Friday Gadgety Goodness

I’m rather blown away at the recent rapid advances in the quality of mobile phone photography.

The art from has gone from a simple lo-res snap and upload to Facebook, to a genuine, respectable medium.

Today I’m going to gush like a lovesick schoolkid over a product from the Photojojo store that just happened to find its way under my Christmas tree.

Called a Macro Cell Lens Band on the store listing, it retails for $15 and is simply a small macro lens that fits on my iPhone by way of a sturdy rubber band.

Here it sits my iPhone (photo taken with The Good Man’s iPhone):

Easy to install, easy to use.

Since the internet is loaded with budding photographer’s photos of cats, I decided to turn my new lens on my other unsuspecting pet, my male Betta fish:

Here he is:

Photographing a fish is rather challenging, in that he is constantly on the move. The camera on the iPhone4s has a much quicker shutter and handles light so much better that previous versions, so I was willing to try.

One thing about this little macro lens, you gotta get close up on your subject. The little card that comes with the product suggests about 1 ¼ inches. That’s pretty close. My Betta is terrified of my big DSLR but seemed curious about the iPhone, so that helped my cause.

I’ve noticed when shooting my very expensive macro lens on my DSLR, I struggle with focus. The macro lens will only make one part of the photo crystal clear and the rest is not.

This little rubber band lens is the same. I love that the little fishy’s eyes are so clear and detailed. I just wish the rest of his face was too.

It’s such a handsome face.

Due to the low lighting in the area where the fish tank is located, these photos are a bit noisy, but not terribly so. I think with more light that would be less of an issue.

The Good Man says this one looks like Admiral Ackbar

Overall I’m deeply impressed with what this inexpensive little lens and an iPhone can produce. These photos were taken with the Camera+ app, by the way.

Just a little bit of magic on a blue rubber band. Brilliant!

My next mobile phone camera add on will likely be an Olloclip, which is considerably more expensive (about $70USD), but also considerably more advanced.

Look at this photo of a snowflake on a pine needle. It was posted on Facebook by Hipstamatic Rocky Mountain and he used the macro lens on the Olloclip and the Hipstamatic app.


And in my humble opinion, a huge leap forward for the medium of iPhoneongraphy.

Photo owned and copyrighted by Hipstamatic Rocky Mountain

This was not a paid review for any of the products mentioned in this post. This is simply my joy and enthusiasm for new techniques and tools for the art of iPhoneography.

Other than the snowflake photo, all photos in this post are Copyright 2011 by Karen Fayeth, and subject to the Creative Commons license found in the far right column of this page.

Baby did a bad, bad thing

And it feels so good.

After a year of working mostly twelve hour days and complete devotion to my employer, they rewarded me with a good performance review and a small bonus.

Instead of saving the money for a rainy day like a good girl would do, instead I went and did a naughty thing, and it looks a little like this:

I certainly don’t *need* an this bit of electronic gadgetry, and yet…the power of the iPad compels me.

Damn those Applearians. They got into my brain again.

Meanwhile I’m already ridiculously attached to my new device.

Just doing my part to help the economy.

There’s a Sucker Born Every Minute

Yesterday at work, I printed a Very Important Document to the shared color printer down the hall. As my company is as cheap as possible, we’re not to use the color printer except for VERY Important Documents, so this was a very big deal.

As I waited for the dulcet tones of the finicky color printer processing my job, a message popped up on my screen. The printer manager was reporting that the “Waste Receptacle is Full”

Um. Ok. I didn’t know printers came with their own waste receptacle, but fine.

I walked to the printer and following the directions on its tiny LED screen. I opened the right flap. I pulled out “tray B”, and emptied tray B of a gooey black tarlike substance, replaced tray B, closed the flap, and heard the printer begin to warm up.

Ah, here we go. My beautiful full color document is just moments away!

“Printer warming up….”

So I waited. And waited. I wondered if I should wrap a sweater around the poor thing because it was clearly really cold if it needed twenty minutes to warm up. I mean, it’s hot like the bowels of hell hot inside our HVAC impaired office, but this little color printer must have a metabolism issue.

