Monthly Archives: June 2007

iPhone Disassembly

It’s only been out a few hours but someone’s already take theirs apart.

AT&T Edge Speeds Increasing

I now understand why AT&T customers in the US are annoyed at their EDGE data speeds, their excitement at seeing 200kbps+ speeds is pretty sad considering we’ve been seeing those speeds in the UK for years now. Just goes to show the sorry state of the US telecoms industry.

Copyright Notices on Photographs

There has been a lively debate going on over at The Online Photographer over watermarking photographs you post on the internet with copyright notices. My take on it is that someone who is mildly competent at Photoshop can remove the majority of watermarks on images, and so is only a deterrent to the most casual of image thieves.

The real problem is companies using your images for their own profit, without your knowledge or permission. Of course, this is why we have copyright law and civil law suits1 and having a copyright notice on the image is not going to affect it either way, and just adds annoyance to the majority of your audience and is ultimately a waste of time.

  1. No matter what the BPA says, copyright violations should be a civil matter not a criminal matter

The Dunning-Kruger Effect

The Dunning-Kruger effect:

The Dunning-Kruger effect is the phenomenon whereby people who have little knowledge systematically think that they know more than others who have much more knowledge.

Across 4 studies, the authors found that participants scoring in the bottom quartile on tests of humor, grammar, and logic grossly overestimated their test performance and ability. Although test scores put them in the 12th percentile, they estimated themselves to be in the 62nd.

The Real Twitterlicious 2.0 Beta 3

Whoops, looks like I didn’t upload Twitterlicious 2.0 Beta 3 properly and people were still downloading Beta 2. My apologies for that. I’ve now fixed the link.

Twitterlicious 2.0 Beta 3

It’s been exactly a month since the last Twitterlicious release, so it’s about time for another one. This release is for the users of Twitterlicious, as the majority of the updates were requested by yourselves:

  • New more organised options dialog.
  • Supports authentication for proxy servers.
  • Can select between the update text field and twits list to be focused when opening the main window.
  • x64 build.
  • Fixed a bug where the date created wouldn’t update.
  • Fixed: “Ctrl + Enter in the text box adds a new line at the end not at the cursor’s position.”
  • Fixed: “save size of text box on exit.”
  • Fixed: “notification still shows after I close the bubble.”

Get it from the usual place.

Why Didn’t America Adopt the Metric System

So why didn’t they?

Apple OS X 10.4.10 Update

Includes fixes for mounting external USB devices, bluetooth and compatibility issues with third party software. Also includes more RAW camera support.

Opera Mini 4 Beta

Everyone seems to be jumping on the beta bandwagon nowadays, and Opera Mini 4 is the latest. I’ve installed it on my phone and have a mini review of it: fan-fucking-tastic.

The Bluewater Run

The Bluewater Run Yashica Electro, Fuji Velvia 50.

From my first roll of Velvia, the Yashica Electro managed to underexposed most of them but I’m still very pleased with the result, correct exposure would’ve probably over exposed the car.

Thoroughly enjoying experimenting with film.

Ejecutive is now hosted by Media Temple

Ejecutive is now hosted on the shiny farm of servers at Media Temple. Page load times are down and hopefully reliability should be up from Dreamhost.

There were some stupid problems with the move though, but I think I’ve resolved most of them. If you do find any problems be sure to tell me.

Up and Awe

Up and Awe

One of my first rolls through my new Yashica Electro rangefinder. Caught in Canterbury outside the cathedral entrance on Agfa Vista 200 film.

Leopard is UNIX compliant

Something a lot of people seemed to have missed from yesterdays WWDC keynote, Leopard will be the first OS X to be fully UNIX compliant:

Leopard is now an Open Brand UNIX 03 Registered Product, conforming to the SUSv3 and POSIX 1003.1 specifications for the C API, Shell Utilities, and Threads. Since Leopard can compile and run all your existing UNIX 03-compliant code, you can deploy it in environments that demand full conformance — complete with hooks to maintain compatibility with existing software.

Surely important to someone?

New design

A long overdue new design for, with new navigation bar at the top replacing the old aqua style tabs. Highlights include the new Ajax search and standards compliance.

Thoughts on Safari

I’ve been using the new Safari for Windows Beta for a few hours now, and here are my collective thoughts:

  • The font smoothing is very nice, once you turn it down to light. The default medium is too strong, and looks stronger than OS X’s medium setting.
  • It crashes quite a lot, this really is beta software.
  • Aqua form widgets on Windows! Better than the ugly Firefox ones at least
  • No option to force all links to open in tabs instead of new windows, even when I middle-click. This mainly happens in GMail. Incredibly annoying.
  • No inline spell checker, bah.
  • Damn, it really is fast.
  • Why doesn’t the back button on my mouse work? Seriously, how hard can that be to implement?
  • The inline search is amazingly powerful, I know Firefox has had it for a while but the implementation in Safari is much better.
  • Resizable text boxes making blogging much easier through the WordPress web interface.
  • Strange how many OS X conventions they used for a Windows application, the lack of OK and Cancel buttons in the Preferences window especially. Find if you’re used to them though.
  • Drop down lists render like Aqua widgets sometimes, but other times in some strange style I’ve never seen before.
  • The Windows version is also desperatly crying out for SafariStand of Saft so we can get some more customisation out of it!

