Matchbox Twenty at Philips Arena 1/28/08

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Matchbox Twenty – LIVE – “Disease” – Philips Arena 1.28.08 from Chris Harrison on Vimeo.

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View more of the photos I took on Flickr. I took around 800 shots total, but scrubbed a lot of the pics that were screwed up one way or another. Some of the best shots can be seen in the Flickr slideshow.

For my first concert, this was definitely the way to go. Matchbox Twenty, Mute Math and Alanis Morissette rocked the Philips Arena. Our seats were phenomenal. Section 117 Row B was located just to the side of stage left. We could see everything, and being slight above the floor crowd enabled me to get some pretty sweet shots.

Piclens: Photo Browsing Enhanced

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PicLens

PicLens is an add-on for Firefox, Internet Explorer and Safari that will change the way you interact with a lot of websites. The add-on is currently compatible with Flickr, Photobucket, Picasa Web Albums, DeviantArt, Smugmug, Facebook, MySpace, Bebo, Hi5, Friendster, Google Images, Yahoo Images, Ask Images, Live Images, and AOL Images.

These screen captures really don’t do PicLens justice. You really have to see it to believe it. (Here’s a brief walkthrough on how PicLens works in Firefox.)

Browsing PicLens

piclens_browsingBrowsing is initiated by clicking on a little “play” button that will appear upon hover over images in the various supported services. Clicking this button will launch PicLens full-screen where you can start browsing through your images in a 3D environments. Thumbnails appeared very quickly, even on my Dell Inspiron 6000 (1.6GHz Pentium M, 1.5Gb RAM). In the example to the left, I was only previewing a small set of photos in my Flickr stream, but it worked well when I used it to browse through my entire photo collection.

Getting in Closer

piclens_closeup_browsing Selecting an image will create a slightly larger, higher quality thumbnail of the photo you’d like to look at. This is why PicLens is so responsive. It pulls in very low-resolution previews at first, but streams in higher quality thumbnails as you use the add-on, as well.

A Better Slideshow

piclens_detail The PicLens photo detail interface is pretty similar to Flickr’s built-in slideshow capabilities, except PicLens runs full-screen natively. Images stream in pretty quickly (depending on connection speed) and you can browse through images pretty quickly using back and forward buttons… or hit play and let it go on its own.

The Verdict

Overall, I’m really digging this plugin. It’s unobtrusive and doesn’t effect using your sites regularly… if you don’t want to use PicLens, you simply don’t click on the buttons to activate it. It adds enough additional functionality to enhance Flickr, the rest is just gravy. Check out PicLens for your browser.

Canon PowerShot S5 IS

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Clone Troopers

A few months ago, I picked up a Canon PowerShot S5 IS from Amazon.com. It’s the nicest digital camera I’ve owned so far.

I chose this camera for a few reasons:

  • I wanted something more than 6.0 Megapixels;
  • I wanted something with at least 8x optical zoom;
  • I wanted something that could use lens accessories;
  • I didn’t want to spend more than $400.

The last point was most important. I would have rather invested the money in picking up a Canon Digital Rebel XTi or something comparable, but it would’ve meant spending far more money for something that would’ve had an even greater learning curve for me. The Canon PowerShot S5 IS is a full-featured 8.0-megapixel digital camera with 12x optical zoom, and it’s ended up being a perfect match for me.

My only beef with the S5 so far is the amount of noise in photos taken in lower light situations.

CreativeTantrum

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creative-tantrum-logo.jpgTypically I wouldn’t do this… but Nick McMillan is someone I’ve known since high school and he just took the bold step of starting his own business: CreativeTantrum. Based in Northern Virginia, CreativeTantrum specializes in web design, identity, print design, you name it. Nick’s done freelance work for me in the past through PowerServe, and I was extremely pleased with his level of creativity.

Nick, I know this is something you’ve wanted to do for some time. I wish you the best of luck with this chapter in your life!

WTF Apple. srlsy?

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WTF Apple. srlsy?
So… in order to get functionality that probably should have been included with the iPod touch to begin with… you’re going to charge me $20 for it. Are you out of your effing gourd, Apple?

This is in bad form, especially considering this product is only around four months old, and today’s update was software only and available for free to people who buy the iPod touch today.

I can only hope that the decision to charge for these wasn’t Apple’s idea. After all, if you had an iPod that could almost everything the iPhone could, what motivation would people have to get get the iPhone?

50000+ Spam Messages Killed and Counting

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Since installing Aksimet, it’s blocked 50,222 spam messages from appearing on my site. That’s a lot of crap I didn’t have to deal with. Thank you Akismet. (I wish I could determine exactly when I started using the plugin… but I am not sure where to find that information…)

If you’re blogging with WordPress, enable the Akismet plugin right now.

NewsGator Frees RSS Readers

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For a couple of years, I’ve happily used NewsGator FeedDemon as my RSS reader. I use it to read through a hundred or so feeds that I am subscribed to. (The integration of NewsGator Online with the desktop application is one of my favorite features.) I’ve used Bloglines, Google Reader, and several other web-based RSS readers, and none worked as well as FeedDemon.

Anyways, onto the good news: FeedDemon is now free. As are a few of NewsGator’s other products: NewsGator Inbox for Microsoft Outlook, NewsGator Go! for mobile, NetNewsWire for Mac.

View the press release here.