sábado, 21 de novembro de 2009

10 Rules for Editing Digital Images


by Guest Contributor

During the week one of our readers – wedding photographer Martin Whitton – shot me a list of his ‘10 rules for editing digital images’. I thought I’d share them today as a discussion starter for readers.
Martin comments that ‘these ideas may seem a little elementary, but sticking to the basics keeps our editing focused, maintains consistency from image to image and keeps our clients happy’.
  1. Tone of space (a room, for example) should be balanced and neutral, with no overall bias;
  2. Blacks (like tuxes) should be black;
  3. Whites (like wedding gowns) should be white;
  4. Don’t over-saturate images (my personal pet peeve)! Final edited image should be representative of what the human eye saw when photographing occurred;
  5. Flesh tones should be realistic and consistent. If he looks red and she looks pale white, something’s probably wrong;
  6. Image should be level or straight. Use reference points within image to determine this;
  7. Fix and remove any “red-eye” issues when flash is used;
  8. Sharpen all images last, and do it sparingly;
  9. Save images based on their intended use; images being posted online can be as small as 500 kb. Images that will be printed should probably be 1-2 mb (minimum);
  10. For easy tracking and identification, rename/save images based on the event, like – “Jane & John Wedding 1”.
These are Martin’s 10 ‘rules’ and no doubt they’ll be debated by readers- what are yours? Do you have any? What would you add or subtract from Martin’s list?
Of course there’s no wrong or right in this as personal style and approach comes into play – but we’d love to hear your thoughts on this!
Post from: Digital Photography School - Photography Tips.
10 Rules for Editing Digital Images

No U.S. Dollar Rally for Now

The Daily Reckoning Week in Review 
Melbourne, Australia

November 16th to November 20th, 2009
By Dr. Alex Cowie 

US Dollar index (the last ten years)

A few weeks back we discussed the possibility of US dollar rally. With good reason. The chorus of the majority is singing the decline of the dollar in full voice. When everyone in the markets is in agreement, everyone is usually wrong.

However there is no sign of the dollar rallying just yet. In fact if you look at the dollar index above (black line), you can see that the US dollar would have to have a considerable rally to get back to where it was at the start of the year.

The red line shows the two hundred week moving average demonstrating the long-term trend. The blue line shows the fifty week moving average which demonstrates the short-term trend. Just like in Ghost-Busters, when the streams cross, it's generally bad news.

It signals a fundamental change. The first intersection in 2003 signalled the start of another five years of downtrend. The next time lines crossed a few months ago signalled the end of the dollar's mini-rally. Now the lines are crossing again, suggesting the dollar is in for another dose of freefall.

The enigmatic Marc Faber is known for his frequently correct predictions of major market events, such as the 1987 crash. He has been making his bearish views on the US dollar clear for some time. He startled Bloomberg viewers a few months ago when he said, "I don't think the US Dollar will be replaced right away as the reserve currency or as the world's most important currency. But I think the importance of the US dollar will diminish, and over time the US Dollar will become worthless. That is a fairly high confidence prediction that I have."

He went on to say, "McDonald's has a better credit rating than the US government. The US government is essentially cash flow negative."

He's not the only one who has his concerns about the falling dollar. This week, Liu Mingkang, the chairman of the China Banking Regulatory Commission had a go whilst U.S. President Barack Obama was in town. He is also justifiably critical of the protracted loose US monetary policy, and the global bubble it is creating.

He said, "The continuous depreciation in the dollar, and the US government's indication that, in order to resume growth and maintain public confidence, it basically won't raise interest rates for the coming 12 to 18 months, has led to massive dollar arbitrage speculation."

China has to take some blame as well. China denied that the Yuan was manipulated when U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner made accusations in the past. Dominic Strauss Kahn, the Managing Director of the International Monetary fund believes that the currency is still fundamentally undervalued.

