Signs of bad Mac software (before you even use it)

Restart computer

I’ve been avoiding the Canon provided software suite, including the Digital Photo Professional (DPP), like a plague. I’ve seen how my friend struggled with the interface, and It always seem like a piece of unpolished software. Today I decided to install it to compare the RAW outputs with Lightroom. True enough, even before I get to use the software it already reeked of a bad Mac software.

Here are some tell tale signs of a real lousy experience to come.

  1. Requires running an installation program
  2. Installs icons in your dock without your permission
  3. Asks you to restart your computer when the installation is done

For some of the more complicated software such as Adobe suite and Microsoft Office, where some files (such as fonts) need to go into places other than your Applications folder, I think it’s understandable to have an installation program.

No reason for number 2 to happen though. With Microsoft Office you can prevent it from happening if you customised the installation option. But not with DPP. It’s just plain rude to vandalise my dock this way.

And what’s with the you-need-to-restart-your-computer thing? Hello, I just installed a RAW convertor, not updated my OS.

Film bigots II

I took issue with a bigoted and misleading write-up by a group of “elite” film photographers at Anti Lomography with my previous post.

Someone, who posted a comment under a link to, replied:

Sorry, but you missed the point. Or a lot of points, I should say. If you read past the ‘about’ page, you’d see what you’d missed.

For instance, it’s not against post processing per se. It’s about EXCESSIVE postprocessing that takes the ‘photography’ out of, well, photography. It’s about using things like extreme HDR or making people have skins like bronzed rubber vinyl.

“1 hour lab processing”? If you looked at the tags, you’d note that a good number indicate some form of developing reference. In BW. Since when did 1 hour labs run D76 or Rodinal? Would you have that where you are? Many of the photos posted there also originate from prints – some conventional bromides, some alternative prints. And of the scans, many were subjected to some form of post processing- just enough to make them look right, and restore what the machine missed. The machines and software used often don’t render things as how the photographer saw the image. Just enough to put back what was lost. Not as far as making neon sunsets or plastic skins.

But then again, you probably did not see all these, did you?

I don’t understand why people write things that they do not mean, and put it up on a page that seeks to explain their reason of being.

Nowhere in the writeup did it state that the group is only against extreme post processing. In fact, the writeup is clearly against any form of digital post-processing (and of course, everything anything else but their form of film photography).

Here are some highlights from the write-up:

“Plus, we compose and calculate our exposure with our minds and eyes before the shot is taken; not with Photoshop after the image is captured.”

“The capture of a beautiful image can be taken in just an instant, but the making of that image could be due to years of study and learning. All done without the help of Photoshop!”

“Digital is one of the best ways to learn photography but when you get sick of “post processing” buy an old film camera and discover yourself and further discover photography.”

Any clear-minded person would come to the same three conclusions based on this bigoted and clearly misleading writeup: one, film photography requires no post processing (“All done without the help of Photoshop!”); two, any form of post processing is bad; three, film photographers are superior because they don’t ever need to post process their photographs.

I’m very wary of people who loudly proclaim the superiority of one medium over another, but provide no objective evidence other than subjective claims such as their preferred medium having “emotion, feeling, depth and texture to a good film image that is just not there in a digital shot.”

The site ostensibly claims to be anti-lomography. But in reality, it really is a pro-film and anti-everything-else group.

Ironically, many of the photos found on Anti Lomography looks just like the lomographs that they claim they’re out against.

Film bigots

Over at Anti Lomography, a group of film purists are attacking what they deemed as their inferior film counterpartsólomographers who use “old film cameras that are generally of extremely poor quality and overpriced”.

They claim they aren’t anti-digital and support digital photography as one of the best ways to learn photography. But they would later add: “when you get sick of ‘post processing’, buy an old film camera and discover yourself and further discover photography.”

I can’t believe there are still people who believe that film is any more pure than digital. Any self-respecting photographerófilm or digitalówould spend time post processing their photos. Ansel Adams was not only known as a master in landscape photography, but a master in darkroom techniques.

The only reason why they would imply post processing as bad and inferior to film photography is probably because they’ve been shooting like the lomographersóletting the 1-hour labs do the developing and printing for them.

Thailand Reloaded

Back in Thailand again, a good break from all the nonsense that’s happening in Singapore.

If you’re looking for prepaid SIM for your iPhone, Blackberry and Android in Thailand, TrueMove operator offers unlimited mobile broadband over EDGE for just 250 baht (S$11). Compared with the per-minute data plan offered by most operators (AIS, dtac), this is a steal. What sense does it make for a 10-hour data plan on an iPhone that is connected every second anyway? Half a day of use?

