Monday, 22 December 2014

Nikon D750

Digital Photography Review has published a glowing (90%) review of Nikon's mid-range full-frame DSLR.

Snippets from the conclusion follow:

"The D750 is essentially a lower resolution, less expensive version of Nikon's D810 but if actually offers quite a bit more, including a better autofocus system, faster burst mode, tilting LCD, and built-in Wi-Fi. The major trade-offs are build quality/durability and resolution. If that sounds like an impressive camera to you, then you're absolutely right."

"The Sony-designed sensor in the D750 produces high resolution images with very little noise and an exceptional amount of dynamic range. Noise levels are very low, even at the highest sensitivities."

"One of the other high-points on the D750 is its expansive dynamic range. What's really impressive is what the camera can do when you expose for the highlights and let everything else go dark. So much is captured in the shadows that you can brighten them to the desired level with very little increase in noise."

"It's not often that we review a camera that does nearly everything right. The Nikon D750 is one of those cameras, due in large part to its top-notch sensor and autofocus system. It also wins points for its responsive (but buffer-limited) continuous shooting mode and video quality. While it has a few flaws, they're minor and won't affect the majority of photographers."
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Wednesday, 17 December 2014

Better Portable Graphics (BPG)

Fstoppers reports: [edited]

There is a new image format called BPG (Better Portable Graphics) designed by the French programmer Fabrice Bellard and it promises to deliver better visual quality at half the file size of JPEG.

JPEG has been around for over 20 years and has become the accepted means of displaying images on the web. As our web experience grows ever more visual, and as mobile browsing becomes the preferred method for many folks, JPEG begins to show its limitations.

BPG is a format based off the H.265 video codec by utilising the open source x265. This means BPG offers the ability to render 14 bits per colour channel as opposed to 8 with JPEG. It also offers an alpha channel, and a lossless compression option.

To give BPG a test run and see how it compares to JPEG you can go here and go through a variety of comparison images.
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Thursday, 11 December 2014

Solid State Hard Drives reliability test

Engadget reports: [edited]

Most heavy data users can't wait for the day when conventional hard disks are put out to pasture for good. But just how much better are SSDs? Despite any horror stories you may have heard, the answer is a lot, according to tests on recent models by The Tech Report. It forced six drives - including Kingston's HyperX 3K, Samsung's 840 Pro and Intel's 335 series - to continuously write and rewrite 10GB of small and large files.

Two drives - the Samsung and Kingston models - have both written two petabytes worth of data and are still going. Given that a typical user might write a couple of terabytes of data a year on an SSD, that adds up to a thousand or so years based just on usage. It's worth noting that it was just a small, informal test - but it bolsters the case that SSDs are far less likely to give you failure stress than hard drives.
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Friday, 5 December 2014

High-end pocketable compact cameras

Digital Photography Review has published a review of the following cameras.

- Canon PowerShot G7 X
- Canon PowerShot S120
- Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 III
- Fujifilm XQ1
- Nikon Coolpix P340
- Panasonic Lumix DMC-LF1

Snippets from the conclusion follows:

Best high-end pocketable compact - Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 III

With the RX100, RX100 II and now the RX100 III, Sony has had three opportunities to perfect the concept. The RX100 Mark III offers advantages in its superior battery life, added options/features for video shooters, better image quality, and its built-in EVF.

Best affordable high-end pocketable compact - Panasonic Lumix DMC-LF1

The Panasonic Lumix DMC-LF1 is not the newest high-end compact around, nor does it offer the biggest sensor, or the cheapest price tag. That being said, it is still an incredibly capable compact with a built-in electronic viewfinder for under $300 [£250, Ed.]. The Panasonic also leaps ahead of the pack in its massive zoom range, a 28-200mm equivalent. The other compacts all max out at 120mm or less.
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Wednesday, 26 November 2014

Google Devices and Activity dashboard

Google reports: [edited]

A new Devices and Activity dashboard gives additional insight over the devices accessing your Google account. The page shows a comprehensive view of all devices that have been active on an account in the last 28 days, or are currently signed in. And in case any suspicious activity is noticed, there’s a setting to immediately take steps to secure an account and change a password.
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Friday, 21 November 2014

Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX100

Digital Photography Review has published a full review of Panasonic's premium compact zoom camera.

