Why I bought a new Sigma 18-200mm lens at Macworld, links to all my photos from Macworld: Mac Roundtable Live, Smile Party, Sinbad Keynote, Friends and Fun at Macworld, NosillaCastaways Party at Jillians, MyMac Podcast with Tim Robertson and Guy Serle. Check out Steve’s video of Sinbad too at youtube.com. Video Interviews: Drycase from Drycorp from http://www.drycorp.com/, Launchpad by Sprocket from http://www.sprocket.com.au/, HyperMac External Battery Packs by Hyperjuice at hypershop.com, SMART Board by SMART Technologies from smarttech.com. In Chit Chat Across the Pond Allister Jenks from the The Sitting Duck Podcast joins us again to compare iPhoto, Aperture and Lightroom and talk about workflow.
It will be a miracle if this show actually comes off – at 11 this morning I had some real weirdness – my screen turned blue, and when it came back my Mac acted like it had rebooted! I got some good advice from Victor and others, and in the end I got on Facetime with Bart while he walked me through downloading and running Tech Tool Deluxe. After working it for a while, the disk was unmountable! We ran TTD another time and got it mostly fixed, but there’s this weird folder with a bunch of weird files in it – looks like TTD couldn’t fix whatever was ailing those 300 files.
The good news is that I’m RELIGIOUS about doing my backups so I have a bootable backup clone from yesterday, so I was able to boot from it while I ran TTD, and I knew I could drop back to that if I needed to. It was a great feeling to know that if the worst came to worst I was still in great shape. I also use Ron’s automator script to backup the shownotes every few minutes to dropbox so I knew I could get back in business really quickly if things went belly up! Bart suggests that I do a nuke and pave to my bootable SuperDuper! backup right after the show because those dodgy files make him nervous that something won’t work right some time soon. I hope I have the time to do that tonite! Anyway, let’s kick into the show before my hard drive fails!
So picture this – We’re on our way to Macworld, Steve and I had Katie have successfully flown to San Francisco and we’ve excitedly jumped on the Bay Area Rapid Transit, also known as BART (no relation). We’ve been playing for three solid days so we’re kicking back on the train. Now Steve and I are not experienced train riders, but we love how efficient it is to move around in San Francisco compared to having to drive everywhere in California. That inexperience was most evident on this particular trip. So I’m relaxing away, took a few pictures with my Nikon D40, and then I set it on the top of my luggage with the strap casually strung over the top of the handle. And then the train stopped. But my camera didn’t.
With six years of engineering school under my belt you would think that I had mastered Newton’s first law which is commonly described as “a body in motion tends to stay in motion”, but evidence proves that this concept is still just outside of my grasp. Speaking of outside of my grasp, I leapt forward and tried to catch the camera before it flew forward onto the floor. I don’t care if Katie tells you that I actually pushed it, I really was trying to catch it!
The good news is that my camera was undamaged, the bad news was that my 55-200mm lens no longer has autofocus capability. Well you know what this means, right? An opportunity to spend money on gadgets! The first thing I did was text Victor Cajiao of the Typical Shutterbug Podcast and ask him advice on a replacement. He suggested the Sigma 18-200mm f3.5/6.3 lens. He told me that it lists at a good price for around $370. I thought that sounded grand – I would have expected a lens with that much range from a very wide angle to a big zoom to cost a fortune. now of course I’m going to be at the mercy of whoever I go to in San Francisco though, so I figured I’d never get that kind of a price. I used Google Maps and searched for camera, and found Discount Camera right around the corner. I called them and they had the lens in stock but told me I’d have to go there in person to get the price. This had me worried so I begged Victor to go with me.
Well your next question should be, “how many podcasters does it take to buy a lens?” It was me, Steve, Victor, Katie, George Starcher, Tim Chaten, Jeff Gamet, and maybe even Joseph Nilo. We mobbed this place! The great news is they had the lens for $399, and the guy quickly verified that my camera was fine but my old lens was definitely borked. Throw on a UV filter and the exorbitant tax for California and we were in business.
So how did the lens perform? Well, I simply LOVE this lens. Steve was worried it would be too heavy for me, and it IS heavy, but it’s only one lens. No more fooling around between my small zoom and my big zoom asking someone to hold stuff for me while I switch. No more removing the lens and getting dust on my sensor making me have to go to Nikon and beg them yet AGAIN to blow my sensor off for me (like I had to do for the third time right before leaving for Macworld). It’s actually slower than my old lens out at 200mm, and about the same at 18mm as my wide angle zoom that still works. But the flexibility to be able to carry one lens and instantly adapt to a wide angle group shot or take a picture of a bird in a tree is fantastic.
