Monthly Archives: February 2007

Rumours of Nikon D3

There’s been a flurry of activity in the Nikon camp about it’s answer to Canon’s new EOS-1D Mark III, the rumoured D3. Over on the Nikonians forum, jrp posted his new prediction:

Reports of a full frame (1.1X sensor) prototype being tested were getting stale; however, with apologies for the delay, our intelligence sources in the heart of Japan have confirmed it:

New Model denomination: D3, most likely D3H Sensor Manufacturer: Either Sony (most likely) or Nikon Megapixel rating: in the 18MP to 20MP range Expected announcement date: March 2007, at PMA Likely availability in store shelves around the world: October 2007 Surprise Feature: DX format high FPS rate High Speed Crop Mode

Which strangely enough matches what jeff-c on the DPReview forums said a year ago about 1.1x crop factor sensors.

It does seem likely we’ll be getting full-frame or near full-frame sensors with the D3, otherwise a lot of people will be dissapointed and Nikon would risk having people jump ship to Canon and their rumoured update to the EOS-1Ds.

Personally I’m quite happy with DX size (1.5x crop-factor), especially as I’ve invested in a reasonable amount of DX lenses and the extra reach it gives me with my longer lenses.

This seems like it’s going to be one hell of a PMA convention, Nikon, Canon and Olympus are updating their professional line-up with new cameras and lenses expected by all.

Coco-Cola redesign

Coco-Cola has redesigned their cans and bottles in Japan, as part of their new The Coke Side of Life marketing campaign. I’ve yet to see a can in the flesh so I’ll hold off from forming an opinion now, but the slogan just sounds like a desperate company’s marketing department struggling with ideas.

URL Rewriting with IIS

Scott Guthrie explains the methods currently available to IIS and ASP .NET for URL Rewriting and notes that IIS7 will allow full, extension-less URL Rewriting without a complex ISAPI Filter.

The good news, though, is that IIS 7.0 makes handling these types of scenarios super easy. You can now have an HttpModule execute anywhere within the IIS request pipeline – which means you can use the URLRewriter module above to process and rewrite extension-less URLs (or even URLs with a .asp, .php, or .jsp extension).

Facing global warming

I’ve been recently using my Apple MacBook a lot more than my Dell desktop, even though the MacBook only has a 13-inch monitor while I have two 19-inch monitors for the Dell. Having lots of screen real estate is nice, especially when I’m working; I can have Visual Studio open on one screen and Enterprise Manager1 on the other. It increases my productivity and makes some tasks less of a chore and more enjoyable.

I got a stonking deal on my Dell. It came with a 19-inch flat-panel monitor based on a top-of-the-range Samsung panel and a dual-core processor all for £450. I complimented it with my other 19-inch flat-pane, put in a NVIDIA GeForce 7900GT for games and stuck in two 250GB hard drives2 .

However with a big computer comes big power consumption. I don’t have a watt-meter but I estimate that my computer uses about 250W at idle and 350W when under load, this is with both monitors on. As I only use this computer after work at night and at the weekends, I’d estimate it’s turned on about two hours a day on weekdays and four hours a day at weekends. Let’s be conservative and assume it’s only idling at those times, then let’s be conservative again and say for ever watt/hour of energy 0.5g of carbon is pumped into the atmosphere. Over the course of a year, 117kg of carbon is in the atmosphere because of my computer, a huge amount.

I bought my MacBook to use while travelling, although it doesn’t really see much use as a road-warrior anymore; it mainly sits on my lap when I’m at home and want to watch TV and write at the same time. It’s tiny power adaptor has a maximum output of 55W, which means that 55W is enough for the laptop to run at full load and still have enough to charge the battery a little too. Let’s be liberal here and assume the whole 55W is used all the time, even when idle. With the same usage pattern as the desktop, the MacBook only produces 26kg of carbon in a year, a saving of 91kg a year, a saving of 81%!

My desktop is now relegated to being turned on about one to two hours a week to archive data and perform backups, and my MacBook is now being used as my main home computer. I bought a XBOX which I’m using to play games now, it has a maximum power consumption of 100W, which when connection to one of my flat panels is 170W, half that of my desktop.

[tags]enviroment, Dell, Apple, MacBook, Intel, green, technology, computers, XBOX, games[/tags]

  1. Or SQL Server Management Studio if I feel like using that but Enterprise Manager sounds much cooler.
  2. It’s full specs are: Pentium D 2.8GHz, 2GB DDR2, 2x 250GB and 7900GT.

