Netflix vs. Hulu Plus: If you could only have one?

AppleTV-TV_movies

I’ve been a Netflix subscriber for years and I have also tried a trial subscription to Hulu Plus. The thing that turned me off of Hulu (and still does) is that you pay the monthly fee ($7.99) and yet they still play ads. Also not to mention that during my trial period all the ads were bought out by the presidential candidates of 2012. I just couldn’t take any more. Three years later I’m willing to try Hulu Plus again, but is it worth it? I’d gladly pay more per month to eliminate the ads. Many of you have Hulu, Netflix or both. Tell me why?

What if you could only have one. Which would it be Netflix or Hulu Plus? Also now that HBO Now is coming soon, would you pick HBO over Netflix or Hulu?

Powered by Typeform

See the results here.
Check out the new lower price on the Apple TV here.



Use the Simplicam to monitor your home or office

simplicam

WiFi connected webcams are nothing new. When someone enters this category I quickly look to see if they’re adding anything new or if it’s just a me too product. In most cases there isn’t a whole lot that’s new, but companies do sometimes find a way to improve on an already crowded product category. The Simplicam + Closeli is a standard WiFi connected webcam with a nicer design than most. It has a well thought out base/stand as well as things like a 10 foot “flat” USB cable so that you can more easily hide it in your home. This camera can be monitored from your iPhone, iPad, Android device or web browser.

The setup process is pretty straight forward. Just plug the supplied “short” USB cable into your Simplicam and the other end into your Mac/PC. The software mounts in a volume on your computer that you can run from there. Once you’re in the setup utility you’ll use it to connect the Simplicam to your WiFi network. You’ll also create an account on Closeli.com where you’ll get a year of included cloud recording service. Closeli like others has different plans so that you can go back and review footage from your camera based on motion and sound detection. They also bring “face” detection to the table to distinguish between someone actually entering the room vs. the cat running by. You can get push notifications of any of the aforementioned types of activity. You can also schedule times when notifications need not be received (you’re home) or when the camera should be off. Notifications or not you can see what’s going on in the room on demand by just firing up the Closeli app on your mobile device or logging in with your web browser on your computer. You can export clips or still grabs as need. If you need to talk to the people in the room remotely you have two way audio. Yes there is also night vision.

Here’s a video review of the product.

The Bottom Line

simplicam-Face-Recognition-Manager

While I haven’t reviewed any of the newer cameras in this category lately, I would say that just looking at the specs alone Simplicam brings at least two things to the table over the competition and that’s face detection (a beta feature, which can also be set up to recognize specific faces and can tell you when an unrecognized face enters the room.) and a lower priced cloud storage/recording service. The 720p 107° view camera is also better than my older cameras.

You can get Simplicam HD + Closeli here.

My take on the NEW MacBook

MacBook-2015

Yesterday when Apple announced the new MacBook I was mildly interested. After all my 2nd computer is a MacBook Air. I’m always attracted to electronics that are thinner and lighter in weight. However, as they started to reveal the specs I quickly began to realize that this wasn’t going to be a product for me. I also had to remind some of my friends that not every product created is for every user. This is why Apple now has three different products in their notebook lineup (MacBook, MacBook Air and MacBook Pro). I’m mostly a pro user and this is NOT a pro machine.

Could it be an upgrade for my MacBook Air Mid 2012?

My 2nd computer that I use mostly around the house is approaching the 3 year old mark and that’s like 3 hundred years old in computer years right? My MacBook Air currently has 8GB of RAM, a Core i7 processor, 512GB SSD and a 13″ display. I always said that I would upgrade it the minute Apple created a 13″ MacBook Air with 16GB of RAM. That day still hasn’t come yet and the New MacBook isn’t an upgrade for me either, so I continue to wait. First off, I don’t want a smaller display. While I don’t connect a lot of peripherals to my MacBook Air on a regular basis it’s still good to know that I can easily connect an external display/projector, Wacom tablet and Thunderbolt hard drive and insert and SD memory card without any fuss.