Snippets from the conclusion follow:

"The LX100's image quality is amongst the best we've ever seen from a compact. The lens performs well across most focal lengths and apertures, and the sensor performance means the camera is able to lives up to the expectations its spec sheet sets. Taken together, this means the LX100 will continue to offer excellent image quality in a broad range of shooting conditions."

"In Raw the LX100 will comfortably match its high-end rivals (the Sony Cyber-shot RX100 III and Canon PowerShot G7 X), gleefully trump what should be its closest competitor (the G1 X II) and delight in rendering the rest of the enthusiast compact crowd irrelevant. That's not enough to gain it honorary membership of the prime-lens, APS-C club but it narrows the gap like never before."

"It's not a small camera, but it's not that much bigger than the likes of the Canon PowerShot G12. And, importantly, it offers significantly better image quality than pretty much any zoom compact ever made. It's not a camera entirely without flaws but most of them are so minor that it's unlikely they'll ever be more than slight irritations about a camera you'll love."

"Other than size, it's the camera's zoom range that stops it being the ideal camera for a majority of dedicated photographers. I did find the 24-75mm equivalent range a touch restrictive, but it's the only major concern I had: my overall experience has been much more about what the camera can do than what it can't. The LX100 is a pleasure to use and offers superb image quality. I'd consider it one of the best photographers' cameras on the market and probably the best zoom compact ever made."
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Wednesday, 12 November 2014

Microsoft offer Office free on iOS & Android

The Verge reports: [edited]

Microsoft's Office suite for iPad, iPhone, and Android is now free. You no longer need an Office 365 subscription to edit documents or store them in the cloud.

The move comes just days after Microsoft announced a strategic partnership with Dropbox to integrate the cloud storage service into Office across desktop, mobile, and the web.

You can now download Office for iPad and store all your documents on Dropbox without paying Microsoft anything at all. Microsoft is also releasing a brand new iPhone app today, alongside a preview of Office for Android tablets, all with Dropbox integration.
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Wednesday, 5 November 2014

Fantastic Fonts And Where To Find Them

Plato Web Design has produced a useful infographic indicating alternative free typefaces to the ones available as standard in Microsoft Word. There is also a link to a zipped file containing the featured typefaces.

For a 'print-friendly' version, click here
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Friday, 31 October 2014

Microsoft Band

Apple Insider reports: [edited]

Microsoft has launched the Microsoft Band, a fitness-focused wrist-worn device that connects to Microsoft Phones, Android, iOS and OS X. It will also integrate with Apple's HealthKit service and Health app for iPhone.

The Microsoft Band is very similar to Samsung's Gear Fit, offering a thin watch-like device that wraps around a user's wrist. Up top is a rectangular colour touchscreen that displays content horizontally, which can be somewhat awkward when holding a watch in front of your face with your elbow at a right angle.

A resizable clasp is at the bottom of the Microsoft Band, allowing users to find a size that's most comfortable for them. The device is also sold in sizes of small, medium and large.

Inside the band loop is a magnetic charging attachment and a heart rate sensor. Microsoft advertises that the Band will offer two days of runtime on a single charge. The colour display turns on for notifications but is turned off the rest of the time, and requires a button press to be enabled.

The Microsoft Band features integrated GPS for run tracking (the Apple Watch does not feature integrated GPS).

Price: $199
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Wednesday, 29 October 2014

Free Font - Neris

Cargo Collective reports: [edited]

A display sans for one paragraph (or shorter) length text: quotes, openings, titles, etc. You could use it for body copy, but that’s not where the typeface shines.

The font has many, many languages and features. Stuff like small caps punctuation or Bulgarian/Serbian alternates. There is an instructional PDF included.

