my buddies at jp morgan

Got another one in the old e-waste basket today. Here is is in all its awesomeness (sarcasm), complete with spelling errors uncorrected.

From JP Morgan Chase Bank
Mr. James Dimon CEO
Address: 2469 Hempstead Turnpike
East Meadow, NY 11554-1155
Email Address: james.dimon.jpmorgan@gmail.com

Attn: Beneficiary,
The United States of America Co-operation Management in Conjunction with United Nation Worldwide are pleased to inform you that you are Among the 10 Winners of our Annual Year Lotto Lottery Conducted in the United Sates of America held on 14th of January 2014.
Your Email Address was Attached to Serial Number S/N-00221 and Consequently Won in the First Lucky 10 Winner’s Lottery Category.
You are therefore been Approved to claim the Sum of Usd$6,500.000.00 only (Six Million Five Hundred Thousand United States Dollars) only payable in wire Transfer from Jp Morgan Chase Bank New York City 2469 Hempstead Turnpike East Meadow, NY 11554-1155. Be informed that every arrangement regarding your payment through Telegraphic Wire Banking transfer has been made by our mangement.
You will have to re-confirm your full information which will be used to set up the account on your name here in the JP Morgan Chase Bank New York 2469 Hempstead Turnpike East Meadow, NY 11554-1155
Full Names:
Your Complete Address:
Scan copy of your personal identification
Direct Telephone Number:
Mobile Number:Present Occupation:
NOTE: That you are requested to claim your prize without any further delay.
Thanks for your Co-operation.
Mr. James Dimon CEO
Address: 2469 Hempstead Turnpike
East Meadow, NY 11554-1155

Email: james.dimon.jpmorgan@gmail.com

From
Mr. James Dimon
Manager JP Morgan Chase Bank.

Things must be really tough at JP Morgan when the best their CEO can do is a Google e-mail address.

Posted in Scams | Leave a comment

working “in camera” and in black and white

going for a rideThis is a second photo from the Lab’s trip to McDonald’s yesterday. Any dog I’ve ever known or known about loves to go for car rides. The labs are no exception. When they know we’re going out, especially my wife, they’ll stand at the kitchen door looking up expectantly. Now that our children are out in the world, their chances of going on a car ride are a lot higher than before. Their chances of rides depend on the season, with the least number and shortest times in the height of summer; we never leave them in the car, even if the air conditioning is running, from July to mid-September.

This photo was taken with the Olympus E-M5 and the M.Zuiko 12-50mm kit lens and is JPEG Large Fine straight out of the camera. The kit lens was zoomed out to its widest at 12mm (e24mm). I stepped back a bit and centered on Ruby, then stepped to my left to pick up Max’s face (Max goes in first, an alpha to the end).

The exposure is a custom monotone, with contrast set to -2 and sharpness set to +1. The gradation is set to high key. The reason it looks low key in this exposure is because exposure is set -1 to drop the background shadows to a rich black. I was able to “pre-chimp” the look using the E-M5’s excellent electronic viewfinder. Going high key in-camera and manipulating exposure in this way gives me the “look” I want without having to play with the exposure sliders in post processing. The only thing I did in post was to crop, scale, and add my watermark for the web.

That leads to my second revelation. In digging into and growing comfortable with this camera, I no longer shoot just raw, or JPEG plus raw. I now shoot just JPEG, specifically Large Fine, the largest JPEG possible. Even with that level of resolution, a 16GB card is capable of holding over 1,800 images. With my style of photography that means I can go an entire week without having to change cards.

It’s interesting how I’ve come around to just JPEG these days. When I started using digital cameras, all I had was JPEG. When I purchased my first Olympus, the E-300, in 2006, I kept to JPEG because I couldn’t afford a copy of Lightroom (back in those days it was hundreds of dollars/copy, not the free giveaway with camera purchase it is today). When I finally bought Lightroom, it was in 2009, and it was marked down to half price. I bought it to use with my E-3 in order to handle my sister’s wedding that October. Once I started using Lightroom I toggled into using raw exclusively. Five years later I’ve just now come back around to using JPEG (almost) exclusively with the E-M5. The JPEG engine in the E-M5, with proper handling, is that good if not better.