I used Donald’s conference photography tips when we went to see Sinbad’s presentation at Macworld. Luckily I was in the front row, but I set my ISO to 1600, set my white balance, and then I set it to shutter priority and played around with 1/60th and 1/120th because that guy just would NOT stay still. I took about 30 pictures and got a half dozen that I really really liked – super sharp focus, not too much noise (note to self, look that noise filter program Donald talked about…) and show how much fun Sinbad had during the presentation.
I also took a ton of pictures at other events, and my closeups of products came out REALLY cool! I put a pile of links in the shownotes to each of the Flickr sets I created:
- Mac Roundtable Live
- Smile Party
- Sinbad Keynote
- Friends and Fun at Macworld
- NosillaCastaways Party at Jillians
- MyMac Podcast with Tim Robertson and Guy Serle
Speaking of the NosillaCastaways party, I think it was a raging success! My one regret is that there were so many people there I didn’t really get to spend any quality time with any one person, I was just flitting around having fun withe each person for 20 seconds. I do have a plan for an improvement next year, I think I’m going to ask Zach to be our bouncer, to check off names as people come in. I found out halfway through the party that a marketing woman had put the NosillaCastaways party on “The Party List” which explained why hovering near the door (and eating a LOT of hors d’oeuvres) were a bunch of people who never came in and said hi. Victor and Katie bounced a few of them but I think ti would have been more fun (and easier to breathe!) if we hadn’t had these party crashers! I bounced HER out, that’s for sure! We even brought Bart, Kevin and Donald in on Skype video so they could be passed around and enjoy the party a bit too.
Special thanks to everyone who donated to the party – you made it a raging success! Special thanks to George from Tulsa for donating to the party and sending another banner for it! It makes it so festive to have his banners up at the party! I’m tempted to talk about each person I got to meet and talk to but I’d be sure to miss someone and then they’d be sad, so I’ll just say that I loved meeting, hanging with all of you again, and until next year…
It’s time to play some more interviews! Remember these are also available on podfeet.com in video form if you’d like to go watch the demos.
So the DryCase looks pretty cool, but the funny thing was what happened after we got off the air. Corey from Dry Corp saw my podfeet pin, and asked if I worked in the field of podiatry? I’ve often wondered whether I have a branding issue, but I laughed it off. He then told us about something even cooler that they sell. The have a product they market through podiatrists called the Dry Pro cast and bandage protector. The Dry Pro is a sleeve you slip over an arm or a leg, suck the air out of it, and you can actually go swimming or take a shower with a cast on your leg. How cool is that? It has long been a pet peeve of mine that there hasn’t been a solution to this problem. My idea was that they could create the cast with a honeycomb material that would allow air and water to freely flow in and out, thereby not rotting out the cast but still providing a lot of strength. The only problem with my idea is that I went into a coma whenever my materials science professor in college opened his mouth, so it’s probably not even possible. In the mean time, if you know someone with a broken limb, have them ask about the Dry Pro from drycorp.com.
Launchpad by Sprocket
This was one of the most exciting products I saw. Remember when Gerry said it was $800? After we got off the air, he idly mentioned that the $800 included the price of the iPad! So assuming it’s a $500 iPad, that’s only $300 for the Launchpad. Now you may not think this product is so cool, because as a regular human how often do you need a kiosk device? But sit back and think about the company where you work – I bet they’ve had needs for kiosk devices at trade shows, or maybe an internal function when they’d like to be able to get people to enter some info, a registration system or anything like that? Imagine becoming a hero showing an $800 device vs. thousands of dollars? Just keep it in the back of your mind and I bet you could be that hero. check it out at http://www.sprocket.com.au/
HyperMac External Battery Packs by Hyperjuice
HyperMac External Battery Packs by Hyperjuice at hypershop.com
I’ve always wanted one of these Hypermac battery packs – the little ones for iPhones and such that Lindsey showed me were so cool looking, very hot little devices. Their Mac batteries are cool too – but they are pretty expensive. But dang, they’re cool. but they are expensive…
I’ve been neglecting a really cool feature of ScreenSteps, but I’m going to rectify that. My problem is that I have no imagination. I think ScreenSteps is perfect, but luckily both users and the ScreenSteps guys both think it can never be perfect and they keep coming up with all these new features and capabilities. Let’s start with a problem to be solved. You’re writing on a message board, either trying to describe a problem or trying to explain a solution to someone. Applications like Jing and Skitch are great for referencing a screenshot, but what if you need to describe several steps? You would naturally reach for ScreenSteps to create the instructions and multiple screenshots, but where do you put it? If you sign up for a free ScreenSteps.me account, you can simply click the export button in ScreenSteps and upload to that account and boom, you’ve got a URL you can send to someone! I’ll explain more about how this works over the next few weeks, but if you’re curious now, head over to ScreenSteps.me and watch their little video and then sign up for a free account. If you haven’t bought ScreenSteps yet, be sure to us my coupon code NOSILLA for 25% off the purchase price over at ScreenSteps.com.
