Tag Archives: postaday2011

D7000 or D700 full frame?

Aarghh!

I want to upgrade my camera this year, but I really can’t decide.

Stick with the DX crop sensor and lenses and get the Nikon D7000?

Or make the shift to full frame, get a Nikon D700, and have to sell my Tokina 12-24 F4 DX and Nikon 17-55 F2.8 DX lenses and upgrade to perhaps the Nikon 24-70 F2.8 FX lens?   (Luckily my other lenses are full frame ready).

I know the D700 route will be much more expensive in the end, but will it be more worth it in the long run?

Nikon D7000 – http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/nikond7000/ and http://www.kenrockwell.com/nikon/d7000.htm

Nikon D700 – http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/nikond700/ and http://www.kenrockwell.com/nikon/d700.htm

Looks like I’m not the only one pondering this question!

http://photo.net/nikon-camera-forum/00XJa7

http://artoftheimage.blogspot.com/2010/11/nikon-d7000-vs-nikon-d700-high-iso.html

http://nikonrumors.com/forum/topic.php?id=2527

[Update 9 March 2011]

I’ve finally decided to go full frame.  At the back of my head, if I went DX, I would always think that the low light, high ISO performance wouldn’t be the best I could get within my budget.   One useful site I’ve found is snapsort, which lets you compare features of cameras.

Here is the comparison between the D700 and D7000 – http://snapsort.com/compare/Nikon_D700-vs-Nikon_D7000

The thing that swayed me is the noise performance.  According to DXOMark, a picture at ISO 1167 on a D7000 will have the same amount of noise as a picture taken at ISO 2303 on a D700.  Wow – a full stop! 

And comparing to my current D80 – http://snapsort.com/compare/Nikon_D700-vs-Nikon_D80

D80 ISO 524 is equivalent to D700’s ISO 2303.    That’s just mind boggling.

I’m thinking – you can always invest in new lenses, but the noise in the sensor is fixed by your body.  A D700 with a 50mm 1.4 lens, or a mid range 2.8 zoom would be amazing.

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New queueing strategy in Target and other stores

At the front of the Target checkout queue

Notice the new way the queues to the checkouts work in Target, K-Mart, Big W?   Everyone is in one big queue, served by many checkouts – rather than separate queues for each checkout.

Does it really work?  The line is dismally longer, making me feel like it’s going to take a really long time based on my previous experiences.  Target sneakily makes everyone walk past their confectionery and other knick knacks.  However, it seems that the line does move more often.  But do you wait any shorter than you used to?  According to queueing theory – the study of queues – you’re meant to!

By making everyone queue in one queue only, in a FIFO (first in first out) mode, this is meant to reduce the average wait time and improve the feeling of all those in the queue.

Think about it:

  • The customer to be served next is always the customer who has been waiting the LONGEST.  In this regard, it is fair.
  • A side effect of this is you don’t end up comparing the speed of your queue with the one next to you.   EVERYONE is in the same queue, being processed at the same rate.  So you should be happier 🙂
  • And since there is only ONE queue, you don’t have scan all the queues to figure out which one to choose.  There is only one to choose!
  • Hold ups in one register will not hold up the next person in the queue as they will be served by the next available register.   In the old system, if one queue was held up, then EVERY person in that queue would be held up too, magnifying the cumulative waiting time for all customers.
  • Because the one queue is being serviced by multiple registers, it moves faster, hence giving you, the customer, the perception that the checkout register people are actually working.
  • The shop can open up another register with no need to re-organise the people in the queue.

So Target thinks they have improved their queueing system, and they have!

But can their system be improved?

Here are some of my suggestions:

  • Introduce some indication to customers how long it will take to get to the front of the line.   This is done in Disneyland and some other queues where it can take a long time.  Maybe it’s not required in Target if the wait is only a few minutes, but around Christmas time and big sales time, placing a notification like this will help let customers tune their expectations, and hence make them happier.
  • Always staff the registers closest to the queue first.   On the weekend, I noticed that many of the registers near the queue were empty.  The problem with this is, once register X has finished with the last transaction, they press their buzzer to call the next customer Y.  But if register X is far away, there is much lost time waiting for customer Y to reach the register.  The registers farthest away might have to wait 15-30 seconds for the customer to make their way to them.  This is wasted time.    They didn’t have this problem with the old system since the next customer was probably just a metre away.    If I were Target, I’d do some measurement of how long each register spends between customers and see if there is a correlation between time and where they are positioned.

Some other posts I stumbled on that you may also find interesting:

Queueing Theory in Action – http://blogs.msdn.com/b/ericlippert/archive/2009/08/20/queueing-theory-in-action-plus-frogs.aspx
How not to design a Supermarket checkout – http://www.katherinealsop.com/2009/11/17/how-not-to-re-design-a-supermarket-checkout/
The Checkout Line – Why is it so slow?  – http://www.betterprojects.net/2011/01/checkout-line-why-is-it-so-slow.html

Mobile World Congress 2011

This week, the Mobile World Congress is being held in Barcelona, Spain.   How I wish someone would fly me there to cover the event!    The Mobile World Congress is one of the biggest trade shows and exhibitions for wireless devices.  Yep, mobile phones and tablets are the big focus here.

Unfortunately, Apple chooses not to have a presence at this show, but other companies like Samsung, Sony and LG have already made many new product announcements.  

Sony Ericsson's Xperia Play (photo from Sony Ericsson)

Check out Xperia Play, the new PlayStation phone from Sony.  It runs Android, but I’m guessing that it must run some PlayStation or PSP type OS as well for game support.   I love the slide out PlayStation Dualshock type controls!   It sounds like this will be like a PSPGo with mobile capabilities – sort of like how the iPhone is an iPod Touch with mobile functions.

