Review: Canon Powershot SX200 IS

As an owner, having brought this camera to Italy, Spain and the Presidential Peaks, NH, I have had much field experience with this camera.

The Bad:
A grain of sand made it into the lens, causing an annoying screeching noise, which would eventually make the lens literally fall off. However, I easily snapped it back on after blowing on it, and the noise was gone.

While walking in the pouring rain through West Side Park in NYC, I stumbled across a heliport as a helicopter was preparing to take off. I pulled out my camera and started recording. After a longer then expected preparation, the helicopter took off into the sky, but my camera shut off because of the immense amount of exposure to wind and rain. But when I turned it on the next day, the camera proved its durability.

These problems were all caused not by the manufacture, but my own stupidity.

The Good:

This camera has proved, as shown above, its unexpected durability. Its battery life is decent, and the rechargeable battery that is looked down upon by many, proves to be useful and efficient.

Going from a previous 4X zoom Canon Camera to a 12X was quite a jump for me, especially learning that quality comes with the zoom and lens size, not megapixels.

However, the camera’s HD video is actually problematic for me, since it is too clear and high quality to play on my Intel Atom Netbook, as well as other regular laptops I have tried it on. The TV video-out feature is great for this reason.

The flash has also taken some hits by reviewers, and I strongly disagree. Instead of clicking a button and re-enabling it when you need it, this camera allows you to simply manually shut it while you take the photo, and it automatically pops back up when you release your finger.

Speaking of flash, I havent needed it for average nighttime shots. I have been inside without any problem, streets at night, and even Blaze (Pumpkin Festival) and have been able to shoot without a flash.

Overall, this camera has been the best I have ever had, and I think it will be hard to match! Good Job, Canon. I expect to remain a customer if you keep up the good work!

Penpals iPhone App: A childhood dream

When I was younger, I always urged my teacher to do pen pals with another class, even if it was another school in the came county. Today, I have an app, cleverly named, Penpals that has fulfilled my desire to have real penpals from across the globe.

How I find the right people? Simple. Create a creative story asking for their help!

My Example:

Hey! I’m —— from ——- and I’m in big trouble. I bought a banana nut muffin from the local deli and brought it home. Before I could take a bite, it spawned little arms and began to claw at me. I called muffin control and tried everything from a girl-disguise muffin to hiring a ninja to slice it into pieces. Now I’m asking for your help.

The people who reply things like: “Lay off the weed man,” Ignore.

The one’s who play along, continue for a while! I picked one person who I really enjoyed talking to and now we talk in page long messages about the strangest but most entertaining things!

Try it yourself!:

Freelance Writing

Personalized Freelance Letters

To practice my freelance writing, i’m selling personalized stories of at least 300 words each for $3.99 each! Here are some examples.If you would like to help me and my practice, Give it a go! It will be sent to you in an envelope to your address, and all you have to do is give me a sentence to start the story!

A world without teachers.
Elizabeth realized she had made a big mistake moving to this alternate universe because her life had been much better in the universe she came from. She had thought the new universe would be awesome, since she had been born into a world where kids sit for 6 hours a day in school, being taught useless information that would be easily retrievable from your local Wikipedia page. Now, in a world without teachers, she was surrounded by empty headed-primitive minds who couldn’t tell you what 2 + 4 is if their life depended on it. As she walked through the streets of her small Connecticut town, there were no cars. There were no power lines. There were no obnoxious businesspeople talking to angry clients on their iPhones. In fact, there were no signs of any electronics at all. When she had wished for a world without teachers, she hadn’t realized that without teaching, there wouldn’t be most of the technological advancements that she had taken for granted her entire life. In this universe, the only inventions were created by the oddball geniuses that would appear every century or so. Saddened, she walked back to her home, lost in a world without knowledge, and learned to accept it.

A completely friendly and totally not mean message to the people at my bus stop.
I’ve noticed something different about my new bus stop compared to my old, childhood corner back in Lake Grove. Here, the kids don’t speak. They stand on the sidewalk, motionless, until the bus comes into sight. Or that’s at least what it appears to be. But really, these kids slyly creep toward where the bus will inevitably stop.

