Wednesday, December 30, 2009

New Year Resolutions

New Year Eve London 2008  (Fireworks)Image by T@H!R - طاھر via Flickr
As I write this the New Year is almost upon us. Now is the time we normally make our New Year resolutions. What will yours be and will any of them have anything to do with computers? Well. they should! Here is my shortlist of resolutions we should all have for 2010:

  1. Back up your files! If your computer crashes, your hard disk fails, your pc gets a bad dose of viruses or if your laptop gets stolen, will you ever get your files back? Only if you back them up.
  2. Keep your computer secure - if you own a pc that runs Microsoft Windows XP/Vista or 7 then you need up-to-date security software.
  3. Be better organised - that one applies especially to me!
These are my top tips for your pc - related resolutions for 2010. I have a host of others but if you focus on these three and do them well you will avoid a whole bunch of problems in the year ahead.

To give yourself every chance of success, plan ahead. Taking each one in turn, lets look at some ways of making a success of them.

  1. Backing up your files.
Computers start off with what seems infinite storage - gigabytes of space. Very soon though we find ourselves filling up all that space with photographs, videos and documents. Computers also seem to fill up lots of it with temporary files, especially if we browse the internet a lot. Before we get to that dreaded warning message saying that we have ‘insufficient space’ we need to plan ahead. Even if you have just a few documents, if you were to lose them would it matter? If the answer is yes, you need to back them up before that happens.

So, what are the options?

i)                Back up to a second, external hard disk. Portable ones now come in good sizes for less than £50.

ii)        Back up to CD-ROM (DVD or Blu-Ray) - most computers come with a CD drive. If its has CD-RW or DVD-RW on it you can use it to backup your files to blank discs.

iii)        Back up to USB flash drives - these are small, very portable, come in good sizes (I recommend 8GB or bigger) and cost @ £20.

iv)        Online storage - you can get at least 2GB for free from several places - I recommend www.humyo.com, http://www.getdropbox.com/ and www.skydrive.live.com

v)                For photos and video you can use sites like www.picasaweb.google.com and www.www.flickr.com/ to store your images and videos for free.

I recommend combination of all of these and use them myself. However, I do recommend that you get an external hard drive to completely back up your hard disk as an emergency backup that you can use to completely restore everything in one go if the worst happens.

If you go to http://www.downloadsquad.com/2008/09/05/5-free-apps-to-clone-your-hard-drive/ you will find 5 free apps for doing this and tips you can use to do it the right way. The benefit of doing this is that you caned a restore a lot quicker than the normal way most folk do it if disaster strikes - reinstalling Windows, all their software (if they can find the discs and serial numbers) and then all their files (documents, photos, videos etc). Believe me that can take days! Cloning your drive means it can all take just a few hours. Much better and far less stressful.

  1. Computer security
Sadly the world is full of people who, mainly for criminal gain, want nothing more than for you to have an insecure computer so they can take it over, steal your passwords for online accounts (especially bank accounts), and hopefully steal your identity. Why make it easy for them... why not make it impossible? So, how to do this and do it for free? Here’s how:

i)        Go to www.download.com and click on the link for “Security Software” under “Categories” (its on the left scroll down a bit). This will take you to a page of free apps you can download to protect your computer. I recommend http://download.cnet.com/avast-home-edition-free/3000-2239_4-10019223.html, http://download.cnet.com/Avira-AntiVir-Personal-Free-Antivirus/3000-2239_4-10322935.html and http://download.cnet.com/malwarebytes-anti-malware/3000-8022_4-10804572.html to start off with. Choose one of the first two (either Avast or AntiVir) and the last one.

ii)         Use Firefox and ditch Internet Explorer. Go to www.mozilla.com/firefox/ and download the latest version. Its more secure than IE. Once installed, be sure to download add-ons. You need to go to the ‘Tools’ menu and once there click on the ‘Browse all add-ons’ link. I recommend WOT from https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/3456 and NoScript from https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/722 as starters.

iii)        Email security - I’ve said it many times before but its worth saying again. Never ever click on links in emails that claim to be from your bank! Your bank or financial institution will never ask you to click on a link in an email to re-enter your password etc for your account. Only criminals do that.

Also, if you get an email claiming to be from someone (even proclaiming themselves to be a Christian) and they want your help to distribute money (usually millions!) to good causes, I can guarantee t a total lie! Just delete them. Never believe the heart-rending tale they spin about some good person having died and not leaving a will etc.

In addition, if you get one of those annoying chain-letter type emails just bin them too. They are a waste of bandwidth, time and may well include viruses etc. Just delete them.

Other hoaxes include sob stories asking fro prayer and asking you to forward the email to everyone in your address book - they are a scam and you should just bin them. If you want to bother checking them out go here: http://uk.trendmicro.com/uk/threats/enterprise/glossary/s/scams-and-shams/index.php

Finally, when sending emails do not put everyone’s email address into the ‘send to’ box. Put just one address there (the main person you are sending it to) and then put everyone else’s into the bcc box (blind copy). This way you will avoid sending everyone’s email address to everyone else. Think of it like this... would like someone who writes to someone whom you don’t know tell that person your address? Thought not but so many of us do that with emails. Just because you know someone doesn’t mean they want everyone you to know know them too. That’s what Facebook is for!