Then who is the new MacBook for?

When I think of the New MacBook I immediately think of students and perhaps office workers/managers. These are folks who primarily use web based apps (so the browser is their main app) and productivity Apps. They do email, they write, they store things in Dropbox and they move around from location to location, classroom to classroom, meeting room to meeting room, a lot. However, most of those users will still tell you that they need to plug in an USB thumb drive from time to time.

The Bottom Line

If you’re disappointed in the specs of the new MacBook, remember that this is Apple’s “low end” notebook. It’s probably not for you and never was intended to for you. You walk past things in the mall every time you go there that aren’t for you, but you don’t complain you just keep walking. This is no different. This NEW MacBook feels more like an upgrade to the iPad user that’s hit the wall. If you think about it, it’s like an iPad with a keyboard/trackpad instead of a touch display, that can run Mac OS X instead of iOS. It has a 12″ display instead of a 10.1″ display. Yep, it’s an upgrade to the iPad in almost every way. Feel better now? :-)

In the meantime I’ll keep working happily on my MacBook Air and MacBook Pro.

Find out more about the new MacBook here.

Also the good folks over at Mashable had a good article about 5 things that Apple didn’t say about the new MacBook. Definitely worth a read.

In other news

AppleTV-2010

Apple dropped the price of the Apple TV to $69! It’s still one of my favorite gadgets of all time.



Poll: Will you be getting the Apple Watch?

applewatch

Now that we have all the details of the Apple Watch including the “all day” (18 hour) battery life and pricing, I’m curious as to how many of my readers will be getting the Apple Watch. This will also help in determining the level of interest in 3rd party apps?

Please take a moment to answer my one question poll:

Powered by Typeform

 

See the results here.

Tripod Mount for your Smartphone

arkon-smartphone-tripod-mount

I’ve reviewed tripod mounts for smartphones before, however the good ones I’ve looked at in the past were fine as long as you only wanted to mount your smartphone horizontally. Horizontal mounting is desired by film makers for sure. There are times when you may want a vertical mount especially if you’re shooting stills or time lapse. For this I turned to the good folks over at Arkon (the makers of mounts for just about any device) and sure enough they had one that was exactly what I was looking for. It had to be able to rotate between horizontal and vertical orientation and it had to be big enough to accommodate my iPhone 6 Plus (with my clear case).

arkon-iphone-6-plus-mount

The Arkon Universal Smartphone Holder Tripod Adapter fits the bill nicely. Not only does it rotate between horizontal and vertical orientations, but it also pivots more like a ball head. As you can see in the above photo it also works great if you have a GorillaPod tripod. The Arkon Universal tripod mount for your Smartphone is great option to have in your camera bag or your computer bag because you never know when you want to shoot something that will be difficult to shoot handheld.

iphone_bluetooth-remote

If you’re alone and need a wireless remote for your smartphone, I’ve had good luck with this bluetooth one. Technically all it does on the iPhone is press the up volume button wirelessly which as you probably know snaps a photo.

Get the Arkon Universal Smartphone Holder Tripod Adapter here.

The Logitech Type+ for iPad Air 2 is Just Right

logitech-type+

This is probably my third or forth Logitech keyboard for iPad and this one by far is the closest one to being perfect. The Logitech Type+ is a both a bluetooth keyboard and protective case. What makes this one better than the previous models is that Logitech made it even thinner so that it doesn’t add much bulk to your nice new iPad Air 2.

logitech_type+_leyboardlayout

The keyboard layout is also better. With the previous mode I was constantly hitting the  the home key (returning to the home screen) when trying to type a 1. They moved the home button up to the row at the top on this layout (thank you!). Lastly I love the way that they integrated the ability to lay the iPad flat over the keyboard when you just want to use the iPad without using the keyboard without having to remove it from the case.

logitech-type+side

Actually the keyboard is activated when you put the iPad in the “stand” position where it magnetically held in place right above the keyboard. The only thing keeping this case from being “perfect” is that you cant’ use it if you want to stand your iPad up in the vertical position. Sure you can hold it vertically, but you wont be able to stand it that way.

logitech-type+flat

If you have an iPad Air 2 this is the best keyboard case I’ve seen. You can get it here.