Neris is the name of my city's river. While it doesn't really translate into anything meaningful, it looks good in both Lithuanian and English while showcasing most of the distinct features: slanted e, semi-serif i, stylized ink traps and curved sharp joints.
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Thursday, 23 October 2014

How To Dry Your Hands



You use paper towels to dry your hands every day, but chances are, you're doing it wrong. Joe Smith reveals the trick to perfect paper towel technique.
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Wednesday, 3 September 2014

Free Typeface - Cooper Hewitt

Font Squirrel reports: [edited]

Cooper Hewitt is a contemporary sans serif, with characters composed of modified geometric curves and arches for the recently renovated Cooper Hewitt Musuem. Available in 7 weights and complementary italic versions, it is based on his Galaxie Polaris typeface.
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Monday, 4 August 2014

Free Font - Source Serif

Adobe reports: [edited]

We are pleased to announce the release of Source Serif, a new open source typeface which is now available here on Typekit — as well as directly from SourceForge, for anyone who feels inspired to dig into the original font files.

Source Serif was designed by Frank Grießhammer as the serif counterpart to our popular Source Sans family.

Adobe’s principal type designer, Robert Slimbach, consulted with Frank on the design of Source Serif, helping to ensure its compatibility with Source Sans. With its simplified, eminently readable letter shapes, Source Serif is well-suited for digital environments, and shines when used for extended text setting on paper or on screen.
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Thursday, 24 July 2014

Pexels

Design Instruct reports: [edited]

If you’re looking for a convenient, singular source of great photos to use in your design projects, head over to Pexels — an image-based search engine that only features copyright-free public domain photos.

Pexels looks for photos from sites like Unsplash and Gratisography, and then pulls them together in one spot. Finding photos by subject is easy because the site takes the time to tag each image it features.

The search engine has over eight hundred free photos, with thirty new photos added every week.
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Wednesday, 16 July 2014

Free Font - Intro Condensed

Font Fabric reports: [edited]

The Intro type system consists of 50 unique font styles and weights. Two are available free.
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Wednesday, 9 July 2014

Free Font - Bebas

FontFabric reports: [edited]

Bebas Neue is a sans serif font family based on the original Bebas Neue free font by Ryoichi Tsunekawa.

Now the family has four new members – Thin, Light, Book, and Regular – added by Fontfabric Type Foundry.
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Wednesday, 2 July 2014

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 III Review

Digital Photography Review has published a full review of the latest incarnation of Sony's premium compact camera.

A précised version of the 'final word' follows:

The RX100 III provides better image quality than any camera its size ever has. Add to this an impressive and comprehensive feature set and it looks like the very definition of a stand-out camera.

In terms of shooting experience, the RX100 III continues to feel more like a camera that will somewhat grudgingly let you take control, rather than an enthusiast camera designed for the committed photographer from the ground up.

However, the breadth of its capabilities, from its bright, flexible lens and handy viewfinder, through to its class-defining image quality and well-supported, high-quality video capture mean there's nothing to really match it. And if you mainly shoot in P or Auto mode, you may never experience our frustrations about the handing.

The RX100 series has always been technically impressive, but the addition of the brighter lens, viewfinder and ND filter extend its utility to a huge degree. Owners of its predecessors should seriously consider upgrading unless they need more zoom reach.
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Wednesday, 25 June 2014

Avatron Air Stylus



Air Stylus lets you use your iPad as a pressure sensitive, wireless drawing surface for your favourite graphics software on your computer.

Draw or paint on your iPad’s screen directly into Adobe Photoshop, Pixelmator, or almost any computer-based creative software that supports pressure sensitive pens.

Air Stylus creates a natural drawing and painting environment, letting you combine the power of computer-based creative software, the finesse of a pressure sensitive stylus, and the elegant usability of your iPad.

