Sunday, October 25, 2020

Remembering Steve Jobs and my first visit to Cupertino

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Quite by chance I was visiting the Apple Campus on October 5, 2011, when news of Steve Jobs' death was announced...

A trek over London’s massive O2 Arena with just an iPhone for company

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In this article Dave challenges himself to climb to the top of the Millennium Dome with nothing more than his iPhone 11 for company

Billingham Turns True Blue: More temptation for the avid photographic bag collector

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Something borrowed, something blue... The new navy blue range of photographic bags from classic manufacturer Billingham is so compelling you won't be borrowing. You'll be buying.

Lightroom editing with the Loupedeck+ console

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I'm not a great fan of sitting down with Lightroom for hours on end to get the end results I want from...

Macfilos is twelve today: Five million words on photography and technology

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Macfilos is twelve today: Over 5,000 articles and five million words.

Huawei P40 Pro+ and that Leica camera

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Hauwei's new P40 Plus is a compelling smartphone and comes with the benefit of a Leica-branded camera. But there are trade-offs? Is it the phone for you?

Leica firmware update for the D-Lux 7, C-Lux, V-Lux 5 cameras now available

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Leica's compacts, the D-Lux 7, V-Lux 5 and the little C-Lux now feature East Connect to the FOTOS application as well as offering tgoetagging functionality. Firmware version 2.0 for the three cameras is now available for download.

Getting your mind around the Sony A7 menus

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It's fashionable in every review of Sony cameras to complain about the complexity of the menus. My current exposure is to the...

Locks Ajar: A trip to two favourite spots with old Hektor in tow

The locks are off and the prison door is slightly ajar. Time for a first trip in the Jaguar I-Page to two favourite locations and with a strange lens in the bag...

Macfilos: 5,000 posts already and here’s one from 2010

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Review: Heroes of the Telegraph by John Munro (1891), iBookstore, free

Had blogs existed 120 years ago John Munro would have been up there with the best of 'em. His book, which traces electronic communications from the 50-year-old and "perfected" telegraph through to the latest modern developments, the telephone and the phonograph, is a Gutenberg gem. At the time of writing in 1891 both the telephone and phonograph had been around for little more than 10 years and Munro exhibits the sort of enthusiasm now associated with the latest technical news on Engadget or TechCrunch.

Edison and phonographThe story of the invention of the phonograph by Thomas Edison is fascinating enough, but it is Munro's conjectures on the future opened up by recordings that are much more interesting. Here is a review of possible future developments, some uncannily accurate, some wide of the mark, that make for gripping reading. 

He suggests that phonograph records could be used for correspondence, for dictation and for communication "on unsteady vehicles such as trains" where writing is difficult. He also foresees audio books and reports that Edison can fit the whole of Nicholas Nickleby on four eight-inch wax cylinders of five-inch diameter. "Perhaps," he says, "we could have circulating libraries which issue phonograms, and there is already some talk of a phonographic newspaper which will prattle politics and scandal at the breakfast-table. Addresses, sermons, and political speeches may be delivered by the phonograph; languages taught, and dialects preserved; while the study of words cannot fail to benefit by its performance."

Strangely, in 1891, the concept of recording music was not mainstream: "Musicians will now be able to record their improvisations by a phonograph placed near the instrument they are playing."

This book is a delight and is a must-read for all technophiles.  It has probably been out of print for decades, yet through the Gutenberg project and Apple's iBookstore we can read it again. Much of the book is concerned with the development of the electric telegraph and, of particular interest, the trials and tribulations of undersea cable laying.

After the break is a fuller excerpt from the chapter on Edison's invention of the phonograph.