One of the main problems I have with my gadgets is that the battery drainage is terrible.  This is constantly happening with my iPad, cameras, cellphone and laptop.  Even though I often replace the batteries in an effort to avoid charging them frequently, the problem persist.  Nothing bothers me so much as running out of batteries while in the middle of a shooting spree.  Thus I always have several spare AA batteries to be on the safe side.  But it still is a pain in the neck to deal with this irritating inconvenience.

Credit: Inhabitat.com – Kristine Lofgren

Recently while scanning the Web, I found out that good news were on the way to solve the battery drainage problem.  “New batteries charge to 70 percent in two minutes and last twenty times longer.”

“We use rechargeable batteries for practically everything these day— from our toothbrushes to our cars—but when a battery runs down, it can put a damper on our daily routine. Now imagine that instead of waiting an hour for your phone to charge up, you only had to wait two minutes – and that the same quick-charging battery can last 20 years. That battery will soon be a reality thanks to a team of researchers who developed a lithium-ion battery that can charge 70 percent in just two minutes and lasts 20 times longer than a battery today.”

“A battery that efficient could charge a car in as little as 15 minutes and wouldn’t have to be replaced as often. Instead of spending 5 minutes filling up on gas, a car could spend 5 minutes getting enough juice to dramatically extend its range. If it sounds too good to be true, the researchers say that they expect to have the battery on the market in just two years.”

“The technology isn’t entire new, which is part of the reason the battery seems like it could really happen in the next few years. Instead of reinventing the wheel, the researchers just built on existing technology, using titanium oxide gel – the same stuff in your sunscreen. The gel actually helps speed up the charging process, making the battery last 20-times longer and charge 20-times as fast than traditional lithium-ion batteries.”

This super battery was developed by scientists from Nanyang Technological University (NTU Singapore). The technology is currently being licensed to an undisclosed  company and the NTU scientists expects that the new generation of fast-charging batteries will hit the market in two years’ time. It holds a lot of potential in overcoming the longstanding power issues related to electro-mobility.

This technological breakthrough holds a lot of potential in overcoming the longstanding power issues related to electro-mobility.  Once these fast-charging, long-lasting batteries make their way into things like cameras and cellphones it will be a gamechanger for the electro-mobility industry.  I’m so excited to be alive in this day and age when the line between reality and science-fiction is becoming more and more blurred.  Good Day.

As I continue to travel through the paths of the fascinating field of photography, I’m discovering new areas I wish to explore more.  Some of these areas of interest are:  street photography, macro photography, seascape photography, landscape photography and portraitures.  As you can see, photography is never-ending universe in itself.

Lately I’ve read about the different techniques of macro photography.  Capturing creatures or objects so small that you can barely see them with your naked eye is something I definitely would like to dip my toes into.  As a matter of fact, I’m ordering from Amazon today several photography accessories to enhance my macro shots:

  • Neewer 48 macro LED ring flash light
  • Vivitar 52mm close up macro filters (+1, +2, +4, and +10)

These items will help me out to shoot better macro pictures without spending a bundle.  When the time is ripe, I’ll probably go for the real thing:  a Canon EF 100mm f/2.8 macro USM lens which can be had for about $599.00.  But that will take a while.  For the time being, the mentioned accessories will do just fine.

Below are a couple of shots of lilliputian white and yellow flowers discovered in our back yard.  The macro pictures were taken with a DSLR Canon EOS Rebel T2i and a “nifty-fifty” lens (e.g., EF 50mm f/1.8 II).  It was a very bright day with lots of light, so I installed a Hoya polarizing filter to avoid blowing out the shots.  Take a look at the cute miniscule flowers.  This is what I plan to do more in the future when my order arrives.

(Please click image to expand.) Photo by ©Omar Upegui R.

This was the closest I could get to the flowers. With the proper accessories I can get a lot closer, and that is what I really want. Photo by ©Omar Upegui R.

Apple is polishing its products for the upcoming Christmas holidays, when the cacophony of cash registers’ high-frequency rings saturate the festive atmosphere.  As we all know, Christmas is more about making a profit than about the birth of the Son of God.  Black Friday is The Day to cough out our hard-earned dollars.

