iPhone App of the Week – Google Mobile App

You might be wondering, “why do I need a Google app on my iPhone? Isn’t Google built-in?” I wondered the same thing. The first time I downloaded the Google Mobile App a couple of months back, it was because the built-in Contacts app was soooooo slow at searching Contacts that I used the Google Mobile App instead. Once Apple brought acceptable speed back to the Contacts app via software updates, I deleted the Google Mobile App. Recently I put the app back on. I was intrigued by the New Voice Search. Although I love voice recognition technology, it usually doesn’t work very well for me. It usually takes 3-6 tries to get the device/app to recognize what I’m trying to say. I have voice recognition in my car and almost never use it for this reason. So I decided to give this App a try just for fun. Although it’s not perfect with my voice, it does work more times than not. Of course you don’t have to use the voice feature at all. You can just key in your search words as you would expect.


Why do I need the Google Mobile App? Isn’t Google built-in to the iPhone?

Beyond the new voice recognition capabilities, you’re probably still wondering why you need the Google Mobile App? It’s simple. The built-in Google search in Safari and Google maps are good! I use them all the time. However, they only search the internet. The Google Mobile App searches your iPhone data (Contacts) and the internet at the same time. Beyond that it offers suggestions and word completion for what it thinks you’re searching for. Although Apple did speed up Contact searching, the Google Mobile App is still faster. The Google Mobile App also keeps a history of your searches to make it easy to do the same searches again. Another thing that sets the Google Mobile App apart from the built-in Google search in Safari is that it’s Location Aware. This means that you can do searches for things around you. Yes the Google Maps can do this for businesses, etc., but it’s not as comprehensive as all that would be available to you searching the full Google Search Engine.

Searching for Showtimes in the Google Maps App that’s built-in to the iPhone just brought up a nearby theater.

If you’re a user of other Google services such as GMAIL, Notebook, Calendar, etc. You’ll have quick access to those services too.

Don’t get too excited. These apps are Google’s web based apps and open in Safari. They are not native iPhone apps.


How does the voice feature work?

Google recorded this cool demonstration. See it for yourself:


The Bottom Line

I like this app a lot. I really like the voice feature although it’s not perfect at recognizing my voice. It’s really cool just to speak your search and have it done. I like that it searches my Contacts at the same time it searches the web, but I wish it also searched my calendars too. It would be MUCH faster than having to scroll through looking for an appointment. As a matter of fact the Calendar app should have its own search feature like the Contacts app. It would be great if the Google Mobile App could search both at the same time. That being said, this app is FREE so it’s hard for me to complain about it. It does what it was built to do and does it well.

The Google Mobile App is FREE and available for both the iPhone and iPod touch. Download it from the App Store here: Google Mobile App

Happy Thanksgiving & Black Friday ’08

With all that’s going on in the world, I’m very happy with my life. I want to take this opportunity to wish you and your family a very Happy Thanksgiving!


Black Friday 2008

Well it’s here again! The day that retailers compete for your business. I do my best to avoid this madness at all costs. Last year was the first year that I went out shopping on Black Friday in YEARS! I just could resist the deals on GPS units at Staples. However, this year there is nothing tempting me. Nothing at all. So I plan to sleep in. I do know that many of you like deals and like gadgets (after all, that’s probably why you’re reading this right?). Before we get to the deals you might want some recommendations on cool stuff to bet. So check out my Holiday Gadget Gift Guide and my recent appearance on The MacJury. Now let’s get to the deals. Here are a few random Black Friday deals/sites you should check out:

First of all here’s a site that does a pretty good job of accumulating many of the Black Friday deals in one spot. It’s called Black Friday Gotta Deal.

The next one is Amazon.com. Since I HATE standing in lines, nothing pleases me more than to get good deals from the comfort of my chair. Check out Amazon’s Black Friday Deals.

Of course Apple products are always hot items on anyone’s list. So check out Apple’s Black Friday deals too.

