Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Follow up on the DirecTiVo software update.

As I have reported earlier DirecTV initialized a software update procedure today (at least in the East Bay of SF Bay Area) for some DirecTv with TiVo models.
Good news, then bad.

It really does work faster.

Sort by expiration date hack was removed.

More details will follow.

BREAKING NEWS! DirecTV Tivo software upgrade is here!

Originally uploaded by dkitsov.

BREAKING NEWS! DirecTV Tivo software upgrade is here!

Originally uploaded by dkitsov.

BREAKING NEWS! DirecTV Tivo software upgrade is here!

Originally uploaded by dkitsov.
The long awaited DirecTV Tivo units upgrade is here!

Saturday, May 21, 2005

Minolta Normal AF 50mm f/1.4 Autofocus Lens review

I have originally written this review for epinions.com couple years ago.

Here we go. My first Minolta camera was the Minolta Dynax 7. I bought it in the summer of 2001. Well, thinking about being Cartier-Bresson, second edition, I decided not to have a standard and cheap mid-range zoom like 28-80 3.5/5.6 and to buy powerful 50mm lens with the quality optics.
When the lens arrived (I ordered it on B&H Photo&Video) and I installed it on my brand new camera I was amazed by the brightness of picture in the viewfinder, it was also crystal clear and sharp. However, after first test film my enthusiasm started to slip down.
What do you usually expect from a lens that is 1.4/50mm and costs about $240 (shipping and handling included)? Correct! You expect to get some vivid and sharp pictures. Well, the pictures were vivid in colors but, alas, not as sharp as you would expect.
As a mysterious Russian soul I tried to blame it on myself (what if I left my fingerprints on UV filter (you must protect your lens) or had a dust on the lens) but everything was OK with that. Aha, exclaimed I. Probably printer in the photo lab was out of focus or the positioning frame that holds the film during the paper exposure was not well adjusted. But, again, after reprint in another lab the same problem persisted: the more or less OK center but awful corner sharpness.
After that, I decided not to use lens at f-number of 1.4 and use it at least at f/2, 2.4. It still be the larger opening than other lenses can usually provide. And it was ok until I took a close-up picture of a leaf with an ambient (clouds) and frontal directional (sun) light. After the developing, I noticed subtle yet noticeable blurred white spots that were semitransparent. There were few of them.
After I looked inside of the lens through the frontal optical element, I saw a few white spots on the surfaces of the inner lenses. That was it and I made a decision to send it to Minolta Factory Service Center in California. After 6 weeks or so (I've been promised 2 to 3) I received it back. Spots were on the same places, documentation stated that the lens was tuned-up to the factory standards.
After that it happened one more time. I send the lens back (time, postage, insurance) and after that manager promised me on the phone to send me a new one, but warned me, that she can not guarantee that the new one would not have the same defect. As she explained me that were not the dust, that was a bubbles of the air entrapped in between two optical elements during gluing them together.
I swear, my cheap Nikon lens did not have all this defects and picture was sharper and without confusing spots on the image. Finally, when you are paying $240 for just fixed focal distance lens you are expecting some quality of the workmanship for your money.
The sent lens had bubbles too, in the different spots of optical system of the lens.
It is all too bad, because I really liked my Minolta camera. Even though I do not feel that the company really cares.
I think that I am going to change my camera system. (Edit: and I did)
Sorry for being too emotional.

BIG military plane flying low.

Shortly before 1pm SPT on April 26, 2005 I heard a loud noise. I was in my house. I got out on the balcony and saw a huge plane making circles above my head in the sky, flying very low.
Here are some pictures.

I tried to call 911, but all the lines were overloaded.

Friday, May 20, 2005

Blog everything!

Shall we?
As far as internet concerned there is no other way of the information delivery but blogging. That is why yours trully have decided to gradually move all of the written stuff from the past years over here.
Not sure anyone going to read it, but hey, what if?


Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Dashboard trouble under Tiger 10.4.1

I am having a weird thing happenning to my dashboard under 10.4.1
Check out the image:

Thursday, May 12, 2005