Monday, July 30, 2012

You Have To Ask Yourself, Is Fear And Loathing Your Guide To American Politics?

A friend recently posted the following quote on his social network "wall":
"Socialism is a philosophy of failure, the creed of ignorance, and the gospel of envy, its inherent virtue is the equal sharing of misery." -Winston Churchill

The quote garnered responses like: "Too bad people don't know that's where we are headed (or where we already are)."

Hmm ...because nothing good has ever come from American's working together, or attempting to be more than the sum of their parts??  After all, that's how we become a "Super Power"...
...we avoided combining resources. Right?


I'm afraid folks started rashly confusing something called a, "spending deficit", with our country's ability to actually afford running our government.  In fact, any country such as ours; and certainly one with the most successful GDP in the world, can more than afford each and every year of our current and proposed Federal Budget. (Which is typically much less than 16% of our GDP)

The problem is, our tax receipts and method of "balancing" anything in Washington, has become an abomination of any responsible approach to finance.  Putting off the reasonable approach of immediately paying for the things we can very reasonably and easily afford.

For decades now, Washigton's method of "Political Finance" has instead been about delaying a person's feeling of obligation, and devising creative, misinformed areas of blame for the resulting debt.  Such practices were and are initially put in place to please deep pocketed constituents; arranging for "creative" practices with regards to tax incentives and an INSANE reckless choice of abatement and debt management; over responsible, sane, approaches to debt free finance.

** I'm just not sure how such mistakes equate to dumping on the idea that American's do EXTRAORDINARY things when we pull our resources and work together?

Asking the middle class to continue shouldering the largest percentage of any effort involving our Federal Budget, (not to mention something as mundane and needless as debt management; a.k.a. interest paid to the Chinese and Middle East;) is simply, ridiculous nonsense!! Especially, given the VERY disproportionate way in which the GDP is garnered. Such practices are certainly no longer the answer; and never should have been.  They are cleaver political schemes, run-a-muck!

** None the less, the middle class voices, and voters, seem to be susceptible to this continual, sensationally marketed message, being campaigned and sent down to them.  (So we end up misrepresenting quotes like the one above, and acting as if the U.S. is crippled!  It's crazy really...  Our leadership is the only thing causing a limp!)

Simply bizarre to watch how well we've been toyed with! ...and a bit embarrassing!  But such irresponsible behavior and manipulation of public opinion, is why guys like Rupert Murdoch and his unethical business practices, as well as all related, dominating, influences; over, at least a subculture of public opinion, are banned from their native countries.  Most governments have learned (the hard way; including ours,) how detrimental such continual influences of controlled press and media can be on their country's long-term stability, and ability to function as a Democracy.  Therefore, other Democracies luckily pass and uphold laws, preventing such perversions; well before the pockets of their congress were lined in such a way as to prevent such common sense approaches.

** When private interest is able to effectively undermine our public's sensibilities, we all lose something VERY valuable!  Our public sovereignty!

Many more of us should carefully rethink this non-sense of continually defending something, representative of a disproportionate method of dealing with our tax receipts and the avoidance of responsibly paying, up front, for the opportunity, privilege and power of a Federal Government, such as ours. ...Something, we, as the majority of the public at large, stand to gain from in no way; long or short term!

** Otherwise, we will all end up getting exactly what is deserved. vote, no power, no say, no sovereignty, no future.

Incidentally, as for the quote: Churchill became saddened and fearful of countless aspects of social power and control, given the events he was witnessing unfold.  Many of which were a social anomaly at the time, spawning from Hitler's well timed influences over a starving aspect of Europe's Germany.  Churchill, rightly so, become an individual, forced to be often guided by fear. (As was the case with much of the world at the time.) He witnessed the very worst in mankind.

If you want to understand more about how such fear is now dealt with in Europe, you should look into Germany's mandates as to how they assure they never forget such atrocities and how they teach their future generations to avoid falling prey to such tyrannous leadership and influence.

You have to ask yourself, is fear and loathing your guide?  ...and at the very least, study the context and timing of such messages; and what forces were being brought to bear at the time; and by what means had they come to power.

