Sunday, 19 August 2007

Crumpler 'Royal Court'


... So I sold my LowPro CompuRover AW and got a new Half-Photo Crumpler bag instead.

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New Laptop, New Laptop-bag

This is the Crumper Belly XL

Original 1000d Chicken Tex Supreme hyper performance accessory fabric. Waterproof ripstop lining.Super strong shoulder straps with two loops for pouch attachment and an adjustable sliding chest strap for fine adjustment. The Dr. Bodenschatz back hugger. 7 smaller internal pockets. Two external side loops for pouch attachments. Fits 15"- 15.4" and 17" laptops.

Large main compartment opening for easy access.
Weasel proof padded laptop pouch with removable sleeve.
Two side pockets; one for waterbottle storage- another with padded pocket for MP3 players or other small electronics.
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Run XP at the same time as Mac OS X

I've just installed Parallels Desktop V3.0 so that I can run XP concurrently with Mac OS X (rather than reboot using BootCamp)

Parallels and BootCamp require a full version of Windows: Vista or XP. Not sure why you'd really want to run Vista as well as Mac OS X... XP is good for compatibility with Windows only programs.


Don't buy an OEM version of Windows if you want to use Parallels - because XP sees a hardware change with Parallels environment it needs to be re-activated - this can be a problem with the OEM version (some reports of not working - some that they managed it..)

Anyway - all up and running now. You can either swap full-screen into XP, use XP within a window (i.e. make your desktop smaller in XP than in Mac OS X - 800x600) or use the 'Coherent' mode where XP windows become native Mac OS X windows.
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A new life awaits you...

So there I was, in San Diego, at the Apple Store. My $2 to the £1 burning a hole in my pocket...

I've been considering getting my own 'personal' laptop for sometime. Obviously MacBooks look great - and OS X is pretty cool too - however I still like playing the odd game and there are the odd Windows program that I use (e.g. astronomy stuff) - and I want good graphics performance too - something which XP machines deal with well - Macs less-so.

However the relatively new 15.4" MacBook Pro 2.4Ghz laptop is fast (with that Core 2 Duo Intel core) and also has an Nvidia 8600M GT with 256Mb of dedicated graphics memory. Coupled with 2Gb Ram, in-built iSight camera, Gigabit Ethernet, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth etc....

And as for playing games - easy - I can use the Apple BootCamp beta which allows me to boot into XP instead of OS X.

So... I bought it.

Just loaded up 3dMark06 - and after a slightly cautious install of DirectX 9.0c - it ran pretty damn well.
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New Compact Camera

Recently bought the new Lumix DMC-TZ3.

Here's the specs:

7.2 million effective pixel / 8.5 million pixels total 1/2.35" CCD
10x (28-280mm equiv.) Leica DC Vario-Elmarit optical zoom
MEGA OIS image stabilization
Larger sensor for 28mm equiv. angle of view at 4:3, 3:2 and 16:9 aspect ratios
Venus III Engine processor
Fast Linear autofocus system
High Resolution (230,000 pixel) 3.0-inch LCD
Movies up to 840 x 480 pixels (WVGA) @ 30 fps
20 scene modes plus Intelligent ISO mode

Basically I wanted something small that I could take on trips (where my D200 would be overkill) that also had good wide-angle support - and would do hi-res video at decent frame-rate. The TZ3 ticks all the boxes.

The one thing I was worried about was the temptation to take and use this places where I would have taken the D200 before - i.e. is this going to usurp the DSLR ??? Well, the picture quality is good - and the features mentioned above (especially the 10x optical zoom with image stabilization are great - but when I compare the photos with the D200 they are noticeably inferior - phew....!
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Monday, 13 August 2007

Close-up of Perseid Meteor trail

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Taken with a Nikon D200 and Nikon AFS VR 105mm Macro on tripod, F2.8, 8 sec exposure. Around 00:54 BST. Some levels and noise reduction processing in Bibble-lite.

Got this shot relatively early - then proceeded to take another 300 shots on auto intervalometer - which only turned up some small, faint trails.

Perseids Meteor Shower

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The very nice Sophie Raworth presented my photo on the BBC One o'clock News on Monday 13th!