blogging Ideas Information Rants Scams Thoughts

Major Overnight 8.9 Earthquake Hits Japan

Bronze Statue of Amita Buddha Daibutsu or Great Buddha
Bronze Statue of Amita Buddha Daibutsu or Great Buddha

Update(s)


3/15/2011 – A new group was started on Facebook that I think needs to be highlighted:

I will open my home to a family from Japan

It is a great idea, and if you think you can NOT afford it, remember, they have NOTHING!

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If you are just waking up, there was a major 8.9 earthquake that struck Japan overnight.

This is one of the largest ever recorded, and from early reports, has caused all sorts of damage, including issues at one of the northern nuclear plants. Many after quakes have also been reported, and many of those are 6.0 and above.

On Facebook, I have gotten notice that friends/neighbors that are in China are safe and sound, I can only wait, hope and wonder for those I know on the main island.

Some of my friends and followers on the west coast, have posted that they watched video of some of the Tsunami reaching Hawaii, live.

I had the chance to go to Japan in 1994, just before the big Kobe earthquake several months late, and while I was there, a small 4.3 shook the house that I was in.

If you have never been in an earthquake, it is a very strange sensation, namely because one has no control of what is going on around you.

Needless to say, in the coming hours, days, weeks and months, there will be much sorrow, pain and suffering.

Also, be aware, that in times like this, some people will try and take advantage of donations. Be very aware of which organizations which you pledge your money.

I do not subscribe to any particular religion, but please take a moment today, to just send your thoughts to those that may have lost a great deal.

– Andrew
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Related Sites and Info

Japanese Quake Person Finder
Earthquakes near Japan – earthquake.usgs.gov

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