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Also, IT welcomes the youngsters.

I enjoyed your article (“No photo finish in chips,” May) on the Foveon image sensor–until I got to the end. You state that with the new chip, photography will require only the skill of understanding lighting and composition. You write this as if many other required skills have been eliminated.

Photography, when reduced to its essential elements, has always been a matter of quality of light (lighting) combined with camera position. Neither concept has anything to do with what is inside the camera and has everything to do with what is inside the head of the photographer.

This is important because marketing hype and misinformation continues to lead a whole new generation of photographers to believe that cameras now see just like they do, and that the camera will do essential creative work for them. Nothing could be further from the truth.

The Foveon image sensor, as good as it will be, will still only be able to record a range of contrast of six stops (just 1/2 stop better than most negative films). Our eyes see a contrast range of 15 stops. That means that up to nine stops of information have the potential to disappear when you go from the real thing to the captured image. Knowing what will disappear from the final printed image, even with high-quality LCDs and monitors, still requires a technical skill called previsualization. The only way to be able to previsualize the difference between what your eye sees and what will be captured in the final image requires a significant amount of knowledge about exposure, light, lighting, lens choice, filters, what is possible in post-production with Photoshop, your output device, your output media, etc., etc.-and a hell of a lot of practice.

Craig M. Tanner

All devices that gather information from the real world are analog devices. This includes CCDs and the Foveon CMOS chip. The path to digital encoding is through an analog/digital converter, and through video devices–particularly the fast ones necessary for accepting analog information from imaging devices. Thus, Foveon’s sensor cannot possibly emulate the human retina in digital silicon. However, after the A/D conversion, there may be further “emulation” of the retina by the DSP firmware.

Thomas Groover

In your recent Career Advisor column (“Home Networking Options,” May) you were commenting on a reader’s question on how to break into the networking field after spending 10 years as a field tech. I was shocked by your comments on how his age and lack of degree or certification might prevent him from gaining access to this field. If you look around the industry today, most computer techs are under the age of 25.

My experience in this industry is that more and more companies today do not put as much emphasis on certification as they did five years ago.

IT, more than ever, is a hard field to get into, and to try and break in at a networking level is next to impossible. There are enough barriers without introducing more that don’t really exist.

Todd Schmidt

In the article by Eric Foster-Johnson (“Has BSD Unix passed up Linux?,” May) he states that “Microsoft Office does not run on Linux …” However, it does run on Linux. There is a new product called Crossover Office, and it allows Microsoft Office to run fully in Linux, and even more stably than it runs in Windows, because you do not have to worry about system crashes when you are running it, only program crashes. Crossover also has a product that allows you to run a variety of other plugins and software in Linux. All of it is based on the WINE Linux Windows emulator (which is free). This software is just a front end that makes installing these applications easy. Just the other day I tried it out; it felt kind of a funny having Windows Media Player running seamlessly in Linux.


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