who were the 2010 super ad winners?

Congrats to the Saints for the win tonight, but who was the real winner in the ad war? Well, my opinion may not matter, but what do you think? Even if you didn’t see the game, you can still see the ads at youtube. Below are my thoughts and who i think were the winners this year.

First, I noticed that Sprite and 7up were not in the ads at all this year. Hyundai had a strong showing this year, and there was only one U.S. car maker in the commercials, Dodge (I assume the U.S. government-owned GM needed to spend its money a bit more wisely, so no Cadillac this time.)

Another trend that I piked-up on this year was the one of lifetime progressions. Cars.com, Dove, Dodge, Google and Monster.com all used the lifetime progression to sell their products.

Last thing I thought was that Bud Light seemed to be running on empty. One, there were fewer ads from them and nothing really hit me as great. What did you think?

Now for my winners. Bud Light, Budweiser, Coke and Doritos seemed to have the most ad dollars this year and to me, Doritos (Underdog), Budweiser (Bridge), Doritos (Snack Attack Samurai), Hyundai (Brett Favre), Coke (Hard Times), Budweiser (Fence) were clear winners. And for the loosers . . . Boost Mobile, Go Daddy, Taco Bell and 2010 Census (thanks for spending my money wisely though).

Please note that I did not consider any CBS or Movie ads in my thoughts, although the Leno, Oprah, Letterman ad was a good laugh.

In all, the days of crazy, great ads like the lat 90’s really seem to be over with. Please feel free to share your thoughts. What were your favorites and the ones you pan—and were you really offended by the Focus On Family ad that had Tim Teibow and his mother in it? One thing for sure is i registered to get a free pair of pants. I’ll let you know if I actually won a pair tomorrow.

See the ads on youtube.com/superbowl.

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the decade in review . . .

OK, I admit that this is really not a design post, but I am interested in your comments as to what the biggest tech, social and overall story was for the past decade. Let me take you back a while and help jog your mind.

In somewhat chronological order here are some bullet points on what went on in the past decade. Sorry if these are more U.S. Centric, but you get what you pay for. In the end, post comments as to what you think were the top stories of this decade. I am interested in your thoughts, not just politically, but also tech-wise.

  1. Y2K or Bust
  2. Tech stock bubble bursts
  3. USS Cole is attacked
  4. Human genome deciphered
  5. Mad Cow Disease
  6. NEAR spacecraft becomes first to orbit an asteroid
  7. “I Love You” computer virus
  8. 2000 Election (the year of the hanging chad)
  9. 9/11
  10. iPod debuts
  11. 3 megapixel cameras
  12. I.R.A. Disarms
  13. U.S. attacks Afghanistan
  14. Anthrax
  15. Enron
  16. Shoe bomber
  17. U.S. attack Iraq
  18. D.C. Sniper
  19. Saddam Hussein Captured
  20. Space Shuttle Columbia explodes on re-entry
  21. Spain terrorist attack
  22. Google goes public
  23. WiFi
  24. Olympics return to Greece
  25. Water on Mars
  26. SpaceShipOne
  27. Pope John Paul II Dies
  28. Web 2.0
  29. iPhone
  30. Hurricane Katrina
  31. HDTV conversion
  32. Mars rovers land on Mars
  33. Saddam Hussein convicted and hung
  34. Green Movement
  35. Hybrid vehicles
  36. Facebook and Myspace
  37. Bill Gates steps down from Microsoft as CEO
  38. Pluto loses its status as a planet
  39. Cloud computing
  40. HD-DVD vs Blu-ray
  41. Bejing Olympics
  42. Twitter
  43. HDTV conversion 2
  44. Housing bubble-Credit crunch
  45. Barack Obama elected president
  46. Stock market crash, DOW to 6,547
  47. HDTV conversion 3- . . .
  48. M.J. no more
  49. H1N1
  50. Hubble repaired for last time
  51. Water on the moon

Remember to post a comment of your thoughts.

A Canon T1i Review

Canon T1i

This past weekend I went out and purchased my first DSLR for personal use.  After weeks of reviewing DSLR camera’s I settled on the Canon T1i or 500D as it is called in Europe.

Ever since I was a Freshman in High School and even before then, I was interested in photography. I will never forget taking my first summer school class as an incoming freshman in photography and really falling in love with the art and the mechanics of it all. Naturally I borrowed equipment from my Dad (which I am sure was from the 1960’s), and soon after was able to invest in my first SLR after mowing enough lawns. I really learned the art through Black and White photography, and then decided to minor in it in College, where I tried my hand at large format Black and White. Soon after graduation from college and making even more money, I bought my first New SLR, the Canon EOS elan IIe (I am looking to sell this if anyone is interested). This was 1999 and still the era of 35mm film. Digital however was making its ways into the scene, but I just bought what was a revolutionary eye tracking SLR camera. (I wish I had waited a few more years). A few years later I have a family and am on my second house now. Money isn’t flowing like it once was as a bachelor, so research was king in my decisions when looking for a new SLR, now a DSLR. This brings me to the actual point where this past weekend I bought what I hope to be the camera that will help me revitalize my love I had for photography.

