Thursday, September 13, 2007

September is National Preparedness Month

In the USA September is now National Preparedness Month thanks to the disaster on Sept. 11 a few years back.

Everyone (not just US residents) is encouraged to take a look at how prepared you are for an emergency. Would you do OK in a week long blackout like some folks had in 2003? what about if the roads were closed too?

Some good tips are make sure you have an emergency kit including first aid gear water and food (and a can opener to get at the food), a fire extinguisher, cash, prescription meds, matches ...and of course the techy stuff...

  1. Have a radio for communications (at least an FRS/GMRS radio, they are cheap and you can contact your neighbors on the emergency calling channel (#1).

  2. Have a phone that doesn't need power. (an old fashioned touch tone/rotary one with a cord).

  3. If you already have a CB and a GMRS radio look into learning enough about Amateur (HAM) Radio to get a license and pick up one of those too. HAM Radio allows much longer distance communications than either of the unlicensed radio bands.

  4. Get involved with CERT, ARES, RACES, Red Cross, Neighborhood Watch, or some other organization that might be talking about emergency preparedness right now.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Buying a digital Camera

I've been asked by a few folks recently what camera to buy, in most cases the budget is about $200 Canadian and they don't want to have to learn something too complex. Well, with those constraints my opinion is that while you could buy a camera from just about any company in that price range and be reasonably happy if you are just shooting snapshots of friends and family in well lit situations (out doors or with flash in the standard boring on-camera setup) You might as well look at something by Nikon or Canon in that range or a bit higher (up to $350) to get something that you can set a few other options and grow into a little, rather than grow out of too quickly.

Look for one that has A and S (AKA Av and Tv, Aperture and Shutter priority) modes... and one with a setting for ISO sensitivity. These will be the features that make the most impact on your photography. These will give you control over how dark it can be before you need to resort to turning that flash on, which will let you be a little more creative, and get some images that don't look like everyone else's "deer in the headlights" shots.