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Mike, I think you have the situation 180 degrees around. Cameras should absolutely be “the kitchen sink” in hardware. However, in software, users should have great tools to work in a streamlined way for their current task. Our problems arise due to the software kitchen sink, everything exposed all the time,which produces so much of the pain we all have in using these devices. For a familiar-to-many example, Photoshop solved this ages ago by introducing Workspaces. Workspaces provided a curated and customizable way to adapt the entire UI to the task at hand. Photoshop pros of my experience make extensive use of this feature in their work. Camera reviewers and users have directly or indirectly been crying for this functionality for ages. That user experience would produce a sea change in camera usage. You love the flip-up screen? For primarily stills work? Buy the flip-up model, select the Stills workspace, and never look back. Ultimately, this would require camera makers to make an cultural change: to that of camera platform makers than camera appliance makers. (IMO, this has happened to an extent, but far too slowly.) Cameras evolved from the appliance model, when there was no choice but to make all the choices for the user. When all we had were stills and discrete shooting modes (film stocks!), this was allright. But the user experience hasn’t kept up with digital capabilities. So re-conceive of the camera hardware as a multi-faceted platform. Support discrete user workflows rather than marketing bullet lists, and enable it all via great software on par with the hardware. This would put the user in control, with as much or as little of hardware’s capabilities exposed as they need at the moment.
I'll share a thought about consumables such as ink costs, which first came to me when learning inline freestyle skating. Some skating techniques eat wheels alive: slides, hockey stops, etc. Most folks' impulse is to try to conserve consumable items where possible (wheels, ink, etc.) But one day I had an epiphany: I would gladly trade several sets of wheels for solid sliding skills. Which, as it happens, is exactly what's required. The same applies to learning many disciplines, including photographic printing: if you want to get better you simply must put the time and materials into your practice. Perhaps obvious, but I found that openly admitting that made the process much easier.
Note that it only takes two minutes of charging on the Magic Mouse 2 to get a 9-hour day's worth of charge back on it[1]. That's not much more interruption than a battery swap, and perhaps a good excuse to get up and move around a bit. I fully expect that the situation with the iMac's ports will start to resolve in 2016. With USB-C and Thunderbolt 3 arriving, I expect that we'll see almost all other ports kicked out into more-easily accessed (and upgraded) breakout boxes like OWC's Thunderbolt 2 Dock. [1]: per iMore's Magic Mouse 2 review
An important point about cloud archive/backup services: any one such service only counts as a single copy of your data, at best.(**) No matter how good the company's internal processes, there are always Single Points of Failure (SPOFs, in the lingo). At the very highest level, there's the possibility that the company or division will unexpectedly go belly up. Just as with physical media, it's good to evaluate the reliability and track record of a provider, but these providers are composed of potentially fallible parts and processes, just like the spinning hard drives of yore. ;-) Following best practices, you'll want to keep a minimum of three copies of critical data. For my own backups and archives, this is usually the "live" copy attached to a primary computer plus two (or more) backups. Ideally, one of those backups (cloud or otherwise) lives off-site. This helps reduce the risk of loss due to catastrophic events such as fire, flood, etc. Businesses with critical data will often contract with data security companies, who essentially keep climate-controlled safety deposit boxes with a service that periodically comes around to swap lockboxes of old backups with lockboxes of new backups. And in case anyone is wondering, it's definitely happened in the past that having all three copies saved my derrière from critical data loss. (**) "At best": consider two different cloud backup providers that both use a common storage provider (e.g. Amazon S3) behind the scenes. If a major S3 outage or data loss event occurs, that could impact both apparently-distinct cloud backup services. If using more than one such provider, it's important to know whether they're sharing major back-end infrastructure.
I note that this analysis misses the post-shoot part of the workflow: the amount of time it takes to offload images from the card for selection, processing, etc. That can be a pretty substantial time suck for anyone doing high-volume photography. I've known photogs who tended to covet high-speed cards (and card readers capable of keeping up) for this reason alone.
For a fine read on the theme of adopted cultures, I highly recommend Alex Kerr's Lost Japan. Kerr moved to Japan full-time in 1977, and originally wrote this book in Japanese for which it was awarded the Shincho Gakugei Literature Prize. The book's stories are told through Kerr's autobiographical lens, used to great effect as someone who is all of: a foreigner, one who gone native, and a great aficionado of his adopted culture.
