Wallpaper of the Day: Porto Moniz

Not only are the colors awesome, the clarity in this photo is outstanding. One of the most arresting aspects stems from the difference in the color of the sky reflected in the water; the sky radiates a nice, warm glow, whereas the water emits a cooler, teal-to-blue gradient. If you enjoy this type of photography you should definitely check out the artist's collection here.

For Photos, Ditch Facebook for Flickr

Facebook is great for easily sharing pictures from last night's debauchery, but it really falls short on quality. If you've ever tried to print out one of your Facebook photos (or someone else's for that matter) you'll immediately notice what I'm talking about. Do you archive your photos on your computer? Do you delete them immediately after uploading to Facebook? If you've ever taken a picture that you may want to print someday, I would recommend using Flickr for the following reasons:


So the photo I took of the Tribune Tower is in "The Loupe" on - please go vote for it here!

Off the SD Card: Michigan Ave

I was downtown yesterday for an event and took some architectural shots of the Wrigley Building and Tribune Tower. I took all of them with my Tokina 11-16mm - a great super wide angle lens that really captures straight lines well. The picture above, of Tribune tower, was edited in Photoshop. Here is a simple 5-step process to get this type of photo:

Wallpaper of the Day: I'm Home

Look familiar? This photo reminded me a lot of the photos I took down at Lake Gaston, NC. The photographer, macindows, captures the setting sun over the silhouetted treeline perfectly - much sharper than my images. He may have had better light, or maybe he didn't take this on a rocking boat like I did, but either way, its a fantastic shot! Head over to for more.

Off the SD Card - Lake Gaston

This past Labor Day weekend, my family and I went to Lake Gaston. On our last day (Labor Day Monday), the sunset was spectacular. The weather was perfect all weekend, but being on the water during a sunset is hard to replicate. A little boost in contrast and saturation is all this photo needed!

Quick Six Review: Motorola CLIQ

It’s been quite a while since Motorola had a phone worth buying, but the CLIQ may be the end to their drought. When it comes to consumer phones nowadays, there are three types of people: dumbphone people, iPhone people, and other-smartphone people. I think it’s safe to assume most of you don’t really care about dumbphones. That being said, if you like the iPhone, go get an iPhone, but if you don’t really want an iPhone, consider the Motorola CLIQ for these reasons…

Amazing Photography - Golden Gate Storm

I found this photo on Digg, and man did it blow me away. Head over to the photographer's gallery site to see more of his work here.

Wallpaper of the Day: 3 Culvert Sunset

The colors in this image are outstanding, and I love the reflection on the water. The juxtaposition of the industrial-looking drainage pipes with the vibrant colors of nature is just outstanding. I would imagine this shot was taken with a wide-angle lens and a tripod, but according to the photographer, the most difficult part of getting this shot was avoiding the mosquitos!

Click here to head over to to download other resolutions.

Mac Tips: iPhoto '09 Fix for Snow Leopard

After installing Snow Leopard on my Macbook Pro, I immediately noticed problems with iPhoto '09. What I normally do when backing up my computer is copy the iPhoto package file over to my external hard drive. Once I've reinstalled the OS, I simply drag the iPhoto package file back onto my Macbook Pro. In the past, this worked great, but with Snow Leopard, I definitely had issues. If you encountered this problem, this information will be useful to you…

Off the SD Card: Wrigley Field

You have to love Wrigley Field, especially the old style billboard. Not only was it a beautiful day, the Cubs actually won yesterday! Here are a couple more pics from the game with my Tokina 11-16mm lens:

Wallpaper of the Day - Sacramento Tower Bridge Passing

I love pictures of steel bridges and I love long exposure night-shots - this photo has both. According to the photographer, this was taken with a Canon 40D & Tamron 17-50mm at f/32 over a 70 second exposure. To get a crisp night-shot like this, you first need a good tripod. Once you have that setup properly, set your shooting mode to timer to avoid any movement in the camera as the shutter opens and closes.

Quick-6 Review: Best Netbook

I’ve been taking advantage of Best Buy for years, but their 30-day return policy is great for picking out the computer that’s right for you. I first bought the HP 1035NR, which I used for two weeks before exchanging it for the newly released Gateway LT3103U. After having problems with the Gateway, I finally landed on the Asus 1005HA – which I absolutely love.

Spotify Got Approved!

Spotify, the cloud-based music service, just had their iPhone app approved by Apple. Considered to be an "iTunes killer," its pretty amazing it got through the approval process. Keep in mind its not in the US yet, but hopefully it will soon. You can read more here.