Otherwise, the context of such quotes, has little meaning for us American's.  For that matter we felt Churchill's entire war and struggles had little meaning for us, until the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor.  The man felt shamefully and painfully alone, most of the time! (Hidden away in a bunker, isolated and unable to see his family and closest companions.)  Life at the time, was simply an utter nightmare! Despite knowing he was rightfully fighting the most evil forces his modern armies had ever been required to engage. :-(

We are now able to review such history and decisions with very different eyes. ...opened eyes.
Don't be inspired to close them.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Even Canon Folks Might Start Embracing The Future of Digital Photography Now! :-)

Good news for aspiring amateur photographers!! There is one more reason to avoid buying another, bulky, dated, piece of DSLR camera hardware. Avoid it like the plague!! Even Canon fans can finally revel in the fact, Canon has finally announced its official Mirrorless, Interchangeable lens, consumer entry, the "EOS M": Which features a sensor and specs nearly identical to their Rebel T4i, pro-sumer line.
The bad news, it won't be out until October, 2012. The good news, while Canon is indeed way behind the pack, there are several other, EXCEPTIONAL options, worthy of your immediate investment; as nearby to you as your nearest Best Buy. So again, avoid the bulk of the aging DSLR designed camera equipment like the plague! It is so 1990's! :-S

Cannon certainly has a GREAT DEAL of catch up to do with the Mirrorless, Interchangeable lens category of photography hardware at this point, but few doubt they are up for the task. Of course for those who would rather just experience all the many benefits of the Mirrorless world now, such as, faster focusing, better high-ISO performance, more accurate white balance, and better image quality overall, not to mention an ability to quickly learn how to use more than the 1/10th of the features most amateur photographers manage to embrace; just go grab a Sony NEX-C3 or NEX-5N. (For the "Pros", look into the NEX-7)

(Full sized sensor, "mirrorless", Sony NEX-5N, next to an iPhone)

Even better, this is the state of the art, because it is both affordable, compact and easy. Such pieces of inspiring hardware are now supported by; 16 to 24+ mega pixels at up to 10 fps (frame per second) shooting; 1080p Highdef (HDTV) movies and 60fps (frames per second); APS-C size HD image sensor; Sweep Panorama mode; Auto HDR (High Dynamic Range); Live View and Tiltable 3.0" LCD Touch Screens; and of course E-mount 18-55mm full size lens and adapters for any old lens you may still wish to use.

Put simply, the current state of the art in photography hardware, means you can have all the performance of those old, full size, DSLR designs, in about half the size and half the weight. It's now about capturing your memories in any quality and style format you wish and with complete ease. The best camera is not only the one you know how to fully utilize, it is also the one you have with you. And lugging around a full size DSLR through the formative years of your new baby's growth, visits to the parks, or just a stroll with grandma around the mall, is hardly practical. Not to mention the detriment it is packing for those fun overseas trips when your scared such bulky equipment will either stick out like a sore thumb for thieves, or be crushed while being slung between numerous trains and plane connections.

Don't sell yourself short. And whatever you do; just don't let another person (or yourself,) be talked into grabbing yet another, dated, mirrored BULKY, DSLR, designed with countless, conventional film holdovers, in a day and age of fully digital sensors. Mirrored, bulky, DSLRs are built the way they are because they are a bi-product or a bygone era!

The large, "mirrored", DSLR style cameras are large, slow, mechanical, and complicated, due to the decades of research and development which no one wished to quickly abandon. Much of the current and past designs were simply associated with film, and certainly the need for a backplate area of the camera that use to sit between the two dispensing and receiving rolls of film. And managing the challenge presented to not only expose that momentary glimpse of light onto the film or retrofitted digital sensor; while also providing a method by which a preview of the framed shot was first and during each photo offered to the photographer behind the lens.
(Above image, is an ingenious "Digital Camera Back" adaptation, for analog film cameras)
 The relentless and vested interest in bulky, DSLR, camera designs and all the dated, traditional nuances of approaching the more mechanical natures of handheld photography are fascinating. It must be assumed that many are rather emotional, but perhaps even more are financially encouraged; due to a personal collection of lens, batteries, etc.. But the financially vested interest in continuing to market and sales such swollen versions of technology to average consumers and amature photographers must be the predominant motivation for the few reluctant manufactures.

Whether you take into considerations the manufacture's massive investments in patents or the millions in assembly lines and production tooling dedicated to the 1000's of specialized mechanism, optics, fittings and the multitudes of all the varied, numerous, supporting accessories and devices.  It is obvious abandoning such dated methods of processing and previewing live photography has not been an easy risk for many of our major brands to swallow.

