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News for Monday, 1 September 2008

Is Nikon Aiming to Drop Mac Support?

By linathael - 01/09/2008 12:38:15 CEST - Category: Software
Details in recent product releases have made Mac users owning Nikon photo materials upset and worrying about the compatibility for future Nikon RAW file format on Mac OS X. It started with the release of the Nikon photo editing application, Capture NX, in its version 2.0, expected for years and finally made available couple of weeks ago. While the speed and reactivity of the Windows version has been dramatically improved, it seems that the Mac version was not that much optimized. Then, beginning of this month, Nikon unveiled its new flagship compact, the Coolpix P6000. While loaded with plenty of nice functions and capabilities, a little sentences made Nikon photographers using Mac (so a large percentage of them) worried. Instead of using its standard RAW file format known as .NEF, Nikon decided to create a new format, now identified as NRW RAW. The format is not the main problem in itself, but rather what is implied:
"COOLPIX Picture Control NRW (RAW) files can only be processed in-camera. NRW (RAW) files are compatible for use in-camera, with ViewNX (Windows version only available early October 2008) or with WIC (Windows Imaging Component)-based applications. Capture NX, Capture NX2 and NEF files are not compatible with NRW (RAW) images".
The reaction from the Nikon users community was quite rapid and unanimous. The website http://heim.ifi.uio.no (http://heim.ifi.uio.no/~gisle/blog/?p=103) published an interesting analysis:
Tying NRW to WIC is a bad idea! It is bad not only because it is Windows-only (no Apple OS X or Linux support), or because it is owned and controlled by Microsoft. It is really, really bad because it makes your RAW-data subject to bit-rot... But the bad news doesn’t stop there. WIC means that when you no longer have access to the magic codec, you no longer have access to your RAW data. Today, this means that while you will soon have access to your P6000 NRW data on Windows XP and Vista (because Nikon have said they intend to produce a codec for the Windows running on Intel Pentium-type CPUs), you will not have access to your RAW data on an Apple or Linux system (even if those systems supported WIC, which they don’t), because Nikon plan is to offer the codec on Windows only. And what about the situation, say, ten years in the future? Perhaps Microsoft has abandoned Vista by then and we all use something else? ...But if Nikon is arrogant enough to not let me access my own camera RAW data except through a system that makes me a hostage of both Nikon (bad) and Microsoft (worse), I think I’ll pass on this one"

One of the most respected Nikon photographer and expert Thom Hogan posted his comment and quick review of the P6000 on his website, and made it clear that new Nikon's RAW format was a bad idea:
. Looks like I need a new Coolpix bumper sticker to add to my collection: Skip the P6000

It would not only impact Apple or Mac uses, but potentially all users of non Nikon and Microsoft photo edition application such as Aperture, Adobe Lightroom, etc. (independently of the OS). Thomas Knoll summarized the situation in a post on Adobe user forum...
"WIC is Windows only. Even on Windows, WIC is basically useless for Camera Raw/Lightroom type applications".
Seen, as the last step of the current move, Nikon and Microsoft made a common press release two days ago for announcing their partnership to enter into cross-licensing agreement. The official goal is "to further the development of each company’s current and future product lines". another part of the PR is rather vague and can already indicate how Microsoft could design a DRM-like system for our own RAW photo files:
Microsoft and Nikon have a long history of collaborating to bring high-quality, cutting-edge consumer products to the market, including wireless cameras and RAW processing technologies. The companies believe that this patent cross-licensing agreement will substantially benefit customers of consumer products including digital cameras. Both parties will be able to innovate openly with each other’s technologies, enabling new features and products to come to market.

For sure one will have to follow closely the story, but in a near future, if you shoot photos with a Nikon gear, you might be lock to Windows OS and Microsoft applications... Maybe we should already try to contact the European commission to point out the potential issue.

How to Switch HD for your Time Machine Volume

By linathael. Original by Lionel - 01/09/2008 10:05:33 CEST - Category: Network
Time Machine is now a default function, and many users have already benefit from its usage, being able to browse back to previous versions of a document in case of a HD crash or simply accidentally deleting a file or a folder. However, Time Machine is not fully user friendly as there is no default procedure to follow in case you want to change the HD of you Time Machine volume (to further increase the storage space, or any reason). You will have to clone the HD, and then define it as the new TM volume; however, there is no published procedure.
MacFixit provides a detailed protocol. In summary, you will have to deactivate Time Machine, and then clone the backup volume to a new HD, then named it exactly the same way as the original one, then activate Time Machine and define the new HD as you new backup volume. this will not be perform in 5 minutes, so plan couple of hours if your current backup includes hundreds of GB of data.

Maybe the Best iPhone Protection

By linathael. Original by Lionel - 01/09/2008 10:04:26 CEST - Category: iPhone
As many iPhone owners willing to preserve their device, we have been testing several protection systems, from the hard shield-based to the soft ones...
We think we found currently the best one dedicated to iPhone 3G:

This is the SwitchEasy CapsuleRebel. It is composed of a soft adaptive polymer covering the iPhone case, then an over-all hard shell exo-skeleton frame made of polycarbonate further protect the device from impact. (on the back and sides).
We did not want to carry a crash test; however, this is most likely the most complete protection currently available while still featuring a belt clip. Of course, as the Apple logo is not visible anymore you will not be able to use it to show off.

Let's Talk about Mac!

By linathael. Original by Lionel - 01/09/2008 10:03:31 CEST - Category: Apple
This week was again rather boring for us as most news was dealing with topics that are not at the core of what we like, our Mac and its hardware and OS. So, hereafter are some news related to Apple, but not implying new hardware, or models, etc...
- Psystar to Sue Apple
Psystar decided to apply the famous sentence: "the best defense is attack". Psystar claims that Apple's decision to sell hardware bundle to OS is illegal and does not respect the anti-trust law. Psystar would like Apple to license out Mac OS X to allow installation on compatible hardware not designed or branded by Apple. As this would be a repeat of the clone's period in Apple's history, it is unlikely that Apple would repeat this mistake that almost kills it.
- Bloomberg published Steve Jobs' obituary
If all news networks have their own service aiming to prepare obituary of famous people while they are still alive, in order to be ready in case of a sudden death, Bloomberg published on its web site details of the file corresponding to Steve Jobs. While the author of this mistake might now be jobless, it shows how important Steve Jobs inputs have been in consumer electronics and IT.
- Apple Seeded a new beta version of Mac OS X 10.5.5
It will appear one of those days...
- Apple should fix the flaw we talked about last week
This is so obvious...
Last but not least, do not forget to register to Apple Expo REMIX 2008. The program of conferences is already en available and has never been so rich.

The iPhone will soon be uasable as a modem?

By crispin. Original by Lionel - 01/09/2008 08:40:59 CEST - Category: iOS - Source: http://gizmodo.com/
Already, on the iPhone V1, it was possible via complex do-it-yourselfings and jailbreaking of the device to use it as a modem for a computer.
With the appearance on the AppStore of the Netshare software, we thought that it would be possible to do this legally and simply. However Apple quickly went into reverse and withdrew the software that is certainly not to the taste of the mobile telephone operators.
According to the latest rumours, Apple is in negotiation with AT&T in order to officially propose a solution to its customers. AT&T proposes already this type of service to its customers using Blackberry's for an additional subscription of $30, which proves that the solution is commercially viable.
But this will imply that Apple makes new agreements with each operator to obtain this function. Note, perhaps it is this that Orange in France awaits before releasing totally the download limits to the iPhone, so that they can get a little more from you.
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