Monthly Archives: May 2007

This is a cool watch

This watch looks pretty cool. I don’t think I want to know how much it costs.

From the description:

“A revolutionary timepiece that rotates the Earth in its true geographical shape seen from above the North Pole. A flexible spring bends from the Tropic of Cancer to the Tropic of Capricorn to reveal the part of the Earth lit by the Sun and to indicate the time and place of sunrise and sunset. The moon rotates around the Earth. The dragon hand indicates the eclipses of the sun and the moon. The perpetual calendar completes one turn each year.”

I’m awfully impressed by the entire Ulysse Nardin collection.

New Version of WordPress

I just upgraded to the latest version of the WordPress blogging software (which powers this blog), version 2.2. Wow! WordPress has really improved over the past few months. In particular, the administrative pages have undergone a rewrite and now use Ajax throughout to make blog maintenance much slicker. Approving or unapproving comments, adding or deleting blog entries, etc. now use intuitive animations and do not require a page reload. The overall look and feel of the admin pages has improved significantly.

I am apparently a digital pack rat

Thanks to my recent salvage of old computer data, I have files dating back to the early 90’s. Many of the files are in, shall we say, historical formats, such as MacWrite II or FrameMaker. Although I still have some of these applications around, they will no longer run on Intel-based Macs, which are unable to run Classic.

To solve that problem, I purchased MacLinkPlus Deluxe, which can deftly convert between a dizzying array of formats. It’s not perfect; sometimes it messes up the formatting, but it is able to reach into really old formats and pull out useful data…

… assuming that the data is not compressed using a program that no longer exists. Back in the 90’s, hard disk storage space was limited and expensive. Programs such as DiskDoubler hooked into the Mac’s file system and compressed/decompressed files on the fly. There was a small performance hit, although in most cases it was unnoticeable to the end user. The files were compressed on disk, but appeared and behaved normally to the end user. Assuming DiskDoubler was running. DiskDoubler no longer runs; you won’t find an OS X version. So if you pull files off an old hard disk that are compressed with a deprecated program, it could be a problem. (There are some work-arounds in the case of DiskDoubler, though.)

In browsing some of my older files, I came across a scanned receipt for my very first SLR camera, a Minolta Maxxum 5xi:

This was in 1992, before digital cameras existed. The first mainstream digital camera didn’t arrive until 1994 (the Apple QuickTake 100, built by Kodak), and the first digital SLR didn’t arrive until the mid-90’s, costing tens of thousands of dollars.

The 5xi was plenty expensive for me, as a poor college student, but I put it to good use. I took a number of photography classes in college and the 5xi got me through all of them. The 5xi featured some fancy technology, such as fuzzy logic.

Minolta eventually merged with Konica, and in March of 2006, Konica Minolta exited the camera business altogether. Minolta was certainly a big player in the photography business at one time. I remember lusting after the Minolta Maxxum 9, a high-end professional camera that debuted in the late 90’s. But my days of film photography were numbered; I switched over to digital point and shoots for awhile, and (happily) returned to the SLR fold in 2002, when Nikon introduced the digital D100 SLR. My current workhorse camera is the Nikon D200. But I still miss the satisfying film advance sound of the Minolta Maxxum 5xi.