Friday Cat Blogging – 4 January 2008

FRIDAY CATBLOGGING….Oddly enough, I haven’t had much chance to use my new camera yet. Too busy with other stuff. But I did manage to use the cats as props in my testing to see how close the Canon would focus, so today is closeup day. Magnificent, aren’t they?

So what have I been spending all my time on if I wasn’t taking hundreds of pictures of my cats? Well, it turned out that the camera spawned a rolling wave of long-needed technology upgrades. The JPEG files it produces are bigger than my old camera, which meant that my old USB 1.0 flash card reader transferred its pictures at molasses speed. So with a little badgering from a friend, I finally popped open my PC’s guts, made room for a new card by ripping out my old dial-up modem, and installed a new USB 2.0 card. Much better! But now that I finally had USB 2.0, I figured I should also hook up my all-in-one printer via USB as well. That worked great. There’s no difference in printing speed, but the scanner is about 20x faster. (But why are USB cables so damn expensive? Sheesh.)

Then, of course, came a new external hard drive, which I’d never bothered with before because I didn’t have a fast enough connection. It works like a champ, though the Seagate tray icon is pretty annoying. (And why does a hard drive need a tray icon anyway?) Then I installed a copy of Ghost, which means I’m once again backing up my computer for the first time in a year. (My old backup software mysteriously died last January, and I never did figure out exactly why.) After some fussing with corrupted files and chkdsk and a bit of defragging, everything was fine. The backup is now working smoothly, the rescue CD has been tested, and I’m prepared for our next earthquake.

Then, as long as I was in the mood, I bought an upgrade of Microsoft Streets & Trips. Big mistake. Aside from an ungodly registration process, the thing also takes a full 30 seconds to load. The old version took about 3 seconds. I doubt very much that a few years of updates is worth this.

So that was that. I finally got everything working, but it cut deeply into cat photographing time. However, as long as we’re on the subject of cameras and picture taking, I can certainly recommend Sanyo Eneloop rechargeable batteries. I got a set of eight AAs (plus four AAAs that I didn’t really need) from Costco for about twenty bucks, and they’re great. I tried to run them down in the camera, but I ended up filling the memory card before the batteries died. Good deal.

Consider this an open thread for (a) cat matters, (b) favorite Christmas gifts, or (c) general tech commentary. Normal non-tech catblogging should resume next week.