The MiniPlayer is the best thing about iTunes 11, especially if, like me, you enjoy looking at high resolution album artwork. Here's how it works.
Do we have free will or not?Read the article - posted 2014-01-11
A long time ago Apple introduced "enhanced" podcasts. These are audio podcasts with chapters, where each chapter optionally has an image and/or a URL. It's a very nice idea, but...Read the article - posted 2014-01-15
I'm probably going to get a new Nikon digital single lens reflex (DSLR) camera. You know, those big cameras that let you attach different kinds of lenses. Even though I got a new regular point-and-shoot (P&S) camera this summer, and my iPhone also takes very nice pictures. So why another DSLR?
Yesterday, BBC 2 broadcast Sugar v Fat, a one-hour show about two identical twin doctors trying to figure out what is worse: eating a lot of sugar (well, carbohydrates in general) and almost no fat, or a lot of fat and almost no carbs.Read the article - posted 2014-01-30
Apple iPhone 5 f/2.4, 1/1232, ISO 50, 4.1 (33) mm (2014:02:04 17:19:48)
Image link - posted 2014-02-04
Apple iPhone 5 f/2.4, 1/285, ISO 50, 4.1 (33) mm (2014:02:06 13:59:31)
Image link - posted 2014-02-06
I just added a link to my Flickr feed to the list of links at the top of most pages.Permalink - posted 2014-02-07
A couple of days ago, I posted this picture:
Turns out, this railroad bridge from the 1920s across the Meuse river in Rotterdam has its own documentary film: De brug (Wikipedia link) or The Bridge, by Joris Ivens, 1928.Read the article - posted 2014-02-09
NIKON D7100 f/8, 15/1, ISO 100, 70 (105) mm (2014:02:19 18:41:02)
Image link - posted 2014-02-19
NIKON D7100 f/2, 1/30, ISO 1600, 35 (52) mm (2014:02:17 19:48:39)
Image link - posted 2014-02-21
This is a post about the aspects of DSLRs in general and the Nikon D7100 in particular that those of you who haven't used a modern digital single lens reflex camera may not know about.
Read the article - posted 2014-02-22
My new Nikon D7100 has a 24 megapixel sensor. I shot some test photos at 24, 13.5 and 6 megapixels with low, medium and high compression to see what the tradeoff between image quality and file size is. Have a look at the results.Read the article - posted 2014-02-23
I originally planned to get a D3200 or a D3300, which are part of Nikon's entry level DSLR lines. But I couldn't resist the extra features that are part of the more advanced D7100. One of those features is that you can use very old lenses that don't have a built-in CPU. So with a small adapter ring, I was even able to mount my 35-year-old (give or take a few years) Pentacon 135/2.8 135 mm f/2.8 lens, also known as the "bokeh monster".
Read the article - posted 2014-02-24
As you may know by now, there's an oil rig 12 km off the coast of The Hague. 12 kilometers is pretty far away, so it's not easy to photograph. Even with a long zoom lens it shows up pretty tiny:
Read the article - posted 2014-03-02
I have an old Philips 31CT "computer flash". No, it has nothing to do with computer memory—it's a flash unit that sits on top of your camera. And although calling it a computer grossly overstates matters, but it has a small amount of automation built in that allows the flash to measure the amount of light returning from the scene that's being illuminated, and actually stop flashing mid-flash once a proper exposure has been accomplished.Read the article - posted 2014-03-05
After yesterday's experimentation with my old "computer" flash unit, someone on the dpreviews forums suggested that maybe I was getting bad exposures because the flash was a bit too slow for the D7100's 1/250 sync speed. So I set up a little still life to take some more test shots.Read the article - posted 2014-03-05
When Nikon announced the D3300 camera along with a new version of the 18-55 mm entry-level kit zoom lens, I got somewhat excited. One of the things that I don't like about DSLRs is that they're so big and heavy. So having an even smaller and lighter version of Nikon's already smallest and lightest zoom lens really appealed to me.
Read the article - posted 2014-03-08
NIKON D7100 f/3.8, 1/250, ISO 100, 20 (30) mm (2014:03:08 09:11:50)
Image link - posted 2014-03-10
Great TEDxTalk video. As expected, what's sold as the "paleo diet" today has very little to do with how paleolithic people actually ate.
Also, it's important to remember that even with all the issues we have today, we still live longer than any previous generation, so how does it make sense to start eating like people who all died much younger than we do today? Not to mention that it's probably impossible and certainly not a good idea for our environment for 7 billion humans to eat enormous amounts of meat.