For more information, click here.
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Wednesday, 18 June 2014

Free Font - REN Typeface

Behance reports: [edited]

REN Typeface is Andreas Leonidou's latest retro typeface. Available in 4 styles, it is best suited for posters, logos and motion graphics.
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Thursday, 12 June 2014

Free Font - Uni Sans

Font Fabric reports: [edited]

All caps sans. Two weights with italic versions. Designed by Svet Simov, Ani Petrova (cyrillic alphabet), Vasil Stanev (font development).
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Wednesday, 28 May 2014

VirusTotal

virustotal.com reports: [edited]

VirusTotal is a free online service that analyses files and URLs for quick detection of viruses, worms, trojans, and all kinds of malware.
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Wednesday, 21 May 2014

Sony Cyber-shot DSC RX100 III

Digital Photography Review reports: [edited]

The RX100 III features the same 1", 20.2MP BSI CMOS sensor as the II, but gains the latest Bionz X processor, a pop-up electronic viewfinder and a faster lens.

The zoom now extends across a 24-70mm equivalent range, with a maximum aperture of F1.8-2.8, a great improvement on the 28-100mm, F1.8-4.9 lenses sported by the existing two models.

It includes Wi-Fi, can run Playmemories Camera Apps, and the rear LCD now flips up by up to 180° for selfies. Video has also been upgraded - including full-sensor readout 1080p stored at up to 50Mbps in the XAVC S format.

The RX100 III will be available in June at a cost of around $800.
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Wednesday, 14 May 2014

Free Font - Origram

Nuno Dias reports: [edited]

Origram was the first font I designed. Inspired by Origami and Tangrams, the basic shape is an octagon.
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Wednesday, 7 May 2014

Free Font - Tamoro Script

Fontspace has made this fineline script available, for personal use only.
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Wednesday, 30 April 2014

Samsung Galaxy K Zoom

DPR Connect reports: [edited]

Smartphone imaging components have improved a lot in recent years but the lack of an optical zoom is still a major disadvantage compared to traditional compact cameras. Samsung tried to bridge the gap with last year's Galaxy S4 Zoom but the device ended up being bulkier than its smartphone cousin, the Galaxy S4, without offering the same high-end specification.

The new model offers a slimmer body than the S4 Zoom (18 vs 28 mm) and most of the smartphone components have been upgraded. The Super AMOLED screen has grown from 4.3 to 4.8 inches, but the 720p resolution doesn't match the 1080p displays of the Galaxy S5, HTC One M8 or Sony Xperia Z2.

The 1/2.3-inch BSI CMOS sensor now captures 20.7MP images versus the S4 Zoom's 16MP. The 10x zoom lens offers the same 24-240mm equivalent focal range and F3.1-6.3 maximum aperture as the S4 Zoom and comes with optical image stabilisation. There is also a xenon flash and a 2MP front camera for the occasional selfie.
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Friday, 25 April 2014

Lytro Illum

Engadget reports: [edited]

When Lytro first introduced its light field camera two years ago, it shook up not just the world of photography, but of technology in general. Bundled inside a tiny rectangular block was a groundbreaking image sensor that could capture millions of rays of light along with their color, intensity and direction -- a task that previously required hundreds of cameras and a supercomputer. That hardware combined with some complex software meant that you could not only get a 3D image from a single shot, but also the ability to refocus a photograph after you take it. It's this latter trick that is arguably the Lytro camera's most identifying characteristic, and the one that put it on the technological map.

The Illum lens has a zoom range of 30 to 250 mm with a very wide f/2 aperture across it. All you have to do is tap on an image to autofocus, and toggling through the different settings is just a touch and a scroll away.

At the heart of the Illum is a 40 Megaray light ray sensor, which means it's able to capture 40 million rays of light (in contrast, the original only has 11 Megarays). The refocusing is much finer and more granular - we were able to focus in so tight on a labrador's nozzle that we could see its pores. In addition, the Illum has a mechanical shutter with a speed of 1/4000ths of a second, which Rosenthal says would make it great for sports photography. He showed us an example of a Lytro image where it captured a cloud of dirt as a motorcycle went around a dirt track. If you'd rather shoot things up close, the Illum has an extremely close-up macro capability as well, allowing us to zoom in really close on a pair of jeans and hone in on the stitches. Powering it all is one of the highest performance chipsets available; Qualcomm's Snapdragon 800.