Their logic goes as follows. If you don’t want to be on the floor for the 20 minute drive, move as close as humanely possible to the predicted location of the door. Because apparently, if you don’t abide to that, the chances of you getting a seat are slim to none.

But really, there’s one door to the bus, and everyone is going to get on it. Plus, believe it or not, everyone is going to get a seat 99% of the time without a problem.
I can’t even describe the looks of hatred I get from them when I walk up to the bus stop, as if I’m the sole thing preventing them from getting a seat!

These children have even been able to move the bus stop from the corner to at least a house and a half away from where it originally was, simply because they walk too close to the bus as it pulls up. If anyone was watching, it would appear as if these kids are very anxious to study in school for 7 hours! As if!
So as a message to my bus stop, and perhaps all others that act this way, please don’t try to act like pigs trying to get food from a freshly filled trough.
Sincerely, the new kid.

The Chameleon Superhero Gangster
This story is a Bedtime story about a Chameleon and was told to kids the ages of five and 4, it has been edited for an older audience so it is more appealing. Also, the words fart and poop have been removed. Lastly before I begin the story, please read this in your mind as if you were from the South Bronx.  Forgive me If it isnt up to it’s full potential – I told it a few weeks before writing it down.

Once apon a wonderful time, there was this Chameleon… And He was just chillin with his girl at some club and he was drunk, but all that doesn’t matter. In the sky, he saw A giant C, but it kinda looked like a S cuz he was drunk, Anyway. He found the nearest napkin and put it on as a cape! (So far, after all that, 5 seconds have gone by) So he, cuz he’s that good, jumped in the air and flew toward the C. When he got there, he saw a giant monster who was all up in his crib. (Note: After this, the spelling errors skyrocket) So the Chameleon was all like: YO! Dawg! That ain’t cool man Come owwnn!, look at what chyo doin! Them people down there, they scream’n and chyo just knocken down them buildens! Dayym Fool! So the monster’s like, Dayym, chyo tellin me that i’m doin somethin bad? Come owwwnn, Look at chyo self in them tights! Yo be dion a bigger favor if yo get a better outfit. Then the Chameleon’s like: Dude, Your tellin me? Your a freaken (Which is apparently a word according to Firefox) green monsta, you be leavin crap all ova the place and yo trowin people like no body’s biyzness! So the Monsta’s like, Foo, you gotta be kiddn me! All WWF talk aside (I’m proud of that) You really tink chyo can take me down? So the chameleon’s like: YO! I Ain’t gunna take chyo crap no more! Imma pop a cap in chyo azz! Lets go! So they went for each other and the Chameleon shot the monster in the leg, but in proportion, it was the size of a mosquito bite. But then the Monsta snapped the Chameleon’s neck with his two fingers. And that’s my story children. So, learn from this story, and know that when a Monsta is attacking your town, don’t rely on a puny Chameleon, no matter how gangsta he may be.

Tisha The Lama
A story of a lama who discovers a new world. The “Anti-World”

On day, Tisha the lama was prancing around his hometown in Italy when he looked into a cave. When he stepped inside he saw something similar to a black hole. Like all llamas, he was curious and he decided to step into the formation. Instead of being sucked into it and squashed into a milligram, he came to the anti-earth. Fascinated by this, he decided to hobble around and find other llamas. When he came across his home in italy, he was fascinated to see that the llamas in this world, they spit beer- Guinness to be exact – shortly after running away in fear, he came across a familiar sight: television. Unfortunately, instead of being flat panel’s, it was cube paneled! Once he figured out how it worked, Tisha put on the news reports. He watched in awe as he realized the world he is now trapped in is distorted in every way he could think of. The BP Oil Spill is now the BP Candy flood, which was making the fish obese and to fat to sell. NYC was a rural village called Long Island All Over Again (LIAOA). New Jersey was a city called Not The Pit Of America (NTPOA). He saw the Iraq war, which instead of being a war, it was a water war. All the US Army came in with water jets and soaked the country – making it fertile once again. Al Quida was a small medieval reenactment organization that was currently in a small feud over equipment possession. Lastly, he saw a few of the world leaders. Obama was a white president who actually did something for his country. The pope was a black pimp who shot a cap in any sinners ass an drove in a popemopimpmobile.
But he had had enough of this world after watching only 3 minutes of the news. So he decided to go to Quohauge Massachusetts where he would find Stewie from family guy living on a quiet street – except for the griffin family’s home, which was blasting a knock off of Donald duck. Once he arrived in the taximosuperquack, he quickly found Stewie in his room working on a proton manipulator that he said, while they were talking on the phoneosomotanalingu, could simulate another black hole.
He said that there was no telling what world he would arrive in, but since it is the anti-world, they would probably go to the anti-world’s anti-world. He pulled the trigger and sent him off. But of course nothing goes right and it brings him to not his world but mars, where there is no oxygen.
Tisha suffocates and dies.
The End.

