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Macs, Movies, Games, Books, etc. The Rants of a Mad Man.

Canon EOS Photo5 Entry 1: “Ink Mole”

October 18th, 2010 by Raj

What is Canon EOS Photo5?
EOS Photo5 is Canon’s annual creative photography competition that begins with a brown box. Inside there are 5 separate photographic briefs to challenge photographers. Visit the Photo5 website here: http://canon.com.au/worldofeos/photo5/

Brief 1: Eye Dropper
This brief is asking you to use your lens to look closer. Use the eye dropper to place drops of liquid in any arrangement you want. You can use a single drop, or as many drops as you like. And you’re not limited to just water – feel free to use liquids of different colours and consistencies, such as milk or tomato soup.

My Entry
Originally when I read the brief I’d envisioned these glorious shots of colours reflecting in droplets of water on a reflected surface like a mirror or draping from a blade of grass but alas my little kit lens didn’t quite seem to be up the ‘macro’ focusing fantasies I’d concocted. Instead I chose to think of more unusual or creative ways to depict a drop of liquid and what imagery I could create using the drop as a part of it. I’m not particularly sure how or when but at some point I had the brainwave of creating a mole on someone’s face ala Marilyn Monroe or Cindy Crawford, using their iconic imagery as a basis for the shot.

The biggest problem I had was trying to figure out a liquid that was black enough and thick enough to stay in one spot on a friend’s face. Originally I’d planned on using an oil based black paint but it didn’t have the same reflective properties a drop of water did and water based paints were too watery, the liquid too see-through. Eventually I ended up using old school black ink mixed with cornflower (thank you year seven science) to create the perfect drop that was both shinny and robust consistency.

I enlisted the help of a very understanding friend to model for me who had beautiful milky white skin that showed off the “ink mole” perfectly. Her face was lit by a soft box and lamp and a borrowed to soften the shot and add a warm angelic glow. I’m extremely happy with how it turned out and whilst it’s not a “macro” shot in the sense I think I’ve done pretty well in creating the shot with the tools available.

Equipment used & settings
Canon 7D with 18-55mm lens, soft filter
ISO 200, 50mm, 1/250, f22
Bowens Gemini 500 with Soft Box attachment
White cardboard reflector
Black ink mixed with “Black & Gold” cornflower

Thanks to
Caitlin, my model, for being extremely patient and willing to have ink on her face.
The dude at Deans Art in Melbourne for walking me through every “black liquid” they had for sale.

View the other entries

“Ink Mole”

“Bubble Gum Hair”

“A Tree of Smoke”

“Confetti Explosion”

“Beware of falling lemons”
Filed under Photography having 4 Comments »

Can Touch This – Video Review: Fruit Ninja

September 7th, 2010 by Raj

My apologies peoples, I have forgotten to let you all know of my further Internet whoring exploits over at MacTalk Australia. Back when I did an episode of “Can Touch This” for them I also filmed a couple of video reviews, one of which was for Australian made “Fruit Ninja”.

Filed under Gaming, Mac, Reviews having No Comments »

“OAuth Explained” blog posted on SitePoint

August 17th, 2010 by Raj

It’s official, I am now a professional “blog/tech writer-like-person” being that I was paid to write something nerdy and it was placed on the Internet. w00t bitches!

What pray-tell is this first piece about? Well, have you heard of a little ole protocol called “OAuth“? Hey… hey… have ya??! Oh. You haven’t, well all the more reason you should read the article then because I do promise it to be a very entertaining read.

Thanks must of course go to the good people who have contracted me to write this, and an upcoming “how-to” piece on the same topic, SitePoint. For without their good cash I could not brandish the title “professional”. Props.

So what are you waiting for?? Check it out for yourself here:
http://www.sitepoint.com/blogs/2010/08/17/oauth-explained-with-foursquar/

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t-JAY & a-JAY headphones review

August 6th, 2010 by Raj

It would appear that I have somehow become “The Headphone Guy” for MacTalk reviewing not one, not two, but SIX sets of headphones from manufacture JAYS in my latest tech rambling review.

For those of you interested in the audio phonic delights of headphone glory please jump over and check out the review yourself. Others may be more interested in the photos of the units, which I took myself on my new Canon 7D, these can be viewed in more detail here.

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news.com.au’s epic fail – How doth thou be so lame?

July 31st, 2010 by Raj

On today’s landing page for self-proclaimed “News website of the year”, news.com.au, you will find the above pictured link to a piece detailing what was an inexcusably massive cock-up on Apple’s behalf in relation to the release of the iPhone 4 in New Zealand.

What’s ironic is that in order to sell the story the website has decided to accompany it with a photo of Jermaine Clement, one half of the New Zealand comedy duo “Flight of the Conchords“, when in fact it has absolutely nothing to do with him nor does it mention Clement once.

It would seem that news.com.au has now, if not already, solidified its position as the online version of A Current Affair in my books. Congratulations.

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Guest host on MacTalk’s “Can Touch This” #61

July 28th, 2010 by Raj

Have you been missing the sound of my voice? Well I have good news for you, this week I join Anthony & Gav for episode 61 of the MacTalk produced podcast “Can Touch This“.

They were even kind enough to name the episode after something I said, “Your typical ham sandwich“. Tune in here to find out what that means and listen to us dissect the upcoming Australian release of the iPhone 4 and other related iOS news.

