Cameras’ and gear, My Rants, Photography

Prosumer Digital Camera User Interface Mis-Designs

This article I will only discuss Digital (still) Cameras targeted to the prosumer market segment. Although, I must note that many later professional models are showing the same short-sighted design flaws. The flaw is the lack of a workable view finder. I will discuss as follows.

I happened to buy a Canon G7X for reason’s I will not describe here. The G7X is a nice prosumer/enthusiast Compact Digital, without a view-finder. It has a nice, on paper, LED screen to view and review images. I found that to be the major issue with the camera. If you are shooting in daylight, especially with the sun behind your back, you can’t see the screen. Even if you are not shooting in bright light, there is a lag between what the lens sees, and what the screen displays. I tried to follow a squirrel, and a few planes coming at, and across me for a landing. No good; the display was not fast enough to allow me to frame the shot.

As should mention, I bought my wife an SX-620, with no view-finder, but a big zoom; What does she use? Her iPhone.

So it seems to me that camera vendors should take a queue from my experience. Keep the display, but bring back the view-finder.

Floral, MyPhotos, Photography

Cherry Blossoms in Washington DC

I’ve been to the blossoms this past Tuesday, and last Saturday. Tuesday we went around the Tidal Basin, and I must say that the crowds were sparse, the trees in full bloom and beautiful.

I went to East Potomac Park yesterday, April 14th in order to see the Kwanzan cherry blossoms, which appear as small pink carnation, in pictures. I had an awesome (and tiring time) walking around most of East Potomac Park, but didn’t see any Kwanzan’s which are supposed to bloom about nine to twelve days behind the Yoshino’s. Yesterday, would have been about fourteen days after Yoshino Peak bloom. Unfortunately I did not find any Kwanzan’s. I did see three Kwanzan blossoms on the ground, which someone had thrown away, as I was walking to the Mandarin-Oriental, which I had parked my car. In hindsight, I should have taken a picture, but the were trodden on. Next year.

But if anyone wants to have a good time, drive and picnic at East Potomac Park. You can also fish, they tell me in high tide, and take your grill along, but I did not see any charcoal disposal stations.

Digital Magazines, eBooks and Audiobooks

Digital Rights Management

Although we can buy DRM free music, the same cannot be said for Digital magazines, many eBooks, and eMagazines. DRM continues to proliferate and get more restrictive.

For the record, I applaud an individual’s right to protect their spiritual works, and to profit by them. I will not get in to an argument about rights assingments, but simply the principal of the authors rights. 

I also believe in the right of purchase.

  • I do not rent a book, I buy it. 
  • I do not rent an LP or CD album, I buy it. 
  • I do not rent a magazine, I buy it. 
  • I do not rent a home, I buy it. 
  • As Microsoft states, I buy Office 365, even as in their evil empire tactics, they turn it off if I don’t pay every year. The mafia does something similar, I think they call it extortion. 

If I break any of these items, I repair, or buy new copies. I believe the same should be true for Digitized versions of the same items. 

If I wanted to rent, I would, and I should be held liable and pay the consequences for breaching distribution. 

Since I don’t rent, but buy, then I expect to own the package for ever, to pass it on to my inheritors/heirs, to resell, and be able to read and use that single copy as I see fit. 

And therein lies the problem. Some eMagazines have even gone the way of the web. If I want to read a magazine I own, I can only do so from a locked browser session and from their server. Doesn’t that mean I no longer own it?  If I can’t move the material from one digital storage location to another, to physically hold the media containing the works I’ve paid for, how is that ownership?

If I have a book or magazine, album, etc, I can hold the media and move it place to place. I am not necessarily reading it unless I open it and physically start reading, listening, or watching. But I have the freedom to move it, dust it, protect it, and if I take the time duplicate it in to my own medley selection an so forth. I can also sell it if I don’t want it any more. 

So how do my rights translate to DRM media?  Or worse, online, cloud media?

Is there a philosopher who can attempt an explanation?  A lawyer perhaps?

Apple Hardware

October 2016 Apple announcements

Is it just me, or is Apple reverting to gimmicks?  Touch bar so I can be a DJ and get cramps trying to jam all of my fingers on a four inch touch strip?

Let me see, who else can use it…

…I know, I could use it to replace the ribbon in Office…  Oh, I  don’t like the ribbon. 

Novel idea for sound, screen control, but not for apps.  And two of the four new models don’t have it.  I it time for Johnny to  head Special Projects?

Apple Hardware, iOS, iPads, Microsoft Hardware

Are #Apple and #Microsoft in collusion to kill the high-end #tablet?