What Does Marsellus Wallace look like?

The Marsellus Wallace scene from Pulp fiction brilliantly re-interpreted as typographical motion graphics. (Via Daring Fireball).

Canon announces EOS-1D Mark III

Canon’s new EOS-1D Mark III is another evolutionary rather than revolution update for Canon users. While the new auto-focusing system and 10 mega-pixel at 10 frames per second sensor is pretty neat, they’re just updates from the Mark II’s already good auto-focusing and eight MP at eight FPS sensor.

Still, even the Mark II beats Nikon’s D2Hs’ four MP at eight FPS, Nikon need something big with the rumoured D3H and D3X.

Adobe Photoshop Lightroom ships

Adobe is now shipping Photoshop Lightroom 1.0. Those living in the U.S. pay $199 until April 7 when the price goes up to $299, however us lucky Brits get to pay £146.88, over £40 more than the equivalent dollar price in pounds, and up to £205 after the promotion is over.

I’ve switched to Aperture now (which also has the same disparity between U.S and U.K. prices) as I find it works faster and better.

LaTeX in now has support for LaTeX mathematical equations, which is a feature pretty much unique to Let’s hope they release it as a plugin too.

Former Gizmodo editor attacks Gizmodo on Gizmodo

It’s not every day that you read a post on a website from a former editor that attacks that website, its readers and the writers. But you can on Gizmodo.

You want to know the punchline? The average Joe that makes up the market is smarter than you saps. The market-at-large waits until a clear leader emerges, then takes a modest plunge. You may think you’re making up the “bleeding edge” of “gadget pimpatude” but you’re really just a loose confederation of marks the consumer electronics industry uses as free market research and easy money.

New Dutch accessibility law

The Dutch seem to have their internet accessibility laws well under control, and unlike the W3C, they seem to know what they’re doing:

As of 1 September last year, every website built for a government agency is required by law to use:
  • Use valid HTML 4.01 or XHTML 1.0 Strict.
  • Use CSS and semantic HTML and separation of structure and presentation.
  • Use the W3C DOM (instead of the old Microsoft document.all) when scripting.
  • Use meaningful values of class and id.
  • Use meaningful alt attributes on all images.

Department of Trade & Industry, do you hear that?

Phantom Safari tweaks

David Hyatt muses about the Digg article: Speed Up Safari – Remove Page Delay:

In the comments are many testimonials like Oh my gosh! Safari is so much faster now! This just goes to prove how inaccurate people’s powers of perception are when it comes to measuring the performance of browsers. I say this because the preference in question is dead and does absolutely nothing in Safari 1.3 and Safari 2.0.

Clarkson on the GL

Clarkson on the Mercedes GL:

People are starting to fall for the spin. That’s why Land Rover is planning on making the next Range Rover weigh half what the current model does. It’s why Toyota is making hybrids. It’s why BP won’t shut up about trees. So why is Merc introducing the GL, which is so wasteful and stupid it annoys even me?


I was talking to Steve yesterday about making short films, and I was reminded of a film called Between by Patryk Rebisz, which is completely made up of still photographs from a Canon 20D. I can’t believe I didn’t link it here last time around so here it is.


I’m a bit late off the starting block but I needed to access the NTFS partition on my MacBook’s hard drive today, but of course it only supports read access. MacFUSE is the answer, which adds support for writing as well as reading NTFS volumes.

Steve Jobs’ world without DRM

Steve Jobs’ open letter to the big four music companies:

Imagine a world where every online store sells DRM-free music encoded in open licensable formats. In such a world, any player can play music purchased from any store, and any store can sell music which is playable on all players. This is clearly the best alternative for consumers, and Apple would embrace it in a heartbeat.

Firefox’s text rendering bug

I know this has been beaten to death already, but I noticed this on DWBlog and the difference was absolutely striking. Firefox’s italic text rendering is appalling, especially compared to Safari on OS X:


Get this sorted Mozilla.

Star Trek: Legacy

The Star Trek game franchise has been pretty stale recently. Armada II was disappointment, and Dominion Wars was so boring and buggy that I nearly drove myself insane completing it.

If you’ve played Bridge Commander before then you will be familiar with the game play offered in Legacy. You command a space ship as one of Captains of all the Star Trek eras, including the orginal series, The Next Generation, Voyager, Deep Space Nine and Enterprise. It also includes some missions from after the last Star Trek movie: Insurrection.

