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Comment: Former freelancer here... (Score 5, Interesting) 316

by W2IRT (#43891549) Attached to: Chicago Sun Times Swaps iPhone Training For Staff Photographers

I shot freelance for a newspaper in Toronto during the 80s and 90s. And although the work was a lot of fun, I think its time is long over. Consider the adage from dead tree papers: If it bleeds it leads. How many different, artistic ways can you shoot the following, that hasn't been done a zillion times in the past:
1) Large or medium-sized structure fire--this was my specialty.
2) Personal injury accident.
3) Victim(s) being transported.
4) Reminder to set clocks ahead/back.
5) Look how Hot/Cold/Snowy/Icy the weather was yesterday!
6) Perp walk or subject under arrest.
7) Politician making a speech on in a media scrum.
8) Drug/weapons seizure evidence on the table.
9) Presentation of a giant cheque to a lottery winner or charitable .org.
10) Devastation after a large natural disaster, governor/official doing official tour
11) Sad kid/parent after a bully stole their lunch money, bicycle or all the toys for Christmas presents at the poor house.

Now. Go fetch today's paper (good doggie!). How many of the above items do you see in the hard news section? Now factor this: If it's a major disaster, fire, accident, etc, the news editor will be fielding calls from hundreds of people with photos of the event. Probably some with pro-sumer levels of kit. If that isn't available they'll buy a wireservice image and run it. Everything else mentioned is shootable with a phonecam or a shirt-pocket cam, and the level of knowledge needed to shoot it is somewhere between "f/8-and-be-there," and "push-here-stupid."

Sports is an entirely different kettle of fish, and I don't know how they're going to handle Bulls/Black Hawks/Bears/Cubs/Sox games. Again, probably just buy freelancers' materials or stuff off the wires.

Gone are the days when a newspaper NEEDS actual photographs. Unless you're living under a rock the audience already knows what the governor looks like, what a perp-walk looks like, a building fire, a traffic accident or the President making a speech. We can get that anywhere. The hard news reporting is what I care about (not that there's all that much of it these days). Pretty pictures I can find online. They made the right call.

Comment: Re:Who Wants This? (Score 4, Insightful) 442

by W2IRT (#42539929) Attached to: The Trouble With 4K TV

In who's mind is 2K good enough for theatres? Speaking as a former motion picture projectionist who ran 35mm and 70mm film for almost 20 years, I can tell you the "quality" you get in a 2K auditorium is significantly inferior to what was delivered by a 35mm print, albeit with no jitter or weave. 4K cinematic presentations are actually quite good, even on a 40 or 50 foot screen but I steadfastly refuse to see anything in a theatre that's shown in the 2K format. What's worse, most exhibitors run their 2k machines with the 3D lenses in place when they're not showing 3D, cutting the available light in half. So what the vast majority of patrons experience in a movie theatre today is a dark, washed-out image with lower overall quality than they were seeing just 5 years ago. The only winners here are the companies who don't have to ship 12,000 feet of film (for a 2 hour movie), which weighs about 40-50 pounds per print, to 2000 screens -- and pay to ship it back again at the end of the run. The exhibitors also win because they got the 2k machines for free from the companies and they don't have to employ skilled projectionists to run them either.

So yeah, I'll take 4K home presentation once the price comes down to the level that mere mortals can afford. I have a 53" Aquos screen now that's OK at 9' viewing distance but a 65" class screen at 4K and using HFR would rock my world once content becomes available.

My bet is that flat panel manufacturers are quickly realizing that 3D in the home is a dud and they'll concentrate their efforts into amping up 4K in the coming years, even though content will be quite minimal for a very long time. Since you'll never see anything more than 1080i or 720p from OTA broadcast (6 MHz channel size ain't changing any time soon), it'll only be a selling point for movies or DVDs of TV series. I don't know about everyone else, but 95% of what I watch is broadcast TV dramas, comedies and sports. I don't see the studios converting to shoot and edit to 4k in the foreseeable future, either.

Comment: Re:USB Drive, SAN/NAS, LTO ... (Score 1) 680

by W2IRT (#34960634) Attached to: How Do You Store Your Personal Photos?

