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Archive for September, 2009

Panasonic Lumix LX3

September 30, 2009 Leave a comment

panasonic_LX3Part of my holiday planning routine involves looking at the photo and video equipment I will be taking. A Canon HF100 HD video camera is doing an excellent job so that will be going on my next trip, but the photo capturing position was unfilled. On my last trip I took a £100 Panasonic DMC-FS3, an 8 megapixel compact that gave acceptable results in bright sunlight and poor quality pictures in anything else. My Nikon D50 performs well in most situations, but a Digital SLR is a burden to carry for anything active. The announced-but-not-reviewed-yet Canon S90 looks interesting, but some of the few sample shots I have seen have not impressed. The combination of compact size and quality images seemed elusive.

One camera that is claimed by many reviewers to offer both reasonable size and decent quality is the Panasonic DMC-LC3, a 10 megapixel compact with a bright f2 lens and a limited zoom range. These have been difficult to come by with every retailer I checked over the past few weeks being out of stock. The few that claim to have stock are known in many forums to be less than honest, so are best avoided. Around a week ago Play.com showed the camera available for immediate dispatch, and since they are one of the retailers I trust to be honest I placed an order.

The camera has impressed so far, with all the manual control I could want and a usable automatic mode. The version 2 firmware for the camera was released a couple of days ago, adding 1:1 shooting and some speed improvements. So far the biggest problem is that neither Mac OS 10.5 or 10.6 support the RAW format of the LX3. The previous LX1 and LX2 models work fine, but for a camera that has been available for approaching a year it’s strange that RAW support has not yet been added. Adobe Photoshop and Lightroom work with LX3 RAW, and the supplied Silkypix software does a great job of RAW editing and conversion so it’s only a minor problem.

UPDATE 1st October 2009

Panasonic has today withdrawn the update citing problems with the custom shooting mode if you had stored settings from the previous firmware. The temporary fix is to reset the camera and re-enter the settings in custom mode, or wait to 20th October when an updated version should be available.

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The Perfect Photo Book….

September 24, 2009 Leave a comment

….is something I have been seeking for the past week. Having used the iPhoto service previously with mixed results I’m now looking for something a bit more flexible. And if I’m honest, a bit cheaper. My quest started with an 80 page album of a holiday to San Francisco and Las Vegas earlier this year. Through the iPhoto service this book, with hard cover and custom dust jacket, will cost around £65. I’m also buying a second copy for friends who came with myself and Mrs Basshead, so that’s a lot of money for holiday albums.

Just about every service that prints photo’s is now offering photo books, and the software some provide has become genuinely impressive. Snapfish has a pretty slick web based book creating system, but prices are still around the same as through iPhoto. Bobbooks looked a lot more promising, with a similar 82 page book priced at £43. Unfortunately the software they use wouldn’t run under Snow Leopard on my hackintosh. Read more…

Snow Leopard on Hackintosh Guide

September 12, 2009 45 comments

28th March 2010 – This install guide has been replaced by Snow Leopard On Hackintosh Second Method. The new install method is simpler and faster than this guide, but uses a boot CD that may not be compatible with all hardware.

Released on the 28th of August 2009, Snow Leopard is described by Apple as ‘Better.Faster.Easier.’ It’s a fairly accurate label, and once I got over my initial problem upgrading my Macbook the new operating system has been stable, fast, and a pleasure to use. The Family pack I bought from the Apple Store allows installation on five computers, so this covers my Macbook, original hackintosh, home cinema hackintosh (HTPC) and the Intel Atom server I recently built. I know the EULA doesn’t allow for installation on non Apple hardware, but I paid my £39 so I’m as legit as is currently possible.

Before I start listing the steps I took to get Snow leopard working on my original Hackintosh, it’s worth mentioning backups again. During the install I tried things that screwed up Snow Leopard and stopped it working correctly. Having a full backup meant it was easy to reinstall and restore user data. My recommendations for backup software are SuperDuper, which I bought a couple of years ago, or the excellent donation-ware Carbon Copy Cloner. If you intend to use Carbon Copy Cloner with Snow Leopard make sure you have the latest V3.3 beta 5, as I had major problems with version 3.2.1. Superduper version 2.6.1 is described as compatible with Snow Leopard, my testing has shown no problems so far.

Backups done, on with the install. I used a separate hard drive for my Snow Leopard install, and the first part is done from my existing 10.5.8 installation. There’s a great 10.6 Generic Retail Guide at Insanelymac that lists three methods of installing Snow Leopard on non Apple hardware:

  1. Chameleon bootloader with a hidden EFI partition
  2. Boot-132 Disc with a patched boot file
  3. Chameleon v2 RC1 USB bootloader with Netkas PCEFIv10.1 patched boot Read more…

Snow Leopard 10.6.1 update released

September 12, 2009 1 comment

Two weeks after Snow Leopard went on sale, Apple has released the first system update. 10.6.1. is described as containing ‘general operating system fixes that enhance the stability, compatibility and security of your Mac.’ Available now through Software Update or as a direct download, the 71.47Mb package is recommended for all Macintosh’s running Snow Leopard.

iStat Menus 2

September 3, 2009 2 comments

iStat_Menus_Bar

It appears many software developers were caught out by the early release of Snow Leopard, and unfortunately one of the apps that hadn’t been updated was the excellent iStat Menus from iSlayer. It’s a system monitoring package that puts info in your menu bar for cpu, memory, network and hard drive usage, as well as temperatures and a highly configurable date/time.

Much has been written on the Snow Leopard problems the previous version of iStat Menus caused, but iSlayer has done a quick  job of getting version 2 out. The System Preferences panel has been overhauled and the options are even more flexible than before.  Highly recommended for anyone who wants to know what their Mac is doing.

iStat_Menus_System_preferences