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Archive for February, 2009

Coiba Island and Panama

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Tufted tube blenny (Mccoskerichthys sandae), Coiba Island, Panama

I returned two nights ago from a trip to Coiba Island and Panama with Heidi. She’s just put her travel journal up — I love Heidi’s travel journals, and am going to start just linking to them instead of writing my own. :)

Hong Kong airport | link | trackb | no comments » | Feb 26, 2009 16:58:43

2009 Our World Underwater photo competition winners

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Each year, Wetpixel and DivePhotoGuide runs an international underwater photography competition for the Our World Underwater festival in Chicago. This year, we had some stunning images win:


2009 Our World Underwater Film Festival Presentation from Jason Heller on Vimeo.

Continue reading to see the film festival presentation for the winning videos. (read more »)

San Francisco, CA | link | trackb | 2 comments » | Feb 25, 2009 20:10:00

Leaving again

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I can’t believe I’m leaving again tonight. I’ve barely had time to go through my mail and catch up with basic correspondence since returning home two nights ago. Add to that a gremlin in my car’s windshield wiper software, a leaky sink from upstairs (water damage no good), and standard problems with phone syncing… and Eric is not a happy boy.

Checklist for the rest of today: eat, pack, 2 phone meetings, plus an attempt to get through the rest of my list of things to do.

On the bright side, I stopped by to see Mandy and Elliot for an hour and a half to see their new baby boy!

San Francisco, CA | link | trackb | 5 comments » | Feb 25, 2009 12:10:17

Louis-Michel, AKA Cousteau AKA Abuelo

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One of our fellow passengers in Coiba was a 70-year old French guy named Louis-Michel. In the beginning, none of the non-French knew his name, and we all started calling him Cousteau, which stuck. Cousteau restores antique watches and clocks for a living, and seems to be slightly crazy. He wears stylish Hugo Boss (prescription) sunglasses, and is in fantastic shape for his age. He is also never satisfied. For example, the crew brings out large thermoses of coffee and hot chocolate, and Cousteau responds, “I prefer tea.” Marcelo makes amazing mojitos, and Cousteau fishes out the mint leaves and makes a funny face. His steak is not rojo enough, and the chicken has too many bones.

Neither Heidi nor I were in Cousteau’s boat, but from conversation with his dive-mates, I gathered that he was a handful in the water. Essentially behaving like a remora, Cousteau chose Andrea as his host, which was incredibly entertaining for everyone else. On one dive, Andrea looked ahead, behind, to the left, to the right, and below him, and concluded that he had lost Cousteau. He prepared to do an underwater victory dance, but then paused for a moment and looked directly above, only to discover Cousteau floating there, impossibly close! Hilarious. And if you happened to find a critter? Cousteau would be there instantly. (read more »)

Panama City, Panama | link | trackb | 2 comments » | Feb 21, 2009 22:07:03

Tupai, heart-shaped island near Bora Bora

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The island of Tupai, Bora Bora

I took this photo of the island of Tupai from a helicopter on July 10, 2001. It was my first time to French Polynesia and my only time to Bora Bora. Bora Bora is the most beautiful place to which I’ve been — layers upon layers of blue, turquoise, and green than I could have imagined.

I’d love to go back to Bora Bora now that I’m a real photographer. I’d also love to bring someone there — I’m sick of hanging out in beautiful, romantic places alone or with a bunch of dudes! ;)

San Francisco, CA | link | trackb | 15 comments » | Feb 11, 2009 14:50:51

PalmOS is dead; Palm Pre is coming

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Palm CEO Ed Colligan has announced that there will be no more PalmOS devices released by Palm.

In 1996, I bought the U.S Robotics Palm Pilot 1000, a truly revolutionary product in its time. I was a software intern in Austin, TX, that summer, and have fond memories of coding for the Palm device using Metrowerks’ Codewarrior for PalmOS. Because Metrowerks was in Austin, I walked into its headquarters to pick up my software order; they had it at the front desk — a box with a yellow sticky on it that said, “Eric”.

Finally, on July 12, 2005, I abandoned PalmOS (and all Treo devices) in favor of Blackberry. As innovators, Palm had been stagnant for years, and I just couldn’t stand it anymore. All I wanted to do with my mobile device was communicate efficiently, and the Treo running PalmOS was riddled with problems.

Still, I used Palm devices for 9 years — a significant chunk of my life. I look forward to seeing what Palm does with its new Palm Pre phone. Competition is good. :)

San Francisco, CA | link | trackb | 4 comments » | Feb 11, 2009 14:24:19

iPhoto ’09: new “Faces” feature

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Demonstration of iPhoto ’09′s new Faces feature

iPhoto ’09 (part of iLife ’09) has a new feature called Faces that automatically identifies people in photos. I only use iPhoto as a repository for screen-resolution images that I carry around on my notebook, but it’s been fun to play with. Since my main photo app is Aperture, I’ll be waiting eagerly for Faces to migrate over; given Apple’s history with the application, I’m guessing that it will take quite some time for the feature to arrive. (read more »)

San Francisco, CA | link | trackb | 2 comments » | Feb 11, 2009 03:29:54

My sister

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In response to an email I sent out to my parents and sister:

From: Wendy Cheng
Date: February 10, 2009 2:08:02 PM PST
To: Eric Cheng
Subject: RE: Panama plans for Eric

meow meow meow meow?
meow meow

The strange thing is that I speak the same language.

San Francisco, CA | link | trackb | 2 comments » | Feb 10, 2009 15:09:52

WTF moment of the week

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Related to this post.