Small correction: Nikon doesn't take out the anti-aliasing filter in the D800E. They change the filter stack such that it doesn't act as an AA filter.'s preview has an illustration of the D800/D800E filter stacks. It remains to be seen how this will differ in practice from AA-filter-less cameras such as the Leica M9.
Toggle Commented Feb 7, 2012 on Nikon D800, Woo-Hoo! at The Online Photographer
William Blackwell has written a nice article detailing his investigations into "camera scanning" at The Agnostic Print. Quote: "I’ve recently built such a system for the University of Vermont Slide Library. [...] we hope to digitize our 150,000 slides in under three months (pre metadata inclusion) with only $3400 in equipment."
With Ctein neatly jumping from one shared geekery to another, I'll share some of my own tea-brewing wisdom. To improve your tea brewing, bear in mind these three attributes: time, temperature, and amount of leaf (ratio to water). Within bounds, increasing or decreasing any of these attributes will correspondingly increase or decrease the strength of the tea. Different teas have different "sweet spots" in this space; experimentation will teach you a lot. Darkroom hacks among you may recall exercises in changing exposures and contrast filters to understand printing controls for a single negative. You can use exercises in the same spirit to master your brewing. A case study: Many people assume that black tea requires sugar and/or milk to be drinkable. Indeed, that's the stereotype from English tea service. Using our framework above, here's a mind-expanding experiment. Start with a high quality black tea, such as the delicious Chinese Gold Yunnan tea. The aroma of this tea when dry has lovely apricot and citrus notes, but none of this comes out in the usual black-tea "5 minutes, hot" brewing. Put only a light dusting of leaves in your pot, perhaps a fifth to a tenth of a "normal" serving. If you think for a moment there's enough tea, then it's probably too much. Now brew it with full-boiling water for ten minutes. The result is astounding; a light, fruity amber-gold liqueur. The apricot notes in the dry tea are present in full-force in the cup. Likewise, the citrus notes typical of a good black tea are present, even strengthened. Sweetener or creamer is redundant. Happy steeping!
Toggle Commented Dec 14, 2011 on OT: The Art of Tea at The Online Photographer
If I was reset to zero, I'd be seriously torn. I've got a nice 4x5 setup and a sweet darkroom to go with it. But if I'd lost everything, my priorities are clear. First, restore the ability to produce printed work, as I love photographing to print. Rebuilding a film and darkroom setup is more a labor of time than of money these days. My close second priority would be to ensure I can seamlessly share photographic works online. I'm also an accomplished a fiber artist, so the ability to shoot my works for online presentation, do quick photo/video tutorials, and so forth are critical. Given those two constraints and other preferences, I'd lean towards a Panasonic GX1 and lenses. In my case, I'm willing to trade off raw image quality (vs. current DSLRs) for sheer portability. The GX1 would actually be a quality upgrade from my current entry-level DSLR body, so I'd win on two fronts.
It's not clear that anyone has yet debunked the "multitasking" misunderstanding perpetuated here. There are precisely zero technical limitations on the iPad or any iOS system (whether 3.x or the new 4.x series) to multimedia presentations. Witness the plethora of educational and entertainment applications that provide a full audio/visual experience on iPhone and iPad. Put simply, iOS systems are full multitasking systems at the OS level. There is, however, an application level limitation that two full-blown applications must not be resident at the same time. iOS 4 now provides explicit support for certain kinds of limited background tasks, such as the ability for third-party media players to continue to play audio when another app is running. The only practical limitation this presents to Lenswork Extended on iPad is that one would not be able to listen to Lenswork Extended audio content running in a third-party app while using another application. Once iOS 4 is out for iPad, even this limitation vanishes. But that's a very different issue from any fundamental OS-level obstacle to presenting Lenswork Extended content as intended. To me the much more interesting questions are: 1) whether or how PDF support on any current application on iPad handles the Lenswork's PDF media embedding (I gather it doesn't), and 2) what are the parameters of supporting publication via some other packaging if PDF isn't a suitable path. The 'parameters' include the usual matrix of platform support, feature support, assessment of authoring workflow, and so forth. Last but not least, I'll call out Blio Reader as a publication platform worth evaluating when it ships this August. It's not yet clear whether the 1.0 release will support Lenswork Extended's multimedia needs, but Blio's design goals make it a much more likely to support a publication like Lenswork Extended than any other current ebook format aside from PDF.
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Jul 25, 2010