Here are some deals at one of my favorite local computers/electronics stores – Micro Center.

I’m a Nikon shooter so I received a mailer with Nikon’s Black Friday Deals.

If you’re a video enthusiast then you probably want to check out The Video Guys.


Lastly, be sure to check out the Consumer Reports Electronics & Computers Gift Guide.



Schedule TiVo recordings from your mobile phone

As an iPhone user, one of things I have had on my wishlist since the iPhone 2.0 software update was a “native” TiVo scheduler. While there still isn’t a native iPhone app for scheduling recordings remotely, TiVo has created a mobile friendly version of their website (finally).

That’s right, you can go to http://m.tivo.com from any mobile browser (or any browser period) and get a very streamlined mobile friendly version of their site. This mobile version is geared specifically for scheduling recordings on your TiVo Series 2 or TiVo Series 3/HD. 


Good start, but needs a little work

Let’s start with the fact that I think the main TiVo site needs some work. So I’m not surprised that the mobile version is less than perfect. On the main TiVo site you have the ability to log in and actually see a full blown “Guide” of all the channels you receive and what’s coming on several days in advance. From the guide you can either schedule one-time recordings or setup a Season Pass to always record your favorite shows.

Of course if you know the name of the show you want to record, you can just do a search for it. The Guide is a good thing to have, but it’s very cumbersome to navigate, and even worse on a mobile device. The biggest problem that I have with it is that you don’t get to narrow the selection down to just your favorite channels (although this is allowed on the actual TiVo hardware). So I end up have to scroll hundreds of channels that I will never watch/use. 

The mobile version doesn’t have a Guide at all. So the only way to schedule a recording is to do a search, pick from the Daily Picks or the Most Popular. This works well, but it brings up another issue (actually the same issue). Let’s say I do a search for “The Unit”.

It comes right up (very fast performance so far), however, since I can’t limit my search/account to just my favorite stations, it comes up with “The Unit” on channel 14. Channel 14 in my area is the old analog/basic standard def cable channel for CBS.

The channel I would rather record this show on would be channel 233, which is CBS HD in my area. I can choose to “view upcoming episodes” and it will then list the one I want on 233. This isn’t bad as an extra step.

However, I ran into a problem trying to do a Season Pass this way. I did my search and then chose to create a Season Pass. I saw that it was using the standard def station, so I then chose to View Upcoming Episodes, selected the same show on the HD channel and then completed my Season Pass. However, when I checked my TiVo HD, it had in fact created the Season Pass using the standard def channel. So for now I will not be using the mobile version of this site to do Season Passes. I also expect this problem to go away one way or the other by February 2009 when all stations are required to broadcast in digital. I expect those old basic cable channels to go away and this this won’t be an issue. The ultimate though would be for TiVo.com to just allow me to limit searches to my favorite channels. 

On a good note, I’m very happy that this mobile version seems to do a good job of keeping logged in. It’s a pain having always key in a user name and password. The desktop version of the site can’t even keep me logged in, so I’m pleasantly surprised that the mobile version can. I’m also happy that the mobile version allows me to choose which one of my TiVo HD’s to record to.


m.tivo.com added to the Home Screen


The Bottom Line

In all fairness, this mobile version of TiVo.com is listed as a “Beta”, so perhaps they will take my feedback and make improvements. If you have a TiVo Series 2 or Series 3/HD and a mobile phone (doesn’t require an iPhone), then you can’t go wrong with giving it a try. Although I can pull up the full version of the tivo.com site on my iPhone, this mobile version is sooooooooo much easier and faster. As good as the Safari browser is on the iPhone, I wish that ALL companies would offer mobile friendly versions of their websites. It’s just makes it easier and faster to get to the info we need. Less is more.

iPhone Software Update 2.2

On Thursday night last week, Apple released the iPhone 2.2 update. I’ve had it installed and have been playing with it over the weekend and thus far no issues. The official list of new features is as follows:



Enhancements to Maps


  • Google Street View
  • public transit and walking directions
  • display street address of dropped pins
  • share location via email


Enhancements to Mail


  • resolved isolated issues with scheduled fetching of mail
  • improved formatting of wide HTML email
  • Improved stability and performance of Safari


Podcasts are now available for download in iTunes

Decrease call-setups and call drops

Improved sound quality of visual voicemail

Pressing the Home button from any Home screen takes you to the first Home screen

Preference to turn off auto-correction in the Keyboard settings.

