Friday, April 28, 2006

Brazil & Japan Sign Digital TV Standard Memo

A good move for Brazil:
Brazil moved toward adopting a high-definition TV system based on the Japanese standard, choosing it over the one used in the United States.

The foreign ministers of Brazil and Japan signed a memorandum of understanding in Tokyo on Thursday to work toward the introduction of Japan's ISDB-T standard. The U.S. standard is called ATSC.

Newsvine - Countries Sign Digital TV Standard Memo

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Danger! USB Memory Stick

Warnings over USB memory sticks

"Everyone expects a virus to come through the [e-mail] gateway," he said, "No one expects them to come in on a USB stick."
Not sure I agree with that quote but it's certainly very easy to copy data from modern PCs unless they are locked down.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Tamron SP AF 28-75mm f/2.8 XR Di LD (IF)

My first Tamron lens was the 70-300 f/4-5.6 LD. (By the by, I'm looking to sell this lens. Its in great condition - Minolta AF fit). I bought it for the trip to Brasil and there it served me well. Ironically, it was the bulk of this lens that sent me down the path of looking for a small digital camera. Which eventually led me to where I am now.

The 18-55 EF-S lens that came with the 300D when I bought it 2 years ago is decent enough. I believe it retails at around £100 - and does the job. But I've been on the look out since for a good replacement/upgrade lens that would justify the expense.

The design team at Tamronwho worked on the 28-75 must get warm fuzzy feelings all over whenever they see someone using one. It is not often that a product like this comes along. Ok so the product name may sound likely a really fast car or something, but what you get is a lens that by most if not all accounts rivals Canon's 28-70 f/2.8L. An L lens is like a Ferrari badge - or like having the latest Apple computer. The Canon 28-70L is an awesome lens. Which is why anyone who buys the Tamron offering can hold his head high. Yes, the Canon lens slighty - subjectively speaking, I do mean slightly - out performs the Tamron. But for the added advantage of weather-sealing, USM focus, FTM focus and a lovely red ring and an L you pay three times as much.

So what do all those letters mean?

XR - Extra Refractive Index Glass. Sounds interesting right? This is what the Tamron website says: "The refractive index – its ability to bend light – plays a critical role in the creation of the power and thickness of an element. Extra Refractive Index (XR) glass bends light more effectively than normal or lower refractive index glass and can therefore compensate for specific aberrations within an optical design."
Here is an excellent explanation of XR and lens coatings.
According to Tamron, XR technology allows the lens to be much smaller and lighter!

Di - This lens was specifically designed for digital and film SLR cameras. What that really means, well who knows. Looks groovy though.

LD - Low Dispersion. Essentially means that the glass is high quality and mostly does what it is supposed to do. In a lens, you really don't want light being sent all over the show.

IF - Internal Focusing. I don't know why this is in brackets. But it is really cool! It means that the focusing mechanism will not rotate the front of the lens, allowing for effective use of polarising filters. And its quite flashy too.

In Use

I've used the lens for a few Spring shots, but over the last couple of weeks it has been getting a proper workout in tough conditions taking photos of wax figures at Madame Tussauds and of my little newborn neice.

What has really struck me is how much less work is required in Photoshop. So much of the photo seems "just right" straight from the camera, which certainly was not the case with the 18-55EF-S lens. I feel confident to use all the f-stops at every level of zoom (unsurprisingly, f4 is always going to produce sharper results that f2.8). The AF is pretty fast, and the manual focus ring is chunky enough to allow easy use (the 300D viewfinder leaves much to be desired for MF work). The bokeh is very satisfying, and edge sharpness allows for more confident composition.

I'm delighted with this lens. It really is as good as the hype and amazing value, when you consider the price of the competition.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

This one is for Grandad-XP
I like the looks of the SureFire A2 Aviator. Possibly because "It is also their first light featuring a regulation circuit designed to supply constant power to the main lamp over the duration of the battery life" or possibly just because it looks cool.

Dad, you definitely need the Peak Beam Systems MaxaBeam - only $1800!

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

TV for Free! What a Novel Idea!

Disney are going to put some of their shows online for free. Wow wee! Free TV shows supported by advertising, what a novel idea! You're not allowed to skip the adverts though, oh come on! That's like locking your TV so you can't change channels during adverts. Oh well the more 'free' tv that is online the better. The next step is of course to see these programs in high quality, or even TV quality. Low quality junk is a waste of time and bandwidth.

BBC NEWS : Disney puts shows online for free

Friday, April 07, 2006

Time Warp - 1989 - Heat Wave - Off Shore Superboat Racing

What a classic game! Well at least for me anyway. Fond memories of waking up early on a Saturday morning to play this game on Dad's work PC that he'd bring home at the weekends. Heatwave is probably the best Powerboat game ever made. You could customize your boat and set it up as you need it. The graphics were pretty good for 1989 too.

Read on:
STADIUM 64 - Game Infos: Heat Wave - Off Shore Superboat Racing

On a side note these old games are a prime example of why copy protection is a farce. I have a copy of this game but the code wheel is long gone hench I don't have the codes to play the game. Shame... :-(


30 minutes ago I booted up in Windows XP . . . on a Mac!

Now there are 3 options for running Windows on a Intel Mac; emulation via Q, virtual via Parallels and dual boot via Apple. I’ve tested all three solutions and I’d say that if you’re a non gamer then the Parallels route is going to be your best option, it’s very fast and starts up (within OSX) in a few seconds.

More details . . .

The MacBook Pro is an amazingly fast Windows machine, literally booting is just a few seconds, I’ve yet to really put it to the test, that will come later this evening when I try out Battlefront 2! (^_-).

I really think this is a huge deal for Apple and the whole PC industry. Pretty much without question Apple’s Intel Macs are now the best personal computers on the planet - the only personal computers that run *ALL* operating systems at fully native speed. Apple must be very confident in 10.5 Leopard. Millions of loyal Mac users are going to be able to make a direct comparison between Leopard and Vista. One thing that it has already highlighted to me is just how bare Window XP feels, there really is nothing much to do . . . other than play games.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Apple Bootcamp Public Beta - XP on a Mac

More and more people are buying and loving Macs. To make this choice simply irresistible, Apple will include technology in the next major release of Mac OS X, Leopard, that lets you install and run the Windows XP operating system on your Mac. Called Boot Camp (for now), you can download a public beta today.

- - - -

Great News for Apple, Microsoft and most of all for Users!!

read more | digg story

Fighting Robots

How cool are these!?


Charlie found these to buy! Oh man I want one!

Monday, April 03, 2006

AllOfMP3 Launches allTunes

Mark you'll be pleased about this, the rest of us will be bemused:
TechCrunch » AllOfMP3 Launches allTunes
Quasi-legal music downloads via Russia.

Special 30th Anniversary Mac?

Apple I, now with Intel Core Duo...

'Crazy' takes UK #1 Chart Position on Downloads Alone

Surprise, surprise! The first week in which the rules on how the UK music charts are compiled changed sees a download only song hit #1. Before this week download figures could only be added to a song's sales figures if it was already physically for sale in shops. That changed this week and a song that's been getting a ton of buzz on the net, Gnarles Barkley, Crazy, goes straight in at the top spot despite not going on physical sale this week coming. Will this at last wake the record execs into seeing that online sales, distribution and advertising are the future? Surely this is the future.

BBC NEWS : 'Crazy' makes musical history

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