Circle of Solitude backpack trip


The ‘Circle of Solitude’ (so named by author Mike White) is a 65-70 mile trek in the heart of the High Sierra crossing some of the most wild and remote parts of Kings Canyon and Sequoia National Parks.  My father and I did the trek in mid-June, 2014.  Due to the low-snow year, we did not have any real difficulties with the snow or stream crossings, but we did encounter far more than our share of mosquitoes.

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Olympus’s 12-40/2.8 – a lens for all seasons


I have a confession to make – I’m a pretty boring photographer.  Oh, I have a drawer stuffed full of lenses and other photo-related gear just like everybody else, but when it comes to actually taking photos, 90% of the time the lens on my camera is some sort of standard zoom.  I started out with a 28-105mm (equivalent) lens, moved to a 24-120mm , went back and forth between a 24-70mm and a 24-135mm, moved back to the 24-120mm and finally last year ended up getting and using a 24-80mm equivalent in the form of Olympus’s recently announced m.ZD 12-40/2.8 Pro lens.

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Windows 8.1 – change for the sake of change

I’ve now installed Windows 8.1 three separate times and used it on and off for a couple of months, and I can’t say I’m really warming to it.

The problem, as has been pointed out many times now, is that Microsoft seems to have decided that tablets are the future, and rather than build an OS specifically for tablets, they transformed their desktop OS to make it more tablet friendly, and in the process made it very desktop unfriendly.

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BMW 530i (E34) conclusions


There were a number of factors that contributed to my choice to buy the E34.  After the demise of my E46 at the hands of a pothole and the insurance adjuster, I was looking for a car that would be economical, fun, reliable, and economical.  Good looks were also a plus.

With the exception of the cost of repairs, the E34 (which we found on craigslist) seemed to fit all those constraints quite well.  Asking price was a little over $3k and the car appeared to be in no need of immediate repairs.  I think the biggest item the pre-purchase inspection turned up were worn windshield wiper blades.  The potential cost of repairs was a major concern (even older BMW parts aren’t inexpensive), but given the price and apparent dilligence of the previous owners, it seemed like a reasonable tradeoff.

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2014 desktop computer upgrade

After four years, it finally looks like it’s time to upgrade my desktop machine.  For most things, the machine is fine, but when it comes to processing images in Lightroom, the delay involved in rendering each image (4-5 seconds per 16MP raw file) has started to be annoying.  The hope is that by jumping forward 3 processor generations, and doing some modest overclocking, I can get that down by 40-50%.

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BMW 530i (E34) review – driving

BMW 530i

I’ve now put around 18,000 miles on the 530i in just over a year.  I’ve used it extensively both commuting to and from work and school, and for traveling all over California.  It’s been a good companion, polishing off the miles with aplomb and providing a comfortable and relaxing vantage point to observe the road from.

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