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Bush Administration Proposes New Rules for National Forests

On Wednesday, November 27th the Bush Administration released a proposal to overhaul how national forests and grasslands are managed. The proposal would give the local managers of individual forests far more latitude in setting policies regarding mining, logging, ranching, and recreation. The proposed plan would affect 155 national forests and 20 national grasslands.

Few would argue that current regulations can be a nightmare of red tape. The current planning process is a quagmire of draconian rules and often redundant procedures. Applications for use can reportedly take four to seven years to process and involve lengthy, and sometimes controversial, impact studies.

Environmentalists are upset by the proposal, calling it a blatant attempt by the Bush administration to aid the logging industry at the expense of our national forests. The areas of greatest concern in the proposal are the reduction of public participation in the planning process and the ability of local forestry officials  to formulate forest management plans without first conducting in-depth environmental impact studies. 

According to Forest Service Associate Chief Sally Collins "The national forests and grasslands are for everyone, the proposed rule is designed to more effectively involve the public and to better harmonize the environmental, social and economic benefits of America's greatest natural resource--our forests and grasslands." For additional information see the National Forest Service Web Site.

New Lexar JumpDrive 35% Faster

At Comdex Lexar announced an updated version of it's JumpDrive portable USB storage device.

JumpDrive 2.0 is approximately 35% fast than the original JumpDrive. The device plugs directly into an available USB port where it can be treated like a mini hard drive.

JumpDrive 2.0 holds 256 MB of data and is small enough to be used as a keychain.


Minolta Goes Deep

Minolta is introducing the Minolta Marine Case for it's DiMAGE X and DiMAGE Xi digital cameras (model MC-DG100). The case allows you to use your DiMAGE X in any kind of wet conditions whether its around the pool, skiing or up to 100 feet under water. 

The lightweight smoothly curved polycarbonate case has molded buttons that allow easy operation even when wearing gloves.

Minolta says that the Marine Case turns your DiMAGE X into an all weather camera. List price is $249. Street prices not yet available.

Minolta Notice for Windows XP Home Edition / Windows XP Professional Users

Digital camera owners should use caution when manipulating their images using Windows XP.

EXIF tag information in the image file is overwritten and changed when the following operations are done to images taken by Minolta digital cameras, under Windows XP Home Edition / Windows XP Professional (here after Windows XP). There is a possibility that playback of the image on the digital camera, or image manipulation on DiMAGE Image Viewer Utility software not work properly, when you use the above-mentioned image file with overwritten EXIF tag.

For a complete explanation of what operations can cause damage to teh EXIF tag information click here to go to the Minolta support site.

New Gitzo Tripods Stand Taller, Fold Shorter

Gitzo has increased it's line at both ends of the tripod spectrum.

Gitzo claims the new six-section carbon fiber G1548GT Systematic tripod is more stable and up to 30% lighter than the aluminum version and can support camera loads up to 33 lbs. It weighs only 8 lbs and folds to a compact size of only 27 inches.

The Mountaineer series of carbon fiber tripods has been enhanced with the addition of geared columns which allow for fine adjustments.

Complementing this new series of tripods are new center ballheads which provide smooth, fluid movement and total locking stability. An innovative Teflon-coating applied to the ball itself lets you make camera positioning adjustments more smoothly than ever before by eliminating all traces of jarring and skipping.

New Kodak E100G & E100GX to Replace E100S and E100SW Slide Films

New Kodak Professional Ektachrome E100G and E100GX films will replace Kodak Professional Ektachrome E100S and E100SW and will be available in the first quarter of 2003.

E100G film will have a neutral balance while E100GX will have a warmer color balance. These new films feature the latest advancements in Kodak's color amplifying technology and Kodak's T-Grain® emulsion technology, which captures light more effectively.  Both films deliver extremely fine grain, a lowered D-Min for whiter and brighter whites and an improved tone scale.

Kodak says that these new emulsions are part of it's ongoing commitment to film.

And You Thought Combat Photographers Took Risks!

It seems that cameras get the best of Tiger Woods more than competitors do. Woods needed a birdie on the 18th hole of the Conagra Foods Skins Game. But instead his shot rolled fifteen feet past the pin. Woods turned in disgust to a photographer who Woods claimed tripped the shutter in the middle of his swing causing him "to flinch". While Woods confined himself to some choice words for the shooter his caddie Steve Williams took the camera from the errant photographer and threw it into the lake!

The missed shot put Woods out of the running for $200,000 in prize money.

This is a continuation of Woods bad luck with photographers. Earlier this year he had a vocal, and well publicized exchange with a photographer on the first hole of the British Open. So if you find yourself on the golf course with camera in hand remember to duck and hold on tight to your camera!

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