Friday, September 25, 2020

Leica sets time limits on free CCD sensor replacement

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Leica took effective action to head off the sensor corrosion issue, first raised in 2014. Now a time limit has been set, primarily affecting cameras sold before August 2012. If you own an M9, Monochrome Mk I or an M-E it's worth reading the small print...

Max Berek Innovation Lab seals Leica and Hauwei cooperation

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Leica strengthens its ties with Hauwei and will open a joint development laboratory in Wetzlar.

Bunker Mentality: The PM, four pennies and a red telephone box

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Britain's war planning in 1962 involved four pennies, a red telephone box and the Automobile Association, according to a new book by Peter Hennessy.

Red Laser: iPhone app makes shopping fun, saves cash

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Red laserEvery so often along comes an iPhone app that is really superbly useful and you wonder how you managed without it. Such an app is Red Laser. The concept is simple but brilliant. 

Out shopping, you often see products you'd like to buy but decide to go home and research prices before getting out the credit card. Well, Red Laser does this for you in seconds, even before you've replaced the box on the shelf. All you do is open the app and point the iPhone camera at the barcode. you don't even need to press the shutter because Red Laser senses when it has done a successful scan. 

Immediately, Red Laser searches Amazon and Google and produces a list of competitive prices. Here in the UK it sticks to British suppliers, as you'd wish. I tried it today at the Apple Store. A Kensington mini-USB hub was £9.95. Red Laser found it on the web for £8.81. So, taking into account the shipping costs, it made sense to buy from Apple. 

This is altogether brilliant and certainly makes shopping more fun and more productive. Apart from the chance to compare prices, it is a quick way of noting possible purchases and then researching comparative data on the internet later. Red Laser currently costs £1.19: a guinea well spent.

Saturday Matinee: Trains, buses, excellent photography and a good but silent story

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Last time I went to the cinema at 10 o'clock in the morning was with a bunch of my ten-year-old peers anxious to catch up on the perils of Flash Gordon and the evil Emperor Ming. So I wasn't quite sure what to expect when I was invited to a special screening of a 1928 silent film inside the impressive art deco vastness of the Odeon Leicester Square. We were no longer short-trousered hoodlums with chewed gum and catapults in our pockets. We had all aged gracefully (or otherwise) and there was a whiff of geekiness that didn't exist back in the days of Flash and Princess Aura. This was the film buff's equivalent of a steam train outing to Carlisle. Such things I find fascinating and I donned my very best anorak for the occasion.

Red Dot takes over the definitive Leica Pocket Book

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The popular blue book, the Leica Pocket Book has risen phoenix-like from the ashes under the aegis of its new owner, Red Dot Photo Books. If you don't already own a copy, here's a new chance to stock up on Leica lore with the 2018 reprint....

Meet Mr. Gadd, 83, of Fontwell Magna and discover how he turned my thoughts...

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Over fifty years ago I saved up £6.30, or six guineas as it then was, for my very first proper fountain pen....

Balmer: The Microsoft brand still means something

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I used Microsoft products for nearly 25 years from the early days of MS DOS and MS Word, then Windows from the early nineties. Up to the introduction of the second-generation iPhone I was enjoying a love-hate relationship with Microsoft's Windows Mobile OS on a Treo 750.  I have a lot to thank Bill Gates for and no one can take away from him and from Microsoft the enormous contribution they made to personal computing. Now, though, Microsoft is suffering from competition and has stood by while the smartphone world (and the new tablet world) has been revolutionised by the likes of Apple.

Steve Ballmer, ever the optimist, has said in an interview with CNet News that Microsoft's brand "means something" to users. According to Apple Insider, commenting on the piece, Steve "insinuated that the company's 'ailing brand' holds value for users, more so than rival brands, while at the same time conceding that he's seeing a lot of of Apple's iPads deployed in the real world than he'd like to."

Since I converted to Apple in 2005 I've enjoyed a peaceful and relatively trouble-free computing existence. I often compare this idyll with the problems and irritants I suffered while using Windows. Of course, things change and I'm comparing the Microsoft of pre-2005 with the Apple of today. No doubt the Microsoft experience is now much better and probably similar to the current Apple experience, but I don't know for sure because I seldom lay hands on a Windows computer. 

From reading tech blogs and news sites, I gain the impression that not all is well with Microsoft. Too often, these days, they are playing catch up and all too often they have taken a wrong turning (such as with the short-lived Kin phone). Apple offer a clear alternative on all fronts and, because they control both hardware and software, consumer satisfaction is incredibly high. Sure, the Microsoft brand means something. But what?

LockCircle MetalJacket 2 cage for the Leica SL2

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For the SL2 owners who have everything, including everything they didn't know they wanted. The MetalJacket 2 is a serious bit of kit for the cinemetographer. But could it gain fans who fancy a more aggressive approach to street photography?

Leica Q2 is here: 47.3MP sensor, OLED VF, weather protection

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The Leica Q2 is here with incremental improvements across the board — including a 47MP sensor and weather protection