All posts by jason

Sound Mobility

I don’t write about podcasting on this blog much anymore, but since it *IS* a creative endeavor, it felt appropriate to do so in this case.

Since I’ll basically be a couch-surfing vagrant for about eight weeks between finishing work in Madison and moving to Saint Paul, I’m glad that I have my “mobile podcasting” equipment, ready to set up anywhere that I can find electricity and an Internet connection.  There is still quite a bit of stuff that I need for any given show, though, so I also needed a good way to carry it around.

Some time late last year, I got an old briefcase from my brother-in-law.  It’s a fairly standard-sized briefcase, faux leather on the outside, combo locks, and a few folio pockets on the inside.  My test run of using the briefcase came a few weeks ago, when I wrapped up my equipment in old t-shirts and found out that it would indeed all fit in the case.  The move prompted me to finally complete the idea I had when I first acquired said case…

Without even measuring the case to be sure of what would fit, I bought 2 sets of Pelican  Pick n’ Pluck foam for a 1200 case.  Since I was buying the foam for a briefcase, I figured I wouldn’t find an exact fit, anyway.  I went with something that I *knew* was smaller, and hoped to make it work.  The other options that I found online were unbelievably expensive.

Working with this perforated foam lining was pretty easy.  The two “main” compartments fit pretty nicely inside my case, with a little room to spare in the back.  That worked out perfectly, with my “fragile” components going into those main areas, and cables/power packs tucked in the back.  Take a look at the pictures — I thought the whole deal turned out pretty well.

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All set for ‘casting on the road this summer!

Back on the Move

Photo by: Christopher KoppesCC BY-NC-SA 2.0

So, I’m moving out of another apartment at the end of this month.  This will be my 15th move1 since the spring of 1999.  I’ve written from time-to-time about how good I’ve gotten at it.

I definitely haven’t aspired to this transience, but that’s just the way things have gone.  Even though I’m just getting started with packing, I’m confident that I’ll be able to get things boxed up and ready without a lot of teeth-gnashing.  I’ve got a whole weekend without any other obligations coming up, and a fine storage facility to start stashing my stuff.

It never hurts to get rid of some things when you move, though.  I eliminated a mess of books the last time (predominantly from grabbing public domain digital versions instead), and I might cut out some more on this go-’round.  At various times since I moved into my current place, I also thinned out my wardrobe, sold or stored more DVDs, and dumped some bulky electronics.  I could see CDs going into semi-permanent storage this time, and ditto for all these old toys that are rapidly losing their sentimental value.

Some of those who know me will try to point out that I still have lots of stuff, and don’t want to part with a good portion of it.  My attachment to those sorts of possessions, though, have more to do with lifestyle and income than sentiment, though.  Of course I don’t want to lose or get rid of my computer(s), TV, cameras, and other favorite gadgets; they are how I make myself seen on the Internet, stay in touch with people I know, and enjoy my hobbies.  Any of them could replaced, if they had to be, some at substantial cost.  I have, in recent moves, made a habit of cutting loose from things that might be considered highly sentimental.

There are times that I wonder, then, if making snap decisions about my sentimental attachment to “things” has dulled my overall capacity for sentiment.  “Stuff” that I own doesn’t really affect me that way very often anymore.  My desire to reflect on the past and dwell in warm memories seems to be reduced.  Is this change attributable to my detachment from certain possessions, a by-product of my brainaltering pills, or a simple matter of getting older?

In a way, the technological times that we live in have made preserving memory so much easier.  What are my most valued possessions?  The photos that remind me of the people, things, and places that I’ve experienced hold that distinction.  I’ve got 90-ish percent of those tucked away on a hard drive the size of a deck of cards.  I just need to keep good backups.

  1. 456-A High Ave, 456 High Ave, 6140 S 18th St, 3520 Shangri-la Rd, 4415 Johnstone, 606 Nelson Story, 2716 Woodridge Ln, 2080 Dickinson Ave, 470 N Main St, 661 Division St, 6524 W Wright St, 4121 N Ardmore Ave, 2131 Effingham Way, 5327 Westport Rd []

I Guess HDR Sort of Works

I don’t usually do a ton of photography with my phone, for obvious reasons.  Every now and then, though, you come up with some shots that look nice.

