This one looks serious – Tropical Storm Colin?


Maybe I am jumping the gun too fast but after that little bit of rain last Wednesday, I don’t think so. The system is now borderline orange and orange is not very good nor is it too bad. I am not saying the system will form into a storm or hurricane but I am saying am I very concerned. God is not a Trini and ask any victim of heavy rains and winds in this country and you would know I am right. I never liked the name Colin for a storm and much prefer female names like Anya, Latoya, Gabriela or even Wendy for a storm which will make an impression. Lets hope this system will fizzle but it’s that time of year where every possibility looks dangerous.

UPDATE (01-08-2010): According to predictions, no islands or landmass will be threatened except the possibility of the US when the storm might be in a weakened state. All this is subject to change as the hours and days go by.

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Why Buy a Pentax K7


Pentax K7

The price and time are about right to get a Pentax K7 DSLR. Yes, it is still pricey at US$800, but when you consider that in May last year the K7 was introduced at US$1300, an $US800 price is a deal but still not a steal.  It’s the same camera plus two firmware upgrades.  It is the same camera that now has scores of reviews by both real and self-proclaimed experts to judge from. For me, to move from a Pentax K200D to a K7 is what the simpleminded call a no-brainer. An easy choice.

Shot with a K7 - pentaxforums.com

Shot with a K7 - pentaxforums.com

Having invested a poor man’s fortune in Pentax lenses and one Metz flash, I decided to consider upgrading to a K7. So what will I get from a K7 that I didn’t have with a K200D besides bragging rights? The most obvious is the ability to shoot movies at a reasonably high quality of 720p at 30 fps. The K200D was built before the days that DSLRs had a movie mode (Sony DSLRs still don’t shoot movies, and this has puzzled many a blogger for many months). I will get a few extra mega pixels, 14.6 vs 10.2 but that is not a deal breaker. The Pentax K7 has more exposure zones, 77 in all, which makes for more accurate exposures. DSLR owners love to tell others that their camera exposes accurately but say little as to why their photos still suck. The Pentax K7 has a nice 3-inch LCD display and also supports live-view. The K7 is weather sealed with 77 seals, and I suppose the reoccurring 7 in the specs gave the K7 its name. Weather sealing is not to be taken lightly especially if you are the type of semi-pro that shoots in the rain or shower. Similarly priced DSLRs from Canon, Nikon, Olympus and Sony are not weather sealed and require its owners to walk with Ziploc bags or beach umbrellas when shooting in adverse weather.  Pentax claims the K7 has an improved auto-focus system and its image processor has also been vastly improved. The Pentax K7 has a penta-prism viewfinder as compared to the less bright and cheaper penta-mirror types found in the Pentax K200D, Nikon D90 and the Canon Rebel EOS T2i. For the DSLR owner who has migrated from savoring camera specs and moved to photo composition,  the K7′s viewfinder coverage is 100% and not 95% that the similarly priced Nikon and Canon don’t boast about.

Will the K7 produce better images than the K200D? I think it will. Will the K7 make me a better photographer? Only time will tell.

The reason for the drop in price of the K7 can be competition, and possibly the release of a newer model soon. If there is a replacement for the K7 I am sure it won’t be cheap, and it will be some time before it becomes affordable to the masses of droolers. Pentax is not for everybody since it is hard to convince first-time DSLR buyers they should ignore celebrity-hype marketing and instead invest in good photography books and a camera made by Pentax, the company that made the first Japanese SLR in 1952.

Pentax K 7 official Sample video HD

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Tropical Storm Bonnie?


Tropical Storm Bonnie?

Yesterday, Wednesday, it looked like it was about to fizzle. Today, it looks set to hit the  oil contaminated Gulf as Hurricane TS Bonnie. I am no expert but Florida looks safe but not the Gulf.

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Angelina Jolie is Salt but is She Kosher


In her latest movie, Angelina Jolie is Salt – Evelyn Salt, a tight-skirted CIA official who is accused of being a Russian spy. I think the name Salt is well chosen  since common names like Evelyn Maharaj or even Evelyn Kathiravelupillai would hardly attract the traditional spy movie crowd.  The most popular movie spies over the years were characters with simple names like James Bond and Jason Bourne since the popcorn munching multitudes are usually incapable of remembering long names during complex plots. Apart from the traditional spy names being easy to remember, the names usually pointed, in subtle ways, to important aspects of the spies’ character. Jason Bourne sounds like Jason Born, an amnesiac spy who is unaware of his murdering past so he unknowingly becomes a guilt-free, born-again truth seeker. James Bond, a more experienced, gadget toting secret agent tries to bond with all attractive females from several nations in two hours without any diplomatic or emotional fallout.

