Sep 302014

Have you seen “Elysium”? That Science Fiction movie with Matt Damon and Jodie Foster? In an interview with Neill Blomkamp, the director, in The Telegraph, he says “Elysium isn’t science fiction. It’s now“.

And that’s right. For all those people from Africa who drown in the Mediterranean (according to the International Organisation for Migration a horrifying number of 3,072 so far this year), Europe is Elysium, a shiny place of health and welfare. This image reminded me of what it must look like to be down in the moat, under the walls of the fortress, without hope ever to climb the walls. It’s not a convenient thought. Really, we have not earned the position we’re in. We’re only lucky to have been born where we’ve been.

The Song of the Day is “The Fortress” by Jackson Dyer. Hear it on YouTube.

Sep 292014

OK, I hear the message. White on black is not friendly to the eye. It won’t make a difference for those who come via feed readers, but thanks to the wonderful layout “Suffusion”, it was painless to switch to a light color scheme for the rest of you. Any opinions? Better? Worse? Irrelevant?

The other difference is, I try to be more responsive. I’ll carry on posting images in advance, but if there is something current, some hot topic, some interesting comment, I’ll try to amend the pre-fabricated post and to respond as soon as possible. I hope this new strategy will still keep my stress level low, while it may make the blog a bit more interactive and lively. We’ll see :D

This image is from the same walk as the last seven images. Some days are better than others. I like the image, on Flickr it was largely ignored. Oh my :)

The Song of the Day is “Its Right In Front Of You” by Edwyn Collins. Hear it on YouTube.

Sep 282014

I am a programmer and programming means to build something that nobody ever has built, following unclear plans to vaguely described places, often using tools that nobody ever before has used, and when you think you’re done, the client tells you that the office building that he has ordered should in reality be a palace, but for the price of a stable.

That’s not all though. The world is changing and in order to stay in business, to stay relevant, you better learn constantly.

That’s what I do now. I’ve learned the whole JavaScript ecosystem last winter, found it lacking in many ways, and now I am busy learning Scala, a hybrid language bridging the paradigms of object-oriented and functional programming. Sounds involved but I enjoy it :)

The Song of the Day is “Functional” by Thelonious Monk. Hear it on YouTube.

Sep 272014

Hmm … ok, so blogs have gone out of fashion. The interesting thing is, that blogs cater to a specificneed for communication. A YouTube channel or a Facebook page, they have completely different patterns of update and of interaction. I wonder what kind of medium fulfills this role in today’s Internet?

And then there is the sort of blog where interaction still happens. Paul Lester comes to my mind. I mean, Paul is just an extraordinarily nice guy – and he is a communicator. I’m not :)

Well, as I said, I won’t stop blogging. I’m just wondering :D

Here’s an image seen while walking through Villach on a sunny day. Triumph is one of the big old manufacturers of underwear around here and the “magic” advertised in the window is something about no wires. Well, whatever, but I found it funny to see the word magic in the same context as these “mannequins”, magically reduced to a bare minimum.

The Song of the Day is “It’s Magic” by Doris Day. Hear it on YouTube.

Sep 262014

2900. Good.

On the other hand, for the first time in an eternity I saw my Statcounter stats this morning, and it was, well, discouraging. I’ve just confirmed it now on Google Analytics: At the moment, and this moment seems to have lasted for at least a year, my blog draws around 20 to 50 visitors per day. Even over the last year there was a slow decline.

I remember when I did a few Photoshpo tutorials in between and when I was among the first who had a Nikon D300 review online, 250 per day was low traffic. Good posts, that I actively promoted, drew a few thousand visits the first day, and they constantly brought traffic over years.

I don’t do all that any more. I don’t even write daily. What you get these days is canned content, posted on a regular schedule. That of course makes it impossible to write about current news, because how should I know what will be current two weeks ahead?

Anyway, I don’t complain, I am interested, thus a question to those who may still read this: Most of you are bloggers and I suppose you use Google Analytics, Statcounter or something like that, just as I do. Do you see a similar decline? Is this only a result of my lack of effort promoting the blog or go blogs out of fashion? Have they already done so and it’s only I who has not recognized?

Not that it makes much of a difference. I’m stubborn :)

The Song of the Day is “I’m Shooting High” by Nat King Cole. Hear it on YouTube.

Sep 252014

I have no idea why one of the upper story windows of this house in Villach displays an advertising of a woman on a towel, likely taken in a Spa, but along with the shape of the old window it fascinated me :)

The Song of the Day is “Woman At The Window” by a group called Team of the Union. I suppose the Russian Union that is, at least I don’t understand a single word :D Hear it on YouTube.

Sep 232014

I found it quite funny that two shops on opposite sides of the street did advertise with the same theme but opposing messages. One had a big “One for all / All for one” in its window, the other “One is never enough”. It was in a pedestrian area, thus I had no problem standing in the middle of the street.

In order to avoid my own reflection, I had to take the image slightly off-axis, but I knew that I could correct the perspective later in Photoshop. I also knew that I would make two versions, a normal and a mirrored one, and that I would put them side by side. This way both texts, the one in front of me and the other in the reflected window in my back, would be readable.

I used f11, an aperture that is already borderline on Micro Four Thirds, focused with autofocus on the text in front of me, and then I manually adjusted focus to be in between the two texts. On my camera, as soon as I use the fly-by-wire manual focus on my lenses, the image is enlarged around the focus point. Normally I’ve set enlargement to 14x, thus I could see the tiny amount of magenta and green fringing from longitudinal CA. Remember, focusing happens at maximum aperture, and of course once the camera stops down, the fringes are gone. As soon as I had a slight magenta fringe around one text and a slight green fringe around the other, I knew that the focus was perfect. It was quick and painless. This is one of the advantages of electronic viewfinders.

The Song of the Day is “One Is Never Enough” by Ten Beers After. Hear it on YouTube.

Sep 212014

Kazuuu!, our lovely kitten is a little over a year old now and she frequently seems to find us boring. Even worse, she’s been alone at home for whole working days, thus the idea to find her company.

Introducing Gamer! He’s her little brother, a young boy from the same mother, about ten weeks old, a clumsy but fast runner and a fanatic climber.

I was naive. Kazuuu! looks exactly like their mother and Gamer is such a tiny baby that I expected no problems at all. I thought it would be like “Hey little brother, I’m Kazuuu! Let me first show you the toilet”, but it was actually pretty dramatic. The young guy was very open at first and didn’t understand at all, why someone looking like his mother tried to murder him. At least that is what it must have looked like.

Two times we’d already decided that it would never work and that we would have to give Gamer away. Two times we tried again. Well, research on the Internet shows that this is normal. Everybody has the problem. It may take a week or two, and the more you interfere (by “protecting” one of the two), the longer it takes.

In our case it took less than a week. Kazuuu! managed to get him under control, now they play with each other, eat from the same bowl and sleep on the same rag. They don’t yet wash each other, but I guess that’s not far away :)

The Song of the Day is “Forever Gamer” by Nightcore. Hear it on YouTube.