Quiet! I’m trying to sleep!

Tis the season for power outages! Last year I invested in a whole-house natural gas backup generator. I work from home (and am spoiled rotten by power consuming technology) and therefore, I can’t stand prolonged power outages. Remember the blackout of 2003? Buying the generator was like buying insurance. Once you have it, you never seem to need it (and I’m ok with that). The power has not been off for more than 5 minutes since I had it installed. Figures right? Well that all changed a couple of nights ago. The power went off at 4:30 AM Saturday morning! How do I know the exact time you ask? Well when the utility power goes off, my generator kicks on within 10-15 seconds and powers the whole house. It’s located on the opposite end from by bedrooms so I never hear it. Normally I would have slept right through such a faint motor sound. However, I have APC UPS (uninterruptible power supplies) throughout my house to provide backup battery power for my gear for those few seconds that it takes the generator to fire up. It was on this night that I found out what it’s like to have 10 APC UPS systems go off at once!

APC Battery backups "BEEP" when there is a loss of power. The idea is is that this will alert you so that you can go to your computer, save your files, exit your apps and do a normal shutdown until main power is restored. In my case that should only be 10-15 seconds right? Well not quite. I found out the hard way that UPS systems are very sensitive to the actual quality of the power being supplied to them and it seems that generator power is not quite good enough when the APC units are on their default setting of "high senstivity". So my UPS systems continued to stay on an BEEP even though there was "power." Needless to say I wasn’t able to sleep through it. At this point I wanted to yank these things out of the wall, throw them in a pile and light a match! Even my larger ones that did not stay on continuously beeped every 10-20 seconds to let me know that line conditions were not ideal.

I remember after the initial installation and testing of my generator (the UPS’s were beeping then too) that my generator installer told me that I would need to change the settings on my UPS systems to make them less "sensitive." In fact I did just that on my larger units and didn’t know of any way to do this for my smaller units. However, it didn’t stop the beeping! Since I was awake anyway, I grabbed my laptop and Googled "turn off the APC beep" and the results lead me to various discussion threads (some really old) about how it could be done with the supplied APC Power Chute software. That’s where the fun began!

 

Windows to the rescue?

As most of you know, I’m a Mac guy. I have nothing against Windows or Windows users, I just prefer the Mac and have used the Mac OS since 1984. So let’s not get into that debate here. However, I also run Windows XP on my MacBook Pro via Boot Camp and Parallels. Why am I bringing up Windows? Well as it turns out, APC makes the Power Chute software for both Mac and Windows. However, the two versions differ as much as night and day. The Mac version is very basic and simply allows the Mac to communicate with the APC units and if there is a power outage the Mac will automatically do a shut down.

Here’s the interface to the Mac version of Power Chute:

Guess what? You don’t even need their software for this. Apple has built that functionality into the Mac OS via the Energy Saver System Prefs:

So if you’re a Mac user, don’t even bother installing the APC software. Just plug in the supplied USB cable into your APC and into your Mac and you can control it from the Energy Saver prefs.

As you can see from the above screen grab there is no other controls over the unit itself (nope, nothing under Options either). After doing a little digging, I found that the Windows version offers WAY MORE! So I rebooted my Mac into Windows XP (Parallels works too without rebooting, but I wasn’t sure if it would see the APC at the time. Later I tested it and it does.) using Boot Camp and popped in my APC CD that came with my latest unit. It had Power Chute 2.0 for Windows XP and I was floored by the available options:

There were two settings that I needed to change. The first one was under Notifications. I don’t want my APC units beeping EVER! If there is a power outage here, it won’t be for more than a few seconds because my generator will kick on. So therefore, I don’t need to hear any beeps ever! Especially at night. There was even the option to turn off the beeps in the evening and still have them on during the day. However, I don’t want them at all:

The next and most important setting was the magical "Sensitivity" setting. This allows the APC to be a little less sensitive and recognize generator power as being good enough to power my equipment.

