More About John

Last Updated: Sun. 8/19/2007

 

Digital Photo History
 

Way back in 1993, I created my first digital photo.  It was done using leading-edge personal technology of the time... absolutely ancient by today's standard.  The primitive hardware was a hand-held scanner, providing 300-dpi resolution in 8-bit black & white.  Needless to say, the quality was crude at best.  But it was better than nothing.  The world of computer text was not enough for me.

3 years later, I got the opportunity to upgrade significantly, to a 1200-dpi, 24-bit color, flat-bed scanner.  It used a SCSI adapter too.  So the data transfer was surprisingly quick.  Good thing too, because that was the start of the digital photo album for my family.

The summer of 1998 was when the fun really kicked in.  I replaced that scanner with a new flat-bed capable of 36-bit color and 2400 dpi resolution.  No more sacrificing of quality.  Colors appeared somewhat faded, bright areas left subtle streaks, and shadows washed out detail with the other.  The new one handled the less-than-ideal photos so much better.  Considering how many decades the scans will likely survive (a rewarding long-term investment), the improvement was easy to justify.

The next year in 1999, I bought my first digital camera.  I could finally avoid scanning by not using film anymore.  The 3 bird photos on the previous "About John" webpage came from that purchase.  The 2.1 megapixel resolution was actually surprisingly good.  Light sensitivity was the only real problem, since 100 ISO was all that was available back then.

Just 1 year later, I already got my next digital camera.  That made the original a great hand-me-down for a family member, especially since they were surprised how nice the over 1,700 digital photos I had taken with it turned out.  This new one was a 3.3 megapixel with far quicker shutter-response and an ISO up to 400.  That is what the first large chunk of the Prius photos in my album can from.  I had left the 20th Century behind and it felt wonderful.

2002 was when I could finally print a digital photo with quality that was clearly better than standard 35mm film photos.  The details were finer and the colors were more vibrant than any printer prior to that could deliver.  It's what I had always dreamed of.  Shortly following that, I was able to purchase a scanner with a photo-feeder.  Digitizing became remarkably easier.

The next year was yet another digital camera upgrade.  (If you couldn't tell, I jump at the opportunity to buy the newest technology and my family loves when I give them my "old" stuff.)  Anywho, this new one provided 5-megapixel resolution.  The amount of detail it could capture was absolutely amazing, way better than in the past.  And a truly wonderful benefit besides the image crispness was the fact that editing became easier.  All that detail provided greater accuracy for the photo software to use, so adjustments like red-eye reduction worked noticeably better.

About every two years since then, I go through similar replacement cycles.  That turns out to really be beneficial for everyone involved.  Keeping up with the latest & greatest has worked out well with my career and with the hybrid stuff too.  So, I'm grateful how well things have worked out.  Digital photography is what started it all for me... and I bet the passion will still continue for many, many years to come!
 

 

Website History
 

September 27, 1997 this website (using the original domain) went online.  I had no idea what was possible at the time.  Unfortunately, it only took 2 months to discover the technology was far too limiting still.  Internet connection speeds were painfully slow (14.4K) and most people didn't have the ability to see 24-bit color yet (so photos looked terrible).  I decided to pull the plug.
 

June 7, 2000 the plug got put back in.  I wanted to tell the world I had just ordered a Prius 2 days earlier.  A website seemed to be the ideal way of doing it.  That worked great and I unexpectedly learned quite a bit too.  I created & maintained all but the CPU webpages using only Notepad (a very simple text edit program) and HTTP uploading.  So all the HTML was manually typed and each file was individually published.  Doing it the hard way taught me a lot.
 

August 4, 2001 the success of my website as an information source had been truly realized; this domain was created.  I announced it's availability that same day, at the Prius Gathering.  It was very exciting!  Many new opportunities became available, especially since I decided to finally begin using a full-blown publishing software instead.

September 5, 2003 website capacity (storage & transfer) was significantly increased.  The success I had experienced made the decision quite easy.  Sharing my experiences with my 2004 Prius wouldn't be impaired at all by limited resources, I can indulge for without fear of exceeding capacity for quite awhile.
 

 

Technical Background
 

Summer 1979 was when I took my first computer programming class.  We started with a terminal that required a primitive dial-up connection.  You'd call the server, listen for it to answer, then place the phone handset over the rubber couplings on the modem to complete the connection.  If you didn't get a good seal, the connection would be dropped.  So you had to use extreme care.  My favorite thing to do was play "Oregon Trail".  You'd plan a cross-country journey just like those did back in the 1840's in covered wagons.  Except my experience was virtual.  As you progressed, perils would occur.  I especially liked when a wolf would attack.  You'd type "BANG" into the computer and wait.  The connection was so slow, the wait seemed intolerable making a 56K modem seem lightening fast.  But then you'd finally get a reply stating what happened.  "You got him!" would print on the paper... yes: PAPER!!  Monitors weren't always used back then.  We literally interacted with the computer using only paper.  So obviously, my preference were using the "personal computer" instead.  There were a bunch of TRS-80s available.  The class would all "spool on" with them, then wait for software to load from a Cassette Tape!  It was painfully slow, but state-of-the-art at that time.
 

Fall 1986 I bought my first personal computer.  It had 4 times as much RAM as the standard (256 KB instead of just 64 KB) and a 256-color monitor (rather than a monochrome orange or green display).  I created a graphic editing program with it (go figure).  That taught me priceless information about what technology offered then and what was on the way.
 

Spring 1991 my Bachelor degree in Computer Science became a reality.  Back then it was extremely rare for someone to major in that.  Without any special business background, they told me the degree was career suicide... that I'd have a difficult time finding a good job.  Boy were they ever wrong!  It turned out to be just the opposite.  But you have to remember, back then "Windows Compatible" stickers on personal computers were brand new.  Most of the world was still using DOS and running software directly off of diskettes.  In fact, hard-drives were so new I had an essay question that asked how I'd partition one that had a massive 20 MB capacity.
 

Fall 2001 the career was 10 years along.  Work was really rewarding.  Knowledge gained from my personal technological adventures at home could be applied to projects at work and vice-versa.  The technology had begun to mature.  Future improvements will really make it fun.
 

 

Contact Info
 

Getting junk email is really a pain.  I've grown tired of dealing with all the unwanted stuff that comes as a result of providing a direct address here (which spammers can easily extract) for contacting me.  So instead, I ask that you send a private message to "john1701a" on the PriusChat forum.  And while you're doing that, check out the discussions about Prius there.

 

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