Random Diary #1

It’s the end of January 2022. I need to finish my January Newsletter. Instead, I’m starting something new on the site. This thing – Random Diary. This is why I’m starting it. Welcome to Random Diary #1

January 22, 2022

As I often do, I was reading my friend Kirk Tuck’s excellent blog. And ran into this post he did regarding the Leica M11. He pulled quotes from the internet, edited for clarity and brevity, about their ridiculous reactions to the M11. I commented

The level of stupidity and ignorance is astounding.

There have always been strong reactions to Leica. Most don’t understand why it’s so expensive, even if it’s technically more limited than many other cameras. Of course, the vast majority don’t understand that Leica, especially the M series, is a lifestyle product made for the affluent. It’s the German photographic equivalent of ultra-luxury Swiss watches. 

Any $30 plastic quartz watch will more accurately tell time than a $30,000 mechanical Swiss watch. However, timekeeping, ultimately, is not the most critical function of the luxe-watch. Craftsmanship and its exclusivity are what the owners crave. Why pay so much for a watch that is sub-standard (relatively speaking) for timekeeping? Because the affluent can and most others can’t. That’s why you also buy a Leica M series. Yes, it will take fine pictures with its top-of-the-line lenses. Other cameras will surpass the Leica in image quality and usability. It takes a lot of skill and practice to properly use a Leica M series. That’s the point of it, along with its heritage, build quality and exclusivity.

January 28, 2022

Luckily, I don’t end up buying most of the stuff I look at on YouTube. I do have a passing attraction to the latest Fujifilm Instax Mini Evo — a hybrid digital/instant film camera using Fuji’s most compact credit card size film. They added that retro-inspired design. Much of it appears to be cheap plastic, unlike the expensive X cameras made primarily of metal. In my head, I’m thinking this thing will be fun for parties and shooting strangers downtown. Robert Hamm does some seriously long videos on Instant Cameras. He does a deep dive on the Mini Evo below.

Robert has a balanced approach to the Evo. On the other hand, Ben from In An Instant, loves it.

I noticed that the big Google Sail building is nearly complete and I headed downtown to document it two weeks ago.

Later in the day, I ran into these three photographers on the Pfluger pedestrian bridge. Fun discussing cameras and photography. Great to get out and talk to human beings in person.

January 30, 2022

Went to dinner with friends. Across the street, this festive neon captured in the fading light with the Fujifilm X100V. Works especially well in the less used square crop.

February 3, 2022

20% off sale and I upgraded to Capture One 22. However, found out that it requires at least MacOS 10.15 to run. I was using Capture One 20 on MacOS 10.13. I needed the old MacOS version so that I could still run the old Aperture software. Luckily, I can also use my Capture One 22 license on Capture One 21. Problem solved for now. I will remain on MacOS 10.13 and use version 21 with allows for RAW support of my Fujifilm GFX 50S II.

February 5, 2022

The power of marginal adjustments. Better than average TED Talk and an inspiration for everyday improvement. I’ve done this with everyday blogging. What else can I do?

I used to think that high achievers had some kind of demon that drove them. They were not normal — broken in some way. Which they desperately tried to overcome through high achievement. Not always so, as I learned.

February 7, 2022

Austin made the national news, but not in a good way. The New York Times reported on Austin’s current boil water notice. I don’t want to complain too much. At least we have heat, electricity, and water. Better than during the Snowpocalypse.

February 13, 2022

Last few days spent reliving old, classic late 70s and 80s movies. The original and better Fame from 1980. Saturday Night Fever from 1978, and Wall Street from 1987. What do they have in common other than being old movies? They’re all centered around New York City. The three have special relevance since they took place during my early formative years living in New York. Fame, in particular, really captures the grunge and the decrepit state of the Big Apple — the South Bronx, graffiti covered subways, and a general malaise of everyday life. The movie is uplifting, however, despite the struggle.

February 16, 2022

Wealth is like sea-water; the more we drink, the thirstier we become; and the same is true of fame.

Arthur Schopenhauer

February 18, 2022

In early February Meta (aka Facebook) stock collapsed about 25% after disappointing earnings (roughly from $323 to $246). I’m surprised to see that it has continued to slide. Currently at around $206. I’m not very sad about this even though it has a negative impact on my Index fund holdings.

In fact, this fall from grace gives me some pleasure, I hate to admit. I feel somewhat guilty for taking pleasure in someone’s misfortune. However, I’m an advocate for the open web through my blog. Yes, Facebook has some value. Though I see it as a net negative for society.

A few years ago, Facebook’s dominance seemed unassailable. Not so now. One can see possibilities of Facebook’s future irrelevance. I’m not saying it is going to collapse, but it seems vaguely plausible. That’s the problem with social media — there’s always something new and hot. Tiktok is on the rise. But for how long? What’s next? I’m not convinced that the metaverse if going to save Facebook either. I can imagine the metaverse becoming large someday. I just think it’s going to take a while.

February 22, 2022

Tumble22 was overflowing on 02/22/22. They were offering a 22% discount. We partook, of course.

March 3, 2022

Take Care of the Alpha-Geeks

There is a notion in the tech industry called Alpha Geeks. The top supporters in the industry for a particular technology or product that have outsized influence. You want to get these people on your side. Or if you have Alpha Geeks supporting your product, take care of them. Seems like OM Digital Solutions isn’t doing this. Doesn’t bode well for the future of Olympus.

March 10, 2022

It’s my birthday today. My wife surprised me with a hardy hug just after midnight. I got emails. I even got an unexpected group text from several of my high school friends. However, it’s the Happy Birthday marketing messages that I want to highlight.

More organizations knew about my birthday than expected. Not sure if that’s a good thing or not. Several screenshots below. Kind of reminds me of that scene from the 1987 movie Wall Street starting Michael Douglas. YouTube had that exact scene, as expected.

March 18, 2022

Starting to prep for a partial return to the office. Going though the boxes that I took home from my desk two years ago. The contents seem like a distant memory. Though I’ve continued to work for the same company, it almost seems like work-life was put on pause for 2 years. Luckily, I found the desk key that opens all the locked drawers.

March 26, 2022

I survived a rather enjoyable SXSW 2022. Great to go downtown and mix in large crowds after two years of social distancing. Dell, Austin’s local technology company, gets big kudos for renting out an entire venue and allowing non-SXSW badge holders.

March 31, 2022

I was back to my traditional, before COVID, March photography events schedule. Going to both SXSW and Rodeo Austin. I brought my Fujifilm X100V which is a perfect street camera and small enough that the Rodeo shouldn’t complain about it being professional gear. They didn’t. I primarily captured the colorful rides and the folks enjoying the carnival.

In 2014, I did my first real test of the then brand new Fuji X100S at the Rodeo. It was a love-hate relationship. the X100S still had limitations that made it frustrating. Now so with the 5th generation X100V. Much faster with even better image quality.

April 8, 2022

A couple of weeks ago, Precision Camera had an in-store concert shooting event during SXSW. While it wasn’t connected to South-by, it was inspired by it. The makeshift classroom turned performance venue lacked the smokey and worn ambiance of a downtown club. They did, however, have LCD lighting the rotated between colors. This screen shot from Capture One shows part of my downloaded images. The multi-colored contact sheet may be the most interesting result from the event.