This gives China an unfair trade advantage. Chinese exports are kept artificially cheap relative to other exporters. Exports are nearly 40% of China's GDP, and the reason why it is sitting on over $2 trillion of foreign exchange reserves.

Not only is the Yuan kept artificially cheap, but it is pegged to the US dollar. So as the dollar goes down, the Yuan goes down too. For all of his diplomacy, President Obama doesn't seem to have changed China's mind about its policies or even to co-operate for the financial good of the rest of the world (assuming it's in the world's interests to see a stronger Yuan).

The response from China has been lukewarm. But why shouldn't it be? The US is hardly in a moral position to be able to lecture on financial management.

With nothing resolved, we can expect the Dollar-Yuan's destructive and co-dependent marriage to drag on. The dollar will keep heading south, and the Yuan will keep trailing it lower. Bubbles will keep growing, and gold will keep glowing.

sexta-feira, 20 de novembro de 2009

Google revela código fonte do Chrome OS



Escrito por Renê Fraga em 20 de novembro de 2009 – 12:08

O Google anunciou nesta quinta-feira a disponibilidade do código fonte do sistema operacional Google Chrome OS. O objetivo é permitir que programadores de todo mundo possam contribuir com o desenvolvimento do produto.
Os primeiros aparelhos a rodarem o sistema operacional do Google devem chegar ao mercado no final de 2010. Desenvolvido para ser leve, rápido, seguro e proporcionar ao usuário uma experiência de uso rápida e confortável na Web, o novo programa é baseado no Google Chrome, navegador lançado em 2008 para atender o novo jeito dos consumidores usarem novos aplicativos e uso da Internet.
chrome os Google revela código fonte do Chrome OS
”Ao longo dos últimos anos, os usuários têm passado cada vez mais tempo online, realizando ações complexas. Por isso, queremos proporcionar uma experiência fundamentalmente diferente e inspirada na forma como navegamos hoje”, diz Sundar Pichai, vice-presidente de produto Chrome no Google.
“Com o sistema operacional Google Chrome, tornamos a experiência de Internet mais rápida, fácil e segura. Embora tenhamos ainda um longo caminho a percorrer, estamos entusiasmados com o progresso que conseguimos até agora e esperamos dar continuidade no desenvolvimento do sistema.”
Principais características do sistema operacional Google Chrome:
  • Velocidade – o Google Chrome OS será capaz de iniciar e reiniciar em segundos. As páginas de Internet e aplicativos irão rodar de forma suave e rápida.
  • Segurança – como todos os programas do sistema operacional rodam online, cada um funciona dentro de uma sandbox segura e tornará mais difícil que vírus e malware afetem o programa.
  • Simplicidade – o Google Chrome OS rodará aplicativos na Internet. Isto significa que atividades como edição de documentos, pdfs, visualização de imagens, etc. serão feitas online, de forma que os usuários não tenham que descarregar nada ou que se preocupar com atualizações para trabalhar ou jogar na Web.
  • Flexibilidade – Se o usuário perder ou danificar o equipamento, poderá se conectar por meio de qualquer outro dispositivo com o sistema operacional Chrome sem perder os seus dados.
Vídeo promocional:

Vídeo-Conceito da Interface

*Com informações do Press Release

The Weak Dollar Crowd Is Too Confident

A warning to all you exposed to the dollar carry trade, either directly or indirectly. A group which includes:
  • Anyone borrowing in USD to buy short-term assets in another currency.
  • Anyone borrowing short-term in USD to buy long-term USD assets, i.e., every U.S. bank.
  • Any U.S.-based company selling their product to non-USD consumers.
  • Anyone invested in a U.S. company who is borrowing short-term in USD and buying long-term assets and/or selling products in non-USD currencies. That is, anyone long U.S. stocks or U.S. corporate bonds.
  • Any U.S.-based investor long any non-USD asset, i.e. any investor in foreign stocks or bonds.
So basically anyone holding anything other than cash.
Below is the intra-day chart on USD/EUR from this past Monday:

