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Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Back from DC - new camera is like a new IDE

Took a family vacation to Washington DC. Before we left I got a new camera - Canon T2i DLSR - for my birthday / father's day. I am not a professional photographer but I want to step up my game. I really don't know how to use all the features but I plan on taking the time to learn what I can.

I have found with almost anything in life that better tools make for a better experience. If you bowl a lot you need to get a ball made for you with the holes drilled for you hand size and your bowling style. I don't doubt someone has bowled 300 games using a ball they found when they arrived at the lanes but most likely they are using a professional tool to do a professional job.

I have friends that tend to go all out no matter what they do in life, beefy gaming rigs, top notch equipment to play tennis, bowl, swim, whatever it happens to be. This does will not make you a professional overnight but it does greatly improve your game and will allow you to more quickly improve because you are not fighting the equipment.

Using the new camera I was able to take much better pictures even though I don't know how to use it fully. I put it in auto mode or maybe switched over to macro mode, adjusted the zoom level and let it do the rest of the work. I had a Canon PowerShot G1 over ten years back. Cost around $800 at the time and it was a wonderful camera, all 3.2 megapixels of it. I got my wife a Canon 510 and it got a lot of use until my son accidentally sat on it and bent the extended lens so it not longer would retract or do much of anything. We have a Canon SD1200 point and shoot camera that is so much faster to fire up and take shots than the vaunted G1 it is crazy. It does face recognition and all sorts of other cool things. Many fine pictures off of it.

There just is no comparison to the new T2i and this is due to more megapixels in small part but mainly due to the superior lens. I just have a starter lens at this point, the one that came with the kit. Even with just that the quality is a huge step ahead of anything I have done before. The camera made me a better photographer, it sparked a new interest in learning how to get even better.

To me this applies to programming as well. Bored? Try a new IDE for the language you are currently programming in. It might take away some of the drudgery. It make have new refactoring tools so you clean up some code you have always hated. Its static analysis tools may point out issues that have haunted your code forever. Maybe it is time to try a whole new language. Or you could just look at some of the menu items in your current IDE to explore areas you have never used.

If you want to be a professional use professional tools.