Friday, September 21, 2018

iOS 12 on my iPhone 8 now

I am generally the voice of caution.  I have had too many experiences when incompatibilities hurt my productivity when doing operating system upgrades/updates.

Why would I jump to iOS 12 so soon?  It seemed that it was truly past the beta test stage, unlike previous releases.  Also, Apple plays a guessing game with device security.  You can never tell how dangerous your situation is.  I have upgraded to the latest major release in the past because there were so many security fixes.

I felt that way today and certain articles I've read recently suggest that iOS 12 is more likely to protect me, broken or not.

1.35 GB seems a crazy load for a handheld device but it has become more common to exceed 1 GB with updates and upgrades.  Games are especially heavy on storage.  2018's operating systems are hardly the machine language monitors that needed to fit into 8 KB of RAM in the late 1970s.  What could fit into a well-ventilated room now fits into your hand, except for the keyboard and keypunch.

First off, shutting down and starting are very, very quick to happen.

Usually, there is the wheel, barely visible, churning until the system shuts down.  I didn't even see it--the system was just finished.  I held the power button and it was ready for my PIN very soon after that.

Backing up the updated phone is taking quite a long time.

Everything seems a bit more responsive and some things are extremely responsive.  I'm not sure if they changed the game interfaces' performance but games feel more fluid now.  Text scrolling seems smoother than warm butter.

Obviously, an iPhone 8 shouldn't have any issues because it was new only 1 year ago.  Still, the operating system's latency made the experience seem to lag.  I hope that this is not a temporary speed-up that will be crushed by bug fixes.  Mac OS X was really awful from Public Beta and got better with each release.  At 10.4.11, it seemed the best it could be, and Leopard was uncomfortably buggy and slow.  Things never seemed to improve, which may be why I'm on Windows 10 now.

iOS 12 gives me hope, as does WatchOS 5.

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Photographed the wedding, explained the process

As weird as it may seem, I was pushed into photographing a wedding.  Sports photographers rarely would do something this because it doesn't fit into their thinking.  Besides that, people at weddings yell.

I went to the wedding, photographing everything from the bride and her group handling make up and hair to the ceremony, the crappy cake (not the fancy cake) for shoving/shoveling, and photos with each and every person at the wedding.  The reception was conveniently held at the same spot as the wedding and the onlookers didn't even have to change seats.

Monday arrived and the mother of the bride asked me for something and the card.  I brought the something and the invitation card that she gave me.  She said "No, no--where is the card with the photos?"  I said "It doesn't work like that."  They probably thought that they were going to Walmart to print everything.  They had money to hire two people to make tacos with crappy meat, but not a wedding photographer?  My poor relatives served mixed nuts and mints at the reception.  We went to a restaurant to eat.

At some point during our discussion (or was it a disgustion?), she understood how film photographers made a set of proofs to show the couple what was available.  I told her that I would attempt to find important photos and send them in Instagram-sized files for their viewing but with quick-and-dirty editing.  She said that the couple of things I sent were wonderful, so I guess I don't have to be a perfectionist to please them.

I'm guessing that they won't be patient enough for me to finish.  They probably won't think it's worth much after it's done.  They probably won't like any restrictions or want to pay anything more than the US$40 that the mother has already paid me.

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

iPhone Xs, Xs Max, Xr: glad for my iPhone 8

I've seen bits and pieces of the presentation today and, for me, the worst has happened.  Apple no longer has any small(ish) phones.  With a 6.1 inch display, the smallest iPhone is huge.  That might satisfy a number of people, especially if it's inexpensive.

I'm glad to have my iPhone 8, although I could have held onto my iPhone 7 much longer, had I not broken it (and Apple kept me from having it repaired).

At a little over $27 per month for the 256 GB model, it's just fine.  I have loads of apps and several movies and I'm only using about half the space.  My iPhone 7 had 128 GB, so it would be full at this point.  What I don't have is all of my music, since iTunes does not create a backup of music.

While the new devices are impressive and the new processor has just about everything you could want, they have excluded people with smaller pockets, both literally and figuratively.  A 4.7 inch model would be useful to many of us.  I'm glad to have the iPhone 8, since it is recent and it is powerful enough to keep going for a while.

Sunday, September 9, 2018

Amazon delivers on Sunday

Due to my anticipated photographing a wedding, I've needed various supplies to make things go more smoothly.

The other day, one of my Panasonic GH4 batteries (DMW-BLF19) was unresponsive.  It seemed to be okay after a couple of minutes on the charger, and didn't seem to need a charge but needed a swift kick in the pants to become operational.  I got one extra battery when I bought the GH3 in 2012, so maybe this was the same battery.  At 1860 mAh, they have a lot of capacity and the GH4 is good about using as little as possible.  In contrast, the GM5 batteries have around 600 mAh capacity and are empty rather quickly.

In any case, I decided to order a battery on Friday.  Unfortunately, Rosh Hashanah (Jewish New Year) is a holiday that affects Adorama and B&H Photo, being that they're both in New York City with Jewish staff.  Buying a battery that would arrive after the wedding didn't seem intelligent, so I looked at Amazon.com, even though they have trouble with fakes.