Why am I doing this? Four reasons:

  1. Black and White. I started photographing the world in the 1960s with a Kodak Instamatic 104. Black and white film was all my parents could afford in those days, and that’s what everyone in my family used as well (Kodak and Polaroid). Later I learned the value of Tri-X and black and white film processing, as well as how to print black and white. Again, it was cost, as color processing and printing were expensive. Later in life I earned enough to go color (Kodachrome), and digital makes the choice pretty much irrelevant from a technical standpoint. But I grew up on black and white, and learned to appreciate it far more than color. My background includes art, which was pen and ink drawing primarily. And that was also monotone. I choose to use black and white because I’m just that way.
  2. Time. I just don’t want to sink the time into post processing anymore. I’d rather spend the time actually photographing, or if not photographing, then experiencing life in general. I don’t have to use the camera all the time just to enjoy life.
  3. My slow permanent shift from Windows to Linux. I’ve used Linux for decades, and I’ve kept both because I’ve had uses for both. Recently (within the last six months) I’ve been using a “rescued” notebook with Ubuntu 14.04 installed and I’ve noticed I spend a lot more time with it than my more expensive Windows 8.1 Samsung. I hit 60 this year and I hope to continue to be a computer user and programmer until the day I die. But I don’t want to be beholden to Microsoft. Microsoft’s licensing and control is too draconian for me, while Linux let’s me do whatever I want, from installation on up. The rescued notebook has Ubuntu because I couldn’t get another copy of Windows 7 to replace the one it came with, and that had become inoperative. I’m not virulently anti-Microsoft, but after 30+ years (since Apple adopted Microsoft Basic on the Apple ][), I’ve about had enough. With a simpler workflow, pulling the images I want straight out of the camera, I don’t need Windows-only tools (Adobe) for image post processing. Since the majority of this goes on the web these days, the workflow and tools I use are pretty much identical between Linux and Windows.
  4. My final reason is Adobe itself. Their push to Creative Cloud and the dropping of stand-alone tools like Photoshop leads me to the conclusion I don’t want to do business with them anymore. I believe in the power of the web, otherwise I wouldn’t have nor use this blog. But Adobe’s all-or-nothing mentality about Creative Cloud leaves me quite cold and a bit angry, considering how much I’ve spent on both Lightroom and Photoshop over the years. In a way I have Adobe to thank for pushing me to learn how to be “creative” in the camera (like it should have been all along) rather than after the fact in an Adobe tool.

A final comment about the 12-50mm: it seems everyone on the Internet loves to trash this lens (along with the M.Zuiko f/1.8 17mm) for absolutely no good reason other than to attract eyeballs to their web site. I have both and they’re both excellent. I’m here to tell anyone that’ll listen that the 12-50mm is as good a kit lens as you’ll find on any camera of any sensor size for any price, providing incredible utility for both still and video. It’s environmentally sealed, and when on the E-M5, makes for a compact and resilient documentary photographic tool. It’s often asked what single lens and camera would you take if that’s all you could take, and my answer would have to be the E-M5 and the M.Zuiko 12-50mm zoom.

Posted in Labs, Linux, Olympus, Photography, Ubuntu, Windows | Leave a comment

happy birthday max and ruby

ice cream chow downAugust is the birthday month for Max and Ruby. We make a big fuss over them by taking them for a ride in the car to a local McDonalds where we order a vanilla ice cream cone (no chocolate dip, thank you very much) and a napkins. Lots and lots of napkins.

Then we pull over to a parking slot and let the two eat their ice cream. That’s where all the napkins come into play. Keeps the puppy slobber and ice cream drips off the upholstery.

Max turned 14 this year. He’s not the oldest Lab we’ve ever had; that belongs to Katie (15 years) and the grand old man himself, Rhett, who was our first yellow and who lived to be 16.

Max is, however, unique in a number of ways. Max is the oldest lab who continues to want to go on walks. He’s no where near as fast, nor does he cover the same distance when he was younger. But he still goes out, day in and day out. Even when it storms he wants to go out somewhere.

And he’s “trained” Ruby to be just as demanding of a walk. She pushes for her walks just as much as he does. When we all go out together she’s always out front, pulling on the lead, while Max hangs back checking out all the smells.

It’s all part and parcel of owning dogs. We don’t dress them up, or treat them as little humans. But they do enjoy having them around, and they enjoy being around us. We make each other happy, and make life that much more pleasant. And in this day and time, it’s the most valuable gift we share.

Update

This marks my 100th post on Arcane Science Lab.

Posted in Dogs, Labs, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

from my friends in nigeria

I don’t normally pay attention to what lands in my Google mail spam folder. I’ll quickly scan the folder to make sure there are no false positives, remove the occasional few, then delete everything else. But once in a good long while an unusually titled email will hit that catches my attention.

In the past, on my old blog, I wrote maybe a half-dozen posts about some of the wilder and crazier scam/spam emails that came my way. The most creative was the one I received from the alleged estate of Luciano Pavarotti in 2009. That has to be one of my all-time favorites.