I took my laptop around to each APC unit and set these settings for each one. I was back in bed by 6AM for another few hours of sleep. Of course this was on a Saturday when I didn’t have to wake up early! Arggghhhhhhhh!

 

Shame on you APC

I’m happy that I was able to solve my problem without a single call to APC. If my generator installer had never mentioned a "Sensitivity" setting I would have never known to look for one. I was initially going after disabling the beep sound when I found the Sensitivity section. So it all worked out. However, not all Mac users have Windows installed on their Macs. Since APC bills their units as for both Mac and Windows, I would expect the same level of control over the hardware on either platform. APC you need to provide these same options in the Power Chute for Mac version.




I’m headed to Photoshop World – Vegas!

I’m headed out today to Photoshop World in Las Vegas! This year’s theme is based (loosely) on Star Trek (as you can see from the Orlando poster above). I’m a Trekkie so this is right up my alley. This is one of the few shows that I actually enjoy working. It’s a Photoshop Geek Fest! This is also a chance for me to meet and talk with many of the readers of this very blog. So if you see me, don’t forget to say hi. It makes my day!

I’ll be doing a session in the Adobe Booth Thursday on the CS3 Production Premium with a slant towards photographers. I’ll also be doing two InDesign CS3 sessions Friday on the conference track, not to mention taping a session for Photoshop User TV. You might also catch me doing a lighting session in the Westcott booth as well as some iPhone tips and tricks in the Kelby Training Booth (schedule conflics permitting) It’ll be a busy week and I’ll be exhausted by Friday, but hey-it’s what I do.

Look for my blog post on Thursday with updates from the Adobe Keynote address. I’ll also post video from the keynote on my Adobe Creative Suite Podcast if there is anything new and exciting (and most likely there will be). Johnny L and John Nack never disappoint!



Congratulations PhotoWalk Winners!

The Winner was this Amazing shot by Suhaimi Abdullah, SINGAPORE

 

I would like to take this opportunity to CONGRATULATE the Winner and the Runner-ups for the Scott Kelby Worldwide PhotoWalk. I know Scott had a really hard time picking not only a winner, but 10 runner-ups. The shots were amazing from all over the world.

I was also extremely happy to see that one of my Detroit photographers grabbed a spot in the top 10! Congratulations Jim Howe from Ann Arbor Michigan for your fantastic shot of the Ren Cen.

 

I hope that this becomes an annual event and regardless, I will be doing more photowalks here in Michigan. So stay tuned…



A Great Watch

There is one piece of technology that we pretty much all take for granted and that is our watches. Yep, most of us wear one, and I’m no different. As a matter of fact you might expect my watch (being a gadget junky) to be all techy and loaded with features. However, my watches are usually quite simple. They tell time and maybe they show the date. I don’t even own a digital watch. I do have a watch that has a USB connection to a built-in thumb drive, but I don’t like it as a watch, so I never wear it.

The one thing that drives me insane is having to constantly replace my watch batteries. There is a watch band store near where I live and it seems like I’m always in there getting a new watch battery. After my last one went dead in what seemed like a relatively short amount of time, I was fed up! As a matter of fact the watch store (which makes a good business selling watch batteries) had a huge banner add for Citizen ECO Drive watches. These watches NEVER need batteries. They are powered by light! According to Citizen they can even go for 6 months in the dark on a full charge. This Solar technology can charge from any light source. The engery cell is designed to last a lifetime.

So I ordered the Citizen Eco Drive Men’s Stiletto Two Tone Watch back at the beginning of July and it’s one of the best watches I’ve ever owned. It’s pretty freeing to just set it and forget it. Plus I like the style. Citizen has a complete line of Eco Drive watches for both men and women.