I can only speculate what the name Salt will have on our subconscious. I suppose if she’s on a table we might think of her as Table Salt or when she gets old and hard, Rock Salt.  In the mandatory Mediterranean bikini spy scene she would be considered Sea Salt. During those steamy love scenes we may think of her as tasty but Salty. If she happens to be Jewish then she will become Evelyn Kosher Salt.

I predict the Salt movies will have a long and successful future because Evelyn Salt will be a great enhancement to the male dominated spy movie world. A sexy female can do little wrong on the big screen with the right skirt and cheekbones.

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Porn in 3D


3D movies are the latest craze to hit the planet with nearly every new, big-budget, special effect movie like Avatar, Toy Story 3 and The Last Airbender hitting the screens in this not so new, lifelike format. Audiences have been lapping up 3D offerings and only a few have been complaining of headaches and nausea while wearing those obnoxious, reusable, germ-filled 3D glasses that smell like an old hotdog. 3D is now available in your home but only if you have inherited a fortune or was into government corruption. Every component needed to view 3D movies at home such as 3D Blu-Ray players, 3D-flat screen TVs and battery operated 3D glasses appeared to be priced to cause permanent poverty but prices are expected to come down as the 3D industry milk those impatient early adopters dry. Recently, the World Cup was shown in the US on a pay-per-view channel in 3D and more 3D channels are planned.

What the industry has been silently active about is what I consider the best use of 3D technology so far and that is 3D porn. 3D makes the images on the screen come to life as the brain is tricked into believing things are in one’s lap. What could be better to propel the porn movie industry than a lap dance on the screen that sends one’s pulse rate from resting to unsafe in one second? 3D technology was meant to make people happier so it is only a matter of time before the entire adult industry goes from boringly flat to nicely protruding.

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RBTT Trinidad and Tobago – Not a Bank but a Fiasco


A Decision Maker at RBTT Trinidad and Tobago

The public’s perception of RBTT in Trinidad and Tobago is no different to that of Calder Hart and company and that is why customers feel heads will soon be rolling at this once great bank turned permanent fiasco. I am writing a second blog post about this RBTT disaster because just this morning at the RBTT ABM in St. Augustine, a woman on the verge of tears said she had no idea what she was going to do and was still unable get any of her salary money from RBTT. It was really hard to ignore her plight but the bank seems to be enjoying it. I assume RBTT does, in fact, have the woman’s money but one of the worst IT screw-up in West Indian history has been preventing her and thousands of RBTT customers from accessing their funds at the end of the month. It takes a genius with the brains of a jackass to plan this so-called upgrade for the end of the month. Fire them! Fire them!

I cannot stress this point too much but the public will feel no satisfaction until the culprits at RBTT Trinidad and Tobago who are responsible for this mindless and heartless act are publicly named and humiliated. Save your pointless, generic, full page public-apology ads for your toilets, RBTT. Does RBTT have any idea how much productivity is being lost because workers have to take time off from work to stand in line at RBTT banks for hours to get their money? Does RBTT understand how dangerous it is to walk around with large sums of cash? Does RBTT understand what this is doing to their business and image? Can RBTT put a cost on loss of public confidence? Does RBTT know the stress a customer feels when he or she swipes an RBTT card waiting for the transaction to go through or FAIL! No, RBTT doesn’t know and certainly doesn’t give a flying green fig about anything but profits and big cars for the boys. Greed and ruthless foreigners will always bring you down, RBTT! Sources from the bank said the problem has not even been identified much less resolved after one week. The stability of a society on the verge of collapse is at stake, and it seems that incompetence is greater in the private sector than in the public sector in sweet Trinidad and Tobago. Can we expect the private sector to turn the economy around? Maybe, but please exclude RBTT.

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World Cup Final Prediction – The Cuteness Factor


German fan

Men and women view football differently. Men look at footballers’ agility, speed and spitting skills when deciding if a player is good and a team is worthy of support. Women, on the other hand, choose a team based on cuteness of players and how good their uniforms are color coordinated. With the amount of upsets and vomiting taking place for  this World Cup I have decided that women may be on to something so from now on I will be supporting teams, not based on underperforming brand names like Ronaldo, Messi and Kaka, but on how cute their girlfriends are and on the sexiness of the female supporters of teams. I suspect the finals will be between Germany and Netherlands and I predict Germany will win since there are now many German immigrants from countries as far away as Brazil giving the German female crowd at the World Cup a big edge over the Netherlands.

p.s. This World Cup is full of surprises and a big one came when atheist-friendly Netherlands came from behind and beat, or more like beat up football as-a-religion-Brazil in a match which left many Trinis speechless except for the words Nether who? and Van what?

