Tag Archive: ISO

Panasonic DMC-TZ30EB-R: Is this not a work of art?

Panasonic DMC-TZ30 Compact Camera

Panasonic DMC-TZ30EB-R: Is this not a work of art?

Panasonic DMC-TZ30EB-R: Is this not a work of art?

I’m afraid my old TZ7 (which replaced my earlier TZ5 due to my clumsiness) has now had to be replaced with the new TZ30. The reason?  At some unknown moment, my usual dollard-ish clumsiness put a scratch on the lens…..  the whole recent trip to Australia is marred (to my eyes at least) by a fuzzy mark off-centre at 2 o’clock.

I wanted the red one as it’s a beautiful thing indeed.  In fact, I hunted to get one at a good price within a reasonable time-scale, but have settled for the black one for cost and because I can get it now!..  (The Panasonic DMC-TZ30EB-K).

Iggy Pop, October 25, 1977 at the State Theatr...

Gratuitous photo of Iggy Pop from October 25, 1977 at the State Theatre, Minneapolis, MN (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It’s now on the way so watch this space for my opinions and results later!!.  I’m extremely hopeful due to the reviews I’ve read.

I’ve waited and have passed over the TZ20 and other incarnations due to unfavourable comments and lack of substantial change in their features.  Now, the TZ30 has tipped the balance for me.  The GPS feature introduced with the TZ10 hasn’t had much interest to me, but maybe this’ll change all that!

Specification Highlights for me are:

  • The 20x optical zoom (naturally) in a body that’s less obtrusive than my current TZ7.
  • Better ISO performance – reputed to be very good at low light down to ISO800.
  • Better burst mode shooting.  It’s supposed to be 10 fps whereas my TZ7 only does about three….  I have some stop-action movie ideas that I started with my old Fuji FinePix F30 that I’d like to continue and expand upon.  The F30 did reasonable frames per second whereas the TZ7 is just too slow for the effects I want.
  • Semi-automatic panorama shooting.  Much better than the old manual stitch mode….
  • Rapid autofocus (AF) – reputed to be 1/10 second.  Combine this with burst mode and nature and sport shots should be great with at least one being on the button.

The info on the Panasonic site is here, though what it doesn’t mention is that the TZ30 battery is also used in the TZ7, which is a bonus for me!  I even have a spare already!  WaHaY!

Specification Gotchas:

The only one I’ve spotted that directly affects my expectations is that in burst mode, the auto-focus is fixed once the burst starts, at 10fps.  However, to counter this the feature is more variable than I’m used to in that with burst mode set to 5fps autofocus and zoom work concurrently!  This definitely needs playing with!

My Standard Expectations:

  • Minimal blue/purple casts or fringing at high contrast edges.
  • Wonderful summer shots with vibrant colour.
  • Much better focus changing in video zooming.

My Quantum Leap Hopes:

  • The same or better sound quality that the F30 and TZ7 delivered.  Both produced full non-clipped audio sound at rock concerts!  The TZ7 does it in stereo.  (see my Iggy Pop video below, discussed in this post, Iggy at Hammersmith).
  • Much, much faster autofocus and burst shooting than I’m used to.  This includes the continuous autofocus & zoom at 5fps mentioned earlier.
  • Much better auto-focus on video zoom especially and pictures generally.  I’m hoping the intelligence of the thing has been re-jigged……    To explain…….

The tendency on my TZ7 is to focus on the near-field whether it’s bright or dark. Yet I want it to focus on what the human eye drifts to, i.e., bright objects.  On the TZ7 I’ve had to use human intervention to override the camera expectations….
The video below shows this.

For me the prime purpose of a compact camera is to get the best shot possible as fast as possible.

At the Stooges concert at Hammersmith below, I’d waited for ages and then suddenly the band came on and kicked off immediately! There was no time to prime the focus because I knew I’d miss some performance, so I had to make allowances for the camera deficiencies by pulling back zoom and trying to get autofocus on the bright areas by field drifting.
Ideally, I should have asked Mr Pop to restart his concert so that I could stop the video, auto-focussing on maximum zoom to distance and then restarting the video before he kicked off again.  ;-)  Obviously that wasn’t going to happen so I did the best I could without missing any of the performance of my historic bête noire idol.
As it was, my guess was right, even to continuing filming without a break, because against all rumours and knowledge that the Raw Power album was to be played in order, it wasn’t!              Search & Destroy immediately followed Raw Power.
 

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Testing Windows 8 Developer Preview Version

Windows 8 Developer Preview

Win8 Dev Logon Screen

Win8 Dev Logon Screen

I’ve finally decided to test the next Windows edition, probably to be called Windows 8, although things like that are never certain in Microsoft-land.

Virtual Box

Win8 Dev VirtualBox Installation

Win8 Dev VirtualBox Installation

I did a Virtual Box install, which is fairly straightforward.  There are many tutorials on-line now which show how to do this, so I won’t do a walk-through. I installed the 64-bit version which I downloaded from MSDN using my licence.  You can get the installs from the Microsoft Website here, which come in ISO format.  You can also find out more from the horse’s mouth here.

