Saturday Morning Ritual

Posted 2009.08.01 13.22 in Aquaria, Pointless Blather by Stephanie

I’m sure y’all are getting sick of fish and snails and stuff. Still – I’m enjoying it, and it’s my blob. So there.

Saturday morning is aquarium cleaning time. It might seem like a big chore at first but it takes hardly any time at all. Scrape down the glass with the algae scraper. Pull out any decorations that need cleaning (today it was the ‘caves’.) Use the vacuum/siphon to clean the gravel and drain about 25% of the water. Replace the water with fresh dechlorinated water. Rinse the ‘caves’ in the old water, wipe off the schmultz. It was time to clean the filter too, so shut it off, pull out the media basket. It was time to toss out the zeocarb bag, and the sponge seriously needed rinsing (in the bucket of ‘old’ water.) Then put it back together, sponge and bio-media into the basket and into the filter. Put the ‘caves’ back in, put the top back on, and hey presto, sparkly clean aquarium, happy fishies and happy snailies.

I pour the dirty water into the garden outside (the nitrates and organic matter is good fertilizer) and then rinse things off.  Less than 30 minutes from start to finish. Not only are the aqua-critters happy but it makes me feel good too.

Normally this would be a weekly chore but I do it twice a week. My aquarium is slightly overpopulated, and snails are super-poopers that need a lot of cleaning-up after.

But look how cute and happy they get!

Big Blue

Article on DSLR Cameras

Posted 2009.08.01 9.18 in Computers/Internet/Technology, Photography by Stephanie

Yesterday while surfing for some lens information, I came across this article Building a Digital SLR System – It’s a bit long, and was originally written a few years ago (though updated last year) but it was a great read. Very well written, informative, and detailed, it is both a great primer for someone who is in the market for a DSLR, and also has some great information for people who’ve just bought a DSLR and are looking to get the most out of it.

The article doesn’t just look at a couple options and make a suggestion – it’s not really a review. It doesn’t really make any suggestions wrt makes / models. Rather, it explains the differences between the various manufacturers, and highlights what you really need to know in order to make your own informed decision.

Even some technical aspects are covered, but in lay terms to make it easy to grasp the concept. Personally, I appreciated the explanation of focal length/sensor sizes, or as they’re referred to in the article, “big lens/big sensor; big lens/small sensor; small lens/small sensor”. You’ll see what I mean when you read it.

Then it goes on to discuss lenses – what to look for, what to avoid, and why. It even gives practical ideas and suggestions to help one get familiar with and gain proficiency in their new gear, with a logical and helpful progression of challenges.

All in all I think it’s a great article and the author, Philip Greenspun has done a fantastic job.