If you have the original iPad Air, then I’d recommend this one.



Adobe Photoshop Turns 25

Photoshop_1.0_splash

Happy Birthday Adobe Photoshop! That’s right folks, it was 25 years today (February 19, 1990) that Adobe released Photoshop 1.0. It’s hard to imagine that what started out as a product that most people at the time didn’t even understand why we’d need it, would become such a phenomenon that entire industries have been built upon. I of course like many of you begin to think back to the first version of Photoshop that I ever used. For me it was Photoshop 2.0. I only used 2.0 for a short time before getting the Photoshop 2.5 upgrade. I guess I was like most people at the time. I’ll admit that I really didn’t get it at first. I was spending most of my time back then in PageMaker and using clip art. It really wasn’t feasible to use digital photos yet simply because there were limited ways of getting the photos into the computer at a decent resolution. There were no consumer digital cameras! Nope, NONE. No cellphone cameras because there were no cellphones. There were scanners, but they were very expensive if you wanted a good one and even if you paid to have a scan done to your “floppy” disc and brought it home, you’d be hard pressed to have enough memory to do any major work on it in Photoshop. Nonetheless, Photoshop did evolve to the point of becoming a verb “I Photoshopped that” in popular culture. Most designers couldn’t imagine doing their jobs without having Photoshop and as a photographer I haven’t seen or taken a photo that couldn’t be improved in someway by Photoshop.

wpid14363-DSC2048_sm.jpg

Thomas and John Knoll, the inventors of Photoshop

I was thinking of ways I could show people just how far Photoshop had come. After all there are many users that use Photoshop that are 25 years or younger as well as users who were babies or kids when Photoshop was released. That’s when it hit me: why not show people what it was like to use Photoshop 1.0 back in 1990? Imagine using Photoshop without layers, with only one undo, and no camera RAW. Also this may be hard to wrap your head around, but Photoshop 1.0 was released two years before there was a standard called JPEG. That’s right. There was no JPEG when Photoshop came out. On your Mac you typically worked with either PICT files or TIFF files. Let’s take a look at what it was like to do editing and compositing:

 

It’s hard to believe that Photoshop 1.0 originally shipped on an 800k floppy disc. There was no installer. You either ran it from the floppy or copied it to your hard drive.

Terry-at-work

While Photoshop did work in color it would be another couple of years for me before I upgraded from a Mac Plus to a Mac LC with color monitor.

wpid14373-Terry-presenting-at-DMA_sm.jpg

When I joined Adobe in 1996 it was more than a thrill to be working for the company whose products were constantly evolving. Those were exciting times to say the least.

TW-PS20th_anniversary

Terry White presenting at the Photoshop 20th Anniversary Celebration

I’ll be celebrating my 19th year at Adobe this July and it has been a pleasure and an honor to be a part of company and history that has brought so much creative freedom to the world.

tw-on-stage-adobe-max-PSCC

Terry White along side David Wadhwani introducing Photoshop CC to the world

 

One of the highlights of my career was getting the chance to be on stage at Adobe MAX 2013 and introducing Photoshop CC to the world.

tw-on-stage-adobe-max-2013

I would like to once again thank all the engineers that spend so many hours, nights and weekends pushing Photoshop to the limits and giving us the tools to make our visions a reality. Most of all Thank YOU. Without our customers we wouldn’t be where we are today.

A look back…

Take a look at this video from the early days and also watch Russell Brown, Thomas Knoll and John Knoll discuss how far Photoshop has come (20th Anniversary Video interview).

And while we’re looking back on this 25th Photoshop Anniversary, let’s take a look at my 1st Photoshop episode of my Creative Suite podcast. This episode first aired on February 15, 2006.

