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I now own two cameras, (e.g., a Canon DSLR EOS Rebel T2i and a Canon P&S PowerShot A720 IS).  Both have been with me several years, specially the latter.  In an effort to protect the vulnerable screen from scratches and other accidents prone to happen during photo shooting sessions, I recently purchased two screen protectors.  Below is a brief description of each one:

I.  DSLR LCD Screen Protector – The Third Generation

This product is manufactured by GGS. As hard as I looked all over the box, I couldn’t find where the product was manufactured.  I’m speculating that it was produced in China—that’s where most of our products come from these days.  Product was purchased from Amazon online for $11.81, not including air transportation to Panama City, Panama where I live.

Early last night I installed it without a hitch.  It fitted the frame of my camera’s screen like a glove.  If you will look at the camera, you will not notice  the recent addition.  Just to be on the safe side, I viewed a YouTube installation video which I followed closely.  It turned out to be exactly what I was looking for.

The Third Generation protector is a new product with a black ABS frame which matches beautifully with the Canon T2i camera.  The raw material is made of optical glass for professional use with an explosion-proof film.  Amongst its features are:

  1. Its explosion-proof film has an elasticity pressure up to 12kg/cm (square) preventing the LCD screen from being adversely affected.
  2. Except the round framing eyepiece, the protector includes anti-fog and anti-dust features.
  3. It is manufactured with a special treatment to guarantee hardness and durability which will prevent the LCD screen from being rubbed, scraped or scratched.
  4. It uses a 0.5mm ultra thin optical glass with at least 90 percent transmittance.  The images on the screen are displayed fully focused after the accessory has been installed.
  5. With the connection of push-pull type or bayonet fixing, it is very easy to install and remove for cleaning and preventive maintenance.

The screen protector came in a sturdy plastic box to adequately protect the product during delivery from the States to Panama City, Panama.  Below are several pictures of the accessory:

Snapshot of two camera screen protectors’ boxes  recently received from Amazon.com. Photo by ©Omar Upegui R.

Photo by ©Omar Upegui R.

Photo by ©Omar Upegui R.

Snapshot of my DSLR Canon EOS Rebel T2i camera with the GGS Third Generation LCD screen protector installed. It matches perfectly with the black body of the camera. I love it. Photo by ©Omar Upegui R.

If you belong to the generation of photographers that want to protect your gear against all harm, then this product is definitely for you.  It’s a great product at a very reasonable price.

II.  Invisible Shield for Canon PowerShot A720 IS

This photography accessory was purchased from Amazon.com with a price tag of $12.30.  The screen protector is manufactured by Zagg (www.zagg.com) in the United States.  According to the box, the product is guaranteed for life.  This is very important, since I had a disappointing experience with it yesterday morning.  Even though I followed their printed instructions to the letter, the installation was a total failure.  I consider this product to be of a very low quality which is not worth a copper.  The film was instantly filled with air bubbles and there was no way they could be eliminated.  After struggling for several minutes, I decided to remove it completely and throw it to the waste basket where it belonged.

I plan to let Amazon know about this problem so they can talk to Zagg about their defective merchandise.  If I were you, I would not touch this product with a twenty-foot pole.  It’s that bad–and then some.  Below are pictures of the box, so you will recognize it and avoid buying it, thus saving hard-earned money and precious time.

Photo by ©Omar Upegui R.

Whenever you see this product, a red flag should pop up in your head. Keep it away from you at a safe distance. I lost my money and my time by buying this low-quality product. Photo by ©Omar Upegui R.

After I finish this post, I will write to Amazon about this defective product and see if I can get my money back.  If not, I guess it will be a lesson to be learned.  Not all that glitters is gold.  I have other photography stuff which I also ordered from Amazon and will be unpacking and posting them here for your information.  Crossing my fingers that they will perform as advertised.  Good Day.

A Small Home Garden


Snapshot of a tiny garden at one of the corners of our front porch. It was planted by my wife who loves plants and flowers. We have three Aloe vera plants in our house; it’s been a tradition of ours. Photo by ©Omar Upegui R.

Idioms


If English is not your native language and you are pulling your hair and grinding or clenching your teeth because you can’t take it any more, please take a pause.  Take a deep breath, and start again.  In the meantime, I have good news for you—the cavalry is coming in your rescue.  You’re about to learn a new idiomatic phrase.

