A Passel of Miniature Tripods

Miniature tripods are a handy thing to carry in a camera bag. While they cannot replace a full-size tripod, they can allow you to take a shot where otherwise impossible. Here are a few worth your consideration.

Tested but not shown:

  • Joby Gorillapod: total garbage, unfit for purpose.
  • Pedco Ultrapod: the tripod itself is reasonably decent, but its ballhead is poor

My scissors collection

Wotancraft Etan review

The Wild Parrots of Forest Hill

I got an unexpected but quite welcome treat this morning for my birthday. A mini-flock of 6-8 red-masked parakeets, better known as the wild parrots of Telegraph Hill, descended on a hawthorn tree in my back yard and proceeded to gorge themselves on its berries for nearly an hour.

MacWorld 2010 impressions

First test roll from the Fuji GF670

Lego Store in San Mateo’s Hillsdale Mall

Fuji GF670

Head-Fi meet in San Jose

9 Beet Stretch

Leif IngeI attended a rather unusual performance yesterday night, Norwegian artist Leif Inge‘s 9 Beet Stretch. Actually, I shouldn’t be using the past tense as it started at 10PM and is still running as I write (I left around 8AM). You see, the work is Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, digitally stretched to last 24 hours. It may sound like a happening gimmick, but interestingly enough some passages are still recognizable despite the tempo mangling. When combined with the setting – a typically SoMa artists’ live-work loft with exposed rafters and liberally appointed with couches, reclining chairs, bean bags and mattresses – this gives off a definite tinge of unreality. Amusingly enough, when Beethoven first released his Ninth Symphony, it was criticized for being too long.

Beethoven’s Ninth is the reason why audio CDs last 74 minutes – the symphony, known in Japan as the 大九 (“Dai Kyu”, Great Ninth) is very popular there and Sony engineers ensured it would fit on a single disc. If they had preferred Mahler, we might have a higher capacity medium. Will the 24-hour Ninth become the yardstick for MP3 players? Not that this is the longest piece in the modern repertoire – the notorious musical provocateur John Cage wrote one called Organ2/ASLSP that started playing on September 5, 2001 and is expected to complete after 639 years…

Update (2017-10-05):

This technique was used to great effect in Christopher Nolan’s Dunkirk by stretching Elgar’s Enigma Variations, more specifically Nimrod, but having it remain recognizable despite the dilation.