Read the article - posted 2014-03-14
Earlier, I posted a video filmed with my Nikon D7100 DSLR.
The video came out pretty good, although it's rather boring and I really should be even more careful making sure m tripod is level. However, the D7100 is pretty useless for video.Read the article - posted 2014-03-19
I just love this story on Ars Technica by Megan Geuss: Wikipedia founder calls alt-medicine practitioners “lunatic charlatans”.Read the article - posted 2014-03-26
I've been reading up on nutrition the past year and a lot of the articles and videos you find online espouse the notion that natural is good and processed is bad. This article in The Atlantic by David Freedman from almost a year ago makes a compelling case that it's the (fast) food industry that could help give us healthier food with more high tech food engineering rather than less.
Read the article - posted 2014-04-16
Reading Bruce Schneier's blogpost on the heartbleed bug:
I'm hearing that the CAs are completely clogged, trying to reissue so many new certificates. And I'm not sure we have anything close to the infrastructure necessary to revoke half a million certificates.
Wouldn't it make sense to simply invalidate update SSL implementations to reject all certificates that predate the discovery of the heartbleed vulnerability? Even if all the the potentially compromised certs are added to revocation lists, most clients don't check for revoked certificates, leaving a huge opportunity for man-in-the-middle attacks using the compromised certificates.Permalink - posted 2014-04-18
The video is 2 minutes long.
Read the article - posted 2014-04-30
The other day I had a discussion about whether to use the "standard" sRGB color space or a larger color space for my digital photos.
Read the article - posted 2014-05-04
If you have any interest at all in using older Nikon lenses, you probably have some understanding of the difference between non-AI, AI, AI-S, AF and AF-S lenses. The trouble is that places on the web that explain the differences easily get lost in the details. This article is intended to serve as a slightly easier to digest version of the story.Read the article - posted 2014-05-08
I started taking photos in the 1980s. I still have a bunch of black-and-white negatives that I developed myself, but never got them printed. In addition to that, I have color photos with their negatives and slides. The past years, I've been looking for a way to digitize all of these. The number of photos isn't huge, maybe a few hundred, but having a service do it at 50 cents or so quickly adds up. Turns out that some flatbed scanners have a transparency attachment so you can scan negatives and slides. The Epson Perfection V370 Photo scanner has a transparency mode built in. It gets pretty good reviews and only costs about € 80 or $100. So I got one.Read the article - posted 2014-05-17
In order to sync an iPhone running iOS 7 with your Mac you need to run iTunes 11.1. The combination of MacOS 10.9, iTunes 11.1 and iOS 7 will no longer sync calendars and contacts between a Mac and an iOS device directly over USB or Wi-Fi: the only way to do this is using iCloud or other CalDAV and CardDAV servers.Read the article - posted 2014-05-20
Good piece on the misguided efforts to get adults to wear helmets when riding a bicycle.
Here in Holland adults on regular bikes (as opposed to racing bikes) virtually never wear helmets. I've never heard of anyone falling off of their bikes on their heads.
I've cycled 8000 km last year myself, and I can think of very many things that would make the roads safer for cycling, the first of which would be to, you know, look at the traffic around you. Helmets would be very far down the list.
I got some flack for always listening to podcasts or music when cycling, but I don't think that's a problem. I keep the volume low enough that I can still hear car horns and I'm very careful about looking in all directions, including behind me, which many cyclists don't. I had two minor collisions the past year, in both cases because another cyclist turned left unexpectedly as I was passing them.
Read the article - posted 2014-05-20
NIKON D7100 f/8, 1/60, ISO 100, 10 (15) mm (2014:05:22 19:16:06)
Image link - posted 2014-05-22
NIKON D7100 f/5.6, 1/160, ISO 450, 105 (157) mm (2014:05:24 18:31:07)
Image link - posted 2014-05-24
NIKON D7100 f/8, 1/400, ISO 800, 300 (450) mm (2014:06:05 21:54:13)
Image link - posted 2014-06-05
Long text version of Maciej Cegłowski's talk, but trust me, you need to read the whole thing, and not just for the cute animal photos.
Read the article - posted 2014-06-10
Since I got back in the SLR game, I got some additional second hand cameras and lenses. As a result, I'm now the owner of no fewer than five 50 mm lenses. (Well, four 50 mm and one 55 mm.) So I decided to compare them. First an overview, then some testing!