Bridge Commander was a reasonable game, but let down badly by it’s poor selection of ships and below average story. Legacy includes ships from all Star Trek eras, including the USS Voyager and USS Defiant which aren’t even used in the games story1 and all other major ship classes like Excelsior and Akira related to their eras.

Unfortunately, the story in Legacy isn’t that great or original either. Although it manages to spead the arc of the story across from the Jonathan Archer Enterprise era to past the end of The Next Generation movies era, it follows an overused theme of: Borg attacks Federation, Federation joins as allies with Klingon and Romulan, Allies destroy Borg.

But the problems don’t end with the story, it’s obviously an XBOX game, and the PC port suffers from it. The controls are absolutely terrible, three or four pop-up tips offered in the first mission go to nowhere near enough depth. The targeting system is terrible, you’re given the choice of choosing the closet target or moving your cursor to your chosen target, however it also puts your ships onto auto-pilot towards that target. You also cannot put your ship into reverse and a bug prevented me from selecting all four ships in my armada at once so I had to order them all individually.

Some missions involve you to target individual systems on ships, like their engines to disable them. But the method for sub-system targetting is so complicated I didn’t bother to use it. And then there’s the collision detection, or the non-existance of it, you kind of loose the atmostphere when you see the Enterprise-D bounce off a planet.

But this all pales in comparison with the annoyances with the auto pilot and map system. Firstly I didn’t know there was a 3D map available until I browsed through some screen-shots and saw it, and I had to look. There is no way to get a good balance between cursor speed on the map and sensitivity when looking around your ship. Then, setting your ships to warp to destination is unreliable, especially when you want to warp them out of danger, it can be incredibly frustrating and lead you to fail your mission when your main ship is destroyed.

But enough of the negative, at times the game is very satisfying. Seeing the Enterprise-E with a Galaxy, Excelsior and Nebula class flanking it does bring a smile to my face, and for some reason I felt a compelling urge to complete the game, which I managed to do in three days.

Maybe the XBOX version is better, as it apparently doesn’t suffer from some of the control problems, but overall this game is a big let-down. As with almost all games in the Star Trek franchise, it had potential. A lot of potential.

  1. This hints to me that the developers had much greater plans for the game, but had to rush it out to the shelves, uncompleted

Adium 1.0

Adium, the best instant messenger client for OS X, has released version 1.0 after a very long and difficult journey.

Japan, one step closer

My trip to Japan is booked and paid for! Never has my credit card seen such a big hit in one day, as I paid for Steve and myself1 £1100 for the flights and £850 for the hotels between us.

We’ll be flying out with Virgin Atlantic from Heathrow on April 10th. As we’re only staying for a week we decided to splash out and go for upper class four-star hotels, so we’ll be staying in the Cerulean Tower hotel in Tokyo and Ana hotel in Kyoto (thanks to Trip Advisor for that one), taking the bullet train to get between to two.

We were originally going to go in the Autumn, but due to the lack of discount air fares and us being cheap, we got some tickets on the Virgin Atlantic sale for the Easter season and didn’t look back.

No itinerary so far, but will eventually plan one to make the most out of the short week. Unfortunately we’re not there during any Sumo wrestling season, but should be able to see some amature matches which are apparently more fun.

I just bought a ultra wide angle Nikon 12-24mm zoom lens to compliment the normal 18-70mm zoom and the 70-300mm telephoto zoom lens to take with me, along with my D80. Add a 50mm f/1.8 low light lens to the mix and it’s a pretty good, if slightly bulky, travel photography kit. Ideally I’d have a 18-200mm VR and 70-300mm VR instead but as I’ve spent all my money on this trip that’s highly unlikely. All I’m really missing is a flash, which I may indulge myself to one in Japan and exploit the strong pound.

I also discovered that my 30GB iPod with the iPod Camera Adaptor (which seems to be discontinued) works with my D80, so I can use the 30GB hard drive as permanent storage once my 4GB of SD cards get full. That’ll save me from bringing my laptop, although I am tempted so I can view and edit the photos when I’m there

  1. He has paid me back though, the old cocker. I’m not actually paying for his holiday!

Bargain Star Trek movies

Amazon have Star Trek 1 To 10, the movies on double disc DVD for £38.97. A great way to collect all the Star Trek movies for the foreseeable future on the cheap, and they’re the two disc special editions too (but without the special box).

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