Category Archives: Computers

Discussion of anything computer related.

iPhone 6 Plus

I pre-ordered a 128GB iPhone 6 Plus today to replace my Motorola RAZR which I use for work. The RAZR has been lagging, freezing and generally pissing me off lately. I thought I’d try an Android phone to see what all the hype was about and am positive I will never go back to it. I’m planning on switching my personal phone (iPhone 5S) and the iPhone 6 Plus so I have the latest phone for personal use and the previous phone for work.

iPad mini

I picked up an iPad mini today from Target. They were running a sale for $100 off. Since I have an iPad Air, I don’t mind that the mini doesn’t have the retina display as it’ll mostly be used as an e-reader.

MacBook Air

I got an 11″ MacBook Air for “free” after registering for a training through work. At first I thought it would be a little too small but I kinda like the size. It only has 128GB of internal flash storage but since it’s not going to be my main computer (my Mac Mini is), it doesn’t bother me.

So far, I have been very surprised at how long the battery lasts. Apple states that it should last 9 hours but I’m so used to my work laptop going through a full charge in about two hours that nine hours feels like an eternity.

It came with Mavericks pre-installed but I’ve since “upgraded” to the public beta of OS X 10.10 “Yosemite”.

Amazon Prime

About a month ago, I decided to watch an old show, Veronica Mars, to see what the talk was about since they had recently filmed a movie version using funds from a Kickstarter campaign. I first checked Netflix but they don’t have the previous seasons. My remaining options were to either sign up for Hulu Plus or Amazon Prime so that I could get the instant video. Since Amazon Prime has the added benefit of free 2 day shipping on all purchases, I chose Amazon Prime. I wish I’d signed up when it was $79/year instead of $99/year.

Giving Lightroom Another Try

A little over a month ago, I compared Lightroom and Aperture and decided to use Aperture. ┬áSince then, I’ve been watching several videos on YouTube, which has helped me understand Lightroom a bit more, so I decided to try Lightroom one more time.
To start out, I exported the images out of Aperture to a new folder. While importing them into Lightroom, it was then that I noticed that most photos were missing the keywords I had tagged them with in Aperture. After do some research online, I learned that JPEGs and TIFFs need to have the metadata embedded in the files while RAW files would have the metadata in XMP sidecar files. After re-exporting the JPEGs and TIFFs with the metadata embedded, I re-imported those files and the keywords were there but I still lost the hierarchy I had established in Aperture. I did have to re-tag the TIFF files as there was an error when exporting them from Aperture with the metadata embedded. Luckily, the TIFF files are only family photos I scanned to preserve so that task wasn’t so bad.
I’ll continue to use them both side-by-side since I prefer Aperture’s integration into the OS and also like that there is more training, plug-ins, and presets available to Lr. Even though I’m still testing out Lightroom, I decided to sign up for the photography package from Adobe for $10/month which gets me access to Lightroom and Photoshop, as well as the new Lightroom mobile for iPad.

Aperture

After I started loading all my photos into iPhoto on my new Mac, I started looking into Lightroom and Aperture. I downloaded the trial for Lightroom but didn’t like how it was laid out. It may be because I got used to iPhoto having one catalog for all photos and I could put photos into separate projects/albums within that catalog. Lightroom seems to want each project into it’s own catalog. Because of this, I started leaning towards Aperture but Apple no longer offers a trial version. After searching online, I was able to find the last trial version available from Apple and tried to install it on my Mac but because I’m running Mavericks (OS X 10.9) it wasn’t compatible. During the install, I was forwarded to the App Store where the latest version of Aperture is offered. I was then able to download that version for free.

I’ve been using Aperture for a couple months now and if/when Apple releases v4 of Aperture, I will definitely pay for the upgrade since I’m used to the functionality of the program. The way Apple is going though, the next version may be free to everyone anyway (Mavericks was a free upgrade, iLife and iWork apps are free, etc).

eos-rebel-t3

My First DSLR

After playing around in iPhoto for the last couple weeks, and being on the fence for a few years about buying one, I decided to purchase a base level DSLR. Since I had a Canon SLR film camera (AE-1 Program) growing up, I decided to go with a Canon DSLR. I went to Canon’s website and purchased a refurbished EOS Rebel T3 kit (with 18-55mm lens) as well as a refurbished Canon 75-300mm lens for less than what a brand new EOS Rebel T3 kits would cost ($429). Unfortunately, I ordered it too late to bring it with me on a vacation we were taking to Arizona so I brought my point-and-shoot Canon A590IS to take photos. Once I get a decent camera bag and get used to taking photos with the T3, I’ll start taking that on trips instead of the A590IS.

mac-mini

New Mac

I’ve had my Windows 7 PC for four years and it was starting to get a little slow for my tastes. I decided it was time for a new computer but I don’t like Windows 8 at all. It feels too much like a phone OS put onto a PC, which is probably Microsoft’s intent so that anyone that uses the PC OS can easily transition to the Surface or a Windows phone. My father has been using a Windows XP for the last few years and only needs something to check email and surf the web. His PC was even slower than mine and would occasionally freeze up. I tried new HDDs and reinstalling XP and it wouldn’t help. I decided to buy a Mac mini since I already had a wireless keyboard, wireless mouse and a 21″ monitor; and give him my old Windows 7 PC. I’ve had a Mac before so there wasn’t much of a learning curve as there would be if I’d never touched one.
Now that I have a Mac and my wife has seen how easy they are to use, she wants to replace her three year old HP laptop with a Macbook Air because she also dislikes Windows 8.

Droid RAZR

For the past month, I’ve been using a Droid RAZR as my work cell phone. I decided to switch from the iPhone because for some stupid reason the iPhone can’t do voice and data at the same time on Verizon unless it’s on wifi. The iPhone can do both over 3G/4G on AT&T and T-Mobile. The Motorola Droid RAZR and Samsung Galaxy SIII can do both over 4G on Verizon. I would’ve upgraded to an iPhone 5 if Verizon could get their shit together.
So far, I like the phone. It took a little getting used to, considering I’ve only been using iPhones for the last four years. I like that the apps automatically update in the background without any user interaction, whereas on the iPhone, I have to tell it to update an app. I don’t like that the RAZR doesn’t give me count of the unread emails I have like the iPhone does. It would be nice looking at the icon and seeing a little bubble with the amount of unread emails. It does, however, flash a little green light letting me know I have new email. The closest thing the iPhone does is display the new email as banners on the lock screen.
Because of the security settings in my company, I can’t use the pattern to unlock method to access the phone. I’m forced to use a PIN to unlock the phone. I guess their reasoning is that someone might be able to figure out the unlock pattern by looking at the smudges on the screen.

iOS 6

I’ve been using iOS 6 on my iPhone 4S and new iPad for a little over a week now. I like that Siri can finally do more things like tell me sports scores, make dinner reservations, and launch applications. “She” still takes time, occasionally, to perform a task. I have mixed feelings about the new map application. I enjoy the new driving directions, yet I don’t appreciate having to download additional apps for traveling via public transportation. I have had limited experience with Passbook since I only have two apps that work with it – United Airlines and Walgreens. Considering it was shown during the presentation, I am very surprised Starbucks didn’t get their app updated prior to the official release of iOS 6. I was expecting Passbook to be more like CardStar or KeyRing with some added functionality but there’s no way to enter a frequent shopper/loyalty card. Everything has to be done through a separate app.
I haven’t updated my iPhone 4 which I use for work since there wouldn’t be much added capabilities and I plan on upgrading to an Android phone in a couple of weeks.