I recently set the camera on my Moto X to take HDR images by default.  I hadn’t really noticed much in the “enhancement” area up until yesterday, when Kim and I took a walk through the Pheasant Branch Conservancy around dusk.  It must have just been the right time and place for making the most of that feature…

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A Dreary Hamline Day In Photos

Last Tuesday, the 29th of April, I spent the day visiting the campus at Hamline University in St. Paul, and the surrounding neighborhood.  I think I got a decent feel for the area, as I drove several dozen laps around the streets, and poked my head into some of the buildings on campus.  On Wednesday, I had a chance to stop by the Creative Writing Program house, and met with my advisor there.  Take a look…

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Initial Impressions

IMG_20140429_092342773_1I’m in the greater Twin Cities area this for a few days this week to check out my new campus and try to find a place to live come fall.  The weather up here (and across the Dakotas, MN, and WI, really) is awful this week, but I brought a rain coat and waterproof shoes.

Tomorrow morning, I have a meeting set up with my faculty advisor at Hamline.  It will be nice to meet some people who I’ll be working with and take in the campus before fall.

I think this whole business of moving and starting this new program is going to work out.  I haven’t had occasion to write about every single minor epiphany that’s hit me in the last few weeks, but I have a strong feeling that I’ll enjoy living here well enough, and that I’m going to be successful in school.  It feels like the right time to be here, and I feel like I’m in the right state of mind for it as well.

Hope to have some other thoughts/commentary later in the week.  You can also keep an eye on my mobile musings via my about.me page if you need up-to-the-minute updates.

Quick Milwaukee Springtime Shoot

I pulled the shots off my camera from a little walk around the east side of Milwaukee that I took a couple Saturdays ago.  The sun was bright and began setting while I was outside the Art Museum.  Some of these turned out pretty well…

I parked near Wells & Milwaukee, then walked toward the lake, with stops in Cathedral Square and at the War Memorial.  Here in the upper Midwest, I feel like spring can be a funny time to shoot photos outdoors — the trees are still bare, the streets can be wet, sloppy, and/or still peppered with snowbanks… it’s just not very pretty.  A beautiful sun-soaked day makes quite a difference.

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Well, Shoot.

Since I primarily use a Linux operating system on my computer(s), finding alternatives to popular Windows or Mac software can occasionally be difficult.  For cataloging, organizing, and editing photos, the common Windows players are Adobe products — Lightroom and Photoshop.  In Ubuntu, I used Shotwell for a quite a while, then about 2+ years ago, switched over to DigiKam.

When I recently built a new desktop machine and started running Fedora as my OS, the version of DigiKam in the repos was 3.5 (I had been running version 4).  The switch prompted me to look at Shotwell (the default photo manager for Gnome 3) again.  Like I said, it’s been a couple years, so even though the Fedora 20 repos aren’t up to the latest version of Shotwell, version 0.15.1 constitutes an upgrade from what I was last using.

I started with a (mostly) clean /home directory when I installed Fedora, so I needed to rebuild my Shotwell database completely. I was impressed that this version correctly pulled in all the meta tags and organized my photos into “Events” by date, making them a bit easier to sift through and work with. In the past, the software had trouble with certain cameras or images (particularly those that I had scanned). I haven’t looked through all 23 thousand pictures, but a glance through the last couple years appears to have sorted everything correctly. I also don’t have a folder labeled “Dec 31 1970,” which appeared to the be default applied to those images that made Shotwell throw its hands up in the past.

I haven’t tested all the plugins for web services yet, but it at least offers options for all the popular ones. I want to test out the Flickr plugin for sure, since all accounts come with a terabyte of storage — that means Flickr could be my web-based backup for all my pictures…

It’s probably at least partially a byproduct of the hardware upgrades that I’ve done with this machine (16 gigs of RAM, all SATA-3 SSD drives), but I found that the “helper” apps for editing images loaded up much more quickly than I remember. That gives Shotwell the benefit of being the place you “live” with your photos, while the other programs (like GIMP, RawTherapee, DarkTable) almost function as extensions.

Looks like I’m sold on Shotwell again for the time being.