Read the article - posted 2014-06-17
Earlier this week I got myself a Nikon F65 camera. The F65 is a single lens reflex 35 mm film camera that Nikon sold from 2001 to around 2005. You can get these second hand for next to nothing these days...Read the article - posted 2014-06-19
Yesterday was Architecture Day (Dag van de Architectuur) in The Netherlands. One of the activities for DvdA The Hague was tours of several bunkers in the dunes that were part of the Atlantikwall during WOII, organized by the Atlantikwall Museum Scheveningen.
Last week, I wrote a review of the Nikon F65 camera. Although the F65 is more than a decade old, it supports most of the photographic automation that we're used to with our digital cameras. The F65 left me wanting to go even further back in time, so this week I'm going to explore manual focus photography with a Nikon FE SLR and Nikon AI and AIS lenses on my current Nikon D7100 digital camera.
Apple iPhone 5 f/2.4, 1/15, ISO 2500, 4.1 (66) mm (2014:07:05 02:13:03)
Image link - posted 2014-07-05
NIKON D7100 f/5.6, 1/125, ISO 250, 80 (120) mm (2014:07:09 10:49:23)
Image link - posted 2014-07-09
NIKON D7100 f/7.1, 1/320, ISO 140, 48 (72) mm (2014:07:12 10:21:18)
Image link - posted 2014-07-12
I've been experimenting with shooting film a bit recently, which gives me that nice retro feel. And nothing is more retro than shooting black-and-white film. So let's compare the results to the black-and-white images current cameras produce.
In addition to using some classic Ilford HP5 film (well, Ilford HP5 Plus these days), which is very similar to Kodak Tri-X, I also wanted to try out some chromogenic film. Chromogenic film is black-and-white film that is developed using the same C41 process that is used to develop regular color negatives, so you can have it processed pretty much anywhere.
Read the article - posted 2014-07-13
I've been doing a lot of reading and Youtube watching about nutrition the past year or so. So I've seen all the scary numbers about the increasing obesity levels in the United States (and elsewhere) numerous times¹, and seen all the speculation about the reason why Western populations started getting so much heavier the past decades.Read the article - posted 2014-07-29
The short version is that essentially anything you've backed up to or stored on iCloud is available for Apple to fork over to law enforcement, including connection logs and IP addresses you've used. Apple has access to 60 days of iCloud mail logs that "include records of incoming and outgoing communications such as time, date, sender e-mail addresses, and recipient e-mail addresses"; any e-mail messages that the user has not deleted; and any other information that can be backed up to iCloud. As of this writing, this list includes contacts, calendars, browser bookmarks, Photo Stream photos, anything that uses the "documents and data" feature (which can include not just word processors but also photo and video apps, games, and data from other applications), and full device backups.
Read the article - posted 2014-07-31
Read the article - posted 2014-08-09
It looks like the introduction of the iPhone 6 is only a few weeks away. And if the rumors are to be believed, it's going to be bigger than the iPhone 5/5S/5C. People talk about 4.7 inches vs 4 inches for the iPhone 5 family, which I'll take as 12 cm vs 10 cm—a 20% increase.
But what about the screen resolution? 1136 x 640, 1364 x 768, 1280 x 720 or 1920 x 1080? ...Read the article - posted 2014-08-21
Tonight is the third night of the Scheveningen International Fireworks Festival! Hopefully the rain will be done by then. Photographing fireworks remains tricky business, though.
That was fast. No sooner had I complained about my iPhone 5 battery:
When I got my iPhone 5, I did a bunch of battery tests, and at that point, the battery life was pretty much identical to that of my iPhone 4, which was two years old by then. However, pretty soon I started having issues where the phone would shut down if I tried to do too much at the same time if the battery was below 50%, especially in cold weather. (Taking a photo would typically do it, as that fires up the GPS which in turn causes cellular data traffic.) It took me a while to figure out that five minutes later, I could turn the phone back on. These days, I have to be very careful with the way I use my iPhone in order to make it last through the day on a single charge.
...or Apple announces the iPhone 5 Battery Replacement Program!Read the article - posted 2014-08-23
Many people's first take on the iPad was that "it's just a big iPod touch". And so it is, really. But sentiments changed quickly as sales numbers skyrocketed: the king (the computer) is dead, long live the new king (the iPad). But then iPad sales numbers went down for two consecutive quarters. While Mac sales were up.
There are of course many possible explanations: iPads aren't upgraded biennially like phones, but rather every three years or longer. Apple's prices are too high. Competition from cheap Android tablets.
