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June 21-22,2008 (WeekendEdition)

Our friend Junko left Boston for LA almost three years ago to pursue her acting career.  We caught up with Junko today and are happy learn that she is doing great.  It appears LA has been good to her.  We all miss you back in Boston and look forward to your visit in the Fall!

Even though it was unseasonably warm, Carolyn and others still got in some LA shopping.  The ArtWalk in Hermosa Beach was nice, but what everyone really wanted after a while was air-conditioning :-)

The crew had been eating like kings since we have been in town, but there was one more celebration before we head back to Boston.  This time it was a 10 course Chinese banquet thrown by the parents of some of the grads.

Now that we have been completely stuffed, we are ready to catch our red eye flight back to Boston.  It has been a great visit out to LA and a nice break from all of the usual gadget reviews.  As soon as we reset our circadian rhythms back to East Coast time, we'll get back to our normally scheduled programming.  [Permalink] - Wan Chi Lau


June 20,2008 (FunInLAFriday)

Yesterday's graduation ceremonies when off like clockwork.  Even though Sarah was the SECOND person to receive the diploma, we all sat quietly as all six hundred other names were called.

Apparently we have all adjusted to LA time as none of us got up earlier than 8:30, which is 11:30 EDT.  We did get up early enough to enjoy the fabulous complementary breakfast (which Shade did not have last time we were here) at the bar.

The service and rooms were as good as we had remembered.  The rooms are already big, but the sliding partitions enable guests to "open" up the space even further. 

The hotel is just a few blocks away from the ocean.  There is a boardwalk which runs for miles along the coast.  The hotel has bikes available for use.  There are also rollerblade rentals from some of the local shops for those who really want to burn some calories.  [Permalink] - Wan Chi Lau

A few of us opted to brave the LA traffic and visited the new Tesla Motors showroom in West L.A.  We had been doing periodic updates on the electric Tesla since 2006 and were eager to see one up close and personal.  We were not disappointed.

Three of us spent about an hour in the showroom photographing everything Tom O'Leary, the general manager, would let us shoot.   We'll post a full write-up of our visit on RainyDayGarage soon.  [Permalink] - Wan Chi Lau


June 19,2008 (LATripThursday)

As many of you know, our intern Sarah has finally graduated high school, and will be attending RISD this Fall.  We all decided to packed up shop for a few day and head out to LA to attend the graduation.  The tickets were booked before the price of oil went "sky high", so the cost was not as insane as it could have been.  We like Sarah and all, but there IS a limit :-)

Some of you may remember us raving about a hotel called Shade in Manhattan Beach.  This trip out West gave us an opportunity to do a follow-up.

We also made arrangements to visit Tesla Motors' first showroom in LA.  As soon as the staff manage to pull themselves away from the whirling hot tub/pool on the roof, they'll write up the various LA adventures.  Just a heads up... updates may be spotty these next few days :-)  [Permalink] - Wan Chi Lau


June 18,2008 (WowUsWednesday)

It is not often one gets to watch a game like Game 6 of the Celtics-Lakers NBA Championship Finals.  It was a clinic.  We had it up on the big screen in the main office, but by the middle of the third quarter no one was really paying attention.  Folks were already celebrating Championship #17.

The Celtics were in total control... rebounding, stealing, and dropping 3-pointers at will.  Some were worried about a final run by the Lakers, but we had already broken out the bubbly and there was no way this one was going to slip away.  The last time was back in 1986.  Back then Macs only had 128K of RAM.  Twenty two years may be a long time to some, but waiting is part of being a sports fan in New England!  [Permalink] - Wan Chi Lau


June 17,2008 (iPhoneDevTechTuesday)

We have been playing with the iPhone SDK since it was first released back in March.  It was installed on our Mac mini because the instructions said the iPhone simulator would only work on the Intel processor.

Some here don't like being tied to their desk.  Others want to use the newly acquired Powerbook G4 for some "at Starbucks" development.  The problem is that the 12" G4 Powerbook has a PowerPC processor, which officially, is NOT supported by the iPhone SDK.  Not only is it not supported, the installer wouldn't even load the iPhone files when installng xTools.

However, "not supported" is not the same as "will not work."  We just spent the day poking around and trying different things.  After spending way too much time on this tangent, we finally got smart and got it to run in no time.  How?  By doing what we should have done when we started... Google "iPhone SDK on PowerPC."   Tom Bradford has already figured it all out and detailed it on his blog.   Others have added various details to it to support other configurations.

The only tidbit we can add to Tom's instructions is a faster way to get the xTools development environment onto the laptop.  Our tip only works if you have already installed the SDK on an Intel machine.  Instead of expanding the individual iPhone packages and installing the SDK manually, just copy the entire Developer folder from the Intel machine onto a DVD and move it to wherever you want.  This will save you the trouble of having to manually put all of the files in the right place.  [Permalink] - Wan Chi Lau


June 16,2008 (MoreLensbabyMonday)

One way we like to test gear is to see if we can set it up and use it without reading any directions.  Well-designed gear is intuitive in their layout, interface, and usability.  The Lensbaby is such a piece of gear.

In this FirstUse, we want to show some of the photos we took with the lens just after a few minutes of messing around.  It is a tribute to how well thought out the knobs and controls are on this strange looking lens.

I went home for Father's Day this past weekend and took the lens with me.  Remembering the discarded collection of old models collecting dust in the attic, I thought it would be interesting to see them through the Lensbaby.  After seeing the results, everything (silk flowers, paintings) became possible subjects :-)

It was easy to see the effects of manipulating the focus plane because the results can be seen in the view finder.  Estimating proper exposure took a little more trial and error.  Being able to shoot digitally definitely made working this type of lens much easier.  I now have much more appreciation of those who shoot with a field camera!

As with a field camera, with the Lensbaby, there is no autofocus. Apeture is controlled by physically changing discs with different size holes.  Shutter speed is maually controlled via the camera.  The Lensbaby mounts like any other lens, but the similarity to most modern lenses ends there.  We'll have more comments about using the Lensbaby after some of the other folks here have had a chance to play with it...assuming they can convince me to hand it over.  [Permalink] - Wan Chi Lau


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