Rocky Balboa

Originally when we first heard that Sylvester Stallone was making another Rocky movie, our first thoughts were no way, he’s way too old to be doing Rocky. At the time of filming Stallone is 60 years old (born 1946). Rocky Balboa released and garnered positive reviews.

So Andrea and I rented Rocky Balboa, the latest and perhaps last installment of the Rocky franchise, and we watched it. At about 102 minutes, the movie can’t possibly be boring.

The basic premise of the movie is that Rocky Balboa has long retired from boxing. His wife, Adrian, passed away from cancer a few years back and Rocky and his son (Robert Jr., played by Heroes star Milo Ventimiglia) have a rocky (no pun intended) relationship. Rocky has a little fine Italian restaurant (Adrian’s) that isn’t doing all that great, but is making it by. Life seems relatively comfortable for Rocky; he visits Adrian’s grave regularly and still wears his wedding ring. The latest craze in the boxing world is Mason “The Line” Dixon (Antonio Tarver); although winning, he is not a crowd favorite at all because of his quick knockouts. A computer simulation by ESPN to hypothetically determine whether Rocky could defeat Dixon showed Rocky knocking out Dixon.

I won’t go much further in detail, but the movie is definitely worth watching. The buildup is gradual at first, but once things are start getting going, it’s difficult to wait for the upcoming boxing match between Rocky and Dixon. I definitely like how they do the boxing match.

Go rent it and watch it.

Curious What People Say About You Behind Your Back?

Well you’re in luck, Family Keylogger by Spy Arsenal is your answer! What Family Keylogger does is record keystrokes so that whoever uses the computer that the software is loaded on will have their entire instant message conversations, sent emails, visited websites, and launched applications recored for review later. It runs completely hidden so that even a simple CTRL + ALT + DEL to check the process will yield no results. To unhide the taskbar icon, a special keystroke can be assigned that only you would know.

Keystroke logger technology is not anything new, they also make hardware keystroke loggers that you plugin the keyboard into and then into the computer. Spy Arsenal sells this keystroke logger primarily for home and personal use to catch cheating spouses, safeguard children, and even prevent from having to retype “lost” work.

Family Keylogger only works on PC machines.

Web Hosting Pal, WTH Are You Thinking?

Web Hosting Pal does not sell you web hosting or web design, rather it is a Yellow Pages for cheap web hosting. It’s very simply designed, easier to navigate but has a fatal flaw: it’s lacking of information and possible outdated.I tried clicking Introduction to Domain Name under the Beginner’s Guide expecting to find some good information, instead it was empty. I tried the remaining two other links, Introduction to Web Hosting and Email Hosting (with your Domain Name), and they too contained no information. This is particularly damaging to a website that is trying to be a web host review.

The one link that actually had information was the Top 10 Web Hosting cart and even then it was suspect. On the main page, the “best web host” is BlueHost, followed by DWHS and LunarPages. On the Top 10 Web Hosting cart, DWHS is listed as number 1 followed by PowWeb and LunarPages; such strange inconsistencies. What was particularly alarming was the list was last update in October 2005… What was also strange was when I tried clicking Beginner’s Guide in the breadcrumb it took me to PacMan.

I seriously doubt this is an actual website, and if it is, the owner(s) need to seriously revamp the site to contain actual and current data. The best part of all this is found in the footer, turns out this site is hosted by DWHS Inc.

Canon EOS 1D Mark II versus Canon EOS Rebel 400D/XTi

You’re probably reading the title and thinking, no way, not even close, not a fair comparison. That’s like comparing apples to oranges. I would definitely agree. But what if you had some money to spare, found a great deal on a 1D Mark II and was wondering, is it worth it or should I just get the XTi? Let me save you guys the trouble of having to read the entire post if you are in a hurry: despite the Canon EOS Rebel 400D/XTi utilizing many new Canon advancements, it still does not come close to the 4 year old Canon EOS 1D Mark II.

