Category Archives: Technology

The iPad Mini is Here So What or Think Like a Geek For Once

Great the iPad mini is here. What just changed in the world of technology? Nothing really. I have been involved in professional type computer applications for quite a while now. My first Linux install was in 1994. I have known some really great computer minds. One thing that always stood out was all the great computer minds I knew were always making due with older technology.

One of the greatest things about older technology is it forces you to be creative. Suddenly how you use memory and how much disk space you have becomes important. It means you have to give much more thought to how things are laid out and what you do with them. These limitations will force you to become creative and to better understand what you are using.

We seem to have evolved to a point where people buy technology and hope to find uses for it later. Buying new technology should always be about buying it because you have a problem you can not solve with your current setup. Buying it because its new or flashy is the worst reason to be doing it.

One of the debates people seem to engage in digital photography is Mac vs Windows. I am going to tell you that it doesn’t really matter and here is why. Adobe Photoshop is written in a programming language called C++ (I am sure with lots of C as well). Much of the Photoshop code base is the same. Take for instance the Unsharp Mask tool. The code that drives it is the same regardless of operating system. Because both Macs and Windows are run on Intel hardware it gets compiled into the exact same code.

Operating Systems exist to let programs access hardware, organize our files on physical media and let our programs run at the same time (multi-tasking). The whole point of the operating system is so programs don’t have to worry about all the little details. If you do not understand what these details are or why they could be important you really are not in a position to call one operating system superior over another.

If you are always upgrading without having to learn any of this stuff then you never will learn it. You become much more removed from the technology and are less apt to understand it. Understanding technology is less about memorizing keyboard shortcuts and more about understanding technology and why it does the thing it does. Why does a new hard drive need a filesytem for instance?

Before you rush into buying the latest and greatest new product ask yourself what need do you need do you need to solve. Might it just be cheaper to add a new hard drive or more memory to the technology you already have? In many cases the answer is yes. I understand that technology needs to go forward and its great companies are trying to do better but you as a user need to do better and understand what you have.

You need to be aware that going forward can introduce all sorts of risks as well. Windows 8 is going to be released soon and I can tell you its going to have all sorts of security holes that the bad guys are going to exploit. Is it really worth it to have a new OS knowing that all sorts of malicious software nobody knows about yet is running undetected on your system?

Do more with what you already have. You owe it to yourself if you really want to be good at technology.

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How to succeed with your WordPress company

Great article from SteamFeed. Worth a read if you are into promoting yourself on WordPress.

Check it out here

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Filed under Technology, WordPress

10 MB Hard Drive vs 8 GB Micro SD Card

The following I think graphically illustrates what can happen in 30 years of storage technology. The drive is an external 10 MB SCSI drive from the 80s. On top of it rests a little 8GB Micro SD Card. It will give you an idea of how much storage technology has progressed.

It would take 800 of the big 10 MB hard drives to get the storage in that little SD card.

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Cloud Computing for Photographers

Unless you have been living under a rock (and I envy those who do) you have probably heard the term cloud computing mentioned at some point. Maybe people told you they store their images on the cloud or their website is hosted on the cloud. Unless you have a degree in computer science you may find the concept totally baffling. As a photographer with a degree in computer science allow me to try to explain things.

Definition

Instead of telling you what cloud computing is I will start with its opposite because it is what you probably understand. The desktop or laptop computer you use is not an example of cloud computing. The pictures you take and transfer to your computer go on your hard drive in a directory. To find them you need to get on your computer and go to the appropriate directory. The directory path of your hard drive points to the physical location of your pictures on your hard drive.

Your files are available regardless of whether you have Internet access or not. As long as your hard drive does not crash or your laptop gets stolen then you know where to find them. That is how we have usually done things.

Cloud computing in a nutshell basically means we do things on the internet without caring about how its done or where it is done.

If you use a cloud storage service like DropBox to store your files you store them on the Internet without caring or needing to know how its done. Your picture file could be stored on 5 different computers across 2 different data centers. Either way you do not need to care or worry about it.

On the cloud as long as you know what your file is called then you can find it. You do not need to know where it is actually stored. It works the same way your cell phone does. When somebody calls your cell phone the cell phone company looks up what cell phone to make ring and it does. You can upgrade your cell phone and it still works. The person calling you need not worry about the fact you changed your cell phone as long as that when they call your number you answer it.

When people talk about running data services on the cloud it just means they are setting things up without caring how they are actually implemented. When you open your Facebook page you are quite literally accessing thousands of servers across the world. The thing is that you do not need to know how Facebook is doing it to access your Facebook page. You plug in http://www.facebook.com and Facebook’s servers do all the magic.

So what?

I think this is a fair question to ask if you are a photographer. The best reason I can give is that when you take advantage of cloud computing services it means you get to spend less time playing system administrator and more time being a photographer.

Using cloud storage services means you can backup and retrieve your files from anywhere without having to figure out exactly where they are located. If you use multiple computers no more worrying about what is stored where since things are in a central repository. Also if you suffer some form of data loss then your files are stored safely offsite.

If you take advantage of a cloud computing service for hosting your website then it means you do not really have to concern yourself with how the actual website is setup and hosted. Most cloud computing services are setup in such a way to minimize their computing requirements which means they become cheaper for you to use.

I hope I have better illuminated the subject of cloud computing and you can get a better feel for what it can do for you.

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Filed under Cloud Computing, Technology