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Archive for the 'Tech' Category

Posts relating to techie things

Lightroom Catalog Maintenance: Clearing Out Edit History For Potential Performance Gains

This post is about trimming down the file size of an Adobe Lightroom catalog. In keeping with the off-season them of my previous post (which was filled with fall-foliage photos), this post is sprinkled with a few photos from Kyoto springs past, chosen more for their mentally-calming effect than for photographic quality, which they generally lack. (Sorry)

In a nutshell, if you have a large Lightroom catalog, and if you don't need the detailed editing history for your photos, you might be able to significantly reduce the size of your Lightroom catalog by flushing that edit-history data, which might generally [...]


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Mini Rant: Disappointed in Netflix Video Streaming

I've been subscribing to Netflix's video-streaming service for a month or so. For $9 bucks a month it's a great deal and I recommend it, but that being said, it's also a big disappointment over what I expected.

YouTube has defined what's expected in video streaming, and the Netflix experience is so much worse. One problem is that the video quality is usually pretty bad -- blocky and pixelated -- even though I have a very fast connection (even via the VPN that I require to access Netflix from Japan). I can watch super-HD 1080p videos on YouTube without problem, [...]
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Congrats to Jan and Brian: From Zero to $19 Billion in Five Years

A couple of ultimate-Frisbee friends from my days at Yahoo!, Jan Koum and Brian Acton, went on to make a little messaging app with the silly name "WhatsApp" that I've been running on my phone for a few years. It's quite convenient for communicating with friends while on the go.

It's much nicer than the traditional SMS phone messaging. "Frictionless messaging". That's why 320 million people actually use it every day. I last used it an hour ago to chat with my brother.

Anyway, I just found out that these friends sold their little messaging app to Facebook for $19,000,000,000.

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Ugh! Recovering From the Accidental Deletion of an Important iPhone App

Well, that wasn't fun. While at Anthony's soccer game the other day, I pulled my iPhone out of my pocket to find that a couple of apps had been "pocket deleted", with the screen showing the dialog to confirm the deletion of a third. Apparently I put the phone in my pocket without deactivating the screen, and it bumped around in there in the just the appropriate way to jump through the hoops to delete an app. Twice. I should have had my pocket play the lottery that day.

I've been "pocket dialed" by friends before... the call comes in [...]


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A Couple of Mini Bluetooth Reviews: Braven 710 Speaker and Mpow Sport Headphones

This post is a mini review of a couple of bluetooth (wireless connection) speakers I've been using recently, one small "brick" speaker for the home, and a pair of earbuds for the gym.

Above we have the Braven 710. I lifted the (almost-certainly CGI) image from their web site; if I would have not been lazy and instead taken a photo myself, I would have put something there for context so that you can see that it's small... it's about the size of a sort-of-squished hotdog bun.

We like it. It's got great sound from such a small package. I've [...]


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Bunch of Goldfinches, Google “Auto Awesome” Version

The other day I posted some Goldfinch photos that I took on my folks' back deck. I included that post's lead photo on my Google Plus "Select Blog Photos 2014" photo album, where I put a photo or two from most of my blog posts.

Google Plus has an "Auto Awesome" feature that can automatically do things to copies of your photos if you opt in, and in this case it decided to add the snowfall to a copy of the goldfinch photo. It's a simple snowfall animation that repeats every 4/5th of a second. Simple but nice.

They've since [...]


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Recovering from an OSX Format of your Garmin Device

I hate to have any negative articles on my blog, much less two in a row, but wow, it's difficult to count how many ways Garmin's products are so much worse than they need to be, from devices designed for the pocket but without a way to lock the buttons from being bumped in pocket, to worse-than-nothing "features" you can't turn off, to memory-card slots buried behind batteries (really? How does one screw up something as simple as a memory card slot? Ask Garmin.), to any number of additional "what on earth are they thinking?" observations.

From hardware to software [...]


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Holy Cow, iOS 7 Has Some Really Horrible Design

The user-interface (UI) design of iOS 7 seems to be of the radical variety. Not quite as radical as the initial iPhone was to the cell-phone world at the time, but also not as universally lauded. A lot of people really hate iOS 7.

(Except the first, the photos on this page have nothing to do with the text; they're just random photos I've taken recently.)

Until recently I'd never actually used iOS 7, but from seeing it in news and advertisements over the last few months, I knew I didn't like the new look. The same aesthetic that [...]


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Why Does Photography with an iPad Look so Silly?

What is it about taking photos with an iPad or other tablet that makes it look so stupid?

My iPad has no camera so I've never been tempted to take a photo with it, but even if I could, I'm not the kind to take advantage of its social-networking benefits (like immediate posting to Facebook or Instagram or whatever the current fad is). So I'd probably not use it for photography any more than I use my iPhone, which is to say, not at all unless it's the only camera around and my quality threshold happens to be low.

But [...]


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Setting a Custom Search Engine in Firefox

Recent versions of Firefox inexplicably removed the ability to set a custom search engine, which one used to be able to do easily via the keyword.URL configuration. However, you can accomplish pretty much the same thing by installing a new search-engine profile that you craft yourself in an XML file.

Here's a sample profile file, for a custom Google search...