Nevertheless, unless you are a press pass carrying, side line shooting, jungle crawling, professional portrait producing, wedding photography shooting guru! Stop the madness! No normal, occasional or daily shooter, with a travel bug, a new child, or a hankering for bird watching, air shows and nature hikes; should try to imagine that they will enjoy lugging, firing up, learning and using, with any amount of skill and efficiency, the girth and learning curve now associated with the dated designs of full size, pro-summer and/or professional DSLR style cameras. I can't believe I'm still seeing average consumers still making this mistake? I know the guys at Best Buys floor are of little to no help; but the internet is there 24/7.
Cutaway diagram of "traditional", digital DSLR camera
I'll put it to you this way. You bought a "Smartphone" so you can launch apps and text with ease; you no longer drive a stick, so you can sip your latte in peace; you enjoy having air conditioning because no one like to constantly sweat. There are certainly technology and conveniences, that you just shouldn't argue too much about, once you see the benefits and enjoyment they provide.

Therefore, if capturing photos of superior quality, (meaning far better quality than a simple "one click" or that of your cell phone's provision,) are a passion and a priority for you; then combine that exciting goal with the same sensibility which has lead you to other streamlined, clever, affordable, useful advances in modern technology.

FYI: A DSLR (digital single-lens refl ex) camera employs a mechanical mirror system that directs the light travelling through the attached lens upwards at a 90 degree angle allowing the photographer to compose the shot through the viewfinder. As the shutter button is pressed the exposure takes place: the mirror swings out of the way and the shutter opens allowing the lens to project the light onto the image sensor.

NOTE: I last blogged about the advantages of the new Mirroless camera's in Feburary of 2012:  Prior to these "full size" sensored mirrorless offerings, I also offered some blog entries pertaining to the Micro 4/3rds formats being produced by Panasonic and others.  Such as the G1, now updated to the DMC-G5.

(Incidentally, Sony's next generation of offerings, ( will indeed be even smaller, and will virtually overlap the world of "one click", pocket camera offerings; leaving the lower end of that market to be cannibalized by the advancing quality of Smartphone handset based tech, not to mention completely innovative solutions from company's like Lytro.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Weather your creativity is deductive or contemplative, never let it down!

I remember the first time I tried to define for myself what I truly felt a creative idea represented. After years of toying with the concept of true creativity, I came to my own conclusion that there were basically two types of creative inspirations. Those which were "contemplative" and those which were "deductive".

I view those which are represented in the works of a Michelangelo as highly contemplative; when they are an example of such painstaking sculpting; such as, a work like the Pietà.
A work which was rendered from a huge monolithic piece of indescribably strong stone. A medium with the relentless expectation that every move made by the artist is flawless. One chisel to deep, or a single inaccurate strike, will permanently maim the desired work beyond repair. (At least towards the final stages of such work.) And yet from this medium of cold, hard, stone, a Michelangelo imagined, and had the skill to deliver, a static image; which represents a seemingly living, emotional, gut wrenching story or broken flesh, broken hearts, and broken hopes.

So with "contemplative creativity" in my own mind, comes the birth of an idea from a void of limited inspiration. An idea, which manifest itself from a space where there was nothing discernible to guide or inspire it. And oddly enough, even my example of the Pietà is far from a perfect example of such contemplation. Given the fact, both scriptural accounts and religious exuberance, each played a sizable part in inspiring the hands of such artist, final results. But the transformation of cold marble to that of soft flesh is more to the point of the type of contrast and pure manifestation this final piece provides as my own definitive example.

As for "deductive creativity"; it is perhaps best defined as a "trial and error" method of arriving at your final result. The notion of placing a desire, wall, shape, color or artifact in one corner of your landscape, then spinning it, overlapping it, cropping it, contrasting it, only to finally arrive on the layout you feel is either the most aesthetically pleasing or functional, or a balance of both.

While such deduction are not quite as rare or perhaps even earth shattering as the examples I would typically define as "contemplative", such astute measures of discernment and application are not to be thought less of.  It is a rare individual which can regularly and reliably deliver a balance of form and function when needed.  Or create examples of abundant expression, while not overwhelming any desired story.  What ever the balancing act, expression or endeavor is, when a person is gifted in their own right, they are a "creative" that some audience will find great value in.

Recently a friend posted a quote from the modern mil maker, Jim Jarmusch, ( which broke down his own encouragements concerning the personal bouts of inspiration one might face of inspiration.  He terms these "authentic" methods of inspiration.

