Apple Aperture

I have been looking at Apple Aperture to process my photos, well what passes as photos.

To this date I have just put them up, doing no processing on them. My underwater shots were initially done with the white balance set to cloudy giving all the photos a blue hue, and then someone pointed out that I could set the white balance using a white slate as reference at which point the photos started to get better colors. I also got good at setting the white balance upside down while descending on a dive.

While the colors got better, I still had “snow” on the pictures and sometimes the white balance was off, but overall the results were good.

Recently a friend suggested I take a look at Aperture to do some post processing on my photos, and I started to experiment with it a few days ago.

Overall I am very impressed, it will take me a few more days to get comfortable with the interface and all the settings you can apply to a picture, as well as all the things I still don’t understand. The tutorials have been invaluable in speeding up that learning curve.

One thing I noticed is that there is a lot more control available over images in RAW format compared to JPEG. Unfortunately Aperture does not support the RAW format for my camera (it is a dinosaur), but I found that I could convert the image format from RAW to DNG using Adobe’s free conversion tool and regain more control over the image. This is of course a stop-gap measure until I get a new camera.

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Translucent menu bar bug

I have installed Mac OS 10.5.2 on both my desktop machine and laptop and was disappointed to see that the “Translucent menu bar” option is buggy. Indeed it appears on my laptop but does not appear on my desktop machine, probably because it has multiple monitors attached.

Which is… a bummer…

HD wars over

It seems a small part of the world came to its senses while I was away, namely the HD war finally being over with Blu-Ray coming out on top.

This is, of course, “a good thing”. Nothing beats competing standards to constrain and confuse the market. Ultimately consumers want simplicity and convenience. With this over everybody wins, and I am sure that Toshiba can carve out a good piece of the Blu-Ray player business.

I suspect that this shift on their part was due to the realization that in the long-term the real threat to Blu-Ray/HD-DVD is online distribution and that a protracted format war would only have sped up the consumer’s shift to that as a means of delivery at the expense of shiny discs.

AppleTV update

I downloaded the AppleTV update last night and I have to say that it is pretty sweet.

I can strongly recommend Paul Thurrott’s review.

I noticed a few things about the AppleTV which were not initially mentioned when the update was announced:

  • It now acts as remote speakers for iTunes which is really good as it allows me to remove the Airport Express I was using for that (remember “less is more”).
  • It now merges its local content with the content on iTunes so you don’t need to switch the source if you want to stream content from your Mac. This makes much more sense for navigation purposes.
  • It provides smarter syncing capabilities, so the local drive acts much more as a cache for the content rather than a “local store” if that makes sense. This makes it much easier to manage the content on it, mostly by doing it all for you.

I have rented my first HD movie, the download took about 60 minutes which is not too shabby, and we will have to see what my cable provider thinks of this. The selection is rather limited so Netflix has nothing to fear in the near-term, but long-term I suspect that this is a different story.

Back from a trip

I am back from my trip, got some nice pictures. It was initially a little weird to be totally disconnected from the world, but I got used to it.

Off for two weeks

Off for two weeks, photos will follow when I get back.

iPod Touch/iPhone memory bump

It was nice to see Apple bump the memory on the iPod Touch and the iPhone.But I am holding out for a memory-bumped iPod Nano. I currently have a 8GB iPod Nano (the previous generation) and I typically upgrade when I can double the amount of storage on the device.