I found what looked like the original equipment Panasonic battery and at $59.99, I ordered it.  The only shipping that made sense was Free Shipping.  The item would arrive Thursday or Friday, just prior to the wedding.  Since it didn't cost anything extra, I would only pay state tax and the price of the item.

I didn't see any updates until Saturday evening and they mentioned that it would arrive Sunday before 9pm.  They deliver on Sunday?

I started receiving notifications earlier in the morning before I was awake.  Later, I was able to find the location of the driver through the Amazon app on my phone.


It's quite surprising that they've put so much thought into making certain you know what they know.

Thursday, August 23, 2018

Nikon Cannonballed into the Mirrorless Pool

The Nikon Z6 and Z7 are the most important Nikon bodies of this decade.

After loads of experimentation, Nikon have finally jumped into the pool enthusiastically.  The CX mount was cute but there was never a chance for it to succeed in a big way, any more than Pentax' Q-series of mirrorless miniature bodies.

There is one, huge problem with this system--the lens interface is a secret.  If Nikon wanted to be extremely successful, they would have already published the interface, so that Sigma, Tokina, and Tamron would have lenses available.

There are a number of companies with experience interfacing with mirrorless bodies and that knowledge could provide a number of good, maybe great, lenses more quickly than Nikon could provide them.

Currently, the 3 lenses available show me that Nikon is concerned with enthusiasts, not professionals.  Sure, you can buy the FTZ adapter but an f/4.0 zoom lens and two f/1.8 fixed focal length lenses leave a lot of room for improvement.

What I've read so far leaves me with the impression that dSLR users aren't going to just pick up these bodies and start shooting.  Welcome to the mirrorless club!

I adapted my techniques from shooting sports with a dSLR to mirrorless bodies and I have even switched back and forth, having one of each with me.  People should always adapt, but many will waste their efforts on complaints.  It may not be easy, but it is possible to change.

Even with phase detection AF points, they may want to leave the focus lock a bit loose and lock from time to time while following the action.  Tracking on mirrorless bodies has improved but it's far from perfect.

I'm waiting to see who buys equipment.  I will likely be amused by the Sony fanatics claiming victory.  Considering how the A7 was, claiming victory might be premature.  The D850 has shown that Nikon can put together equipment that excels.  Once they understand how things should work and what they're doing, I suspect Sony will be looking for ways to improve.

Update: Canon did something also.  ;)  It wasn't as interesting.  FujiFilm's X-T3 is more interesting to me than Canon's EOS R, but Nikon's Z6 and Z7 with the new mount have my attention.

Next week, September 25th, we'll find out whether Panasonic has a 135 Format hybrid camera system or not.  If so, will it be a good thing?  I can't imagine them doing this without a partner.  It's supposedly not Olympus nor Leica.  Would Pentax be interested?

Saturday, August 18, 2018

Photographing a Wedding: Preparing for the Worst

Photographing a wedding seems the worst I could handle.  Most of the people are people I likely don't know.  If the daughters are anything like their mother, it could be very emotional.

How do you photograph the wedding of two people who already have four children?  Life has changed a great deal over time.  I remember my uncle saying "Are you playing 'So Happy Together'?" because my cousin and his fiancee had already been living together.

I bought a Joby (the Gorillapod people) Pro Sling Strap.  It's a brilliant, complicated strap that hooks into your tripod socket.  I probably should have bought the extra piece to allow it to be used more easily with a tripod.  It wasn't cheap, but it was discounted quite a lot, so it seemed a good choice from a reliable brand.

Other than that, I believe I need another (at least, one) SD Card that can record video and write photos at high speed.  I have two camera bodies (Panasonic GH4. GM5), both of which do HD video.  I could record 4K video but that's a bit much.  No one wants to see their flaws that much.

I was thinking about using the small camera behind the altar or whatever home-made setup they're using, to record the bride's walk down the aisle.  I can have someone start and stop it remotely, using a phone--if they remember.

Otherwise, I've got a slightly wide (15mm f/1.7) angle lens, plus zoom (12-35mm f/2.8) lens for the wedding party shots and reception shots.  I've got a portrait length (42.5mm f/1.7) lens for closer shots, plus a zoom (35-100mm f/2.8) lens for the vows.  I've also got a fisheye Olympus 8mm f/1.8) lens that works in lower light situations, if things get weird.

I need to figure out something neutral to wear since I don't have many clothes these days.

Update 2018.09.08: Got the strap, an SD Card (SanDisk Extreme, up to 90 MB/sec), a light gray, short-sleeved shirt, and I've ordered another GH4 battery.  I'm still feeling more than a bit of anxiety but whatever.

Thursday, August 2, 2018

Apple's Worth on Paper Hits $1 Trillion

Today, more financial history was made.  Apple surpassed the One Trillion U.S. Dollar mark in value--the highest of any company in known history on this planet.

That's not to say that it is actually worth that, but that's quite a feat.  They previously made the history books by being worth more than Exxon-Mobil, a fuel company.

It makes me feel a bit silly that I didn't put my US$2500 into Apple stock at $13.5 per share in 1995, instead of buying a computer.  I could have had numerous computers by now, although I had, but for leftovers from a periodic sale of the stock.

Update: Amazon is likely the second to achieve such a status.  If that happens, will Alexa laugh at most requests again?

What happened with all those old companies, such as General Electric?