Camera Dies at Five

CameraLibCardI took this picture in July 2009, when the young camera had just come to live with me in Boston. For five years, it served me well: the limit on photo quality was more often the photgrapher than the camera. It was very portable, and rather resilient.

But it was not immortal. Its behavior became more and more erratic until, a couple of months ago, it stopped working altogether.

What device (or devices) should I use to take photos for the next five years? The option with the lowest incremental cost is my phone, an iPhone 4. I know I’ll want something better than that as a camera, and probably soonish rather than later.

But I haven’t done much with the photos I’ve taken this year. I haven’t looked through the photos on the deceased Canon’s card. My Flickr photostream has seen little activity.

A new camera would probably renew my interest. A new photosharing service might also do the trick. I don’t feel as Flickr-friendly as I used to; and no, that isn’t a knee-jerk reaction to the acquisition by Yahoo.

As the holidays (and my birthday) approach, it’s time to start thinking what I want in a camera in terms of photo quality, ease of use, portability, price,…or to search for the natural heir to the camera in the photo. Any suggestions?

Tale of Two Springs

Down the StepsWe took a trip up to Boston for a few days, returning on Easter Sunday. The picture is appropriate, not only seasonally, but because we had a party at the indoor playground with this mural outside (Kids’ Fun Stop in West Roxbury, highly recommended, and not just because the owner is a good friend).

We drove past our old house in Roslindale, which made Maddie (now 7) nostalgic, but which Max (4) doesn’t really remember. We also drove past Fallon Field playground, where we spent many an hour, and the arboretum, in which we would have taken a walk had the weather been kinder.

We took the kids’ winter coats to Boston, and the weather justified our decision. Then we got back to the DC area, and were soon digging out their summer sandals. We also had to get out the allergy medication: Max started sneezing while we were still on the plan descending toward BWI airport.

This is a great part of the world, especially if you can stand the pollen, the heat to come, the traffic, and a few other things. I still miss Boston, though.

RIP Ken Olsen

Ken Olsen, who founded Digital Equipment Corporation (usually known as DEC or Digital) in 1957, died yesterday (Sunday). DEC had considerable influence on the computer industry, on New England, and on my life.

Many years ago, I joined DEC in the UK, the land of my birth, as an instructor teaching software, mainly database software. Staying with the firm and with database, I moved to France and then to New England. After a few years, I felt that it was time for a change – from the industry, but not from New England.

DEC sign DEC was acquired by Compaq, which was later acquired by HP. Most of DEC, that is. The database part was acquired by Oracle.

Years after that, I was on Newbury Street in Boston, and came across this sign. It had obviously been buried under another sign, which was in turn making way for yet another sign, at the same building. It was a rather sad relic of the firm.

That sad stuff said, I’m glad that I was part of DEC, and that it was part of my life. All the best to Ken Olsen’s family, and to everyone else who ever referred to him as “Uncle Ken.”

Boston: From Baling to Boiling

Boston is enduring its second aquapocalypse of 2010. A month or so ago it was rain and floods. Now it’s a cracked aqueduct breaking the water supply line. Bostonians are boiling water, scouring supermarkets, etc.

My thoughts are with my Boston buddies. I hope no third aquapocalypse awaits.

Meanwhile, here in DC, it’s hot, and I’m not sure how to coax the mighty-looking air conditioner into life…

Football Loyalties

Maybe I should have divided loyalties about today’s NFL playoff game between the New England Patriots and the Baltimore Ravens. I have after all just moved from Massachusetts to Maryland.

But sports loyalties are stubborn things, so it’s the Pats I’m rooting for. And after 20+ years in the USA, I’m still not sure that football isn’t played with a sphere.

I wrote the above while waiting for Chinese food about an hour before kickoff. I don’t believe there’s anything in there that might have jinxed the Patriots…

Snow in Silver Spring

Steps or Steppes?If we moved south because we didn’t like Boston winters, we picked the wrong year, or we didn’t move far enough, or… Anyway, the Washington Post reports that the DC region begins to dig out after record storm.

Saturday’s storm broke all records for a December snowfall and buried the Washington area, forcing authorities to suspend public transportation, declare a state of emergency and plead with residents to stay home…

The storm began in the Gulf of Mexico and continued northeast along a track meteorologists call an “I-95 special,” growing most intense over the Washington area. New York and Boston also had heavy snowfall, but by the time the storm reached that area, its heart was over the ocean so those cities received less snow…

Some areas, particularly in Southern Maryland, experienced wind gusts up to 40 mph. The total measured snowfall at Reagan Airport at 8:58 p.m. was 16.3 inches, but it was as high as 23 inches elsewhere in the region. That would be more snow in a 24-hour period than the region typically gets in an entire winter.

Meanwhile Boston braces for a great white wave, and Universal Adam features the Snowmageddon tweets.

I took the photo yesterday morning, less than halfway through the storm. It’s part of the rather good Flickr group Sprung from Silver Spring.

Hanging on to the Hub

Having left Boston, do I still need the Globe? I certainly value some of its content. But I no longer need to visit the paper’s main page frequently.

I’ll follow links to Globe content from various places, notably Largehearted Boy and Universal Hub. LHB, a music and lit blog, is based in the deep south (of the USA), but frequently links to Globe content. A recent link goes to an article on collecting music in the age of downloading.

UH is very much a Boston blog, curated by Adam, a former near-neighbor who I never had the pleasure of meeting in real life (although we were in the same room at least once). The most recent post at the time of this writing proclaims today Malls Suck Day at the Globe, on the basis that there are three articles comparing malls to downtowns, with the comparisons being in favor of downtowns. It’s good to see that the Globe isn’t pandering to its mall-based advertisers.

Good Luck Balloon Leaves Roslindale

I packed up the last things from the Roslindale apartment on Wednesday morning. To be more precise, they should have been the last things, but I was so tired I probably missed a few things. And a lot of things I threw out.

And one thing, I let float away. We had a helium balloon bearing the slogan Good Luck left over from a weekend potluck. I took it out onto the deck, and let it float away. It too was tired, so it didn’t spring straight up into the air. Rather, it floated across Walworth Street, rising enough to clear wires and rooftops.

May the balloon of good luck float toward you, good people of Boston.

About to Miss Boston

I’ve been in semi-denial (or at least some fraction of denial) about leaving Boston, but having just told the US Postal Service to forward mail to Silver Spring, Maryland seems to stamp the move with enough reality that denial is no longer an option. I’m missing some people and places already, and I’ll probably post about things I miss sometime in 2010.

Universal Adam pointed to a “missing Boston” post from Alex Howard, who made a similar move earlier this year. I’m already with with Alex on several of the items on his list, such as Jamaica Pond and the Arnold Arboretum.

Craigslist Before Moving

The less stuff you have to move, the easier the move. We’ve been trying to live by that as we prepare to move from Boston to DC. We’ve lightened the load in many ways: giving things to friends, donating things to thrift stores, putting stuff out on trash day, and… Craigslist.

I’ve been disappointed with the response on Craigslist. Items such as air conditioners, humidifiers, didn’t get any responses. We managed to sell a bookshelf (several people responded, we sold it to the person who could come and collect it) and a small couch (we delivered).

Still, that’s probably what would have happened had we used classified ads, back in the day.