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tuesday | february 08, 2005

new york, NY — It’s been almost three years since my last “official” post, but I think it’s time to restart this blog. I haven’t worked on it in a while because I’ve been very busy with ERA Online, not to mention paying work. I’ve also started to spin off my design work onto the Sandy Campbell Design site. But behind the scenes I’ve been making updates to this site here and there, mostly reformatting pages with CSS.

thursday | february 20, 2002

Car burried on 100th Street Here’s my look at New York’s fourth largest blizzard: My Presidents’ Day Blizzard Photo Album. It snowed all day Monday, and KGC, her friend and I went out in the storm to try some sledding. Unfortunately the snow was still too loose. By the next morning 19 inches had fallen and it was still flurrying. It wasn’t until Wednesday that it warmed up and the city became a slushy mess.

This is the first PhotoBlog page I’ve produced using iPhoto 2, part of the iLife suite. It’s a lot slower than iPhoto 1, but it adds two nice new options when outputting a page: a counter and a feedback button.

PhotoBlog, a new feature

I have begun a series of what may become daily photo albums (PhotoBlogs) which I am posting on my .Mac site using iPhoto. Be forewarned that they require a broadband connection to view comfortably.

Don’t forget to press the button on each album.

Mon 1/6/03: Times Square at night
Tue 1/7/03: East River promonade after a snow, Herald Square at night
Wed 1/8/03: Neighborhood around Bloomingdales
Thur 1/9/03: East River promonade, Bryant Park and Chelsea Piers
Fri 1/10/03: Apple Store in SOHO
Sat 1/11/03: Installing a new streetlight on 100 Street

Sun 1/12/03: Taking down my Xmas tree
Mon 1/13/03: FDR Drive, Chinatown, trackwork at Grand Street subway station
Tue 1/14/03: Chelsea Piers at night
Wed 1/15/03: Three pictures in and around KGC’s school
Thur 1/16/03: Three pictures around Port Authority at night
Fri 1/17/03: More snow in Carl Shurz Park, PATH station reconstruction at Ground Zero

Mon 1/18-Fri 1/24/03: A sudden blizzard on Monday, then freezing temps around the City
Sat 1/25/03: Sunset Walk in Central Park, frozen reservoir, skylines
Mon 1/27/03: Closing of the Metro Theater
Tue 1/28/03: Closing of PlaySpace

Star Wars Pod Racer: Images from the Broadway City video arcade. Also see my sidebar on the Star Wars Pod Racer arcade game, which I updated

recent projects

Westhampton: End of an EraWesthampton: End of an Era: A tribute to our house in Westhampton, which was sold on Wednesday, May 29, 2002. Many of the pictures are from the night before, with the rest from the last couple of weekends leading up to the sale.

Electric Railroaders’ Association: Updated navbar with link to New York Division.

friday | january 31, 2002

Possible new feature: I used the shareware program DVD Capture 2.0 to grab frames from The Time Machine. The files were 853x360, an amazing 2.37:1 aspect ratio. The image quality is amazing, too, though I had to trim off the excess black frame in Photoshop. Also, frames are saved in PDF format, so I bulk-converted them to TIFFs using GraphicConverter before editing them.

Next, I imported the images into iPhoto to create an album. This winds up looking like a storyboard. Better yet, the slideshow plays like a movie flip book. I’d love to try this on a good movie like The Matrix, but the capture process is somewhat painful. Frame-by-frame DVD playback leaves something to be desired, especially rewinding and fast forwarding. The program bugged out on my three times, as well.

I probably shouldn’t have wasted so much of my time capturing frames from such a lousy movie, but I had just rented it and it does have some interesting special effects. I think George Pal's original Time Machine was way better. But the remake does have R&B singer Samantha Mumba, who doesn’t sing in the movie (thankfully! I can’t imagine if they had tried to make this into a musical) but is nice to look at.

tuesday | january 28, 2002

Everything is closing around here: The Clearview Theater on 107th Street and Broadway closed, PlaySpace on 92nd Street and Broadway closed, and now, just this morning, the Metro Theater on 100th Street and Broadway closed. Click here for some more pictures.

sunday | january 26, 2002

Congratulations! KGC went to her second gymnastic competition today, the Spirit of America 2003 meet at Dynmamic Gymnastics in Mohegan Lake, New York. She scored 8.6 (out of 10) on the vault, 8.2 on the bars (for which she won a ribbon), 6.8 on the beam and 8.2 for her floor routine. Afterwards, we had dinner with one of her teammates, which has become ìa tradition.î

wednesday | january 8, 2002

A belated Happy New Year! I’ve added a new feature, a (for now) daily photo album. This is made possible because I just bought a new digital camera, the Konica Revo KD-400Z. It’s so small I take it everywhere, and when I see something I want to shoot it’s ready.

