Wednesday, 25 June 2008

Test 700

Tuesday, 24 June 2008

Monday, 31 March 2008

Testing new layout for bigger pics

Tweaking the layout to make use of bigger screen resolutions and i need to test picture posting so heres a pic of the sexy macbook air.

Hmmm, so the pics are still limited to the original size, I wonder if thats in the template or the upload service, quick test with a link in image.

Monday, 4 June 2007

eFilm Express Card

After a few days of having my Mac Book I found a cute little flap on the left hand side that I didnt have a clue what it was for. A quick bit of research later and I found out it was in fact an Express Card 34 port, I guess similair to the PCMCIA card slots that you get on most laptops but a little smaller in size. Not having a particular use for this slot at the time I filed the new found knowledge away and promptly forgot all about it.

Fast forward several weeks and I am at a wedding during the sit down for the wedding breakfast uploading the photos to my Mac Book. Ive got my USB card reader and my mighty mouse plugged in and realise I need to plug my little Selphy CP720 Printer in to fire off a couple of snaps for the bride and groom to take away on honeymoon which means because the Mac Book only has 2 USB ports that I have to unplug my mouse which is a tad annoying as I find it faster to use that than I do the inbuilt mousepad but nothing I can do about it at the time so I just get on with it.

Later that week I am reviewing the happenings of the wedding day and remember the annoyance at having to unplug the mouse so I start thinking about the option of using one of the Firewire ports for the card reader.

I dont have a Firefire card reader so that would mean buying something new and its at that point that I remember the Express Card 34 port and start wondering if theres something I can get for that to do the job.

A few searches later and I find the eFilm Express Card that sounds like just the job, plenty fast enough and although it protrudes from the Mac Book a little bit its still possible to leave it in there all the time which is a bonus as its one less thing to remember to take with me to wedding shoots! Just make sure that when you pack your mac into a bag its resting on one of the three sides that dont have the express card sticking out.

UK people can get them HERE from Warehouse Express

USA and Worldwide people can get them HERE from Amazon

For further technical details and support visit the Delkin Website HERE

Ive done some quick tests with the card on my Mac Book and been very impressed with how it performs. In truth I didn't expect it to perform any better than my USB 2 card reader as supposedly its the speed of the Compact Flash Card that should limit how fast you can copy data from the card to the laptop as both the eFilm Express Card and my USB 2 card reader should run quicker than the Compact Flash Card, the reality seems quite different though.

Whether its because USB 2 has more CPU overhead or that the eFilm Card connects into the motherboard in a better way I dont know but whatever the reasons may be in my quick tests so far the eFilm Card copied 500mb of data from the CF card to the Mac Book in 40 seconds compared to the USB 2 card reader that did it in 60 seconds, a nice time saving when your copying 12+ Gb like we quite often do.

I cant claim my test to be at all scientific at the moment but I did use the same card and same files each time I did it and over 3 tests I got the same results each time, I will however investigate this further at another time and add a Firewire card reader into the mix and some different CF cards.

Overall I am very pleased with my new purchase, the eFilm Card Reader sticks out from the Mac book more than I would have liked (see pic above) but a lot less than a USB card reader attached to a cable does, it also seems on the face of it to offer a speed increase which is handy, frees up one my precious USB ports and also should be fine to leave in place so long as I remember to put my Mac away with the other side facing down.

FTP Software for the Apple Mac

Open Source Software has been one of the biggest areas of growth in the IT industry in recent years, it means theres a whole host of applications out there that are free to use that you would have otherwise previously had to buy, many of which are really good which is great for us consumers.

Macs come bundled with lots of great software thats very user friendly and easy to use but a decent FTP client is one of the things that you dont get.

On windows machines I used to use Flash FXP which was a great app but it costs money and so when I wanted to put it on multiple windows machines I searche around for free alternative and found Filezilla which is another great open source application but sadly neither of these are available for the Mac.

A few searches and reviews read later and I happened to come across Cyberduck which seemed to be a well regarded Open Source FTP client for the Mac.

Ive been using it for a few weeks now and I am very impressed with it, it couldnt be any simpler to use, just drag and drop stuff into it and it supports all the key features in the Mac OS that you would want it to support such as Keychain, Spotlight bookmarks import, History logging and many more and generally works and integrates well into Mac OSX.