"Nothing is original. Steal from anywhere that resonates with inspiration or fuels your imagination. Devour old films, new films, music, books, paintings, photographs, poems, dreams, random conversations, architecture, bridges, street signs, trees, clouds, bodies of water, light and shadows. Select only things to steal from that speak directly to your soul. If you do this, your work (and theft) will be authentic. Authenticity is invaluable; originality is nonexistent. And don’t bother concealing your thievery – celebrate it if you feel like it." — JIM JARMUSCH

And since we also all tend to live in the "real world"; and for most of my viewers are based in a free-enterprise markets, such as the United States; I'm going to add a cautious sentiment and encouragements for those making their way through this capitalistic, make all spend all society.

My first word of caution towards a fellow "creative" is concerning those who would rather flippantly, choose to pillage one's inspirations and authentic zeal. Life is simply too short to entertain their company or allow their destructive antics to have a lasting impact on our soul for creativity.

There are also those who choose rather happily to ride the tail coat of other's creativity and inspiration for many years. Those who possess enough sense of self-preservation to not completely squash the drive of the ones they desperately depend on.
Eventually, even such formidable, clever, leaches will drain the life out of those driving them toward their agendas. Some come in the form of people others are large corporate entities. And unfortunately, often; only hindsight or a fortunate gift of wise mentoring, has the slightest chance of revealing the potential damage.

None the less. It does no good to ever stay down when one has been tripped. So enjoy the ride and always get back up as soon as possible when even you've fallen or fallen prey. - Oh, and find a trusted mentor. :-)

Michael Hulme


Saturday, July 14, 2012

Apple Would Have To Sell 50% More iPhones To Equal Google's Current Android Platform Install Base

Hard to believe there are now 50% less Apple iPhones, than there are Google Android phones!  Given the fact the Android platform (Sept '08) was released a year after the first iOS device (Sept '07).
I knew the average consumer would soon catch on the the many advantages of Google's Android platform, but I had no idea it would happen so dramatically and quickly.

The historical data for the last year, paints even more of the "Smartphone" story:
Poor BlackBerry went from 20% of the Smartphone market just a year ago, to 8.1% this week! Whereas Android, went from 39% to 51.8%, & iOS from 28% to 34%.
So Android increased by another 13% of the total market share, while iOS took an additional 6%.

It's definitely just a two horse race at this point, with Google managing to deliver twice the results.  And this gap between Google and Apple will grow even more drastically if Nokia indeed decides to jump ship from the Windows Phone platform and also adopt Google's Android.

Now if U.S. consumers would just stop signing up for those OUTRAGEOUS, subsidized, post-paid, cell phone, voice and wireless data plans! Given the fact alternative "pay-as-you-go" plans will typically offer unlimited EVERYTHING (Voice, Text & data,) for somewhere between, $45-$60 per months!!

So even cell phone users living in the State, can now experience the values their European counterparts have always demanded; if they just shop a bit better, and avoid walking into those brick and mortar major carriers retail outlets.
...i.e. By saving money through providers and plans such as:
NET10 (GSM on ATandT): -or-
TING (CDMA on Sprint): -or-
PAGEPLUS (CDMA on Verizon) -or-
RED POCKET (GSM on ATandT): -or-
(Each of the above offerings are MVNO's; meaning they resale other carrier's cellular bandwidth, follow the equipment advice in the "fine print" below accordingly.)
Perhaps the best unlimited data ONLY deals are, T-Mobile $30/month Monthly 4G and Virgin Mobile's $35/month Beyond Talk plan with an Android phone or BlackBerry Phone.

Many more details on these types of offerings are available in articles such as the following:
(Combine such services with free offerings like Google Voice to experience the ultimate convenience and value for mobile communication and wireless mobile data/computing.)

Fine print when choosing your desired handheld, Smartphone equipment:
I can't really recommend a phone for you as everyone's needs and tastes are different. But here are some things to keep in mind.
* To use the phone in Europe it must support the 900 and 1800 mHz GSM bands. To get 3G in Europe the phone must support the 2100 mHz UMTS band I.
* To use a phone on T-Mobile USA it must support the 1900 mHz GSM band. To get 3G on T-Mobile it must support UMTS band IV (1700 downlink, 2100 uplink) (aka AWS)
* To use a phone on AT&T it must support the 850 and 1900 mHz GSM bands. To get 3G it must support UNTS band II (1900 Mhz) and UTMS band band V (850 Mhz).
(AT&T phones are all compatible with Europe's 3G GSM freguencies. Most recent T-Mobile branded phones support the required frequencies for Europe including 3G but check the specs before you buy as a few don't.)


