First experience with PS4

Infamous_Second_Son(Or perhaps I should retitle that: Confessions of an Xbox guy, heh)

After picking up a PS4 at the end of March, I’ve managed to play a few games.  The verdict is positive so far.

Just finished Infamous Second Son yesterday, and for the most part, I thought it was great. Beautiful, detailed graphics of the City of Seattle, a variety of powers to explore and an evolving story all bring the game to life. It’s fun wandering around the city meeting folks with superpowers just like you, or breaking up drug deals and acting like a rebel, confronting the authorities.

My least loved parts were the ‘boss fights’. That type of fight is supposed to be tough, but it just doesn’t make sense that when a boss finally goes down, he/she returns again more powerful than before. In fact, after the first return, the fun disappears and the irritation sets in really fast. At least for me.

But we endure 😉

Another positive for the game is that you can play it through twice, once as a good guy and again as a bad guy. I haven’t done the bad guy yet, but I’ve heard it’s  different.

After the credits, the game takes you back to the city and offers you the chance to finish collecting things you missed in the first pass. Nice. There is also an add-on after the credits that contributes still more to the game, so overall, it works out to a lot of bang for the buck once you’ve bought it. That’s rare for anything these days.

Other PS4 games I’ve tried include Knack and Killzone. Oddly enough, the game Knack was also quite good. There was a nice little story, great graphics and some imaginative action. The bosses were beatable with the skills you’re given, but I must admit, it got a little repetitious after about half way through. The saving grace from that point was that the story seemed to carry it through. It is a game for a much younger demographic, but I quite enjoyed it.

I tried the game Killzone as well, but it got really boring, really fast. It was just constant, fast action battles, with little story in between. Not great as far as I’m concerned. But that’s just me, it got rave reviews online.

So, I have to give the Playstation high marks so far. It was easy to set up, there is a logical interface and the opening set of games has been pretty good. Hopefully there will be more games for both the PS4 and Xbox One available soon.



A Couple of Links for a Tuesday

Not sure if I’ll make this a regular feature, but for now….

Among the many websites I visit every day or so, there is an ever evolving core that I don’t want to miss. I was reminded about this today when I visited these two links. I hope you find them as useful as I do.


Daily collections of some of the best photos showing up at Google Plus, provided via Jarek Kilmek, Editor of PhotoExtract Magazine. If you don’t have the time to visit and see the photography on G+ directly, this is a great alternative to get a feel for some of the talent there.

It is truly amazing how photography has taken off on Google’s social network. People are posting photos, talking about issues and meeting each other in ‘hangouts’ almost daily.


Create, share, sustain. That’s how he drives his business. Chase Jarvis attracts clients by putting great, edgy, personal stuff out there almost daily. The ‘cjlive‘ portion of his site offers meaty interviews with talented photographers, designers, business folks and more.

Thanks for the inspiration guys.

A New iPhone 4S: Yes or No?


Next August, my 3 year contract for the iPhone 3GS with Rogers is up. Unfortunately, that’s still 10 months away. The question now is whether or not to upgrade early to the iPhone 4S and pay the silly extra fees they want me to pay to do so.

I checked when the new phone came out. Rogers wants a $45 Early Upgrade Fee and a $35 Hardware Upgrade Administration Fee. I assume that the 45 bucks is either to move to a new contract before my time or finish paying off my 3GS. The 35 bucks is probably to pay the retailers for putting the SIM card in and setting things up. But why price all that and then say that there is also some $50 Hardware Upgrade Credit???? Would that be for my old phone?? Who knows.

The pricing of network services (including phone and cable) continues to amaze me, but that rant is for another post. grrr.

Anyway, the new iPhone has a faster processor and the camera is a huge improvement over my current iPhone camera. Those are really the two reasons I might upgrade before my time. I’m finding the old 3GS is running slower and slower with the OS upgrades and the camera is not quite to the point I’d like for a day-to-day point and shoot camera.

Most of the rest of what the 4S offers is nice, but not really that important to me. I’m also hearing about some problems with battery life and extra network usage by Siri, the new voice command and control assistant. iCloud still seems to be a work in progress as well, but perhaps that’s just my impression.

So with all that, the 4S sort of sounds like a stop gap to keep us Apple fans happy until the iPhone 5, which would bring iCloud and the phone together as one. Just speculation on my part, but there ya go.

So, would you upgrade your phone early for a little extra speed and a new camera? Or would you wait for the iPhone 5 next spring/summer? Inquiring minds would like to know.


What’s new over the last month?

A Posterous account.

I found this while reading Steve Rubel. It’s dead simple. Just send a note off to post at posterous.com and the site sets up a blog for you, based on your email address. A return email gives you the relevant access information, but you can just keep sending things via email to build your blog. You can even embed pictures and links to other sites you’ve found.

You can watch your blog grow anonymously, or login to explore some of the other features. You can automatically update your other sites like facebook and twitter with your posts (or links to them), or subscribe to other posterous blogs. More to come, I’m told.

You can also sign in and post online, or use the new iphone app picposterous. Either way, posting is a snap, and the site includes an RSS feed. Nice.

Want a collection of the pictures you’ve taken at an event? Picposterous/posterous will build you a gallery based on the pictures you send. They will all be contained in a single post, with the title based on the Picposterous album name. I’m still trying to figure out how to delete individual pictures from the gallery, but in general, it works like a charm.

So cool.

A twitter account.

I swore I’d never do it, but … I did. What can I say.

Now that I’ve learned more about Twitter, I’m starting to see some value. Within a few minutes of signing in, I’d found some friends and a couple of local photographers, heard about some folks that were looking for a photographer, and got very confused about all the RT, @, D and #FF stuff littering tweets 😉

It’s getting better now. I’ve settled in with Tweetdeck and Tweetie on the desktop and iphone for now. We’ll see how it goes.

