Sunset at Skyline

Dan B. and are gonna head out to Skyline this afternoon. The goal is to get some shots of the sunset. Yesterday and this morning were pretty gloomy with a lot of clouds. We even got a little rain yesterday. But I’m hoping the view is incredible. We’ll see, but I’ll be sure to post photos later.

Photoshop Express

So I thought Photoshop Elements was cool because it was the $100 lite version of the $650 gorilla. But Adobe has taken it one step further with Adobe Photoshop Express. This new version is completely web based and completely free. It’s Adobe’s first foray into the world of the Software as a Service model so adeptly executed by The concept is really cool. I’ll have to play around with it and make another post on my experiences with it. But for the time being, Ars Technica has a pretty decent article.

Heroism Duly Noted

I got this in an e-mail from my Aunt Katie in Tucson, and I thought it was hilarious:

A man is walking by the zoo when he sees a little girl leaning into the lion’s cage. Suddenly, the lion grabs her by the cuff of her jacket and tries to pull her inside to devour her right in front of the little girl’s screaming parents.

The man runs to the cage, hits the lion square on the nose with a powerful punch. Whimpering from the pain the lion jumps back letting go of the girl, and the man brings her to her terrified parents, who thank him endlessly.

A reporter has seen the whole scene, and addressing the man, says: “Sir, this was the most gallant and brave thing I saw a man do in my whole life.”

“Why, it was nothing,” said the biker, “really, the lion was behind bars and I knew God would protect me just as He did Daniel in the lions den long, long ago. I just saw this little kid in danger, and acted as I felt was right.”

“I noticed a Bible in your pocket.” said the journalist.

“Yes, I’m a Christian and was on my way to a Bible study” the man replies.

“Well, I’ll make sure this won’t go unnoticed. I’m a journalist, you know, and tomorrow papers will have this in first page.”

The journalist leaves. The following morning the man buys the paper to see if it indeed brings news of his actions, and reads, on front page:

“Right Wing Christian Fundamentalist Assaults African Immigrant and
Steals His Lunch.”

Henry Coe State Park

Dan B. and I are possibly off to the park tomorrow to shoot the wildflowers. The San Jose Mercury ran an article a few days ago about the wildflowers out there. So I think we’ll check it out.

The only possible problem is if it decides to rain tomorrow. The weather forecast currently says 60% chance of rain. But if you ask me, it looks like the rain clouds are moving in, and my knee has been bothering me most of today, so I think we stand a pretty good chance of getting rained out. But we’ll see. Sometimes when it rains, it makes the most beautiful pictures.

Happy Pi Day

This post is going out at 5 significant figures of Pi. 3.1415 also known as March 14 at 3pm. I could’ve gone further, but then there’s that pesky 9, which obviously doesn’t work out so great for the minutes. I suppose I could have done it at 4:32, which would have been 3 hours and 92 minutes. Oh well. In any case, go eat some pi 🙂


One of my co-workers introduced me to this really cool website called Pandora. It’s a music/radio site that customizes it’s playlist based on the preferences you indicate. To create a list, you can enter an artist like Kutless (my personal favorite), and it will generate a “radio station” with music that sounds like Kutless. So it will play other artists in the same genre or with the same style.

To customize the lists, you get to tell the app whether you like a song or not. If you don’t, it’s removed from the playlist, and then they won’t play it any more. If you like it, the list is further customized with additional music that has attributes similar to the song you’ve rated. There’s also a place to find out why the system added a particular song to your list. Click “Why did you play this song?” And it will spit out it’s logic something like this

Based on what you’ve told us so far, we’re playing this track because it features basic rock song structures, a subtle use of vocal harmony, mixed acoustic and electric instrumentation, major key tonality, and electric guitar riffs.

or maybe

Based on what you’ve told us so far, we’re playing this track because it features hard rock roots, a subtle use of vocal harmony, mild rhythmic syncopation, a vocal-centric aesthetic and minor key tonality.

How does it know? Apparently, it’s all based on the Music Genome Project, which was a project designed to “capture the essence of music at the fundamental level.” So each song is characterized using over 400 different attributes to describe each song.

It must have been a really tedious project to have people sit there and listen to music and “map out” each song’s “genome.” Apparently, that’s a process that takes 20-30 minutes per song. Wow! I can hardly imagine.

The down side is that it has some attributes of radio: you cannot listen to a song over again. You can’t even rewind a little bit. I guess it’s against their licensing restrictions. Fortunately, you can pause, and you can skip a song. Though, skipping a song also has it’s limitations. At one point, I skipped “too many” songs and it said it was couldn’t let me skip any more songs because there’s an hourly limit on how many songs can be skipped. Oh well. That’s a small price to pay for listening to all the other great songs.

Anyways, check it out and start listening to your own customized “radio” stations.