Mac mini For Photo Processing ?

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Excellent review by Marco Arment of the newly updated Mac mini. For a while, this was a computer I wanted for my photo processing needs. Before buying my current 2017 iMac, this was the computer that I wanted. But, the lack of updates for four years convinced me not to make the move. But there is something more important that prevented me from choosing the Mac mini. The screen selection wasn’t an easy thing to do. Which one to choose from? Dell? HP? I don’t know any screen manufacturer that are as good as Apple. Their standards are high and the screen that comes with an iMac is simply beautiful.

This is the first non-iMac desktop Mac that lets you plug in a 5K display, at full quality, without dual cables or other unreliable hacks. We finally have 5K Retina Mac options beyond the iMac! Unfortunately, we still don’t have any great standalone 5K displays. (The LG UltraFine isn’t.)

Mac mini For Photo Processing ?

When Will iOS Grow Up

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Photo by Ben White on Unsplash

From this interesting blog post by Nick Heer on Pixel Envy:

But I do truly believe that by building iOS up as opposed to breaking MacOS down — that is, adding functionality within a made-for-touch framework rather than glomming touch onto MacOS — will prove to be a wise choice in the coming years.

With the latest hardware released by Apple, pieces are being put in place. I think about USB-C on the iPad Pro. In a few iOS releases, we will get USB drives supported but most importantly external monitor support. This will enable a new class of software tools and most importantly renewed interest for the platform. Finally, by focusing on iOS for tablet (as opposed to transforming macOS to make it fit a touch environment) Apple, by simply adding mouse support, will transform the whole platform with a snap. Mouse support will come eventually and please a small group of users that are very vocal about it. Apple will benefit. Can’t wait for the coming year of evolution.

When Will iOS Grow Up

How To Become A Guru At GuruShots, The Photography Game

First blog post in a series about GuruShots 

I’ve been playing at Gurushots for more than a year now. Over time I’ve learn how to master the game and take advantage of it. First, let me explain what this game is all about. 

Gurushots is a community (not a social network per se) of photographers from all categories, from beginners to real experts and everything in between. You first start by creating a profile (here is mine) where you will upload a few of your most beautiful pictures. This is not Flickr ou 500px, you don’t need to upload a lot of pictures when you start. And you have to be selective. Once your profile is created, this is the challenges part that becomes the center stage of your interaction with Gurushots. Every day, new photography challenges are posted by expert photographers called “Guru Pros”. They select a subject, add a photo as an example of what he or she is looking for and ask photographers to submit their photos for others participating photographers to vote for best shots. A challenge lasts anywhere from just 24 hours to 10 days. The former are called speed challenges. In short challenges you can only submit one photo. For longer running challenges you can submit up to four pictures. Once you decided to participate in a challenge, the fun begins. 

A challenge with more than 17h before closing with 6.5 millions votes.

So you decided to be part of a challenge called “Abandoned”. You look into your profile for pictures that match the theme. If you don’t have enough of them, you can upload additional pictures at the time of entering a challenge. You can upload them from your computer or your mobile device. This is where you have to be selective. Why ? If you submit pictures out of theme, others may flag them as off challenge and you will be asked to change it. Also, don’t try to submit adult photos out for fun, they will also be flagged and removed. Once you submit your photos, this is when other photographers (participating in the challenge or not) will get to see them and vote for them. In theory. In fact, for others to see your submitted photos, they need exposure. And for this, you have to increase it by participating yourself by voting for others pictures. The more you vote, the more your photos get exposure and the more you increase the chances of getting votes. Exposure is not a guarantee of getting lots of votes, the photos needs to be right on the theme and… have some merit too!

If you want to push exposure up for your submitted photos, you can do it but there is a catch.

As time goes by, since you cannot stay in front of the screen for constant voting, exposure will slowly decrease. When you come back for a voting session, you may find the exposure level to be zero. Don’t panic. Just spend some time voting for pictures you like and you will get exposure back. Simple. But there is a trick. As a beginner you have a status of “Newbie”. As you progress in the game (it takes quite some time, depending of your skills at photography and at playing this game), you status will change because you earn points by participating in challenges. I’m currently at the highest level, I’m a Guru. For each level, your voting power increase. Newbie gets one point for every votes and Guru like me gets nine. So, for a newbie, maximizing exposure takes much more time in a voting session. Expect to spend quite some time at each challenge just to keep your participating photo exposure to others afloat. And you can participate in more than one challenges at a time. Do the math. 

