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Schlage Camelot Keypad Deadbolt

Schlage's combination deadbolt allows you to both open and lock a door without a key. This deadbolt allows you open the door by entering a four digit combination.  You can have 19 different combinations that the lock will recognize.  To make it easy to enter a combination at night it does have a lighted keypad. The deadbolt runs off a 9v battery with a claimed life of 3 years.

Saddleback Leather Macbook & Laptop Sleeves

Saddleback Laptop Sleeve

A mole deep inside Saddlebook Leather (cough Jonathan) let us know that they are going to be releasing notebook sleeves on July 20th.   The sleeve is lined with neoprene padding between the pigskin and the leather. The sewn outside edges really act well as buffers. 

Saddleback Leather Gadget Sleeves for iPads, Kindle, iPhones and Blackberries

Saddleback Leather has a fanatical following for their products. Recently they started offering sleeves for electronic products in three sizes. The small sleeve fits the iPhone and Blackberry, the medium sleeve fits the Kindle, the large sleeve fits the iPad.   The cases are not specifically made for these device--they do not have specific holes/cuts for those specific devices.   Saddleback intentionally did not make the pouches device specific so that you would continue using the pouch after you'd tossed the gadget.  For that, you give up a bit of functionality.

A favorite travel bag: Domke F-6 A little bit smaller camera bag

Over time I've collected a closet full of travel bags.   The one I reach for, when I'm not carrying a laptop, is Domke F-6 Little Bit Smaller Bag (Sand) .  The original Domke F-2 shoulder bag was designed by Jim Domke as a photojournalist's bag.

Tom Bihn's Checkpoint Flyer - Airport Friendly Laptop Bag

I was excited to be invited to present at DEMOFall 2009 for a new product we launched (EthicsEd).   My old laptop bag was on its last legs so I started looking around for a new bag.  The bag had to carry the laptop, brochures, materials for my speech and some camera equipment.   

I hate being delayed at security lines at the airport.   To prep for them, I make sure that I've packed everything I can into the carryon bag--the watch gets put on the strap, cell phone in the pocket, even the belt gets put away until I'm through security.  It made sense for me to look for a checkpoint friendly bag.  The Checkpoint Flyer from Tom Bihn Bags was my first choice.  

Weekend Photography Class - Rocky Mountain School of Photography

Equipment, equipment, more equipment...I have to admit it is a bias that the Gadget Guys have--heck we review equipment.   However, to truly improve your photography you have to improve your skill level.  Practice, reading, and friends can help but a professional instructor can help improve your photography significantly.  The highly respected Rocky Mountain School of Photography (RMSP) was giving a weekend class in Austin (about 500 yards from's home office in fact) so we decided to check them out.   

DAS Keyboard - The Successor to the IBM Model M Keyboard

Computer manufacturers save every dime they can on computer parts to maximize their profit.  Unfortunately, this often means we are stuck with crappy keyboards with our shiny new machine.   When IBM had a near monopoly and personal computers were high priced, well engineered devices they gave their users one of the best input devices to come with any machine--a IBM Model M keyboard.  I liked it so much that I kept an original hidden away from all the geeks at the office.

Now DAS Keyboard makes an updated mechanical keyboard that is a worthy successor--actually they make four models"

  • DAS Keyboard Original Professional
  • DAS Keyboard Model S Professional
  • DAS Keyboard Model S Ultimate (the uber geek keyboard--the keys are plain black--no labels)
  • DAS Keyboard Model S Professional Silent (with slightly more quiet keys)

They keyboard fit and finish is reminiscent of a fine musical instruments--the keys are surrounded by a polished black surface. Like the IBM keyboard the DAS keyboard uses its best-in-class mechanical gold-plated key switches provide a tactile and audio click. The company does have a sense of humor, it sells earplugs as a "peace offering" to your cube mates who are bothered by the clicking.

Favorite Bread Baking Cookbooks

  1. Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day: The Discovery That Revolutionizes Home Baking
  2. The Bread Baker's Apprentice: Mastering the Art of Extraordinary Bread
  3. My Bread: The Revolutionary No-Work, No-Knead Method - Jim Lahey of New York's Sullivan Street Bakery discovered a no-knead technique that was publicized by the New York Times Mark Bittman.  It made it possible for us mortals to make bread as good as available in any bakery by combining flour, yeast, salt and water and leaving it alone for 12 hours.   This book allows you to understand the technique and take it to the next level.
  4. The Bread Bible - A precise, detailed yet accessible set of recipes from Rose Levy Beranbaum.  The book has over 300 illustrations and 32 pages of photos that make the recipes easy to follow.
  5. Peter Reinhart's Whole Grain Breads: New Techniques, Extraordinary Flavor
  6. King Arthur Flour Whole Grain Baking: Delicious Recipes Using Nutritious Whole Grains - Tired of heavy, bitter whole wheat breads?  This book allows you to create light, airy and healthy breads using whole wheat.  Written by the expert bakers at the company that makes some of the best bread flour around--King Arthur.
  7. Beard On Bread - The classic collection of over 100 bread recipes from the master James Beard.
  8. Artisan Baking

How to Convert a Digital Camera for Infrared Photography

Infrared Picture of a Palm taken by a Nikon D70My Nikon D70 has been sitting around unused since I bought a Nikon D300.  To make it useful again I decided to convert it to an infrared camera.  After doing some research, I found that will convert your camera for you or sell you a filter to do the conversion.  Feeling adventurous, I decided to do the conversion myself.  Life Pixel's site offers decent directions and assures you that the Nikon D70 is relatively easy to convert.

Digital camera sensors are inherently sensitive to infrared light--they have a low-pass filter that block most of the infrared light from reaching the sensor.   You can take infrared pictures by putting a filter in front of the lens that block the visible light and just lets the infrared light through to the sensor.  The disadvantage of this is that so little light reaches the sensor that you end up with a very long exposure times.  Also, with SLR's you can't really compose using the viewfinder anymore since so little light is going to the viewfinder.  Life Pixel replaces the infrared filter in front of your sensor with a visible light sensor so the camera's viewfinder still works and the exposure times are normal.

Life Pixel offers 3 different Infrared filters, Standard IR, Enhanced Color IR and Deep BW IR. They also offer clear sensor filters and original Low-pass filters in case you scratched your filter and wanted to replace it. I chose the standard infrared filter. The filter replaces the stock low-pass filter that the camera comes with. By removing the Low-pass filter and replacing it with an IR filter, the camera is as sensible to IR as it was for normal photography. The major benefit of this is that you can see through the view finder and easily compose your shots. There is also no need for long exposure times, and no need for a tripod. This is a huge advantage over the standard way of doing Infrared photography. Life Pixel has filters for quite a few cameras. For the complete list check out their web site.

xRite ColorMunki Photo - Monitor, Printer & Projector Color Profiler

Color MunkiColorMunki Photo is a color profiling tool that offers monitor, printer and projector profiling technology for a reasonable price.  Although the price is reasonable, it uses the same high end spectrophotometer found in the high end profiling devices sold by X-Rite.  A significant advantage over similarly priced competition is the ability to create custom printer profiles.  The ability to create printer profiles is important for digital photographers to allow them to create color accurate prints of their images.  ColorMunki also has color creation and communication tools that allow you to grab colors from virtually anywhere, including your entire image library, preview your color palettes under different light sources and even preview for PrintSafe production under a variety of different printing methods.

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