I do have one tip for those who have battery driven watches. You can prolong the battery life of watches that you don’t wear all the time by simply pulling the stem out (like you would to set it) and usually this will effectively turn the watch off until you push the stem back in. Granted you’ll have to reset the time when you’re ready to use it, but at least it won’t be draining the battery while it’s sitting in a drawer.



Scott Kelby Worldwide Photo Walk – Detroit

The Detroit group for the Scott Kelby Worldwide Photo Walk. Photo by Joseph Grey

 

This past weekend over 8,000 photographers from around the world participated in Scott Kelby’s Worldwide Photo Walk to promote his NEW Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 2 Book for Digital Photographers. Over 200 cities from around the world were included and I’ve seen some AMAZING photos already from various places.

Of course I used this opportunity to also give my new di-GPS Pro a workout. So you can click on any of the geotagged photos below to see where I was when I took them. These were all taken with my Nikon D300 and 18-200mm VR lens.

I lead the Detroit walk and we had an absolute BLAST! Everyone was in good spirits and we just had a good time hanging out on Detroit’s International Riverfront and walking up and down the Riverwalk. It’s always interesting to see what 40-50 different photographers shooting the same location come up with. Every one’s “eye” is different and therefore you get different perspectives. I saw photos of things that I said “wow, I wish I had thought to shoot that that way!” So it was a learning experience for me and I can’t wait to do more of these. What was even more amazing was that there were no Canon vs. Nikon fights. :) I’m just kidding, we did have to break up a couple, but at the end of the day they were hugging so it was all good. (OK, I’m totally joking, we all got along great)

I did manage to get some good shots and although I’m not eligible for the contest, I had fun shooting and posting my shots nonetheless.

I grabbed this shot of my good friend Chita. I couldn’t resist. There was something about her eyes that drew me in. :)

These kids were having a ball running up and down through the fountain. Some of the other photographers got some award winning shots of these two. Sadly, mine were just “ok”.

Here’s a shot of my buddy Housain who has that kind of face that just begs to be photographed.

 

Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 2 is an amazing upgrade that takes an already great app to the next level! I can’t wait to see Scott’s new book on it.

 

If you want to see the rest of the shots from the Detroit walk, check them out here. People are still uploading, so check back often.

 

If you want to see the shots from all the various locations around the world, go here.


iPhone App Wishlist and the 2.0.2 Update

On Monday I wrote a post listing My Top 10 Favorite iPhone Apps and I got a lot of good responses to that post including a couple of suggestions for Apps that I didn’t even know existed (I love iFlix, thanks!). One thing I thought about the next day was “what apps would I like to see?” So here are the Apps that I would LOVE to see on the iPhone and most of them I’d be willing to pay for:

 

Sling Player for iPhone

When the iPhone SDK was introduced the folks over at Sling said that they were working on a player for the iPhone. This player would probably only work over 3g and Wi-Fi due to the bandwidth requirements. I haven’t heard any official updates lately. How’s it going Sling?

 

TiVo Scheduler

Now that I have a couple of TiVo HD’s which can be “scheduled” via the web, I’d love to have an iPhone app that would make this easier and faster than using the TiVo website. The app would have to show me my Guide so that I could pick upcoming shows and it would also have to allow for searches. Once I found the show I wanted to record, it would also have to allow me to choose which TiVo box that I wanted to record the show onto.

 

Sirius/XM Player

Rumor has it that a Sirius/XM Player is under development. This would totally rock! Right now I have Sirius in my car and I’d love to be able to listen to my favorite stations also on my iPhone via a native app. I imagine that this would be a streaming service. However, it would be killer if the stream could be buffered to the iPhone’s internal storage. That way I could listen to this content while on a flight.

 

Reunion Mobile

I use Leister Pro’s Reunion software to do all my genealogy tracking. Now I know they are working on an iPhone app that will work with the desktop client. So here’s what I want to be able to do with that app: I’d like to be able to look up and make changes on the fly. I’d want my changes/additions to sync to the desktop client either wirelessly (perhaps through a MobileMe connection) and/or via the USB cable. I’d also want the ability to use the iPhone camera to take pictures and add them to the family member’s record.

