I Got a Keen New Camera

Got a keen new camera yesterday from Woot for $150. It’s a Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS6, which is a compact point-n-shoot 12MP camera.

It’s coolest feature is the massive zoom that they crammed into such a small package. Allow me to demonstrate.

Here’s a photo of our church’s lawn zoomed all the way out:

Dandelions at 1x Zoom

Now here’s that same scene zoomed all the way in to that dandelion in the center:

Dandelions at 16x Zoom

HOT.

I guess I’m a famous videographer now?

So, a few weeks ago I shot this video:

I posted it on Seattle Bubble, it got a few thousand views, and we all had some laughs. I didn’t think much more about it.

…until a week or so later, when the video started to spread.

First it appeared on Fark, then on White Trash Repairs, then on Reddit. Total number of views on YouTube shot up to over 20,000! Wow!

At some point, some jerkface decided to steal it and upload their crappy stolen copy to the popular video site Break.com, where it proceeded to get over 300,000 views!

Then someone else stole it from Break and uploaded it to their own YouTube account, where a few more sites found it, including Jim the Realtor’s blog and Sports Illustrated. Fortunately both YouTube and Break were responsive and helpful. YouTube took down the other copies on their site, and Break transferred the copy on there to my account.

A few days later, someone at Gawker (a very popular blog) found it and posted it on their site, after which it was re-posted on their sister tech blog Gizmodo. Another Reddit user found it and posted it there again, this time making it to the front page.

Meanwhile, the video also made its way on a few other popular sites, including Geekologie and even a German site called Brainblog. Nice!

As of this writing, between YouTube and Break my video has been viewed over 850,000 times! Yesterday at this time it was at about 750,000, so if this pace keeps up, my video will be viewed by over a million viewers by this time next week!

de Blob: Best Video Game Music Ever?

Here is the Music Player. You need to installl flash player to show this cool thing!

de Blob Album Art

I contend that the Wii game de Blob has the best video game music ever.

The tracks embedded at right were composed by yours truly in-game. I say “composed” because the genius of the music in de Blob is that the music is a fully-integrated part of the experience you get when you play the game.

Each level starts off totally silent. The music begins to kick in as you bring the drab grey city to life with colorful paint. The more colorful the city gets, the more intense the music becomes. Plus, different musical flourishes (vocal ‘dows’, keyboard, guitar, etc.) are added to the music with each building you paint, with the instrument determined by what color you’re painting with at the time.

For more of my thoughts about this under-appreciated gaming masterpiece, check out my review on GameBrainSpew.

de Blob 2 comes out in a week, we’ll see if they can live up to the high musical standard set by the first game.

Eagle or Bottle Cap?

The logo seen at right was imprinted on the inside of a plastic Wesson vegetable oil bottle cap.

I say it’s an eagle made out of flames, the logo for whatever company made the cap.

Jeni says it’s a bottle cap over a fire, a symbol meant to instruct people not to put the cap in fire.

Who’s right?

[Update]
Thanks to Adam, who pointed out in a comment below that the mystery image is the logo for Phoenix Closures. Looks like I win!

OMG, Facebook is Destroying Marriages! (Yeah Right)

This story from New Jersey caught my attention today…

Pastor to church leaders: Get off Facebook or step down

Rev. Cedric A. Miller has had it with what he says Facebook is doing to couples coming to him for help and is giving his married church leaders until Sunday to get off the social-network website or resign their posts.

Miller, senior pastor at Living Word Christian Fellowship Church, the popular interdenominational and evangelical church on Route 35, said a large percentage of his counseling over the past year and a half has been for marital problems, including infidelity, stemming from Facebook.

Miller said there was no problem when people just met with friends from high school in a platonic way.

But that has changed, he said, and now people are reigniting old passions and connecting with people who should stay in the past. He said a marriage can be going along fine when someone from the past breaks through and trouble begins.

Facebook is EVIL!I’m the last person you’ll find defending Facebook, as I personally think it’s an enormous waste of time (to put it lightly). That said, this pastor is deceiving himself if he really believes that “a marriage can be going along fine” and suddenly Facebook is to blame for leading a spouse to infidelity.

People don’t just decide one day to go out and break their marriage vows by having an affair. “Reigniting old passions” on Facebook is the symptom of underlying problems in a marriage, not the cause.

If Rev. Miller thinks that banning Facebook will somehow magically prevent marriages from falling apart in his church body, he is going to be in for an unfortunate awakening.

In my opinion, misguided dudes like Rev. Miller are part of the reason that Christianity is perceived so negatively by much of the culture. What if, instead of focusing on nonsense like Facebook, Rev. Miller launched a campaign in his church to teach husbands and wives how to meet each other’s needs, and strengthen their marriage against all forms of temptation? Wouldn’t that be time much better spent than sermonizing about the evils of Facebook?

[Update]
Like I said, Facebook is not the cause of marital infidelity. Guess what Rev. Miller managed to do ten years ago without any assistance from the big blue internet evil: Pastor who banned Facebook had three-way sex affair.