Monthly Archives: November 2012

“Sell your crap. Pay your debt. Do what you love.”

Stumbled across a very interesting video today; even though it was posted to youtube eons ago.  Okay, it was about a year ago… but still.

Adam Baker did a Ted talk, and… well, it’s very interesting.  It’s worth 20 minutes of your time, for sure.  I will probably end up watching it a number of times.  Seems like a simple, 3-step process doesn’t it?  Of course.  Is it?  Not at all.  Watch the video below:

Review: Nook HD+

Nook HD +

Barnes and Noble Nook HD + (image courtesy of barnesandnoble.com)

Before jumping straight into the review of Barnes and Noble’s new Nook HD +, I’m going to first tell you why I was looking into a tablet in the first place.  Basically I only really needed an eReader, a gallery application that would display really nice images – for when I wanted to show people my portfolio of images, and occasionally some web browsing.  The Nook HD + seemed to fit the bill nicely.  I went for the 16GB version over the 32GB since this is one of the tablets that actually has a micro SD card slot for additional storage.  Plus, at $269, this is one of the lesser-expensive tablets with a large screen (9″, as opposed to its little brother, the Nook HD’s 7″ screen).

For the techie-nerds out there, the screen resolution is 1920 x 1280, and the PPI is 256.   It also has a 1.5 ghz dual-core processor and 1GB of RAM.  It also only weighs just over 18oz (515 grams)… it’s very easy to hold, and is only 11mm thick.  The battery is rated to last up to 10 hours on a charge, and I can vouch that the battery life was indeed very impressive.  All of that for $269 is a pretty good deal… especially when you consider that it’s SO easy to download a book, magazine, or catalog to the device and start reading in seconds (okay, that depends on your WiFi connection, but still).

Nook HD + Home screen

Nook HD + Home screen (courtesy of Engadget)

The Reader application for reading books, magazines, etc, is phenomenal.  Very quick, responsive, and a joy to use.  Magazines look absolutely stellar on it.  ArticleView lets you read all the text of an article in a vertical-scrolling manner, with minimal pictures.  This is handy because magazines don’t always have long columns of text, sometimes there’s a picture taking up most of the page, and the text is just underneath it, and only four-lines high, spanning two full pages.  Normally you’d have to pinch-to-zoom in on it, read a bit, scroll, read, scroll, etc.  ArticleView was created to alleviate that, and it does so extremely well.

The display of the Nook HD + is outstanding as well.  Though it doesn’t have the super-high resolution of an iPad or a Google Nexus 10, it’s still quite nice, and very sharp with high-contrast.  This really helps for watching videos and movies, and of course, the text of books is tack-sharp.

Okay, so, now for the quirks.  The browser was normally pretty snappy, and loaded pages just fine.  However, it would randomly close and bring up a message stating “The browser has closed unexpectedly, we’re sorry for the inconvenience” or something to that effect.  That happened about 10 times over the course of 7 days, so that’s not cool right there.  And yes, my device was up to date software-wise.

Nook HD + (left) and the Nook HD

Nook HD + (left) and the Nook HD. Image courtesy of PopSci.com

Second, the apps.  Now, even though this device runs Android, it’s “Barnes and Noble” flavored, and it doesn’t taste much like “Jelly Beans”.  The apps you can get for the device have to be downloaded from the B&N app store; you can’t just get apps from Google Play (like normal Android devices), called “sideloading”.  The selection just isn’t there like it is in Google Play, and it shows.  Not only that, but most of the decent apps at the B&N App Store cost money.

One of the apps I needed for this device was a good Gallery app for showing my photos.  The stock gallery application on Nooks is notorious for being clunky, difficult to use, unresponsive, and just plain rubbish.  People have apparently been asking for a decent gallery app for a long time, and I had heard that it’s much better in the Nook HD +.  When I connected the Nook HD + to my PC and created folders on my SD card there, the stock gallery application wouldn’t recognize them, and that’s just not cool with me.  So, better or not, it still sucks, and it left me looking for a better one.  The best thing I found was Pixie Reef’s Fishbowl, and even that left a lot to be desired… especially after dropping $4 on it.  The interface may let you do a lot, but it’s clunky as well, and not easy to navigate.  Perhaps my patience was wearing thin, but if someone can’t make a $4 app user-friendly, they need to try again.