Funny you should post this, but I ran into that scenario's dark side just this afternoon. Back when storage was more expensive than it is today I did as you suggested and downsampled all the 2 megapixel full-size jpegs from a 2001 visit to my best friend's place into 1024 pixel jpegs. The pictures in question were of his kitties romping in catnip. One of them recently passed away and I thought my friend would like to have those pics. Except they were now just at screen resolution with the originals long since lost and printing them out wouldn't have yielded great results. I was able to up-sample with Genuine Fractals with a little success but the results were less than pleasing.

My own photo collection sits on a Web-enabled NAS box with copies on two desktop machines and a Passport USB drive. It's sitting at a mere 64 GB for the moment, though I expect that to at least double later this year. I delete *nothing* and shoot RAW+JPEG now. When you can get a Terabyte hard drive for $50, what's the sense of being miserly with disk space?

Comment: Re:CQ DX (Score 1) 276

by W2IRT (#28613123) Attached to: Sunspots Return

Four elements on 15m, seven elements on 10m and two elements on 12m up at 85 feet -- plus 1500 Watts. It's about time I put a few more new ones in the log somewhere above 20!
I can hardly wait till CQWW this fall if conditions are this good or better. (Of course, I'm still hoping for a good season on 80 and 160 this winter, too!)

Comment: Less RF interference with Bluetooth (Score 1) 519

by W2IRT (#27771519) Attached to: Bluetooth Versus Wireless Mice

One huge advantage of Bluetooth over conventional wireless mice for me is their lack of susceptibility to RF interference in the HF spectrum.

Conventional wireless keyboards and mice operate at about 27 MHz (very close to CB frequencies, just between CB and the 10m amateur band). As an amateur radio operator using high-power HF, if I use my wireless mouse while I'm transmitting anywhere from 18 to 28 MHz, the mouse (or keyboard) loses communication with the base receiver immediately on key-down and takes a while to come back after I un-key. Using bluetooth (which, IIRC, is in the 5.8 GHz range) this isn't an issue.

Transportation

Cornell Grad Students Go Ballooning (Again) 58

Posted by timothy
from the ithaca-is-gorges dept.
ballooner writes "A group of Cornell University graduate students are attempting to break the Amateur Radio Ballooning duration record this weekend. The project is a continuation from last year when some other Cornell grad students broke the altitude record. The progress of the team can be tracked via their Twitter feed or by monitoring their APRS beacons. For all the HAMs out there, downlinks are available on a 30m wavelength, too."

Comment: Re:A change which makes sense (Score 2, Interesting) 231

by W2IRT (#17268516) Attached to: FCC Drops Morse Code Requirement
In 1976 I heard language on 80M that was a great exercise in George Carlin's "7 dirty words"--and most of the speakers were Extra Class hams (highest license).

Sadly, that kind of garbage is still there. Between the plethora of Rush Limbaugh wannabees (with their own gold-plated RE-20s!!), codgers describing their gall bladder surgery and the 4-land "pigfarmers-with-pitchfoks" types displaying all 20 of their IQ points, both 80 and 20m phone bands are painful to listen to more often than not.

I usually try to catch Riley Hollingsworth's keynote presentation at Dayton, Timonium or some other hamfest every year, and it seems to be a constant - the biggest troublemakers on the HF bands, he claims, are 20-WPM Extras and 13-WPM Advanced-class licensees.

On the other hand, CW is growing in popularity. Look at the recent big DXpeditions; 5A7A to Libya, 3Y0X to Peter the First Island and others. More QSOs in CW than any other mode, and by a large margin. And 40m CW is always the toughest nut to crack in any DXpedition.

As for me, I hated CW when I passed my Canadian Advanced license exam in 1981 (15 WPM sending and receiving, 3 minutes solid copy, 100% accuracy required!). I put my key in a drawer after that and didn't touch it again until about 3 years ago. I'm back up to over 15 WPM now, and I'd say 80% of my QSOs today are in Morse. I may not be great at CW, but I sure enjoy using it. I hope the new codeless operators who get into HF will decide to pick up a set of paddles and come down to the bottom of the band and have a go. It really does expand one's horizons. And if you're a DXer, it's impossible to get your totals up without it!

A LISP programmer knows the value of everything, but the cost of nothing. -- Alan Perlis

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