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Thursday, 16 May 2013

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Amen. This is the kind of thinking I love. There are two things that you reminded me of here.

1. When I buy anything now, I almost always check reviews on Amazon.com and US sites above others, because US consumers can be so incredibly picky (and bold enough to post online stories of their poor selection of product!).

2. Re-acquaintance is important. After learning some new tricks and changing my workflow to Lightroom, I picked up my old Canon S95 and used it for a holiday -- and was more than pleasantly surprised. With some judicious post-processing, my judgement of the camera was changed, for the better.

Pak

If you'd asked, many of us could have told you that neither cameras nor toasters are likely to be improved by having cabbages thrown at them.

If that guy who didn’t like the OM-D wanted to publish his opinion, I bet it would kick off some lively debate, since that camera seems to provoke strong opinions, generally. You ought to offer him a guest spot, or if he’s already published something, link to it.

I'm with you on the "it's not wasted" thought. Once I've bought a receiver. Tried to inform myself beforehand, and since there wasn't any internet to speak of yet, my main source of information was a German magazine called "stereoplay". They had a kind of "best of" list in each issue, with several categories and classes of equipment, in several "rating groups".

The one I went for was in their "Spitzenklasse IV" ("top class 4"), which was just above middle class, and "1" being the best under the really unaffordable high end stuff.

Needless to say, it wasn't good enough, at least not for me. But I kept it, and I had learned that from now on I would rather go for their top class "1" if I would ever replace it.

Used to be a musician during that time, so canned music wasn't that important for me - nothing compared with live performances anyway.

Today? Much like you, I could live with a pair of these... (it's the maker's website, where you can also buy them without middle-men involved - plus you can ship things back if you don't like it, which almost never happens there as my brother informed me)

May I suggest you try skillet toast! I was introduced to that 20+ years ago. The next day I gave my toaster to Goodwill. (One less appliance to worry about!)

- Richard

A friend has and uses his grandmothers toaster, it's the one she bought when they electrified the house, it is kinda a "A" frame design, with two flip out toast holders, on the bottom are the specs for the nichrome heating elements, it was broken when he go it.

He bought a roll of nichrome wire and following the instructions he wound a new set of elements, every 5 years or so one of the elements will burn out, he figures that the roll of nichrome just might outlast him.

-Hudson

"Toast isn't that important to me." I can't imagine inhabiting a world in which toast isn't important. Toast is always there for you when everything else has let you down.

Here's an interesting twist. What if your toaster made perfectly toasted bagels, but lousy toasted bread?

Mike,

Toasters sure- find the "perfect" toaster. I have found toaster ovens toast the poorest. A plain, simple toaster (the kind they have made for at least 70 years)toast the best. But ya can't top brown a muffin in a old style toaster.

Now- for the don't live with something that does not work to your standards? Easy to say if your budget can support your experimentation.

I bought a Jeep once because I always wanted one. Best off road vehicle around for a reasonable cost. But it had the worst reliability of any vehicle I have purchased in the last 30 years. I lived with it (so did the dealer) for 18 months while I suffered with it. At least the warranty covered all the problems. When I could finally afford another vehicle that Jeep was gone!

So, do your research, but sometimes wants overcome needs.

I don't own a toaster. I have a toaster oven. That's if you want it done correctly ;)

I am a toastaphile (toastaholic?). Without my two slices of rye or sourdough in the AM, I feel deprived Mostly I use toaster ovens, as I also use them for things which don't require a full size oven (e.g. quesadillas for lunch). I have never, over many years, had one that was reliable-that would produce two slices of toast, fairly even in color, and the same on both sides. Or even the same doneness at a given setting. I have been through most of the major, and some not so major, brands without any success. I have done line voltage tests, oven temp tests, etc. with no significant indication of WHY? this inconsistency. I have finally come to the conclusion that its the Perversity of Inanimate Objects law in effect, and there is no cure.

frying pans are great at making toast, and you'll have more counter space. =)

I had a computer-controlled toaster once. I am not kidding, there was a microprocessor on board and it was expensive to buy in the stores. My ex worked for some big name-brand multinational appliance maker and got it for free. It was ok, no better than any other.

I think we have bad toasters for the same reason that we have round doorknobs when handles makes so much more sense. It's because we only have the illusion of competition in the retail marketplace. We just accept the mythology that we have it.

So it turns out I'm not the only person who will live for 11 years with a toaster he hates!