SMART Board by SMART Technologies
I’ve always been intrigued by the SMART whiteboards, these SMART displays were even cooler. Imagine being able to drag a design around on a 50 inch display with your hands, draw on it, circle problem areas, write notes, very cool. What I need to figure out is what applications it supports – I’m betting they have to have drivers or something like that for the touch interface to work. Something definitely good to look into for a work environment. Check them out at SMART Board by SMART Technologies from smarttech.com
I don’t want you guys to get burned out on the interviews so I’m going to stop here and we’ll have three more next week. The last couple are REALLY good so I’ll leave you with that tease.
If you live in the LA or Orange County areas, and you drive a Honda or an Acura, give Honda Bob a call at (562)531-2321 or send him an email at [email protected]. HDA Bob’s Mobile Service is not affiliated with Honda, Acura or Honda Worldwide.
We only have a few things shaking out in Security Lite. It’s Patch Tuesday for Microsoft this week and they’ve got 12 bulletins out on it – Windows, Office for Windows and Mac so everyone gets to play! 3 are critical so be sure to let the updates run and wake up your VMs (or delete them if you don’t need them!) Adobe is getting on the Patch Tuesday bandwagon, they’ve issued an advisory for Adobe Reader 9.4.1 for Windows and Mac, looks like a critical update so make sure you let Adobe run too…or maybe get rid of it too?
VLC from Videolan.org issued a notice of a vulnerability that could allow arbitrary code execution. Since media players can be invoked without your direct interaction, open up VLC, let it check for updates, and run the update and you’ll be safe again. My VLC automatically offers to look for updates for you, but you can choose “don’t check” so it’s not exactly automatic. Be sure to let it check, I just updated to 1.1.7 when I was reading this so go get ‘er done too!
Chit Chat Across the Pond
1) Differentiators between iPhoto & Aperture
Drag it or click it in to place. Done.
Big becomes unmanageable
File control – naming, location, library
Albums etc, but with folders everywhere
Big collections no problem with folders and libraries
Adjustments are getting quite sophisticated now.Highlights, shadows, definition all present.
Introduced Places, Faces, sharing
Lots of “quick fix” options with little control (e.g. vignette)
Two versions of a photo – original and adjusted
Whole photo adjustments
More fine control over adjustments and more specific adjustments (e.g. levels + curves)
Colour channel processing (e.g. boost yellows)
Can use complex presets with fine control
Many photo versions with one original
2) Aperture versus Lightroom
* “Single interface” design
* Not Apple at all
* “Workflow” design
I believe Lightroom has better, more finely controlled shadow and highlight adjustments
I believe Lightroom (3) has better noise reduction (it was a highlighted update to v3)
I believe Lightroom has easier tagging/keywording (Apple really need to fix this!)
I believe Aperture has better photo management – perhaps it’s just because it is more Finder/iTunes-like
Lightroom uses Adobe Camera RAW which is updated way more often than Apple’s RAW handler. (No K-5 for Apple yet!)
* Import. Why I never delete anything (except test shots)
* Tag/keyword EVERYTHING. FIRST.
* Choose photos for publishing (flagging is easiest, Cmd-up in LR, slash in Aperture)
* Sort out the image…
– Crop & rotate (this is part of your composition task and there’s no sense adjusting for stuff you’re cutting off)
– Basic exposure
– Highlight recovery & fill lighting
– Spot patching (for those dusty lenses!)
– Definition (clarity in LR) – explain this
– Colour corrections (skies are a frequent target, sometimes water)
– Noise reduction if needed
– add any effects (e.g. vignette for artistic touch)
– Flickr Export plugin waaaay better than built in for Aperture
– Jeffrey Friedl’s LR export plugins waaaay better than anything in Aperture
– I always publish to Flickr at 1600px longest dimension. (Allows for significant cropping on a 10Mpx image – zooming with megapixels!)
Find Allister at The Sitting Duck Podcast, Flickr for photos, zkarj.co.nz for his aviation photography
Well it’s a miracle the show actually worked – I’d better cut my losses and close out the show now! Until next week, stay in touch by sending me emails at [email protected], and be sure to follow me on Twitter at twitter.com/podfeet. Thanks for listening, and stay subscribed.