Monday, September 25, 2006

In the Digital World

I finally bought a new digital camera on Saturday, which will enable me to share much more of Santa Fe in this journal. Digital cameras and I have an interesting history--I bought a very early digital camera 8 or 9 years ago--an $800 Sony with a pop-out 3.5" diskette that I bought to support my eBay antique sales. It was quite big (about the size of a Polaroid camera), and it took great close-up photos of objects (my goal in purchasing the camera)--but not particularly good pictures of groups of people, for example. It really was a relic! I had a great little Olympus 35 mm camera that took wonderful pictures that I dropped on a 17th century stone floor in Mexico in January--it was already held together with duct tape at that point, so I decided it was time to upgrade.

The frustrating thing for me (are you listening, camera companies?) is that's hard to know what to buy--there are so many models--even if you pick a company and a brand (and I had selected Canon PowerShot because its Macintosh compatibility was touted, and because it seemed to be good value for the money according to Consumer Reports) you can't find the model you're looking for because it's already been discontinued. Why do there need to be so many different models? (Per Canon's website today, there are 22 different PowerShot cameras.) I don't see any consumer advantages in this complexity....In their defense, I can only imagine that their R&D departments are perfecting and expanding the technology so quickly that they just can't justify continuing to make old models.

I have this thing about technology--a love/hate relationship. I've been involved with computers one way or another since the late 1960s--keyed punch cards, worked on terminals in the computer room, backed my files up to huge computer tapes, worked on early word processors, wrote technical users' guides, trained sales reps to use PCs in the 1980s, etc. But every time I have to buy a new piece of electronic equipment, I procrastinate. Even though I know I want something, and that having it will be a good thing, I put off buying it because the absorption of the new piece into my household appears fraught with difficulty. (Even though it's rarely ever as hard as I imagine it will be.)

So I finally summoned enough courage to go the store on Saturday and buy the new camera. I brought it home and left it alone for the first day. (I've had bad experiences starting new technical adventures after 5 p.m.--they generally lead to staying up too late and not being able to get to sleep!) Yesterday, with a new day and a fresh pot of coffee, I approached the camera. As is often the case with electronics (are you listening, electronics providers?) the manual was terrible, but I was able to take excellent pictures quite quickly. Having listened to my brother's advice (thanks bro!), I did not install the software that came with the camera, but just opened iPhoto on my Mac, attached to the camera to the USB port, pressed one key and instantly transferred the photos to the computer. Yay!!! So here is a picture from my back portal (accent on the -al, Santa Fe language for the concrete pad outside the sliders).

You can see the mountains that ring Santa Fe in the distance, and the coyote fence between me and the land that slopes down to the road behind my house. This development is set up is with very small lots and a good deal of shared open space. The garages are often used to buffer the properties--you can see my neighbor's garage at the bottom of the yard to the right--its wall acts as a garden wall for me. On the other side of my house, my garage and my neighbor's garage share a common wall. It's very close, but you really don't have the sensation of being on top of your neighbors--my whole back yard is fenced in and is very private and quiet.

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