Brazilian soccer fan

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The Kindle in Trinidad and Tobago – The Nook, The Bad and The Ugly


I held and cuddled a Kindle in the palms of my hands on more than a few occasions and it made no emotional connection like the paper book it was designed to replace. The Kindle is supposed to be an alternative and an improvement to the paper book but I am not sure if people who are addicted to the mysteries and smells of books and bookshelves will appreciate Amazon’s creation.  I think one of the problems Amazon is trying to solve with the Kindle is not only how to make books more accessible but how to make more money by turning a want into a need. What you can’t do as easily with a Kindle compared to a real book is sniff the paper, ruffle the pages, put dog-ears on them or enjoy the thrill of breaking down a friend’s door to retrieve your long overdue book. I am not sure how resilient a Kindle is to the spilling of rum and Coke or withstanding a leaking chicken roti but most real books survive these everyday occurrences if acted on promptly. If these spills happen to a Kindle it might have to be returned to its makers for evaluation, deodorizing and a hefty repair bill. I would hate to think I can’t read any of my favorite books because the curry went out of control.

The Kindle is affordable to those who can easily afford to blow TT$320 at Movietowne twice a month. For those who can’t see or read too well, the Kindle can read to you in a voice reserved for curing bouts of insomnia. It is easy to read a book on a Kindle and the adults of tomorrow will wonder how people ever read a paper book without audio.  The Kindle is now US$189 down from US$259. Only yesterday on Amazon’s recently acquired popular online store, Woot, the Kindle was being sold for US$149 but those sold out in record time.

A common message in Trinidad and Tobago

The Kindle will work in Trinidad and Tobago as Amazon has negotiated worldwide roaming data charges with cell providers.  In Trinidad and Tobago we do not have the fast 3G networks like some parts of the US and Colombia which means we will have to settle for our books being delivered at not significantly slower times using GPRS/EDGE. What customers and potential Kindle customers in Trinidad and Tobago must also note is that not every Kindle book that is available to US customers will be available to us. Many new bestsellers will not be available and we in the backward Third World may have to wait months or forever to have these books on Kindle. Of the top ten bestselling Kindle titles today, only one is available in our region. Don’t blame Amazon for this but blame the wicked and greedy book publishing and distribution mafia. Also blame yourself for being a Third World citizen. Don’t panic too much as Amazon has made 417,446 Kindle books available to the Caribbean and Latin America. But when you consider US customers can buy around 620,000 books,  you feel you are being discriminated against.  A few newspapers are also available for subscription via kindle like the Shanghai Daily in English at US$9.99 a month and Brazil’s Jornal de Santa Catarina in Portuguese at US$11.99 a month.

There is one very serious issue which makes the Kindle unattractive to US residents and ugly to people not living in the US – the new Kindle has to be shipped back to Amazon to have the battery replaced.  The battery may last years but that is a hope and a guess. I can’t recall ever having to return a real book to Amazon or even RIK to so that I can read it. One other issue with the Kindle in Trinidad and Tobago and most countries outside of the US is that web browsing is blocked probably because of the high roaming data charges, so blogs are obviously not supported via the Kindle in our region. If the Kindle had Wi-Fi, web browsing may have been possible outside the US.

As far as the international market is concerned, Amazon has nearly all of the portable ebook market. Their major competitors in the US is the Nook from Barnes and Noble which is still a US-only device.  The Nook has nice features that are not present in the Kindle such as a colour LCD touch-screen, SD memory expansion, and Wi-Fi. Despite the Nook having Wi-Fi for downloads of books, any attempt to buy books using a foreign IP address or non-US issued credit card will be blocked. We are not a global society as some like to boast and people in the Third World should always know their lesser place. You can also get Kindle books on your iPad, iPhone, PC or laptop but the Kindle is pencil thin and easier and cheaper than an iPad to fall asleep with. Kindle for Google Android phones are supported in many countries but not as yet in Trinidad and Tobago. Kindle for Blackberry is not supported for customers outside the US, including illegal US immigrants who don’t have a US credit card account.

30 million dollar bikini

I doubt I will be getting a Kindle soon since the Kindle doesn’t solve any problems I have or satisfy any cravings except the need to show off. The Kindle is however a good device to travel with since airlines are now charging extra for every ounce of overweight luggage and bookshelves.

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