You get all of the same software tricks as before, like 3D imaging and post-shot refocusing, but you'll also now be able to adjust the depth of field in order to widen or narrow the focusing area. Additionally, Lytro has worked out a deal with Adobe and Apple so you can transfer those images to Lightroom, Photoshop or Aperture if you wish to work on them after you've adjusted the image's focus and depth of field.

The Lytro Illum will be available July 15 for $1,599.
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Wednesday, 9 April 2014

Free Font - Comic Neue

comicneue.com reports: [edited]

Comic Sans wasn’t designed to be the world’s most ubiquitous casual typeface. Comic Neue aspires to be the casual script of choice for everyone including the typographically savvy.

The squashed, wonky, and weird glyphs of Comic Sans have been beaten into shape while maintaining the honesty that made Comic Sans so popular.

There are two variants: Comic Neue and Comic Neue Angular, which features angular terminals rather than round. Both include light, regular, and bold weights, with oblique equivalents.
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Thursday, 3 April 2014

Wednesday, 19 March 2014

Thursday, 6 March 2014

Tiff

Tiff is a web-based tool that visually contrasts the differences between two fonts. It supports fonts from the Google Web Fonts library and any system fonts. Works on most modern browsers.
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Thursday, 27 February 2014

Free Retro Artwork

Graphic Design Junction has compiled a useful list of free downloadable customisable Retro/Vintage Artwork in a variety of formats.
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Thursday, 20 February 2014

Gmail Tips

The Huffington Post has published an informative article on a number of useful Gmail features.

My personal favourites are:

1. The dots in your Gmail address don't matter. You can email JohnDoe@Gmail.com, John.Doe@Gmail.com or J.o.h.n.D.o.e.@Gmail.com and they will go to the same place.

2. If you add a "+" sign and then any words into your Gmail address, it still works. For example, if you were to subscribe to a shopping site and your email address is JohnDoe@Gmail.com, you could use the email address JohnDoe+Shopping@Gmail.com to sign up. You'll still get your emails and you'll be able to filter them more easily by which address emails are sent to. Plus, if you get any emails from another site to JohnDoe+Shopping@Gmail.com, you'll know who gave your email address out.

3. You can 'un-send' emails. Gmail has a 'lab' that gives you a few seconds between the moment you hit the send button and the moment it actually sends and allows you to stop an email from sending. All you have to do is click on the gear in your inbox, go to 'settings', then to 'labs'. Scroll down, find the lab called 'undo send'. Click 'enable, then 'save changes'.
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Thursday, 6 February 2014

Adaptive/Responsive/Static/Liquid Web Site Demo

Liquidapsive reports: [edited]

Ever wondered what the difference between Adaptive, Responsive, Static and Liquid sites is? Had someone try and explain it only to be left more confused?

Pick a flavour from the drop down on the top of the page then drag your window narrower and wider, taller and shorter. It will make much more sense when you see for yourself how the approach works.

Thanks to Brook Jordan for the link
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Tuesday, 4 February 2014

Archipad

Design Milk reports: [edited]

Archipad is a new iPad sketching app by Urban Design that is scale aware. Once you set the scale of your drawing sheet, the drawings will be completely scaled to the real world, even down to the line thickness.

In addition, Archipad has many other features that cater to architects and designers, including layer rotations, shape and freehand drawing tools and more. It has a tiered pricing structure, it’s free to download for small projects. As projects become more complex, the user can buy a subscription for however long or short they need the app for.
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Tuesday, 28 January 2014

Stratasys multi-material colour 3D printer

BBC reports: [edited]

The world's first multi-material full-colour 3D printer has been launched by Stratasys, the owner of the MakerBot range of printers. It features "triple-jetting" technology that combines droplets of three base materials, reducing the need for separate print runs and painting.

