Tidal Gets a Replay

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Tidal R5

Frak, I can hear the difference. Immediately. Tidal sent email inviting me to resubscribe. I cancelled the day before Apple Music launched, offering three months free streaming. I spent weeks adjusting to the mushier, bassier sound imposed upon the music. I anticipated some synergy between the service and iTunes but just don’t see it, and my overall listening declined post-Tidal, after rising considerably when a subscriber.

There’s a fullness from the lossless encoding that I hear but can’t adequately describe. Vocals are crisper and clearer and the highs really pop. It’s like if a pin dropped during the recording you would hear it. What I hear more from Apple’s low-bitrate encoding is false fullness from amping bass and the lows. Or so my ears say.

So Tidal gets another play. I’m resubscribed and will listen to and otherwise experience both services during August. Apple’s presentation is more pleasing, but I’m surprised to find the playlists don’t appeal to me more than the other service. I will make a final choice based on overall benefits, of which fidelity is only a part. Music availability, discovery, presentation, and price to subscribe matter, too.

People Photo

Flickr a Day 210: ‘Doctors Make Me Nervous’

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Kid looks Africa

Other than perhaps physical size, today’s compacts little resemble models that advanced the category, like the 3.3-megapixel Canon S20 I purchased in mid-2000. Price differs, too. The then state-of-the-art digicam sold for about $900, if I recall rightly. Gasp, or was it more? Fifteen years later, compacts like the Nikon CoolPix A put some of the best features of the dSLR into a much smaller device, for much less spent. The camera packs in an APS-C sensor—DX in Nikon-speak—excellent low-light performance, and fixed-focal length (e.g, prime) lens.

Jake Stimpson demonstrates just what image quality a camera like the Nikon A delivers in competent hands. The pastor for Biserica Piatra Vie, in Bucharest, Romania, captures candids that make you wonder: “What?” He shot self-titled “Doctors Make Me Nervous” on April 24, 2015. Vitals: f/2.8, ISO 1600, 1/250 sec, 18.5mm. The pic takes the Day for clarity and composition and for being interesting.  Read More

Journalism Microsoft

Whither Windows Death?

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Allegory of Death

Over at BetaNews I pose question “Will you upgrade to Windows 10?” and provide readers a poll to answer the question. Timing coincides with the official launch of the platform tomorrow. To be brutally honest, I seriously considered using headline: “Will you upgrade to Windows Death?”

Because: if Windows 10 doesn’t succeed it will be the last viable version, given the success of Android or iOS; shipments of both mobile platforms either match or exceed Windows computers; and Microsoft’s advancing cloud strategy signals the end of Windows as we have come to know it, as the operating system evolves and updates in a manner more like Chrome OS than the big release delivered every few years. Then there is the criticism, much of it among beta testers, that makes upgrading to Windows 10 seem like Death.  Read More

Apple Music

Hey, Apple Music, Glitch or Licensing Change?

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R5 on Apple Music

Sometimes I need loud power pop to drive my writing. While working on a story about Windows 10 for BetaNews, I selected R5 to stream from Apple Music—and not for the first time. I started with track No. 6, “Smile”, which is among the two highest-rated tracks from album “Sometime Last Night“. But today, rather than the full song, I get a 90-second preview.

What the frak?  Read More


Flickr a Day 209: ‘Railway History Slowly Rotting Away’

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Decaying Rusting Train

Good urban photography is as much about the past as the present—or, better, intersection of the two. For that quality, self-titled “Railway History Slowly Rotting Away” takes the Day. Diego Torres Sylvester explains: “An old British Armstrong-Whitworth Diesel-Electric train, named ‘Estrella’ by São Paulo Railway company, rotting in a rail yard in Paranapiacaba, Brazil”. The seemingly simple photo carries profound meaning in context, for which I wish he would give even more.

Diego is more an urban shooter of things, for a reason. “I don’t like to take pictures of people, mostly because I don’t know how to do it well. That’s why almost all my pictures are ‘people-less'”, he says. Hey, that’s okay. He does just fine finding interesting artifacts across the urban landscape.

“I prefer portability over picture quality, that’s why I currently use a Panasonic DMC FZ-35 and my Nokia Lumia 920 cameraphone instead of a dSLR as they fit my current needs very well”, he says about his style. Mmmm, IQ looks damn good to my eyes. He used the Panny to shoot our selection, on Sept. 23, 2013. Vitals: f/3.7, ISO 80, 1/100 sec, 27.5mm. Diego, who joined Flickr in March 2005, is from Sao Paulo, Brazil, where he still lives.

Photo Credit: Diego Torres Silvestre


Flickr a Day 208: ‘Glowing Mouth’

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City Tunnel Entrance

Street photographers present many different styles as a group but often something specifically identifiable individually. The art produced by Raul Lieberwirth is unremarkably human. I say unremarkably because the quality isn’t overbearing but just there. He captures the everyday, and behind it the emotions of living. Of being present. There’s a simplicity and frankness that is understated at first glance but nevertheless compelling.

View some of the many choices considered before I made today’s selection: “Circles“, “Riptide“, “Society Gates“, “Terrible Things“, and “The Lament of Eustace Scrubb“. To each photo Raul assigns a song, with link to YouTube. By now you must wonder why all the praise if the picked pic is something else altogether? Not all good street photography is about people. Technique matters, too, and this series has yet to feature something like self-titled “Glowing Mouth”.

