Friday, November 23, 2007

Death Valley Photo Trek

Death Valley Photo Trek

The name alone conjures up isolation, a desperate existence if one is to be had at all, and circumstances beyond ones control. Well let me tell you brother, it is also a place of exquisite beauty and history. Harsh yes, but with good care very fulfilling.

My friend and co-worker Tony Corbell organized a trip last weekend to Death Valley for a few folks; I was lucky enough to be included, though very much a rookie. Long-ass ride out there, severe lack of sleep, but Oh Doctor! Check out these photos - and not very much re-touched at that! Enjoy - more later.

Unpleasant Trip to Sahuarita

Unpleasant Trip to Sahuarita, AZ

Sometimes ya just gotta do what ya gotta do. Take this weekend for instance: there's nothing more I'd rather be doing than hanging out with my wife Kim and the kids for the holidays. Instead, I'm doing something a bit unpleasant, but also important - attending the disposition of my late step-father's possessions by his trustee. Uggh.

Still, visiting the Old Pueblo, as Tucson is affectionately referred, has some cool pluses - two specifically: my long-time friends John Hurley and Carol Lemon, whom I met waaaay back in high school! That was a long time ago in case you hadn't noticed!

John is a comic book collector of extraordinary loyalty to DC - I'm a Marvel man myself, so I don't get it, but as you can see from the picture below John has very definitely drunken the proverbial kool-aid. ;-)

Carol is a kung-fu swattin', ninja mofo Six Sigma Chick, which basically means that she can run circles around this 'ol project manager and ask lots of quality- and process-oriented questions that would embarrass a NASA engineer. I won't say what company Carol works for, nor which large Governmental agency with which she spends most of her time, but suffice to say she is a bad-ass. Oh, and also quite a renaissance woman with - get this - her own radio show on Saturdays! She dispenses relationship advice. OMG. Well... bully for her.

Carol & Kevin

Her new man, Phil the Aussie, seems pretty cool but I'll have to meet him in person for the final verdict. Trying to get them to come over for Christmas, 2007...

So, all-in-all, an OK day - particularly with an "eegee's" frozen lemonade drink thrown in to the mix. Tomorrow, we'll see. I have a trailer for carting stuff back to SD, and also for moving stuff into storage for my sister Jody. I'm as prepared as I can be from the logistics side; the emotional side is another matter. Cheers.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Photo Plus East & NYC

Photo Plus East & NYC

Two weeks ago I had the pleasure of traveling on bizness for Nik Software to New York City. I had been at least a decade since I'd been in the City, and it was everything I remembered and more. We worked, ate, drank, slept, and worked some more. The Photo Plus East show is one of the biggest in the U.S. to be dedicated exclusively to Photography.

Our big introduction was Color Efex Pro 3.0, an update to our most popular Adobe Photoshop plug-in. Sporting a brand-new GUI and a raft of new filters, it was a bonafide hit at the show and made for quite a busy booth. My goal for the show was to sell 100 units of software or more, and with a solid effort from everyone we sold nearly 140 units. But man were we all hustling!

Having traveled all across the country, I decided to take an extra day on Sunday to kick around the city and take some pictures. I visited Ground Zero, Wall Street, Greenwich Village, Central Park and Times Square all in about 6 hours or so - whew! One of my absolute favorite images of NYC was the nearly ubiquitous "water tower." I never noticed there were so danged many of these.

Here in CA, water just comes out of the pipes from I'm sure a long ways away. It's weird to think of tons of water just above your head. Hmmm...

Here are some other images "from the street."

I'm looking forward to taking the kids to NYC and showing them a real city, a walking city that lives and breathes...

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Etho Eyes

Originally uploaded by klarue
Etho Eyes

My son Ethan, or "Etho" as we routinely call him. Since I checked out the Blogger<->Flickr connection with a close-up shot of Emily, to be fair I thought I'd add one of Etho.

Speaking of the lad, he's been really getting into flag football lately - plays on a team called the "Blue Hawks" and they are improving with every game. At this age group, hardly any of the boys have played organized football, so it's fun to watch them in all their chaotic glory.


Emily Eyes

Originally uploaded by klarue
Emily Eyes

This is one of my favorite images of my daughter Emily. She is kind, smart, adventurous and energetic. Fights a lot with her brother, but hey, I was a lot like that too! ;-)

The eyes have it...

Hurray for Chumby!

Hurray for Chumby!

I recently received an email from Chumby Industries about the launch of their new gizmo - appropriately named a Chumby.

It's about the size of a large grapefruit with a 3" touch-screen LCD screen in the middle. It's running Linux and the purpose of the device is... well, as I see it to be the latest must-have geek item AND be useful and fun too. From their site:

The chumby is a compact device that displays useful and entertaining information from the web: news, photos, music, celebrity gossip, weather, box scores, blogs — using your wireless internet connection. Always on, it shows — nonstop — what's online that matters to you.

The Chumby is closely tied to the website in that once you connect your Chumby wirelessly to the Internet and "activate" it, there is really close connections between the web site and the device. This connection comes in very handy in that the major mojo of the Chumby is to display/play flash-based "Widgets." To do this, you create "Channels" on the web that are then sent to your Chumby. A cleverly designed, one-button-to-access Control Panel lets you configure which Channels are show, and when.

The user forums are active - as expected of an open-source device - and I expect them to be on fire as this thing gets cooking. I think they released at precisely the right time, and hope to heck they have the quantities warehoused to handle the demand this thing will generate.

So "Yober", which is my Chumby's name (reminiscent of my uber-creative design friend and all-around great guy Michael Gilmore), is loaded up with my Flickr photo collection, a cool clock, a cartoon strip and soon to be much more. Set-up was very simple, with my wireless network being recognized automatically. As expected, there was a clever and simple on-screen UI for entering a WEP key. Very well thought out.

By the way, I've had the privilege of knowing, working around and working for the Chumby CTO Duane Maxwell for a number of years (hey, San Diego ain't that big!), including at exobox (former IdeaLabs company working on embedded technologies for devices - hmmm...) and Linspire (Linux OS publisher). Duane's a personable and clever man, and to me looks at the world in a slightly bemused and curious way. one of the smartest people I've ever met and I'm glad to see him involved in a truly fun new device like this.

My wife thinks I'm crazy and pointedly inquires how much this new gadget cost. I don't tell her straight away, and only eventually in very broad numbers... ;-)

So... my advice is to enter your email at and get in line. You'll pay a typical high premium for being the first Chumby on your block, but it's well worth it.