A lonely remainder from last year's holiday festivities: This gingerbread man (kit) at Mozilla HQ begs you to bring it to life... then eat it. How selfless!
Yesterday, I found the reply to a mail-in rebate in my mailbox. Mail-in rebates are as common in the US as they are silly. Instead of somehow bundling the rebate processing at the point of sale, every consumer contacts the manufacturer separately and then gets their rebate back in the mail. Of course, the US is infamous for both making everything regarding money incredibly complicated -- and then finding elaborate workarounds to make things go faster instead of actually fixing the system.
Anyhow, what struck me as interesting is that the rebate was not paid out as a check, let alone direct deposit or the like, but as a prepaid visa card. I can use it at the store like any other debit card, and once it's empty I can dispose of it. That's kind of neat, but honestly is more inconvenient for me than a check: I could deposit a check and forget about it. For the card, I need to keep track of how much is still on there if I don't use it all at once. If my bill is more than the amount on the card, I need to make sure the merchant can handle several payment methods at once (so, no using it on Amazon in that case). All in all, I am not too impressed.
The pic is a macro shot from my cell phone. Not too bad. On a white piece of paper, the colors were relatively acceptable this time.
This is the logo and slogan of a paint company called Sherwin-Williams. Every time I see this, I am thoroughly baffled by how wrong, on how many levels this is.
Their logo is a paint bucket, dumping red, thick paint all over planet earth, and their slogan is "Cover the Earth". You don't have to be particularly environmentally inclined to recognize that covering our entire planet with harmful chemicals is perhaps not the best thing mankind could do. Now, I realize they don't mean this literally (or at least, I sincerely hope so). But it still makes me wonder if this is really all the person who invented the logo (presumably all the way back in the 19th century, when the company was founded) could come up with? "It's paint. It's like any other paint on the planet. Well except that ours thrives to cover the planet. Yup, all of it. Like a frozen banana. Except not edible."
Regarding the pic: This is a cellphone shot, little grainy on the bottom, and due to the bright sunshine (oh NorCal in January, I love thee) it was quite overexposed, so I messed with the contrast and saturation a bit until it looked acceptable.
As you now know, I routinely have a cup of espresso after lunch, most days. At home, it currently looks like this: My 3-cup Bialetti Moka (or "caffettiera" as the Italians call it) simmering over a gas flame! Some of you may wonder, what happened to the full-blown espresso machine? It's hibernating: Due to the voltage difference between Europe and the US, I had to abandon my coffee grinder in Europe, and I have not yet acquired a new one. So while I have an espresso maker, I can't make properly ground coffee for it yet. But as soon as I do, rest assured you'll see a photo on in my "project 365".
Another 50mm portrait shot, plain and simple :)
This is one of my favorite coffee mugs: I bought it back in 2002 at the LinuxTag open source conference in Karlsruhe, Germany. The motto of that year's conference -- "Open Your Mind, Open Your Heart, Open Your Source" -- hints at what this conference was still very much about: Convincing decision makers, in particular in government organizations, to recognize the potential in open source software and treat it as an opportunity rather than a threat. Luckily, we've come a long way since then.
This is a simple, Saturday-morning sun, "portrait" photo, with no alterations whatsoever.
This is one of the aforementioned (Day 12!) yellow Union Pacific Railroad engines that seem to have a nest around here. I am pretty impressed by how much weight they can move around -- and besides, the patriotic flag and slogan on the side is a great reminder of what the railroad has been doing for this country for centuries: Building America.
This photo is a tiny little bit grainy due to the high ISO value I picked because it was getting dark already. Ah well!
For several years now, every day after lunch, I have an espresso. When I work from home, I use my own espresso maker. Now at the office, the closest I can get is Nespresso -- which is actually not half bad. Unless we run out of pods and only decaf and lungos are left in the coffee drawer...
This is a cell phone shot, whose colors were broken beyond belief (very, very red). So instead of messing with it for too long, I decided to go for a black-and-white filter, along with a vignette.
These are no Caltrain tracks: Instead, they are tracks for Union Pacific Railroad's commercial freight trains, who seem to transport quite a number of goods over these tracks everyday with their charming yellow engines. I didn't know very many commercially used railroad tracks still used wood as their base (as opposed to concrete), though.
I took this at 200mm focal length, which resulted in a rather short DOF. I liked the result more than the same photo taken at 50mm. It nicely frames the tracks as the subject of this picture.