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Electric Cars

  • It looks like DaimlerChrysler is showing off a SmartCart fourTwoEV this week in London, for corporate pool lease only.

  • Tesla Motors, the Google-founder-backed electric sports car company, is actually showing off their Roadster - 0-60 in 4s, 250 mile range, "real car features" (not a stripped down shell like the ACPropulsion T-Zero, but using ACPropulsion's best-of-breed power control circuitry), convertible, built by Lotus, apparently priced somewhere between $80k and $150k.

The latter is... fascinating. Droolworthy, even. They're opening the New York sales and service center in late 2007, apparently, but you can get a look at them in California already.
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Originally uploaded by Mark Eichin.
I've already spent some time this year driving because driving is fun, and coincidentally taking interesting pictures in the places I end up. Over the next year I want to spend more time driving places because I can take interesting pictures when I get there. Not so much "pictures of interesting places" as "interesting pictures of places".

This one, though, is your basic Maine Tourism shot, and practice with using the panorama support on the new camera (with a stone wall to brace against, no tripod involved.) It's also a reminder that boats are cool... and plentiful :-)
classic beard

Picture taking again!

Originally uploaded by Mark Eichin.
So the Nikon Coolpix S4 is a little big, but I found an OK belt pouch for it and it serves my shooting needs, as well as adding some features that I like and will probably start using soon. The 10x zoom is a win, the outdoor shots have been crisp and colorful, the larger screen makes review and framing somewhat easier.

But that's just hobby details - aren't these really cool lilacs? Advertised as "striped", but note that some of the blossoms are full-white. (They smell nice too, but they're lilacs - that's their job :-)
classic beard

Toy Shopping - Cameras

I broke the LCD display on my 3-year-old Kyocera Contax SL300RT*. Normally my next step would be to order the latest model in that line, it has served me well and I really like the features and design of the camera... sadly, they discontinued the entire product line last year. Not only that, but the particular features I liked don't appear to be in any competing compact camera - being able to attach lenses and filters, and very fast time-to-first-shot due to not having to extend the lens on powerup.

Looks like it's even going to be difficult to find an original model - ebay only shows batteries for it, not the camera itself.

Anyone got suggestions, or favorites, among the modern compacts? I'm afraid my requirements may eliminate everything actually on the market :-) In particular:

* fits in a pants pocket
* has optical zoom, 3x or better
* has some kind of lens mount [24x optical zoom is an acceptable substitute]
* fast-repeat full-res stills as well as 640x480 video
* at least some manual settings
* long exposures of 10s or better

There turn out to be plenty of options I *don't* care about; it's easy to find compacts with more than 4m pixels and image stabilization, for example. Any suggestions (including "get the latest exilim and be happy with it"? :-)

(And yes, I really do take shots of the form "wow, the moon looks really funky right now - pull out camera, take framing shot, pull out lens, mount, set a few manual overrides, shoot while braced against a parking meter", it's not as gratuitous as it sounds.)

update 2006-05-22: got some suggestions from the DPReview forums, made an unsuccessful foray at ebay after finding better keywords - and am giving the Nikon Coolpix S4 a try - 10x zoom, swivel, time-lapse. Should be interesting, at least...
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    grumpy grumpy
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Yay spring!

Originally uploaded by Mark Eichin.
It's *really* spring when I don't need a jacket to drive comfortably with the top down. Of course, the crocuses are only just coming out so we're probably due for one more snow storm (they just missed the last one.)

Still working on the details of planning a cross-country road trip while trying to get a release out the door and still having a trip to Stockholm over the summer.

Most interesting recent license plate: TIME4T, seen on RT 2 in Concord.
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Today was the fine Swedish holiday of Waffle Day. 9 people (including 2.5 swedes :-), 25 waffles, 5 hours; quite an improvement over the usual "oh that was today?" non-event. Also, local stores stock both Lingonberry and Cloudberry jams (Hjoltron Sylt.) Mmmm.

ps. The Alton Brown Chocolate Waffle Recipe was online though I picked it based on watching the show, rather than random googling :-)
classic beard

Space History

Yesterday (Friday) was January 27th, the 39th anniverary of the horrific Apollo 1 capsule fire that killed Gus Grissom, Edward White and Roger Chaffee (and led to significant safety related redesign of the Apollo capsule, pretty much directly saving the lives of all the Apollo crews to follow.)

Today (Saturday) is January 28th, the 20th anniversary of the O-ring failure and destruction of the Space Shuttle Challenger that killed Francis Scobee, Michael Smith, Judith Resnik, Ellison Onizuka, Ronald McNair, Gregory Jarvis, and Sharon Christa McAuliffe (and led to the Feynman Report and a great deal of reexamination of NASA's role, and the Shuttle's role... but not enough to prevent the destruction of the Space Shuttle Columbia on February 1st (3 years ago this coming Wednesday.)

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    "Countdown", RUSH