  1. Becoming better organised!
We all wish we were and how many of us have read any number of books claiming to help us to this? We all know it would be good to be better organised, but somehow we never seem to get around to it. Well, here is how I am intending (hoping!) to go about this year.

i)        To start with I am going to delete files I no longer need when I have finished with them. So often we keep everything on our computers, thinking that we have unlimited space and that we never know when we might need it again. Truth is, 90% of what we have on our computers will never be needed again, ever! Trust me on this... I use computers and the internet everyday (too much of the time, if I am being honest) and I save everything. Over the years (18 years and counting) I have saved so many files and yet 99% of them I have never opened again!

ii)        Printing - I am going to print things off the internet or in emails only if I really need a hard copy. Most things we can safely delete after we have finished with and if we need to keep them, well just keep the email or downloaded document. If you back up (see above) then you will have a copy for safety anyway and you can forget about printing a copy off.

iii)        Databases - these are great for storing information that might otherwise get lost on our computers. I am going to use one to keep track of everything in one place. I am actually writing this in one, strange as that might seem. Its an application called MacJournal and is a sort of ‘freeform’ database. I can store documents, web links etc in it and do a search for anything in it. I’ll let you know how I get on. For those of you who don’t have a Mac, there are alternatives - try Bitlets 2.2.3.16 from http://www.softpedia.com/get/Office-tools/Text-editors/Bitlets.shtml and Remlap KnowledgeBase 2.21 from http://download.cnet.com/Remlap-KnowledgeBase/3000-2074_4-10443935.html?tag=mncol

So, I hope that these tips will help you make and keep your computer-related New Year Resolutions. Now something for a bit f fun, a quote or two on the topic of New Year Resolutions:

“The man who will not execute his resolutions when they are fresh upon him can have no hope from them afterwards; they will be dissipated, lost and perish in the hurry and scurry of the world, or sunk in the slough of indolence” Marie Edgeworth

“Cheers to a New Year and another chance for us to get it right”. Oprah Winfrey

“He who breaks a resolution is a weakling; He who makes one is a fool.” F.M. Knowles

Take care and every blessing in 2010.



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Thursday, December 24, 2009

Glide OS 4.0 Cloud Computing Solution

Glide OS Screenshot
Glide OS 4.0 is a comprehensive Ad-Free cloud computing solution. Escape from the daily barrage of online floating, pop up, banner and streaming ads and email spam. In addition to providing you with an ad-free alternative, you get more storage, more features and more control over how you share your private information and personal files.

Glide is a free suite of rights-based productivity and collaboration applications with 20GBs of storage. Setup and administer up to six family member accounts including child accounts from your Glide settings panel. The Glide OS provides automatic file and application compatibility across devices and operating systems. With Glide OS you also get the Glide Sync App which helps you to synchronize your home and work files.

You can even use Glide on virtually any mobile phone with a browser. To access Glide on your mobile go to http://www.GlideMobile.com.

More info on Glide can be found at http://www.glideos.com/whatisglide.html

Read a review by Ross M Greenberg on the internet evolution blog at http://www.internetevolution.com/author.asp?section_id=841&doc_id=185530&

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

humyo SmartDrive


Want to automatically backup your photos or files? Have access to your digital stuff anytime, anywhere? Or maybe share your photos directly from your desktop. You can with humyo SmartDrive.
humyo SmartDrive includes automatic file sync/backup for complete peace-of-mind and a virtual drive providing easy access to your online files directly from your desktop.

Who are humyo?

Based in the UK and with offices in Germany, France and the Czech Republic, humyo is Europe's largest independent online storage provider. Currently, more than 400,000 users around the world choose humyo to store over 100 million files. Users are safe in the knowledge that their files are protected by bank grade encryption. Files are stored on servers within an ex Bank of England vault in Manchester - one of the biggest data centres of its kind in Europe. Privately funded and backed by leading technology investment firm, Oakley Capital Corporate Finance, the humyo online storage solution is hosted by its sister company, GX Networks, the UK's largest web site hosting network.
Humyo.png

Proven technology

Humyo has recently been awarded the following prestigious titles:
  • Micro Mart Group Test Winner
  • WebUser Gold Award
  • Personal Computer World Editor's Choice
  • Computer Shopper Best Buy
  • Chip Magazine Test Winner

Easy to use

With over two years in development, the humyo online storage solution has been built around the ethos that users should be able to access, backup and share their files with the minimum of fuss.
With award-winning drag and drop technology, the humyo solution seamlessly integrates into your desktop environment making it possible to access your files whether you're online or offline.
For complete peace of mind, humyo provides premium and business users with UK-based telephone and email support for the duration of the subscription period.

In-house developers

Employing a team of leading in-house software developers, humyo continuously invests in state of the art technology to ensure that consumers and businesses can continue to securely share and backup their digital content online.