Why did toasters built in the 1950s seem to toast accurately, evenly, and nearly forever?

Have they all become victims of the compulsion to improve things until they become completely unusable?

Do any of your readers know of a toaster that works?

The best toast I can remember was made in an oven. I'd argue the toasting problem is solved, as long as you use an oven and not a toaster. Of course that probably spells disaster for energy efficiency especially if you have a large oven.

The toaster purchases were wrong because one was too cheap, the other too expensive. I reckon the best value is usually one or two up from the bottom of the range.
Hope that expensive Dyson doesn't come back too bite you in the bum at some future date - way too much money for a vacuum cleaner!

Just had a look at flickr images tagged OMD to see what you and your correspondent were talking about - it seems to have a certain soft, pastel, film look about it which I suppose will please some and annoy others. Certainly different to the hard digital look we've become accustomed to the last few years.

Hey Mike.....in Sam Shepard's play True West, one of the characters impresses and annoys his brother by stealing toasters from the neighbors.
I remember them commenting that none of them were very good
toasters. This could be an American thing: not just shopping but buying things that you don't really need and won't work.

While I don't have a reply to your more philosophical ruminations, I do have a toaster. A Dualit. After spending years in toaster hell, I saw one that said it was chosen by the Queen of England as the royal toaster. I think it cost $250, but it has performed well. It does not have an auto pop-up, however, so you either have to know exactly how to set the timer, or you have to check the toast with the manual pop-up lever as the toasting proceeds. I think it would be just the thing for those who prefer prime lenses and manual focusing.

Toasters are bad because they don't need to be good. Other than Consumer Reports readers (and maybe Amazon fanatics) nobody checks out ratings on toasters beforehand. They buy one with appropriate features, at the right price, from a brand they trust. If it's bad, maybe next time they buy a different brand (probably made in the same factory.) Steam irons are even worse than toasters. They leak, tip over, scorch, have cords that fail, etc. They are pretty much all bad, even surprisingly expensive ones. But you need an iron, you go get one.

When I was a kid we had one of those fancy Sunbeams that had a motor that lowered and raised the toast. It worked great, but must have been hideously expensive. So I know it's possible to make a perfect toaster. It had already been done fifty years ago. It was such an elegant device, raising your toast smoothly instead of launching it towards the ceiling. I felt sorry for neighbors with lesser toasters.

Cameras are harder. I don't know what your friend's beef with the E-M5 was, unless he found the images oversharpened and excessively dramatic. I can see that, but all those settings are adjustable. You can make its images look as soft and smooth as any Nikon. It will still look like a Micro 4/3 image, and that may have not been good enough.

There are also people who will never be satisfied by any camera because it doesn't match up to their imaginary perfect camera. They will always be disappointed by reality. Why can't cameras focus perfectly every time and have massive zoom ranges, but fit in my pants pocket? Why not? I can't buy a camera that isn't perfect in every way.

For low cost it is important that it work to the point you buy it then you buy another one. As long as some one is buying (randomly), it is ok. Definitely not build too long or what they say build Not to last for this category.

Hence, "My mother had the same toaster for 40 years", bad idea to the toast maker. I bet she or the poster cannot buy that easily now.

The light bulb that last 100 year is not good from a business point of view. I told there were a design like that and quickly done with - the company not the light bulb.

Maybe there's nothing wrong with your toaster but with the bread you throw at it. Try some good bread (not easy in US I am told) and things might get better..?
Every camera is good at something but not at everything.

And, as Tim Bray said, i would be curious to know what that "guy" didn't like about the OMD. Oh, sorry, thats's not important; what's important is he doesn't like it. I'm still curious though...

When I left home for college in 1986, my parents gave me my deceased grandfather's toaster. I would guess that my grandfather had probably acquired the toaster in the mid to late 60's. It took a few weeks to tweek the darkness setting, but after that my toast has always been toasted just the way I like it.

After marriage my wife complained, routinely, about that toaster because it doesn't have levers on it, you have to drop the toast on a switch inside and that causes it to automatically begin the toasting process. My wife had a hard time getting it to start, even though I can work it perfectly. However, over time my wife became as enamored with the toaster as I am.

I went through the same process with my children as well.

About a month ago I saw a new toaster that I believed would actually perform better than my toaster and texted a photo to my wife to see if she was interested. There was almost outrage over the suggestion of getting a new toaster.