Freeway Update: I have abandoned Freeway. It seemed to have great potential as the sort of Quark of web pages, but I found it to be fundamentally flawed. The way it generates pages ó dividing them into a table with different sized cells ó causes some pages to stretch, leaving white gaps between cells.

InDesign Update:I gave up trying to design Headlights using InDesign, because it has too many annoying features which kept slowing me down. But I still think it has potential and I’ll use it where I can for smaller documents. I also feel that document-wide layers can get confusing and I find it quicker to go back to the flat, 1-layer Quark 4 way.

sunday | november 17, 2002

I apologize for not keeping my blog up-to-date, but I have been busy with a lot of little things that didn’t seem worth repeating at the time. So now I’ll try to catch up...

iMovie: I edited my first video last week, which I burned to a DVD. The process is simple and the results are beautiful, but it’s pretty time consuming. Figure if you’re editing a 1 hour video that it takes at least an hour to get it INTO the computer, 3 hours to edit, another hour to export and another hour to burn the DVD. It also takes up a lot of hard drive space: at least 30GB. iMovie is fun, but it’s pretty bare bones and I think I’ll be ready to move up to Adobe Premiere soon; too bad I can’t afford Final Cut Pro.

Bill Geist: The CBS News Sunday Morning correspondent reported last Sunday that he and his wife sold their home in the country and moved to New York City. What a surprise it was for me to see that he moved into my Dad’s old apartment building!

FreeWay: I’ve finally produced a website using this revolutionary web design program from the UK. It really is a time saver, but it can be a little quirky at times. More as this story develops.

My name is Ellen Feiss and I'm a student.My New iMac: The 17" G4 iMac is amazing. It’s also fast and silent; the only noise I have is from an external fan I bought that cools my external FireWire drives. The DVD-R SuperDrive is slow as a CD player/writer, though (only 4x, I think), and I have an external drive that’s much faster for that purpose. It’s good to have two CD drives, anyway, for making copies and installing software.

My Jaguar Verdict: Over all, OS X is great. I’ve updated all my programs to be OS X-native except Quark. The transition wasted A LOT of my time, but things are working pretty smoothly now. And I love the giant icons.

Because OS X no extensions, extension-like programs have to be launched at log-in and don’t work as well as they did in OS 9, like QuicKeys and Suitcase. Suitcase in particular is not a program I would choose to use unless I had to, but ATM is not available in OS X. I recently tested FontAgent Pro, but it’s slow and dis-organizes fonts in a way that makes them unusable for me.

And there are other minor irritations, like selecting files; it seems they always become highlighted for renaming. Unlike OS 9, you can’t open or launch a file that is selected for renaming; it must be de-selected first. However, some of my favorite utilities, like A Better Finder Rename and Graphic Converter, work better than ever.

Multi-User Log-in: The log-in feature is great if you have more than one user. For me, it’s like getting three computers for the price of one (but not three times the hours available for everyone to use it). The one problem, related to this ability, is permissions. And the number of libraries, user folders, etc. is confusing: there’s a complete set of files and preferences for each user, in addition to a common set for everyone. So if you save something on the desktop, it’s on YOUR desktop; if you log-in as a different user it won’t still be on the desktop, but in a Desktop folder in the Users folder.

Open and Save Dialogs: The multi-pane, NeXT-style Finder view is a useful addition, but in open and save dialogs it’s the only choice. For many programs I find that it’s too slow and confusing to find your folder because you are always directed to default locations like Documents and Pictures. Fortunately Favorites works better than it used to in OS 9, and can override this clunkiness.

monday | october 8, 2002

I updated my resume today. Then I created a matching print version using InDesign, which let me add hyperlinks to the text and export it as a PDF with the links intact. Neat!

sunday | september 29, 2002

The new Times Square McDonald's, Mon 1/7/03. Sandy Campbell photo What’s the big deal about the new McDonald’s in Times Square? The New York Times featured it Thursday when the restaurant officially opened, praising its innovative architecture while saying nothing about the menu.

I decided to check it out. The first thing you see is the blazingly bright marquee, which fits right in to the new look of Times Square. There are no doors (remember Alexanders?) and you walk right up to the checkout counter. The menu above the counter is actually a series of high-resolution video monitors, a handy feature I first saw at an Orlando McDonald’s. Around the side of the counter is a small Nescafe coffee bar and a narrow hallway with a counter and bar stools. Tables and chairs are upstairs.