Software on the iPad doesn't seem to do very well, either, which has its own issues, but I think the real reason for lack of both hard- and software sales is that the iPad simply isn't as useful to as many people as industry watchers thought...Read the article - posted 2014-08-25
Have you ever noticed how the iPad has strange screen sizes? 9.7 and 7.9 inches. The same for the rumored new iPhone sizes: 4.7 and 5.5 inches. Turns out some of these screen sizes are nice, round numbers... in the metric system.Read the article - posted 2014-08-26
After six years of using one, it's not often that I stumble upon an iPhone trick I didn't know before. But here's one. When looking at the lock screen when audio is playing, press the home button and the audio controls are replaced with the large clock that the lock screen normally shows when no audio is playing.Read the article - posted 2014-08-27
Yesterday I posted this to Twitter:
Kicking it old school while my iPhone 5 is undergoing battery surgery.
And then this morning I saw Andy Ihnatko had a video based on a similar photo...Read the article - posted 2014-09-02
There's nothing new tablets can offer existing owners.
Op-ed by Peter Bright on Ars Technica on why tablets aren't selling like they used to. Couldn't have said it better myself.
Read the article - posted 2014-09-04
NFC is an amazing technology. Mark my words: it's going to be huge. Whether Apple adopts it next week or not. The reason: it ties together the physical world with the networked world. When scanning for Wi-Fi networks or bluetooth devices, it's really hard to know which names on your screen map to which devices in the real world. So Wi-Fi requires typing long and complex network passwords and bluetooth uses an annoying pairing procedure. NFC, on the other hand, really is plug and play. Without the "plug" part.Read the article - posted 2014-09-07
Here's my predictions regarding tomorrow's expected iWatch announcement. I wrote this article nearly two years ago, but I feel it holds up just fine.
I even mention NFC. Having NFC in a watch or wrist strap would be very convenient when it comes to making contact with a reader, but unlike iPhones, I don't think an iWatch would have a fingerprint sensor, as there's no room to put one on the device. Well, on the strap maybe. And the fingerprint scanner is what would make NFC payments so much better than current payment systems.
Read the article - posted 2014-09-08
The Casio F-91W is a great watch. It's cheap (I paid 15 euros) and simple. It weighs 22 grams. The best thing? The battery life is seven years. Casio started making them in 1991, and they're still selling in good numbers, according to this somewhat incredulous story over at the BBC.
I do have to admit one of the reasons I got the F91W is to see if I could get used to wearing a watch again in anticipation of the Apple Watch.Permalink - posted 2014-09-11
Eye-opening TED talk (19 minutes) by Hans Rosling and Ola Rosling. We may think the world is on fire, but in reality things have never been better. Don't be a Swede and stop being ignorant about the world we live in.
Read the article - posted 2014-09-14
I've pretty much decided to skip the iPhone 6 and stick with my iPhone 5 for another year. One of the new features in the iPhone 5 two years ago was LTE or 4G. But sadly, even though I kept my eye open for it when roaming internationally, I've never seen "4G" in the status bar of my iPhone 5.
After the Netherlands implemented net neutrality in 2012, prices for mobile data went up a lot, but I'm grandfathered into a cheap unlimited plan from KPN that I'd have to give up to get LTE. Also, KPN uses LTE frequencies that the iPhone 5 doesn't support, so I'd have to switch carriers.
So what I did instead was get a prepaid SIM from Vodafone NL...Read the article - posted 2014-09-14
I was thinking about v1.0 issues with the upcoming Watch (sorry, Apple Watch) myself. On the one hand it would be cool to have the very first instance of a new product category (from Apple). On the other hand, if you wat for the first or second refresh, you usually get something much better. Reading this Ars Technica article it's actually kind of scary how limited 1.0 versions of the iPod, MacBook Air, iPhone and iPad really were.
Food for thought.
Read the article - posted 2014-09-16
No EXIF data available.
Image link - posted 2014-09-16
In iOS 7, lots of stuff turned white. Such as the Music application, which you use to play music. That's unfortunate, because the album art embedded in songs looks much better on a black background than it does surrounded by white. However, the lock screen, which also shows album art if music is playing, is still dark.
The problem here is that for non-square album art, the image is made square by "letterboxing" it with white borders on the sides or the top and bottom—a real eyesore (As far as I've been able to tell, art work for music on the iTunes store is always square and actual (vinyl) album art is also square. However, CD boxes aren't quite square.) Fortunately, we only had to suffer this indignity for a year, as the iOS 8 update released last week fixes this.Read the article - posted 2014-09-21
So next month American iPhone 6 and 6+ users can start paying wirelessly. That's pretty cool. However, in many parts of the world you don't need to buy an expensive new phone to get that ability. Let me explain how all of this works here in the Netherlands.
One more reason to dislike all the whiteness in Apple's recent versions of their operating systems.