 

Nearest Apple Store

I wrote about this a little while back, but I’m floored that Apple hasn’t developed a Location Aware, “Find Your Nearest Apple Store” app. Seems like a no brainer. This App would show you the closest Apple Stores to your current location, hours, class schedules, etc. Take it a step further and let you schedule your Genius Bar appointment. Once you decided on which store you were going to visit, you could tap one button “map” and it would route you directly to the store. I already have an Apple Store POI (points of interest) file for my Garmin Nuvî GPS that can do much of this, it would be great to have it on my iPhone.

 

Delicious Library

I can’t think of a more Pro Apple developer than Delicious Monster. I love their media cataloging app, Delicious Library. I’d love to simply be able to take my catalog with me on my iPhone. Take it step further so that If I’m out and I buy a movie on DVD/Blu-ray that I could add it to my catalog right then and there while I’m in the checkout lane. This app would need to sync to the desktop client as well.

 

iPhone 2.0.2 Update

iPhone 2.0.2 update

By the way, I didn’t really cover anything about the iPhone 2.0.2 update because I wanted to give it a day or two to see If I noticed a difference. Most reviewers post an immediate post saying that things are faster. Well that could be due to the fact that they just rebooted their iPhones after the update was applied. So I wanted to really see if there were any improvements. Apple has been really quiet with the 2.0.1 and 2.0.2 updates simply stating “bug fixes” in the description. So they are leaving it up to us to try to speculate what’s better and what’s not. That’s really frustrating and It would be nice if they posted a list of “areas” that were addressed. Anyway, for 2.0.2 the ONE area that I definitely see an improvement in is stability in Safari. I haven’t had a single Safari crash since applying the update. If they fixed nothing else, I’ll take that fix! I was getting kinda tired of going to websites that were somewhat complex and then moments later being returned to the Home screen because the browser crashed. Other than that I haven’t noticed any other specific improvements, however I would say that the iPhone 2.0.2 update has made the iPhone less crash prone overall. Again, this is speculation on my part after a couple days of use. No real issues with the update, although I do have a minor thing happening in that when I’m home on Wi-Fi, the display still says 3g. Wi-Fi is on and connected (because I can use the Remote app), but the display doesn’t always update. No big deal, but hey it was working properly before the 2.0.2 update.

 

Has the iPod touch Killed Rapid iPhone Feature Updates?

When Apple first introduced the iPhone, Steve promised us feature updates along the way. For the most part we were getting those updates every couple of months (1.1.1 – 9/27/2007, 1.1.2 – 11/12/2007, 1.1.3 – 1/16/2008, 1.1.4 – 2/26/2008). Each update brought us a few new features and fixes. However, once Apple introduced the iPod touch (which runs on the same OS as the iPhone), the feature updates slowed down quite a bit. The problem with having both devices share the same OS is the way Apple recognizes revenue from the sales of each device. For example, the iPhone revenue recognition is spread out over the year. This allows Apple to add features to the iPhone for FREE without having to restate revenue. However, that is not the case with iPod sales. So that’s why when Apple introduces the same new features for the iPod touch they have to charge something for the update. The last update to 2.0 was free for iPhone users, but cost iPod touch users $9.95.

Here’s the problem: If Apple were to release new features for the iPhone AND iPod touch every couple of months like they had been doing for the iPhone last year, then iPod touch users would really start to feel nickel and dimed because Apple would have to charge them “something” for each update. Now it is possible for Apple to release new feature updates that only affect the phone side of the iPhone. This way they could release the same update for both devices with fixes and phone features that were specific to the iPhone. However, this means that we probably won’t see frequent feature updates for the overall device (the iPhone) like we were seeing last year. Maybe this is a moot point now that 3rd party apps are here. Food for thought though. I think Apple has its hands full at the moment working on bugs. So we’ll see what happens.