You'd copy this to an *.xml file and update the highlighted areas for your needs, adding/removing "ParamR 21; tags as appropriate for your search. (The "tbs" parameter in the example is the one that limits results to those updated in [...]
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The Joy of a Fast Photo Proximity Search in Lightroom

I popped up to Kyoto's Shogunzuka Overlook (将軍塚) today for the first time since March, hoping for a nice sunset.

As you can see above, I didn't get it.

However, due to my blog's proximity search feature, we can follow the "nearby photos" link under the photo to see other shots from Shogunzuka that I've posted over the years, including:

I added the proximity-search feature to my blog several years ago, and I use it often in various ways because proximity search can be extremely useful, but my blog proximity search is obviously limited to photos I've actually published on [...]


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Lightroom Plugin Update #2,800

Over the years I've published about 50 plugins for Lightroom, and of the 40ish that are still actively maintained, as of today I've put out a combined total of 2,800 updates.

I provide an RSS feed for updates and so I normally write here only about the release of new plugins, but today I pushed out a new release for my Folder Watch plugin that made me reflect on just how much the plugins grow over time.

Folder Watch originally grew out of a request from a Lightroom friend for better automatic importing, such as one might want when shooting [...]


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The Effect of a Polarization Filter on Wet Rocks, Etc.

The reflections on the wet rocks and foliage during the visit to the Honen'in Temple (法然院) presented in my previous post made for some interesting possibilities with the polarizing filter.

Swiping the mouse side to side on the photo above shows the effect of different filter rotations.

I like the rocks better when the bright reflections, but that also leaves the reflections on the foliage in the background, leaving them relatively washed out compared to the richer colors seen when the polarizer is turned to block reflections. (More impactful examples of foliage-related reflections are shown in "Heading Out To Photograph [...]


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Don’t Use “Guest” WiFi Hotspots for Local Multiplayer Minecraft

After having heard of (but not paid much attention to) the game "Minecraft", I got it for 10-year-old Anthony and me to play together, and found it to be delightful fun. The gameplay is completely unstructured (you explore, mine for resources, and build stuff), though how things work is a bit opaque at first until you figure out how to build stuff. Anthony did so quickly, so he kindly explained it to me.

However, I ran into trouble setting up the WiFi link to play together, and felt like an idiot once I realized what the problem was. I thought [...]
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Giving Dropbox Competitor “Copy” a Try

I've long been a grateful user of Dropbox for keeping files in sync across my computers, but in the spirit of due diligence, I'm giving a new service called "Copy" a try.

One nice feature is that when you share a folder with others, you get "charged" for only part of the space against your quota.... if you share a folder with one other user, you each are charged for half the space actually used. If you share a folder with 10 others, you're each charged with only 10% of the space. That's nice.

If you'd like to give them [...]


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The Effects of Aperture on a Subtle, Tranquil Cluster of Cherry Blossoms

This is a followup to my "Subtle · Pastel · Tranquil" post the other day, where I posed desktop-background versions of this cherry-blossom picture (blossoms at Kyoto's Ryouanji Temple (龍安寺), from a trip last spring covered earlier here and here):

Apparently I really liked the scene because I took shots at various apertures, and seemed to do an okay job keeping the camera steady (it was all handheld with a Voigtländer 125mm f/2.5 macro), so I went ahead today and put together the animatable display above.

Of course, this is along the lines of what I did a couple of [...]


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Photo Workflow: Lightroom Sometimes Deletes More Than You Ask, But This Plugin Can Help

I've been busy lately on a couple of new Lightroom plugins. Today I'm releasing "Workflow Delete Options", which helps address a couple of issues with how Lightroom handles delete requests.

In some situations Lightroom silently deletes more than you ask for, and in other cases, less. This plugin lets you be alerted to these situations so you can make an informed decision about what to do.

Details and download link are on the plugin's home page.


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An Update on the Lightroom 5 Publish Grid Bug

UPDATE (AUG 1): I initially thought that the bug discussed in this article was fixed in the Lightroom 5.2 beta release, but the bug still persists. )-:

Lightroom 5 was released the other day, and in my blog post about it, I warned about a potentially insidious Publish-related bug that could cause you to "do stuff" on different photos than it appeared you were working with. Since "do stuff" could mean "delete these images", at worst this means that you could accidentally delete images from your disk without even realizing you'd done it.

The folks on the Lightroom [...]
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Lightroom 5 has been Released, but it comes with an Important Warning

Lightroom 5 has been released... see the announcement at Adobe.

There's a bunch of new stuff.... a good place to start your own investigation is Victoria Bampton's "What's New in Lightroom 5" and "What's New in Lightroom 5.0 Beta" articles. Also, Sean over at Lightroom Blog is keeping a list of tutorial/review links.

The most exciting new things for me are "Smart Previews" (I can work with my entire 130k library of images on my disk-starved laptop), "Upright" perspective correction in Develop, where I can easily correct for my bad habit of not holding the camera level, and the new [...]


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Lightroom 5 Public Beta

Adobe has just released a free public beta for Lightroom 5.

Adobe's Lightroom blog has the announcement where you can see the list of new features, and also a list of resources (essentially other people writing about the release). In particular, Victoria Bampton's What's New post is always a good reference.

(Unfortunately, Adobe mistakenly schedule the release during my cherry-blossom season, so I've had no time to write up anything about it myself.)

The latest versions of my Lightroom plugins should work in Lightrooom 5.. Be sure to upgrade to the latest version of each plugin to work in Lr5

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