For those who do not know, the T1i has two close cousins in the Canon Family, the 50D and the 5D Mark II. The 50D being the closest cousin to the T1i. Originally right before the news of the T1i, I was looking at purchasing the Canon XSi in which a friend of mine had purchased earlier. However, the news of the T1i peeked my interest for several reasons. First, it was new, it had to be good right? OK, it was the fact that this camera was the first sub $1,000 Canon DSLR with the DIGIC 4 image processor, which has lower noise, faster frames, and the capability of doing high definition video. Second, was the price point. I wanted a camera kit (with lens) for less than $1,000. Sad to say, but the 50D was out of my price range from the start, and that was without the lens, plus no video. Third, 15.1 mega pixels. I know, the marketing hype does work somewhat for me. The more mega pixels the better right . . . well, in this case, it is a larger sensor, so I was OK with a couple more mega pixels. Last, it was a Canon. I looked at all the competitive models, Nikon, Panasonic and Sony, but came back to the Canon, because I knew the interface from my previous job, which had a Canon EOS XT, and the fact that I had one previous Canon EF Lens from my Elan IIe days. To me, research showed me the Canon T1i was my next camera.

Images Review
Let me start this section with a little background. I think the first photo on every camera should be a picture of a flower, why, well, is shot decently, it will look nice, show the camera’s tonal range, image sharpness, show depth of field, lens bokeh, and in my case let me know that the camera is working properly. In my case, after close review, I noticed several red dots on each and every photo I took, and in the exact same spot. After a lens change/cleaning, and numerous sensor cleanings, I realized the red dots were due to dead pixels on the sensor. All said and done, I was able to return mine for a new one with little questions asked.

After all said and done, the images are were very clean with the auto focus and manual focus working very well, even in lower light conditions. I tend to shoot in aperture priority as I like to be able to compose my shots more than one with a point-and-shoot camera would. The camera was quick and responsive, as well as accurate when using the auto white balance. Some people have complained about soft images, and reporting that the lens is not that great for such a high mega pixel camera. I am not sure that that is a sound argument in that, One, there are smaller sensor point-and-shoot cameras with tack sharp images, and might I add, smaller, and cheaper lenses. And two, depending on the AF mode you are in, and a whole host of other variables, sometimes manual focus is just better.

In all, I am extremely pleased with the images I have been able to make with this camera and lens kit. Even when testing this camera in several ISO ranges, the images showed little to no noise, and vibrant color.

The Video
I will be the first to admit that the Video feature is an extra for me on this camera. I wanted the camera more for photography than video. It is in an essence, and extra feature that when I need it will be great to have it. That being said, the Canon shoots two different rates of HD video, 1080p 20FPS and 720p 30 FPS video. The problem is, the 1080p at 20 frames per second is practically unusable and a huge disappointment once the action or camera moves. There is a lot of jitter once something happens to move. I guess this would be great for still life or slow life movies, but then, why not use a still image if nothing is going to change? I think Canon in their infinite wisdom missed out on the “Full HD” idea. It needs to be usable. I would wish for an update to 1080p at 24 FPS, but I will not hold my breath on that.

The 720p at 30 FPS video on the other hand is sharp and very usable video. I think the average video user will be more than happy with this configuration. I found very smooth panning was able to be accomplished, and moving objects did not have the same jagged, stuttering feel to them as in the 1080p video.

Some overall drawbacks I noticed was the auto focusing noise on the video and the lack of an audio input jack. To start, The auto focus is a bit strange coming from a camcorder. Each time you want to focus using auto focus, you need to press and hold a button. This then makes the lens motor activate, and become a noise on the video because the microphone is placed near the lens. I have hear that if the lens were a Canon USM (ultrasonic) lens, this might be less of an issue. In any case, I think manual focus is a workaround for this for the time being until I test some other methods and/or lens configurations.

As for the sound input methods, there is only one, and that is the mono pick-up microphone that is on the front of the camera. This comes to a little disappointment to me, because like I said the video feature is a nice odd-on feature for me, not the main reason I bought this camera. The sound is, well as good as mono sound will be. It works, but could and will be better as future camera versions evolve.

In my overall viewpoint, the video features need some work from Canon. I would not buy this camera for the video. This is first and foremost a still camera with video capabilities. If you are looking for video first, look elsewhere.