CS3 Government Briefing in DC

I’m here in Washington DC at the Grand Hyatt Hotel for the Creative Suite Briefing for US Government. We have over 500 people registered for this event. I’m here with my colleagues: Dave Helmly, Steve Whatley, Jerry Silverman, Tim Conrad and Clint Funk – showing the Creative Suite 3 Master Collection. This full day event started out with a really enthusiastic showing of Acrobat 9 and Photoshop CS3 and then breakouts this afternoon for Web and Video.
I’m posting this blog entry live using Adobe Contribute CS3 during my keynote address.




My Top 10 Favorite iPhone Apps

Now that the iPhone software 2.0x and iPhone 3g have been out for a little over a month, I thought I would take a few moments to do a quick review on my favorite iPhone apps. Now keep in mind I currently have 31 3rd party iPhone Apps installed over and above the apps that come with the iPhone. There is something I like about each of them or I would have removed them from my iPhone. As a matter of fact, some of these apps have replaced others that I once thought were great. I have some apps installed like Band and Super Monkey Ball simply because I think they are great uses of technology and show what’s possible with a little creativity. However, when I looked at my list of Apps I asked myself, “name 10 that you use ALL THE TIME!” So here they are:

(also note that many of these will also run just fine on the iPod touch)

 

#10 – WordPress

The Free WordPress app for the iPhone is useful. It allows me to create blog entries from my iPhone on the go much easier than using the web interface and the biggest plus is that it allows me to use photos that I take with the iPhone’s camera or those already in my photo library. My wishes for an update include the ability to place the images anywhere I want in the post and the ability to do hyperlinks. If they added these two abilities I’d use it a lot more.

Free

 

#9 – BlackJack 21

Although I’m not a gambler I like to pass the time away on flights or when I’m in a line waiting somewhere by playing a game. Of all the iPhone BlackJack games I’ve tried, this one beats them. It uses finger gestures to enhance the game play. If you want a hit, you swipe down. If you want to stay, you swipe across. If you want to double down, you double tap. If you want to split, you swipe up. Very cool and fun. Also it’s just like when I go to Vegas, the house tends to win way more than I do :) Very realistic!

$4.99

 

#8 – BigTipper

I’ve tried a couple different Tip Calculators on the iPhone. My choice used to be the free app CheckPlease. That was until I bought BigTipper. BigTipper’s interface is much nicer and I love the fact that there is a numeric keypad right there instead of the other apps that bring up an alphanumeric keyboard. Um, why would I need to type letters? This one also does what some of the others don’t do. It takes Sales Tax into account (optional) and automatically subtracts it so you’re not tipping based on the total which includes tax. It also includes a nice “Round” feature to round up/down the bill to an even number. Its fast, has big easy to use controls and just a better all around UI (user interface). My feature request for this one would be to have it put in the sales tax percentage based upon my current location. Optionally of course. If you’re wanting a freebie, then get CheckPlease. If you want the best then get BigTipper.

$1.99

 

#7 – Pick&Choose Groceries

This is hands down the best Grocery List app I’ve seen to date! It comes with a database of 1,500 of most commonly purchased items already in place so that you can simply add them to your list without having to key them in. Of course there are going to be things that you buy that aren’t on the list. No problem, you can just key them in as custom items and save them for future use. The one feature that this app has the the other that I tried didn’t have was that it lets you create multiple lists! This is a huge feature for me. We shop at different stores for different kinds of items. This way I can maintain a different list for each store that we frequent. It’s also the little things. For example, you have the option of either having items disappear from the list as you check them off or my favorite, it puts a line through them. The same thing you would do with paper. I love it! If I had a feature request for this app, it would be to have ability to put the prices in as you shop. That way you’d have an idea of what your shopping trip was going to cost you before you headed out. The app works as advertised, stability could be improved.

