Nikon does the Right Thing – Publicly

I wrote a few days ago about getting my Nikon D70 back from service, and said kudos to them for replacing the parts in my camera even though it is out of warranty. Well, seems that Nikon has publicly announced that they'll be replacing defective parts on D70's, D2h's, and F55's. The information is also on Nikon Europe's support page as well as Nikon USA's support page.

Well done, Nikon.

Griffin AirClick: How to improve performance?

So, a few weeks ago, I bought a Griffin AirClick for my iPod. Their FAQ indicates that its range is tested at up to 60 feet, but I'm calling shenanigans on that. Mine doesn't work for more than 15 feet at the most, and that's not even going through walls – that's just open space.

Anyone have a homebrew hack to improve the performance and range of this thing? I opened it up today, and just by taking the back plastic cover off, range went up dramatically. Before I resort to that and just run electrical tape over it, I was wondering if anyone had tweaked the antenna on the PCB to make things work better. It looks like a simple half-wave etched right on the board.

New Pictures!

After a long hiatus of posting pictures in the gallery, I've spent a large chunk of this morning and afternoon processing and uploading pictures. In no particular order:

  • Fishermen's Terminal – Pictures taken by Diann while she was at a weeklong training course at Fishermen's Terminal
  • North Cascades Highway Loop – On Diann's birthday, we drove the 431 mile North Cascades Highway Loop. Didn't even have to refill the Prius once, and still made it home with a 1/4 tank left!
  • A few new pictures of Pixel and Bryn
  • Magnusson Park – A park in Seattle alongside Lake Washington that is formerly a military base. There are fins from decommissioned nuclear submarines along a walkway at Magnusson.
  • Montlake Crewing Races & Opening Day of Yachting Season – Crewing is a huge sport up here in Seattle, and then after the races the rich folks cruise by in their mammoth yachts.
  • Deception Pass, which I previously wrote about here
  • Forbidden Gardens in Texas, where we were for Memorial Day.
  • Lower Skyline Loop at Mt. Rainier – we did this hike before the snow had melted enough to conclude it, and had to turn back at 6000' when the snow hid the trail and it also started raining/hailing.
  • Golden Gardens Park at low tide – an awesome couple of mornings with an extremely low tide which uncovered a plethora of sealife: anemone, sea cucumbers, starfish, clams, and — of course — seagulls.
  • Guemes Island – A trip up to Guemes Island, with Jeff & Misty and Dylan & Micha
  • The Museum of Flight – A trip to the Museum of Flight with Rick & Rosanne in town

In other photography news, I have my D70 back in hand. After suffering the Green Blinking LED of Death (GBLOD) much talked about on the DPReview forums, I sent it in to Nikon service. Much kudos to Nikon for taking care of the problem gratis even though my camera was out of warranty!

Hurricanes Katrina & Rita: Fires?

After having been glued to the TV for the last few weeks watching news coverage about Hurricane Katrina, and now started to catch coverage on Rita's landfall, I've gotta wonder where all these fires are coming from. How is it that when people evacuate, things start burning? It's like the presence of a warm human body keeps the flames out. I'm sure there's a law of thermodynamics that can explain this.

Good luck with Round 2, Louisiana. Good luck with Round 1, Texas.

Last Night’s Dinner Theme: International Variety!

After eating dinner last night, I realized we had an extremely international meal. For our main course, we had Frenched Rack of Lamb from New Zealand. To drink with the meal, we had red wine from France (Domaine des Homs from our favorite wine store: Le Savoir Faire).

For dessert, we munched on some locally-grown honeycrisp apples with some excellent French Gorgonzola cheese.

Mmm, it was good.

A Little R&R At Work

I'm all for work life balance. I check the news websites quite frequently at work, I'll check my home e-mail while I'm at work, etc. But when things need to get done, or if there's something important going on, I'll push my personal life aside and bury myself in whatever it is I need to do to make that next deadline, important decision, or prepare for that upcoming meeting. I think most good people share my beliefs there.

I know we all have our own opinions, but if, for example, I was a US Senator, I'd feel that some things were important. Things like, oh, paying attention to US Supreme Court Hearings. From a Washington Post article:

Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) showed exceptional emotional versatility, working a crossword puzzle during the hearing and then choking back a sob while making a prosaic statement about partisanship.

I'd be damned if I'm gonna work on a crossword while listening to hearings on appointing, FOR LIFE, a Justice (nay, a Chief Justice) on the United States Supreme Court.

News: Michael Brown Removed from Role in Managing Katrina Relief

News sites are reporting all over that Michael Brown has been relieved in his role of managing Hurricane Katrina relief efforts. In my opinion, this is a good first step.

But, I do have to ask — what's the value in having the head of FEMA not working on the major disaster at-hand? FNC is reporting that he will still be the head of FEMA.

Update: Chertoff says in press conference that Michael Brown “did everything he could do” — had we had someone with stronger background in emergency management and disaster response, I think we could've had someone who could have, and more importantly, would have, done a lot more.

FEMA Director Strikes Again

According to this article at MSNBC, Michael Brown (who I wrote about the other day) waited for FIVE HOURS after Hurricane Katrina slammed into the Louisiana coast before writing a memo to DHS Secretary Michael Chertoff. Five hours to request 1,000 workers to arrive; and he gave them two days to get there.

From the MSNBC article (emphasis mine):

Michael Brown, director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, sought the approval from Homeland Security Secretary Mike Chertoff roughly five hours after Katrina made landfall on Aug. 29. Brown said that among duties of these employees was to “convey a positive image” about the government's response for victims.

Brown's memo to Chertoff described Katrina as “this near catastrophic event” but otherwise lacked any urgent language. The memo politely ended, “Thank you for your consideration in helping us to meet our responsibilities.”

… Brown's memo told employees that among their duties, they would be expected to “convey a positive image of disaster operations to government officials, community organizations and the general public.”

“FEMA response and recovery operations are a top priority of the department and as we know, one of yours,” Brown wrote Chertoff. He proposed sending 1,000 Homeland Security Department employees within 48 hours and 2,000 within seven days.

… The same day Brown wrote Chertoff, Brown also urged local fire and rescue departments outside Louisiana, Alabama and Mississippi not to send trucks or emergency workers into disaster areas without an explicit request for help from state or local governments. Brown said it was vital to coordinate fire and rescue efforts.

This guy has got to go.