First off, 17,000 square feet never looked so small or oppressive. This is a McDonald’s that exists to worship itself, not the customer. Monitors lining the wall play videos showing the history of McDonald’s and telling about McDonald House in hushed tones of reverence. Upstairs, trailers for Disney movies are projected against the exposed brick walls, making them barely visible. Everything is bare and open; eating in the elephant hall of the Museum of Natural History is exciting in comparison. There are no toys, no fun pictures, no jungle gym to occupy the kids.

And then there is the food. It’s the same old menu. There’s one of McDonald’s new mini donut machines in the window, but the donuts taste like fried air. The only new feature is the little coffee bar, where you can buy muffins, but it wasn’t not enough to make me think, ìWow, what a cool new McDonald’s!î

Which brings me back to Orlando. A local franchise runs 6 or so McDonald’s in the area, and each one has a different theme. The one near our hotel was the most exciting McDonald’s I ever saw. It had a two-floor video game arcade, a pizza bar, an ice cream bar and more. It was open 24-hours-a-day and you could pay by credit card. It was different. It was fun. It even had good food. This is the type of change McDonald’s needs to grow.

friday | september 20, 2002

Not a lot has happened in the past month except that I’ve migrated to OS X and it’s great (after a few initial headaches related to Ownership & Permissions). The web integration is amazing, in particular the new Sherlock (although I like Watson better) and iPhoto.

I conjunction with this updating, I’ve switched ISPs from INCH to EarthLink. Not that there’s anything wrong with the Internet Channel, but they don’t offer broadband cable service in New York City and EarthLink does.

If you choose to e-mail me, the links at the bottom of each page are updated to my new address.

friday | august 2, 2002

Another wonderful obituary about my mother has been published, this time by Cristina Rouvalis in today’s Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

wednesday | july 31, 2002

Harry Potter is 15 today.

tuesday | july 30, 2002

Eric Wilson wrote a wonderful obituary about my mother in today’s Women’s Wear Daily. And it’s nearly a whole page!

saturday | july 27, 2002

We held a small memorial service for my mother in Oxford, where she was living with my sister. Everyone who could come was there, and it was very touching and uplifting. She will not be forgotten.

thursday | july 25, 2002

My mother, Jeanne S. Campbell, died last night from complications resulting from a stroke. I will have a link to her obituary soon.

thursday | july 18, 2002

I spent the day at MacWorld Expo. Thought smaller than last year, it was pretty spirited. For me the highlight was the new 17-inch iMac, which goes on sale next month. For $2,000 it can’t be beat, because an LCD screen like that alone would go for $900 if you could find one, and the built-in DVD burner is worth another $600!

I bought Freeway 3.5, a British program for website design, which I’ll be testing on this site soon.

wednesday | june 26, 2002

I spent the day at the PC Expo.

tuesday | june 18, 2002

If you don’t know about the Nigerian E-mail Scam, check out SavannahSays. Savannah Lawless chronicled her correspondence with one scammer, and it’s a riot.

Wash your cans and bottles the same way you’d wash fruit and vegs. Why? Feces from mice and rats living in supermarket warehouses can contain a lethal bacteria which, when inhaled, causes death in a few days. The dried feces turns to powder and can get on anything, and deadly doses have been found on soda can tops and the like. So get scrubbing, or use a straw!

DigitalGlobe is advertising the ìhighest resolution commercial satellite imagery available.î But such quality is not cheap. They charge by the square kilometer, so a small image might be several hundred dollars, all the way up to $8,160 for what they call a ìsceneî (272 km2) with ìradiometric & sensor correction only.î Does that come with a frame?

tuesday | june 11, 2002

The NTSB investigation into the crash of American Airlines Flight 587 continues. We know that the tail of the Airbus A300-600 came off shortly after takeoff on Nov. 12, 2001, but why?

According to the June 10th issue of Aviation Week and Space Technology, there were 349 eyewitness accounts and no consensus as to what occurred.ì52% reported seeing a fire on the aircraft when it was in flight, with the fuselage (22%) the most commonly mentioned site,î the article states. 18% said the craft was in a right turn, another 18% said it was in a left turn. 8% saw an explosion, 22% observed smoke and 20% reported no smoke. And it goes on. The only thing most viewers could agree upon (74%) was that the craft was descending!

Experts are saying that the pilot used too much rudder pressure to overcome wake turbulence from a jet that took off two minutes earlier. This caused the rudder to oscillate and the tail ó made of brittle carbon composites ó snapped off. Airline pilots who have written in to the magazine have complained that Airbus should not have designed a rudder control system that allows too much pressure to be applied, and that the manual for the A300 used by American pilots doesn't even warn about this.