By incorporating traditional 2D printer colour mixing, using cyan, magenta and yellow, the manufacturer says multi-material objects can be printed in hundreds of colours. While the base materials are rubber and plastic, they can be combined and treated to create end products of widely varying flexibility and rigidity, transparency and opacity, the company said.

Stratasys marketing manager Bruce Bradshaw told the BBC: "This will help industrial designers reduce the time it takes to bring prototypes to market by 50%."

Duncan Wood, publisher of specialist 3D printing magazine TCT, told the BBC: "This is groundbreaking stuff. Being able to produce single products incorporating materials of different rigidity and colour has been the holy grail of 3D printing to date.

It will cost about $330,000 (£200,000).
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Thursday, 23 January 2014

Box



Box reports: [edited]

With 50GB of free storage, Box makes it easy to store, manage and work with all your files and documents wherever you are - on the web, from your desktop and on your iPhone and iPad.

Box for iPhone and iPad helps you get work done on the go. It's fast, secure and simple to use, so you can be productive from anywhere. More than 20 million users and 200,000 companies use Box - including 97% of the Fortune 500.

With Box for iPhone and iPad, you can:

・Get all your files at your fingertips
・Always have the most up-to-date information about your business
・Use your iPhone and iPad to present in meetings
・Share important files
・Review projects and leave feedback on the go
・Stay connected with your team

Box for iPhone and iPad features:

・High-quality rendering of 100+ file types
・PDF, PowerPoint and Word viewers for reviewing and presenting
・Offline access to files and folders
・Real-time search of files and folders and within documents
・File-level encryption and security controls
・Photo and video import
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Thursday, 16 January 2014

Google Image Search Updated

Engadget reports: [edited]

Google Image Search has allowed users to filter results based on how they're licensed since 2009, but the option remained hidden under an advanced options menu where few users ever look. Now, a request by law professor and Creative Commons founding member Lawrence Lessig has changed that.

Bing added the option to filter by licensing rights last July with placement front and center, and Googler Matt Cutts tweeted that his company's search engine has a similar option, shown above. Perfect for bloggers in a hurry or anyone looking to whip up an image for a new meme, it can pick out images labeled for reuse, reuse with modification, or commercial variants of either.
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Tuesday, 14 January 2014

Caffeine aids long-term memory

the Hub reports: [edited]

Michael Yassa, an assistant professor of psychological and brain sciences at Johns Hopkins, and his team of scientists found that caffeine has a positive effect on our long-term memory. Their research, published by the journal Nature Neuroscience, shows that caffeine enhances certain memories at least up to 24 hours after it is consumed.

The Johns Hopkins researchers conducted a double-blind trial in which participants who did not regularly eat or drink caffeinated products received either a placebo or a 200-milligram caffeine tablet five minutes after studying a series of images. Salivary samples were taken from the participants before they took the tablets to measure their caffeine levels. Samples were taken again one, three, and 24 hours afterwards.

The next day, both groups were tested on their ability to recognise images from the previous day's study session. On the test, some of the visuals were the same as those from the day before, some were new additions, and some were similar but not the same.

More members of the caffeine group were able to correctly identify the new images as 'similar' to previously viewed images rather than erroneously citing them as the same.
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Thursday, 9 January 2014

Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS35 and ZS40


Digital Photography Review reports: [edited]

Panasonic has introduced the Lumix DMC-ZS40 travel zoom, also known as DMC-TZ60 in some markets. Equipped with Wi-Fi and NFC, it provides a 30x zoom range (24-720mm equiv), an 18.1 megapixel sensor, and a built-in electronic viewfinder. It features a control ring around the lens, Raw shooting and focus peaking.

Also introduced is a lower-cost model, the Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS35 (TZ55), with Wi-Fi connectivity (though no NFC). The ZS35 covers a 28-560mm equivalent 20x zoom range, uses a 16 megapixel sensor, and lacks a viewfinder.
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Tuesday, 7 January 2014

A Concise Guide to Lightroom Develop Presets

Digital Photography School has published a helpful article with a good selection of free presets to download.
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