The Future is Now: Yelp Edition

For you iPhone 3GS users out there: go immediately to the App store and download the Yelp app. If you already have the Yelp app, delete it and go to the App store to re-download. Once you launch the app, shake your phone 3 times - no joke. It took me a couple tries (just throttle the shit out of it) and an Indiana Jones-like message will appear saying "the Monocle has been activated." Now you'll see an icon at the top called "Monocle" - tap it to start the augmented reality feature.

The 3GS is required - older 3G models wont work (you need the internal compass). If you don't have a 3GS, or an iPhone for that matter, go give Apple your money.

Free Texting on Your iPhone

Texting is probably the most important feature on a phone these days, so having a good alternative to the built-in texting app on the iPhone is worth a try - especially if it saves money. When I first started my iPhone plan back on June 29th, 2007, I added the $15/month texting plan. I rarely went over my allotment, and often considered downgrading my texting plan to the $5/month 200-texts plan. Not until I came across two free texting apps in the app store did I make this change a reality.

The Death of XM and Sirius

XM was a great idea when it first came out; take the cable TV model and apply it to radio. It was great - the content was fantastic, the selection was much better than anything on FM, and the quality was first-rate. To me, audio quality is very important, and I enjoyed listening to CD-quality tracks on XM much more than even the strongest FM signal. I loved it while I had it, but hated paying 12 bucks a month for the service.

Dynamic-Photo HDR

High Dynamic Range photography, or HDR photography, is something I've always been interested in. Basically, an HDR photo combines a number of photos into one image. The human eye can capture a much larger range of light than any camera sensor, so using several photos can help make up for the loss in range. This is where the Dynamic-Photo HDR software comes in - this program is extremely intuitive and easy to use. The image above was created by shooting 3 images using the bracketing mode on my camera. One image was taken at regular exposure, one was underexposed, and the third was overexposed. These three photos make up the HDR image - this allows the sky to look deep and defined, while the city's details aren't lost.

Wallpaper of the Day - The Summit Museum

I love the shadow from the mountain in this picture - it almost stretches to the horizon. Not only is it a great photo, but it works well as a background for your computer; just stick your desktop icons in the top left! Head over to to download other resolutions.

Off the SD Card: Chicago Airshow

The annual Chicago Air and Water show was this last weekend here in Chicago, and I wanted to give a few pointers on capturing jets.

1. If you have a DSLR, rotate your dial to "S" and set the shutter speed anywhere from 2000 to 4000. This will allow you to stop down for clarity and still get crisp images of most planes, even jets.
2. Bump up your ISO to 800 if you have good light - if not, set it to 250 or 300. Remember, when you set your ISO too high, your pictures will turn out noisy - adjust to fit your light!
3. Set your advance mode to Continuous High. This way, when you hold down the shutter button, your camera will take picture after picture - very useful for fast planes.

Wallpaper of the Day - The Sleeping Harbour

The lighting in this photo is perfect, and it's a simple enough image to use as a nice sunset wallpaper. Click the image above for the hi-res version, or head over to to download other resolutions.

The Future: HTML5 Edition

Some things on the internet are just cool, and this is definitely a good example. The latest version of Firefox and Google Chrome supports HTML5, so if you're using one of those browsers, you should be able to see and interact with the colorful dots. Sure, you may think this isn't that different from some artsy websites that are already out there, but those sites were probably all done in flash. HTML5 adds a whole new level of interactivity that currently is only possible in flash. Head over to to see what I'm talking about.

Quick-6 Review: 32GB iPhone 3GS

So this is the first of many (hopefully) quick six reviews. Basically, I'll give you the top 6 reasons to buy the product as well as the bottom line. If you decide to buy the product, be sure to click on the Amazon links here on TakeItOrTakeIt! Here goes:

Wallpaper of the Day - Line

I'm a fan of dark wallpapers, and this wallpaper is a fantastic background - simple and crisp with a touch of color. When I don't make my own wallpapers, I get them from Click the link to get other resolutions of this wallpaper and check out many more wallpapers at

A Growing Problem

Super Size Me is a fantastic film and here is a snippet from the movie. We all know that smoking is addicting, but it's interesting to think that eating could be just as addicting. I edited this clip for (with Morgan Spurlock's approval) using Adobe Premier CS3. In the future, I'll post a tutorial on how to create a snippet like this one.

If you're interested in the film, head over to to watch the full movie, as well as 3 more "Super Size Me Selects."

Hello World

With the phrase "take it or leave it" in mind, I hope this blog helps you learn one useful thing everyday. Topics will primarily be tech-related - think of it as a combination of gizmodo/engadget and lifehacker. There will be product demonstrations and reviews as well as tutorials and tips. I hope you enjoy the blog, and take everything I have to say.