Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Responsive Developers

Wednesday, June 29th, 2011

A couple of weeks ago I was playing with HDRtist Pro and it crashed on me.  The application put up a box to allow me to send the crash report to the developer and include any details about how I was using it at the time.  As it crashed more or less on launch, I’d not really done anything at that point and I noted this and sent off the bug report.  I’ve often wondered when doing this with applications as to whether it really would be helpful.   In this case, a day or two later I had an e-mail from the Developer apologising for the problem and providing a link to a beta version to try.  The beta version worked perfectly.  I replied that that version seemed to be fine, and that previously, except for that one occasion, the application had worked correctly.  I also noted that one never really knew whether reporting problems would have any effect.  The developer replied:

Thank you for helping us to test this release.

We do take all errors seriously, no matter how hard or how long we test, there are always problems that don’t appear on our testing machines.

For instance this bug, we’ve never seen it. We only know it exists from the error reports and thankfully the error report gives enough information to be able to alter the code to stop it from happening again.

I thought this was an excellent response and encourages me to use this application over other alternatives as it shows real developer commitment — and I would prefer to spend my money on developers that merit that.  Kudos to HDRtist Pro.

I should post an example, and I will do in the near future.  I previously posted this over a year ago (using the basic free HDRtist application)

Autumn Colours in the Japanese Garden, Clingendael, Den Haag, Netherlands

Saturday, October 23rd, 2010

Its a while since I’ve posted any photographs, so I thought I’d put a couple up this evening that were taken today on a very cold, wet and windy day.  These were taken in the Japanese Garden in The Hague.  A heron was in the park which provided an interesting alternative subject.

Heron in Japanese Garden.jpg

Heron 2.jpg

DSC_0717.jpg

DSC_0735.jpg

“I haven’t processed these shots yet”

Tuesday, October 19th, 2010

Back in the days of “proper” photography on photographic film, there was also the somewhat tiresome process on getting photos processed (and also printed in the case of negative film).  Those of us who used Kodachrome slide film would end up sending off the roll of film in the envelope provided putting it in the post box and hoping that it would get to Kodak (in Hemel Hempstead as I recall for those of us in the UK) and that it would arrive back dropping on the doormat about a week later.  Getting prints from negative film relied on much the same process for those of us who used processors via the post or else involved a visit to a local chemist or photographers who often sent off the film in any case.  Some places did do processing on the premises, and sometimes  at a higher cost you could get your prints back on the same day.

Some of us who enjoyed playing with chemicals did our own processing at home.  I used to process E6 slide film (usually Fujichrome).  To save mixing up chemicals and wasting them I invariably did at least three rolls of film at a time, so sometimes it could be a while between taking photographs and seeing them — although on other occasions I did process and project slides that had been taken the same day.

Now in the age of digital I thought we’d got away from this so that by taking the memory card out of the camera and plugging it in to the computer one had almost instant gratification.  This process is very smooth with an iPad and the camera connection kit, particularly if one is using a camera that takes SD cards.  That allows one to share pictures on a reasonable size screen even when out and about.    Indeed, the iPad becomes another storage device which when plugged in to a Mac (even though it is not the one that the iPad is synchronised with) allows one to import the photographs onto the computer.

For many of us with friends or relatives who only exposed about one roll of film a year, one often heard the phrase “I haven’t processed the holiday snaps yet” because they would be waiting to finish a roll of film.   I thought I’d never hear that phrase again.  However, recently a colleague used the phrase about his “once in a lifetime holiday” photographs because they were all in a RAW format and he was clearly going to spend a lot of time in Photoshop tweaking them all.  Thus photography becomes a branch of computing.

As discussed in my previous post I’m really beginning to wonder about the treadmill of using RAW and tweaking each photograph.  I’ve recently had a weekend away and almost everything was shot just in JPG.  It gave me a curious sense of freedom.   I knew I could take as many photographs as I wanted with little likelihood of filling the buffer on the camera or running out of memory at an inconvenient moment.   Taking photographs of people in this way meant one could take a lot of photographs and get a much better chance of catching the right moment with the right look.   I’ve had no problem with exposure (admittedly it was a gorgeous weekend with good light).  I was able to look at most of the photographs taken each evening on the iPad and in just a couple of hours last night import everything from two cameras to my iMac, combine them with location information from my handheld Garmin GPS, and do any minor tweaks to the best images that I want to share.

As I said before, there is a lot to be said for RAW but I’d really like to go places and take photographs rather than spending lots of time tweaking images.  Earlier this year we had a long weekend in Paris.  All of those images were RAW and I’ve still got several that I need to finish fiddling with.  In the future I’m probably going to stick mostly to JPEGs, occasionally taking RAW but only really as an insurance.

More on Mobile Data Coverage

Friday, October 8th, 2010

Last Sunday my flight from Birmingham Airport in the UK was cancelled and as a result I found myself staying in a hotel on the airport just across from one of the car parks and the terminal buildings.  As the hotel only had wi-fi coverage in the public areas (i’m never quite sure what that means in hotels) it seemed an excellent time to use the cellular data on my iPad.  Using the O2 £2 for 24 hours for a limited data amount would be good value by comparison with almost any paid for wireless access at a hotel.  Well rather like the last time I wrote about this setting up the data access took quite a long time because the connection was only a GPRS connection, no EDGE, no 3G.  It probably took about 5 minutes to successfully navigate the O2 screens and enter my credit card number, and then when one has done this it always seems to immediately claim that one has used all one’s data, but eventually it gets itself sorted out and one can get e-mail.  As it was only a slow GPRS connection, collecting e-mail and sending off the necessary e-mail to say that I wouldn’t be at work until lunch time on Monday was pretty slow.   I then tried to use Feedler to read some RSS feeds which was pretty good until one attempted to access any actual website when news stories on the BBC would take around a minute or more to load.

The following morning I was over at the airport checked-in again (actually my colleague travelling with me had been bumped to an even later flight, but my frequent flyer status worked for a morning flight) and in the lounge — which, so far, has been the only place in the UK where I’ve successfully and reliably had a 3G connection now on a number of occasions.  Surely there must be more UK 3G coverage?

Mobile data getting more expensive

Sunday, September 19th, 2010

I’ve blogged before about how I chose a 3G iPad and took the O2 carrier option in the UK.  O2 was the only carrier at the time (and perhaps still now) that allows one to set up a connection on the iPad without having to make phone calls to set it up, and also had some quite good deals.  Well as with all of these deals, it hasn’t lasted.   This report sums it up. £2 for 500MB over 24 hours was  good deal.  200MB for the same price doesn’t sound half as good and the reduction from 3GB per month for £15 to 2GB will make it much more expensive.  I often wonder when the data providers claim that ”   the vast majority of iPad customers are using under 2GB per month ….” that this reflects the fact that there many customer who might just use it for a day or two or indeed have left a rolling contract continue when they might as well have cancelled it.