The PEN Story

This short, created by Olympus, tells the story of the Olympus PEN camera, which lives on in the new micro four-thirds digital camera, the Olympus EP-1. As you probably know, I’m a Canon girl, but I’m finding very hard to resist the pull of this cute little camera.

The video above was created entirely with stop motion, no video camera involved, just stills! As per the creators, they took all the photographs, developed them, and then arranged them frame by frame for the video, which is compiled of 1800 individual stills (outside of the stills IN the video!). To me, part of the beauty of stop-motion is the simplicity, but what really impresses me is the patience and time that goes into each individual frame. In a time where most everything we see is about time-saving and flash, I like the idea that a company is willing to take the time to sell a still camera with just that, the stills.

Review: Dell Mini 10v Netbook

Dell Mini10v

Dell has recently released the Mini10, the newest addition to its line of netbooks. There are two versions, the Mini 10 and the Mini 10v, the 10v being the slightly economized version with fewer ports and a few different options. I chose the Mini 10v as it was available with a solid state drive on a Windows XP platform, whereas the Mini 10 options only include a solid state drive with Ubuntu, and I wanted to be able to install software that I already owned onto the machine.

The SSD option with the Mini 10v is a 16gb drive, which seems small compared to what most of us are used to, but it’s perfect for my needs. I already have a 13-inch Vaio SZ, so I wasn’t looking for a laptop to meet all of my computing needs. I wanted a second machine that I could take just about anywhere and that would fit into just about any bag, and that wasn’t so expensive that I would drive myself crazy worrying about it (the way I do about the Vaio). I planned to use it for surfing the internet and writing. I wasn’t looking for a computer that I could use for photography as I prefer a larger monitor for post-production. The 16gb hard drive prevents me from installing too many applications (which means a quick startup) and keeps me from storing my files on two different computers (I put any local files onto a flash drive or online storage and transfer them to my Vaio when I get home).

In the last month I’ve taken the Mini 10v to the lake, for tacos at the Tin Fish, shopping at the swanky local mall, out for coffee at various Starbucks and Dunn Brothers and book hunting at Barnes and Noble. It fits nicely into my little Timbuk2 Eula bag that looks like it couldn’t possibly have a laptop in it. It boots up quickly and runs smoothly, and with its candy pink casing it’s a great conversation-starter.

Outside of portability I really wanted a nice monitor, a keyboard that would be comfortable to type on and an easy-to-use touch pad.

Continue reading Review: Dell Mini 10v Netbook »

Patagonia Down Sweater Vest

In the Down

I’m sure you’re thinking, “Down SWEATER vest?!?”, but yes, that’s what Patagonia calls it. This vest is designed with smaller channels for the down, allowing it to keep you warm without a lot of added bulk, so it fits more like a sweater. Not exactly like, but more like. It’s surprisingly warm yet flexible – I’ve found I can wear this vest over a wool baselayer and a light wool sweater and be comfortable walking the dog in 20 degree weather, but it doesn’t make me overheat when I wear it indoors either.

The exterior fabric of the vest, made from recycled polyester, is windproof and water-resistant. It holds in the feathers well and resists tearing – I learned this well on the first day I wore the vest when I clumsily caught some of the vest fabric in the zipper. If it had torn, I would have been covered under the Patagonia Ironclad Guarantee, which I also know from experience is the real deal. The vest has three pockets – two handwarmer pockets and one rather large interior pocket that the vest can fold into when I need to stash it in my bag. The zippers are solid and are the quality I’ve come to expect from Patagonia. I’m very happy with the fit also, not too snug and not too loose, and it follows the natural contours of my torso. All in all I think I’ve made a really good purchase, and I can tell already that it’s going to get a lot of use.

If you’re a guy, Patagonia makes this vest for you too :)

Splityarn Camera Straps

Splityarn strap on the 35mm

Hate your camera strap? Feel like it’s boring, or has too much camera brand advertising on it? Just want something a little different? A new Splityarn strap might be just the thing for you. I purchased my Splityarn SLR camera strap as a replacement strap for my 35mm film camera as I wasn’t crazy about the Canon strap that came with it. My new strap just seems to fit my personality better. And it’s handmade with love so I know I can trust it to hold my camera well.

Caro Sheridan of Splityarn handpicks the fabrics for the straps, and for the bags and pouches that she makes, and she has a great eye for interesting colors and patterns. Nothing in her shop is ever boring, and everything is made by hand to her exacting standards. I also have a Splityarn wee pouch that I use to keep little things together in my bag, and am eyeing the box bags for my knitting. If you’re in the market for something fresh and new, head over to the Splityarn shop and check it out!

Home Lighting

Amy Kingman at Drawings In Motion has posted a fantastic series of articles on making her own lightbox out of foamcore and poster board.  The supplies for the design are extremely affordable and the whole thing breaks down for storage when not in use.  She mentions in the article that the foamcore and poster board cost her about $5 altogether, but I was wondering how much she’d spent on the lamps she used for lighting, as those can get expensive.  No worries – I saw similar clip lamps at the pet store yesterday for $15 each.  For someone like me without a lot of cash or space, this design sounds fantastic.  I can’t wait to get started!

If you have your own experiences with do-it-yourself lighting please share. Thanks!