Over this weekend I got hooked to yet another Social Media activity. I became a member of 500px – a community of photographers all around the world. I have been planning for some time to cleanup some of my best photos and have them online. Now, I got the ball rolling. Just like with this blog, not everything is perfect from the beginning. I still need to spend some more time adding details to the pictures (titles, description, tags), but I am glad I did the first step.
About my gear: I am still at the compact camera level and most probably it will remain the same for the near future. I have a Canon PowerShot SX200IS, the red model and I am very satisfied with it. Unfortunately I managed to get it splashed last summer at Port Aventura and it left a small amount of residue on the inside of the lens, causing a slight distortion in some cases. If you are interested in a review, you can find a very nice one on CameraLabs.com.
Of course, like any self respecting geek today, I also have an Instagram profile. I had it linked in the footer of this blog for a while now and it usually has pictures (more or less serious) that I take during the commuting to work and back, when I take a break or just simply when I am taking a walk with my wife. I don’t always carry the camera with me on these occasions and there is something very satisfying about taking a quick picture and being able to post it online, with links on Twitter or Facebook. This must have been the same feeling the Polaroid owners had with their instant cameras. For the moment I am using my Nexus One phone, which does not have a very good camera, but as I was told over and over again, the composition is more important than the gear, so I’m ignoring the noise in the pictures for now and try to make the shots as interesting as possible instead.
To wrap things up, you can check my photos both on my Instagram profile and on my 500px profile. If you find them interesting, don’t hesitate to leave a comment. I might release the most popular ones as wallpaper sets, so stay tuned.
Today I can check off another item on the “List of things to do in my life™”. I have test drived a new launched car – the new Seat Toledo. I’m not gonna bother quoting excerpts from official reviews – you can find a very comprehensive one in the Parker review for the UK market. I think it was not launched there yet, as the pictures in that review are all of the normal left-hand drive at this moment.
I have booked my test drive a couple of weeks ago, when I receive a promotional email in my inbox (I have participated to a raffle related to the new launch). It’s obvious I did not win the raffle, or the post name would have been totally different. Anyway, I was invited to test drive the new car when the promotional caravan reached the city I currently live in – Sabadell (30 km away from Barcelona), at 9:00 AM.
I was at the local concessionary bright and early, 20 minutes before the announced time and found only peace and quiet. As the moments passed by, without any sign of movement inside the showroom, I thought that perhaps there is another location for the event and I was not aware of it. Or that the normal schedule was from 10:00 AM (as written on the door) and nobody bothered to synchronize the scheduling application with the concessionary time table. I moved round the corner to the entrance to the service area and at 9:02 I was greeted by the view of the caravan: 6-7 cars, with the model name inscribed in broad letters on the side. There was a black one, a dark red one, while the rest were a few shades of grey (not 50 though …).
It took a while for everything to be set up. One car was parked outside, with banners around, a couple were pulled inside a secondary showroom. Meanwhile, somebody who appeared to be the “caravan master” offered me a coffee and some sweets while I was waiting for the test drive to start. I only took one picture of the entire setup (the one below) and it would have looked a lot better if they would have used the dark red car instead of one of the grey ones.
We got all the papers done quickly and started for the chosen car, a grey 1.6 diesel, with 105 bhp, in the top configuration (Style), with a nice cream interior finish and manual gearbox with 5 steps. I was given first a quick tour of the car – the boot/trunk, the folding back seats. I was also invited to sit on the back seat, behind the driver, with the front seat pushed all the way back, to understand that there is enough place for another person there at all times. Then I jumped into the driver’s seat and got through the preparations. I took no more pictures, but I’m adding one from the catalogue:
This image shows the extra option of integrated navigation, which gives a larger central screen, with touch controls.
Because the SEAT official coming with me was in the area for the first time, I was given the freedom of choosing the route and I decided to go two roundabouts away from my office, thus reenacting my normal daily run to work and back home. Of course I appreciated the lack of normal morning traffic jam, that allowed me to push effortlessly to the speed limit of 120 km/h.
Overall the experience was great. The Toledo is a great car and the engine had more than enough power for my normal driving style. I can’t say I disliked something in particular – the ride was relatively short (about 25 km), I did not have to do any special maneuvers (like parking) and the traffic was light enough for a pleasant journey. I am not a great fan of the exterior grey color and the cream interior, although very pleasant visually, stains easily and might require a lot of attention in the long run to remain clean.
I also loved the little details: like the audio controls on the steering wheel, the USB and AUX entries for the audio system, the quality of the sound system, the lack of road noise (both from traffic and from the engine, although I did not rev it too much), the small indicator on the dashboard prompting you to choose the best gear for optimal fuel consumption. I did not appreciate the lightness of the controls (pedals, steering wheel and gear change) until later, when I returned to my 13 years old car.
I can’t say I would buy one, even if I had the money – being the first new car I drove would would require some more tests with its rivals. If I would have one for a week to put through its paces it would be enough to make an opinion But I did enjoy driving it and I would love to be given the occasion again.
Credits: The instagram picture is mine. The rest of the images are from Seat.es and Parkers.co.uk
Recently I got involved in a project that makes use of Twitter Bootstrap and I can say I got very interested in the possibilities and opportunities this framework brings. While I have studied it before as inspiration for a custom in-house CSS framework, it was for the first time I was getting my hands dirty, so to speak.
The result is that I have decided to upgrade this website with a new version built upon Bootstrap. Thanks to 320 Press I could get my hands on a basic theme built with this framework, just waiting to be customized properly. I already got the design completed and I need to start chunking code. So stay tuned for the second version of AdrianSandu.com.
It has been a while since I purchased this domain and I kept putting things on the back burner, promising myself to launch it as soon as the awesome new personal theme would be ready to rock. As you can very well guess, this did not happen. There were always more important things to do, I was too tired to focus, I did not feel like it, bla bla bla – the list of excuses can be compiled into a book called “Procrastination for Dummies”. And it kept on and on. Until today.
Today I decided that I should start following another mindset regarding my website and personal projects and that is: “Release early, release often”. I think it is better to launch something unfinished and polish it along the way than continuing the vicious cycle of procrastination. Then I will continue to tweak it, little by little, until I get to the desired result. This is the reason why the current look is quite bare. Instead of loading a great looking polished theme (there are many high quality ones available for free), I decided to use Canvas from WooThemes, the most customizable theme in their offer. This way I can get my desired look and feel while enjoying the great functionality that has been built in.
Therefore, without any more delay, I welcome you to my new online presence. If you fancy having a look at the old version of my site, you can check at your leisure. Otherwise you can follow me on Twitter. More stuff will come online in the following days (like the About page, more links to my social media profiles). I intend the bulk of my articles to be related to front end web development, web design and other related topics. Next will be entries related to my personal projects and, from time to time (like now), some personal stuff, unrelated to my professional life.