Gadgets Galore…

Cracking day out today. I went up to the Gadget Show Live at the NEC. Five halls chock full of big boys toys. Everything from high-end audio kit, computing, robots, mobile tech through to quad bikes and video games.

Having blagged a trade day ticket was a real bonus as it was *really* quiet. No queuing for anything and we could just amble around and take a look at everything at a leisurely pace.  I feel sorry for all the poor sods who have to go on saturday when there will be 40,000 other people all fighting for a glimpse of the latest shiny stuff though.

Had a chance to meet up with Gavin Hoey for a quick chat and to watch his Adobe Elements presentation which was very interesting. It’s amazing how much they’re squeezing into Photoshop Elements now and at the absolute bargain price it’s selling for I wouldn’t hesistate to recommend that everyone buys it, even if they already own the full version as I do!

Quick summary:

  • Go on a trade day, it’s lovely
  • Photoshop Elements 9 is awesome
  • Lots and lots of new Android tablets on the market, all trying hard to be an iPad. Massive recurring theme throughout. They’re not an iPad!
  • Loads of 3D Tellies. Every one of them utterly failed to impress me. Really can’t see the point at all.
  • Loads of 3D racing setups, those were cool.
  • Colin can’t drive!
  • Duke Nukem Forever!
  • Gears of War 3 is ace.
  • Batmobile!
  • Oh, and did I mention, go on a trade-only day, it’s lovely.

Little Things..

So, tonight I thought I’d have a quiet night in and do a few flower Macros.

There was a particular shot I’d done a while back that I quite liked but which was really not good enough for my RPS panel so I thought I’d take another stab at it. Shouldn’t be a long job, or that’s what I thought until I imported a few test shots into Lightroom. The trouble is with Macro is the distinct lack of depth-of-field so I was stopped right down to f/25 at 1s exposure, focusing with macro rails and firing with an wired remote to avoid camera shake (I’ll post a setup shot later to illustrate). At that aperture you’ll see every imperfection and suffice to say the sensor dust that just wasn’t visible in normal use looked something like the surface of mars. So, time to break out the sensor swabs and give it a quick clean.

I know lots of people are twitchy about touching their sensor, and if you’re one of those then please leave it well alone and take your camera to a service centre and have them do it for you. It will probably only cost about £25 which is less than buying a set of swabs, However, if like me you’ve got a reasonably steady hand then honestly there’s really nothing to worry about. It’s a pretty painless operation and the solutions and swabs from Photographic Solutions are excellent.

For my Bristol chums, you can get the swabs and solutions from Bristol Cameras. You’ll need to make sure you get the right size for your camera, it’s usually the type-2 for cropped sensors and type 3 for full frame but if in doubt check on the website I linked above.

The above pic was *before* I cleaned the sensor, but what you can’t see there are the 100+ spots I’d already cleaned up in Lightroom.

I’ll post some more later :)

Pimp My Mac, Pt 2

Thought I’d better report in with an update on my Mac upgrades..

Last night I fitted the SSDs and copied over my boot drive. This is the result:

[youtube width=”480″ height=”390″ video_id=”f34rqrxean8″]

Sorry about the delay at the login prompt. That wasn’t the Mac, it was me forgetting to swipe my fingerprint!
As you can see, it’s launching applications as fast as I can physically click the mouse, and that was including some fairly significant things including Filemaker, Lightroom, Photoshop and Dreamweaver Cs5..
That’ll do nicely  :)



Pimp my Mac…

Thought it was about time for a spring-clean and an update to my Mac, and with a bit of a bonus in the bank from my recent dealings with the Daily Mail I thought I’d treat myself to an upgrade.

So, tonight I’ve just ordered a pair of fast 128Gb  SSDs and a hardware caddy with built in RAID controller to stripe them and make them even quicker for a super-quick 256Gb boot/system drive.. The plan is to do a clean install of Snow Leopard onto it and take a couple of days out to really optimise my Mac for performance. I’ll just re-install my essential apps initially and avoid all the cruft that’s accumulated over the years.

All my data, photos etc. are on a separate drive anyway so it’s a pretty painless operation and as I’m installing the SSDs in a spare bay I can leave the existing system disk untouched as a further level of backup (I’m already running time machine and regular DVDs) and then as/when I do discover anything I actually need it’s a piece of cake to transfer it.

Next on the agenda, 3 x 2TB drives in a RAID5 array for the data.

Ooh I do love the smell of new tech in the morning don’t you?