I also read a fair amount of eBooks in PDF format, and need the tablet to be able to display them well, and have navigation be pleasant.  Well, that didn’t happen either.  The default reader on the Nook HD + is great for books (and STELLAR for magazines), but is flat-out SUCKS for PDFs.  So once again, I was forced to look for a 3rd-party application that could help me out with that.  I found Unidocs ezPDF Reader which did an alright job, but the interface was difficult to use because it was SO small.  It also seemed very laggy compared to the stock PDF reader on the device.  Maybe it’s not optimized for the Nook HD +, I don’t know.  But either way, that app didn’t suffice either; there goes another $3.

And now for probably the most frustrating issue I had, which was with the Nook Store.  On the home screen there’s a “store” icon that you press to buy content from the Nook Store (which is the idea for having a device like this in the first place).  I searched for a book called “Pitch Anything” by Oren Klaff.  I know they have it, because doing a search on my computer’s browser yields the results, but for some reason the Nook Store application on my HD + couldn’t find it.  Not only that, it couldn’t find the Author either.  Now, my girlfriend has a Nook Color (that she absolutely loves and is great for what she needs), and she was sitting right next to me, same WiFi connection, “same app store”, and her device was able to find the book AND author.  So I quickly checked my device to see if there was another system update that I need, and of course, there was nothing.  I turned it off and then back on… and tried again, still nothing.  I then decided to go to MyNook.com (on the device), login, and search for the book there.  Boom; it found it.  I purchased it, downloaded it to the device, and was able to read it.  I decided to press the Store button again, and do the search again… still nothing.  Talking with Barnes and Noble “support” didn’t do much of anything either.  Their response was “We have thoroughly researched the technical problem you experienced while downloading your recent NOOK Book purchase.  Despite our efforts, we are unable to find the source of the error.”  That doesn’t make me feel all warm and tingly.  Figure it out!  That’s why I gave you $269, plus the purchase of the SD card from your store, the $13 for the book, etc.

Okay, so, there are some issues, but again, the things that it does well, it does VERY well.  If you’re looking at the Nook to be your eReader, it will make you very happy (providing the Store app can find the book you want).  Magazines and books look amazing on this thing, and that’s really what it’s meant for.  If you’re looking for much beyond that though, it will be within your best interest to keep looking.  I took my Nook HD + back to Barnes and Noble after 11 days and have a Google Nexus 10 arriving shortly.

Where is licensing going?

APhotoEditor recently posted an article about the battle over licensing.  A very interesting read.  Here it is for you:

The Looming Battle Over Licensing

I’ve noticed a few stories and blog posts lately where people suddenly realize they don’t own some of the things they buy (latest one here). Licensing is nothing new to photographers, but most people assume they own the books, movies and music they bought . When they suddenly discover that they cannot freely copy and distribute it (even among devices they own), that they only bought a license, there’s usually a WTF moment. It’s really easy to understand why this licensing deal and in general, an understanding of copyright law was never properly explained to the masses. Copying and distributing books, movies and music was really difficult and expensive so there was no need to get into the details of it. Now that it’s easy to copy and distribute work, everyone is paying for the lack of attention to the subject.
So, what can those in the licensing camp do about this? Do we dig in and force consumers to understand how licensing works and let them know it’s not going away? Or do you find a business model that works without licensing, where everything is sold once?If you agree that licensing needs to stick around for the business of photography to continue then you know that the only way to protect licenses is to plant software in devices that prevents you from doing certain things. Anyone who’s used itunes or kindle books knows how this works. You try and do something with a book, movie or song you purchased and your computer tells you it’s not allowed.Cory Doctorow and outspoken critic on licensing has argued vehemently against the software that controls the license: DRM. In a recent piece titled “The Coming War on General Purpose Computing” he takes this anti licensing and anti DRM thinking one step further by arguing that eventually everything will be controlled by software and that big brother will be upon us before we know it if we don’t address the issue of hidden software on our devices. “I’m sorry Dave, I’m afraid I can’t do that” is not some science fiction fantasy, it already exists. You’ll only freak out when you can’t open your fridge because Bloomberg put you on a diet.

If photographers agree that protecting licensing with software is a good thing then what about when the software is spying on you? I’ve heard from quite a few people that turning in your RAW files is becoming a common practice in some genre’s of photography. Companies that trade in the veracity of photographs need to know what was done to the image in post plus where and when it was taken. I can easily see a software solution to this problem where GPS, timestamps and changes to the image are all recorded. Software spying might not seems so great when that happens.

There are no easy answers to this problem but Cory Doctorow’s piece is worth reading and considering the implications to the business of photography, because there will be a battle over DRM and software used to spy on you. And, that translates to a battle over licensing.

 

Please don’t forget to check out APhotoEditor every now and again, as they post some amazing content.

WWII photos superimposed over the same, modern-day locations.

