Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Government Flowers

There has been a small park with a nice walking trail near my home for over twenty-five years. This was a long, narrow area in the electric transmission right-of-way. The area was always well kept, mowed and often used as a practice field for soccer teams and the like.

Recently the nearby street was widened to accommodate increased traffic. As the park was improved (made narrower) it was discovered that it drained into a wetland area. Several new regulations governed the improvements. For instance, it can no longer be mowed.

So rather than let it go to weeds, it was sown with wildflower seeds. I have to admit, it looks very nice, though it can no longer be used for anything else. During the construction the walking trail was widened and improved. It's now very nice.

Click here to see a few more photos taken while on a walk around the area.


Sunday, July 27, 2008

My New Printer Is an Alien

After several years of excellent service, the main printer I use for large photos bit the dust.

I can’t say the event was totally unexpected. The printer had been moody for the last several weeks. Each startup required a bit of fussing for proper paper alignment and head cleanings were required more frequently. Finally, late Thursday, it died completely.

On Friday morning a call to the service center verified the cost of repair would be more than half the cost of a replacement. Spending that much money on an electronic device of that age is, at best, questionable.

Seven years of almost flawless service is a pretty good reason to stick with the same brand. Seven years is also enough time for the manufacture to go through several generations of upgrades and at least one ink reformulation. So, where six ink tanks were enough to do the job in 2002, it now takes ten.

Unboxing and installation were quick and uneventful. A trip to the manufacturer’s web site was necessary to update the drivers and utility software.

The biggest, most time-consuming problem was silly. The old printer’s power connector was on the left end of the case and the USB connector on the right. The new printer’s connections were reversed. You wouldn’t think that should be a big deal, but the printers are just over two feet wide. About 30 minutes of re-cabling was required to make the old cords reach the new connectors.

A couple of hours and several test prints later I’m back in the printing business with significantly improved print quality.

By they way, each of the ten ink tanks has a nice bright red light to let you know when it’s properly installed. Too bad they didn’t make the head cover translucent so you could see those red lights scanning back and forth. They could have called this model the Cylon.


Saturday, July 19, 2008

Omaha Railroad Days 2008

Omaha's two day celebration of it's railroad heritage was expanded this year.

Lauritzen Gardens and the Durham Museum were joined by three museums across the bridge in Council Bluffs, Iowa. The Union Pacific Museum, the General Dodge House and the Rails West museum joined the Omaha attractions to repeat last year's very popular family event.

Click here to see more photos.


Friday, July 04, 2008

Happy Fourth of July!

It's time for the annual celebration of the birth of the U.S.A.

You don't have to go too far to see a parade or a big commercial fireworks display this time of year.

In many areas you can buy the smaller, less powerful fireworks at roadside stands like those at the other end of this link. Locally, the proceeds from these sales go to charities, and other non-profit groups.

The photos linked here were taken a couple of years ago, but today's festivities promise to be just as exciting.

Have fun and safe holiday!


Saturday, June 21, 2008

Street Construction - Summer 2008

It's Summer and the street construction crews have come out of hibernation. It seems like most of the major roads are under construction.

The traffic slowdowns can be annoying, but they also give you time to enjoy the beautiful Summer skies.

See more photos Caught on the Street at GeorgesPhotos.net.


Sunday, June 08, 2008

Giant Olympic Swimmer at Mutual of Omaha

Mutual of Omaha installed this 14-story banner to promote the 2008 Olympic Swim Trials and the four-day Swimvitational event. According to a story in the Omaha World-Herald, the banner is 245 feet high and 60 feet wide. So – how many megapixels do you need to make a print that big?

The Olympic trials will be in the 5-year-old, 17,000 seat, Qwest Center Omaha. The Mutual of Omaha Swimvitational is both a shakedown event for the trials and a qualifier and warm-up event for the swimmers.

Sorry about all the clutter in the foreground of the photo. Mutual of Omaha is located on one of the busiest streets in town. I pulled over for a quick shot through the car window.

Here are more photos Caught on the Street.


Thursday, May 15, 2008

Fast Food Goes to the Dogs

I'd heard that fast food was going to the dogs, but I thought it was just an expression.

Do you suppose he can drive and eat his burger at the same time?

Go here to see more photos Caught On The Street.


Monday, April 28, 2008

Animoto - The End of the Slide Show

You don't create slide shows with Animoto. Animoto creates short videos from your images. Check out these two short samples created from the same set of images before you read on.

The process is as simple as it can be. Upload your photos to Animoto's web site. Pick from their music or upload your own. Push the button and Animoto's servers generate a video presentation that fits the selected music.

If you want a lot of control you will be disappointed. You can designate a few photos to be given more emphasis. Other than that, Animoto's algorithms make all of the decisions. If you don't like the results you can push the button and generate new results.

Check out the details at Animoto.

Thanks go to Amber and Leo on the Net at Nite podcast for this tip.


Thursday, April 17, 2008

Spring 2008

What better way to welcome Spring than to pay mother nature a visit. In this case I visited the drive through version. No reason to leave the climate controlled comfort of the car just to commune with nature.

The Wildlife Safari is a great family attraction located a few highway minutes south of Omaha, Nebraska. It's run by the same people that handle the world class Henry Doorly zoo.

The standards are just as high at the safari park, but the atmosphere is quite different. Where the zoo is obviously a man-made construction designed to look natural, the safari park is a natural area modified to accommodate the slow moving autos.

Here are a few photos from my visit on the park's opening weekend. Not pictured are the aviary or the valley that is home to bears and wolves.

You can can see other photos of the Henry Doorly Zoo and older photos of the Safari park here.