Five Things I'm Diggin' - 10/12/13

Haven't done one of these for awhile!  But here goes.

  1. Sigma 17-70mm lens - I decided I missed the convenient focal length range of a kit lens, but I wanted a lens that was faster and had better image quality that a typical kit lens.  The Sigma is exactly that, and a little more.  The focal length range is perfect.  The combination of relatively fast aperture and image stabilization means it eats low light for breakfast.  It's very sharp for a zoom and takes nice portraits with pretty bokeh.  And on top of that it does a bit of macro.  I used it exclusively on my photo tour of Moody Mansion and never felt like I needed to switch lenses.  This lens has relegated some of my other lenses to more specialized purposes.

  1. Sierra Designs Drifter jacket - I bought this rain jacket several months back thinking it would be a good idea given how much it rains in Houston.  Little did I know this spring and summer would be so dry!  But it got a hellacious workout on my vacation where it poured almost non-stop for several days.  The jacket keeps the water out, that simple.  Also, I should mentioned that my Lowepro DSLR Video Fastpack 250 AW that I called out in an earlier Five Things post kept my camera equally dry in the deluge.

  1. Microsoft OneNote - I can't live without this tool!  I use it to keep all my work and personal notes, to organize my thoughts, to gather related documents together, and to flesh out personal and professional ideas and designs.  Its best aspect in my opinion is it's integration with other Outlook tools and the fact that everything is searchable.  Now, if I could find a reasonably priced mind mapping application that had OneNote's integration, search, and file organization capabilities, then I would probably switch to that because I really like the ability to structure notes that mind mapping provides.  But until then, this is the best tool I've found.

  1. DoggCatcher - I've mentioned that I'm an avid podcast listener.  Well, DoggCatcher is my podcast player of choice.  It works well.  I particularly like its download options, which allow you to optimize the process for your storage capacity, network connectivity, and battery power levels.  But it's not perfect:  The rewind/fast-forward are dreadful.  Actually, maybe that's been fixed.  I wouldn't know because my (not so) smart phone (Samsung Galaxy) can no longer download apps and I can't figure out why!  Suffice to say the Galaxy won't be making a Five Things post any time soon.  But I digress.  Despite a few flaws, DoggCatcher is a good little app.

  1. Edison - My dog is in his twilight years.  He's been an almost perfect dog, really.  Loyal, loving, gentle with friends and family but imposing to strangers, and unfailingly up-beat.  For a large dog, he's lived a long life, but sadly I don't think he's got much left.  His hearing has diminished considerably.  Worse, his back legs are arthritic and they've become very weak.  He has a hard time getting up, but once he is up he seems fine.  Surprisingly energetic in fact.  We had a scare a few weeks back when he was unable to get up at all!  I thought that was the end, but I held off taking him for a final trip to the vet.  I'm so thankful I did because he was back to his normal self the next day.  I think that he probably overexerted himself trying to run after a cat or something.   But the whole thing made it very clear that there will come a day when getting up will be too much of a struggle for him and I don't look forward to that.  For now, I'm reminded of how much I dearly love him and I'm enjoying the time we have left together.