The GeekDesk / writing space 2012 post:

Since my 2010 writing space post, quite a bit has changed. Here’s the new setup, viewed from a couple of angles, with an explanation below the photos:

Those of you who looked carefully, or even not very carefully, probably noticed something unusual: the desk is at two different heights. That’s because I’ve been using a GeekDesk for long enough to form an opinion on it, which is that I’d be reluctant to go back to a regular desk or a purely standing desk. I’ll write a longer review when I have more time, but the preceding sentence tells you most of what you need to know.

The other salient upgrade is from a 24″ iMac to a 27″ iMac with an SSD and a conventional hard drive. This machine inspired me to write “Mac OS 10.7 is out today, and I don’t care because ‘In the Beginning was the Command Line,’” because computers have now, finally, become “fast enough” and “good enough for my purposes. It’s taken a long time! I keep meaning to get a better stand than a pair of books, but that’s the sort of project that’s very easy to delay, indefinitely, until tomorrow.

The keyboard remains the same, and it’s hard to see what could make me replace the Kinesis Advantage. Its keys still feel new. The speakers aren’t very interesting, although they are external and thus better than the built-in ones, but they’re probably wasted on me because I don’t listen to music all that often, and they’re overkill for movies or TV shows. The external monitor is a 23” Dell with an IPS display, although I can’t remember the model number and don’t feel like looking it up. It’s a fine panel, but not very interesting. The lights on the back of the iMac are cheap Antec Halo LED lights, which are supposed to reduce eyestrain in dark rooms. Not sure if they actually do. I suspect turning down the iMac from “blinding” to “tolerate” would have as strong an effect.

You can see a Canon s100, which usually rides in my pocket. Sony now makes a better version of the s100—the RX100—but the RX100 is also $300 more. In a couple of shots there’s also a boring iPhone. If I weren’t on a family plan, I’d probably get a cheap Android phone, because I use maybe 5% of its features. Unless you’re doing a LOT of sexting, I don’t think I see the point in getting a more expensive “smart” phone over a less expensive one.

There’s also an Aeron, which is better for me than their recent Embody. Reasons for why I say that will follow when I have more time.

DSLRs, smartphones, and point-n-shoots

Pictures taken with smartphone cameras almost outnumber standalone digital cameras. A couple thoughts:

1) More people probably have phones with them than regular digital cameras, so the “photographer base” is probably much larger. For more statistical anomalies, see C|Net’s take. Moral: it’s easy to lie / mislead with statistics!

2) People who have standalone digital cameras, especially dSLRs, probably take more pictures than people without; so I would guess a larger number of pictures are taken by a smaller number of people in that case. I would tend to guess they also take better pictures: not because of some magical quality dSLRs possess, but because people who know a lot about photography are more likely to buy better cameras.

3) Separate from the article, I have never seen a greater number of dSLRs than I did in NYC. Tourists, I guess? I never conspicuously hauled mine around. I wonder which city would qualify as “most photographed in the world;” perhaps Flickr or Facebook’s data hordes could answer. I would guess Tokyo or London.

4) Smartphones are clearly reaching (and, in some cases, have already reached) the “good enough” stage that so much consumer technology eventually does. I wouldn’t trade a Canon s100 or t2i for a phone camera, but in decent lighting the iPhone 4 and 4s do produce nice results. Note that interchangeable lens camera sales are up, probably because the Internet makes pictures more valuable for amateurs because of the possibility of sharing and perceived status gain.

5) The photographer still makes the camera more than vice-versa.

6) For any kind of composed shooting, a tripod will do more than anything except decent lighting, whether natural or studio.

7) Life is uncomposed, and capturing life might demand the same.

8) What am I missing?

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