eXtensions - Wednesday 11 April 2018
eXtensions - The Wednesday File (52): Nikon D850 First Look; Further Decline of News; Mac Pro and other Apple Products
By Graham K. Rogers
I left early today as the credit card had just opened up for me. I made a payment last Thursday and this was finally shown on my account. In the meantime, several purchases I made (including the film) were shown added to the account within seconds of the order being made. That use of my money does not benefit me at all.
My purpose Tuesday afternoon was to buy a camera: a decision I made months ago really, but the stars aligned this week. As soon as I saw the specifications for the Nikon D850, particularly its 47mps sensor, I wanted this. The D7000 has begun to show some signs of age, although it still takes good photographs, but I am not really in Hasselblad country and I won't touch Sony since their disgraceful root-kit débacle. That was actually 2005, but how could anyone trust them after that?
First shot in the kitchen
ISO 64 from the window
ISO 25600 late evening
All could easily be foreseen as those in charge did not respond properly to the new medium and are still locked into a print and paper mindset. Many newspapers have been going through this dangerous contraction, and it was clear that easy access through the internet was the preferred source of information for many, particularly the young.
As the internet grew, news particularly suffered from the early free days as this was no way to make money. Advertising, which had always been the real life blood of news, was not really enough (unless you are Google) and subscriptions were not at all attractive for online use. There were a few exceptions, such as Bloomberg where the product was so well controlled by the source that paying up front was the only way to continue to access the (essential) information. Newspapers do not have that luxury.
I have been able to watch some good TV series that I would never have seen using cable as well as plenty of movies. A main advantage, on top of this richer content, is that I am not tied to any schedule (apart from live sport) and if I want a bathroom break in the middle, I just pause the feed and pick up when I come back.
For me, live sport means motor racing and as I was only watching Formula One on cable, the 1500 baht a month for about 2 races a month was uneconomical. There was some news that the new management, Liberty Media, who should understand these things but are already beginning to alienate fans, has an internet service in the pipeline. This is a couple of years behind motorcycle racing whose services I have subscribed to for 3 or 4 years, and in any case will not be made available in South-east Asia. With viewing numbers already in decline, which means advertising is less effective, Formula One is looking at a slow economic death unless there is change, and soon.
When I look at what Dorna has been doing with MotoGP, it is clear that this is where F1 should be headed. I happily subscribe to the MotoGP package every year and watch most Sunday races (there are 3 classes). Some meetings take place late night here, but the service allows me to run (and re-run) the recorded races the next day or later if I want.
As for the Bangkok Post, it is thinner than ever as it reduces local content and relies on wire services. A warning this week came from Politico (Shawn Musgrave and Matthew Nussbaum) who note areas where there is little local traditional news content were the places that Trump did best in the elections. I do not see the Bangkok Post surviving more than a year in paper form. If the print version is shut down there will have to be major improvements in the web presence for it to continue to be relevant.
The cheese-grater Mac Pro, itself descended from the G5 Power Mac, is still the favorite among many users and we have a couple at this office. However, it needs major changes to cope with modern technology (chips, displays, storage). That is not going to happen.
Apple explained all this to its guests and explained that a Mac Pro was coming, but in the meantime an iMac Pro would be developed. While the 5K display is the same as the current basic iMac top of the range, the space gray finish and the processors inside are not. As beautiful as it looks, as fast as it is, it is not really expandable (once chips are installed at the factory) and so we wait for the Mac Pro.
Last week Matthew Panzarino (TechCrunch) reported on his revisit to Cupertino and what he was told about Mac Pro developments. This is worth reading. In short, as Apple is starting over, 2019 is the best that it can (or is willing to) do.
An interesting point was that not only is Apple using its own employees in the development, but that Pro users are also onboard to help Apple understand to understand their actual workflow. Some of the reasons Apple asked journalists to return for this update is to let customers know - a new transparency that Apple has now - and to inform institutional buyers or other large customers who may be waiting to spend budget on such purchases.
As I am more interested in RAW-capable apps on the iPhone (and the results I can see from using them) I have collected several now. So far I have a number of comments online about RAW on the iPhone:
I know there must be more RAW-capable iOS apps, but the App Store does not give up its treasures easily, so this week I went looking and found 8 more which I will be writing about soon (the new Nikon may delay that of course). Then on Tuesday morning Apple had a whole section on RAW-capable apps in its Daily List. I had some already, but downloaded a couple more which I have added to the list.
Apple needs to keep cleaning out these Augean stables and think about the user experience. I found it far easier to find and manage iOS apps via the interface on the Mac than I do on the iPhone (or iPad), although even there, search became harder. Even when looking in a specific category, it was impossible to see all of the apps available and the only way to find some was to have the exact name, although that was not always a guarantee.
Graham K. Rogers teaches at the Faculty of Engineering, Mahidol University in Thailand. He wrote in the Bangkok Post, Database supplement on IT subjects. For the last seven years of Database he wrote a column on Apple and Macs. After 3 years writing a column in the Life supplement, he is now no longer associated with the Bangkok Post. He can be followed on Twitter (@extensions_th)
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