This twitter thing can be a serious time sink if you’re not careful, but so far I like it. I’m even getting linkback from stuff I posted only there! (Thanks, Jeff.) But in retrospect, this is worth linking to directly: On the Effectiveness of Aluminium Foil Helmets: An Empirical Study. Jeff’s found the crucial quote, too:
The helmets amplify frequency bands that coincide with those allocated to the US government between 1.2 Ghz and 1.4 Ghz. According to the FCC, These bands are supposedly reserved for ”radio location” (ie, GPS), and other communications with satellites… The 2.6 Ghz band coincides with mobile phone technology. Though not affiliated by government, these bands are at the hands of multinational corporations.
It requires no stretch of the imagination to conclude that the current helmet craze is likely to have been propagated by the Government, possibly with the involvement of the FCC. We hope this report will encourage the paranoid community to develop improved helmet designs to avoid falling prey to these shortcomings.
Some years ago, when I needed to re-check my eyeglasses’ prescription, I found an article on the Internet about an optician – I think in Los Angeles – who was making special glasses for computer users. (I can’t find that URL anymore, unfortunately.)
Aside: my personal case is rather uncommon. I’ve always been nearsighted in the left eye (-4 to -5 diopters), while my right eye was normal. The left eye also has a slightly different color response, seeing things a little greener and darker than the right. Until my late 30s, both eyes had an overlapping range where both would focus well… starting at 30cm out and going to about 90cm (1 to 3 feet if you’re stuck in the imperial backwaters). Then, presbyopia set in and astigmatism became worse; my eyes’ focusing ranges no longer overlap at all, so I started needing different eyeglasses to work and to drive. (I still need no glasses to read with the left eye, at least.)
Anyway, having two different eyes taught me to be able to switch between them as needed and to tense and relax the eyeball voluntarily – call it manual focus. I hear this can be learned in a short time even if your eyes are equivalent.
So, the trick is to learn to relax your eyeballs, deliberately making stuff go out of focus. When you do that, you should see things at some distance between 4m and infinity in perfect focus. Next, you should measure your desired working distance to your screen; mine is exactly at arm’s length.
Now you go to the optician and do all the standard procedures, except that you’ll hold that small eyechart at arm’s length, or whatever your preferred distance is, and relax your eyeballs throughout – think of “idly gazing into the distance”. I find that the resulting diopters are about 0.25 to 0.5 stronger than they are for my driving glasses, but of course YMMV. Ideally this should also be done without any of those pesky dilating eyedrops, as you want your eyes to be as near to the normal state as possible.
If you did this correctly, you should be able to sit at your screen for hours without any eyestrain. Of course you still should get up and stretch every thirty minutes or so, unless you also have an “infinity focus” chair…
I seem to remember hearing that there are modern laser-based machines that measure your lens directly without having you read charts or whatever; I suppose that if you run into such a thing, you’d have to do the “relax” trick while this is done. Be sure to talk it over with your optician; mine needed some convincing the first time.
So, last August I switched over to the Lumix FX100 – great camera, if a bit noisy in the high-ISO shots. Then a few weeks ago the Lumix FX35 came out, with a wider lens angle and 30fps HD video, so I ordered one on the day it became available and found a buyer for the FX100.
Now, while the FX35 is still in transit, the Lumix FX500 is announced, with a better lens and larger LCD. Argh. In a couple of years I suppose we’ll have to just rent the camera du jour for a few days while a better one is shipping…
Then again, the FX500 won’t fit into the old, battered cellphone case I always walk around with, so I shouldn’t be too upset. Also, they haven’t yet implemented my ideal features; namely, an option for RAW storage, manual speed/aperture selection (correction: it does have that!), a way to override autofocusing, and a remote shutter release (for doing shake-free tripod shots).
So far, I like it. Took out a few hours to build a starting list of people to watch; it’s an oddly familiar neighborhood, of course, as it duplicates parts of my list of chat buddies, RSS feeds and so forth.
In a way it’s a slow-motion, somewhat less coherent, version of IRC. Which is actually a good thing.
Good extra argument against background processes from Craig Hockenberry:
The heart of the problem are the radios. Both the EDGE and Wi-Fi transceivers have significant power requirements. Whenever that hardware is on, your battery life is going to suck. My 5 minute refresh kept the hardware on and used up a lot of precious power.