What the hell happened at noon? Bernanke made a passing reference to the dollar. That's it. Here's the whole quote:
The foreign exchange value of the dollar has moved over a wide range during the past year or so. When financial stresses were most pronounced, a flight to the deepest and most liquid capital markets resulted in a marked increase in the dollar. More recently, as financial market functioning has improved and global economic activity has stabilized, these safe haven flows have abated, and the dollar has accordingly retraced its gains. The Federal Reserve will continue to monitor these developments closely. We are attentive to the implications of changes in the value of the dollar and will continue to formulate policy to guard against risks to our dual mandate to foster both maximum employment and price stability. Our commitment to our dual objectives, together with the underlying strengths of the U.S. economy, will help ensure that the dollar is strong and a source of global financial stability.
Now really, there is absolutely nothing there that suggests the Fed is going to do anything about the weak dollar. In fact, all he's doing is justifying the recent decline in the dollar. You can think what you want about why the dollar is weak or even whether it's desirable or not. Bernanke doesn't care about the dollar.
And yet with this tiny nod to doing something about the dollar, the euro plummets. Just think about what's going to happen when the Fed actually hikes rates. There are so many dollar shorts out there. We will be looking at the mother of all short covering rallies. And the carry trade crowd is going to get absolutely crushed.
Will this happen this month? This quarter? This year? I don't know. How impactful will this event be on financial markets? I think it will be quite large, although whether that means S&P -10% or -20% or -30%, I'm not sure. I'm also not sure that we don't rise 10% between then and now and only correct back to where we are. I actually think 2-5 year bonds, including Treasuries, are the most exposed U.S. assets, not stocks, but we'll see.
Either way, I'd love to see the Fed make some kind of move, even if it's hiking from 0% to 0.5%, to stem the tide of constant USD selling. The dollar weak crowd is too confident, and all that confidence is what causes bubbles. Alas, I don't think it's going to happen.