Happy Birthday Photoshop! I’m looking forward to the next 25 years of innovation. As a side note and bit of trivia today is also Adobe Photoshop Lightroom’s 8th Anniversary.

wpid14387-DSC_8859_sm.jpg

Terry White along side David Wadhwani introducing Lightroom Mobile iPhone to the world.

 

ccpp

 

Take advantage of the Creative Cloud Photography Plan which includes Adobe Photoshop CC, Lightroom 5 and Lightroom mobile for only $9.99/month.

wpid14380-MIM-Idont_sm.jpg

 

I’ve Released the Video You’ve Been Asking for the Most

After_Effects_totem

I’ve been doing video tutorials since 2006 and I mostly concentrate on the Adobe’s design and photography products. However, I do dabble in the video tools too. Last May I thought it would be helpful to my followers if I released a How To Get Started with Adobe Premiere Pro CC – 10 Things Beginners Want to Know How To Do. Little did I know then that it would rise to the number three spot of my top 10 most watched videos each month with close to a quarter million views to date. Of course the other side effect was that I got tons of requests to do one on After Effects. While I use Premiere Pro CC on a somewhat regular basis, I haven’t really used After Effects in several months. I didn’t let that stop me from answering the call and yesterday I released the long awaited How To Get Started with Adobe After Effects CC – 10 Things Beginners Want to Know How to Do. This video like its sister video has already had a large number of views in less than 24 hours. You asked for it, here it is:

The February 2015 Updates of Adobe Muse CC and Adobe InDesign CC

I also recently released videos covering the latest updates of Adobe Muse CC and Adobe InDesign CC. Check them out:

B&H Photo and Video now sells the Adobe Creative Cloud Photography Plan

That’s right you can buy a year of Adobe Creative Cloud for photographers, which includes Adobe Photoshop CC, Lightroom 5 and Lightroom Mobile. You can get it here:

ccpp

Check out Nomad’s latest phone charging accessories

NomadKey

Nomad has three new smartphone charging accessories that are pretty cool and convenient. The first one is their new NomadKey. This slightly larger than a key sized accessory means that you will always have a micro USB or Lightning cable with you right on your key ring.

You can get the NomadKey Lightning here.

You can get the NomadKey Micro USB here.

nomadclip

The next one is their new NomadClip. This is great for those of you who like to clip your keys to a belt loop or backpack.

You can get the NomadClip Lightning here.

You can get the NomadClip Micro USB here.

NomadPlus-charger

Last but not least is their cleverly designed NomadPlus. Your existing iPhone charger goes right inside turning this device into both a charger and 1800mAh battery backup as well. My only disappointment with this one is that it’s only 5V/1A (same as the iPhone charger). I was hoping that as a battery backup it could be 2.1A instead for fast charging and charging iPads at full speed. Otherwise it’s a cool charger/battery backup for your iPhone.

NomadPlus-iPhone

You can get the NomadPlus here.

Having Fun with New Light Modifiers

fstoppers-flash_disc

If you’ve followed my photography over the years you know that I’m always looking at new light modifiers. I can never have too many in my arsenal. Over the past few evenings I’ve been experimenting with some new ones that have made their way into my studio. Let’s take a look at them and some of the results I’ve been getting so far.

Fstoppers Flash Disc

fstoppers-flash_disc-mounted

The first one was actually what I call a “checkout line impulse buy”. In other words my cart at B&H Photo had the items I wanted and I still had some money left on my gift card. I couldn’t think of anything else I wanted in the amount that was left over so I decided to add the Fstoppers Flash Disc. It looked cool, very portable (it folds down to a size smaller than the speed light), and I figured if nothing else I could use it as my white balance card.