In the mean time, I've spent at least a year's salary on photography equipment, and I'm about to liquidate a bunch of it to move "forward" once again.

Why can't the make cameras more like toasters?

Are we allowed to apply this to wives as well? :O

[I think it does, because, if you think of it, what I've said here is: try a number of options until you make the best choice for you; then, stick with it; and, if later you get your head turned, reacquaint with what you already have. Seems like that might be good advice for spouses as well, although I'm not in a position to offer advice. --Mike]

As you have mentioned before, Mike (in reference to pencil sharpeners), it's truly amazing how many devices are incompetent at performing the one function they are supposedly designed to do. Not a week goes by that I don't encounter pens that skip, shaky tripods, stoves that won't light... You can imagine how I feel about products that have a long list of functions.

Please do not forget to write about that weight loss plan. I need help.

This one works okay enough for me:

http://www.cuisinart.com/products/toasters/cpt-142.html

Makes my GF bread brown enough. And it's relatively cheap.

I've pointed out to a number of people that especially on your first venture into a new area (digital photography, say, or good knives, or CD players) they're rather more likely to make a major mistake than later. (And the types of mistake differ somewhat also). This is an argument for trying the less drastic option first, if you're seriously considering both :-).

Strange about toasters. I do one to three runs of toasting every day if I'm eating at home. The two toasters my parents owned while I was growing up did a good enough job, and the two toaster ovens I have owned both do a good enough job (they're a little slow, but I use the fact that you can do open-face toasted cheese sandwiches in them, so I get a payoff for the slowness in that and related uses). I think of myself as having relatively clear opinions (evenness is important, consistency for a given bread is important, and I've never heard of one that doesn't need to be adjusted for each bread you use in it so I've given up hoping for that).

Our toaster is as old as our house! My Wife wants a shiny new toaster with all the bells and whistles. Its made me think hard about a replacement, but I know she'd take the toaster just to spite me.

(Our house, like my sense of humour, is twelve years old)

I'm on at least my third normal-focal-length lens (43 mm-e, in this case) because that look turned out to be a favourite. I feel relaxed and comfortable shooting a normal lens and pleased with the results. I first realised it when a cheap AF Nikkor (a rebadged Nikon Series E) ended up as easily my most frequently used lens, even though I tended to shoot it at f/2.8, where it often performed badly.

I have my eye on the cheap and cheerful 35mm Nikkor f/1.8 DX, despite the CA and slightly nasty bokeh, but I do wonder about even that small change of focal length. When I try setting a zoom to 35mm, just for practice, I feel like I'm wearing a comfortable, familiar shirt that shrunk a little in the wash. Perhaps I'd get over it and would welcome the decent focus speed and useable metering (my current choice has neither) but, as you say, some things matter more than they should.

Mike, the best toaster is... your griller. Follow the method in Delia's How To Cook Vol. 1 (BBC, 1998) and you'll be smiling. The summary: preheat grill on highest setting for 10mins. Put toast 2" under grill and toast both sides as desired, then stand toast vertically to let steam escape from bread, leaving toast crisp. Enjoy.

I bought an Olympus EPM2 a few months ago. For the first few days of ownership I really struggled with the menu system and was beginning to wonder if I had made the right decision. However, when all else fails read the instructions! Once I had discovered the “super control panel” , which gives you rapid access to most controls, I really started to enjoy using the camera. I doubt if reading the instructions will help with toasters though. Perhaps Dyson will invent one that works properly.

Anyone else remember toasters with the color gradient scale or separate color chips where you slid the bar to the color of toast that you wanted, and got toast pretty much the color indicated? Seems to me the engineers back then actually tested these models before allowing them out of development. And I resented when toasters started showing up with very short cords with the literature that came with it claiming the short cord was for safety, (surely wasnt the price of copper)

BTW the toaster died at work not too long ago, so I made the magnanimous gesture of showing up with a $6 Rival purchased from the local big box. At the ridiculously low price of $6 i almost wish it did malfunction in a big way, just for the entertainment value ( Ha Ha! $6 toaster!), but it is still running strong. The same morning I showed up with it, someone else showed up with the same toaster from the same store LOL. Mine was already unpacked so she returned hers. It does work fine, but seemingly not as quickly as i recall the color- coded toasters of yore.

Ha, I paid something like $7 for my toaster at the local cheapest drugstore in town some years ago. Works great or at least well enough and I have no urge to upgrade. No such luck with photo equipment, however.

