Costco Photo Centre: cheap, but stupid

So I’ve got the holiday photos, and want to print them for those that like that. I’d used Future Shop in the past, but Costco is offering such cheap prints, I thought I’d give them a try.

Probably a mistake:

  • Their drag and drop uploader is an ActiveX control that only works under IE on Windows. Use any other browser, and you get presented with an old-school HTML form. For 94 pictures, that would get dull quickly.
  • The uploader transmits several images at once. It seems that if any of the uploads should fail, all the files uploading at that time also fail. Uploading a few at a time doesn’t seem to help much; around one in ten files will fail randomly.
  • While the uploader does warn you when an upload fails, it’s up to you to remember which files haven’t worked. Clicking Retry just takes you back to the uploader, and since it’s an embedded applet, there’s no browser history to take you back to note your failed uploads.
  • The albums store files in the order uploaded, and can’t be changed.
  • Long file names get truncated, and then get uselessly used as the title on the back.

Still, I’ll let you know how it all went when I get the prints in a couple of days.

about to be gone

This corner of Bloor & Bedford is about to be gone:

244 Bloor W

It has memories for us, as the first place we stayed when we arrived was just up the road. Breakfast was at Country Style (which became a Booster Juice after the massive Tim’s opened across the road), lunch was from Pita Factory, the daily paper from Gus at the Mac’s, dinner was sometimes at Swiss Chalet #1; all on the same block, all going to be gone.
If you look at the bigger picture, you’ll see that hugin neatly severed a couple of heads. It might smart a little, but with some bactine and gauze, it’ll grow back in the morning.

zeiss it ain’t

fish sculpture

For no good reason, I bought a very cheap ($20) mini digital camera at the airport. Its limitations make it quite fun to use:

  • has the astonishingly high resolution of 352 x 288
  • fixed-focus lens chock-full of chromatic and spherical aberration
  • no display, except for a cryptic 2-digit LCD
  • takes 20 images, then it has to be downloaded
  • grossly inaccurate viewfinder, which shifts when you press the shutter button
  • images have pronounced scan lines
  • refuses to take images in low light
  • weird non-standard USB connector

It is very small, and can also work as a webcam. It also works as well as it could under OS X (use macam to download the pictures, or enable the webcam). Using the webcam does seem to delete the pictures, so make sure you download ’em first.

I’ve made a minicam gallery, which I’ll add to until the novelty wears off.

mother’s day treat: critters!

We were visited by the raccoon family last night; mother and four little ones. Please excuse the ‘painterly’ blur; it’s kinda hard to handhold a 300mm lens for 1/3s exposure. Plus, wee raccoons are speedy little things.

mom and baby raccoon

wee raccoon

wee raccoons

wee raccoon

This one was taken a few days back (of the mother alone) in better light:

mom raccoon