I’m really impressed and happy with the additions to the Maps app. Apple did a great job in implementing Google Maps Street View. Here’s how it works:

You can access Google Maps Street View (in areas where it’s available) by either using the Drop Pin feature or search for an existing Address/Contact. If Street View is available, the little orange guy/icon on the left of the address will be highlighted so that you can tap it. Once you tap it, the iPhone will go into a 360° Interactive Street View. You can use your finger to navigate around and see the area. It’s really pretty cool!



You can also get directions now using public transit and walking directions! This is really handy in places like New York City. I’ll never forget years ago following a set of directions that had me walk all the way around the block avoiding one way streets, arggghhh!



It’s also cool to be able to download podcasts now directly to your iPhone via the iTunes Wi-Fi store. One less reason to have to connect your iPhone to your computer to do a sync. So go ahead and check out an episode or two from my Adobe Creative Suite Video Podcast :)


Although these are cool features, the one that I’ll probably use the most is one of the smallest ones. Now when you’ve scrolled to a second, third, forth, etc. Home screen, you can tap the Home button to get back to the first Home screen without having to go back, back, back. I have 6 home screens so this will come in extremely handy. The iPhone Software Update 2.2 is now available through iTunes. Just plug your iPhone in and it should prompt you to do the download/install.

iPhone App of the Week – iChoose

Having a problem making a decision? Thinking of flipping a coin and going with chance? If that’s how you roll, then iChoose is your app. This isn’t just your basic coin flipping app. iChoose has got it all: Coin Toss, Yes/No, Dice Roll, Card Choice, Boy/Girl, Weather, Quit/Stay (in these economic times STAY!), Loves Me/Loves Me Not, and even Rock, Paper, Scissors. The latest version even comes with a random number generator, which you can set the range for in the preferences. 

Does this app solve the problems of the world? No, but it does make being on the fence regarding a decision a lot more fun. Check it out in the App Store. It’s FREE and works on the iPhone and the iPod touch. Download it here.


Reading SDHC cards via the ExpressCard slot

I’ve been using ExpressCard media readers for about as long as I’ve been using a MacBook Pro (years). I’ve used ones from SanDisk, Griffin Technologies, Synchrotech and now Belkin. Hands down my favorite Compact Flash reader/writer is the Synchrotech CF Express Card Reader. This is one of the only ones that takes true advantage of the ExpressCard slot’s speed when reading high-speed UDMA enabled Compact Flash cards. Read my earlier reviews of this card here and here.


What about reading SD cards?

My point and shoot still camera and consumer HD camcorder both use SD cards. So what about those? Although I love my San Disk 12-in-1 memory card reader, it’s really overkill since I’m only dealing CF and SD cards these days. Also since I don’t want to read CF cards at USB speeds, then I would only be using that reader for SD cards. So my answer is a very small ExpressCard Media Reader. I actually have a couple of these. However, I recently realized that the ones I have are older models that don’t read the high capacity SD (SDHC) cards. I ran into this problem just last weekend while doing an Adobe Premiere Pro CS4 demo. I needed the read the 8GB SDHC card from my Canon HF10 HD camcorder. My old Belkin ExpressCard reader wouldn’t mount the card. Luckily there was someone in the audience with a newer model and he let me use his.