Hmmm. I've just moved houses and as my old fridge didn't survive the move, I bought a new one. I chose the currently trendy "upside down" type, freezer on the bottom.

I hate it! As a bachelor, I use a lot of frozen stuff and I'm forever having to bend down nearly to floor level. It was a bad choice for me but I didn't know it at the time.

I've been wondering what to do and this article makes me think I might go back to the retailer and ask what a 6 week old fridge would be worth as a trade in on a "right way up" model. It'll cost me a few hundred dollars, I think, but that's life. It'll be worth it to me.

I bought two "national name brand" toaster ovens from "big box store" in the past 5-7 years (different model each time). Each one caught fire after a few months of use (and the same way: the cheapo latch used to turn on the toaster would get stuck and it would get hotter and hotter...). Luckily we have a fire extinguisher in the kitchen. Needless to say, I will never buy another one again.

Back in the 1970's as I was transitioning from my Nikon F to my Nikon F2 (and I still have them both and now an F3 too). I had always preferred home cooked meals to eating out. So when my wife and I moved into a large home that required extensive renovations we spent most of our renovation money on the kitchen.

Back then there was an article in the Sunday New York Times magazine about the "Ultimate" toaster oven. It was a DeLonghi toaster-oven for $119. At the time it was not yet available in Canada but after reading the review I was sold and I had to have one. I was delighted to find one in the store about a year later and I instantly took one home.

For a family of two people and one dog it was perfect.

Now over forty years have passed and my family is now two people and two dogs (all different except me).

That oven has been in daily use (with replaced heating elements and thermostat) for over forty years. It was so good that I bought another one and they are stacked. Most days I just use one of them but having a second one is perfect if I want to cook two different things (at a different temperature) or if people are coming over for dinner.

Realizing that these appliances have a limited life, over the years, I acquired two backups at neighborhood garage sales. If one of those ovens dies I have two ready to go (they cost me $5 and $10). I figure that I am set for life.

In all these years, there is only one limitation to this oven, if you are baking or roasting there is no timer. To this I have found a solution. I now have two Gralab darkroom timers next to the ovens.

When they buzz my dinner is ready.

The Gralab timers work great and everything is cooked with precision.

Tonight's people menu: General Tso's chicken breasts, with pan-roasted vegetables: medley of carrots, diakon and potato served with side-salad.

The dogs, will be eating the same without the General Tso sauce. And another thing too, having two dogs ensures that there are never any leftovers to eat. Tomorrow we will be eating something different for sure.

The DeLonghi toasts beautifully too.

Today, the DeLonghi is still available, the styling is different and I am unsure of the quality of the build. The Gralab timers are still in production, the darkroom timers have a Black dial (like mine in the kitchen) but the cooking ones have a light dial.

Alas, the Nikon F and F2 are no longer in production but they are built so well and get so little use today that they will both outlive me for sure.

It should be easier now, but the online reviews havmade it harder to make that first step. I get really put off by a single bad review, even in a sea of good ones. This applies to audiobooks, restaurants, cameras.I was all set to get a Dyson the other day, and despite the fact that most of the comments on your site were positive, the few negative ones have turned me off. I still have no vacuum cleaner.

Mike hits the nail of middle aged luxury consumer angst on the head again :-)

I also have a smart retro toaster that goes with my decor but makes so-so toast. It looks OK. It sorta works. I don't think about it.

But here's a thing. I am fussy about power tools. I don't get excited about them either, but it's worth paying for good handling, precision, predictability and reliability. You use them right, they will do what you intended every time, and last forever. It's a lesson I learned the hard way.

But I kept messing up with cameras because I did not apply the same logic. Cameras are too emotional. They are shiny beautiful man jewels we can't resist, any more than a diva can resist diamonds.

But a camera is just a tool, albeit one marketed as a luxury consumer good. Think "tool" and you are more likely to end up with something that works for you. The rest is practice.

All cameras now have a million options and great IQ, if they let you exploit it. What will annoy you most (I promise) is unpredictability. Menu and control settings that change by themselves, AF that doesn't QUITE nail it, controls you hit by accident, exposure that has a mind of it's own, something you cannot hold comfortably, or plain poor build quality.

I did not end up with a D800 and Xpro-1 because I was being logical, but I got lucky. These two cameras could not be more different, and it took me a while to figure out why I liked both of them so much. It's simply because they are both precise and predictable and put me back in charge of the process. If something does not come out the way I intended, I KNOW it was my fault.