On Thursday, October 16, 2014, Tim Cook and his elves announced a new Air iPad 2, iPad Mini 3 and an iMac desktop computer.  There were no revolutionary new products except the iWatch which will hit the shelves early next year.  All were incremental changes to its existing stocks of Apple products.

Apple Inc introduced a faster, slimmer iPad Air 2 on Thursday, tacking on modest improvements such as a fingerprint sensor to its mainstay tablet in time for what is expected to be a hotly contested holiday season for mobile devices.

Pre-orders start Friday for the larger iPad Air 2, priced at $499 and up, with shipping beginning next week. The smaller iPad mini 3 will be about $100 cheaper.  The Air iPad 2 is thinner than the previous Air Pad—18 percent thinner.  It is only 6.1 mm deep and 56 percent less reflective.  Even though its sales have slipped, it’s still a solid cash cow for Apple.  Tim Cook announced Apple had sold 225 millon iPads and enjoyed the staggering number of 675,000 apps.  The new iPad will have the new A84 processor which has a 40 percent faster CPU, an enhanced camera with 8MP and a lens with an aperture of f/2.4.  Battery life will continue to be 10 hours which is quite decent, considering the power of the CPU.

Marketing chief Phil Schiller, calling the larger tablet the world’s slimmest, described several new features such as an anti-reflective screen and confirmed the inclusion of the “Touch ID” sensor, already available on the latest iPhones.

Apple may struggle, however, to arouse the same passion for tablets as in past years, among consumers faced with an abundance of hand-held, touch-screen devices.  Tablet sales are set to rise only 11 percent this year, according to tech research firm Gartner, compared to 55 percent last year, even as smartphone sales continue to soar and personal computer sales are waning.

Tablet sales for Apple, which defined the category with the iPad just four years ago, have fallen for two straight quarters. Investors remain focused on the iPhone, Apple’s main revenue generator, but a prolonged downturn in iPad sales would threaten about 15 percent of the company’s revenue. The new iPads will go up against recently introduced tablets from Amazon.com Inc and Google Inc in coming months.

The new prices for the slimmer Air iPad 2 are as follows:

  • 16GB – $499.00
  • 64GB – $599.00
  • 128GB – $699.00

The new prices for the faster iPad Mini 3 are as follows:

  • 16GB – $399.00
  • 64GB – $499.00
  • 128GB – $599.00

Pre-orders started on October 17th and shipments will begin at the end of next week.  The desktop category wasn’t forgotten.  If you are into photography, the iMac is for you.  The new Retina 5K Display is nothing less than spectacular.  Inside you will find a screen made by LG Display, and a setup similar to previous iMacs, including easily-accessed RAM slots for memory upgrades. Overall, the layout is almost exactly like last year’s 27″ iMac, plus that new display controller Apple bragged about and a slightly wider display data cable, enhanced to feed all those pixels.

The entry-level iMac with top-of-the-line 5K display sets any buyer back by $2,499. That price includes the entire computer, which comes with a 3.5GHz quad-core Intel Core i5 processor and AMD’s Radeon R9 M290x graphics processing unit. This is the same graphics card used in gaming-focused computers such as the Alienware I7 and, as Apple says, is 45 percent faster than the Nvidia GeForce GTX graphics cards that powered its older iMacs. The low-end iMac will also get 8GB of RAM and 1TB of Apple’s Fusion drive, or a hybrid flash storage and hard-disk drive.

Everybody might have waited for new iPads at Apple’s media event on Thursday; however, while Apple unveiled the new iPad Air 2, it was kind of a disappointment to anyone who was expecting a blockbuster announcement. I have a nice Retina Display iPad which I use sparsely.  Don’t plan to buy a new one anytime soon, so Apple’s announcement meant nothing to me.  But I’ll bet people will line up to get their paws on the latest tablets next week.  That’s the way things are in a consumers’ capitalist free market.  Good Day.

Glass and Grapes

Photo by ©Omar Upegui R.

Photo by ©Omar Upegui R.

Photo by ©Omar Upegui R.