I will refer you to My iPad Pro Wish List. This was a wish list we in the professional community had been putting together for a couple of years before I published my summary. So let’s see how I did:

My iPAD Pro Wish List:

1. I expect 14″ or so
2. QHD
3. True background processing on apps I designate
4. Remote access from my PC/Mac/BSD/Linux
5. Active stylus
6. USB 3 port capable of cow line hub
7. OSX with shell
8. Either provide better on screen keyboard options, or open it up to third parties, NOW

What Apple released in the iPAD Pro:

  1. Check
  2. Check
  3. Nada
  4. Nada
  5. Check
  6. Nada
  7. Nada
  8. Nada

While we’re at it, let’s see what Microsoft released in their Surface Pro 4:

  1. Check
  2. Check
  3. Check/Windows 10
  4. Check
  5. Check
  6. Check
  7. Check – CMD/PowerShell/Bash
  8. Nada

Microsoft appears to be the winner of the Professional Tablet.  Yes I know that MS is providing a souped up version of MS-Office for the iPAD Pro, but the Surface will run Office 365.

So does Microsoft win this race?

No, neither Microsoft, nor Apple wins.  From my perspective, and three years after the above wish list, a Professional tablet at the high end, should have 1TB storage, and 16GB’s of RAM, and be capable of running VMware Workstation or such virtualization. Today it should also have fifteen hours, true battery life.   Apple fails.  Microsoft will work, albeit not with the battery life.  At least Apple doesn’t play games with battery life, when they say ten hours, they mean ten hours of active use.

So Microsoft wins, right.  NO!!!

Both Mr. Cook and Mr. Nadella have priced both devices out of the reach of the ordinary professional.  My current laptop is an HP Envy 15 with a 3200 x 1800 touch screen, 1TB of HDD and 16GB’s of RAM, stock from HP.  I added a 512GB SSD card for less than $300.  The total package cost me about $1,300.

  • Mr. Cook would like me to buy an iPAD Pro for $2,000 that can not run a VM, nor OSX.
  • Mr. Nadella would like me to buy a Surface Pro 4 for over $2,000, with a quarter of the power of my current laptop, to the same specs.

(But here is a secret;  they both have low-end devices with very low RAM and storage, for Corporate use;  you see corporations aren’t interested in power, and the would rather you store and run your data from the cloud than locally;  just in case you thought the low end tablets were for ordinary users).

So either the success of the iPhone and iPAD has gone to their heads, and they believe the can now rip-us off big time by marking up a $100 memory module for $900.00,, or they have both decided and colluded to kill the tablet market.

Which is it?  You tell me.

Cameras’ and gear

#Canon sliding to irrelevance?

Here is feedback I sent to Canon about their prosummer line of high end Powershots:

You are quickly making yourselves irrelevant. You need a G3 X with the functionality of a G9 X, and quickly. And it should be integrally tied to my iPhone or other mobile device via Bluetooth LAN for GPS and time functions at a minimum. I would also suggest an EXIF editor app to save categories and pertinent details with the project in the camera. Include a UV filter and add other functions previously handled by lenses or filters and now provided by phone camera software. They can be extra charges.

Honestly, I’m done with lugging around bricks and backpacks. Give me something which fits in my pocket, which works in tandem with my phone, integrally, via bluetooth and apps.

iOS, iPhone, Laptops and Two-in-ones, Uncategorized

#Apple’s #TouchID implementation misguided

Whoever is guiding Apple’s TouchID implementation is severely misguiding Apple and the public who uses it. 

The idea behind biometric security is that it is infinitely more difficult to crack than a PIN or Password. Where a password or passphrase in today’s marketing techno-lingo may be composed of eight or more ASCII characters, a biometric signature may have tens of thousands of combinations. Even a 30 character password cannot compete with such a combination. Not that it can’t be broken, but it would be more difficult and time consuming. And on a device that can lock and/or wipe itself after a number of incorrect tries, it should be IRRELEVANT.

( Now let me state for the record that a PIN in and of itself, does NOT constitute a password or passphrase in my opinion. If a vendor such as Apple or other security providers allow their users to consume PINs, I would allow for dual authentication on every boot. )

I also understand the reasoning behind dual token authentication.   “I go to work and I can use dual tokens to sign in in the morning, and work all day. In a multi-tenant managed environment dual token is a great authentication method when managing different tenant infrastructures.”  

I can also think of the following industries which can benefit:

  • Nuclear plants
  • Munitions depots
  • Utility distribution grids
  • Aircraft cockpits
  • Banks

I can also understand use of the dual token as implemented by Apple in the following circumstances:

  • When booting, in a ‘motion-less‘ profile;  that means NOT while in a moving vehicle, and not during physical movement such as walking. Those are dangerous activities to be engaged in while trying to enter a passphrase. Legislatures are passing law after law to curb such activities, while Apple is actively opposing the legislation.  

If Apple wants to implement a dual authentication on boot then allow the user to set the elapsed time, say one to four weeks. 

  • Under no circumstances should dual authentication be required after a boot when using biometric authentication:
  1. Not when I’m shopping
  2. Not when I’m driving
  3. Not when I’m walking or jogging (not that I jog)
  4. And certainly not when I’m in line waiting to pay, unless the transaction is over a limit, I, the user has set

Lest anyone thinks I’m beating on Apple, I’m not. This applies to all security implementors in any company and product. 

What do you think?