It’s what you do when you fly into San Francisco; you take pictures out the airplane window, because the city is photogenic. And those of us in the tech business fly in a lot.

Plus, I got a new computer and should say a few words about how it works as a blogging photographer’s platform.

But first, the pictures. I got a sort of a natural zoom as the plane came in from the north.

San Francisco Bay Area from the air
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San Francisco downtown and Bay Bridge from the air
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San Francisco downtown from the air

I bet there are a few people reading this who can find their homes or offices on one of these photos.

The Computer · I recently asked the world which computer to get, and everyone said “Wait, because there are cool new ones coming” but they also said that what really mattered was memory. Also, my last computer was really dogging it and I couldn’t wait. So I got a 15" MacBook Pro with a quad-core 2.2GHz i7 and 8G of RAM and a dinky-but-fast 128G SSD disk.

So far, I’m pretty well in love. Yeah, it’s kind of big and heavy and klunky, but then it has a 1680x1050 matte-finish screen, and my pictures look better than they really are. Plus, when I’m running Lightroom and IntelliJ and dozens of browser tabs all at once, everything’s fine. Plus it has real speakers that can play something not unlike real music.

For most of my life, when you got a new computer there was this honeymoon period when it felt amazingly fast. In recent years, not so much. But hey, it can still happen.

Well, and then if you build your production systems on a cacaphony of open-source contenders, you’re looking at a few hours of pain putting all the bits & pieces together. But you’re not writing any cheques, and (for the moment) nobody’s trying to tell you what you’re allowed to install and run on your computer, and (as they say) the outcomes are satisfying.

Fractal Salt Flats · I’ve done a bit of walking and exploring around the edges of San Francisco Bay, but most of it remains unexplored. This particular bit, from the air, is pretty well pure math.

South San Francisco Bay from the air


Comment feed for ongoing:Comments feed

From: John O'Shaughnessy (Apr 05 2012, at 05:27)

Gorgeous photos. As an infrequent travel to the Bay Area, these photos always bring a smile to my face and warm memories of days gone by.

I've got the same Macbook. Along with the SSD, I replaced the optical drive with a 500 GB hard drive. That way, I've got the speed of the SSD (the OS and most all my Documents and Apps are here) plus the space from the spinning drive for my complete music library, a few movies, and the photos that are not being actively edited.

The OtherWorld Computing DataDoubler is what I used. There are cheaper options out there, but the OWC product is well machined and comes with very clear instructions.


From: Takashi Shitamichi (Apr 05 2012, at 05:45)

Amazingly, I recently bought MBP 15" 2.2GHz, too. As well as you, I can't wait the new MBP.

But .... I removed 4GB mem, then, put 16GB mem, and replaced 512GB HDD with 512GB SSD. Invincible MBP! :-)


From: Bud Gibson (Apr 05 2012, at 06:04)

The computer sounds good to me. If you get jammed, you can up that 8 GB of RAM to 16. You can also up your SSD or put an SSD in an external drive.

I like the salt flats picture the best. The composition on the others was good, but your light wasn't


From: Greg White (Apr 05 2012, at 06:15)

When exploring the edges of the bay, make sure to check out Alviso. Its been a few years since I have been there, but this will give you a good flavor of what it is like:


From: Dave Walker (Apr 05 2012, at 07:46)

Happy new MacBook Pro :-).

I'm running one of the first MacBook Pros you could put 8GB RAM in - a Core 2 Duo from 3 years back - and recently had to replace my HD, as it was starting to give up the ghost after being thrashed running virtual machines.

I went for a 512GB Samsung 830 series SSD; received wisdom is that these are occasionally OEMmed by Apple, and at a mere 7mm thick (the drive comes with a spacer to pad it out to 9mm, if necessary), it'll fit in pretty much anything. If you find that 128GB is too small for your needs, I'd heartily recommend it; even though I can only get SATA II performance out of the Mac (the SSD does SATA III), boot is still blink-and-you-miss-it fast.

I agree that a MacBook Pro is a bit bulky and heavy by today's laptop standards, but I'd sooner have one laptop that I know will take pretty much any job I throw at it...


From: Jim Harvie (Apr 05 2012, at 18:59)

Not that I have any envy, I really do think you made a mistake. If you send me your new Apple I promise to send you my friends Asus…..and I will forgo the consulting fee.


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April 04, 2012
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