Free accounts get 10GB (but have to upgrade after 14 days to benefit from the SmartDrive application). Premium home users get 100GB for £4.59 pcm or £45.99 pa (effectively 2 months free). Note: These are inclusive of 15% VAT so prices might change when VAT returns to 17.5% in 2010.
Business users can choose the 25GB of collaborative storage per user for £9.00 pcm / £99.00 pa exc. VAT.

There are other options too, such as upgrading number of users (extra £4.95 pcm exc. VAT, including an additional 25GB space) or £9.99 for an extra 100GB.

Check it out here: http://www.humyo.com/pages/en/online-file-storage


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Friday, December 04, 2009

Intel Labs has created an experimental “Single-chip Cloud Computer,”

Single-chip Cloud computer
Intel has created what it calls the “Single-chip Cloud Computer”. At this stage its just experimental but indicates the future roadmap for Intel's processors. It incorporates technologies intended to scale multi-core processors to 100 cores and beyond, such as an on-chip network, advanced power management technologies and support for “message-passing.”

Architecturally, the chip resembles a cloud of computers integrated into silicon. The novel many-core architecture includes innovations for scalability in terms of energy-efficiency including improved core-core communication and techniques that enable software to dynamically configure voltage and frequency to attain power consumptions from 125W to as low as 25W.

This represents the latest achievement from Intel’s Tera-scale Computing Research Program. The research was co-led by Intel Labs Bangalore, India, Intel Labs Braunschweig, Germany and Intel Labs researchers in the United States.

The name “Single-chip Cloud Computer” reflects the fact that the architecture resembles a scalable cluster of computers such as you would find in a cloud, integrated into silicon.
The research chip features:
  • 24 “tiles” with two IA cores per tile
  • A 24-router mesh network with 256 GB/s bisection bandwidth
  • 4 integrated DDR3 memory controllers
  • Hardware support for message-passing


Intel Labs announces Single-chip Cloud Computing experimental chip

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Friday, November 27, 2009

Italian researcher's labour of love leads to MS breakthrough

Go to The Globe and Mail

New way of thinking about debilitating disease has yielded stunning new treatments – but MS societies urge sufferers to be cautious before experimenting.

Elena Ravalli was a seemingly healthy 37-year-old when she began to experience strange attacks of vertigo, numbness, temporary vision loss and crushing fatigue. They were classic signs of multiple sclerosis, a potentially debilitating neurological disease.

It was 1995 and her husband, Paolo Zamboni, a professor of medicine at the University of Ferrara in Italy, set out to help. He was determined to solve the mystery of MS – an illness that strikes people in the prime of their lives but whose causes are unknown and whose effective treatments are few.
What he learned in his medical detective work, scouring dusty old books and using ultra-modern imaging techniques, could well turn what we know about MS on its head: Dr. Zamboni's research suggests that MS is not, as widely believed, an autoimmune condition, but a vascular disease.

Read original article in full


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Thursday, November 26, 2009

Wix - Create Flash sites easily with Wix.com

Wix.Image via Wikipedia
Wix.com offers a free and easy way to create Flash sites. Started in 2005, the company aims to make creating graphiclly appealing sites using Flash easy to create, for free!

If you have no Flash skills whatsoever its possible to create a Flash site easily using their drop and drag widget based editor. I know because I have no Flash skills and I did it, so if I can, anyone can.

Check out my basic Flash gallery here  which was created in just a few minutes. If you need a professional site, they can do that. You can upgrade from the free basic package to professional hosting packages that are still great value. You can even sign up for an e-commerce package that allows you to sell from your site. best of all, they don't a penny from you for your sales! Of course you will still pay fees to PayPal or whoever handles the money side of things for you but this has got to be a cheaper option than any other hosting package.

If you want to have a go, the head over now to www.wix.com
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Thursday, November 12, 2009

Fight for Preemies | Bloggers Unite Campaign




Fight For Preemies


November 17, 2009

Objective:
Every year, 20 million babies are born too soon, too small and very sick ― half a million of them in the United States. November 17 is when we fight.

Do you know a baby that was born too soon, too small, unable to suck, unable to breathe on his own? Premature birth is a health crisis that jeopardizes the lives and health of nearly half-million babies each year. It is the No. 1 killer of newborns and can lead to lifelong disabilities. Worse: the number has increased 31 percent since 1981. It can happen without warning and for no known reason. Until we have more answers, anyone’s baby, could be born too soon.

Medical advances give even the tiniest babies a chance of survival, yet for many babies premature birth is still a life or death condition. It’s the No. 1 cause of death during the first month of life. And babies who survive face serious health challenges and risk lifelong disabilities.

The rate of premature birth has never been higher. In half the cases, we simply don’t understand what went wrong. We need to fight for answers. And, ultimately, preventions.

November 17 is dedicated to raising awareness of the crisis of premature birth. The March of Dimes invites bloggers like you to get involved.