The Fstoppers never fail at dishing out excellent content.  I’m not going to say much about this one, just read it.. and don’t forget to check out the Fstoppers here.

Here is the original article:

World War II Photos Superimposed On Same Modern Street

Dutch historian, Jo Hedwig Teeuwisse, blends the past and present using photos from World War II and pictures from the same places today. Jo will literally spend hours trying to locate scenes of photos from the war and then photograph the modern day scene at the same angles so that she can blend the two pictures in Photoshop thereby creating her “Ghosts of History” photo series.

About two months ago we featured a similar project on Fstoppers where Sean Clover blended images of San Francisco after the quake and today. In fact the technique of blending old and new photos has become quite popular in recent years even being used in advertising campaigns by some companies.

What struck me about Jo’s images though was the historical significance of the photos. While attending a flea market, Jo came across the 300 old negatives depicting familiar places in her city. As she tried to locate the exact location of each of the images it set the project in motion. “I try to make people realize that history is all around us. That where you live, work or go to school, once people fought, died or simply experienced a different kind of life. We are history, history is us,” – she says.

Here’s an example of two photos that Jo has taken and blended together showing soldiers running down Avenue de Paris in Cherbourg in 1944.

Untitled 13 World War II Photos Superimposed On Same Modern Street

Ghosts of War Fstoppers 3 World War II Photos Superimposed On Same Modern Street

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Untitled 2 World War II Photos Superimposed On Same Modern Street

Below is a pull back image shot showing the location of two dead soldiers, just meters away from each other.

Ghosts of War Battle Scene1 World War II Photos Superimposed On Same Modern Street

You can follow Jo’s project on Facebook on her page, Ghost’s of History.

My hockey portfolio.

Just thought I’d do a little self-promotion here, hope you don’t mind.  For those of you interested in my hockey portfolio, you can view it directly on my website, www.aepoc.com .

Here’s a link directly to the images:  http://www.aepoc.com/488490/hockey

The 100 Greatest Sports Photos

Absolutely incredible work here.  If you’re a sports photographer, or an avid fan OF sports photography, you MUST look through these.  This was taken from Sports Illustrated, and you can (and definitely should) view the original here, as you can view the pictures in a larger resolution.  Here’s a low-down of them:

Your camera’s guts.

Here’s another gem from PetaPixel.  Some very interesting stuff here.. have a look!

Please view the original post by Michael Zhang here.

A Teardown of the Nikon D700 and a Peek at Some of Its Interesting Guts

A Teardown of the Nikon D700 and a Peek at Some of Its Interesting Guts disassembledd7000

If you’ve ever wondered what a Nikon D700 looks like when completely disassembled, today’s your lucky day. Czech photographer Martin Kozák recently did a complete teardown with a ruined D700, and then snapped the still life photo seen above.

Kozák tells us that the camera belonged to photographer Honza Martinec, who took a bad step backwards while on a pier and fell into the water. The D700 and an attached Nikkor 70–200 f/2.8 VR II were hanging around his neck when he took the plunge.

Although they were only underwater for a couple of seconds, and although Martinec reacted swiftly by removing the battery and allowing the gear to completely dry, he discovered (after waiting a week) that the camera would no longer take pictures and the LCD screen was broken (focusing worked, though).

After sending the camera into his local Nikon repair center, Martinec learned that the repair would cost more than the price of a new D700. That’s when he decided to hand the camera off to Kozák for a teardown. After taking the camera apart, Kozák spent 1.5 hours arranging the main pieces into the arrangement seen above.

Kozák tells us that he found roughly 260 screws inside the camera. Here’s a picture of the screws and all the small parts:

A Teardown of the Nikon D700 and a Peek at Some of Its Interesting Guts screws

Many of the parts were labeled with stickers containing QR Codes:

A Teardown of the Nikon D700 and a Peek at Some of Its Interesting Guts qrcode

Here’s what the viewfinder’s information display bar looks like when it’s removed from the camera:

A Teardown of the Nikon D700 and a Peek at Some of Its Interesting Guts viewfinder

A closeup of the autofocus sensor:

A Teardown of the Nikon D700 and a Peek at Some of Its Interesting Guts af

The 12.1-megapixel full-frame sensor inside the camera:

A Teardown of the Nikon D700 and a Peek at Some of Its Interesting Guts sensor

A neat look at the shutter curtain. We see another QR Code and mechanical components that open and close the curtain:

A Teardown of the Nikon D700 and a Peek at Some of Its Interesting Guts shuttercurtain

You can find a larger version of the above “neatly arranged” photo here.


And be sure to check out PetaPixel on a regular basis, they have some great content.