For your information, idioms are the usage or vocabulary that is characteristic of a specific group of people or an expression whose meanings cannot be inferred from the meanings of the words that make it up.  These idiomatic expressions kept me from sleeping more than one night, when I was studying English in my prime time.  They still do, now and then.

The new idiom for today is, “head over heels”.  It means to be in love with someone very much.  Often used with “fall” to describe the beginning of a relationship.  Example:  “They met at a nightclub and instantly fell head over heels for one another.”

In a recently article about a tragic event in Marysville High School, Washington which resulted in two dead students, a journalist wrote, “Social media posts penned by the shooter in Friday’s rampage at a Washington State high school portray a head-over-heels teenager who grew more and more tormented when the relationship fell apart.”  Now you can add another idiom to your English baggage.

See?  The language isn’t all that complicated, isn’t it?  Nyet, I’m just kidding.  It is complicated, but if you keep pushing and pushing, it will gradually sink in.  Enjoy your English lessons and have a Good Day.


Credit: Sabio Lantz

As you can see in the chart above , the Germanic settlements in Britain can be traced back to the late 400s when the Angles, Saxons and Jutes invaded the island.  It is an accepted fact that the West Germanic languages became the new language:  Old English (500-1100).  English literature like Caedmon’s Hymn (660s) and Beowulf (700s).  Language historians agree that approximately one percent of the English language today can be traced back to the Old English epoch.

Old English, also known as Anglo-Saxon, was a language spoken by the Angles and the Saxons—the first Germanic tribes to settle the British Isles. They were not the first inhabitants, as any Welsh or Gaelic speaker will tell you, but their language did form the basis for the Angle-ish we speak today. But then why can’t modern-day English speakers understand Old English? In terms of vocabulary, grammar and syntax, Old English resembles its cousins Dutch and German more than it does modern English.

The Viking invasions played an important role in the building of the English language by injecting the Old Norse words into the West Germanic languages already present in Britain.  Old Norse is a North Germanic language that was spoken by inhabitants of Scandinavia and inhabitants of their overseas settlements during the Viking Age, until about 1300.

Why is it that Old English is almost impossible to understand to modern English speakers?  So how did English change so drastically?  The short answer is that the English language changed forever after the Norman invasion brought a new ruling class of French speakers to the British Isles in 1066. French was the language of the nobility for the next 300 years—plenty of time for lots of French words to trickle down to the merchant and peasant classes. For example, the Anglo-Saxons already had words for “sheep” and “cows”, but the Norman aristocracy—who usually only saw these animals on the plate—introduced mouton (mutton) and boeuf (beef). Today, nearly thirty percent of English words come from French.  Take another look at the graphic above and locate the period of the Norman invasions (1000s-1154).

Old English and Old Norse were closely related languages. It is therefore not surprising that many words in Old Norse look familiar to English speakers (e.g., armr (arm), fótr (foot), land (land), fullr (full), hanga (to hang), standa (to stand)). This is because both English and Old Norse stem from a Proto-Germanic mother language. In addition, numerous common, everyday Old Norse words mainly of East Norse origin were adopted into the Old English language during the Viking age.

Credit: Babbel.com

Old Norse is the language of the Vikings.  The Old Norse noun víking meant an overseas expedition, and a vikingr was someone who went on one of these expeditions. In the popular imagination, the Vikings were essentially pirates from the fjords of Denmark and Norway who descended on medieval England like a bloodthirsty frat party; they raped, pillaged, murdered, razed villages and then sailed back across the North Sea with the loot.

But the truth is far more nuanced. The earliest Viking activity in England did consist of coastal raids in the early ninth century, but by the 870s the Danes had traded sword for plow and were settled across most of Northern England in an area governed by treaties known as the Danelaw. England even had Danish kings from 1018 to 1042. However, the more successful and longer-lasting Norman conquest in 1066 marked the end of the Viking era and virtually erased Danish influence in almost all aspects of English culture but one: its effect on the development of the English language.

Traust me, þó (though) it may seem oddi at first, we er still very líkligr to use the same words as the Vikings did in our everyday speech. Þeirra (their) language evolved into the modern-day Scandinavian languages, but þeir (they) also gave English the gift of hundreds of words.

English is probably too much of a hybrid language to ever neatly classify, but its Old Norse rót is clearly there among the tangle of Anglo-Saxon, French and Latin roots. The language of the Vikings may have become subdued over the centuries, but make no mistaka about it – from byrðr (birth) undtil we deyja (die)—Norse’s raw energy simmers under the surface of everything we say.