A guy walks out of a bank.

I wrote a small play for creative writing and there’s no use keeping it locked away on my computer! So why not post it!

[Dimitri, notorious bank robber of Franklin County, NH, walks into yet another bank] [Dimitri] All right, you know the drill, EVERYBODY ON THE GROUND! And tellers, i’m no idiot. DONT hit that pretty little red button under the desk and I dont want to see anything but money go into those bags! Dont worry, i’m no octopus, i’ll live without it.

[Continuing] Oh, and while we’re here, someone turn up the heat! Here I am, coming inside from a below freezing temperatures, and this here bank is so cheap that it cant even turn the heat above 50!


[Dude] Yes. Ok. Sure. Sorry. I’ll listen. There. Done. Getting back on the floor.

[Now really rambling] That’s more like it! Now. [Pause] You know what? Before I leave here today, you’re all going to learn the etiquette of bank robbery. So here’s some life lessons so the rest of you dimwitts dont end up like this guy, about to be knocked unconscious by yours truly.

Lesson 1: When a bank robber moseys on in, you listen to the guy so you dont get shot! Like, even if the guy’s holding a nerf gun, be scared! Those things hurt, man!

Lesson 2: When a bank robber asks the room a generalized question, the closest person [glares at “Dude”] gets up and does what he says!

[Teller 3 starts making impatient and aggravated sighs] [Changes tone and becomes hurt] You people need to learn this stuff! Like, here I am, trying to make a living, and you’re all being so rude to me! It really does get to me, man! You dont understand! You think I want to walk into a bank and risk getting arrested?! You dont know the stress I’m under! Why dont you take that into consideration next time you’re in a bank and someone wearing a mask comes in! Put yourself in his slash her shoes and imagi– [cut off] [Teller 3] Can we JUST give you your money?! I have a 3:30 appointment at the nail salon and I KIND of want to leave!

[Dimitri] Oh, all right. You’ve heard me lecture for long enough. And here, put the money in this reusable bag. I wouldn’t want to harm the environment – even if these bags are made with the same thing as the rest of em……

[Teller 3 is glad to see that Dimitri cares for the environment, so she grabs as much money as possible.] [Teller 3] Here you are, no inks, no buttons, whole 9 yards. We get the money back from the Federal Reserve anyway. And hell, they just print some more out. [Sigh] [Dimitri] DOPE, PCE

[Dimitri walks out of the bank, stops, collapses of a stroke.] [Some guy in the distance] He died on the way to the hospital and left his cash, which was deemed unsuspicious since it was in a reusable bag, which would help his 8 kids go through college and start their life anew.

The Minibot – FRC at 263

Team 263, Sachem Robotics’ Prototype and deployment.

The new bot has two motors, the second is attached to the smaller wheel. Since it has a 2:1 gear ratio, the smaller wheel goes twice the speed.

The last trial runs were:

2.9 – 3.1 range
  • There are no magnets other then the ones inside the motors 😀
  • There is ghetto wiring currently installed on the bot and there has not been any programming set on the controller yet.
  • When the power is manually cut at the top of the pole, it slowly goes back down the pole.
  • It is very picky of it’s center of gravity. The bot will fall off the pole if a wheel is too far in.
  • The wheels were shaved down to the shape of the pole, as well as adding grip to it.
Update: (Febuary)
Our minibot and deployment have changed dramatically while maintaining relatively the same speed. The following video is our fastest, yet unstable model.

Early stages of deployment:
[vimeo w=400&h=300]

Old Prototype:

Update: (April)
See the video of our final version in action, with an Uber tube tied behind our back, for the win.
Copyright 2011, Sachem Robotics