• Learn about premature birth at marchofdimes.com/fightforpreemies
• Put a badge on your blog during November, Prematurity Awareness Month®
• On November 17, blog for a baby you love and to help others

We need to fight ― because babies shouldn’t have to.
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Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Up to £70 cashback on selected SONY DSLR models



There's a full range of Sony digital SLR cameras, lenses and accessories to help every photographer realise their own personal creative vision.
And now, with up to £70 cashback, digital SLR photography has never been so creative, so accessible and so much fun.
Just choose one of the Alpha models or an Alpha accessory included in the offer and the rest is easy.
Models included are:
A230 - £50 cashback
A330 - £60 cashback
A380 - £70 cashback
75-300mm Lens - £50 cashback
50mmm F1.8 Lens - £20 cashback
30mm F2.8 Lens - £20 cashback

Download and complete the Cashback form and send it to us with your sales receipt as proof of purchase. We’ll post you a cheque for up to £70, depending on the model or accessory you bought, when we receive your form.
Offer ends January 30th 2010 and terms and conditions apply. More information available at http://www.sony.co.uk/article/id/1237476803510

Click here to download the claim form
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Canon Cashbacks



Currently, Canon is offering cashbacks on ts video and photography equipment. However, the offers only apply to certain products in their range. When you purchase an EOS 500D or EOS 450D this winter between 28th October and 20th January 2010, you can claim up to £50/€55 cashback. You can also claim up to £150/€170 on Powershot G11 Accessories. For those enterested in buying a non-DSLR, there is a £50/€55 cashback offer on the Pwershot SX camera and £40/€45 on the SX200.

If you are looking to buy a Canon camcorder, there is £50/€55 cashback available on the LEGIRA HF model, or £30/€35 on FS models.

In addition to these cashback offers, Canon are offering 3-year warranties on i-SENSYS laser printer and all-in-one products. If you buy a Canon projector, there is a free upgrade from 90 days to 3 years warranty on the lamp bulb.

More info at http://www.canon.co.uk/promotions/


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Friday, November 06, 2009

Getty Images invites Flickr members to submit their images

The Flickr Collection on Getty Images | Licens...
Getty Images, which last year signed a deal with the social networking and photo sharing website Flickr, has now called on Flickr members to submit directly their images to be considered for the Flickr Collection at Getty.

Flickr announcment says:
"The Flickr Collection on Getty Images has been growing and growing since it launched back in March – with a princely figure of nearly 60,000 images in the collection so far. It’s no secret that there are billions of amazing photographs on Flickr, so it made perfect sense for us to find an easy way for members to suggest their own photos to be considered for the Flickr Collection on Getty Images.
Starting today you can submit a portfolio of 10 images to the Getty Images Call for Artists group, giving you an opportunity to showcase your best shots directly to the editors at Getty Images. The Getty Images creative team will regularly review the photos in the group pool, looking out for images they feel are marketable based on their industry expertise, and inviting new photographers to join the collection.
So, if you think your photos rock and are interested in being considered for the collection, join the Getty Images Call for Artists group and follow the submission guidelines or check out our updated FAQs."

A word of caution:
Not everyone thinks that its a good idea to submit your images to Getty (and other photo agencies that operate on the so-called 'microstock photography' business model). The main thrust of their argument (the opponents, that is) is that Getty is a bit like Wal-Mart, piling them high and selling them cheap, as it were. This means that the photographer gets only a small a royalty for the use of their image and that this is a mere pittance and no proper reward.

An example of someone who opposes the Getty model is Todd Klassy. Read his comments on the Flickr blog here

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Monday, October 26, 2009

Nikon D3s is the first Nikon FX format DSLR to feature HD Movie mode



Nikon’s first FX format camera to feature high-definition movie recording offers photographers a whole new level of creative flexibility. The D3S features a highly sensitive 12.1 megapixel FX format CMOS sensor that boasts an ISO range of 200 to 12800. The D-movie function offers superior movie capture in stereo* sound and features a Save Selected frame option to speed up productivity.

Nikon’s acclaimed 51-point AF system offers high sensitivity in low-light and superb performance when tracking fast moving subjects. An advanced image sensor cleaning function reduces the impact of dust spots and three alternative crop modes enhance shooting flexibility. The EXPEED image processing engine and expansive buffer enables you to shoot up to 9 fps for extended bursts. Protected by a tough, environmentally-sealed magnesium alloy body, the D3S redraws the boundaries for professional action photography.

*Compatible stereo microphone required.

