Gadgets

Pocket photojournalism

I am preparing a workshop on video storytelling for some of my students — and that brought me to revisit this video I made for a conference I could not attend last year. It’s getting old in the sense that more alternatives are now available but still a pretty good wrap:

[quicktime]http://jimmacmillan.com/wp-content/macmillan-nsc11.m4v[/quicktime]

I produced this video in lieu of appearing on a panel that I was unable to attend at the National Press Photographers Association’s Northern Short Course in in Warwick, RI, in March 2011, considering tech concerns for educators teaching photojournalism students. Related links are below.

Gorillapod - iPhone Tripod Holder - Photojoj iPhone telephoto lens - Eye-Fi cards - Virgin Mobile MiFi hub - Zoomit - Posterous.com

Zoomin’ it

I got my new Zoomit SD card reader for the iPhone in the mail yesterday, and opening the package opened a world of possibilities, making it possible to move full-resolution photos online without a laptop, Wifi, or anything else.

It calls for a little set-up: It needed a charge first, from an included USB charger, and when I plugged the charged device into the bottom of my iPhone4, it prompted me to download the free Zoomit app. (There is also a $2.99 Zoomit music app in the store, but I don’t need it and so I didn’t buy it. I’m all about the photos.)

Next, I plugged into the other end of the device with an SD card that had been in my Canon 990 pocket camera, which contained a few pre-dawn photos, like the one above, which I had taken on my way into New York a few days ago. (No, I was not in the driver’s seat. Distracted driving kills.)

After selecting an image on the iPhone screen, Zoomit sharing options include emailing the photo or posting to your existing Facebook or Flickr accounts, for which you will be prompted to log in.

From Flickr, I emailed this photo to my Posterous blog, which then redistributes to several more platforms, including whichever one you are viewing now.

It’s hard to swallow the $60 price tag at a time when USB SD readers cost so little, but when combined with iPhone apps and social sharing platforms, this baby feels like a game-changer, especially now that more professional-quality cameras are coming SD-ready.

I can’t wait to put it to work in the field.

Sent from my iPhone

Gregg’s Gadgets:: Wireless printing, earbuds & video

The Epson Artisan 800

The Epson Artisan 800

The Epson Artisan 800 5-in-1 printer (copy, fax, printing, scanning and Wi-Fi) is so good you almost wish it were a 50-in-1.
In addition to the 5-in-1, the model includes direct printing on CD/DVD media, a multiple storage tray for different paper sizes, ultra hi-definition printing with Epson Claria ink and two-sided printing.
Giving the printer a workout was simple because it did all the work. Prints were by far the best I’ve gotten from an all-in-1 desktop unit and they were done wirelessly.
Epson Clara ink is a combination of six color, dye-based inks. Along with outstanding quality and fade-, scratch-, smudge- and water-resistant, they can last up to 200 years when stored in a photo album. Given that information, I don’t expect to see if Epson is accurate, but you never know. Claria cartridges are also expected to deliver about 60 percent more prints than standard ink.

The back of the unit has ports for networking, power and USB connections. A top loading paper system holds up to 30 sheets for copying or faxing. Connections on the front allow media cards and USB thumb drives to be used directly for printing. Editing can be done on the LCD screen.

The unit also has a 7.8-inch touch panel, which swings out with the press of a button to angle for easy view. A 3.5-inch LCD to control everything rests right in the middle of the panel. Since everything is controlled here, there are only two other controls on the front; power and a CD tray eject button.

As I’ve said many times, I’m not one to be over impressed with printing times – the quality is more important. Just assume that today’s printers will print faster than yesterday’s.

For Artisan 800, Epson tests showed printing of color and black text pages at 38 pages per minute while 4×6-inch photos can be finished in as fast as 10 seconds.

www.epson.com

Atomic Bass Earphones

Atomic Bass Earphones

Atomic Bass Earphones from Radius are a solid choice for reasonably priced sound. The company recently updated them and the new line has Y-style cable wire along with a redesigned outer aluminum casing. All this provides a better fit, especially for small ears.

With a $39.99 price point, these earbuds give bass lovers 32 ohms of rated sound, which adds up to a more efficient sound requiring less battery usage. I’m one who likes the bass sound and these surely came through with that.

Style was definitely considered when these were designed. A redesigned gold-plated plug comes in a stylish aluminum casing in six colors: black, blue, green, red, silver and violet. Three sizes (S, M, and L) of silicone caps are included to ensure the proper fit.

These earbuds are also built with an angle, so they fit securely in the ear for active lifestyle users – and to deliver the sound. The angle forces the music to penetrate all way into the ear, for clear sound and deep bass. They can be put into your ear in three different angles combined with the three sizes of caps give multiple solutions to get the proper fit.

Also redesigned and upgraded with most of the same features are the Atomic Bass Earphones ($49.99) for the iPhone 3G.