I think an old pilot adage is worth repeating here: if it ain’t Boeing, I ain’t goin’.

saturday | june 8, 2002

Skin Exhibit at Cooper Hewitt KGC had such an exhausting day that when we got home I fell asleep with my jacket on! Among other things we saw a fun exhibit on Skin at the Cooper-Hewitt followed by a trip to the Central Park Zoo where we saw twin three-day old baby marmosets. The frog-sized primates clung to their dad’s back, who was less than a foot long himself. The zoo’s 600 pound female polar bear sat motionless against her tank’s glass window for the whole time we were there, which we were told was very unusual. You could look her in the eye, ìtouchî her paw, or just stare in amazement.

friday | june 7, 2002

The season premiers of Stargate SG1 and Farscape were on SciFi tonight. Since they were both two-parters, I’ll reserve judgement, but so far, so good.

I’m continuing my behind-the-scenes reorganization of this site, which will lead up to a left navbar on each page instead of a table of contents. Tonight I moved all the title GIFs into a title folder, and all the topnav GIFs into a topnav folder. All the GIFs from the Contents page are now in a leftnav folder. Using GoLive 6 to move files helped because all the links were automatically updated except in the java scripts, where I had to hand-code the updates.

Finally, as you can see above, I’ve completed my photo tribute to our house in Westhampton.

monday | june 3, 2002

It’s KGC's last week of first grade. Boy, did the year go fast!

I made some refinements to ERA Online, including an updated navbar with a link to the New York Division’s prototype website.

wednesday | may 29, 2002

A lot happened today. First, the good news: it’s my ninth wedding anniversary. Now the bad news: my mother’s home in Westhampton, where I grew up, was sold. Coming soon: the end of an era photo essay.

I finally started using the QuarkXPress 5.0 upgrade. There are no surprises or gotchas; all the commands are the same as QXP4 and it incorporates a number of improvements, such as tighter integration of PDF creation, layers and updated Pantone color tables. Like InDesign, layers are document wide, but they do not allow transparency; they’re also more annoying to use and can’t be truly locked. I haven’t tried the html options, and there are a load of color controls that look interesting.

But here’s what I don’t like about QuarkXPress 5: The upgrade costs $300 if you have QXP4, $400 if you’re upgrading from QXP3, which is three to four times what Adobe charges for most of its upgrades. Yet there is no manual in the box, not even a reference card; a printed manual costs $50 extra (I got a postcard from Quark offering it for free, but for a limited time only)! As a matter of fact, the serial number is not in the box, either, but is faxed from Quark, an inconvenience which can add days to the upgrade process. The user interface has barely progressed from System 7, and document windows still don’t butt the tool palettes (they still overlap slightly). Navigation services is still not supported, so you have to open documents one at a time, and Quark’s proprietary thumbnail previews are still black and white (though with more detail than the bitmapped thumbnails of QXP4). You can save documents as QXP4, but the file type and icon is the same for 4 and 5 (and 3, for that matter). And of course, there is no OS X version, and you can be sure that Quark will charge extra for that, too. So much for improved customer relations!

monday | may 2, 20027

KGC and I rode around Central Park on bikes today, a first for KGC. We stopped to smell the roses in the Conservatory Garden on 106th Street (note: the fountains are still empty).

sunday | may 26, 2002

We nearly exploded from overeating today at Jonathan and Monique’s barbecue.

thursday | may 23, 2002

It was Grandparents and Special Friends Day at Brearley today, and Grandma, Grandpa Bud and Aunt Barbara all attended. They listened to KGC and her first grade classmates sing songs, then attended some classes with her. It was all over too soon by lunch time, and we all went for juicy and delicious 7 oz burgers at Jackson Hole (free plug).

monday | may 13, 2002

I've redesigned of my online portfolio sections to work with fixed-size pop-up windows. There are still six sections, Maps, Logos, Editorial Design, Flower Show, Night Strike and KGC, but as you can see, they’re a lot easier to navigate. Next up, a left navbar to replace the Contents page.

sunday | may 12, 2002

Happy Mother’s Day!

tuesday | may 7, 2002

I’ve completed a redesign of my Electric Railroaders’ site. I originally used my site as a template, but it was getting restrictive having just three main pages. I added a route map-like navbar at the top of each page, and a real online application form (but no credit card payment, yet).

We rode in one of the new stretch taxis this morning, and boy does that extra foot make a difference! They’re still not as roomy as London taxis, though.

wednesday | may 1, 2002

You can now access this website by entering the URLs edac2day.com or edac2.com (you don’t even need the www., though it will still work if you add it).

WWW Edac2day
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