$4.99

 

#6 – BOA Mobile Banking

If you’re a Bank of America customer, then this is a must have app. Not only does it allow you have an easy to use interface to access your online banking, but it also takes advantage of the iPhone’s Location Services. So for example, just the other day I needed to go to an ATM and I was in an unfamiliar part of town. No problem, the app was able to find the closest BOA branded ATM and plot a route directly to it. I also used it when I was in NYC last week for the same exact thing (little did I know at the time, all I had to do was turn around and it was right there. Luckily the iPhone doesn’t laugh at you).

Free

 

#5 – FaceBook

I’m using FaceBook more and more to share photos with friends and family. The Free FaceBook app provides an easy streamlined interface to the site. It also allows me to upload photos directly to my FaceBook account using the built-in camera or photos from my iPhone’s photo library. A must for when I’m hangin’ with my peeps.

Free

 

#4 – Flickup

Yep, speaking of photos, I’m a photographer and I use Flickr too. I like Flickr.com over many of the other sites out there because of Flickr’s geotagging features. I like being able to plot my photos on a map. Well since the iPhone now geotags photos that you take with the built-in camera, Flickup will upload those shots and include the location information so that they are automatically placed on the map. You can upload shots either from the built-in camera or from the photo library. Now it’s much easier for me to document a trip all from my iPhone instead of having to make time to do it later. Although this app works, I would like it to be a little more stable. After uploading a couple of shots, I often have to restart it or worse restart my iPhone. One addtional point of frustration though is that you need to upload the shots right where you’re standing if you want the location information to be accurate. According to the developer, Apple strips away the location information from 3rd party apps. So if you had a shot say from Hawaii in your camera roll. The location information in that shot will be from where you were in Hawaii. However, if you waited until you got home to upload it with Flickup, the location information that gets uploaded will be from where you are at you home/time of upload. Hopefully, the developer will figure out a way around this in a future update.

$1.99

 

#3 – Chopper

I love this game! I’m not a gamer, so I don’t like games that are overly complicated. However, I don’t want games that are too easy either. This game hits my sweet spot. It’s challenging enough and entertaining enough to keep me interested, without being so difficult that I just want to give up. I’ve only had this game for a couple of days and I’m already addicted to it. Now I actually don’t mind when I have to spend time in a waiting room or in a line. Works perfectly! Not a single crash (other than my chopper) to date.

$7.99

 

#2 – OneTap Movies

I’ve always wanted the ultimate Movies App for the iPhone and this is it (so far). OneTap Movies is Location aware so that it will automatically bring up the theaters in your immediate area and show you the movies playing and the movie times. You can also tell it the location to use instead if the theater you want info on is not in your immediate area. It also allows you to see movie trailers and ratings. Also rather than just show a simple text listing, it shows you the movie posters too! Although I really liked this app, I did have a problem with the way it worked. For example, when I’m home I always go to the same movie theater. So It didn’t make sense to me that it would have to look up the theaters in my area every time. Also the closest theater is not the one I go to. So I would have to collapse the listing for that one and scroll down to mine. I wrote the developer a note (right in the app I mind you) and asked for a way to have “Favorite” theaters. He never wrote me back, but I got my wish in a free update 2 days later! Wow! So now you can tap the star next to your favorite theater(s) and it will always be at the top of the list! I would still like a separate “Favorite Theaters” List, but this will certainly do for now.