I'm with John Camp: Get a Dualit. We bought ours almost 15 years ago and it still toasts as well as the day we got it. Yes it's expensive. No it doesn't automatically pop up (though I think that's a feature, the toast continues to be kept gently warmed by staying in the slots). Yes it needs to be warmed up a bit before serious toasting (kind of like a tube amp).

Toasters are like tripods - you might as well buy the expensive one first, as you'll end up there eventually, after having wasted money on cheap disposable ones first. (Though admittedly the situation is less extreme with toasters...)

You know what the trouble these days is. Photographer have no platform to share their photo's (I used to go to a photoclub). Soi all they do is look at their own pictures in a sort of onanistic way. They are concerned about a lot of things technical while they should be concerned about a lot of things artically. Great example is the Luminous Landscape test of the Sigma DP2 Merill. They compare the Meryll to a lot of camera's by showing 100% pixel peeped pictures and in those the Meryll shines. But they do tell the truth that this quality (as is true with any 30 Mpixel plus camera) can only be reached with discipline and dedication (the use the term "no pussy camera").

http://www.luminous-landscape.com/reviews/cameras/sigma_dp2m_review.shtml

Now a D800 is no camera for "pussies" as well. In order to reach it's full potential you need a lot of things as Pekka Potka (and I) explain in this rather suprising post.

http://www.pekkapotka.com/journal/2013/5/3/nikon-d800e-and-olympus-om-d.html

So let me tell you what I think is happening with a lot of photographers these days. Some are up to the task of using an LX3, OM-D, D7000, D800 and IQ180 to it's full potential and they achive great IQ and what is more important great pictures with any of these. The rest (and that unfortunatly is 99%) of the Facebook, Flickr, Picasa, what not crowd is simply not up to the task of using any camera to it's full potential. Is that new, no not at all. I restore (and scan) pictures for a living and when scanning family albums I see pictures being taken with the best the 60, 70 and 80th had to offer but in the wrong hands, well the results are less then excellent.

So Mike this time I disagree (and that is not happening to often I must say) 100%. If someone is not happy with the photographic quality of any modern camera. Wether it's a D800, an OM-D or a LX3 (or any other high end compact), he (or she) should either go to the service department because HIS camera has some issues (D800 backfocus anyone). Or he or she should join a local camera club. There they will find enthousiastic photographers (in my case Frans Bellen, my father Theo Kuipers and a professional photographer Dré Brenneker)

http://www.brenneker.nl/dre/

http://www.theo-kuipers.com/#Startpagina

(Frans seems to have no digital place on the web, a shame....was a great photographer in his days)

that tought me how to use a Nikon F and Nikon F3 (or better tried to teach me) and can also have a critical look at you camera and your performance with it.

This cost about 100 dollars a year and is a lot cheaper then running from camera hype du jour to camera hype du jour, and more fun as well.

Greets, Ed.

"Life's too short: as soon as you become convinced you really don't like something, it doesn't matter whether you "should" like it: it's time to move on."

You really should apply this to your toaster, I imagine. How much do you spend on bagels, bread, frozen waffles, or anything else you put in the toaster? If it is anywhere near what it is in my house, then a truly unsatisfactory toaster (ie: one you take to Amazon to twice to rail against) is one that needs replacing. I'm with you that your camera is important to you and your toaster is not. But if the "upkeep cost" of the toaster, or the money spent on what goes into it, exceeds the cost of the toaster by 4 times or more in a single year, and a toaster lasts as long as they do, then you're simply throwing good money after bad every time you insufficiently toast something. Throw it on craigslist and sell it to someone that might not mind or might actually like the way it does what it does. Even if you get back only 40% what you paid for it, once you buy a new toaster (better researched? just different?), you're no longer wasting the money, at least as much, on what you decide to toast. For what it's worth, we have a KitchenAid toaster that we pretty much love. Nothing but normal setting and bagel setting, and a dial to adjust level of doneness. The only problem we've had is when we forget to adjust the heat setting to the thing we're toasting. I've also used a Breville at a friend's house that seemed like it would have cost a fortune, but man was that easily the greatest toast I ever had. That was a space-age toaster though, which automatically lifted the slices for peaking and then slid them back down for further toasting, all slow and robotic-like.

