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Have your say here... Thursday 6th March - 23 May 2008
Sorry, I overslept a bit, but am back at the keyboard now. Wednesday 5 March
Time to catch up with emails and add a couple of bits to the site before starting on the HP B 8850 review. Opened the box to find it is a pre-production model - damn I have to change my tactics for this one. The heads and cartridges have already been installed, I do not have a clue what will be in the final box. So for this review I will just produce prints and generally comment on how the printer performs compared to the HP B9180. Tuesday 4 March
Flew back from Hamburg, a lot of traveling for one day so used the time to write some more scripts for our next DVD - I never stop working. Monday 3 March
I spent the day at LaserSoft Imaging. I was shown around the building and was very impressed with the knowledge shown by the employees. They knew what was expected and required from their products. They were constantly tweaking and developing new ideas, just so we will achieve better looking scans. Sunday 2 March
Flew to Hamburg today ready for a Monday meeting in a small North German town called Kiel. Has anyone ever flown from London Heathrow on a Sunday? It is the pits! I couldn't help feeling like a criminal, - stand over there and wait until you are called, now open your case and some one sees fit to rummage through my underwear and other items of clothing (good job they were clean). To top it all you are frisked by some sweaty man, at least do us males the courtesy of employing an attractive woman to do this. An annoucement is made which cuts out the Musak, sorry but flight BA xxx has been delayed on the inward journey, your flight will now start at XX.XX hours. Funny how they never say, sorry but we are late again, in the mean time please let us rip you off in the duty free shop,
I can understand the reason for high security, and of course it is our best interest that these checks are made, but I do question the value of them. I carried several electrical appliances on board in my hand luggage. A set of 4 AA batteries, these were not checked - they could have been small sticks of explosives. A pack of Spearmint gum - this could have been sticks of plastic explosives. My iPOD earphone cable could have been used for the wiring. And so forth. Full credit to the staff, they did check my toothpaste. Friday 29th Feb
It has been a very busy month, a trip to Valencia with Panasonic was very productive. They have some superb new TVs including a 150 inch plasma screen - wow! The remote control is about 2 foot long too. I will publish an item on the visit very shortly. Yesterday I took delivery of the new HP B8850 printer and will be starting an interactive review on it within the next few days. I have a short trip planned for Hamburg this weekend, just to catch up with LaserSoft. Despite the Nikon D40x being replaced with the D60, our DVD is doing very well, although I may not be doing a second print run on it. You can read current reviews here - Digital Photographer magazine, Amateur Photographer magazine Saturday 2 Feb.
I will be spending most of my time this weekend finishing off the R1900 review. I was looking forward to using our toboggan sleigh, according to the weather forecast we were supposed to have snow today, it is a bright sunny day with not a cloud in sight. Friday 1 Feb.
Opened up my new PC case, only to discover that my 16" Matrox RT.X2 card is too long. Took the case back to PC World and got a refund. Full credit where credit is due, PC World will refund or exchange goods if your not 100% happy. Unlike Comet. I purchased a TV from them last August and couldn't get a decent picture on it. In was advised that I needed a better quality indoor aerial, which I also purchased from Comet for Â£30, and still couldn't get a decent picture. I returned the kit less than 48 hours after purchasing it. Comet (Orpington branch) set it up and showed me a picture that displayed a lot of white noise. When I pointed this out and said it wasn't good enough, the manager told me it was due to their aerial and they were satisfied that it met their quality. Great marketing skills from them, sell a TV but do not have your store set up to display a decent quality picture. I said it was unacceptable and asked for a refund., which they said they couldn't do. However, they offered to send it away to be checked over. I declined this offer as I had only had the set for less than 48 hours. The bottom line is that they refunded me my money less 10% of the cost ( this amounted to Â£40). I haven't got the time to argue with small minded staff so I took the refund. Need I say that I will not make any future purchases with Comet and would strongly advise my friends to shop elsewhere. Thursday 31 January
Spent a lot of time working on the R1900 review and reviewing Corels latest Paint Shop Pro for a photo mag. My computer is sounding like a helicopter so purchased a new case, hopefully to get a better airflow. Wednesday 30 January
Was let out for the day, nice to focus the eye balls on infinity again. Visited the Broadcast Live - Video Forum show in London. Lots of exciting products on show, mainly for High Definition TV and HiDef DVD. Manufacturers seem to be throwing a lot of money in this direction, but there has been relatively very little uptake from the public. One interesting fact, if you have a LCD screen smaller than 42 inches then you are not really going to see much difference between HD and Standard Definition (SD). If you have one of the latest generation DVD players that up samples your SD DVDs to HD then you will get nearly HD quality from your current collection of DVDs. Tuesday 29 January
Worked on the Epson R1900 review and was rather puzzled as to why the colours were too cool. Decided to re calibrate my entire system and workflow. Monday 28 January
Today was a real downer, I attended the Nikon Spring launch in London and discovered that the Nikon D60 has replaced the Nikon D40x. There is no denying that the D60 is a much better camera, with many extra features. But it is not the Nikon D40x. So why is today a downer for me? I look at my stock of Nikon D40x DVDs and wonder why I spent so much time and effort producing them. Now where did I put that bottle of Gin? Friday 25 January
