Thursday, January 25, 2007

Miróesque Musings

L'Oiseau Mongol, Joan Miró, 1969

Happy Birthday to me.

I would like to be a dot in a painting by Miró
by Moniza Alvi

I would like to be a dot in a painting by Miró.

Barely distinguishable from other dots,
it’s true, but quite uniquely placed.
And from my dark centre

I’d survey the beauty of the linescape
and wonder -- would it be worthwhile
to roll myself towards the lemon stripe,

Centrally poised, and push my curves
against its edge, to give myself
a little attention?

But it’s fine where I am.
I’ll never make out what’s going on
around me, and that’s the joy of it.

The fact that I’m not a perfect circle
makes me more interesting in this world.
People will stare forever --

Even the most unemotional get excited.
So here I am, on the edge of animation,
a dream, a dance,a fantastic construction,

A child’s adventure.
And nothing in this tawny sky
can get too close, or move too far away.

[View a Flash version of the poem here.]

Monday, January 08, 2007

Flash poem, anyone?

You know how things turn up when you're not looking for them anymore? Well this file is something I had been trying to find for ages. Finally found it when I cleaned up during the holidays. (Good thing the diskette is still working.) A few years ago I attended a Macromedia Flash workshop. This animated poem was one of my projects. I must say, the poem itself isn't one of my better pieces, but it was rather well-suited for translation into Flash. The thing wouldn't convert into a Quicktime movie for some reason, so I just made it into an animated gif.

(Click on image to view a slightly larger version. Point the cursor on the image; if you see a "+", click again to further enlarge. The poem loops continuously. Just refresh the page if you want to see it from the very start.)

Friday, January 05, 2007

Sizing up the SE K800i

Time to size it up. Do I love the K800i or do I LOVE the K800i? There's the sleek sonavagun right there. Maybe not as attractive as the newer Nokia models (and then again it depends on one's tastes; I do like how it looks), but it sure packs a wallop in terms of features. And must I say it, the Cyber-shot label alone is enough to make me want it (ssh I've secretly desired Cyber-shots time after time). My phone no longer looks like this, though. Just today I chucked out the crystal case in favor of a screenguard and a leather case (a pink one, hee!). See, after a week of use I felt like becoming a potential candidate for tendonitis, the case made the whole thing bulky, I have small hands! Pressing the tinier buttons (like at the top and sides) was a bitch. So what the heck, goodbye crystal case. At least you got photographed.

I should also say though, it's true what CNET says about the joystick and navigation. The joystick, cool as it is, can be a bit sluggish sometimes. Not always. I don't mind it too much. As for the keypads, squished together like that, I can no longer text as fast as I used to. I actually have to pay attention to what my thumb is pressing, how about that? Maybe it'll get better with time. If not, well, maybe I'll send less text messages and looking at the bill every month will become less painful.

One thing I'm enjoying with the K800i is how it allows for so much customization. (Pardon the ingenue, my former phones were all Jurassic compared to this. I was quite content with low-end models until I laid eyes on this one.) The sunflower wallpaper I'm using now (the one in the pic above) is one of mine (not taken with this phone, though). Uploading your own stuff is easy (once you figure it out, that is. The dang software was rather problematic, I have not been able to actually use the programs. So far I've only managed to get the computer to recognize the phone as an external drive, and I do my business through there. I am told that perhaps I have to get updated firmware.) In any case, just having the ability to choose wallpapers, themes, and so on and so forth allows for so many possibilities. I can set up my own shortcuts also, what a delight! I never was good at memorizing shortcuts devised by other people. Heh. And lookee, I can set up the phone to sound an alarm say, at 6am, and at the same time have an image of Aragorn throwing a torch at me and whispering elvish into my ear (or shouting "Fire!" or "Charge!", remember from the Battle at Helm's Deep in Two Towers? Ehrm, sorry for the random geek reference.) I mean, truly, can you see it, the myriad ways we can simultaneously automate and complicate our daily lives, huh?

Plus there are many other stuff I won't get into anymore: the multimedia messaging (I can send mini slide shows! With text and music and recorded audio and so on. Oh fun! Problem is, not all phones can receive the mms the way I set it up.), the internet access, the games, the radio, music player, the organizer, the video call! Ah sweet 3G technology, may I keep away from thee as much as possible, for the pocket's sake. Really, this thing has more bells and whistles than one has time to tinker with.

