Tuesday, November 24, 2020

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...

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.

Lightroom Creative Cloud meets Capture One’s free trial

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After decades with Adobe's Lightroom, John takes a free ride with Capture One. Is he ready to give up the familiar turf and move over to the Danish model?

iPad Magic Keyboard: Why not settle for the best?

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Apple's new iPad Magic Keyboard combined with touch and mouse support in iPadOS 13.4 at last bridges the gap between tablet and computer.

USB-C Port Woes: Wobbling all the way to the Genius Bar

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Does your cable wobble? All four USB-C ports on Mike's 2018 MacBook Pro wobble and lead to unstable data connections. Apple don't want to know, but a simple fix seems to be working.

Grammarly: For the writers who think they don’t need it

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Are you an immaculate writer, never putting a comma wrong? If so, perhaps you don't need Grammarly. But, for the rest of us, it has it's uses (sorry, its).

How much RAM do you need to use Lightroom?

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Do you need 1.5TB of RAM to process your holiday snaps. No way. But you might benefit from 16GB or even 32GB of extra computing power.

Sifting the mullock heap for the odd gold nugget

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Photographic libraries are often a dish best served cold. Go back over rejected shots after a few years and you could discover a few gold nuggets. This is what John did and it a paid dividend.

William Hannah’s new pen case and notebook fastener

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William Hannah's leather-bound loose-leaf notebooks are the best. But that's just my opinion. Now you can add an elastic fastener and a colour-matching leather pencase. It makes a perfect Christmas present.

Leica Owners’ Area updated and ready for business

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After an absence of several months, the Leica Owners' Area is now up and running again with an improved graphic interface. It could be the home for all your cameras and lenses, even those from third-party manufacturers.