RIP Blackberry

Blackberry might have ended its agreement with T-Mobile, but AT&T removed all of Blackberry models from its stores weeks if not months ago.  Is this the real end of Blackberry and its iconic phones with actual QWERTY keyboards?  Too bad, because after using the Android and iPhone for years, I am missing the actual keyboard for easy typing.  RIP #Blackberry

The WorldWide Web allows for domain extension

And the WWW expands to allow a herd of new #domain extensions.

Except for Safari on the #Mac, all other browsers already seem to support these. Some of the fun ones that have been released are:

.art     (as in









On Apple’s Safari, you will have to type in the http:// part before entering the web address to be directed to the right domain. Surely they will be interested in fixing this!

Other extensions are becoming available throughout the year.  Hundreds of them.

This is the first time since the “.com” craze of the early ‘80s that we are given the chance to choose some short domain names for use in our marketing going forward.


Digital photography opened the door to millions of new hobbyists who had never considered the craft when there was a need to learn metering, composition, aperture, or shutter speed before you could take a decent photo in the “old” film days.

Today, just like in photography, Kickstarter has given tens of thousands of people a peek into the world of R&D, prototyping, and manufacturing.

What used to be a simple click of the mouse or a visit to a retail location to pick up a new, cool gadget, Kickstarter has allowed these same consumers to get in on the ground floor of a gadget’s introduction to the market.

It is funny to read all the notes and comments that are being left by “investors” who provided seed money for a new project.  Okay, maybe not funny from the consumer perspective, but quite funny from a manufacturer’s or designer’s perspective.

No gadget, car, pillow, deodorant, plastic spoon, or you name it comes to market without the engineering, tooling, and most importantly retooling of molds, dies, etc. that always precedes the final “perfect” item shipping to a store near you.  The only difference is the consumer was never made aware of this timeline until now.

In many cases, the next irritation is already in the design stages when the preceding version is shipping to their distribution points for the very first time. And, no, most companies will not divulge this to their own salespeople. So, don’t bother asking when the next big thing is shipping; the salesperson is usually the last to find out! That is why we now have rumor sites that try to get this data from (likely unethical) vendors, designers, or partners.

I got in on two gadgets that I think will make my photographic life much more fun. There was no actual need for any of these, but there was a “want”.  So, as long as there is no dire need, there is no rush.

This cool gadget, ought to make landscape panoramas a lot easier, but that is all.  Looks like a neat toy to add to the camera bag, but it is not a lifesaver.  I am looking forward to receiving my all-black version sometime next year.  Is there a rush? Heck no, I want it to work. And work well.

What photographer does not have a gazillion camera bags that never get used, all in the name of finding the perfect bag!  Although two come close, this belt is a brilliant idea. The heck with bags, just carry the lens on a mount attached to a belt. How cool. Again, it is not a life changer but a cool gadget. Let’s be patient and get it right before it is shipped. I am sure neither the creator nor I want a $4,000+ lens to drop to the ground.

What are my 2 near-perfect bags?  One is the Kiboko 30L that handles all my gear on a safari or birding trip.  Yep, it will take the 500mm, 300mm, 24-70mm, two camera bodies and much more AND still fit in the overhead of a small regional jet. The other is a small bag that doesn’t weigh a thing and still holds enough for any photo shoot or short trip – plus a 17” Macbook Pro.  It is the ThinkThank Shape Shifter. Both bags have straps for my tripod.

So, just as digital technology has done an incredible job for relatively small camera manufacturers, Kickstarter will do the same for many small companies trying to launch the next big thing. But, unlike using your camera in “P” mode*, getting in on the ground floor of a great idea doesn’t mean all will be easy or smooth sailing! Kickstarter will make many thousands of investors a much better consumer by finally learning the ins and outs of launching a product.

*  The “P” stands for Program. I like to think it stands for Pray your image will be what you intended it to be!


Apple vs the rest of the mobile phone world

I had decided that it was time to switch from the Apple iPhone to a Samsung Note 2 when it comes to market in just a couple of weeks. I had the pleasure of playing with one and have read up on the advantages over the iPhone.

I was swayed. I am still swayed. But,

Can I support a company who has been judged to blatantly steal from others? This lawsuit against Samsung is really a shot across the bow of Google’s Android used by several other manufacturers including Google’s Motorola and HTC.

Although I will lose out by not switching to more-advanced phone with some features I really would like to have, I really cannot support Samsung following this verdict.

I guess I will hold on to this ultra-slow, fake 4G iPhone for a bit longer!

Photoshop sneak previews

Looks like the Adobe guys are sending hints of what will most liekly be in the forthcoming release of Photoshop CS 6.

With the increased activity of these these posts, my money is on an April / May release date.

Then, if the Lightroom sliders in Beta 4 are any indication, the new ACR will be even better than it alrady is!

John Nack on Adobe : sneak #3: Dashed & dotted lines.

Droid X

Motorola and Google have hit a home run with the new X.

I have now been using the phone since Thursday and must say I have been impressed.

At minimum I must say that as far as functionality goes, it beats the Blackberry hands-down and perhaps surpasses the iPhone as well.

1. Coverage: The Verizon system proved to be much more reliable and covered me in areas where the iPhone showed “no service”. Both on the highway in Dallas as the byways between Madrid and Albuquerque.

2. Apps. The only app that does not work as well on the X is the Accuweather app; all the others are identical.

3. Screen. Larger screen equals easier typing

4. Clarity. Phone calls sound crisper from both sides

5. Camera: Better images with included flash.

Testing the phone on my flight back I came to realize that there was phone coverage for large portions of the flight between ABQ and DFW; not once did the iPhone show a single bar. “No Service” was the theme for the day! I wonder now…. Did all these people who called their spouses from a flight on 9/11 have a Verizon phone? There must be significant antennae differences between these systems.

For now, the iPhone stays wit me as it will be the one to be used overseas. That is the only huge drawback of the X; it isn’t GSM capable – yet!

One thing all phones have in common…. The new screen technology on these phones and the iPad is the future of computing.  No more huge laptops to lug around.  Give me some disk space and voila!

Technological disappointments or opportunities

I have been an ATT wireless user since the days of the bag-phone and have gotten to the frustration level where one of my two mobile numbers is being ported to Verizon.

When access is non-existent or so poor that you cannot make calls or worse yet cannot see voice mails until a full 48 hours later it is time to move on.

I now have on order an HTC Droid Incredible to take the place of the Blackberry that has been a (mostly) trusted companion for many of the past years. I will hang on to the iPhone just because it is a cool gadget. It will become my international access phone since the Droid does not work overseas.

Additionally, some software glitch has been wreaking havoc with my airport connection on the Macbook Pro and we have not been able to figure it out.  Turn on Apple Mail and the airport turns off and cannot be turned on until you reboot the machine.  So, I downloaded a new mail program and voila, the system works well.  I have been using SeaMonkey for a couple of days now and am impressed with the integrated package that includes a newsreader, a robust mail program, and a quick browser.  Maybe Mr. Jobs isn’t as invincible as I thought!