I do like that the night mode in the iOS 8 iBooks can now come on automatically in low light. I remember Marco Arment talking about how developers didn't have access to the light sensor to make this happen. I hope that's changed.
Read the article - posted 2014-09-25
I've been pretty happy with the redesign of this website that I did last year. It's clean but still has some character. I kept the width of the text to 540 pixels because long lines are hard to read, and the text size is a bit larger than average. Still, on the iPhone the site looks tiny...Read the article - posted 2014-10-01
Apple iPhone 5 f/2.4, 1/786, ISO 50, 4.1 (33) mm (2014:10:02 17:58:45)
Image link - posted 2014-10-02
Almost two years ago, I speculated about what an iWatch might be like. So let's see how well I did. And then speculate some more about the things we still don't know.Read the article - posted 2014-10-07
With the impending arrival of the Apple Watch, it's time to start looking for some new bluetooth headphones/earbuds...
If you have more than on Mac, it can be very useful to mount another system's drives or share another system's screen. Obviously you have to provide a username and a password for this, or the entire internet would be able to get at your Mac once you enable these services in the Sharing pane of the System Preferences.
A few years ago, a new way to log in to another Mac appeared: with your Apple ID...Read the article - posted 2014-10-20
With all this bluetooth audio going on, I wondered: how much power does playing back audio over bluetooth use? So I tested this. The tests then snowballed as I got curious about audio over Wi-Fi, or having bluetooth and/or Wi-Fi on when the phone is idle. All the tests were done on an iPhone 5 with a freshly replaced battery under iOS 7.Read the article - posted 2014-10-21
Apple iPhone 5 f/2.4, 1/20, ISO 160, 4.1 (33) mm (2014:10:26 17:47:15)
Image link - posted 2014-10-26
My latest story on Ars Technica, where I look at the networking technologies that power Continuity:
If you have the latest Mac and the latest iPhone or iPad running Apple's latest OSes, and if you have Wi-Fi and Bluetooth turned on, the new Continuity features work like magic. What powers that magic? A wide range of network options, including Bluetooth Low Energy (BTLE), peer-to-peer Wi-Fi, regular local networking, and iCloud/iMessage. Each aspect of Continuity actually picks and chooses from these connectivity options, sometimes using more than one.
Read the article - posted 2014-11-03
My Ars Technica review of iWork'14, even though Apple no longer uses that name for Keynote, Pages and Numbers.
The first one I did was iWork'08 back in 2007. Almost year and a half later it was time for iWork'09 and then last year there was iWork'13. I wasn't entirely happy with any of them. I guess some things don't change.
Read the article - posted 2014-11-28
Jean-Louis Gassée over at Monday Note has an interesting article talking about how cameras used to last for decades back in the analog days, while they're obsolete within a year or two now that they're digital. And how the same thing is about to happen to the watch: an old mechanical watch will keep doing its thing for decades (I'm assuming some upkeep here), but not so much for an Apple Watch:
There’s no carrier subsidy for the AppleWatch. That could be a problem when Moore’s Law makes the $5K high-end model obsolete.
I'm not so sure Moore's Law is going to make the Apple Watch obsolete within just a few years.Read the article - posted 2014-12-08
I got myself an iPhone 6 last month. Because it has a larger battery than previous iPhones but the iPhone chargers have remained the same since the iPhone 3G days, I was a bit worried about how long it takes to charge the iPhone 6...Read the article - posted 2014-12-16
Apple iPhone 6 f/2.2, 1/30, ISO 200, 4.2 (29) mm (2014:12:17 16:33:34)
Image link - posted 2014-12-17
I wasn't even sure I was going to get the new iPhone this year, even though I've been upgrading iPhones every other year until now. I liked the long battery life of the iPhone 6+ as well as the 1920x1080 screen—until it turned out that Apple uses some weird scaling tricks rather than the native resolution. And I wasn't sure I could handle the size and weight of the 6+. The 6, on the other hand, didn't seem to come with any must-have features. And maybe it's silly, but the notion of having to replace my iPhone 5 cases and its dock also made upgrading significantly less appealing.
But then the sleep/wake button of my iPhone 5 started to act up, and after the earlier battery replacement, I started to doubt whether I'd get another year of good use out of it. So I got the
black space gray 64 GB iPhone 6.
The Interview is now available on Youtube.
But of course doing the right thing for free speech, not letting the terrorists win, all that good stuff, takes a back seat to the need to parcel out content piecemeal region-wise:
Permalink - posted 2014-12-26
Although it has a number of limitations, the iPhone 6 camera can take really nice photos.