The first full review of 2008 "The Epson Stylus Photo R1900" gets under way today. All the product shot pictures that you see in the review are shot as we progress through the review. The process is very time consuming as I am also testing every aspect of the printer at the same time. When I first started the interactive reviews I was looking for the "Golden" printer that would liberate me from the darkroom - well i found that printer some four years ago and now we are seeing printers with cosmetic improvements and of course maintaining a very high standard of print quality. I wonder what the next four years will bring. Thursday 24 January
Attended the Canon Spring Launch in central London. I have never been to such an overcrowded press launch. Canon mixed in journalists with dealers and the trade, which was not good news. I was surprised that there weren't any new printers or scanners. The highlight of the launch was the new Canon 450D, although for me the new IXUS 801 cameras stole the show. I will publish full details on photo-i Wednesday 23 January
Spent most of today editing a new tutorial for our scanning section. As I didn't need to re3cord all the screen I just used a user defined area, no problems - so far no problem. I spent most of the day editing the screen grab movie and then rendered the 15 minute production out as a Flash movie - after 1 min 45 sec the movie was 100% done, the only snag was that only 1 min 45 sec was rendered. Yes, I too have those annoying days when nothing goes as per plan. I am now about to give up on Windows XP and am serious about buying an iMAC Tuesday 22 January
Attended the launch of Corel's new Graphics Suite - CorelDRAW X4. This looks an interesting package, I like the new feature which lets you highlight text on a web page and then it searches through a database to let you know which font has been used - I guess it may not work with fonts that have been saved as a bitmap image - I will test this software. Monday 21st January
After a quiet weekend, well not actually, I cleared out stacks of "old magazines" threw away umpteen boxes of 5x4 sheet film, 2 dozen rolls of outdated Ektachrome 120 film and backed up my image files. Whilst in a clearing up mode, I also checked the batteries in my Minolta III flash meter only to find that they had leaked - this is the second time that Duracell batteries have leaked in my gear. Perhaps you should also make it a job of the day, check the batteries in gear you haven't used for a while.
Today I have been sweating over a hot scanner, trying out the batch scan feature in SilverFast Ai. Scanning slides using the Batch to File worked a treat, Batch scanning prints directly into Photoshop caused a few problems, especially when you try to scan again, Photoshop returned a message saying "No scanner found" restarting Photoshop again fixed this, but the problem reoccurred. I will look into this. Wednesday 16th January
I attended a Samsung camera launch in Central London, unfortunately the exciting camera is under NDA (Non Disclosure Agreement) so I can't tell you anything about it, other than it looks very nice and well specified. I also took delivery of a Brother wireless ink jet printer - still have to plug it in to the mains though - so not completely wireless. Tuesday 15th January
Today was spent writing a feature for DSLR User magazine, and filming the next installment for our new scanning section. Also received information on the new HP B8850 printer - I have requested the printer for a full interactive review.
Monday 14th January
Iâ€™ve been sent a copy of StudioLine Photo Classic3 Plus for review by H&M Software. The company describes it as the â€œhigh performance image database for your digital photos with innovative editing tools and flexible design capabilitiesâ€. Iâ€™ll be taking a look at this in due course.
Dierk Haasis has sent us a detailed review on the Jobo Giga Vu Pro which I have been editing today and is online now. Itâ€™s always good to get contributions from dedicated photographers, who have invested their own money in the equipment. Reviews like this give a real hands-on approach to the product. Thanks Dierk. Saturday 12th January
Well I finally managed to get the introduction to the new scanning section on-line. It's been pretty frustrating with one problem after another. But the one thing I've been really pleased with this week is the Samsung XL20 LED monitor that is on loan (I feel an overdraft coming!). I called this in for review following inconsistencies with the colour and viewing angles on my Sony monitor - using a cheaper monitor makes a nonsense of calibration as you can observe different colours by a slight movement of your head. I will cover this topic in greater detail and will publish a full review.. Friday 11th January
At last I have managed to get the Epson V750 working again. I downloaded the latest drivers from http://www.epson.co.uk
and they work. The problem may have been using Photoshop CS3, I suspect the drivers were not 100% compatible. Always check your drivers will work with the latest version of your applications. It looks like I am going to work over the weekend to make up for two wasted days.
I am getting very frustrated with my scanners, both the Epson V750 and Canon 9950F are now refusing to work.. The problem is with my OS (Win XP), I think the best cure is to do a clean install, but as many of you will know (no doubt from experience) this will take a long time, as applications, updated drivers, plug-ins etc. all need to be re-loaded. Not to mention backing up of all my data files and emails. Can anyone recommend a good brand of aspirin? And you thought we journalists were immune from the day to day problems. Thursday 10th January
Today has been an uneventful day, I have been working on a new scanning section for photo-i, yet the Pixel gods have been against me. The Epson V750 refuses to work, even though I have installed the driver countless times. I have resorted to digging out the Canon 9950F to complete the section. Hope to publish the first video part on Friday 11th. Earlier this month
I have been having fun with a new camera from Panasonic - the Lumix FX-33. It's a great camera that I can keep in my shirt pocket - ready at all times. I love it and so does my wife - but she can't have it. Here is a shot taken with the Lumix FX-33 at Greenwich.