These feature a built-in mic on the cable for cell phones. In addition music can be controlled with play, stop and skip functions.

www.radiusearphones.com

Sony HDR-TG5V Handycam

Sony HDR-TG5V Handycam


Just in time for the summer travel season, Sony has announced the HDR-TG5V Handycam, a portable, high-definition camcorder.

Video enthusiasts can capture 1920×1080 high-definition video along with four-megapixel still digital images. It includes a nice amount of flash memory, packing in 16GB worth. This allows capture and storage of more than six hours of high definition video.

Users can vary the amount of video to be stored with the camera’s different quality settings. Memory can be added using Sony’s Memory Stick Pro Duo removable media (sold separately).

Other features include a 2.7-inch touch-panel LCD for easy access to all the camera’s controls, a built-in GPS antenna and NAVTEQ digital maps to geo-tag your videos and photos.

Expect the new HDR-TG5V camcorder to ship in May and sell for about $1,000. Also available is a travel kit, which includes a battery, travel charger and pouch, for about $100. A wide-angle conversion lens will also be available for about $100.

www.sonystyle.com

Email – Gregg Ellman

Gregg’s Gadgets:: iPod animals, power & software

Who says animals can’t speak? Get yourself an iPanda iPod speaker/docking system from Speakal and you won’t want it to shut up.

iPhandaThe unit ($119.99) is a desktop system that outputs 25 watts of excellent sound. It’s produced by five speakers enclosed in the unit for 360-degree sound distribution. The speakers give it facial features since they are placed and stored where the eyes and ears are, along with the internal 4-inch subwoofer. There are feet, but they act as just that, no sound coming from them.

A remote gives you full control of an iPod after docking it with the proper cradle. When the iPanda is turned on, the mouth glows from an internal LED light and blinks on any command from the wireless remote control.

The setup is simple: just plug in the power cord to the back and dock your iPod. Once the power is on, the iPod lights up. Then grab the remote to choose the tunes of choice. The remote lets you choose the song, volume, play/pause along with adjusting the treble and bass settings.

A 3.5 mm input auxiliary jack is built into the back in the event that you’re one of the few with a portable media player other than an iPod.

The sound is excellent. Here’s the company line on what’s inside how the sound is produced, “An Onboard Hi-Fi amplifier, dynamic airflow optimizer, interior dynamic cooling exchange and high sound stabilization to produce a clear powerful sound.”

Now that you have all that, just know it sounds great for a really cool looking sound system. If a panda is not your thing, there is also a similar iPig ($119.99) and iBoo ($79.99), all available in a variety of colors.

www.speakal.com

Power PackLate last year I wrote about the Medis 24/7 Power Pack, a portable, green power source for devices such as MP3 players, digital cameras, PDAs and cellphones. It can provide up to 30 additional hours of talk time for a cellphone or up to 80 hours of playtime on a portable media player (depending on the device).

Now they have come out with an emergency power kit to instantly power a cell and give the user some light in the time of an emergency. Since the Media power source doesn’t self-discharge over a long period of time, users can be ready for any blackout or situation in a car. The exact number of charges depends on the device being charged.

Once the power pack is activated, it gives out enough charging power for several charges. The included flashlight is expected to light up for about 100 hours.

The power in the device is based on Medis’ Fuel Cell Technology, which uses an environmentally friendly alkaline sodium borohydride solution. All this enables the device to work without the need of charging it.

To activate the power pack, users simply remove the safety tape and follow an easy three-step process: Squeeze it, plug it and power it. Squeezing the pack activates its power source; then you may plug the connector into the unit’s main body and plug the other end into your device to power it.

Connector tips are included for some cell phones, along with miniUSB and microUSB devices.

www.medistechnologies.com $49.99

Imagenomic has released the Portraiture 2 for Aperture. The product, which has been available for Photoshop users, gives Apple Aperture users the same digital management for digital photographers.

The recent press release announced that the software includes:

Automatic Skin Tones Mask generation and “One-click” skin retouching through a new Preset Manager, which includes image thumbnail previews, bracketing controls, custom preset creation and file sharing, notations, and visual history states;

Advanced Skin Masking controls for selecting, feathering and refining the retouching area, edges and tonal ranges of the selected mask, including real-time previews;

Enhancement sliders and settings for sharpness, softness, warmth, tint, brightness and contrast control, with the ability to apply these selectively to the mask area only or to the entire image, e.g. for adjusting lighting effects in software;

Also new are the user interface selection options, multiple image batch processing capabilities, and multi-threaded/multi-processor support for maximum retouching speed and performance.

The new release of Portraiture 2 for Aperture came from a public beta test with over 1,000 Aperture users, which included a variety of digital images from many different environments.

www.imagenomic.com, $199.95

Email – Gregg Ellman

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Note: I am beginning to experiment with guest bloggers on jimmacmillan.net. Gregg Ellman is an old friend whose gadget column is published weekly by dozens of newspapers, and now you can find it here too. Let me know what you think! Thanks, Jim