Thursday, November 18, 2010

A Pain in the Camera

Sigh, I been having the disposable electronics blues. A few months ago my digital camera (a Canon Powershot A710IS, with which I was very happy) stopped working. On pushing the power button, it would attempt to turn on, beep sadly and report "Lens Error". Something was wrong with the lens, but what? A web search revealed that this was a common problem with Canon cameras (it used to be called Error E18), and that there were a few things I could try. The easier ones (like giving it a solid whack) didn't help, so the other day I finally took the plunge and opened it up. It was quite a journey dismantling it so I could get to the lens assembly. I must have taken out 20 screws, which I carefully put on a piece of paper with a note for where they came from (yes, good planning!). I finally got the lens out and had a fiddle - it seemed to move fine, and there didn't seem to be any sand jamming up the works, although it's possible the gears had slipped out of alignment. I was about to put it all back together to see if I had magically fixed it, but decided to take it one more step. Rrrrrip! There goes a ribbon cable. Well, so much for that.

So now I had a camera that was definitely broken. As my housemate pointed out, I was no worse off than before. But I didn't feel that way - if only I'd put it back together, I moaned, it would work and I would be happy! A search on the web revealed that it's nigh on impossible to get a replacement lens assembly (and would cost a pretty penny if it weren't), let alone a new ribbon cable. But, someone is selling the same model camera for only about $150 on ebay. $150 to end up where I was before? Maybe I should upgrade.

Then I realised I had another broken camera, my Fujifilm FinePix E550, which also took pretty decent photos but which I broke while getting myself out of a hairy situation on a mountain in New Zealand. I had jettisoned my pack and the LCD display had smashed as it tumbled away. A small price to pay, I figured, given that I still had my life.

Turns out I can get a replacement LCD for only $60. Great! So I just sat down to open it up and check that the job would be doable. But I couldn't even get the case open - the screws are some special tri-star shape. Obstructionist buggers! Well, an extra hurdle, but I'll manage.

So much to avoid buying yet another camera! My first one lasted from September 2005 - January 2007. Only 16 months! My second managed a bit longer: January 2007 - May 2010, so 3.5 years. But it hasn't had a lot of use for the past 2.5 years, what with my CFS and all.

So anyway, disappointed at disposable electronics. I will just have to reframe my expectations of how long such things should last - i.e. not very long! Maybe I should just accept consumerism and commit to working lots in order to support the habit. Hah!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

A few movies too

The movies I've watched over the last year or so. When I do watch TV, it is usually DVDs. I've worked my way through to the seventh series of "The West Wing" - on the home straight! Have also been enjoying "Monarch of the Glen" and "Changi".

4.5 stars
"Shine"
"Brand Nu Dae"

4 stars
"The Princess Bride"
"Avatar"
"City of God"
"Shackleton"

3.5 stars
"Tim Burton's Corspe Bride"

3 stars
"The Usual Suspects"
"Harvey Krumpet"
"Robin Hood" The Russell Crowe one

More reading

So long since my last post! I won't make any promises about posting more often, but you never know.

I've continued to keep a log of what I've been reading, and a rating. I found LibraryThing and have started using that, but it seems faster just to write it down. But see here for my LibraryThing page.

Also, I came across www.bookdepository.co.uk. Cheap books, NO shipping. It's awesome! Ironically, I found out about it from a newspaper article bemoaning the death of local publishing houses ...

Here is what I read between January and November 2010:

5 stars
"The Omnivore's Dilemma" Michael Pollan
"Wild Swans" Jung Chang

4.5 stars
"2001: A Space Odyssey" Arthur C. Clarke
"Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire" J. K. Rowling
"Del Del" Victor Kelleher
"Hybrid: The History and Science of Plant Breeding" Noel Kingsbury

4 stars
"In Praise Of Slow" Carl Honore
"Contrary Farmer" Gene Lodgson
"The Pleasures and Sorrows of Work" Alain de Botton
"End of the Line" Charles Clover
"Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets" J. K. Rowling
"The World Without Us" Alan Weisner
"Gardening In Hard Times" Steve Solomon
"Wild Fermentation" Sandor Katz
"Year of the Flood" Margaret Atwood
"Salmon Fishing in the Yemen" Paul Torday
"The Permaculture Home Garden" Linda Woodrow

3.5 stars
"2010: Odyssey Two" Arthur C. Clarke
"A History of Tractors in Ukrainian" Marina Lewycka
"Harry Potter and the Philospoher's Stone" J. K. Rowling
"Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban" J. K. Rowling
"Atlantic Fury" Hammond Innes
"Out of the Scientist's Garden" Richard Stirzaker
"Shop Class as Soul Craft" Matthew Crawford
"Outlier" Malcolm Gladwell

3 stars
"Crude World" Peter Mans
"The Fifth Elephant" Terry Pratchett
"Emergence" Steven Johnson
"Ill-Made Mute" (Book 1) Cecilia Dart-Thornton
"Lady of the Sorrows" (Book 3) Cecilia Dart-Thornton
"Little Women" Louisa May Alcott
"Adventure Capitalist"
"Temple" Matthew Reilly
"The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" Stieg Larsson

2 stars
"Battle of Evernight" (Book 2) Cecilia Dart-Thornton
"Area 7" Matthew Reilly