| August 2002
Laugh and Learn
Digital Images: From Camera to Computer
Grammar Trap: Perspective vs. Prospective
On the list of books you might enjoy reading when you don't want to get involved with a lengthy plot, add "Lapsing Into a Comma--A Curmudgeon's Guide to the Many Things That Can Go Wrong in Print and How to Avoid Them," by Bill Walsh. You'll have a few chuckles, and you'll learn a few things along the way.
For example, Walsh's description of "Adjective Pileups" is one we've all seen in print--and been amused by. "It's nice to be concise, but too many writers and editors take the idea to extremes by piling multiple adjectives--and, worse, nouns-turned-adjectives--in front of their nouns. . . .If editors added all the hyphens their adjective-piling ways made necessary, they'd quickly see why most of these modifiers should be framed with a few extra words and moved to the back of the sentence.
WRONG: Capital gains tax cut bill opponents held a news conference yesterday.
TECHNICALLY RIGHT: Capital-gains-tax-cut-bill opponents held a news conference yesterday.
THE PURIST'S SOLUTION: Opponents of a bill that would cut the tax on capital gains held a news conference yesterday.
There are shorter entries that are equally illuminating. In "Details, Details," he says, "ROOMMATE: Two m's, unless you ate a room or mated with a roo."
Editors always use style guides; in fact, they usually have several. And I'm not promoting this one as the best, but it is fun to read. It addresses common language problems while at the same time providing a humorous slant on the English language. It's also a good book for your travel bag.
How you store and retrieve images from your digital camera are important considerations. Here are some things to consider as you scope out cameras.
Getting Your Pictures Out of Your Camera
Digital cameras offer several different ways to get your images from the camera. Some use a direct cable to connect the camera to a computer. This is usually inefficient because it's slow and can drain camera batteries if you don't use an AC hook-up.
Some cameras have proprietary software packages to get images from the camera to your computer. Sometimes this is a good solution, but in other cases the installation of the software can be a hassle and the software itself can require a pretty steep learning curve.
The best way to get images from your camera, in my opinion, is to use media cards (see below) in combination with external card reader drives. Using this type of external drive allows you to continue to use the camera while someone else downloads your images off the card or while you wait until later to download the images.
Storing Your Pictures
Digital cameras use several different types of storage media. The two most popular are Smartmedia and Compact Flash cards. Smartmedia is a small, wafer-thin card. Compact Flash is a small, thin, cartridge-like card. Both work well, but the Compact Flash media cards seem somewhat sturdier.
I suggest buying extra cards. If you're out capturing an event with only one card and it fills up, you'll have to make some difficult decisions about what images to delete to make room for new images.
Managing Your Media
You should also consider how to manage your media. If you're on an extended trip away from the office and using your digital camera, you need to consider how to get your images off the media card in case the card starts to fill up. Unlike a traditional film camera, you can't take your unexposed roll of film and put it somewhere for processing later. You'll need to transfer the images from the camera or card to a computer. This means bringing a laptop for image storage. The only other consideration is to buy more or bigger storage cards.
This is an ever-evolving technology, so expect to see more on the subject in "On Target."
A surprising number of people confuse these two words despite the fact that they have entirely different meanings. I guess it's the similarity in sound.
"Perspective" most commonly means how something looks from a particular point of view.
Example: I'd like to get your perspective on the candidates for the new position.
"Prospective" means something that will or might come about in the future.
Example: The candidate has all of the qualifications, but what do you think of her as a prospective colleague?
Do you have a grammar (or usage) trap you'd like to see discussed? Do you have a tip that will help the rest of us avoid one? If so, please let me know.
Visit http://www.agriculture.purdue.edu/agcomm/ontarget/grammartrap/ for past "Grammar Traps."
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