RSS Readers

I’m a bit slow. I’m just now getting into the whole RSS reader thing. I’ve had my photoblog running for about 8 months which has a RSS feed and we’ve been doing the MIS Guys site for a couple of months and haven’t really even kept an eye on the RSS side of things. I’ve tried a couple of readers in the past but just couldn’t get into them. I sat down and decided to find a good one and here are the results.


I tried some that are embedded in Firefox, a couple that are embedded in Outlook and the rest as stand alone versions. So far my favorite is JetBrains Omea Reader. It is really sharp looking and it’s free! It has a cool newspaper view that I have turned on so that the posts for the RSS feed look more like a webpage instead of a bunch of seperate posts. This reader also handled enclosures well. Enclosures are kind of like attachments to RSS posts. For instance This Week In Tech is an excellent tech podcast and their RSS contains the enclosure for the MP3 of the poscast. Omea Reader made it really easy to find and download the MP3 for their recent posts.
I also tried NewsMonster. It is embedded into Firefox or IE. It looked good from their website and the screenshots. However, it crashed my Firefox and I had to delete my profile and set it all back up. In all fairness, it might have been my Firefox or my computer. But, I didn’t feel like spending time trying it again so I went on to a different one.
FeedDemon was the next reader I tried. I liked it but the Omea Reader is just as good and free. Ever the cheap person I am, free wins the day.
FeedReader came in second because like the Omea Reader it is also free. FeedReader worked well and looks sharp and I am still running it along side the Omea Reader to see if there is anything about it I like more. One thing about it was there was nothing that clearly let me know there was an enclosure on posts. If you double click on a post it would prompt you to save the enclosure but until you did so you didn’t know one was there.
I didn’t try it but Pluck looks good as well, but it’s a in-browser addin for Firefox and or IE.
NewsGator works well but it is basically a web service and I want to be able to use an RSS reader on a portable machine that might not be connected to a network. This is actually good if all you want to do is read the RSS feeds on computers that are always connected to the web. The other benefit of this is that you don’t have to setup all of the RSS feeds on other computers you want to use because your preferences are stored on their servers. So, mobility beats out and JetBrains Omea Reader is my choice for now.
There are many other readers out there and I didn’t spend a huge amount of time looking into them all. Let me know if you have other suggestions as I’d like to try some more readers.

Missouri countryside

Missouri countryside

I accidently posted two pictures today, so act surprised tommorrow if you already saw the other one. On another note check out my recent post on my blog and let me know what you think. I’m reading a biography on Ansel Adams and read an interesting statement.

Ansel Adams

I’m reading a biography about Ansel Adams by Mary Street Alinder. I’m in no way aspiring to match or come close to Ansel’s photography skills, but I read a statement in the book that made me smile. “…when Ansel reached the peak of technical proficiency, he never made a perfect negative. Either some edge needed slight cropping or a rock or some other element had to be darkened by burning. There was always something.” There is hope for me yet. :) (The above image is one of Ansel’s incredible shots.


It’s definitely fall. The trees are changing all around us. Missouri is certainly a great place to experience a broad range of wonderful colors. I think this year I am more sensitive to the colors because it’s the first fall to go through where I tend to look around and see photographic opportunities even when I don’t have my camera. I purchased my Nikon D70 last December and shooting with a DSLR is different than your normal point and shoot variety. You know you have the photography bug when everywhere you turn you are thinking…”that would be a cool shot….oh, that would be a cool shot.” It’s cool how looking at other people’s photoblogs tends to fuel me on as well. Every now and then I think, why am I concerned with taking pictures and putting them on the web? I get no monetary return on the hours and hours of time spent looking for that perfect shot. But then I look at a shot that someone posts and I think “I want to go take pictures.” Sakana (I think that’s his name) got me thinking that tonight as I browsed his shots. Sometimes the things that make us happy and give us joy have nothing to do with making money.
On another note I was reading Ephesians 3 and found these verses to be really good. Eph3:17 & 18 “And I pray that Christ will be more and more at home in your hearts as you trust in him. May your roots go down deep into the soil of God’s marvelous love. And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love really is.”

  • Camera: NIKON D70
  • Taken: 22 October, 2005
  • Aperture: ƒ/5.6
  • Focal length: 300mm
  • Shutter speed: 1/1000s

Lone Duck

Lone Duck

I took my kids to a park the other night and between them and their cousins they scared off every goose, duck or other type of bird around this pond. It was interesting to watch them as they floated along. Most of them tended to stay in little groups, but this one duck I noticed seemed to go to each group and each time the group would swim away. I guess we’ll never know what made this guy an outcast but it was kinda sad watching him swimming all alone.

Tablet PC’s

HPtc1100I love my job. At work we have a project coming up that is likely to work best with tablet PC’s. Once we get into this project we are going to need about 30 or more of them. So, to find out which brand and model will work best for our application we have got a couple of them in and have been experimenting.

The models we have played with so far are the IBM X41, Toshiba Tecra M4 and the HP tc1100. We previously had a Viewsonic V1100 and we had a rep from Motion Computing come out and show their line of tablets as well.

The Motion Computing tablets feel solid and are really sharp though we haven’t really got to test drive it. It’s hard to tell how they will perform without taking it and really putting it to use for a few weeks.

My favorite so far has been the HP. This actually came as a surprise to me because I’m not much of a HP guy. We have a HP 9000 Unix server that does a good job and we use almost nothing but HP printers. I’ve never really cared for their laptops or desktops.