Last and no means least it has the coolest dock icon that you could ever ask for! :-)

Screenshot of it below and it can be downloaded for Free HERE

Roxio Toast Titanium

Ive been very lapse at updating this blog as I have been very busy with Photography stuff since starting it up but I have spent a lot of time learning new stuff on the Mac so heres the first in a splurge of new posts!

Its funny how swapping from PC to a Mac can change your whole pereception of a company but this is exactly what happened to me recently when I was looking around for a good backup solution/CD/DVD burning application for my Mac.

On Windows burning software is a "no brainer", ive been using Nero for many years and its a great piece of software and despite regularly trying new and updated alternatives that have been released over the years I am yet to find anything that comes close to the reliability, features and ease of use of Nero.

So stop number when I was looking for burning software for the Mac was the Nero Home Page but a quick look around I realised quite quickly that they didnt support the mac .. hmmm

I have to say at this point that prior to this I had learned that you dont need to buy software for CD\DVD burning for your Mac as they come ready to burn straight out of the box, just pop a blank CD or DVD in the drive and drag the files to the disk icon that appears on the desktop. After that you just have to ctrl+click or right click on the disk and choose the burn option and it will burn the disk, and of course because this is a Mac you can continue to do work whilst its doing this with no fear of corrupted disks.

The method above is fine if you want to just burn a few files to disks but what I wanted to do was a bit more involved than that and wasnt really supported with the sofware thats included.

When we shoot a wedding we shoot raw files which means we can end up with 15+ gigs of data per wedding when we shoot the whole day (which is the norm) obviously this is too big for a single DVD so the files must be spanned across a number of disks. This would be fairly easy to manually, we could just divide the files roughly into 4Gb chunks in seperate folders and then write them to disk individually, it wuld be a bit of a pain though as we normally split the day into sub folders anyway but by the timings of the day, so Prep Shots, Ceremony, Groups, Evening reception etc and it never works out that each one of these si teh right size to occupy its own DVD, enter Roxio Toast Titanium.

I searched long and hard for a cheap or free app that would burn just how I wanted which was ideally just dragging a single top level folder into the burning app and then it would span all the files and folders below that into a series of DVD's. I tried a few free apps to start with and read a ton of reviews for software I could purchase to do it but couldnt find one that would do it just how I wanted, some were close but ultimately all of them meant we would have to add extra steps to our workflow which is one thing we didnt want to do.

I had found Toast on a few of my first searches but because of my experiences with their windows software in years gone past (Easy CD Creator was pretty poor for quite a versions that I tried) I steered clear of it but my searches kept bringing me back to it. Digging a bit deeper I read all the blurb on the Roxio site about the features in Toast and then also went and read a lot of independent reviews and it was obvious that if it did what everyone said it did then this was just what I was looking for.

Having bought it I have to say I am very very pleased with it as it works just how I wanted it to, it lets me drag a whole folder of files and sub folders straight into it and it creates a spanned archive set on DVD or CD depending on what I choose and once youve set it going all you have to do is keep feeding the disks in.

Theres options to make the disks windows compatible which I always do as I do still have Windows PC's and also it seems a safer bet keeping mac compatability for future use.

After burning a 20Gb folder and sub folders set to DVD I tested the disks in a windows XP machine and was very impressed with the options that were presented to me. It hadnt done anything fancy so I could still browse the disks and pick off individual files and folders and when a folder was spanned across several disks it had tagged them as that to let me know that.

As well as being able to browse and copy individual files from the disks it also gave the option to restore the whole archive set and once activated this worked the reverse of how the disks were burnt in that it just kep asking me to insert the next disk, excellent! Obviously you get all these same options when you put the disks in another Mac.

It has a ton of other features such as Disk Catalogueing, DVD copying and compression, Blu-Ray disk burning, photo disks creation and many more that I could go on about now for a long time even though I havent used many of them yet but this posts already long enough so for further info check out this link HERE and I will summarize by saying that this software is great for what I want to do and has changed my opinion on the types of product that Roxio provide.

Heres some screenshots of some of the features listed above.