10 Reasons to Believe That We're in a Depression

As the economy drifts listlessly going into this holiday season, thoughts of sugar-plumbed call options and zombie companies (Fannie Mae (FNM), Freddie Mac (FRE), and Citibank (C)) are dancing in the heads of day traders, fund managers and CNBC.
Hooray, hooray, everything is OK! Well, not quite. While Wall Street is feasting on the greatest secular bear market bounce in history, Main Street is experiencing persistent and formidable economic famine, the likes of which, have not been seen the Great Depression – which recorded the second greatest secular bear market bounce in history.
10. Look at the macroeconomic data.
Tuesday’s retail sales number, up 1.37 %; excluding autos, were up .2%. The year-over-year number was -1.74%! The world ended September 15, 2008, with the demise of Lehman. Financially, October 2008 was the dark side of the moon, yet, October 2009 still lags? The GPD is in a funk.
9. Look at the market’s technical data
On CNBC’s Fast Money last week, a dazed and beaten Louise Yamada pointed out there are “green shoots” of stock distribution appearing in the market; rising volume on falling days and falling volume on rally days. Additionally, the market’s chart pattern still roughly traces 1932-1941 period. We are near the 1938 bounce during the Great Depression. Money was and can be made in a depression.
8. Look at the market’s fundamentals
On November 6, the Wall Street Journal reported that, with 88% of companies reporting earnings, year-over-year was down 15%. However, earnings estimates by analysts were beaten by 80% of the reporting stocks. Sales are down but layoffs and cost cutting are allowing the market to believe in this Immaculate Conception rally. At some point, currency exchange manipulation by international corporations and lower wages, or fewer workers employed, invariably leads to the destination of painful contraction and negative growth.
7. Consumers
Consumers are toast and retailers are beginning to blink for the holidays. The housing index is rolling over; flat in November at 17, revised downward in October from 18 and September recorded its high of 19 since falling down into single digits. Wednesday morning, housing starts showed a drop of 10.6%, on a seasonally adjusted annual rate, to 529,000 units. In 2006, housing starts were closer to 2,000,000 units. Unemployment is 10.2% ( for U-3; for U-6, the unemployment figure is 17.5%), the housing ATM machine is gone, wages are weak (except on Wall Street) and the market rally has helped institutions more than retail. Credit card lines of credit are truncating, loans are for those who don’t need them and many consumers are too gun-shy to use credit if they could.
6. Municipal Governments
John Maudlin latest piece did a brilliant job dissecting the bleak future of state income shortfalls. A jobless recovery with missing sales taxes will create at minimum 10 more California fiscal basket cases in 2010. The first round of stimulus money actually bailed out states – that’s why new job creation was so muted. Municipal defaults will emerge next year to terrorize investors.
5. Federal Government
Washington doesn’t have the stomach to break up banks that are too big to fail and to seriously reregulate the financial industry. The reverse merger of Washington DC by Wall Street in 2008 makes this so. Much of the financial products that the feds have guaranteed, to the tune of $24 trillion, are so complex that they are only understood by their creators - the borrowers. This ensures that we can sweep our current problems under the rug today to inflict more pain tomorrow. Even if we do not bring back mark-to-market anytime soon, at some point the battered dollar will force interest rates to rise and drive the economy down. Also, certain people in high places need to be replaced. Sadly, they will keep their jobs.
4. The global economy
Countries are diversifying away from the dollar and into gold and other hard assets. So should we (SGOL, SIVR, GDX, GDXJ, IAU, and GLD). They recognize that our fiscal and monetary policies are out of whack and no one in the US, either businessmen or politicians, is putting country before profits or reelection. This is the mindset that formed the greatest generation. South America, circa 1980s, here we come. Also, many countries are recovering faster than the US because their actions in the crisis aimed at repairing their economies, not individual companies.
3. Baby Boomers and retirement
Baby boomers who’ve lost jobs in this period realize their chances of finding one last job before retirement, at their last income level, are extremely low. The “severance package” class of unemployed, and the employed but leery worker, will not return to their previous spending habits. Years ago, they were told to save long-term in the stock market through index funds and to dollar-cost average, to buy more real estate you they could afford because both stocks and real estate rise over time, to fund their retirement accounts and buy company stock, to trust municipal bonds, and they would be alright. Unfortunately, as they near retirement, too few baby boomers are alright.
2. Income and wages
Either global competition, or inevitable draconian changes in fiscal policy to address our growing federal debt, or both, will reduce US wages for many years to come. To increase productivity, wages have been flat for the past 10 years. It was masked by the irrational stock and real estate markets. Without America discovering the “next new thing” our previous standard of living will accelerate downward. State and federal governments will desperately tax income sooner rather than later. These factors enhance the chances of the next leg of our depression.
1. The 21st Century
Every champion, eventually, must retire from the ring. The US is no different. And that is the primary reason most professionals have gotten some portion of the last three years wrong. Any data set from the 20th century is obsolete without significant adjustments. Linear extrapolation of historical patterns of growth, revenue, and consumption, without correctly modifying credit, demand and demographics, plus the impact of technology, domestic tariffs and regulations, and Realpolitik, is like placing a compass inside a magnetic field. Good luck.
No one can take away the fact that America owned the 20th century. However, in the 21st century, cheap land, cheap labor and a younger demographic profile, suggests that in 20 years, the reins of power will be in the adolescent hands of a rapidly growing Asia. So, we invest in their currency (CYB, ICN, and BZF), finance their growth (DRF), and sell them the raw materials (DBN) that they will need to build tomorrow.
For now, besides military weaponry, our number one export is entertainment (DIS).
Disclosure: Long GLD, SIVR, SGOL

domingo, 15 de novembro de 2009

#148 No Agenda For Sunday November 15th 2009 Adam Gets Kicked Out

#148 No Agenda For Sunday November 15th 2009
Adam Gets Kicked Out

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