Final Thoughts
The Canon T1i is a great camera with extensive options for the amateur to the pro. With the wide assortment of EF and EF-S lenses able to be used, one could go broke quickly. The camera is a little light for my taste, but adding a vertical grip to the bottom gives a weight that is more hefty. The lens that comes with the camera kit is a basic intro lens. I wish that it was a USM lens, because this lens is a bit noisy audibly. The lens is however image stabilized (IS) which is great for those without a steady hand, or shooting action. The camera will also work with several other Canon IS lenses giving you options galore.

The color reproduction is accurate and vibrant and with the new DIGIC 4 image processing chip, low in noise. I find that shooting indoors at iso 800 and no flash will still produce great looking natural images. The white balance also works fairly well, but has some limitations. This is where the custome white balance feature shines. With a few clicks you can have every shot looking closer to the actual lighting you see through you eyes.

Finally, I think Canon did a great job in making a sub $1,000 camera a hit. Personally I love it, and plan on keeping it for some time as I get back into photography. I would consider this a pro-sumer camera that isn’t too hard for a knowldgable amateur or professional in need of a lighter street camera.

RIAA says Happy New Year, now pay us!

Here is a prediction for the new year. The RIAA is going to sue more people.

This morning, I read an article in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel about how the RIAA wants the courts to interpret the idea that making digital music files from CDs you own illegal. We all know distributing that music to others through dubbed CDs and file sharing is illegal; but did you know that the RIAA wants people like myself to pay them for making a digital copy of CDs I own (so that I may use them with MY iPod and Roku Labs Soundbridge). I still have all of the CDs in plastic bins in my basement, but in the eyes of the RIAA, I am breaking the copyright of the CDs in my basement.

Let’s face it. File sharing of copy-written work is illegal, and should not be condoned. If you do it, stop, IT IS STEALING! Instead, buy DRM Free music from iTunes, Amazon.com and Wal-Mart (still does not work on a MAC!). In turn, I ask the RIAA to let the majority of honest consumers who payed for thier music cds to be able to digitize them so that they may use them the way they want to for themselves. CD Players will soon be dinosaurs, like the record players and 8-track tapes of yesteryears. I understand technology has opened up new opportunities for pirating music. But if you make the music, and even movies DRM free and useable over multiple platforms, people may, I venture to say, discontinue stealing music and movies. Unfortunately, the RIAA is only trying to make a new revenue model out of old technology instead of embracing the new technology and using that as a new form of revenue.

Sad to say, but my music purchases and listening have gone way down since it became harder to listen to what I want, how I want to. That is why I listen to more podcasts and only look for DRM Free music now when shopping, because those content producers are embracing the technology. Maybe the RIAA will see the light, but somehow I doubt it!

mad about march madness

A few months ago my wife and I decided to get an HDTV and step into the HDTV world with a somewhat blind eye, not knowing what to expect in programming. We soon found that HDTV was great! Crisp clear and for us sports fans, almost as though we were at the game. We watched the NFL playoffs, mainly on FOX and some on CBS but noticed, that CBS was not always in HD. Strange, because the competitors to CBS were broadcasting in HD and the majority of the CBS shows are HD; but I chalked it up to HDTV still in its infancy. We then watched the Superbowl in HD (on CBS) and saw how great HD is and will be for sporting events.

Now though, it is time for the March Madness to begin, and CBS with its infinite wisdom decides to screw-up the largest captive HDTV programming event of the year. If you don’t know what I am talking about, I am refering to the lack of HDTV broadcast of the 2007 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournement. And screwing it up they are doing….

I figured that with such a captive audience they would want to showcase how great CBS is in the HDTV sports realm, but it was evident someone fell asleep during a board meeting on broadcasting the largest sporting event of the year in HD with no problems.

Me being from Wisconsin, and particularly Milwaukee, thought I would sit down and watch the Marquette-MSU first round game in HD. It started in HD and then all of a sudden it was in SD (Standard Definition) , oops, then back in HD… oops, then back in SD. All throughout the game it was like this. I know it was being broadcast in HD because I saw it with my own eyes! Time and time again this happened, and then I switched the channel… No, not because Marquette was getting waxed on the court by MSU but I could no longer stand the lack of quality service CBS was providing.

What kills me is when I have my HDTV with HD Service watching a basketball game that is advertised in the beginning of the game as “Provided to you in HD” and yet I only get it in SD. It just makes me mad that CBS is doing this, and can’t seem to get it right!

The short of this long rant is let CBS know how horrible the service is. Maybe when they decide to advertise a game as being in HD they might provide it in HD…

CBS Television Network
51 West 52nd Street
New York, NY 10019

Main Number:
(212) 975-4321

or send an e-mail complain online at: http://www.cbs.com/info/user_services/info_faq_contact_us.shtml#