Features:
  • 12.1 megapixel FX (full-frame) CMOS sensor with high signal-to-noise ratio, wide dynamic range and 12-channel readout.
  • ISO 200 – 12800: extendable up to 102,400 (equivalent) with the Hi-3 setting and down to ISO 100 (equivalent) with the Lo-1 setting.
  • 9fps consecutive shooting (11fps in DX Crop mode).
  • D-Movie records high-definition (HD) movie clips in stereo sound (Compatible stereo microphone required). Features Edit start/stop and Save selected frame functions, as well as AF support in Tripod mode.
  • Multi-CAM3500FX 51-point AF system: individually selectable or configurable in 9-point, 21-point and 51-point coverage settings.
  • EXPEED image processing engine with 14-bit A/D conversion and 16-bit image processing for superb tonal gradation.
  • 920,000 dot 3-inch VGA LCD monitor with wide, 170-degree viewing angle.
  • Three Crop Modes: DX format 5:4 ratio and 1.2x. The DX crop mode can be automatically enabled when a DX lens is attached.
  • In-camera RAW processing saves time in post-production by enabling JPEG compression, Size, White Balance, Exposure Compensation, Picture Control, Noise Reduction, Color space and Vignette Control image settings to be applied to RAW (NEF) files in the camera.
  • Quiet shooting mode: perfect for discrete photography, the sound of the camera’s mirror return mechanism is noticeably reduced.
  • Highly accurate, durable Kevlar/carbon fibre-composite shutter unit: standard rating of 300, 000 cycles, with a maximum shutter speed of 1/8,000 sec and flash synchronization at up to 1/250 sec.
  • HDMI video output interface enables connection to high-definition video systems.
  • Durable Magnesium alloy body built to withstand the rigors of the harshest of environments.
  • Wireless LAN and Ethernet support via optional Wireless Transmitter WT-4.
More info on Nikon site here: http://www.europe-nikon.com/product/en_GB/products/broad/1862/overview.html




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Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Canon announce EOS-1D Mark IV




Introducing the Canon EOS-1D Mark IV – fast, powerful, high resolution performance for professional photographers




EOS-1D Mark IV
United Kingdom / Republic of Ireland, 20 October 2009 – Canon today announces the launch of the new EOS 1D MARK IV – a high-speed, professional Digital SLR (DSLR) camera designed to empower photographers to capture split-second moments in high resolution, under the most challenging of conditions. Ideal for shooting action, sports, news events and wildlife photography, the Canon EOS 1D MARK IV delivers speed, power and high-resolution images, creating the perfect camera for photographers who require reliability in fast-paced, high-pressure situations.


Developed incorporating feedback from professional photographers, the EOS-1D Mark IV features a new Canon 16.1MP APS-H CMOS sensor and a brand new 45-point Auto Focus (AF) system with 39 f/2.8 sensitive cross-type points, providing a wide selection of precise focus areas across the frame.  Dual “DIGIC 4” processors provide the power to shoot continuous, high-resolution images at up to 10 frames per second (fps), as well as delivering the widest ISO range ever to feature in a Canon camera.

“Throughout the EOS-1D Mark IV’s development, we’ve carefully studied feedback from our photographers and developed a camera to meet their specific requirements” said Mr. Shinbori, Senior General Manager of Camera Development Center, Canon Inc. “With a brand new, high-quality CMOS sensor and Dual “DIGIC 4” processors, the Canon EOS-1D Mark IV allows photographers to be the first to get the highest quality images to picture desks in what is becoming an increasingly competitive market.”

Highly sensitive, cross-type focusing – capture every detail at speed
The Canon EOS-1D Mark IV features a completely new 45-point AF system, with 39 f/2.8 sensitive cross-type points located across the frame, providing consistent AF on static or moving subjects, no matter which AF point is being used.  All 45 AF points are user selectable and now more sensitive, with the AF points towards the edge of the frame offering identical levels of performance to those in the centre.

The entire AF system is managed by a dedicated microprocessor, providing fast, accurate focusing – even when shooting continuously at 10fps.  Canon’s newly-evolved AI Servo II AF offers more precision when tracking moving objects, utilising the power provided by the dedicated microprocessor to improve overall tracking accuracy and increasing focus reliability in low-contrast and extremely bright conditions.

To provide increased flexibility, a vast range of manual and automatic AF control options are available including - with lenses featuring an AF Stop button - Canon’s new Spot AF feature.  Spot AF offers a more precise focus area to meet the needs of photographers that require pinpoint focusing.  A 63-zone metering system enables the use of multiple metering modes, with the dedicated sensor linked to the 45 AF points, providing AF point-linked and multiple spot metering options.

The EOS-1D Mark IV also features orientation-linked AF points, an orientation sensor controlled feature that enables photographers to store separate AF points for different camera positions.  Covering both horizontal and vertical shooting positions (both grip up and grip down), orientation linked AF points offers the flexibility to quickly change camera orientation when shooting with the AF settings switching to suit the subject.  AF point registration enables the photographer to store an alternate AF point that can be used at the touch of a button.

The power and performance of Dual “DIGIC 4” and CMOS
The combination of a custom-designed, high resolution 16.1MP APS-H CMOS sensor and Dual “DIGIC 4” processors ensures that detailed, crisp images are delivered at high speeds.
The inclusion of an APS-H sensor combines a high pixel-count with an effective field of view measuring 1.3x the focal length of the lens.  This provides immediate benefits for sports, news and wildlife photojournalists, who operate on-the-move and need to get closer to their subjects and maintain fast apertures without resorting to longer focal-length lenses – which are typically heavier.