When it was finally reporting it had imbibed a hot toddy and was raring to go, I listened again for the sounds of the machine working, filled with happy anticipation.

Another message popped up on my screen. This time is said “Toner is low. Please replace.”



Back I went to the machine and again followed the directions on screen. I lifted the main assembly, figured out which toner compartment was low, dropped several blocks of wax toner into the slot, thus using up the last of the supply, and closed the lid.

While the machine drank another hot toddy and shivered its way back to health, I took the empty box over to the group admin so she could order more.

Finally, the printer shuddered and shook and petulantly spit out my document.

This morning I needed to scan a document. Well that requires the big multiplex copier, printer, scanner, fax, coffee maker, photo booth, lube oil and filter change machine in the breakroom and shared by the whole floor.

I figured I was safe…this was just a scan. No toner or paper or other consumables would be required on this one! Scan, send. Easy peasy!


I walk to the printer, lay my document in the feeder and immediately a message pops up on the screen.

“Scans may not be clear due to dirt on the lens. Please follow the directions below.”

So I followed the directions and I opened and shut doors and flaps, and found a little wiping tool and I slid it down the lens and then I cleaned the whole damn thing up and shut the doors and flaps and waited the twenty minutes and finally got my freaking scan.

The machines. They know. Evidently no one else on the floor will give them TLC, but I will. They line up and come to me for blessings, ministrations and tending to their wounds.

I’m Mother Teresa of Xeroxistan.

Image is a still from the fabulous movie Office Space.

Theme Thursday: Television

Ah but she was a beauty. With a light gray case, she sat upon a wobbly stand, gold tone painted spindly legs that ended in little plastic wheels. The early definition of “portable.”

The dial to change the channels was made of actual metal. It had saw tooth ridges on it. All the better for gripping and turning, I suppose.

The on-off button was also the volume knob. Tug that knob, and give ‘er a few minutes while the tube warmed up.

Soon a clear bright black and white picture emerged from a small dot in the middle of the screen. All three channels plus PBS!

“Karen! Change the channel!” Click, click, click. Turning the channel knob was a tactile experience.

That black and white Zenith was a purchase from the early years of my parent’s marriage. We’re talking 1950’s here. As a child in the seventies, it became a fixture in our living room.

One of my very, very early memories is from being toddler age. I would stand right in front of that television and grip its gray plastic bezel for balance. I didn’t grip too hard, because it would slide off, but just tight enough to keep gravity from winning.

I remember Walter Cronkite. He was giving a news update and showed a fairly clear film clip of soldiers carrying guns. This wasn’t a movie, it was the news.

I didn’t know what it was then, but it seemed bad. Walter’s face was serious. I stared at those men with guns rather intently. This image is still fresh in my memory. It took until adulthood to think back on it, on the timeframe that this must have occurred, to realize it was a news update on the war in Vietnam. I would have been three or so.

That Zenith with the stylized logo, the Z like a lightening flash, electricity zooming through the letters bring pictures to my screen, was where I stood too close to the screen and watched Dick Knipfing present the news of Albuquerque and New Mexico.

It was where I watched Sesame Street and soap operas and the Not Ready For Primetime Players on the first seasons of Saturday Night Live.

In the early 1980’s, my mom made a bold decision. It was time to invest in a color TV. This was long after most of our friends and neighbors had long since brought color screens into their lives.

Mom shopped and compared and finally she and Dad decided on a model from Sears. It had this fancy way of changing channels, you simply touched this little metal nub by the number of the channel you wanted! No turning a knob, simply a quick touch.

It was splendiferous!

And with the incoming color TV, the old Zenith black and white had to find a new home. So we carted it to our “Lake House,” really a single-wide trailer on a permanent concrete pad on a patch of land in Logan, New Mexico.

Logan is on the east side of the state, so the antenna on top of that trailer picked up the stations out of Amarillo. The Zenith black and white now reported ranch stock futures and the market price for pork and sides of beef. It entertained us after a day out swimming in the lake.

In fact, when my folks sold the place in Logan, that Zenith TV went with it. It still worked, by the way, though it took a heck of a long time for that tube to warm up.

They sure don’t make ’em like they used to.

Today’s Theme Thursday is: Television