While these two SLRs are not even close to being in the same class (amateur stepping up from point-and-shoot camera vs. pro shooter), it’s still fun to just to compare. So let’s lay it out in an easy to read table (information compiled from dpreview.com):

SLR Cameras Canon EOS 1D Mark II Canon EOS Rebel 400D/XTi Winner
Year Introduced January 29, 2004 August 24, 2006
Sensor Size 28.7 x 19.1 mm 22.2 x 14.8 mm 1D Mark II
Viewfinder 100%, 0.72x magnification 95%, 0.8x magnification 1D Mark II
Max Resolution 3504×2336 3888×2592 400D/XTi
Megapixels 8.2 10.2 400D/XTi
ISO rating 100-1600 in 1/3 stops, with 50 and 3200 as options 100, 200, 400, 800, 1600 1D Mark II
Auto Focus type TTL-AREA-SIR 45 focus point CMOS sensor Multi-BASIS TTL 9 focus point CMOS sensor 1D Mark II
Max shutter 1/8000 sec 1/4000 sec 1D Mark II
Metering 21 area eval, partial, spot (center, AF point, multi-spot), center weighted average 35 area eval, center weighted, partial 1D Mark II
Crop Factor 1.3 1.6 1D Mark II
Continuous Drive 8.5 fps for 40 JPEG or 20 RAW 3 fps for 27 JPEG or 10 RAW 1D Mark II
Storage Types Compact Flash (Type I or II), SD card, and SDHC (with latest firmware) Compact Flash (Type I or II) 1D Mark II
LCD 2.0 inches 2.5 inches 400D/XTi
LCD Pixels 230,000 230,000 Tie
Battery Canon Ni-MH NP-E3 (12v 1650mAh) battery Canon Lithium-Ion NB-2LH (7.4v 720mAh) battery 1D Mark II
Weight 1565 g (55.2 oz) 556 g (19.6 oz)
Dimensions 156 x 158 x 80 mm (6.1 x 6.2 x 3.2 in) 127 x 94 x 65 mm (5 x 3.7 x 2.6 in)

It’s pretty obvious, side-by-side, which is the superior SLR: the 1D. There are a couple areas where the 400D/XTi has an advantage over the 1D, but it’s a slight advantage such as the LCD size. While the 400D/XTi has a bigger LCD (2.5 inch), the 1D has as better resolution screen. The most noticeable difference is megapixels. For those concerned with megapixel sizes, the 400D/XTi has nearly 2MP more than the 1D. But you have to consider from a relative stand point, that 8.2 MP on a 1.3 crop factor sensor versus 10.1 MP on a 1.6 crop factor sensor will result in lower noise. The pixel size on the 1D Mark II is 8.2µm versus 5.7µm (figures from the-digital-picture.com) meaning that the 1D Mark II is able to capture more light per pixel resulting in higher sensitivity meaning less noise in the picture. That’s why more mega pixels is not always better and the Canon EOS 5D has such fantastic low noise capabilities because of it’s full frame sensor with 12.8 megapixels.

So Which Camera Is Right For Me?

Unless you make serious money from photography or you just make serious money, I would recommend the Canon EOS Rebel 400D/XTi (or the newly released Canon EOS Rebel 450D/XSi). The 400D/XTi and 450D/XSi has some very useful features and should not be easily discounted as merely an amateur camera as Peter Gregg found out. Read his informative post about the Canon EOS 400D/XTi as a sleeper camera on his website, abetterbouncecard.com. It’s small and portable and can utilize Canon EF and EF-S mount lenses, unlike the 1D only taking EF mount lenses. The battery is small and lasts forever and is cross usable with other Canon point-and-shoot cameras. It will do a decent job for amateur sports, event photography, party photography, etc.

If you need the serious frame rates because you’re shooting sports, professional auto racing, etc., then definitely spring for the 1D. The prices for the 1D are pretty good, if you can get a good condition used one for under $2k, it’s definitely worth doing. The 1D Mark II may seem old, but it’s still performs as good if not better than a lot of the new SLRs right now. The Canon EOS 1D Mark IIn is also worth considering if you can find it for a good price. I generally see some once in a blue moon at BH Photo’s Used section and occasionally on Craigslist. There aren’t really too many major differences between the Mark II and Mark IIn other than bigger LCD (2.5 inch vs. 2 inch), you can write different file types to either card, slightly faster Digic II CPU, and a few other minor things.

In The Mood For Thai, Then Try Thai Nakhorn

This one place that Andrea and I frequent regularly for Thai food, Thai Nakhorn, located at 464 San Mateo Avenue, San Bruno, CA. The food is always good and consistent and the service good. We were there yesterday for dinner.

Having tried a few other dishes, there is only one particular dish I order whenever I come here. It’s not on the menu and unless you look at the white board hanging on the wall, you’ll never know they had it: duck curry. The menu contains 3 other curries: green, red, seafood, and yellow; but the duck curry is definitely my favorite. I like how thick and creamy the coconut curry base is and the pineapples add just the right amount of sweetness.