Exposure whenentering a new challenge

In order to win a challenge, a lot of people has to vote for your pictures. It is pretty hard to achieve. But if you make it, it is rewarding in many ways. First, depending of the final score of the challenge, you may end up being in the top 100 photographers or in the top 10%, or 20% or 30%. By achieving these levels you eventually get to increase your status from Newbie to the next level. While in a challenge, depending on the amount of votes you get, you achieve a level, from Popular (50 votes), Skilled (200 votes), Premier (400 votes), Elite (800 votes), All Star (1300 votes). The higher you finish a challenge, the more you get rewarded with points added to your profile. Finishing in the All Star level quite often and you will eventually become a Guru. But it takes more than this. 

(picture of a final challenge status)

Whe a challenge closes, you get to see your score.

While a challenge is running, the Guru Pro who created it will have a look at the best pictures and pick a few of them. If your picture gets selected, you earn 50 votes just for this and you increase you achievements as it take five Guru picks to be come a Guru. As you can imagine, this is not an easy thing to do. Also, you may have selected a picture that you wish you could switch during the challenge. Good news, you can do it. When you start the game, you are given an amount of “switches” that you can use during a challenge. The bad new is, when you don’t have any “switches” left, in order to be able to replace a picture with another one, you’ll have to pay for it. And speaking of payment, this game is free in theory. But as you can see, it takes quite some time to play and be successful. If you don’t have time for voting, you can buy what is called “Fills”. These are used to push your exposure level to the max for a shot amount of time during a challenge. By doing so, you skip a voting session and get your photos the exposure they need to gather chances of being voted for. Once you don’t have any “Fills” left, you will be able to purchases them. 

During this challenge, I swapped two times to improve my score. 

So, now that you get a better understanding of the Gurushots game, just try it yourself. Follow thing registration link in order to register yourself. Spend some time with the game. In the near future I’ll post a “Tips, Tricks and cheat sheet” for Gurushots. Happy gaming! 

Disclaimer, I’m not paid by Gurushots for this article. 

Gathering votes in a challenge.Here, I’m at the Premier level.
How To Become A Guru At GuruShots, The Photography Game

The Effect of Returning to my Blog

This blog exists since 2015. After a first year with a few posts that attracted a lot of readership, I went silence for a long time. I decided to come back a few weeks ago because I had this renewed desire to write about a few subjects that I love. See the effects of my blog statistics below.

My followers count increased too which I find encouraging. People are coming from many sources but mainly from WordPress itself and Twitter.

The Effect of Returning to my Blog

Working With Multi Language Keyboards on iOS

What a pain when having to switch from English to French and back many times during a typing session on the iPad. The best thing would be that AI should detect when I’m switching language. Meanwhile, a small globe icon at the right place would help quite a bit when using a physical keyboard hooked to the iPad.

We have to “eject” the keyboard in order to bring in the software version of it where we can switch the language. Yet, the icon isn’t at the right place to me.

Working With Multi Language Keyboards on iOS

Is Apple Taking Full Advantage Of Its Own iPad Pro ?

Here is an exerpt from the article “Apple walks Ars through the iPad Pro’s A12X system on a chip” on Ars Technica by Samuel Axon about the processor in the new iPad Pro:

Now, if only there were iOS versions of Final Cut, Xcode, and Logic. Powerful hardware is nothing without strong software support, and as we’ve noted in our review, that’s the area where we need to see some improvement for the iPad Pro to truly live up to its considerable potential.

Remember when Steve Jobs announced they we’re making iWork suite available for the iPad to show its full potential? Now, Apple needs to move forward with even more demanding applications to take advantage of this power and to show others that it can be done.

Is Apple Taking Full Advantage Of Its Own iPad Pro ?