Continuous shooting is facilitated by the sensor’s eight-channel data read out, which provides a rapid read sequence and makes full use of the Dual “DIGIC 4” processors to enable high-speed 10fps shooting at full 16.1MP resolution, while maintaining image colours through 14-bit analogue to digital (A/D) conversion.

The ability to shoot images at 10fps, without any drop in resolution, means the EOS-1D Mark IV features the fastest continuous shooting with Auto Focus currently available from a Canon DSLR.  The increased processing capacity of Dual “DIGIC 4” processors manages the increased data created by the 60% rise in image resolution, while still enabling the EOS-1D Mark IV to deliver a continuous burst of up to 121 large JPEGS, or 28 RAW images using a UDMA 6 card – ideal for fast-moving sporting action or news events where scenes are unfolding quickly.

The EOS-1D Mark IV also includes updated Picture Styles and the first ever integration of ALO (Auto Lighting Optimizer) in a professional EOS body, automatically correcting the contrast and brightness of images as they are recorded.  These features combine to provide a faster workflow for those requiring press-ready images direct from the camera without the need for retouching, enabling photographers to concentrate solely on capturing that once-in-a-lifetime shot.

Full compatibility with the latest UDMA 6 standard Flash memory cards also ensures that image data is rapidly written to the EOS-1D Mark IV’s CF memory card.  In addition, the flexibility to also record to a Secure Digital/SDHC memory card allows photographers to keep shooting for longer until they get the shot they need.

Advanced performance in low-light
The EOS-1D Mark IV also delivers extreme low-light performance. Standard ISO on the EOS-1D Mark IV ranges from 100-12,800, while extended ISO ranges from a low of 50 to 102,400 – the highest ISO ever offered by a Canon SLR.  This extreme low-light performance makes the EOS-1D Mark IV ideal for night shots or shooting at evening events, where the lack of light would normally make shooting impossible.
Intelligent noise reduction techniques keep chroma and luminance noise to a minimum, while maintaining colour balance, but never take control of the overall image quality away from the photographer.  The architecture of the new 16.1MP APS-H CMOS sensor, featuring gapless microlenses with less surrounding circuitry and more sensitive, high-capacity photodiodes, also ensures that all available light is used as efficiently as possible to maximise ISO performance in low light conditions.

Built for extreme use – robust, weatherproof and portable
Light for its category, the EOS-1D Mark IV features a full magnesium alloy body, providing protection against knocks and bumps.  The EOS-1D Mark IV has also been the subject of some subtle ergonomic redesigns, with the buttons reshaped and given a more defined ‘click’ when pressed, to make life easier for photographers operating in more extreme weather conditions where gloves may be necessary.

The EOS-1D Mark IV is protected by a total of 76 rubber seals fitted around the controls and cover seams, making the Canon EOS-1D Mark IV dust and water resistant when used in tandem with Canon’s range of weather-resistant EF lenses and Speedlite EX flash units.

The 920,000 dot, VGA resolution, Clear View II LCD makes it easy to instantly review images and video in the most challenging conditions.  By filling the gap between the LCD panel and the protective cover screen with a photo-elastic material, Canon has been able to reduce light reflection, resulting in the clear display of images.  The previously acrylic cover has also been replaced by reinforced glass, providing strong, scratch-resistant protection for the screen.

The EOS-1D Mark IV also features the EOS integrated cleaning system, which automatically eliminates dust on the sensor – ensuring reliable image quality when shooting in testing outdoor environments.

Cinematic, High Definition video
In addition to providing high-quality still image performance, the Canon EOS-1D Mark IV features EOS Movie function, providing the ability to capture 1080p High Definition (HD) video at 30, 25 and 24fps and 720p footage at 60 and 50fps.  As well as complete compatibility with PAL, NTSC and native 1080/24p cinematic frame rates, the EOS-1D Mark IV offers full manual exposure, providing film makers and photographers with control over depth of field.

The EOS-1D Mark IV features a programmable button to enable quick movie shooting, allowing photographers to record HD video instantly at the touch of a single button.  The EOS-1D Mark IV also features a mini HDMI output, enabling video and images to be viewed directly on compatible HD-ready TVs.

Advanced customisation to suit you
Canon’s EOS-1D Mark IV is highly customisable, allowing photographers to take complete control of the camera’s features.  Auto Exposure (AE) and Flash Exposure (FE) micro-adjustments allow photographers to fine tune the exposure for any given purpose, enabling them to perfectly match two separate cameras for consistent results or simply adjust the settings to meet specific personal requirements and tastes.  Preferred user profiles can also be stored to memory card and subsequently transferred to other EOS-1D Mark IV bodies, so that photographers can seamlessly transfer their profile to another body if required.

Further customisable features include the ability to add copyright information directly in the camera.  This enables photographers to embed their details within each shot as standard, removing the need for retrospective data insertion, and allowing news photographers to get shots to picture desks in the shortest time possible.  An integrated microphone also allows the recording of audio notes to accompany each image, which will directly benefit photographers who wish to keep a record of the content of each image as they shoot.