You can also set aside a partition on your hard-drive and install to that.  However, Virtual Box is the safe way to go should the partition install fail and corrupt your current installation somehow.

What I will say, is to use more memory allocation to the virtual installation than recommended elsewhere or as the default,  and to use as many virtual processors as your host machine has.….. My machine is an AMD 955BE, which is quad-core running at around 3GHz.  In other words, if you don’t want it to run like treacle, give it plenty processor and memory room;  at least the recommended values for Windows 7.  You can see all of this in the VirtualBox settings screenshot above.

Fast Install (added 24/11/11))

Windows 7 vs. Windows 8 time to upgrade

Windows 7 vs. Windows 8 time to upgrade

Microsoft, on their MSDN blog, have made a big thing about the rapid installation for Windows 8, particularly for the upgrade route.  See Improving the setup experience.  I can say now that the clean install into the VirtualBox environment was very fast….

Briefly:

  1. You make a virtual machine in Virtual Box
  2. You set it’s parameters – processors, memory size, footprint size, IDE/SATA storage etc
  3. You set the downloaded ISO image to boot from in the settings.
  4. You boot by “Starting” the virtual machine.
  5. You install Windows into the filespace that you’ve previously set aside for it – I gave it a dynamic sized 50Gb.
  6. After that, let windows do it’s thing.  It took 10 minutes or so.
  7. Let it reboot.
Win8 Dev Loggged On Screen

Win8 Dev Loggged On Screen

Following this, you get a green screen from which country specifics are added, a username and finally, you enter your Live.com identity, if you have one, and if you want to!

Appearance

It’s a big green screen.  I don’t have a touchscreen, but it’s obviously designed for one.  It has massive buttons to a host of online services like weather & stocks, plus a few to your computer’s functions.

Win8 Dev Logon Screen

Win8 Dev Logon Screen

If you log off, you get presented with an American Rockies vista of a lonely winding road.  Essentially, the entry into Windows 8 is like a smartphone.  But what’s it like beneath the surface?

Windows 7 Legacy, and Vista Too!

Win8 Dev Double Click Control Panel Screen

Win8 Dev Double Click Control Panel Screen

Obviously, this is a development preview release, and we can expect more of the same to come.

Win8 Dev Double Click Explorer Screen

Win8 Dev Double Click Explorer Screen

But most work has gone onto the main intro screen because beneath the surface, all the various apps and settings controls are the old (current) Windows 7 interface.

Bizarrely, some screens even have vestiges of the green Vista, notably the main screen itself.

Personally, I think it’s very, very dour.  I can’t believe that two years of effort has gone into doing something that Android does on a more than twice-annual cycle….

Win8 Dev Left Corner Hover Screen

Win8 Dev Left Corner Hover Screen

Accessing the menus is the most unintuitive thing I’ve seen for ages!  Following on from the impressive Windows 7, it’s truly not just a user let-down, but somewhat infuriating as well…….    Whereas previously I just typed into the run bar to do almost anything, now I can’t even find programs or files!   No doubt there’s a way – but after Win7, it’s not intuitive and not helpful either.

I hope that’s not the end of the run box, because that feature in Windows 7 is awesome.

Control Panel

Win8 Dev Double Click Control Panel Screen

Win8 Dev Double Click Control Panel Screen

I haven’t checked through many apps (except a few desktop ones like the weird child-like paint thing and the weather which won’t do anywhere except California) but this is the control panel.

Win8 Dev Control Panel More Settings Screen

Win8 Dev Control Panel More Settings Screen

You then drill-down to get the old Win7 control panel on “More Settings”.

Initial Investigation Ends

Well that’s it for now.   To say I’m un-impressed by the big green monstrous front doesn’t give my opinion justice.  There doesn’t appear to be an easy way out of the front-screen apps and to have an app made for a  3-inch screen sat on a 23 inch desktop monitor really demonstrates the infantile  apps for what they are.

Way back in the nineties Microsoft tried their in-house Microsoft Network (MSN) which was a disc install that gave you a black desktop that gave dial-up access to features giving almost the same as this big green toy-town monster.

Not happy.

Watch this space as I delve more….

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From Slimeballs to Horoscopes

A Possible Start to Personal Details Theft?

Here’s how it works…

Some time ago I made a posting on the odiously chubby internet bankrupteer and millionaire self-publicist Robert Allen (see link here).  As part of this investigation I used the name “Morton” coupled to my spam magnet email address in order to see what would happen.

Sure enough, ‘Morton’ appeared in heaps of spam I started receiving.  Another example is in this comment to another investigation, here

Of course, the beauty of this system, is that you get all manner of spams to check out!!!  Their prevalence allows you to spot trends in the spam and the latest “marketing opportunities” in the get-rich-quick world of the internet.  You are privy to all the darkest goings-on in the seamy side of business…ha ha!

Horoscope Oddness

One spam today was this:

Return-Path: [email protected]
Received: from external.boatprepare.com ([64.86.36.97]:1102)
Message-Id: [email protected]
Reply-To: [email protected]
From: Bethea ([email protected])
Subject: =?ISO-8859-1?Q?Morton, Complimentary Horoscope for 2009=A0 =A0=A0=A0=A0 =A0 ?=

This e-mail broadcast is for a complimentary Tarot, Biorhythm, and Astrological reading!