The Toshiba is really more of a laptop and is way to big to be a useful tablet pc. The M4 is a convertible type where the screen rotates around and can lay flat to be used as a tablet or upright like a laptop. It’s performance was good although it was bogged down with a bunch of Toshiba junk which we promptly turned off most of it. The battery life seemed shorter than the other two probably because it had a larger sized screen.


The IBM is sharp from a hardware standpoint, but it’s performance was poor compared to the HP and Toshiba. It has built in fingerprint reader which is interesting but not really needed for our uses, plus the software running behind it seemed to be one of the biggest drains on performance. After turning off alot of the extra software and stuff running in the background it worked a lot better. The X41’s size is nice and it feels real sturdy. One gripe I had with it was the fan that keeps the cpu cool was unusually noisy. This could have just been a problem with the particular unit we had but it was annoying in quiet situations. Like the Toshiba it is a convertible type tablet PC.

Like I said before the HP has come out as my favorite so far. It’s size is great. The design is sharp and it’s performance was particularly surprising. I loaded Photoshop CS2 and had no problems editing large photos. Running Microsoft Office (Word and PowerPoint), Firefox and a couple of other applications simultaneously wasn’t a problem for this little machine either. Battery life seems good thus far as well.


The HP can be called a convertible or a standard tablet because the keyboard can be removed or acts as a stand. The keyboard is a undersized version and can take a little getting used to.
We’ll be testing some other models later and will keep you posted on those as well. Right now the winner is the HP.

Fall is here

Fall is here

Ok, one more black and white. Nothing special, just messing around just after sunset. Process: Slight crop, gradient map adjustment layer with black and white gradient. Clone tool to clean up the leaves on the top and bottom edge. Two passes through Neat Image to remove noise. I’ll get back to color stuff some time…or maybe not. :) Here is the original if you are curious.

Cloud gate

Cloud gate

Pulling out another shot from my trip to Chicago. This is of an art object called Cloud Gate. It is a giant bean shaped object made from highly polished steel plates. You can’t see the seams at all where the plates meet except for when you go underneath where they left the seams on purpose. It was pretty neat. Brandon has a cool shot of it here. There was a orchestra playing in front of it entertaining what looked like a high brow dinner party.

Board here

Board here

Hey…I need some opinions. What are your feelings about the rollover section on the main image? I liked it at first, now I’m not sure. I keep wavering back and forth. Please chime in with your opinion! :) Thanks.

Morning walk

Morning walk

I got up really early the other morning with the intention of getting some good sunrise shots. I wandered around for a couple of hours as the sun was coming up and took a bunch of pictures. I think there’s one other shot that I actually cared for all the rest looked like junk. Oh well…guess that’s how it goes.

Pixelpost Tweaks

I’ve been using Pixelpost to host my Photoblog. Pixelpost is an excellent application and has a ton of excellent features. I found there were some things that I wanted it to do that weren’t there so I tweaked it and some other people’s stuff and came up with some of my own.


The first tweak is a modification of James Owens’ Most Commented addon. I wanted to show my favorites of my own work on my about page. So I made the My Favorites Addon..
The second tweak is the ability to have a different background color with each post. Check out my Background Color Changer modification for details.
The last tweak is my template for the site. Pixelpost basically is able to be skinned. You can check out the details here.

Since I found Serenity….

I was in Chicago a few weeks back and I stayed at my brother’s while I was there. One morning while Brandon was snoozing away I looked through his DVD collection and found the Firefly TV series DVD. I had heard about the movie Serenity that was to be coming out and knew it was based on a short-lived series called Firefly. The trailer for Serenity looked good, but I wasn’t to sure. So while Brandon slept off our many hours of walking I popped it in and watched the pilot for the series.
I was hooked. It was good. I wasn’t sure at first, it seemed like it was going to be another Fox goofy sci-fi no-need-to-watch TV show. My wife will confirm that I hate, hate, hate and again hate watching TV shows or movies on TV. I just can’t deal with what I’m watching being broken up by idiotic comercials for junk that I don’t care about. I watch almost no TV and what I do watch is from recordings made using Windows Media Center on a PC in my living room. So when those retarded comercials come on I can hit the fast forward or skip 30 seconds button! Whoo hoo.

Anyways, I proceeded to watch all 14 episodes during the two weeks before Serenity came out and I loved every one of them. There is some stuff they could have left out from a cleanliness (sex, language etc.) standpoint. But overall it’s awesome. Serenity the movie is no exception. Wow! Jaw dropping great effects, good acting, lots of humor and some surprises if you watched the series. My brother-in-law has never seen the series and he loved the show so it does appeal to people who haven’t seen the series. Go see it! ps. If you are curious about the title of the post watch the show and you’ll know what’s up.

Crazy clouds

Crazy clouds

I don’t know about you but I never get tired of these dramatic cloud shots. Technically they aren’t all that complicated. Take a picture on just about any day where there’s a decent amount of clouds. They don’t have to be very dramatic at all. The original of this shot is nothing like what I ended up with (which some might disagree with also.) Take it into photoshop and goto image/adjustments/auto level. I normally don’t care for auto leveling shots, but here it works to bring about those dramatic colors. Then hit ctrl-j (not sure of the command for you Mac users just duplicate the main layer) change the top layer’s blending mode to overlay and back it off with the opacity of the layer as needed. I took mine into Neat Image to remove some noise and smooth it out some. There you have it…crazy apocolyptic like clouds in the sky.