Knowing that I was going to need to use one from here on out (SD cards continue to grow in capacity), I stopped by the Apple Store while I was in San Francisco for Adobe MAX. I was looking for the same brand that he had let me borrow (SanDisk). Unfortunately, I could only find ONE model and it was the Belkin. As a matter of fact it was the last one left and it looked just like the one I was using already. However, on the side of the packaging it did specifically show the SDHC logo, so I took a chance and bought it. When I got back to my hotel room, I compared the two and there was a difference in part number. So apparently Belkin had upgraded it. It worked like a charm!

Although these ExpressCard readers from Belkin and others (not counting the Syncrotech CF reader), go in the ExpressCard slot, they operate at USB speeds. So you really don’t gain anything speed wise (until someone develops a native ExpressCard slot one for SD), however, you do gain on compactness. When this Belkin reader is in the ExpressCard slot it’s flush with the side of my MacBook Pro. So nothing sticks out. You could even leave it in all the time if you don’t use your ExpressCard slot for other cards.

These readers read/write: SD/SDHC, MMC, MMCplus, MemoryStick, MemoryStick Pro, and xD-Picture Card without the need for an adapter. There really is no functional difference between the Belkin, SanDisk and Griffin Technology (although the Griffin reader doesn’t specially call out SDHC. It may not be updated yet!) readers. However, since they they all do the same thing and both the Belkin and SanDisk readers specifically list SDHC, you’re probably better off going with the SanDisk. Why? Because it lists for only $17.29, while the Belkin reader lists for $29.99. Had the Apple Store had the SanDisk model for that price, I would have gotten it.

If your Mac or PC notebook has an ExpressCard slot, then having one of these adapters is a must. They will fit in just about any pocket in your laptop bag. If you need Compact Flash support and you have an ExpressCard slot, then go with the Syncrotech. It will be way faster than your USB reader. If all you’re going to use is SD/SDHC cards, then you might be better off going with SanDisk’s very clever Ultra II SD/SDHC Plus Cards. These cards fold in half to expose a USB plug that goes right into your computer. No card reader necessary. They are my FAVORITE SD cards hands down!

Cool things at Adobe MAX 2008!

I’m here at Adobe MAX in San Francisco! This is actually my first time attending MAX and I gotta say that it’s blowing me away! There are about 5,000 people here that are attending sessions from sun up to sun down. This morning’s general session/keynote Adobe announced the NEW Adobe Flash Platform and showcased several very cool solutions around Adobe Flash and AIR. Adobe also announced that Major League Baseball (MLB) was going to be streaming their games now via Flash (take that Microsoft Silverlight). 

I taught two sessions yesterday on the conference track and have more to teach today and the audiences have been great. This is THE CONFERENCE if you’re a designer or developer. There are hands-on labs, conference sessions, birds-of-a-feather gatherings in the evening and the chance to meet with the actual engineers that write Adobe products and solutions. I’m having a blast meeting so many interesting customers. Thanks to those of you who read this blog and watch my Creative Suite Podcast that came up to me and said hello.


The Adobe Logo Store is back!

Now you can get your Adobe Gear on! When I did the CS3 tour last year, one of the most popular areas during the breaks, was the Adobe CS3 Logo Store. You could get hats, t-shirts, bags, pens, toys, etc. all bearing the Adobe CS3 logos. People were buying stuff left and right. Once the tour was over the store’s webpage also went away. I’m please to report that the NEW CS4 Gear Store is here! Now you stock up on your Adobe CS4 stuff, just in time for the holidays :)

2008 MacBook Pro Review

Fortunately my MacBook Pro is supplied to me by my employer. It’s my work computer. Therefore, I have to wait an adequate amount of time (usually around 18 months) before requesting a new one. This time around I waited a lot longer. The last two updates to the MacBook Pro were good, just not earth shattering. I didn’t feel like going through the hassle of transferring to a new MacBook Pro (including Boot Camp) the last two times. So I waited and kept using my MacBook Pro 2.33GHz model. Now I’m glad I did!