Raul used the Canon EOS 5D Mark II and EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM lens on June 23, 2012, using long exposure. Vitals: f/18, ISO 100, 55mm, 30 seconds. This kind of shot takes patience, and I wonder if that approach applies to his street photography. Ha! “Every car going by thought I was a speed camera”, says Raul, who is from Heidelberg, Germany, where he still lives. He joined Flickr in March 2006.

Photo Credit: Raul Lieberwirth

Blogging ebooks Journalism Media New Media News Media

Responsible Reporting Section 3 ‘What You Must Do': Chapters I and II

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Serialization of my ebook Responsible Reporting: Field Guide for Bloggers, Journalists, and Other Online News Gatherers, resumes following a three-week hiatus. Two sections behind us, we come to the final one. What came before: Foreward; Section 1, Chapters I and IIIII and IVV and VI; Section 2, Chapters I, II, III, IV, and V.

The book published in Spring 2014, and all information herein was current then and nearly all of it is still relevant today. The first two sections build up to the third, and I strongly encourage you start at the beginning and read through the previous 10 chapters plus one before continuing.  Read More

Gear Photo

Build Your Own Camera Backpack

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Filson Rugged Twill Backpack

When I set out to buy a bag for my Fujifilm X-T1, four criteria topped the list: Smaller rather than bulky, shoulder straps, quality for price, and color (orange). No backpack made for carrying cameras qualified, after exhaustive search across the InterWebs. But one had my attention: Filson Rugged Twill Backpack, which coincidentally is on sale for about 37-percent off. The other two colors, neither of which appeals to me, are full price.

I chose instead the ONA Bolton Street Backpack, which as explained yesterday is too bulky for my bodily frame and digital lifestyle. Ahead of opportunity to reach that conclusion and reluctantly return the tote, I attempted to cancel the order before Amazon shipped it but failed. A year-old Gizmodo post by Nicholas Stango and the sudden Amazon availability of the Filson (for the sale price) and a Crumpler changed everythingRead More

Critters Photo

Flickr a Day 207: ‘Snapping Turtle’

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Snapping Turtle

Film photography is increasingly an art form—throwback to a time when the man or the woman was more in control of the shooting and developing process. There is something oh-so vinyl about print that appeals much the same as placing the needle on a record album. Tom Hart describes himself as “kind of a film fanatic. Not sure why—just shoot for fun”. Fun he has, with film and digital—and in both formats uses some of the finest cameras ever made.

“This guy was not too happy as I moved him to the creek”, Tom says of self-titled “Snapping Turtle”, captured on June 5, 2011. “But the dogs were showing great interest in this visitor to the front yard”. Vitals: Nikon F100 (a 35mm film shooter) and what little else he tells us—”Rollei Retro 80S; Rodinal 1-100 stand; little tone in post”.

Tom is kind of a camera connoisseur, favoring analog and digital rangefinders (Leica) and modern mirrorless models like the Fujifilm X-T1. From Racine, Ohio, he lives in Ashland and joined Flickr in April 2009.

Photo Credit: Tom Hart

Gear Photo

There’s Something You Should Know About the ONA Bolton Street Backpack

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ONA Bolton Street

It’s beautiful but bigger than it looks. I ordered and returned the Bolton Street this week, fulfilled by Amazon from one of its retailer partners. Words cannot express how much I wanted to keep the backpack. The craftsmanship is fine art, attention to detail is finer still, and quality of materials is outstanding. But the thang doesn’t fit my digital lifestyle or my back. Depth is the problem.

My story starts on July 9, 2015, when I walked out of Best Buy with a ridiculously fantastic deal: Fujifilm X-T1 kit body and 18-55mm lens, discounted $250, bundled with the XF55-200mmF3.5-4.8 R LM OIS for another $100. The second lens alone retails for $699. My previous digicam, the Fuji X100T, is so compact that I didn’t use backpack or other carryall. But interchangeable lens camera changes everything, so I started looking for an appropriate backpack.  Read More

People Photo

Flickr a Day 206: ‘Road Hat Plank’

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Planking in Road

Our three-day walk—or is that falling flat face—down fad memory lane concludes with another selection from four summers ago. You remember the craze, right? Or did you forget? (Please do.) Nate Bolt shot self-titled “Road Hat Plank” on June 7, 2011, using Canon EOS 5D Mark II and EF 16-35mm f/2.8L II USM lens. Vitals: f/8, ISO 100, 1/50 sec, 50mm. At that shutter speed, shooter and planker need to stay still.

Nate is one of Silicon Valley’s successful startup specialists. In May 2012, Facebook acquired part of the design research team where he was chief executive. He left the social network two years later to focus on spinoff Ethnio. He joined Flickr in June 2005 but no longer is active.

See Days 204 and 205 for more planking.

Photo Credit: Nate Bolt


Cali Caturday

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Cali Ponders

I shot the accompanying photos on July 23rd and saved them for today. Cali played with some dangling thing from her perch and in rare form looked cute rather than ferocious. She’s a huntress that one. I waved natural-fiber strapping (from IKEA furniture) with my left hand, pulled out the iPhone 6 Plus, and shot using the other. The Featured Image captures her lively, playful spirit.

Cali came to us in late October 2014, after my daughter felt compelled to give up the animal. A cranky, cat-allergic roommate forced out the Tortoiseshell. Except for some chewing on wires, she is a good pet.