In this regard, toasters can be very much unlike cameras. Once you buy a camera and memory cards/batteries, your only costs are printing costs if you decide to do that (or, I suppose software, if you don't like what you already have). A toaster literally eats money, daily for many people. A subpar but serviceable camera at least isn't wasting more money every time you decide to use it. A toaster, I fear, is.

Oh, I do like that quote from Rob L. I'm stealing it!

I'd second the Dualit. Worth every penny. Our problem with toasters was that none lasted any length of time. The Dualit is about 10 years old now and still going strong. And spares are available for it.
Toasters are like most consumer machines, bought mostly on price, and there is nothing in this world that somebody can't make cheaper and worse. I mean how much in today's terms did your grand mother pay for that toaster way back in the 50's or 60's ?

For the man who finds the slots too wide try putting two slices in together and then flipping them when one side is done. Actually I like toast done on one side only.

My last toaster was the one I hurled, bellowing like an angry bear, towards the bottom garden when it messed up my breakfast one last time (I get very grumpy when I have low blood-sugar). That was 12 months ago and since then life has been much better in my kitchen because I use a grill. I still look wistfully at toasters when I see them in the supermarket, shiny charlatans that they are, and my wife regularly has to remind me of why I got rid of the last one...for me it all started when someone decided that toasters needed electronics in them. Toast is analogue food, plain and simple!

[engages boring story mode]

Years ago, I bought my first house and, as part of that, a new toaster and kettle to go with it. The toaster was great (and the kettle boiled water so not much wrong there either): perfectly toasted bread every time. But the kettle was blue and the toaster was green, because, while the kitchen utility manufacturers were working through a fad for strong primary colours at the time, the store didn't actually have matching colours in stock just then, and I NEEDED A TOASTER. Also, I didn't much care about having co-ordinated utilities.

But this drove my partner crazy. She put up with that toaster and suffered perfect toast every day until she finally found an excuse to buy a more stylish looking toaster and "recycle" the old one for her colleagues at work. (In fact, the new one was a chrome job somewhat reminiscent of the Toastmaster 1B-14 there. It had a matching kettle too, natch.)

Needless to say, as a device for toasting bread, it was an abject failure. It would perhaps have rated highly for burning bread, at least half the time or across half the slice. But it couldn't reward you with decent toast any more than it could boil water (unless you were to drop it in the bath with you). Lived with that lemon for at least five years because there was no point wasting more bread on what was, hey, just bread.

Over a decade of married life later, we are now on an extremely stylish and retro Dualit toaster (and matching kettle - http://www.flickr.com/photos/big-bubbles/6700056641), for which one pays a small fortune for the privilege of popping up one's own toast manually with a lever. It does an ... acceptable job of making toast. Rarely perfect, but you don't need to bin it too often either. (It does bagels too - although I hate having bagels toasted only on one side.)

But there is not a single occasion I use it that I don't bitterly regret the loss of that nasty green toaster and its wonderful, perfect toast.

I was going to ask what one should do in situations like these, where the object is shared but the owners value different aspects of it. But then I realised that the only answer would be to buy two toasters (one of which must be kept in the basement out of sight of decent people, because it doesn't match the kitchen).

I gave up on pop-up toasters 25 years ago. The solution is a small toaster oven. Makes toast perfectly and does many other jobs well. When the toast is done I put the butter on, close the door for 30 seconds, and I have perfectly browned and buttered toast every time.

There probably will be a huge surge of ebaying to get that Toastmaster 1B-14. It is the toaster I grew up with and miss greatly

Hi Mike,

Just what do you mean by "I'm sure a lot of civilians out there..." or better, why do you use the term 'civilians.' what's the purpose??? I must tell you that I find it offensive. I am not a particularly patriotic guy. I don't wear an American flag in my lapel, or even fly the flag on the fourth of July. I have lived through a few wars though, and served a couple plus decades in the Marine Corps, and for whatever the reason I find the use of the term 'civilians' outside of its meaning as being a non-combatant very offensive. To me the use implies that you as a photographer, view yourself as a heroic fighter for the cause of photography, and the rest of the 'population' as beneath contempt......?

[Is that how soldiers view the people they're fighting for? "Beneath contempt"? No disrespect meant, but somehow I don't think you've quite thought through what you're saying here.... --Mike]

The on and off switching of my Kenwood toaster killed 2 USB TB-harddisks. I now do not have any toaster, no working TB-USB harddisks, but I invested in surge-arrester for computers and the TV, just in case.

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