San Francisco, CA | link | trackb | 2 comments » | Feb 8, 2009 15:25:16

Slideshow evening at home

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Vienna Teng, Bill Rivard, Natalie Chang, Aaron Logan, Victor

Tonight, I hosted the first of what I hope to be a series of presentations / performances by my community of talented friends. I gave a 2-hour slideshow about my recent adventures documenting Operation Musashi in the Southern Ocean. It was an intimate crowd; about 13 people showed up, which was just about the perfect number.


“Remote” app on iPhone controls Keynote ’09

It was my first time using Keynote ’09′s new Remote app for iPhone. It worked perfectly, but I wish it had an option to go to the beginning of a presentation. The photo above shows the presentation on a plasma screen, but I actually gave it using the projector — everything looked fantastic, except that my Mac Mini couldn’t play 720p H.264 video upres’ed to 1080p within Keynote. Poor computer…

San Francisco, CA | link | trackb | 1 comment » | Feb 8, 2009 03:14:34

Another birthday away from home, Dec 2008

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My birthday card from the Sea Shepherds

Another year, another birthday away from home. I seem to find myself literally half way around the world during the holidays (and this, on my birthday). This year, I celebrated another year of life aboard the M/Y Steve Irwin just as we reached Antarctic waters. There were a string of birthdays onboard, each celebrated with the presentation of a vegan birthday cake, candles, and singing. I will have particularly fond memories of this December’s celebration for years to come. (read more »)

San Francisco, CA | link | trackb | 2 comments » | Feb 7, 2009 17:21:57

Photo show at 1 Samsome St, San Francisco

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Some large prints of my underwater photography are currently on display in the lobby of 1 Samsome St, San Francisco.

I went by today at around sunset to check it out, and it was pretty dark in there. If you happen to be interested in my photography and decide to go check out the building, go during the middle of the day when the light is best.

San Francisco, CA | link | trackb | 1 comment » | Feb 6, 2009 20:09:40

Video demo of MIT’s “sixth sense” project

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Whoah. This is some compelling proof-of-concept video of where computing may go (using wearable computers, sensors, and displays). (read more »)

San Francisco, CA | link | trackb | no comments » | Feb 6, 2009 20:01:10

Vienna Teng’s video, “Gravity”

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Gravity, by Vienna Teng

If you want to know what this video is about, check out Mark Johnson’s notes, which are available on Vienna’s forum. Vienna Teng’s 4th album, Inland Territory, will be out in April and is currently available for pre-order.

San Francisco, CA | link | trackb | no comments » | Feb 6, 2009 00:39:51

Mobile wireless with battery-powered Cradlepoint router

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Mobile, battery-powered WiFi, complete with crazy facial expression

Following Adam’s lead, I purchased a battery for my Cradlepoint CTR500 router, which I use to share out an EVDO wireless connection from my Merlin EX720 card (on Sprint). Previously, I used the setup in my car, using power from my cigarette lighter.

I don’t have a good bag for the setup yet, but I should now be able to have mobile WiFi for 8 hours at a time. This suddenly makes my old Netgear Skype phone useful, and I’ve been carrying it around with me for the first time ever.

UPDATE, 9 Feb 2009: My friend’s Linksys router’s AC adapter crapped out, so I plugged in the battery (they both want 5V). Very useful thing to have in one’s bag!

San Francisco, CA | link | trackb | 3 comments » | Feb 5, 2009 16:59:05

The heart

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I had pretty much forgotten what it was like to miss someone so much. It’s nice to have that part of me back again. (more, if you login here and look into the past)

San Francisco, CA | link | trackb | 9 comments » | Feb 5, 2009 16:24:30

VT Toe Sock Fiasco

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Oh, the antics that happen during late nights…

San Francisco, CA | link | trackb | 8 comments » | Feb 5, 2009 14:24:44

Asian Teen Has Sweaty Middle-Aged-Man Fetish

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I heart The Onion.

AOMORI, JAPAN—At first glance, 17-year-old Misaki Nakajima seems like any other shy and submissive Japanese schoolgirl. She loves shopping, text messaging, and the color pink. But beneath her wholesome exterior lies a wicked secret: Misaki Nakajima is consumed by sexual fantasies involving sweaty, middle-aged American men.

The shy Japanese nymph enjoys fantasizing about fat fortysomethings with excessive neck and back hair.

“I can’t explain it,” said Nakajima, dressed in a pleated miniskirt and pure white knee socks. “There’s just something about American men who are at least twice my age and nearly three times my body weight that totally drives me wild.”

Added Nakajima, “They’re so hot.” [full article]

San Francisco, CA | link | trackb | 4 comments » | Feb 5, 2009 02:29:15

Getting Google Sync to work again on Blackberry

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Like many other Google Sync users on Blackberry, calendar sync stopped working some time between the end of November, 2008, and when I returned to network coverage areas in mid-January. No amount of uninstalling and reinstalling Google Sync had any effect. Luckily, I found a thread in Google Mobile Help that contained the solution. (read more »)

Stanford, CA | link | trackb | 4 comments » | Feb 4, 2009 19:28:45

Mendocino weekend

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Pam and me in Mendocino

I had a really relaxing weekend in Mendocino — the perfect return after two months away. I dropped Pam off at the airport on our way back this morning; she’s off to India on a business trip.

Don’t worry: it’s not an April fool’s joke this time. :) However, this post is private to avoid unnecessary attention… (read more »)

San Francisco, CA | link | trackb | 1 comment » | Feb 2, 2009 22:56:34
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