$1.99

 

#1 – Remote

The coolest absolutely most useful 3rd party app (for me) is actually by Apple! Apple’s Remote basically turns your iPhone into a Wi-Fi remote for your computer running iTunes or your Apple TV. This app is just killer! I have one computer that serves as an iTunes Server/Jukebox. It has all of my music, my favorite movies, music videos and favorite photos on it. I also have multiple Apple TVs and AirPort Express Base Stations throughout my home. Each AirPort Express is either connected to a stereo system or set of powered speakers. Now with this app I can CONTROL IT ALL from the palm of my hand. If I happen to be out by the pool and want to hear some tunes, no problem. I fire up Remote, see all of my playlists, choose one and I can even direct the sound to the speakers out there (iPod Hi-Fi). Skip songs, pause the music, switch playlists, change speakers, etc. It’s just AWESOME! If you have an Apple TV, the Remote app also serves as keyboard for doing things like searches, entering passwords or flickr contacts. When you’re in the app, the interface looks just like the iPod app. This app works in ways that no other 3rd party remote could and best of all it’s FREE!

FREE

 

The Bottom Line

I’m always on the lookout for cool iPhone apps. I’ll probably have a different top 10 list in another month. For the most part the 3rd party apps I’ve tried work well. Some are rough around the edges and crash on occasion. However with each update they get better and more reliable. That’s what makes the iPhone so cool is that it’s always changing and I’m enjoying the ride so far. The App Store took in $30 Million in the first 30 days and is looking like it can easily be a $500 Million-$1 Billion/year business. As you can see I’ve found some great FREE apps as well as some fantastic low cost apps. These apps make the iPhone platform just that much more useful to me. While I’m a ways off from not needing to carry my laptop, the iPhone 3g has certainly reduced my dependency on it. There are currently over 1,600 apps available for the iPhone and iPod touch. This is just the beginning. Imagine where we will be in another 6 months!

Also be sure to check out the AWESOME list of iPhone/iPod touch apps that VersionTracker.com maintains.


di-GPS Pro for Nikon DSLRs – GeoTagging!

Back in November of 2007 I wrote about using the N2 di-GPS with my Nikon D300 and I was quite happy with it then and I’ve been happy with it all along. This little GPS unit writes the longitude and latitude of where you are at the time you took your shots, directly to the EXIF data of the images. No post processing required. Once the GPS coordinates are there you can use various apps or services to plot your picture locations on a map. Adobe Photoshop Lightroom is great for this as well as www.flickr.com.

I really didn’t think that were was too much that they could do to make this accessory better. Boy was I wrong! As it turns out there were two areas that could be improved and guess what? They made those two improvements! When you use any GPS device, the first thing you have to do is wait for the GPS to acquire a satellite signal. Depending on the GPS device this could be anywhere from 30 seconds to 2-3 minutes. The N2 di-GPS was always pretty quick (closer to 30 seconds), but I didn’t like having to wait that 30 seconds or so every time I wanted to use it. So once I put in my camera, I would just leave it in the ON position during my entire shoot so that it stayed on even if the camera was off. Since it gets its power from the camera, this would ultimately shorten the battery life of the camera too. It wasn’t bad so I just lived with it. The other area for improvement was that the model I had been using ties up the 10 pin terminal port on the camera. So if you had another accessory such as a shutter release, you had to decide which one was more important to you.

I didn’t even know that Dawn Technologies had come out with a new "Pro" model until someone who read my original review asked me which one did I have? This lead me to their site and to read up on the new model. Well they did it! They made a great device even better. The NEW di-GPS Pro has all the great benefits of the first model, plus a built-in battery to save GPS satellite location information even when the unit is OFF AND a Terminal Pass Through Port! That’s right you can plug in the GPS into your Nikon (or Fuji) camera and then plug in your accessory into the top of the di-GPS Pro. This will come in handy as I do have a shutter release cable and YES, there was at least one time that I wanted to use both at the same time. I was doing a beach shoot and wanted to geotag the location and use my shutter release cable at the same time. I couldn’t do it! So I ended up using the release cable instead of the GPS. Using the camera’s timer in that situation wasn’t an option. I was trying to shoot the waves as they came in and I had to hit the shutter just at the right time.