The New MacBook Pro

Apple has completely redesigned the MacBook Pro! As with anything, there will be some pluses and minuses and I certainly have my list. So let’s get to it:


The Pros:

The New MacBook Pro is crafted out of a single piece (brick) of aluminum through a new manufacturing process at Apple that looks pretty amazing. I can definitely see the benefits of this process because my New MacBook Pro is very sturdy. I can remember the days of the PowerBook G4 Titanium and how “flexible” those cases were. If you squeezed too hard while the CD drive was going, you would hear a grinding noise. Or if you flexed the casing too much the battery would fall out. Those days are gone, this thing is built very well. I also appreciate going to black keys on the keyboard. My keyboard over the years was really getting kind of grimy and this new keyboard should hide the dirt better. All the ports are back to being on one side. I kinda like this, although in some cases they are a little too close together. It can get pretty tight trying to plug in two USB cables, ethernet and Firewire 800. The speakers are much nicer and louder than any previous model. The new graphics card kicks butt! Graphics performance is night and day faster over my last model. Since CS4 takes advantage of the GPU, I’m seeing some really nice speed increases across the board. One of my long time pet peeves has finally been addressed. The two components that I have usually upgraded in the past on my MacBook Pro were the RAM and the hard drive. While I usually max out the RAM right off the bat, I may not upgrade the size of the hard drive until months later when larger capacities are available. Replacing a hard drive in PowerBooks and MacBook Pros has always been a real pain. Now Apple has made the hard drive very accessible via the same door that hides the battery. I took the cover off to take a peek and it was right there. I was speechless. The built-in iSight camera has improved drastically in image quality. Lastly I also really appreciate the speed. It is noticeably faster in many areas over my older model. If you want to continue to be in a happy place, stop reading now and go place your order. Have a nice day.


The Cons:

We have to take the bad with the good and there is some bad with this new model. While there are some Apple zealots out there that may not like to ever hear anything bad about Apple, the fact is Apple does make mistakes like any other company. The products are not perfect. Very cool, exciting yes, but not perfect. Everyone’s entitled to their opinion and here’s mine: The two areas I was most concerned about was the glossy screen and the new trackpad. The new LED glossy display is VERY BRIGHT! Almost too bright. I find myself sometimes turning it down a notch. I’ve used it now in all the places I normally use it in around the house and no real issues. Photos look fantastic on it and color looks awesome.  Apple decided to cover the display with glass! I was thinking that this was going to be a nightmare. As you might imagine, glass is highly reflective. So far this hasn’t been an issue, but I do notice the glare when looking at it from the sides. Another interesting thing was actually seeing the reflection of the backlit keyboard in the display under certain lighting conditions. As I tell people with any display/monitor, you need to see it with your own eyes, before passing judgement. No reviewer can tell you if it’s going to be right for you or not. It will also depend upon the lighting conditions you’re going to use it under. While I like the new black keys on the keyboard, the keyboard itself is missing a couple of things. I really miss the separate Enter key on the bottom right of the keyboard. I also miss the ability of having a numeric keypad using the Numlock key. I can’t figure out why Apple would remove this functionality? In the Pros section above, I mentioned that I liked having all the ports on one side. I do! However, I do miss having a USB port on the right side too. On occasion I use an AT&T USB Connect 881U USB 3G modem for internet access when I travel. Due to the width of this modem, it blocks the other USB port. This wasn’t an issue before, because I had another USB port on the other side of the computer. As I write this I have a Firewire 800 drive and an Ethernet cable plugged in and it’s really tight with no space between them. Speaking of ports, I really miss the other Firewire port. My older MacBook Pro had both a Firewire 800 and Firewire 400 port. While Firewire is daisy chainable, I have to remember to always have either the right cables with me or an adapter since I have a mix of Firewire 800 and 400 devices. If you get the new MacBook Pro, you will definitely want to get this Firewire 400 to 800 adapter. Apple also completely changed the battery. While that’s not uncommon they did a couple things to make it a little harder on travelers. I normally travel with at least one extra battery for my MacBook Pro for those cross country flights. The new MacBook Pro’s battery is longer/bigger than the previous model, which is going to be a consideration for packing my computer bag. Also Apple removed the battery charge indicator from the battery itself and put it on the side of the MacBook Pro. While this makes it more convenient to check the charge of the battery while it’s installed, it makes it impossible to know if a spare battery is charged or not without first putting it in the computer. Speaking of which is not as easy to do either. Now the battery is behind a removable door, which you must take off first!