If you’re travelling with a group of friends, TrueMove to TrueMove calls within Thailand are half a baht per minute; cheaper than the one baht per minute rate by other operators. Initial SIM Card charge is 49 baht; 50 baht (S$2) cheaper than it’s competitors.

The catch is that while other operators offer a flat rate of one baht per minute for all local calls, TrueMove rates are slightly more expensive at 1.5 baht per minute for TrueMove to other telco calls within Thailand. So if you’re expected to make a lot of local calls to people on other telcos, then the initial savings for your SIM card would quickly be offset.

But if data plan is most important to you, can’t beat the unlimited data for 250 baht on TrueMove.

Safari 4’s tabs and the Wacom tablet

John Gruber’s complaint of the new Safari 4’s tabs is right on money:

Consider: with the previous tab design, if you wanted to move a window you dragged the window, and if you wanted to move a tab, you dragged the tab. Now in Safari 4, if you want to move the window you drag a tab, and if you want to move a tab you drag the small grippy strip at the far right edge of a tab.

If you’ve used a Wacom tablet before, you’ll know that clicking with a tablet pen is never a precise thing.

With a mouse, movement of the cursor is entirely separate from clicking—you move the cursor by shifting your hand and click by pressing the mouse button. With a tablet, you need to place the pen tip onto the surface of the tablet, and lift it off the surface to trigger a click action. The problem with a tablet is that unlike the mouse button, the cursor shifts when you lift the pen off the surface of the tablet.

If you’ve never used the tablet before but have used the iPhone, this problem is similar to how the text selection caret shifts slightly as you lift your finger off.

In my experience, Apple is clearly aware of this problem, and corrects for the minute shift through the iPhone software by putting the caret back to where it was before you lifted your finger.

With the Wacom tablet, this does not happen. And since Safari 4’s tabs are now very sensitive to the dragging action, the imprecise clicking of the Wacom tablet now drags the entire Safari window instead of selecting the tab.

Very annoying. I had to revert Safari 4’s tabs back to the old style for it to be useable again with my Wacom tablet. See tip for on Lifehacker for Putting Safari 4 Beta’s Tabs back.

Ways to irritate someone without realising it

Many years ago, I read on a friend’s blog that she gets really irritated with people who asks “Are you sure?” right after she answers their question. Her problem: why bother asking in the first place if you don’t believe it?

Lately I have a problem with someone telling me “that’s not very helpful”, or worse–“that’s not helpful at all”–when you’ve actually taken time and effort to help them after they ask for it.

Sometimes we get too comfortable doing or saying things out of habit that we seldom think twice before we say something.

Familiar notes…

So it’s quite amazing to see juniors walking around, carrying a stack of familiar notes that I posted almost a year ago.

Sorry guys, no exams goodies for year 3 because I am too lazy to prepare them. Anyway, the courses this year aren’t exactly very academic as well.

Anyway, here’s an important quiz you need to score well in before you sit for your communication history exam tomorrow!

After so much preparation for the coming exam, how much do you really know about the history of communication?

1) How many finger(s) did Norbert Wiener trail on the walls on his Wiener-wegs?

a) 1
b) 2
c) 3
d) 4
e) 5

2) What is the middle name of Robert K. Merton?

a) King
b) Kenneth
c) Keith
d) Kennedy
e) Kuhn

3) What does Carl Hovland hate?

a) Rice
b) Chicken
c) Crab
d) Fish
e) Lewin

4) What did Mr and Mrs Lazarsfeld and Mr and Mrs Merton have for their first meal together?

a) Champagne and caviar
b) Sake and sashimi
c) Red wine and pasta
d) White wine and steak
e) Coffee and salad

5) How many languages did Leo Wiener speak?

a) 10
b) 20
c) 30
d) 40
e) 50

6) Who was closest to becoming a star in Hollywood?

a) Carl Hovland
b) Kurt Lewin
c) Paul Lazarsfeld
d) Robert Merton
e) Norbert Wiener

7) Who committed suicide?

a) Carl G. Jung
b) Walter Benjamin
c) Karl Marx
d) Sigmund Freud
e) C. Wright Mills

8) How many wife/wives did Paul F. Lazarsfeld has?

a) 1
b) 2
c) 3
d) 4
e) 5

9) Who walked into Claude Shannon’s lecture at Princeton to ask for directions to the gents?

a) Clark Hull
b) Paul Lazarsfeld
c) Norbert Wiener
d) Albert Einstein
e) None of the above

10) Who founded experimental psychology?

a) William Wundt
b) Wilhelm James
c) Wilhelm Stumpf
d) Only (a) and (b)
e) None of the above

Answers: a, a, d, a, d, c, b, c, d, e

Produced and compiled by Lin Junjie, With inputs from Chong Zi Liang, Liew Shi Xiong, Lim Chee Harn and Low Ting Yi.