Canon EOS-1D Mark IV – key features:
  • New 16.1 Megapixel APS-H CMOS sensor
  • 10 frames per second continuous shooting
  • Up to 121 large JPEG images in a single burst
  • New 45-point wide area AF with 39 cross-type sensors with f/2.8 sensitivity
  • High-speed Dual “DIGIC 4” processors for superb image quality
  • 12,800 high ISO expandable up to 102,400
  • Full HD movie recording at 30, 25 and 24 frames per second
  • 3.0” Clear View II LCD with Live View mode
  • Durable dust and water resistant body with 76 rubber seals
  • Compatible with all Canon EF lenses, and Speedlite EX flashes
  • Also available - new EOS-1D Mark IV Wireless Transmitter WFT-E2 II (also compatible with existing Wireless File Transmitter WFT-E2)
Accessories
EOS system compatibility
The EOS-1D Mark IV is compatible with all existing EOS-1D Mark III accessories, EF lenses (excluding EF-S lenses) and EX Series Speedlite flash units.  Untethered shooting and image transfer are available with the optional Wireless File Transmitter WFT-E2 II.  New EOS-1D Mark IV accessories will also be backwards compatible with EOS-1D Mark III bodies, subject to a firmware upgrade.

Pricing & Availability
The EOS 1D Mark IV is available from the end of December 2009 priced at £4499.00 / €5499.00 RRP inc. VAT.

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Saturday, October 17, 2009

I am now the proud owner of my own Ltd Company!

It has been a long time in the making and its early days yet, but I have just set up my own Ltd Company here in the UK. I have been running a business (on and off) since 1989, when I left the NHS to follow my dream to be a photojournalist. Over the years I have provided photography, bookkeeping and IT services in the periods between jobs and in my spare time.

However, due to changing circumstances I felt now was the right time to make the leap and set up a 'proper' company and so I did!

You will find it here: http://www.newbeltane-techmedia.co.uk/

My first product is the fantastic piece of kit, the hfeld Wi-Fire wireless USB adapter. I have just become the only reseller of the kit in the UK! Its a fantastic product and you can read all about on my e-store at the above address.



Check it out.
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Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Mamiya announces its 645DF system in partnership with Phase One



The Japanese medium format camera maker Mamiya has introduced its version of the 645DF system it developed alongside Phase One.
The Mamiya 645ZDb Digital System consists of the Mamiya 645AFD III Medium Format Camera with Sekor AF 80mm f/2.8 D lens and the newly introduced Mamiya ZDb 22 Megapixel Digital Back.
At a retail price of $10,999, this digital system marks a new era in the high-end digital market. By offering this incredibly priced high quality digital system, a broad range of photographers who have been waiting for the right combination of quality and price, can finally step into the medium format digital world.