The first two pictures were taken with a Canon DSLR EOS T2i camera, and the third one was shot with a compact P&S Canon PowerShot A720 IS.  As you can see the quality of all three pictures is almost the same.  That speaks highly of today’s cameras.  You don’t have to pay a bundle to take good pictures.  An inexpensive P&S camera will do just fine.  Now, if you have deep pockets, then go ahead and buy the state-of-art gear, but remember that it’s not the gear that takes a good picture—it’s the person behind the camera.  Good Day.

For many years I’ve enjoyed the regular visits, comments and support of a loyal reader living in Fort Worth, Texas.  He knows who he is.  Recently he had a relative visiting his family from Panama, and on the way back, she brought back a surprise from my loyal reader.  The surprise was a wonderful reference book dubbed, “Webster’s New World American Idioms Handbook”.  It is the most comprehensive reference for understanding and applying American idioms.

If you are studying English as your second language, you already know that the real key to mastering any language, beyond having a good grasp of grammar and vocabulary is knowing how to use idioms and idiomatic expressions.  The difficulty lies in the fact that the wording of the idiom doesn’t has anything to do with its meaning.  You have to know the meaning and the context in which they are used.  There are different idioms in different parts of the United States.  If you haven’t lived in the country, the learning curve can be really steep and nightmarish.  Been there.  Done that.

After returning home, I started leafing through the book and found it to be a linguistic treasure, perfect to place it under our Christmas tree in December.  I’m so happy with this present, that I’m walking two feet off the ground.

The above idiom is used to express a state of mind of being very happy, blissfully happy, ecstatic.  Almost all the idioms that express great happiness and joy allude to being off the ground, up in the air.  You may also hear people say “walking 6 to 10 feet off the ground instead of just two feet”.

Thank  you Jim and Nena for this magnificent gift which I will put to work even as we speak.  The earlier idiom was extracted from the aforementioned book.  I also want to thank María de los Ángeles for meeting me in Panama City and delivering the idiomatic surprise.  I couldn’t resist the temptation of taking her picture and capturing the event.  This is the person who provided the transportation of the reference book to Panama.  Here we go.


Snapshot of María de los Angeles, posing for the camera at the entrance of El 99 Supermarket in the neighborhood of San Francisco de la Caleta in Panama City, Panama. I’m sure my English will enter into a new era. Photo by ©Omar Upegui R.


Imported Grapes

Snapshot of a cluster of green grapes to boost our diet in persuit of a healthier lifestyle. Photo shot with a digital DSLR Canon EOS Rebel T2i. Photo by ©Omar Upegui R.

Notice that the grapes are getting warmer and water condensation can be observed on the grapes and on the plate. Picture shot with a compct P&S Canon PowerShot A720 IS. Photo by ©Omar Upegui R.

Credit: Sabio Lantz

The clever diagram depicted above is the creation of Sabio Lantz, the author of a blog dubbed Triangulations.  It shows how the English language has evolved over the past 3,000 years.

“While researching for future posts, I ran into issues related to the development of the English language. To aid in illustrating those coming posts, I decided to make this graphic to capture, in one picture, the information I found scattered over several diagrams and sites. Diagrams are great memory tools for me, and I hope this helps some of you.

With gratitude, my main information source was this website: The History of English.”

English first emerged as a West Germanic language spoken in early medieval England, and its roots go as far back as the Celts 200 BCE.  Germanic settlers spread the language to various parts of the Netherlands, northwest Germany, and Denmark. One of these Germanic tribes, the Angles, eventually sailed to what is now Britain. At the time, the native population in Roman occupied Britain spoke Common Brittonic, a Celtic language, that had certain Latin features.  Thus the many Latin words still present in the English language.

The diagrams explain very didactically the various cultural influences which injected the language over the years. The language evolved from the Viking and Norman invasions through to the Renaissance mixing and empiric imports, such as Hindi and Arabic.

The evolution of the English language has been absolutely amazing.  As science and technology expands, so does this fascinating language.  Internet is an English word, as well as byte, bit, and terabyte.  More than 1.5 billion people around the world speak the language.  It is the quintessential Lingua Franca of our times.

And now you know why I love this language so much, albeit keeping track of it is almost impossible for my humble mind.  Good Day.


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