My April 2015 Photo of the Month is Rainbow Over Borrego Springs, an image made during a mountain storm earlier in the month. Continue reading
Google Is Finally Changing The Mobile Industry
Google’s Android operating system already enjoys a majority market share among smartphones, but with their Google Project Fi announcement, they are also finally making last changing to the mobile industry.
Android, as an open-source operating system, has been an industry success adopted by a large portion of the telecom industry. While establishing itself as the rival to Apple’s iOS, Android has also not been as influential in changing the status quo. Android is fragmented by various mobile carriers, who are able to install their own software and layers that sit on the true Android experience. Their open system comes at a cost.
Google has long had it’s Nexus line of smartphones, which have the claim of being a true Android experience, making the product line seem to be following what Apple does for every phone they have ever made.
Google has struggled to reign in carriers. The original Nexus line challenged the carrier-supported purchase model, with users buying a smartphone at full price and taking their phone to the carriers for activation. In theory, this model held promise if the carriers were willing to stop subsidizing smartphones as a loss leader to make larger profits providing service. That change never happened, and seems unlikely in the near future.
Google Fi does stand a chance. Using the Nexus line, Google is offering network compatibility with the 3 platforms of mobility: CDMA, GSM, and WIFI. This fourth platform not only uses the previous 3, but it also offer seamless interconnection between them. As a user, the phone can switch from Sprint’s network, to T-Mobile’s network, to their home WIFI network all during one phone call. This is powerful technology that the industry will follow.
The other fundamental shift is how users pay and spend for service. In the current model, users pay for cellular phone service, minutes, texts, and cellular data. Google Fi has a chance to change the model. Their service is priced in line with most of the Mobile Virtual Network Operators (MVNOs). However, they key value is driven by the fact that the data the user doesn’t use will be credited back. People who purchase huge family share plans but only use a portion of their data stand to gain serious money back every month, and could be potentially hundreds of dollars every year.
If this plan is successful, the mobile industry will gain a new source of competition, better prices for users, and more flexibility for users in how they use their data.
Compared to wireline service, the mobile industry is still in it’s infancy. The landscape will change in the years and decades to come, and users finally have a chance to win in the marketplace.
Adobe Lightroom CC (Or Lightroom 6) Is Here
As usual, the rumors proved to be true, a new version of Adobe Lightroom is here. The perpetual (pay as you go) version is called Lightroom 6, while Adobe Creative Cloud users are getting Adobe Lightroom CC. Both are the same software.
Victoria Bampton’s always excellent Lightroom Queen blog has all of the minute details you need about every feature that Adobe has added. If you want to see it all, it is an excellent read.
Previously, I detailed the features I hoped would be included in the 6th version of this amazing software. It is important to realize that this version is an evolutionary upgrade. There is very little that is obvious.
Below are some of my immediate observations:
- The software is much faster. I am running a 2013 27″ iMac on OSX Yosemite (10.10). Despite maxing out my RAM at 32GB, some processor-intensive tasks took time. With the GPU boost, things like image previews feel much quicker. This version of Lightroom is rock solid.
The People addition is potentially a time-saver. One of my good friends has always given me a tough time because he wants me to send all the images I have taken of him over the years, and I have never wanted to go through my entire Lightroom catalog looking. I am not diligent at keyboarding, so this is potentially great.
- The new Adobe Lightroom HDR and Panoramic features have promise. I rarely need to resort to HDR techniques because my main camera body captures so much dynamic range, but it will be interesting to use. The HDR function may be useful for other composites like fireworks and lunar eclipse images. The Panoramic feature will help a lot of people, although my process is to take a single shot that I crop to the traditional 6 x 17 format.
- The Adobe Lightroom modules still need work. The Library and Develop modules in Lightroom are almost everything you need. The Map module is still potentially interesting, and I use Nikon’s GP-1A GPS adapter, but I struggle to come up with a real use for it. The Book module is another good idea begging to be further implemented. I still don’t know anybody who has ever used the Slideshow, Print, or Web modules. I know the Web module has some Responsive Templates, but wouldn’t an artist prefer to use WordPress, SmugMug, or Squarespace instead?
- It appears that you can up the Lightroom image cache beyond 50GB, which helps with extremely large image sets (events, weddings, composites, etc.).
- We are still using the Adobe Lightroom 2012 image process. I still think there is improvement to be made in noise reduction, dynamic range, and color retouching that doesn’t result in overuse of the Vibrance and Saturation sliders.
- There has been no change to the way filters/plugins are used and applied. I don’t like that I still have to create a separate TIF file to edit RAW files in Nik Software, MacPhun, Noiseware, etc. I still wish the “layer and layer mask” functionality in Photoshop would find it’s way to Adobe Lightroom. I suppose there is always Version 7.
- There is still no automatic dust detection. Let’s face it, between our sensors and our glass, dust is a fact of life. Yes, I can individually select each dust spot, and yes, I do appreciate the contrast view that allows me to see them easier, but I would rather Lightroom just did 99% of that work for me.
- I still want better batch editing tools in the Develop module. I can save a little bit of time with the Previous button, but edit one thing and you are essentially starting over.
I need some more time Adobe Lightroom CC, but I will post a follow-up soon with additional feedback. If you aren’t already a subscribed to the Adobe Creative Cloud Photographer’s bundle, you are definitely missing out.
In the meantime, I would love to know what you think about the software and how it is improving your photography and artistic workflow.