My biggest complaint!

Yes, this con is so big that it needs it’s own section. Like I said earlier, I use my MacBook Pro about 90% of the time. So that means that I’m going to be using the trackpad a lot too. Yes, I know I know – you say get a mouse or a tablet! I have both a mouse and a tablet and I use them. I use my Bluetooth mighty mouse when I’m doing demos and I use my Wacom tablet when I’m doing photo retouching and demos as well. However, there are plenty of times where I’m just doing email, surfing the web, writing this blog post, etc. and I don’t always have a surface to put a mouse on. I could be sitting in an airport, on a plane, sitting in bed or laying back in a recliner. I’m not going to grab a mouse in these situations. Never had to before, I shouldn’t have to now! The new MacBook Pro’s trackpad is completely redesigned. The separate “click” button is GONE! The whole trackpad (actually most of the lower section) is a button. This has it’s pluses and minuses too. Unfortunately it has more minuses than pluses. It’s just sometimes awkward to click and drag objects. Speaking of clicking, this trackpad is the loudest I’ve ever heard. When you click it, everyone around you will know! This includes your sleeping mate that is lying next to you while you work late. I could deal with this if the darn thing just worked consistently. It seems that depending upon where you click (for example the center vs. the sides, you may get a click you may not. Now in all fairness, Apple is rumored to be working on a software fix to address at least this one issue. Let’s hope they can address other issues too. The New MacBook Pro has additional gestures that you can perform on the trackpad such as pinching to zoom in and out of photos. Photoshop CS4, InDesign CS4, iPhoto, etc. take advantage of these gestures. However, as it stands right now in their current implementation, it’s just too sensitive to be useful. I’m also stunned that there is no way to turn them off! This makes working in Photoshop or iPhoto very challenging from the trackpad. Sure, you can just use a mouse! Yeah, I get that. However, that’s a workaround! The trackpad is built-in and should be usable! I had none of these issues with the old one and used the old trackpad the majority of the time. Let’s hope that much of this is addressed in the upcoming software update. I want to believe that I’ll get used to the trackpad. These few days were kinda rough. It puts me in the mind of the first week I started typing on the iPhone. I thought that was going to take a long time to get used to too. However, it’s second nature now. We’ll see how this goes over time.


The bottom line

Despite the issues I’m having with the trackpad, I’m very pleased with the New MacBook Pro. The Glossy display is no where near as annoying as I thought it would be. The new MacBook Pro is solid, gorgeous and fast! Migrating over from my previous MacBook Pro was a piece of cake (I still have Boot Camp left to do). It was worth the wait and I would gladly do it again. My configuration is the Core 2 Duo 2.8GHz, 320GB 7200 RPM hard drive with 4GB of RAM. Should you upgrade to the MacBook Pro. If you want a faster better built MacBook? YES! However, you need to see the display for yourself! What is acceptable for me, may not be for you.

iPhone App of the Week – MyWeather Mobile

The iPhone has a built-in weather app. So why would anyone pay $9.99 for another one? I was very hesitant at first to try MyWeather Mobile. After all $9.99 is on the high end of iPhone app prices. Although the built-in weather app does a good job of letting you know the current conditions and the highs and lows, it does nothing for showing you forecasts, trends or precipitation. 


Is it going to rain/snow today?

If you live somewhere that has mild climates or weather that doesn’t change much, then you can probably be quite content with the built-in app. However, if you live in the North or Midwest, then you know weather can change at the drop of a hat. Here in Michigan it could be 70° and sunny, raining and cloudy, snowing with sleet and hail all in the same day. As a frequent traveler, I want to know what I’m heading into. Will there be a chance that my flights could be delayed or cancelled due to weather?


