What a Difference a Glif Makes

Filed Under Photography on March 17, 2011 | Leave a Comment

When I first got my iPhone 4 I played with the video a bit, but it never quite lived up to my expectations because I just couldn’t hold it still enough to get nice video out of it. This is the kind of thing I was able to get free-hand:

I was able to do a little better by bracing the camera against something solid – like the edge of a bridge, but still – the results were not ideal:

If only I could attach the iPhone to a tripod! Well, this is where the Glif comes in. It’s a small piece of moulded plastic that has a standard tripod screw hole at the bottom, and that grips the iPhone securely. You can use it on a full-size tripod, and it works very well, but it does look quite silly. I find it much more useful to use a mini tripod instead, so I can literally carry me entire video setup in my pocket!

My iPhone 4 Video Setup with the Glif

As well as acting as a tripod adapter for the iPhone, the Glif can also function as a handy little iPhone stand, in a surprising number of configurations. If you’re curious about what all the Glif can do, they have a nice little video on their site. The Glif is $20 + shipping, which is quite steep for a simple piece of plastic, but I have to say, I’m very happy with it, and I’m certainly getting good value for money out of it.

Finally – here’s an example of the results I’m getting with it:

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I’ve been saying for a long time that the iPad looks cool, but that I wouldn’t be buying this first incarnation of apple’s tablet. I had two reasons for that, firstly, for me, it felt like a solution in search of a problem, and secondly, I’m very grumpy about Apple not allowing the iPad to share the iPhone’s data connection via tethering. Before people jump on me, I want to clarify that I’m not saying that the iPad is a solution in search of a problem in any sort of universal sense, but just in terms of my life at the time. Well, I stuck to my word and didn’t buy an iPad, but I do now own one thanks to the generosity of Allison & Steve Sheridan of the NosillaCast. I’ve had it for a few days now, so I thought it might be worth sharing my first impressions.

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The iPad – First Thoughts

Filed Under Computers & Tech on January 27, 2010 | 24 Comments

These are my very first thoughts having just finished “watching” (or rather reading live blogs of) the event. At this stage I have more questions than answers in some regards, but, I have to say, I’m impressed. This was a tablet demo, what Balmer did a few short weeks ago at CES was a pathetic side-show – a feeble pre-emptive “me too” that’s clearly not even nearly enough to compete on quality.

It was great to see Steve set the scene and give us the philosophy behind the device. He basically talked us through Apple’s thinking on the space now inhabited by netbooks, i.e. the gap between laptops and smartphones. It was like he was telling us a story, and it made sense. You can’t deny that Apple have put a lot of thought into this thing. I’m pretty sure Jobs has been using one of these things for a while, and I think he’s really worked out what a tablet needs to be in order to really be useful.

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The iPhone on the Go

Filed Under Computers & Tech on October 16, 2008 | Leave a Comment

I’m on my way literally clean across the country as I type this. This is my first real test of the iPhone ok the go. First impressions are very good. GPS is working better than I expected and 3G coverage is a lot more common than I’d expected. I just downloaded the WorsPress app I’m posting this from over 3G in Litrim of all places! Definitely better than I’d dared hope. Also, the iPhone’s auto correction REALY comes into it’s own when you’re typing in a moving car!

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I’ve been an iPod Touch user from day one, and simply love the little devices. With the various updates and the App Store they really have evolved into small pocket computers. The touch interface is fantastic, and although it has been imitated by other vendors, it has yet to be equalled. On Friday I switched from a very old Nokia cell phone and an iPod Touch, to an iPhone. I want to have a look at how the iPhone compares to the iPod Touch, and in particular, how it is as a phone. The iPhone really is an iPod Touch with a phone, so all that’s really new to me is the phone, SMS, and the ability to access the net when away from WiFi.

My old Phone and my iPhone
My iPhone next to my old Nokia Brick

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The Nikon D40 One Year On

Filed Under Photography on June 1, 2008 | 6 Comments

Taghadoe Round TowerIt’s been a little over a year now since I got my Nikon D40 so now seems like a good time to reflect on what the D40 is like to live with. I was very positive about it in my initial review a year ago and I’m still very happy with it now. It’s a great body for the price and I’d highly recommend it to anyone as a first DSLR. However, you have to bear in mind that the D40 is an entry level model both in terms of price and functionality. As I’ve advanced as a photographer I’ve begun to run into some of the D40’s limitations and am now ready to move on to a higher level Nikon body like the D60 or the D80.