And now you know that when a humble peasant in Northern England screamed, “The Vikings are coming!” it meant that you should run for your life because pillage, torching, looting and destruction were on the way, and with it a large baggage of English words.  Some of these words are scattered in the picture above.  Good Day.

Source: The Vikings are Coming by John-Erik Jordan


This snapshot is an experiment of inserting a flood light inside one of my wife’s shopping baskets. It was nice to see the rays of light piercing through the openings of the basket. Shot with a DSLR Canon EOS Rebel T2i camera with a Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II lens and a tripod. Photo by ©Omar Upegui R.

Photo by ©Omar Upegui R.


During the early days of personal computing, the idea behind the movement, was that it should be free for all who wanted to join the information age.  Steve Wozniak, also known as Woz, was adamant in his position that all his contributions to personal computing should be free.  His garage partner, Steve Jobs, thought otherwise.  And now, you know how prosperous Apple Inc. and other corporations involved in the information industry have become.  Computing has become a huge cash cow covering the globe and growing exponentially.  The latest kid on the blog is Facebook, and you already know how big this puppy  has grown in a short breadth of time.

Then Apple changed the rules of the game. It started to give away their operating systems for free for all their platforms.  Every time there is a new version of their software, it is immediately available on their servers free of charge.  It was something I could not believe when I heard about Apple’s new policy.  Just a few days ago, I updated my Apple’s Retina Display iPad version 8.1 without paying a copper.

Tim Cook, the CEO of Microsoft, was taking notice of Apple’s new free strategy.  The problem was that Windows, Microsoft Office, and Cloud Services was their bread and butter.  If they gave away their Windows system that would create a huge crater inside their coffers.  The cash cow would feel the pain.  But what was there to do?  Mr. Cook had no way out, he would have to hand out Windows for free.

All eyes are on Microsoft next year. In 2011 the elves screwed up by offering a mobile-like experience to Windows customers with Windows 8, alongside pricing it rather highly, compared to Apple who decided to drop the price of OS X and make it free to all desktop users on the platform.

It looks like Microsoft will take a note from Apple’s book and make Windows 10 (also Windows 9) free for all personal computers’ consumers. Notice the last bit? Yep, Microsoft will still offer paid features and upgrades for business corporations, the one market they can count on.

The corporation market as been stuck in this time-lapse where Windows XP is still acceptable, but throughout the past half decade, we have seen a steady move to the new age-old option: Windows 7, which will probably last longer than Windows XP if Microsoft doesn’t hit a home-run with Windows 10.

Microsoft will make the initial upgrade to Windows 10 free for enterprises, but offer paid privileges like only having to update annually, better admin controls, more enterprise level help on basic functionality—allowing a company to install the system without having problems.

It is about time Microsoft dropped the price for Windows, especially when they offer Windows Phone—their mobile product which will become Windows 10 in 2015—for free to smartphone users.  I’m betting the farm that in the upcoming future, all operating systems will be free for the taking:  Android, Chromium, BSD, iOS, Mac OS, Blackberry, Linux, OSX, QNX, Microsoft Windows, Windows Phone, IBM z/OS and others.  I wonder what is Steve Jobs thinking about this latest trend of free software—wherever he is.  Good Day.


After we got married on July 12, 1980 and moved into our new home, one of the first things we bought after a bed, dining table and a small Mabe gas stove; was an Indian wooden table.  I needed it to place a 19″ Panasonic TV set I had won in a raffle at work.  Always thought it was very attractive.

Even though I see the table every day when I sit at the dining table three times a day (breakfast, lunch and supper), I never took a close look at it until yesterday evening.  I was looking at the table every day, but as it usually happens with many of us, I wasn’t “seeing” the table.  It was time to capture the elaborate carvings of the wooden table with my ole compact P&S Canon PowerShot A720 IS.  It’s amazing that such detail, hard work, and dedicated could be had for only $20.00.

That’s why American companies are migrating to Asia to set up their factories.  Salaries are so cheap, and the quality of work so high, that it’s a perfect business model to make a killing in the marketplace.  Thus the expanding manufacturing industry in India, China, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, Malaysia, Vietnam and so on and so forth.  Sorry for digressing.  Let me go back to the snapshots of our cute Indian table, companion of many years.  Here we go.

Photo by ©Omar Upegui R.

In this picture, you can clearly see the hand carving of flowers and a large leaf in the middle. So much beauty sold at a bargain price. Photo by ©Omar Upegui R.

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