As for the camera. The slide cover at the back is smartly designed. The position of the shutter button is good, the lcd large and bright enough, and the features? Very nice. First off, 3.2 megapixels baby! Also, there are enough presets, cool shoot modes (Best Pic which allows you to pick the best out of 9 shots made with just one press of the shutter; Panorama with which you can stitch together 3 images; and Frames which can be fun), a macro mode, white balance controls, a timer, effects (e.g. b&w, sepia), etc. There's even exposure compensation, hah! As far as I can tell, the image stabilizer comes on automatically in particular preset modes (for example, Landscape). After taking the picture the PhotoDJ also lets you adjust light balance, brightness and contrast, red-eye, and add effects and text, frames and clip art. You can get very creative with your multimedia messages. The K800i also takes video, but from what I've heard it's not that good compared to Nokia. It's not a problem to me as I'm not an aficionado. Besides, if you want high quality video, use a camcorder.

Sample Picture Parade
[Note: Keep on clicking on the images to see the largest versions.]

Enough blabbering, let's have `em sample piccies. First off, the photo I posted in my last entry came out grainier than I would have liked. I thought then that it was because of the low light level and picture quality setting ("Normal" which is apparently code for "rather crappy edges").

I took another shot, this one with macro on, pic quality set to Fine. My brother said his K750 takes better pictures. So I checked the EXIF data and it turns out that ISO level (equivalent) was at 400. Unfortunately, you can't choose the ISO level yourself, the camera does it for you. Because it was an interior shot, the light level was low. Presto, grainy shot even with flash. I don't think it was camera shake because the fuzzy edges would have been uniform all throughout the pic, and the EXIF tells me shutter speed was 1/250 (0.0040 seconds). It was the same with the wider shot I mentioned above - all conditions were the same or at least comparable except for picture quality.

Another shot under the same conditions (digital zoom at 1.2x), with slightly better results:

I figured that outdoor shots should be much better (if not, sell the thing! Hee.). Here's one, shot in macro mode. Not tack sharp but for macro on a point-and-shoot, it's not that crappy, is it? For a wide shot version (macro mode off), view this.

Digital zoom 1.4x
Shutter speed 1/320
ISO equivalent 80.

Another one:

ISO equivalent 100
Shutter speed 1/2500

Pretty good I think. I mean for a cellphone, huh? (Pardon the boring subject matter, I will try to take prettier ones next time.)

We can all have our own parameters for judging whether the phone we bought is nice. Or great. Or is highway robbery. So let me say it straight. For me, the K800i is a nifty point-and-shoot that doubles as a cell phone. (Yeah, you read that right.) Kewlness. I just love it. I admit it, I've always wanted a Sony Cyber-shot all along. Hah, but only as a back-up camera. (For the serious stuff, make mine Canon!) This I can carry everyday. No more days wishing you had a camera on you.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

New year, old list

So. A new year, and no new list. Nope, because guess what, the list stays the same anyway. What to do this year?

Read more. Like hey, of that pile of books above, I've read only one hee. Some are half read (have acquired the curious habit of reading books simultaneously), some I've only smelled the first pages of. Yeah I smell them, what's that to you?

Exercise more, whine less.

Go on more adventures! (Yes, that's Lara Croft. Ehehe.)

Sit still and be quiet sometimes, listen. That's a bulol right there, see. I don't care much for waiting though. So nope, falafel, no Zen sittings for me, if that's what you thought.

And oh, clean more frequently. Organize your stuff! (That's pretty obvious from the photo, huh?)

Blog more.

Side note. I admit it, I once said that a camera phone is not a camera is a phone is a phone. So give me a kick because I have succumbed and gotten myself a new phone. I never did go for fancy cellphones, but the more I read about the SE K800i the deeper I fell into the trap. So yeah, I got suckered ehehe. Poor me. Yay, the camera rocks (I mean considering that it's a glorified point-and-shoot. It even has exposure compensation, see. Which I must say, they didn't point out in the manual. I discovered it by accident.). I still suck at using it though. The photo above isn't exactly impressive, put the blame on me. Picture quality was set at "Normal", I didn't know that meant 72ppi until I checked the image on the computer. I'll post one set at "Fine" next time. And my hand wasn't steady. I'm not used to tiny cameras, it's much easier to hold an SLR than a camera phone. The unit I got doesn't have an image stabilizer for still photos (it does for video though). No problemo, I'll get used to it. Probably. If not, then I'll use a tripod, hwah, that will look amusing. Big tripod, miniscule camera.

Disclaimer. Am not giving up my digital camera, of course. Make mine Canon. Still.

*comes back*

I just remembered one thing friends have been telling me I should perhaps do more, because I keep forgetting things. Now this is a hoot, because that thing is:

Make lists. Hwah!