Month: January 2007

A Little Late for Resolutions

I don’t really believe in New Year’s resolutions; if it’s important enough to me, I don’t need a calendar switch to get started. That being said, some articles I’ve read recently have me feeling motivated to stop thinking and start doing things.

Work Out

My friend Joe recently blogged that he has been going to the gym this year and already noticing positive changes. I never really used the free gym when I was at Scranton, but I could definitely afford to join one now. Or maybe I could just run around the block a few times. Either way, I want to get more exercise than walking from my apartment to my car and back once or twice a day.

I’ve been feeling more drained every day I know the weight I’ve gained since college is partly to blame. It’s nothing Oprah-esque, but I’m sure I’d have more energy if I dropped a few. I’ve already been trying to eat less, but I need to make sure that what I eat is good for me. Since I’m such a lazy ass when it comes time to actually work out—right, Jason?—I think a paid gym membership might throw some financial motivation behind, you know, my health and all.

Read More Books

I read a tremendous amount of blogs, news, Wikipedia entries, and a cornucopia of random online articles. Trouble is that a large portion of that is trivial crap that I won’t remember the next day. Most of this stems from procrastinating something more useful. Theoretically, there’s nothing wrong with what I read online; it’s only that it prevents me from reading or doing more substantial (or productive) things.

I am going to start cutting down a half-hour to an hour of online time-wasting and try to read at least one book each month. It doesn’t matter if it’s fiction or non or whether it maintains any credible hold on the term “literature.” I don’t care if it’s Dan Brown or Dante at this point.

Create More

I like to think of myself as creative, but I haven’t created much in my spare time lately. The last thing I want to do is allow my writing or coding skills to stagnate. I’d love to be able to write articles again like I did for the Scranton Student, but I just don’t have the time at this point. As I’ve been saying for years, I want to write more here. I think if I force myself to write at least once or twice a week it will develop into something of a habit.

In terms of creating websites, I want to design, code, and program more. At this point, I might focus on improving some of my existing sites, but I’d also like to seek out clients for professional projects. I need to focus on finishing projects, rather than a series of false starts.


In order to make all of the above even remotely possible, I need to organize myself. I could blame it on a hundred things beyond my control, but staying organized has never come easy to me. I think I’ve always battled clutter, but lately it seems to be winning. I want to work on scheduling my time better, but cleaning my room is priority one. I recently read a Lifehacker article that had a few great ideas for pilers. Already it’s helping me, but I need to take it further.

I know this might seem a little… much. But I don’t expect to accomplish all of this in a week or a month. Gradually, I want to make these changes part of my life, not some random things I might be trying. It’s going to take time, but I’m committed this time.

Baltimore’s Smoking Ban

Baltimore City and Maryland State are each considering bans on smoking in all indoor buildings including bars and restaurants. While some are saying that this is another example of the government overstepping its bounds, I think that this will be a great thing for the city and/or state.

Most of the concern stems from the idea that smokers won’t go out to the bars as frequently as they do now, but this neglects the other side of the issue. The main reason I don’t go out to pubs more often—and I suspect that I’m not alone in feeling this way—is because I don’t like smelling like an ashtray when I come home. I’d be much more likely to pop into a bar for dinner and a drink if I knew I wouldn’t reek of smoke all evening.

Update (4/29/07): Both Baltimore City and the State of Maryland have passed laws designating all bars and restaurants (excluding cigar or tobacco clubs) smoke free beginning January 2008 and February 2008, respectively. I don’t see the need to wait so long to enact the ban, but I’m still thrilled that the bills passed.

Thoughts on 24

Last week, I spent an absurd amount of my evening hours catching up on 24 Season 5 in anticipation of the Season 6 premiere on Sunday (and Monday) night. I tend to make an episode of 24 a priority, but last year I was working second-shift and missed all but the first few weeks of shows so I stopped watching, waiting for the DVD release. In the meantime, I avoided any mention of Season 5 using my magic skills.


Canon PowerShot SD800 IS

Canon PowerShot SD800 IS

It’s no secret to most of my friends and family that I’m very happy with my new camera. I think all of them are sick of hearing about it so I hope they see this. If you’re interested in why I purchased this camera, read the “Agenda: Digital Camera” post. I’m going to divide this review into three sections: image quality, ease of use, and features.

I’ll start with ease of use because that’s what I noticed first when I opened the box. The camera is nicely shaped—losing the hard corners of previous PowerShot models—and is easy enough to take photos one-handed. However, I definitely recommend using the wrist strap as it’s incredibly easy to drop considering its size and lack of non-slip grips.

The menus are exceptionally designed, making it just a click or two for common features, yet only three or four for advanced or rarely-used options. The buttons move nicely and choices are felt as well as heard/seen. And while all this is nice, the camera wouldn’t be much fun if the software lagged behind these clicks (I’m looking at you, Kodak CX4230). Thankfully, the results of clicks are almost instantaneous.

In terms of features, I knew what to expect so there weren’t many surprises. The manual settings (white balance, exposure length, light meter, but no aperture settings) work well when the full automatic or scene settings are not enough—not all that often. However, I really wish that the image stabilization worked for more than just full auto with auto flash. What I didn’t expect to use much at all but turned out to be an awesome addition is the video camera mode. It records in AVI and at 640×480 resolution so the files are gigantic and the quality is almost broadcast quality. Nice surprise.

Pros: Image quality, image stabilization, 3.8x optical zoom, size, battery capacity, video mode, manual mode, scene settings, optical viewfinder, screen size, and well-designed menus.

Cons: Image stabilization only available in full-auto mode.

Canon PowerShot SD800 IS on Amazon.