This latest hit my spam folder four days ago. From one perspective it’s your typical Nigerian spam email. But the sheer chutzpah in the way the email is written was worthy of a mention, if not a good laugh. Without further ado…

US AMBASSADOR TO NIGERIA
Terence P. McCulley
11 GARKI ROAD ABUJA
ABUJA, NIGERIA.

Dear

I SHALL BE COMING TO YOUR COUNTRY FOR AN OFFICIAL MEETING ON WEDNESDAY AND I WILL BE BRINGING YOUR FUNDS OF $4.5M ALONG WITH ME AS PART OF COMPENSATION FROM THE PRESIDENT OF NIGERIA FOR THOSE AFFECTED IN SCAMS ACTIVITIES IN NIGERIA BUT THIS TIME I WILL NOT GO THROUGH CUSTOMS BECAUSE AS AN AMBASSADOR TO NIGERIA, I AM A US GOVERNMENT AGENT AND I HAVE THE VETO POWER TO GO THROUGH CUSTOMS. AS SOON AS I AM THROUGH WITH THE MEETING I SHALL THEN PROCEED TO YOUR ADDRESS. (SEND YOUR CELL PHONE NUMBER AND THE ADDRESS WHERE YOU WANT ME TO BRING THE PACKAGE).

YOU HAVE REALLY PAID SO MUCH IN THIS DELIVERY THAT MAKES ME WONDER. YOU ARE A VERY LUCKY PERSON BECAUSE I SHALL BE BRINGING IT MYSELF AND THERE IS NOTHING ANYONE CAN DO ABOUT IT.

YOUR PACKAGE ($4.5M) MUST BE REGISTERED AS AN AMBASSADORIAL PACKAGE FOR ME TO DEFEAT ALL ODDS AND THE COST OF REGISTERING IT IS $90 THE FEE MUST BE PAID IN THE NEXT 50 HOURS VIA MONEY GRAM SO THAT ALL NECESSARY ARRANGEMENT CAN BE MADE BEFORE TIME WILL BE AGAINST US.SEND THE FEE VIA MONEY GRAM MONEY TRANSFER OR WESTERN UNION TO MY OFFICER

RECEIVER’S NAME: PAUL NWANZE
ADDRESS: LAGOS, NIGERIA
TEXT QUESTION: FOR WHAT
ANSWER: DELIVER
AMOUNT:$90

AS SOON AS YOU SEND THE FEE MAKE SURE YOU SEND ME THE PAYMENT THIS EMAIL INFORMATION.TO ADDRESS: terencemcculley443@yahoo.es MY FLIGHT IS WEDNESDAY AND I EXPECT YOU TO COMPLY BEFORE THEN SO THAT THE DELIVERY CAN BE COMPLETED. IF YOU DO NOT COMPLY, THEN IT WILL NOT BE MY FAULT IF YOU DO NOT RECEIVE YOUR PACKAGE.

Congratulations!!!
Respectfully yours,
Terence P. McCulley
US Ambassador to Nigeria
Email: terencemcculley443@yahoo.es

You see the email in all its glory, misspellings, grammatical errors, blatantly incorrect facts and UPPER CASE TYPE unchanged by me. If you want to follow-up on this then knock yourselves out. I just wonder how many people actually fell for this and donated the “$90 fee” to this particular scammer. And there has to be enough marks to have made similar donations, because they keep coming across my spam folder, and have for almost a decade.

By the way, the top level domain .es (as in yahoo.es) is Spain. Considering the dire financial straights that many in Spain find themselves in right now it shouldn’t be a surprise to find Nigerian copy-cat scam spam coming out of Spain.

Posted in Scams, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

watching and waiting

watching and waiting

I’m still entranced by cats. Cats came into my life in a permanent way very late for me, some seven years ago. After spending over two decades living with Labs, having cats turned out to be something of a shock. Not in a bad way, but any way at all. I’ve never ever thought of myself as a “cat person,” but here they all are, here and in Gainesville and Tallahassee. My oldest daughter has two and my youngest has one, and considering getting a second as a companion for the first.

I don’t know how it turned out this way, but Lucy, the last to arrive at Casa Beebe, is my cat. She comes into my lap, sleeps next to me at night on occasion, and purrs like a motorcycle when I rub her head. From time to time she attempts to talk to me. She loves it when I pull out the laser pointer for her to chase. When she needs to visit the vets I’m the only one she will allow to take her. She even misses me when I travel, sticking close when I get back from my trips.

Posted in Cats, Lucy | Leave a comment