  • “A Grand Total of $8,934.00” –J. F.
  • “Tarot Reading Predicted… My Soul Mate.” –K. S.
  • “The Magic of Biorhythms.” –B. J.


I’ve met many people who don’t believe in astrology and the Tarot, even though they have never experienced their own personal forecast or had their own Tarot reading.

But I’ve helped so many people who have used the predictions of the Tarot,astrology, and biorhythms, to earn more money, become healthier, and improve their lives in ways they never dared dream possible. I know these things could help you.

So, I’ve decided to create a complimentary Weekly Forecast, a complimentary Tarot reading and a complimentary biorhythm for you. See how these predictions can improve your life.

To receive your three life-changing gifts, please accept my invitation and contact me now. My mission is to help people discover a better life. And it will cost you absolutely nothing, ever.

Visit here to receive your complimentary Forecasts:

Sincerely,
Bethea Jenner
[email protected]
Astrologer + Psychic + Tarot Expert + Numerologist + Teacher + Author +
Columnist + Lecturer

There then followed another list of testimonial phrases.

Horoscope Badness

This is all very laughable or laudable, depending on your view of horoscopes and free speech in a spam-laden commercial world.  The bad bit is the questionnaire…

The email link ends up after the usual whirring and clunking of redirecting gears at….

joypeaceandhappiness in IE

joypeaceandhappiness in IE

this website if you use Internet Explorer and come from California:

http://www.joypeaceandhappiness.com/forecast/tbirthinfo.asp

joypeaceandhappiness in Firefox

joypeaceandhappiness in Firefox

…and this site if you use Firefox, and just paste the web address into the browser:

http://www.joypeaceandhappiness.com/forecast/tbirthinfo.asp

Notice any similarity? !!

Dodgy Questionaire

The problem is with the questions…

In these days of phishing and social engineering, the questionsespecially, (as many people do), if you use an email address based on your real name, are a fraudster’s paradise!

‘She’ asks for:

  • Two email addresses
  • Your sex (from your title)
  • Your first name (can guess the last from your email addresses)
  • Your date of birth
  • Your time of birth
  • Your place of birth

In the UK, there’s almost enough information there to get a false passport, duplicate birth certificate or driving licence!!!  With a bit of studious Googling you could get addresses and then bank accounts…..

Conclusion

Be very, very careful if you get any of this horoscope rubbish in your mailbox.  It may be genuine carelessness or a deliberate phishing policy – who can tell?  The results are the same.

Or look at it this way – I’ve never, ever, bought anything by unsolicited mail.  It’s the desperation and lack of trust, see?

Furthermore, I know that the code word I set up, “Morton“, was planted by myself into a big vipers nest of spamophilia.  I’m hardly likely to trust anyone who sleeps with those bedfellows, am I?


Extra Information on the Websites

schoolcalculate.com & boatprepare.com

Run by FlintMediaEnterprises.com of California.  The contact is Barney Rockle!  (you haff to laff).  It’s in the ubiquitous mall, and handily has a UPS store nearby along with mailboxes and a bail bond service…

joypeaceandhappiness.com

Owned by Carol Brown (or [email protected] or P P E-commerce) from a PO Box in New York

transmonde.com

This simple emailing address comes from Fibertech Networks, a big cable company.

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Crawling Chaos File Sharing

Yay.  I’ve spotted another batch of file-sharing websites recently.  Like the cash-cop-out neep-heeds at Pirate Bay (see news item “Cash for Pirate Bay file-sharers” on their cash sell-out – ha,ha, so much for freedom of speech; the real motive has now panned out), these sites don’t host files, they just tell people where to go, give them the keys, and help them open the doors….

Anyway, for avid fans of Crawling Chaos, http://fenopy.com has pots of stuff.  The links go through to http://web.archive.org/web/20120510085921/http://www.directdownloadpass.com/, amongst others.  Any one used to my ramblings on internet fraud will not be surprised to find that the owners of these domains have been hidden – one by US-based namecheap.com and the other by a Singapore outfit called Katz Global Domain Name Trust.

As with all this stuff, the user (ironically) pays to get stuff for free……  (Yes I know – you work it out)

I noticed a 187Mb download as an ISO of the track Gygno.  This means a very high bitrate and good quality.  Presumably they have access to the master tape?  Or are they very good at cleaning up vinyl? Or pumping information out of the low quality MP3 on the Crawling Chaos website?

The question is, is that it takes time to transpose all this stuff.  So how much is their time worth when they ‘give’ our music away for nothing?

I know why I’m doing this – do they know why they’re doing it?

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Panasonic Lumix TZ5 at Night

Panasonic Lumix TZ5A few test pictures using the “Starry Sky” setting on my Panasonic Lumix TZ5.  The pictures were done using a tripod at the three timer settings  that are inbuilt for that setting; 15s, 30s & 60s.    The sky was quite brightly lit due to some thin mist acting as a reflector for the urban lighting. Read the rest of this entry >>

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