Friday, July 13, 2012

Affordable Health Care Act (a.k.a. ObamaCare) A Bill That Ignores So Much, while Accomplishing Even More

I have no delusions about the Affordable Health Care Act's ability to address the abomination our insurance industry has made of American medicine and the affordability of our care. It accomplishes little to nothing to correct this quagmire; this INSANE system, we have allowed to run-a-much for so many decades. And regardless of what it will or will not achieve towards putting these insurance company's in their place; there are the minimal establishments it offers which MUST NOT BE OVERLOOKED OR UNDERESTIMATED.

I am merely hopeful and confident, an individual who has no other fair way, to step up to this table of bloated, "managed health care" non-sense; can at least, count on approaching the desperately needed attention and care they require when the time comes! But this bill goes far beyond this!!
It will quite simply save the lives of countless citizens, while preventing bankruptcy for 10's of thousands of others. In addition, it will offer countless millions an the opportunity I mentioned above, to finally seek care they would have otherwise neglected. And perhaps the most "American", capitalistic, benefits, will be the opportunity for many of those who have felt shackled to a pathetic means of livelihood and income to finally feel compelled to pursue something much more befitting of their aspirations, talents and potential; without the fear they will be denied coverage elsewhere.

What is the point of trapping American's in situations where they fear adequate coverage will be unaffordable or completely denied, without a current (often dead-end) employers' continued involvement and medical policy related compensation? Our country was not built on such trappings.

Our insurance industry has architectured a system which assures your health care is un-affordability; unless, you pay them a monthly premium; which you also can't afford. And then by design, they are able to refuse, reduce and deny any portion of coverage and/or service cost they see fit.

In addition to this insanity, some voters act as if a fear of "socialism" is their impetus for avoiding government intervention. This is absurd given the hypocritical fact that no one can afford medical care without depending on insurance, and insurance in and of itself is a socialized, group participant, economy of scale. 
In many cases, our fellow citizens don't even have an employer capable of absorbing the $20,000 per year overhead in order to assure their family's premiums are covered; in addition to whatever generous salary they've been offered; (or in many cases, instead of offering them anything all that generous; take your pick.) The Affordable Care Act is additionally extremely sensitive to such costly challenges to small business owners and those individuals braving self-employment. Hence its' provision of tax cuts for small business to help offset the costs; and the aggressive, largest middle-class, tax cut for health care in history!

If government scares you; (and Cigna, Aetna, Hamanna, Blue Cross / Blue Shield, etc., inspires you;) in turn you don't feel systems chosen by the people for the people will ever, ultimately offer a better say or better control than purely trusting the board members of each of our 1/2 dozen, major health insurance companies; (as they only cater to shareholders;) which have bastardized our medical system for all of the years; then so be it. Vote for the continued inactivity which has been the only course of action the federal level of GOP" leadership" has bothered to convey on such matters for as long as any of us have been able to vote.

On the flip side, if you feel such lacking responses to one of our country's most pressing burdens, places to many families and individuals into perilous of a situation. And you feel such liabilities for so many can't help but place an additional stranglehold on the health and well being of not only our individual citizens, but also our country; then vote to lesson the priority of the insurance company's shareholders, (although they will still get paid handsomely given the embedded compromises,) and increase the ability of our citizens to survive a bit longer.
A voter is either naive to the challenges our health care presents to countless millions of families and individuals here in the U.S., or they feel it is high time the government get involved and provide a survivable alternative.


Thursday, July 5, 2012

Broken Trust Takes A Huge Amount Of Time And Repentance To Heal!

Such sentiments are certainly true, if the person involved in breaking trust, possesses little to no sense of repentance; nor a sincere ability to ask forgiveness. And so many are indeed guided by pride; perhaps seeing apologizing as a weakness rather than a strength. Life is simply too short to put up with such folks. 
Life is too short to put up with anyone who finds it necessary to put down those around them for the sake of bolstering their ego, pride or position.

However, I do think true forgiveness is a very necessary part of life. It is often required; most of all, for our own personal healing.

Otherwise, the constant presence of the pain that person's transgression caused, simply continues to hurt and deteriorate us. Even though their carelessness or abuse has long since passed or ended.

I've often wondered which was more challenging? Truly forgiving someone; or teaching a person to ask forgiveness that has never understood the real nature of sincerely offering an apology?

I find it near impossible to offer forgiveness to those who have little to no concept of repentance. (Meaning they never actually ask to be forgiven.) But I've still had to slowly try, in many situations; over the course of many years; in order to more effectively move away from the pain their ignorance originally caused and the trust they broke as a result.

In those cases the trust is typically very permanently damaged!!!