Posts Tagged ‘Julia’

The original IXY / IXUS Digital, 10 years later

November 25, 2010 Leave a comment

I was Julia’s fourth birthday a little way back and I had been thinking of what to buy her, when I remembered that she’s always fiddling with my iPhone and taking pictures with it.

So I decided to get her a secondhand camera. The problem with that is that most shops only stock decent and recent models at fairly hefty (for a four year old) price.

Thus, when I found that my favorite junk shop, Shop Inverse in Akihabara had a little box of old cameras in one corner all going for 1000 yen, I started digging though.

The majority were around 3MP, early fujifilms a couple of old casios of unknown sub megapixel vintage and some cameras so worn out as to be unrecognizable. There were a few newer cameras among them, too, but nothing could see my daughter using.

Then I found a little black, almost cube-like case. Curious, I opened it and found an IXY Digital in pristine condition, complete with a lithium ion battery and battery cover. A quick search online reveals spare lithium-ion batteries and a charger for less than 1000 yen! Bargain.

I had had the good fortune of using a first generation IXY  when Sam came to visit in 2000 and remember it survived serious drunken droppage, down stairs and on to concrete. Perfect for Julia.

IXY / IXUS Digial Overview

corner-on picture of Ixy Digital

IXY Digital

The Bad News

If one is to compare with today’s cameras, one might say the following:

  • Low resolution
  • Tiny, noisy image sensor
  • Chunky build
  • Heavy for its size
  • Tiny view finder
  • Tiny display
  • Slow to start up
  • Long recycling delay between shots
  • Wimpy flash
  • Eats batteries at a rather astonishing rate – so much so that the camera could be used as a hand warmer in the winter.

The Good News

So, what’s to actually like about it? Quite a lot actually.

  • It’s solid, all-stainless-steel construction is an eye-opener in today’s world of the plastic fantastic. The build quality is truly something to behold.
  • It is heavy and tough and should be able to take a battering.
  • It is small but chunky… Ideal for wee little hands.
  • It takes Compact Flash cards, which are also solid and chunky.
  • The screen is small but relatively clear.
  • It is simple, with few functions, again perfect for a first camera.
  • The flash won’t burn your retinas out if released in front of your face.
  • It is shiny and cute. Julia loves it.
  • Accessories like batteries are dirt cheap.

IXUS / IXY Main Features

  • UXGA 1600 × 1200 image size (1.92MP)
  • 2.11MP, 0.37″ image sensor with CYGM filter.
  • 2 × optical zoom (35mm ~ 70mm equiv)
  • Bright lens, F2.8~F4
  • ISO 100
  • 1~1/1500 shutter
  • Macro feature with an impressive 10cm minimum focus range.
  • Fill flash
  • Centre weighted metering
  • ±2EV exposure adjustment
  • Compact Flash Type I slot

Image Quality

Since I bought the camera, I have taken a few photos, mostly just to test it, but also a few family snaps.

One of the interesting things about this camera is the rare CYGM filter which has a significantly different gamut to the standard RGBG Bayer filter used on practically every modern digital camera except for Simga’s Foveon.

Due to the more serious colour conversion required to shift between CYGM and RGB, the IXY Digital has a distinctive, almost cyan cast to overexposed highlights.

Colour balance is definitely a little “off” but it’s actually quite a pleasingly smooth colour balance.

The other issue is that the CYGM sensor has a wider dynamic range than standard, thus there is a distinctive HDR feeling to the photos. i.e. a little flat and low contrast.

The pic below shows both the bluish tinge and the slightly off cast to the colours.

Unedited image of a plan with an ornamental bird perched on a branch.

Here is the original IXY image, showing realistic colours, but lacking in contrast.

However, the high dynamic range means lower noise in the darker areas and a smoother overall image. This makes the IXY photos remarkably amenable to Photoshopping.

Retouched image of bush with bird perched in branch

Images taken by the IXY can be adjusted significantly without jpeg or other artifacts showing

Final Virdict

Although it’s minuscule size and both tiny finder and rear screen make this an occasionally squint inducing affair and both the autofocus and zoom are lethargic, pictures taken with it remain sharp and crisp. There is the added benefit of wide dynamic range and lack of JPEG artificing means that despite its age, the IXY is more than adequate for the occasional snap.

