Archives for October 2009

Thank You Nikon (My Experience with Nikon Repair, Melville, NY)

The internet is full of negative opinions of businesses, and complaints about them, which I certainly understand often needs to be shared. However, I have a very positive experience with Nikon USA that I would like to share.

I bought a Nikon D5000 camera (with 2 lenses) in late September. I have been very pleased with the camera, and the image quality. However, when I looked over my initial images, I found a “stuck pixel” and a “hot pixel,” both showing up at normal shutter speeds. This was an annoyance, because the stuck pixel showed up on every image. Mind you, it was tiny (one pixel out of 12.3 million), but it showed up as a glowing green cross on some photos, and showed up as a blank cross on others. When it glowed, it was clearly visible at normal viewing. Apparently, the D5000 sensor, shared with the Nikon D90, is prone to such pixel problems. Actually, I ordered the camera primarily because of the sensor, which has been rated with other much more expensive cameras in terms of its ability to capture images, so it was disappointing to encounter a stuck pixel so soon. The images at the bottom of this post show the pixels in question, giving you an idea of what they are.

At any rate, let me talk about my experience with the Nikon repair center at Melville, New York. I sent the camera in for repair on Monday, October 5th, using UPS 3-day shipping. They got the camera on Wednesday, October 7th. Even with the Columbus Day holiday, the camera was in my hands again on Wednesday, October 14th. This is a 10 calendar-day turnaround time from ship-date to being in my hands again. From the time Nikon received the camera in Mellville, NY, to when I got it back, the turnaround time was only 5 business days. That is pretty impressive. They even shipped it back to me next-day air. All of this was covered on warranty (minus my original shipping charges). Also, Nikon sent a work-order number to my email, so I could track the status of the repair, including a UPS tracking number once it shipped.

Yes, you could say the camera shouldn’t have had a stuck pixel when I bought it, but I think Nikon did a great job taking care of my problem, and I send my Kudos out to Nikon!

Below: Stuck Pixel on a Normal Image

stuck pixel

Below: The glowing stuck pixel, and a hot pixel

stuck pixel and hot pixel

Stopping the Cold and Flu Onslaught

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It’s that time of year: cold and flu season are fast approaching. And, with the quick and early drop in temperatures  (global what?), the season promises to be longer and nastier. There is no “cure” for the cold and flu. Even though drugs and other substances may help, your body must fight off the viruses through the immune system. This is why it’s vital to boost your immune system especially this time of year. Here are a few ways to accomplish that:

1.  Sleep- Getting enough sleep (7-9 hours for adults) is crucial to keep your immune system at top performance. How many Americans get enough sleep? My guess is not enough

2.  Exercise- Exercise can boost your immune system in important ways. However, you can’t over-exercise or your immune system takes a hit. Workouts that go too long cause stress on the body and immune system.

3.  Eat well- Low sugar, whole grain foods, limited meat, lots of fruit and vegetables, and other healthy choices boost a person’s overall health and immune power.

4.  Stress- Keeping the body in a constant fight or flight response wreaks havoc with the immune system. This is true even for low level daily stress, so you should avoid it if possible or deal with it through relaxation techniques, fun activities, friends, etc. A good, basic technique is an easy one to remember. In a high stress environment think of: STAR (Smile, Take a Deep Breath And Relax). This can really make a big difference.

I don’t specifically recommend supplements because that is a personal decision to be made with a doctor, but I use them and believe they have an important place in fighting colds and the flu. So, the following represents my personal experience and is not medical advice. I start with Vitamin C. I typically also take Oregano Oil, Olive Leaf, N-Acetyl Cysteine, and Bromelain. The first two may have anti-viral properties and the last two could help with congestion. I also fry up green beans or spinach in a lot of garlic. It’s bad for the breath, but probably beneficial in getting rid of foreign invaders in the body.

Image by Jonathan Bennett. To order prints or download high resolution images, click here.

Dr. Ralph Moss on Hyperthermia and Cancer

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Hyperthermia is the process of heating the body, or tumor temperature, or both, in order to kill cancer cells. Because of the complexity of tumors and cancer cells, they can’t cool off as quickly as normal cells, so heat has a more devastating effect on their survival. I have read in the past that fevers have been shown to kill cancer cells, and cancer rates have decreased in times and areas when people have been ill because of infectious disease.  Now, scientists have developed technology which allows heat to be targeted to a tumor, and spare regular cells the intense heat.

However, Ralph Moss points out that while America innovates, it is slow to implement. Other countries, like Germany and China, are already offering hyperthermia treatment for cancer at a variety of clinics, while the U.S. only offers the therapy at a few major centers. Of course, one can create a fever artificially in a variety of ways (including sitting in a hot bath for a long time, or even getting the flu), but neither are particularly safe without supervision.

Image by Jonathan, enhanced by yours truly

Back in the “Low” Life Again

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If you are prone to weight gain, it’s important to live your life lower (but not too low) than higher. And, it’s amazing how weight gain can get away from you. You work hard, you love how you look and feel, and then bingo, you’re back on the roller coaster ride of weight gain. The key I guess is to keep it a small hill since it’s much easier to get down. I personally put on about 6 pounds over the last 3 weeks and I’m trying not to make it permanent and a prelude to more.

How did it happen? I took the vacation mentality too far. My mother in law was in town for a few weeks and she can cook. Very, very well, in fact. And, she cooks in a traditional Italian way: generally healthy (I don’t eat meat which helps), but also caloric and lots of added flavor. For example, I put about a cup of cheese on a whole pizza. She put almost a cup per slice (or so it seemed). As much as I loved it, the pounds started creeping on. And, since she was visiting, I didn’t make it to the gym as much. In short, my control slipped away.

My plan is to lose it over the next few weeks now that she is gone. I’m going to miss her for a variety of reasons including her cooking. I should’ve adjusted and actually used moderation and control. This is how I typically gained weight in the past: I “go off” and never really get back on until it’s too late. Not this time, though. I’m back in the low life again, which, as those who have been overweight and lost it know, the “low” life of healthy weight is actually the high life in terms of health and confidence.

Image by Jonathan Bennett. To order prints or download high resolution images, click here.