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Mad Men season 4 starts this Sunday, MA Men 2 available now

July 24th, 2010 by Raj

In case you weren’t aware the newest season of AMC’s Mad Men hits American TVs this coming Sunday, the 25th of July. I have to admit that I was a late comer to the show having only started to watch the first season less than a month ago. Three weeks after watching my first episode I’d finished the three currently available seasons and was sitting on edge waiting for more!

And to celebrate the new season’s start the guys at Funny or Die have given us the second installment of “MA Men”, a Mad Men spoof based in Boston Massachusetts (MA).

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Is the iPad really the best e-book reader? I say no.

July 14th, 2010 by Raj

In what could be construed as a modern day version of “rock, paper, scissors” usability gurus Nielsen Norman have released a report paper pitting today’s most common e-book readers against one another, whilst throwing ye-olde paper in for good measure.

Revealing Apple’s iPad as the favoured device many websites, be them Apple-centric or not, have been touting their findings as the death knell for conventional e-book readers and sprouting figures at how we will undoubtably see the cannibalising of Amazon’s 80% market share, let alone the never-ending debate over paper’s so-called demise.

I can’t but help think the entire report as a waste of time pitting apples against oranges in a pineapple competition. Conventional e-book readers such as Amazon’s “Kindle”, Barnes & Noble “Nook” and the old stable horse from Sony “Reader” are E Ink driven devices. Their screens the closest digital representation we have to paper yet. They do not entail glossy glass reflections under any and every light source in the known universe and their battery life is measured in page turns lasting months (if not years) and not in minutes switched on. They’re designed to “read” books.

The iPad on the other hand is not a dedicated e-book reader, it is a computer, or at least a multimedia device that happens to offer an application(s) to read and purchase books on. It’s higher “User Satisfaction” rating (5.7/10) over Amazon’s Kindle 5.6 (paper won at 5.8) can be put down to the products slick user interface, colour and application use, easily overlooking the fact that consistent page by page reading is little to no different to reading from your desktop computer’s screen in terms of ease on the eye. The PC scored a paltry 3.6 I might add.

In addition to which gadget the subjects enjoyed best a metric based upon the speed at which each device was read at compared to paper was also devised. Alas, the results were apparently completely useless, as noted by Neilsen stating “…the only fair conclusion is that we can’t say for sure which device offers the fastest reading speed.” leaving me to wonder again what the point of this report was?

It would appear that the introduction of the iPad has indeed ruffled some feathers, despite it’s adhoc grouping under the e-book reader banner, Amazon has recently released an update and price drop to its Kindle DX, following suit in Barnes & Noble and Sony’s footsteps of a price reduction. The promise of a more “interactive” experience amongst the future of digital publishing is enough to sway general e-book consumers to a more vibrant reading platform but I challenge any person, be they digital evangelist or not, to read twenty pages of anything on the iPad and then do the same on any E Ink device and tell me it wasn’t a better “reading” experience with E Ink.

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Dyson release new bladeless fans; rich folk open their wallets

July 1st, 2010 by Raj

Dyson, purveyors of such fine products as the bag-less vacuum cleaner and non-contact hand driers, have this week launched an updated line of the geek wet dream that is the bladeless Air Multipler™ fan.

Now available in “Pedestal” (essentially the older version stuck on a large stick) and “Tower” models the new line provides further options to blow air around your desired space in a rather expensive fashion. The new models are whilst not yet available will be priced at a mere A$599 a piece.

Since the original’s release last year I’ve encountered but one of these in the wild (beyond appliance store confides) in my optometrists’ examination room. Sitting in the corner is whirs away and it does indeed circulate air among a small area in a very “cool” looking fashion but I can’t help but think that at this stage it’s nothing more than an expensive toy see Dyson execs sleeping on a bed of shredded $100 notes.

Should you be inclined to dump half a grand on a fan in favour of your perfectly fine reverse cycle air conditioning, give me a call; I’ll go buy you a $20 fan from Kmart and quite happily take the difference off your hands.

Buy your Dyson Air Multiplier™ Bladeless fan here: http://www.dyson.com.au/store/fans.asp

Filed under Rant having 1 Comment »

Gran Turismo 5 gets a release date. Did hell freeze over?

June 22nd, 2010 by Raj

It’s been three years since Sony Computer Entertainment (SCE) gave us the money-grab that was “GT5 Prologue” and over five since GT4 spun away in our PS2’s so you can forgive many people for placing Gran Turismo 5 (GT5) in the “believe-it-when-I-see-it” basket along with other great memories such as “Duke Nukem Forever” and unicorns.

With advertising abound at this years’ Le Mans one week prior to E3 it was no surprise to finally receive a solid release date (November 2nd, 2010) at the expo, for what is undoubtably one of the PS3’s most anticipated titles.

The latest instalment includes 1000 cars to drive around 20 pre-loaded tracks. Naturally it’s all coming to you in Sony’s latest push of 3D-headache-inducer and touts a laundry list of new gimmicks features such as Youtube uploads, split-screen racing, custom soundtracks, head tracking (via the Playstation Eye) and track editor. Justification for a five year hiatus? We’ll have to wait and see.

Not being a die-hard racing simulator type of guy I can’t help but think that many may have found their fix via other means. Forza 3 for the Xbox 360 has been available for quite some time now and it’s near-real sim Project Gotham has had two iterations in the current gen console wars. That said for the PS3 only households the likes of Motorstorm and Burnout just aren’t going to cut the mustard.

All said and done GT5 will be many a stocking stuffer come Christmas 2010 I have no doubt, let’s just hope it lives up to the wait. The “Top Gear” test track alone will be enough for most punters I’d say.

Filed under Gaming, Tech having 3 Comments »

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