The next goal will be to tie everything together somehow. Typepad, Twitter, Posterous, and perhaps Facebook.

We live in interesting times.

A cool lap at last

After reading about the Targus Chill Mat for Mac in the August 2009 issue of Mac Life, I just had to give it a try. Having my MacBook Pro on my lap has worked great when it’s cool enough for pants, but with shorts and bare legs, it’s a burner. There are times when I just don’t want to sit at a desk to read through blogs and news, but the recent heat has restricted me to doing just that. There was no way I could use the laptop on my lap without frying my thighs.

On Saturday, I went over to the local London Drugs to see if they had any Chill Mats in stock. They did have ONE, so I bought it on the spot. Glad I did. So far it’s worked splendidly over a day and a half. Cool lap and cool laptop, what more could you ask for.

What’s involved?

It’s just a light mat about an inch thick at its thickest. It narrows toward the front, so it tilts just a bit down toward you when it’s on your lap. There are two fans that move air up through it, and they draw power through a usb connection to the laptop. You can turn the fans on and off with a switch on the back of the mat. Vents on both the top and bottom of the mat ensure airflow over the bottom of the MacBook. The top side is somewhat rubberized to keep the laptop from slipping around, and the bottom is more of a mesh that has give like a net. The 17″ MacBook Pro fits it just right.

What’s not to like?

Well, let’s face it, it just one more thing to grab with the laptop, so it is a bit more complicated to set up. The bottom edges are less rounded than the MacBook, so if you sit askew, holding one side of the laptop with your leg, it seems to irritate after a while.

Those are small complaints. Overall it does just what it’s meant to, and it’s doing it very well. It costs about 50 bucks, which seems reasonable to me, and according to the specs, it weighs in at about 1.6 lbs. You hardly notice it with a 5.5 lb notebook sitting on your lap.

Bottom line: I like it.

Mac migration

IPhone_screenWell, I finished up my Apple collection a couple of weeks ago by buying an IPhone 3Gs. I’ve been a Palm fanatic since the first Palm Pilots hit the street and finished up with a Treo using a Telus plan. I have binders full of receipts from various apps I’ve bought and upgraded, but there was always something missing. I never knew just what that was.

Now I know. The Palm has always been anchored by my desktop computer. I had to sync the two everyday and sometimes more, or get hopelessly out of date. Changes here, changes there, and before I knew it, I couldn’t be sure which version was most up-to-date.

The IPhone is different. Between Google, MobileMe, WiFi and 3G, my phone, desktop and online versions of mail, contacts, todos and calendar all stay in sync, real time. If I’m at the computer and need to update the calendar, I just do it. Leave 5 min later and need that date. It’s there on the phone. What’s simpler than that.

Some other apps require a WiFi connection, but that’s ok. I don’t rely on those as much as I do the others. If things get critical, I can always hit a local WiFi site and sync them up.

Of course Telus didn’t handle the IPhone, so I had to open an account with Rogers. Might like it, might not. Back in the 90’s I was sad when I had to change the cable TV from Rogers to Shaw, but I got over it. My Telus account just has a few months left, so the double bill won’t last that long. I’ve been a happy Telus customer for years, so when (or if) Telus ever handles the IPhone, I might move back. Just depends on the service from Rogers, I guess.

It’s been a real learning curve, but most of what I need (and more) is up and running now.

There’s nothing not to like so far. Recommended.

More on the Mac migration

I seem to be morphing into a Mac addict. I’ve used Windows forever, and although it has a few irritations, I like it. However my experience with the MacBookPro prompted me to buy a second Mac, an IMac, over the Easter weekend. Boy is it nice for working on photos!

It was just about time to upgrade my old windows desktop anyway. It was slowing to a crawl, and I missed something about a desktop, when using the laptop as my main computer. Ergo, the new purchase. Those Apple folks shouldn’t have to worry about their pensions now 🙂

Needless to say, the IMac is another time sink until everything is set up to my liking. Just yesterday, for example, I found that my LaCie external usb drive wasn’t working well with time machine. After a lot of angst and some research online, I found a solution that required reformatting the drive: 2 partitions, 1 GUID and 1 FAT32. That worked, and it’s backing up like a trooper now.

Supposedly I can go back and reformat to one partition, but sheesh, what a production to get a backup on an external drive. Luckily, formatting with the Mac is quick and easy and everything seems to be working fine.

As it stands, I’ve got the Macs networking and sharing files, mail is working, printing is working, day-to-day software is pretty well set up, and all I need to do is get my phone syncing up my mobile info. I’ll have to make some hard decisions about that, because of the number of windows-only apps on it. Perhaps I’ll just do what I did with the email and leave it all behind to start fresh with the Mac. The info will be on my Windows machine if I need to go back and find something.

As they say… the adventure continues. Trying to keep up with new computers AND photography is a challenge. Fun, but a challenge.

Busy learning about my Mac

February clouds_DSC2569Some days the sky just amazes me. As it was clearing up today, I noticed some big, low, fluffy clouds and just couldn’t help but take a picture. Nice.

It was great to get outside. After I bought my MacBook Pro last week, I started to realize how much I had to learn about working with a new operating system! That’s kept me inside for most of my free time. And no matter what the rumors say – Macs don’t ‘just work’ all the time. At least they don’t if you know nothing about them to start with.

So far I’ve grazed through networking, installing software, copying and pasting files, syncing up my google account for mail and calendaring. I’m getting there, but there is still a long way to go. I mean, what’s with the delete key that works backwards?

Don’t get me wrong. I like the interface, how fast the thing boots up compared to Windows, the trackpad, and other stuff I’m finding out. It’s just a big learning curve right now. Just need to find some time for taking pictures too 😉