In this article I’m going to focus on the limitations of the D40 that I’m now starting to run into, but I have to stress that I’m not in any way un-happy with the quality of the D40. I consider it to have been money exceptionally well spent and I’d like to think that the photographs I’ve taken this year testify to to the amount of enjoyment it’s given me.

[tags]Nikon, D40[/tags]

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It’s been over a decade since Apple released the last of it’s Newton message pads. The Newton was revolutionary, technically advanced and a head of its time. Technologically it was a marvel, commercially it was a flop. The world simply wasn’t ready. What has changed? I’d suggest that the most important change is not the advent of the iPhone’s amazing touch screen, or it’s fancy graphics capabilities. There are all great but they are not the crucial difference that will make the iPhone a success. That big difference is wireless connectivity. A Newton was a dead-end. The only way to get things in or out of your Newton was by tethering it to your computer. With the iPhone you are permanently connected.

What we’ve seen of the iPhone so far has been fantastic. It’s little brother the iPod Touch is also a fabulous machine. But we’ve only seen the tip of the iceberg. With the unbelievably full and open SDK released yesterday we’ve seen the birth of the second phase of the iPhone (and the iPod Touch), the point where it becomes more than a cellphone, PDA, mobile internet device & music player. The iPhone has become a real computer you can carry in your pocket. Remember, the iPhone has more computing power than the desktop you were using only a decade ago. The demos during yesterday’s Apple event really brought that home to me, particularly the one by EA Games and SEGA. I hadn’t dared to hope for such an open SDK. I’m so glad my predictions were wrong.

Keep an eye on the iPhone/iPod Touch, we haven’t seen the half of what this great platform can do yet!

[tags]Apple, iPhone, Newton, SDK[/tags]

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iPhone Comes to Ireland in March

Filed Under Computers & Tech on February 28, 2008 | 8 Comments

Well, it’s official, Ireland is getting the iPhone on the 14th of March 2008 exclusively from O2. You can get all the details on this page on the O2 site. That pretty much settles it, my next cellphone will be an iPhone. However, I’m not going to be rushing to buy one on the 14th. I have a perfectly functional cellphone and until that changes I won’t be getting and iPhone. Mind you, if I was less broke I might be more inclined to go out and grab one sooner.

The prices are as I’d expected. The Dollar prices with a Euro sign instead, in other words, standard Apple prices. I’m not impressed by the available contracts though. The lack of an unlimited data plan really stands out as a shortcoming in my book. Mind you, our cell networks are rather poor once you leave the confines of Dublin city so it will probably be a non-issue for quite some time to come. One nice thing is that it’s ‘only’ an 18 month contract, longer than the average here, but shorter than the two years in America.

[tags]iPhone, Ireland, O2[/tags]

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Normally with a Mac keynote you don’t get instant gratification. Sure, you can surf right over to the Apple site and pre-order immediately but you won’t get hold of the goodies for weeks. This keynote was different. My iPod Touch feels like a whole new device today. That’s what I call instant gratification! When the iPod Touch was announced Apple made it very clear what the device would and would not have. The Touch was a very shinny iPod, not an iPhone without the phone, and not a PDA (a point I re-itterated strongly in my initial review). Yesterday Steve announced that from now on all new iPod Touches will literally be iPhones without the Phone, and that those of us with old Touches can upgrade for $20 (or just under €18 in Ireland). That’s $20 to turn an iPod into a PDA. Needless to say I grabbed the upgrade as soon as it became available via Apple’s software update system 🙂

[tags]iPod Touch, Apple[/tags]

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NightTimePhotographySample.jpgWhen I recently purchased a 30mm F1.4 fixed focus lens I explained my reasons for doing so while reviewing the lens. Today I realised I left out yet another reason to add a fast fixed-focus lens to your collection. Because fast lenses gather insane amounts of light you can shoot hand-held at night and actually get good results. I did manage to get some night time images before using the standard 18-55mm zoom that comes as part of the Nikon D40 kit, but that was really working at the limit (see the results here). Because that lens is quite slow at F3.5-5.6 I had to crank the ISO up to 1600 and even then the exposure times were still very high. This resulted in images that were grainy and a lot had to be junked because they were blurred to a greater or lesser extent.

On my way home from work this evening I had a go at some night time photography with my new F1.4 lens. It was such a nice experience! With the ISO turned down to 800 I could easily take hand held shots that look pretty good.

You can see the results of my work in this gallery.

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