I’ve known about this model for a couple of months now and I actually wasn’t going to upgrade. Gasp! (I know, right?) That was until someone saw my existing model and said that if I ever wanted to upgrade (sell it), that they would be buy it. Of course that’s all I needed to hear and I ordered the di-GPS Pro the next day. It arrived two days after I placed the order! They’ve really got their shipping process down as it comes directly from Hong Kong. They don’t having any resellers in the US (which amazes me).

 

Putting the di-GPS Pro to the test

I wasn’t too worried about the unit actually working. What I was more curious about was satellite acquisition times and how long it would take to reacquire the signal after being turned OFF. I had to go pick up dinner at one of my favorite restaurants and decided to take it with me for a test. I sat in the parking lot and turned it on for the first time after connecting it to my Nikon D700. I then timed it. It took exactly 35 seconds to acquire a signal. I then snapped this shot and turned it off (click on it to see the location):

I went into restaurant and picked up my order. Afterwards I got back in my car and took a drive to Woodward Avenue. This is the site of the annual Woodward Dream Cruise where all the classic cars cruise up and down Woodward all weekend. Although it was Thursday, I was sure there would be some cruisers out there and I was right. I pulled over where I saw these two beauties parked and I turned the di-GPS Pro back on. I was floored! The signal was acquired INSTANTLY! Seriously it was like ONE SECOND and I had a solid red light. I then snapped these two shots before turning it off again and driving a little further to grap that last shot. (click on them to see the location):

 

 

 

Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 2 gives you a one click link from your GPS data to the location on Google Maps

 

The Bottom Line

If you already have the N2 di-GPS, then you’re probably fine as you are and don’t "need" to upgrade. However, if you use it a LOT and turn it off and on a lot or you have additional things that you would like to plug into the terminal port then this model is a must have. Also if you’re going to buy one for the first time, the I would spend the extra $70 to go up to the Pro model. The built-in battery for saving GPS satellite location info is worth it (to me). Both models work natively with the following cameras: Nikon D3, D700, D300, D2XS, D2X, D2HS & D200, Fujifilm S5 Pro. The D3, D700 and D300 even have a GPS menu right on the camera to display status information about your GPS device:

I was also happy to see that this model came with a little carrying case. A nice touch and a welcomed addition.

The di-GPS Basic goes for $198 and the di-GPS Pro goes for $268. There is a flat $45 shipping free. Shipments are via FedEx and FAST! Order here.



The Nikon 14-24mm f/2.8 Lens is AWESOME!

I got a chance to work with the (fairly) NEW Nikon Nikkor 14-24mm f/2.8 lens over the past couple of weeks and it’s just freakin’ AWESOME! Couple it with a Nikon D700 (or other Full-Frame body) and it’s even better. This is not my first wide angle lens. I also own a Sigma 10-20mm. However, I was never really thrilled with it due to the distortion I was getting on the lower right corner. Sure it was an easy fix in Adobe Photoshop Lightroom, but it was something I had to fix every time I used it.

This Nikkor lens takes things up to a whole new level. It’s fast and the focus is spot on. There’s not much more I can say about it. It’s bigger and heavier than my previous lens, but it’s also much better quality! You just can’t go wrong with good glass.

 

Here are a couple of shots taken with my Nikon D700 and the Nikkor 14-24mm f/2.8 lens

Adobe’s World Headquarters in San Jose – Nikon D700, ISO 200, 20mm f/2.8 1/400 sec

 

On the way up to the main lobby – Nikon D700, ISO 200, 14mm f/2.8 1/30 sec

Also for my Nikon fans that have been waiting for me to do more testing with the D700 (after my initial impressions) here’s a low light test.

A training class – D700, ISO 3200, 18mm f/8.0 1/8 sec

I’m very pleased with the performance thus far. The real test will be a friends wedding that I’m shooting in September.

 

The Nikon Nikkor 14-24mm f/2.8 Lens goes for $1,549.95 at B&H Photo.

 

Special Thanks to Rick Miller for his help with the above lobby shot!


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