Overall a very nice beta that does have it’s fair share of problems. If Apple (or a third party developer) can fix these at the final launch in October, I can see myself switching to Safari on Windows.

Safari for Windows Beta

Supposedly now Safari is the fastest browser for Windows, effectively killing the Swift project.

VMWare Fusion for Mac Beta 4

Hot on the heels of Parallels Desktop 3.0, VMWare have a new beta of their virtualisation app that has a “Unity” mode ala coherence from Parallels. Also includes improved Boot Camp support and better performance.

Parallels Desktop 3.0

Parallels Desktop 3.0 with 3D acceleration support is now out of the beta. Also includes support for running Windows Vista under Boot Camp.

Boot Camp 1.3 Beta

Boot Camp 1.3 has new graphics drivers and support for keyboard backlighting, although currently the download link still points to Boot Camp 1.2.

Update: they’ve fixed the link now.

Film renaissance

I first got into photography about seven years ago, photographing the local bird and wildlife population. I live on the Isle of Sheppey, which features the Elmley Marshes RSPB reserve, which is one of the best places to see breeding birds and birds of prey.

Back then, I had my dad’s old Nikon F401s and a borrowed Sigma 400mm lens. Me and a friend would drive out to the reserve and wait for all sorts of bird of prey to turn up, including Kestrels, Marsh and Hen Harriers and Merlins. Back then, the auto-focus was slow (at least on my F401s) and film was expensive, each roll of Fujichrome Sensia 400 cost £10 but it did include processing.

On a good day, I went through four or five rolls of Sensia, which were promptly sent for processing. After four days, I’d get the slides back mounted and in neat little boxes. Then began the incredibly laborious task of scanning the slides and then printing them. My friend had a Nikon Coolscan LS-30, which at the time was pretty state—of—the—art, it scanned in film one frame at a time, taking two minutes for each frame.

Then after it scanned, it was tweaked, cropped and sharpened in Photoshop, which took about five minutes, then printing it with one of the first Epson consumer photo printers that took twenty minutes to print to A4. So in total I had to wait four days to get the film back from processing, spend at over an hour scanning in each of the 36 frames to find good shots (if there were any at all) and then wait twenty minutes for an A4 print.

I usually tried to do most of my post—processing when there was something good on TV, so at least I had something to watch during the idle time waiting for slides to scan and print, but it was still insanely boring. Eventually I took less photos not because I didn’t have time to take the photos, but because of the insane post—processing time I just didn’t have when I went to university.

Roll—ahead a few years and Nikon and Canon are in the middle of a prosumer digital war bringing prices crashing down. The Nikon D70 was the first digital SLR to have a retail price of under $1000, and then the Canon 300D undercut that even more. These appealed to me, they have better quality than using the old scanner to scan in slide film, but instead of taking four days of waiting and then over an hour of work to get 36 shots, a full memory card of 200 shots could be downloaded to my computer in minutes.

So I got myself a Nikon D80, and an Epson R800 printer. As I didn’t have to care about film and processing costs anymore I took far more shots and threw far more away, but usually it only took me an hour or so to go through 500 shots, compare that to before where it took me over an hour just to scan 36 shots. The new Epson printer chucked out an A4 print in under five minutes, and cost far less at it too.

I was happy. Infact I was so happy I bought a large range of lenses, from a wide angle 12-24mm zoom, to a professional 70-200mm f/2.8 telephoto zoom. A big investment, but an enjoyable and worthwhile one.

I took this rather heavy kit, clad in a fetching Crumpler shoulder bag, to a lot of places, but most notably Japan, where I managed to grab a few shots on what was a rather rushed tour.

But I felt slightly unfulfilled with the shots it produced. I couldn’t put my finger on it, I had a few decent pictures, couple very nice ones too, but for some strange reason I didn’t feel completely satisfied with the photographs. I’ve only ever used SLR cameras, big, chunky and loud machinery that made great photographs but were as big as 35mm cameras got, I felt like I needed a change.

Everyone knows Leica, they’re exquisitely made rangefinder cameras used extensively by photojournalists and travel photographers. However not everyone can afford one, with a good second—hand copy of the M6 costing upwards of £1000. Fortunately, there is a cheap Japanese alternative in the shape of the Yashica Electro; cheap, well built, excellent light meter and great lens? I managed to pick up a GT model from eBay for under £25.

I had a roll of Kodacolor left, so I put it in and eagerly went out to shoot with it. The shutter is almost silent, meaning you can shoot people in public without them noticing. Feeling the gears move under your finger as you wind on the film is a strangely enjoyable sensation, and just made me want to shoot more.

I’ve now bought a number of different films, Fuji Velvia, Ilford HP5+, Agfa Vista, and I’m enjoying photography more than ever. There are still times when I use my digital kit, on sport shoots, nature shoots and when travelling far away, but now my daily kit consists of just my Yashica and a few rolls of film. Much lighter, much quicker and much more inconspicuous. Perfect.

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