More importantly, the sheer Premium-Canon quality, stainless-steel build and overall toughness make you feel that this is a camera you can really rely on. It’s weight also makes it feel stable and solid, even in larger hands and makes both taking slower exposures and using higher zooms a little more straight forward.

Finally, compatible batteries and compact flash cards are two a penny, which means this camera can continue to be used for the foreseeable future.

I would put the picture quality generally on par with the iPhone, but it pushes ahead with the 2 x zoom and semi-decent flash. Of course, it is a Canon digital camera based on a “real” Canon film camera and not a computer peripheral.

Julia 1 – Haruki 0

May 23, 2008 Leave a comment

I found this old video on my mobile phone and uploaded it to Youtube… Can’t remember when it was taken. Must have been about 9 months ago.

Julia might have been smaller and still crawling, but she manages to overcome her older cousin with apparent ease.

Please try to ignore my insane cackling on the video (You have been warned).

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HAND foot and mouth disease, Part II

May 19, 2008 Leave a comment

Guys and gals, I’d like to point out that I am not a sheep, even though I have a Welsh surname. Nor am I suffering from an affliction of the herd.

I had (past tense) hand foot and mouth disease (HFMD) as opposed to Foot and Mouth (FMD), also known as Hoof and Mouth Disease (HMD).

Don’t any of you guys and gals out there actually *read* my posts??? 🙂

You’ll no doubt be relieved to know that Julia has recovered fully from HFMD and I never really got more than a couple of little splintery like twinges in the palms of my hands.

Julia had a fever which pushed 40C over the weekend. She had some fever medicine which brought her down to about 38C and throat syrup in case she had a sore thoat. I stopped Tomoko from giving Julia the obligatory antibiotics from the doctor since they don’t do anything against a virus.

Some of the major symptoms were supposed to include lethargy, lack of enthusiasm and loss of appetite. Julia suffered none of the above. In fact, we had trouble getting her to calm down for bed! 

On Sunday, the small spots on her hands turned reddish but she never developed blisters or sores anywhere.

She also had a few spots below her nose, but they didn’t even really turn red.

According to the doctor, it was a particularly mild case, rare in children below the age of three, who usually become quite ill for a week.

Julia even managed to go to nursery on Monday after a cursory checkup, since the doctor said that because she had no blisters, there was little to no chance of infecting the other children.

Way to go JooJoo!

Here are a few pictures of Julia’s hands at the peak of the illness…

No need to cover your eyes or stop eating. 😉

Back of her hands during HFMD infection

It first starts off with little pin pricks of white spots, like the ones on her hand above. These thend develop and turn red. In most cases, the spots will turn into blisters and sores which require regular cleaning and attention. The liquid in the blisters is highly contagious and should be cleaned away thoroughly.

In Julia’s case, however, no blisters ever developed. These red patched faded away and by today, Monday, they are hardly visible.

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Oh my God, we’ve contracted Hand, Foot and Mouth disease!!!

May 16, 2008 Leave a comment

Julia went to the doctor’s yesterday after banging her head on the coffee table and was told that although the injury was luckily nothing beyond having a black-eye, she’d somehow contracted Hand Foot and Mouth Disease.

When I heard that, I hurriedly looked it up online. Of course, I imediately thought she’d contracted Foot and Mouth disease, and wondered if the lamb in the curry I’d eaten last weekend – and subsequently given an insistant Julia a little taste of – was entirely dead at the time of consumption or not.

Then I read that foot and mouth is nigh on impossible to catch from food… hmm…

Of course, a few minutes of Wikipedia and British Medical Journal referencing later, I realised that the two: hand, foot and mouth disease and foot and mouth disease are completely unrelated.

I won’t shock you into donating money to charity – or at least put you off your food – with photos of the poor afflicted souls (actually, there’d not be much to see) so I’ll show you a picture of the trend-lines instead.

One of the things I always like to do when I learn about a disease or phenomenon for the first time is plot it out on Google Trends. This very nicely shows just how worried people are about something.

Hand Foot and Mouth Search Trends
Yup, pretty worried

I found out that people are so worried about it they’ve started using the abbreviated term as of March, 2008.

It didn’t take long from the formation of the abbreviated term to my personal contraction of said ailment.