MyWeather Mobile

This is where MyWeather Mobile comes in. This app goes way beyond the features of the built-in weather app. The big feature for me is forecasts! Not just what it’s doing outside now. Like the built-in app, you can add multiple cities. However, in addition to enter the city, you can actually use your contacts list.

So for example, rather than putting in Scott’s city, I can just use his Contact info as a location and it will show me the weather where he lives. Also instead of having to put your current city in all the time, it’s location based and will always show you the weather of where you currently are located.

The graphics are great in this app. Very detailed and well done. It also supports a widescreen view of the trends screen. Just rotate your iPhone or iPod touch.

The bottom line

If the built-in weather app leaves you wanting more, then MyWeather mobile is worth a look. Do I think it should cost less, absolutely. However, if you need/want these features, then $9.99 is worth it. Otherwise, keep looking. After having it now for a few weeks, I don’t regret spending $9.99 on it. Works with the iPhone and iPod touch. You can check it out here on the App Store.

Why no 8″x12″ photo paper?

Everyone I know shoots digitally now! While I’m sure there are some folks out there that are perfectly content using film, I would dare say that there are more people shooting with digital cameras these days. I don’t do much photo printing, but when I do I always wonder why I end up having to crop my photo to fit the “traditional” sizes of 5×7, 8×10, etc. While visiting another photographer friend of mine, I happen to notice that she had tons of prints that were slightly larger than 8″x10″, they were 8″x12″. The beauty of this size is that your digital file will need little to no cropping. When I asked her where she got them printed, her response was Costco! I was stunned! While I had heard that lots of photographers use Costco with much success, I just didn’t believe it. 


Putting Costco to the test

I decided to give it a try. I took one of my recent shots and exported it from Lightroom 2.1 as a high res JPEG and uploaded it to the Costco Photo Center site. A few days later, the print came back and I was very impressed with the quality. The color seemed dead on (I’m not a color fanatic, so Y.M.M.V.) and there was very little if any cropping. At $1.49 for an 8″x12″ print (membership required), I also couldn’t complain about the price! Most services charge roughly $3 for an 8″x10″. The shipping prices were also very reasonable (there is a pickup option too, but I don’t have time for that). By the way, the 8×12 print was on Kodak paper!


Same photo with an 8x10 crop

Same photo with an 8×10 crop




So why can’t I do it myself?

After my very positive experience with Costco, I wondered if I could just order some 8″x12″ inch paper for my Epson printer? Like I said, I don’t do very many prints, but it’s always nice to be able to print a photo on the spot in a pinch. Nope! Nada! The Epson store doesn’t carry this size. Then I just did a quick Google search for 8″x12″ photo paper and basically got nothing!!! I was shocked. I read a few stories about how paper is made and that “odd” sizes are more costly to produce. While that may be true, it would seem that there would be a market for this size even if the price was more. Yes, I’m sure that there is a company out there that either sells this size or will custom cut it for you, but the point is why isn’t it more main stream?


What about frames?

Of course this also begs the question, “what about picture frames?” Sure, there are some 8″x12″ frames out there, but the selection is slim. I also doubt that the average store is going to carry them on the shelf. Why would they if no one really carries the paper? Costco isn’t the only one that prints in this size. I also noticed that Mpix also does 8″x12″s ($2.99). They will also frame them for you and ship them ready to hang. It’s not cheap, but it is very good quality. I recently got some 20″x30″ images done by them, framed and I was very pleased with the results.


When will the industry change?

Why is the industry still stuck on these “old” formats (8×10, 5×7, 4×6, etc.)? When will we see it change? Your guess is as good as mine. However, I’m not going to wait for it to happen. When I need a print from now on it will be with a service that prints the sizes I want without losing part of my image. Perhaps Epson, Canon, HP, etc. will read this and start offering paper/print drivers in digital friendly sizes.

I can dream, can’t I?

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