Before last night’s shoot I decided to take a few test shots so that you can get a feel for what this will do for you. Now keep in mind that the bigger the light and the closer it is to your subject, the softer it will be. Since this modifier is relatively small I was skeptical. However, it did exactly what I expected. It gave me a better light than I would have gotten without it!

wpid14321-Christa-0002_sm.jpg

First up, here is worse case scenario. No modifier at all. Just flat horribly harsh lighting from the speed light using just the little built-in flip down diffuser. (yes I could have bounced it to make it better. Yes I could have turned the power down. Yes I could have done _____., but the point here is to show what small lights typically do straight on).

wpid14325-Christa-0011_sm.jpg

Now with the Fstoppers Flash Disc mounted directly on the speed light. The results are notably better than without it. If you look at the shoulders you see a software light pattern and her face is less blown out and not as flat. Again there are more things you can do to make the results even better, like bouncing the light and perhaps a different position/distance, but again the point here is to see simply what difference it would make by adding the Flash Disc.

Adding in the Westcott Omega

The next modifier I was going to look at was the NEW Westcott Omega 10-in-1 Reflector Kit. The material directly connected to the frame is a one stop diffusion panel. So before getting to my Omega setup I simply added the diffusor to my existing Flash Disc set up to get this result.

wpid14323-Christa-0009_sm.jpg

Same light. Same Flash Disc. However, the results are much much better simply by diffusing the light a little more. Add a reflector for under the eyes/chin and you’re golden.

fstopper-flash-disc-w-Omega

Since the Omega was effectively going to take the light down 1 stop, I increased the power setting on the speed light from 1/8 to 1/4 to compensate.

The Omega 10-in-1 Reflector Kit

westcott-omega

This reflector kit adds one element that I haven’t seen or had in any of my previous multi-use its and that is a “shoot through window”. First off you get a typical 5-in-1 kit right off the bat. You get Silver, Gold/Sunlight, White, Diffuser (built on to the frame) and Black. Now take all of those surfaces and remove the center piece for a 10-in-1 kit.

wpid14331-IMG_7838_sm.jpg

When doing a shoot through setup like this, you kinda have to think backwards as you’ll be using the reflective side facing the subject to light the subject. In the setup above I used two speed lights. The one in back (no modifier) was position up high to act more as a hair light and to add a little fill. The second speed light was mounted in a Rapid Box Strip to provide both a rim light and main light.

wpid14335-Elena-0066-Edit_sm.jpg

I like the results and the fact that this modifier made me think outside my box in ways of setting up lights that I probably wouldn’t have tried otherwise. It’s also ideal for putting up in front of a window either as a diffuser or shooting through the window from outside into the room without blocking the light.

The Westcott Omega 10-in-1 38″ x 45″ Reflector Kit is the one I’ll be traveling with from now on as it provides the basic reflecting, diffusing, flagging functions that I would need, plus the ability to shoot through.

The Rapid Box Duo

I was already a fan of the Westcott 26″ Rapid Box, which is part of my “Westcott Terry White Travel Portrait Lighting Kit“. So when they announced the Rapid Box Duo, I was intrigued.

wpid14345-IMG_5721_sm.jpg

The big difference here is that this one allows you to mount one or two speed lights to give you more light. It’s also a slightly bigger size at 32″. It still collapses down for travel and comes with all the mounting hardware/angled bracket for mounting your speed lights outside for better triggering.

wpid14343-IMG_5720_sm.jpg

 

Here I have an Nikon SB 910 and SB 800 mounted.

wpid14337-IMG_7887_sm.jpg

Adding in the Westscott Eyelighter, which is probably my favorite modifier of all time. I get the results on location that I would typically get with more expensive studio strobes.

wpid14341-Christa-0071-Edit_sm.jpg

As I’ve said many times. You can have the most expensive camera in the world, but without great light your pictures are liable to suck.

wpid14339-Christa-0171-Edit_sm.jpg

 

However, if you have great light you can get good results with just about any camera.

You can get the Fstoppers Flash Disc here. You’ll also want this “tilt mount” to be able to mount your speed light and tilt it down.

You can get the Westcott Omega 10-in-1 Reflector Kit here.

You can get the Westcott Rapid Box Duo here


 


Page 2 of 15512345...102030...Last »