The platform for the Mamiya 645ZDb Digital System is the highly acclaimed Mamiya 645AFD III autofocus medium format camera with Sekor AF 80mm f/2.8 D lens. With an excellent range of high quality lenses, precise auto-focusing and fast handling, the 645AFD III has become the choice of professional photographers.
The Mamiya ZDb Digital Back offers all the features serious photographers demand, plus Mamiya’s communication protocol MSCE (Mamiya Serial Communication for External) has optimized two-way communication between the 645AFD III and the ZDb Digital Back. This produces an operating experience identical to using a one-piece digital camera.
Specifications:
Type
6x4.5cm format (actual image size 56x41.5mm)
Electronically controlled focal-plane shutter
TTL multiple mode AE
AF single lens reflex
Film Type
120 roll film (16 exposures)
220 roll film (32 exposures)
Polaroid Land Pack Film (100 & 600 series)
Lens Mount
Mamiya 645 AF Mount
Compatible with M645 mount (manual focus confirmation, focus aid, stop-down exposure metering)
Also compatible with Hasselblad V series lenses (manual focus confirmation, focus aid, stop-down exposure metering). Requires optional Lens Mount Adapter #310-244 (Black) or #310-245 (Silver)
Viewfinder
Fixed prism viewfinder magnification x0.71
Built-in Diopter adjustment -2.5 to +0.5 (separate diopter correction lenses provide adjustment ranges of -5 to -2 and 0 to +3)
Built-in eyepiece shutter
Focusing Screen
Interchangeable:
Matte (supplied with camera)
Grid (Checker)
Manual Focus Microprism for M645 lenses
Field of View
94% of actual image
Viewfinder Information
Focus mark
Out-of-focus direction marks
Aperture value
Shutter speed
Metering mode (A, S, A/S AUTO)
Exposure compensation value (difference between set value and actual value)
AE Lock
Bracketing Position
Battery Checker
AF System
TTL phase-difference detection type, user-selectable focusing point (center, left, right or auto)
Detecting Device
4 CCD line sensors in a | + | shape (area indicated on the focusing screen, 10.8 x 3.6mm)
Infrared AF Sub-Beam
Activates automatically under low light, low contrast in Single (S) AF Mode
Switchable On/Off.
Range: 29.5 ft. with 80mm f/2.8 AF lens
Automatic switching to flash unit’s built-in sub-beam when Metz flash unit is attached with SCA 3952 adapter
AF Lock
Half-press on shutter release and AF Lock Button
Exposure Control Modes
Manual (M)
Flash Sync (X)
Aperture priority AE (Av)
Shutter priority AE (Tv)
Programmed AE (P) with program shift: PH and PL settings possible
Metering Method 
5-segment evaluative center-weighted average (AV) with bright point elimination
Spot (S)
Variable Ratio Auto-Shift (A-S AUTO)
Setting Steps 
Shutter speed and aperture both can be set in 1/3 or 1/2 steps
Electronic dial lock (in X, M, Av and Tv exposure modes)
Light Metering
TTL metering; center-weighted average (AV), spot (S) and auto A-S variable ration
Metering Range
EV 2 to EV 19 (with ISO 100 film, f/2.8 lens)
Exposure Compensation
+/-3 EV or +/- 5EV (1/3, 1/2 or 1 steps)
Film Speed
ISO 25 to 6400
AE Lock 
With AEL button; released by re-pressing or power switch off; light metering value differentiation in viewfinder exposure compensation display when AEL button is held down; +/-6 EV (1/3 step); shift from set to metered value in M metering mode
Shutter 
Electronically controlled vertical metal focal-plane shutter
Shutter Speeds
AE: 30 to 1/4000 sec. (1/8 step)
Manual: 30 to 1/4000 sec. (1/2 step)
X (locks shutter speed to 1/125th sec. while allowing for full control of aperture values)
B (Bulb, electronically controlled)
Automatic shutter curtain open mechanism (opens when film magazine, Polaroid holder or digital back is removed, automatically closed when re-attached)
Auto-Bracketing
Enabled with Auto-Bracketing button (2 or 3 frames selectable) , 0.3, 05, 0.7, 1EV step units selectable
Flash Synchronization 
1/125 sec. or slower, automatically sets to 1/125 when shutter speed dial is set to higher speeds (when Metz flash unit is used).  In P mode, the shutter speeds are controlled to 1/125 ~ 1/60 sec.
Flash Control
TTL direct metering, supports Metz SCA3002 system (SCA 3952 adapter required), and SCA 3000 and SCA 300 series (300 series requires both SCA 3952 and SCA 3000C converter)
Film Transport
Automatic via built-in motor, single or continuous exposures 2 frames per second (with new HM402 Roll Film Magazine).
Film Loading 
Automatic advance to first frame when shutter release button is pressed (Easy Loading)
Multiple Exposure
Enabled with Multiple Exposure Button (2 to 6 exposures or unlimited); can be cancelled. More exposures may be dialed in before exposure set is complete
Mirror-Up
Electronically-activated by Mirror-Up switch on grip
External LCD
On camera body:
Aperture value
Shutter speed value
AEL
Battery check
Programmed AE 
Programmed AE shift value
Data imprinting mode
Flash Compensation Indicator (Over/Under)
Auto-Bracketing indicator
Multiple Exposure indicator
Self-Timer indicator
On Interchangeable Film Magazine:
ISO speed
Type of film (120 or 220)
Exposure number
On Interchangeable Film Magazine:
ISO speed
Type of film (120 or 220)
Exposure number
Data Imprinting 
7 segment dot matrix
DATA mode imprints:
Exposure mode
Aperture value
Shutter speed value
Exposure compensation
Bracketing position (normal, over, under)
Metering mode
ID number
Lens Focal Length
DAY mode imprints:
Year
Month
Date
Time
ID number (switchable between enabled and disabled)
Sync Terminal
X contact (sync speed 1/125th sec. and slower)
Cable Release
On shutter button
Remote-Control
Terminal On side of body (works with remote triggering devices and electromagnetic cable releases)
Self-Timer
With shutter release mode selector 2 to 60 sec. (default setting: 10 sec., can be set in 1 sec. steps between 2 and 10 sec., and in 10 sec steps between 10 and 60 sec.)
Depth-of-Field Preview
Preview button on front of camera, aperture can be changed during DOF check
Tripod Socket
1/4 inch and 3/8 inch included
Power Requirements
6 AA batteries (alkaline-magnesium or rechargeable Nickel-metal hydride)
Size
6"(W) x 5"(H) x 7.2"(D) (153 x 128 x 184mm)
Weight
61oz. (1730g). w/o batteries / 1730g
Custom Functions
36 custom settings
Specifications are subject to change without notice.

Read more here: http://www.mamiya.com/mamiya-645zdb.html#Overview

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Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Google Labs 'Similar images' allows you to search using pictures



Google Labs have introduced 'similar Images' which allows you to search for images using pictures rather than words. With the similar images feature, most images have a link below them that lets you find other images like them. There's no need for you to refine the text of your query. Your new results will be tailored based on whatever image you select. So if you see an image you like but you're stumped on how to describe it, just click the similar images link to see "more like this."

It's great for queries with multiple meanings (jaguar), comparison shopping (hairstyles), or just browsing (New York).

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Why you should submit your photos to EyeEm

If you are in any way a serious photographer you will, at some time or other, have asked yourself "how can I make my photography pay?&q...