Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Happy 2013!

So, we're still here, and the U.S.A. is more-or-less over the fiscal cliff because the Congress was too busy the last two years.

I noticed that gasoline prices were increased about $0.20 per gallon in just a few days.  I expect refinery executives needed extra party money for New Year's Eve.  Perhaps, they'll drop a bit but given the cold here, I expect that the prices will continue.  Thankfully, I use natural gas to heat.

Since the world didn't come to an end, I hope people have a plan to pay for Christmas gifts.  I would imagine that credit cards have been increasing their rates, so it's infeasible to carry a balance.  In many states, credit is barely regulated.  I wonder how many lost their cars to title loans, while trying to afford Christmas gifts.  I'm so cynical but it always seems that there are people to take advantage of other people.  I suspect 300 years from now, there will still be a few people taking advantage.  Congress will have reformed by then, I hope.

Technology is continuing to advance.  I noticed recently that Samsung et al. were fined for price fixing of some components.  I'm not sure how they can continue to do this and not be banned from the market for a period of time, but it probably has something to do with consumer demand needing to continue.  For all the demand, has anyone's economy improved since 2008?

I noticed DPReview's Camera of 2012 poll has finished:

  1. Olympus OM-D E-M5
  2. Nikon D800
  3. Canon 5D MkIII

The results were rather surprising, considering that DPReview has been rather anti-Olympus past the E-1.  I'm not exactly as thrilled with Olympus as I was in 2004, but everything changes.  Nikon and Canon have definitely become better than they were in 2004 and Olympus is, for the most part, worse.  The E-M5 (E-PM2 and E-PL5) has certainly changed opinions with its image quality.  I'd say that people who voted recognized this, as it takes a 135 format frame sensor to produce clearly noticeable differences.

The rumor is that Olympus will produce a replacement for the E-5 by the end of 2013.  That seems reasonable--it's been three years.  The body is apparently not a Four-Thirds body but micro Four-Thirds with a smarter adapter to enable Four-Thirds lenses to operate at full capability.  My only concern is that they'll provide an OM-D series body that is far too small and slippery.  If the adapter works on the Panasonic GH3, I'd be much more happy, especially if the adapter is ready (and available) ahead of the new body.  Of course, if Olympus produce a body like the E-1, I'd be at home.

I saw that Volkswagen have given in and are selling hybrid vehicles now.  The Jetta and Touareg (I saw a news report that the Tuareg people were fighting.  Does that sell vehicles?)  have hybrid versions.  It's amusing that a vehicle with 380 horsepower (what is that in reindeer power?) should be focused on economy or that 24 mpg highway would be an accomplishment.  Don't people with US$50,000 have unlimited fuel supplies?  I was hoping for diesel hybrids but I suppose that would take much more time since no one else is doing it.  Many people comment that hybrids produce a herky-jerky mobility that's an unhappy compromise.  I can't imagine that so many bought such a vehicle.  Of course, I didn't realize at the dealership that my 1999 Golf would be a constant source of trouble.

I'm so glad I bought snow tires, but I haven't been through the fallen snow so much, as the scraped road that still has snow and ice.  The tires perform well, but what works really well on ice, a tank?  I'm really loath to go into the cold anyway, but I can't hibernate forever.

I had considered driving to Los Angeles, California for Christmas to enjoy something different, and my buddy the singer-songwriter replied to me that he was possibly going to be out on tour with someone until the 22nd.  I guess Christmas Day is not on the 25th in Los Angeles.  I would have missed all the lovely weather here anyway.  Prior to the 31st of December, we'd had nearly half of 2012's snowfall in one week's time.  The 31st's snowfall was lovely indeed, but I'm sure we're going to have a covering every week until April.  It's a great thing, despite my dislike for winter--we need the moisture in the ground.  Having brown lawns as early as July just isn't good.

I hope that 2013 will be an incredibly wonderful year for all.  I don't need surprises but a steady decrease in problems would be appreciated.  Being able to go where I want would be a wonderful advantage.

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