CNET has a review here:  http://reviews.cnet.com/8301-13970_7-20031432-78.html.  There was also a preview of the Xperia Play done by Engadget last month here:  http://www.engadget.com/2011/01/26/sony-ericsson-xperia-play-playstation-phone-preview/

LG Optimus 3D (image from Techtree)

 

Another cool announcement is the new LG Optimus 3D.   It uses similar technology to the new Nintendo 3DS to provide the illusion of 3D without glasses.   It seems lots of people were playing 3D games on the phone at the expo – but apparently the battery life was extremely poor!   It sounds like a bit of a gimmick at the moment, but I’m sure one day, nearly all screens will be 3D – just like how they’re all colour now instead of black and white.

Check out the pics and write up here:  http://reviews.cnet.com/8301-13970_7-20031804-78.html, and by Engadget here – http://www.engadget.com/2011/02/14/lg-optimus-3d-hands-on/.

More info

Mobile World Congress official website –  http://www.mobileworldcongress.com/ (you can even watch videos from keynotes from Microsoft, Twitter and Google!)

Coverage from CNET – http://reviews.cnet.com/mobile-world-congress/?keyword=MWC+2011&tag=mncol;tags

Coverage from Engadget – http://www.engadget.com/tag/MWC+2011/

The mess of bike tire sizes

My road bike has 700x23C marked on its tires.  

Last week, I was curious and Googled 700x23C to see what it meant – of course, so I could figure out what my tire diameter and circumference is to put into the bike computer.  And thus I stumbled upon the mess that is bike tire size designations!

There seem to be various ways of designating tire width.   I think the Wikipedia article here summarises the ISO, Inch markings and French designation very clearly with a nice diagram:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ISO_5775

For my wheel (which is a very common racing wheel size), 700 x 23C is an old French desingation broken down as follows:

700

This used to refer to the overall inflated tire diameter.  However, I think it’s lost its meaning/accuracy over the ages, and 700 now means a rim diameter of 622mm (across the bead set).

The French system can also append a letter code here to designate the width of the tire.  The common “700” tire is actually 700C.  Much more info here courtesy of the extremely knowledgeable Sheldon Brown:  http://sheldonbrown.com/tire-sizing.html

23

The second number is meant to be the tire width.  Since bike tires are nearly circular when pumped up, one can estimate that the “height” of the tire is the same as the width – in my case, 23mm.

C

I think this last letter refers to the type of rim.   C means Crotchet-type, whereas SS means Straight-side and HB means Hooked-bead.

Putting it together

If I assume that my bike tire is circular when pumped up (so the “height” is the same as the “width”), the overall diameter of my bike tire is 622 + 23 + 23 = 668mm.  This makes a circumference of 2098.58mm.  This sort of matches the range in various bike computer manuals.

Of course, it’s probably easier and more accurate to just marki a spot on the floor and your wheel, make sure your tires are pumped up to the right PSI, sit on your bike and roll it a couple of revolutions, and then measure the distance to work out the circumference 🙂

Oh, one interesting blog I discovered on my travels today – the Lovely Bicycle – great photos, stories and articles on vintage bikes and cycling – http://lovelybike.blogspot.com/

More info

ISO Standard – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ISO_5775
Tire Sizing – http://sheldonbrown.com/tire-sizing.html
Rim Sizing – http://sheldonbrown.com/rim-sizing.html

LiveStrong’s article on Bike Tire Sizes – http://www.livestrong.com/article/336406-explain-bike-tire-sizes/
Mysteries of Tire/Tyre Widths – http://www.tricktrack.org/forum/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=5566&start=0

Vendor Bids at an auction

Yesterday, I was a sneaky beak and poked my head in at an auction for a house across the road.

I had never been to an actual house auction before.   There was quite a large gathering, maybe 25-30.   But it seems that most people there were locals or neighbours!   There only seemed to be a few people actually interested in bidding during the auction.

The thing that caught me by surprise was when the auctioneer put in a “vendor bid” and the price rose by $100k all by itself!!   I thought to myself, “What the? How and why would the vendor want to bid on his/her own property?”   And then he proceeded to ask for any raises on that at which someone did.   I was most confused!

In the end, the highest bid that was passed in hadn’t passed the reserve price and so the highest bidder has first dibs in negotiating with the seller.   The auctioneer insisted that the property was going to be sold that day – I don’t know how as the highest bidder doesn’t need to move any higher right?

I obviously don’t know much about auctions and would need to do heaps of research before buying or selling using one.   They’re not that common here in WA.

Have you used an auction to buy or sell a house?  Would you do it again?

Here’s a few links I found that seem to have useful info about auctions:

http://www.lawyersconveyancing.com.au/auctions.asp

http://beachandbay.com.au/realestateblog/the-vendor-bid-vs-the-reserve-on-auction-day/

http://www.jenman.com.au/BS_B_Auction.php

Bike Cat, Flaps and Ping Pong Bats with The List Operators

OMG!  Last night Wifey and I ducked into the Fringe World festival in Perth to catch a show.

The vibe in the Fringe World courtyard is so cool.   That area outside the Perth Art Gallery was so dead and unused, but the bar, food and chill out area with the loungy cushions and hanging lights has really created a real arty..  Melbournesque atmosphere.   I wish it was there permanently!

We grabbed tickets to see The List Operators, a Melbourne comedy duo.  We weren’t quite sure what to expect and although there were some slow moment, I was literally in tears with laughter many times during their show thanks to some some slapstick, audience interaction and rude sketches 🙂

The atmosphere inside the Spiegeltent was all that I expected and more.  I love the cozy booths that line the inside, and the wooden floor feels really nice to dance to!

When I got home last night, I was straight away back on the Fringe World website, thinking of what show we can see next.

More info:  http://www.fringeworld.com.au/