We started dinner with cucumber salad ($1.50 per person), the portion size being just right to start off. We also had the chicken satay that comes with 5 pieces of chicken on skewer with cucumber side salad and creamy Thai peanut sauce for $6.95. Andrea ordered the red curry ($8.50) and I had the duck curry ($9.50). The chicken satay was good, plenty for two people. Andrea thought the red curry was fine, but had too much bamboo shoots. I’m personally not one for bamboo shoots. The duck curry was very good as always.

If you like spicy, don’t forget to ask the waitress for the chili sauce. What you get is a 3 pack of various types of chili, one of which is sure to make your mouth burn.

Looking For Free Business Cards?

I’ll personally admit that I’ve used VistaPrint before to make some Business Cards. The process is actually quite painless and easy to do. Although I do have to mention that this sponsored review is actually for VistaPrint.com’s sister site: http://www.vistaprint.co.uk, I’ve only used the VistaPrint.com and not the UK version, but I assume the UK site is the same as the US version.

VistaPrint’s site is very simple to navigate, very good use of a two column layout, thumbnail pictures to represent each section, and most commonly used links for ease of use.

vistaprint-site.jpgSo just to randomly try something, I selected Free Business Cards under the Business Cards section. That takes you to a page where you can select and customize your business cards broken down into 3 parts: What you want on your business cards, the design you want, and initial that you everything you wrote is accurate and not misspelled.

The business card customizer is very easy to use. In the first part, you enter your details such as company name, message, full name, job title, etc. and as you enter the information, the sample business card on the right changes to whatever you put into each of the boxes. If you click on a field, such as address line 3, but leave it blank, it will clear out the sample text in the sample business card. So you don’t have to have every field filled out, but make sure you click on every box. Nothing worse than ordering 1,000 business cards, then realizing that you accidentally left “Address Line 3” on it…very professional. Continue reading Looking For Free Business Cards?

Going To See Matchbox Twenty in Concert

We’re going to San Jose to see Matchbox Twenty perform live in concert at the HP Pavillion tonight. I’ll be packing my “point-and-shoot” as the HP Pavillion actually has a pretty lenient camera policy (you can read it here, the 6th bullet point) allowing you to bring a camera to most events as long as the lens does not exceed 6 inches… It just takes a bit of creative thinking to bring in the Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L USM to take pics like these at the Keith Urban concert.

My Dream Comes True At 8.5 frames per second

I was able to realize one of my long held photography dreams on Saturday. It has been something I have long had my eyes on but no justification to purchase, but that’s now things have changed. As you can probably surmise from the picture, what I’m talking about is a camera. But it’s not just any camera, it is the Camera. Many amateur and pro photographers dream of owning a fine tool such as this, and as of Saturday, I join the ranks of 1D owners. That’s right folks, I am now a proud new owner of a Canon EOS 1D Mark II.

I know some of you may be wondering, why not a Canon 1D Mark III or Mark IIn for that matter? Well, it’s simple, it’s still hard at the moment to justify the cost of the Canon 1D Mark III (~$4,000) and for the price I paid for the Mark II versus what I would have had to pay for the Mark IIn, it was was simply too good a deal to pass up. Especially since the Mark II and Mark IIn are virtually identical except for a few key differences ( it’s like the difference between the Canon EOS 20D versus the Canon EOS 30D), they are one and the same.

Initial test shots and some light use with the Canon EOS 1D Mark II, all I have to say is that it is absolutely amazing. You don’t know how nice it is to have 45 AF points versus 9 on my Canon XTi. Even though this camera is about 4 years old now (first announced in February 2004), it still performs better than a majority of cameras currently out on the market. How many other cameras can do 8.5 frames per second or faster? To my knowledge, only 3 other cameras: Canon EOS 1D Mark IIn, Canon EOS 1D Mark III, and the Nikon D3. I did like my dad’s Canon EOS 5D to a certain extent, but I’m loving the 1D much more.

In case anyone is wonder, yes, I am still keeping my Canon EOS Rebel XTi, it’s still a very handy and versatile tool. And, yes, there is a very specific reason I purchased the 1D, which I’ll be announcing very shortly. As I get a chance to play with the 1D Mark II more and get more acclimated, I’ll post a review.