In order to put an end to your obvious and kind concerns for our health, dear readers, I can assure you once and for all that under normal circumstances, this disease in not life threatening.

I had thought that something was amiss last week when I started getting slight prickly sensations in the palm of my hands and fingers here and there, only noticeable when I picked something up or accidentally brushed the affected areas. At first I assumed that I’d somehow got little splinters in my fingers – I’d packed a load of cardboard up for disposal a couple of days before. I looked closely at each affected spot but could see nothing.

A few days later, different parts of my hands felt like they had splinters in them and the original ones had gone and there was definite tiny, almost invisible hard pimples here and there.

I started thinking that I had dry skin, Tomoko the optimist 😉 immediately said it was probably Gout… I don’t know why that particular one sprang into mind.

I tried putting cream on my hands and the problem seemed to go away after a couple of days.

Then, yesterday morning, for the first time I noticed a couple of little red spots on the backs of my hands. Just a couple. Tiny little red dots with pale white rings around them. Insects I thought… But I never get bitten by insects, not in spring anyway… still, not being the sleuthiest inspectorate on the block, I didn’t put two and two together.

Then Tomoko phoned me with Julia’s prognosis: HFMD.

And due to their immature immune systems, children suffer a lot worse than adults. Last night, Julia’s temperature went up to nearly 40C! And this morning, her hands were covered in red patches.

As for myself, I now have a sore throat and felt tired last night. That’s about it.

Typical symptoms include:

  • High Fever
  • Unsettled stomach and headache
  • Loss of apetite
  • Sore throat
  • Red splotches which may turn into small blisters on palms of hands and fingers.
  • Same on feet.
  • Sometimes around the mouth, too… Hence the Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease.

Except for the spots on the hands, the symptoms are mildly flu-like.

It is an infection caused by Coxsackie A virus or Enterovirus 71 (EV71). There is no direct cure or treatment for the illness and it must be left to run its full course.

  • Anitbiotics offer no help and are generally not administered (Although, if you live in Japan, you will receive complimentary antibiotics even if you visit a doctor with the flu – It’s part of their being polite!)
  • Fever lowering treatment may be administered, headache tables and throat remedies may help.
  • Creams and ointments to stop the itching and discomfort caused by the blsters and sores may be applied.
  • Gargling with saltwater can help stop additional infections.

There’s a bit of a HFMD epedemic in Asia at the moment with tens of thousands of Asia mainland children affected. It looks like Japan has it, too.

I’ll keep you posted.

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Julia starts at nursery

April 2, 2008 Leave a comment

Julia goes to hoikuen

Things are happening so fast, it’s hard to believe. It seems just a few weeks ago that Julia started walking and now she’s taking her first steps away from home.

She’ll be graduating from university and leaving home before you know it!!!

We were very lucky to get a place in the nearby hoikuen (nursery) starting this month and for five months. Despite the fact that there are virtually no children around, the facilities they have are in such high demand that there’s no guarantee there’ll be a place for your child. It seems that they’re closing schools down faster than the children’s numbers are declining!

Anyway, Julia will be going to the school for the next five months. That should give Tomoko some time while pregnant and for a few months after giving birth to our next baby.

Also, Tomoko’s Sunnyside English Cafe should be starting up towards the end of the Year (I’m helping with that) and so we’ll be able to make another high-priority application for a more permanent placement then.

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Julia’s first *real* word

February 19, 2008 Leave a comment


Julia spoke her first unmistakable word (as in more than one syllable or one syllable repeated) and repeated it just to prove the point.

The word was “Apple”

A word close to my heart. Take that Bill Gates, she did not say “Vista”!

Actually, she was pointing at an apple she was about to eat at the time, so don’t sue me Steve!

There were a number of false starts. 

Ted as in “Father Ted”

mama as in anyone who enters her field of view.

dada (see mama)

ah.. oh.. ooh. eh… 


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Julia makes sense for the first time

January 15, 2008 Leave a comment

Ladies and Gentlemen, for the first time, Julia has made sense.

Up until now, she has talked away to herself and others for hours on end, literally. But until this point in time, no one has had a clue what she is on about.

That all changed today when she said “tick-tock”.

For the first time, we knew, unambiguously what she was saying.

Way to go Joojoo!


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