Ongoing Repairs

Toolset

Having replaced a battery in the TomTom sat nav recently it became apparent that whilst I have loads of very small phillips, crosspoint & flat screwdrivers, I didn’t have any small Torx bits, or any of the slightly peculiar blades that many small electronic devices require. So a cheap set was purchased from Amazon, and on closer inspection it looks like a cheap set of “Chinesium” bits. Although it does come with a selection of spudgers and other useful accessories, I am not sure that much of it will last prolonged & heavy usage, so I may invest in the iFixit kit in due course.

However as it is time for the periodical check on all the accessable screws on my camera equipment, it will get used for that, before potentially being thrown in a drawer & forgotten about.

Lexar Card Readers

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Having bought into the Lexar Workflow CF Card Reader a year or so ago, I decided to go the whole hog with a Workflow Hub as well, to help speed up the ingesting process after shooting an afternoon of football over maybe three or 4 CF Cards.

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I must need my head testing, as the last two Lexar card readers have proven pretty crap, one the hinged cover broke after about 3 uses & the other failed in pretty short order.

Lexar Pro013

 

 

Hard Disk Failure

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A hard disk is on it’s way out, it has become very sluggish & occasionally refuses to write, no major drama though, even if it is holding the 2016 to current archive of images. I have ordered its replacement and installed it, now just the process of repopulating the archive from one of its back ups which will take 24 hours.

Remember if you only have a single back up, you don’t have a back plan. Mine is relatively simple I have:

Two hard disks for the Archive installed in my MacPro (which are identical & kept so using “Sync Folders Pro”.  I also have two external hard disks which are mirrors of the Archive. This is for the on-line (or current stuff) most of the older images are backed up on disks that are no longer in my MacPro but can easily be accessed via a Disk Caddy.

My work flow is that recent images (and stuff currently being worked on are saved to two SSD that are on an Angel Wings X2) and when finished are then transferred to the Archive.

So hopefully I should be covered in the event of a catastrophic equipment failure be able to access the entire archive.

New Mouse

 

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Having had an old Apple Optical Mouse  (A1152) for a number of years, and on average having to clean the little scroll wheel every few weeks, I finally decided that I would go the wireless route again, (having had an Apple Mighty Mouse for a while but hated it) and purchased an Apple Magic Mouse 2 (A1657). The first impressions are very good, with luck it will have a long enough battery life to be usable. According to Apple it can recharge in less than five minutes to give enough charge for an 8 hour day. Pairing the device couldn’t be easier, plug it into a USB port on the machine you want to use it on, and  the Bluetooth pairing is done.

Chinese Imports

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The power supply on my Old Apple Cinema 30 monitor went bang a couple of weeks ago & you can’t buy them from Apple anymore so it was either take a chance on ebay for a Power supply that is as old or possibly older than the one that has failed, or look further afield.

Today, my new PSU from China arrived & it is completely indistinguishable from the original supply, except for the tape hiding the Apple logo, plugged in & switched on & all is right with the world, except for the snow, outside, not settling.

Upgrade time

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Having been a user of PhotoShop CS5 since it’s introduction, I have decided  that it is time to bite the bullet & upgrade to the current version, as it was only £79.99 for a year subscription I have updated both the Desktop & the Laptop to PhotoShop CC 2018.

There appear to have been a few changes in the  last 8 years or so, but the most immediate change that I spotted was the Camera RAW screen, which offers quite a few more options when processing RAW images, including profiles including “Landscape”, “Portrait” plus others including my new favourite “Vivid”.

Weybridge CC v Middlesex CC 0132

 

A Little Protection Required

26/05/2018. Weybridge Cricket Club v Normandy Cricket Club

Having managed to crack the screen of my iPad and the repair cost is something of the order of £300, I decided that prevention is better than cure and invested in an OtterBox Defender.

I am quite impressed at the construction, however it does increase the size & weight of the iPad substantially.  However it is still lighter & more convenient than a laptop with a better battery life, so it is a compromise that I am happy to accept.

26/05/2018. Weybridge Cricket Club v Normandy Cricket Club

 

Gives You Wings

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Red Bull does it, apparently some lady hygiene products do it and now I do it, Yep I’ve given my Desktop machine Wings. Having a couple of  256Gb SSD sitting around doing nothing seemed a bit of a waste, but seeing that all of my hard drive slots (plus one of the optical drive slots) were filled with spinning disks, with the exception of the boot up disk, i got in touch with my current supplier of all things Mac related, Create Pro and they suggested that I install a PCIe card with space for 2x SSDs.

The main reason for wanting to re-use these SSDs was a) well they hadn’t been used much, b) it seemed a waste of money not to, c) Photoshop & Lightroom are greatly speeded up if you have fast scratch disks.

So all installed, not tested in anger yet, but certainly has speeded up the access to my Archive in Lightroom.

The one that I opted for is the Angel Wings X2 (Yay even better than Wings they’re X-Wings) £155 inc VAT & Delivery.

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New Card Reader

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Having had a Lexar USB3 CF Card Reader for some time, I felt that it was time to explore another option, now that I  have a USB3 PCI-E card in the Mac Pro and have been getting fed up plugging & unplugging the Lexar every time the laptop goes in the field, I have decided to leave the Lexar at home & use a Delkin Card reader in the field.

First tests seem encouraging. I also like the fact that the lead is hard-wired, which cures one of the problems with the Lexar, which is that it can become separated from it’s lead, either in the bag or whilst transferring files.

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Yet more backing up

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As disks are so cheap at present, I have added a couple more to my back up my archive. The archive currently covers a number of 2TB disks, many of the images were shot with EOS 1D, EOS 1D mkIIn & Mark 4s, since upgrading to 1Dx bodies the rate that I am filling 2TB disks is increasing. SO another 10TB (5 to use & 5 as a back up).

About Time

Huawei E5330

Huawei E5330

Having recently upgraded to a smart phone it only seemed sensible that I upgrade from a rather dodgy “3” Dongle, which works more less as and when it feels like it, frequently showing zero signal which connected & sending images, then minutes later showing full strength signal whilst dropping the connection, so a cheap mifi is the order of the day, meaning that I also am not tying up a valuable USB port whilst wiring images.

Bloody Typical

IMG_0005You upgrade your camera equipment, and then you have to upgrade the lap-top as well because it can’t cope with the mahooosive files. I guess it needed to be done, the old MacBook Pro was getting a little tired, even with maxed out RAM & a SSD it really wan’t cutting it. So the replacement laptop has a 512gb SSD & 16gb RAM, I have taken it back to OSX 10.7 as everything works & I am reluctant to do Apples Beta testing for them.

Not sure that I can keep up with all this new technology, new camera, new phone new laptop,

That’s even betterer…..

appl_mb_2006Upgraded the memory in my “new” Mackbook Pro last week, up to the maximum it can handle, (3GB) and the thing absolutely flies, Photoshop CS4 opens in a couple of seconds, transfering images from PhotoMechanic to PSCS4 takes less than a second. RAW files transfer in about a second, so it is substantially quicker than the old G4 Powerbook.

Tomorrow it will get tested in anger, as I am covering AFC Wimbledon versus Cambridge United, so will will see how it stands up.

I did temporarily upgrade to OSX 10.6 but for some reason the 3G modem is not supported so it is impossible to wire, if anyone has any workarounds for the HUAWEI 3G USB dongle (on the 3 network) I’d be pleased to hear from you.

Blimey, that’s better

appl_mb_2006My old G4 Powerbook really is on it’s last legs, So I have been hunting for a replacement, but couldn’t justify spending the best part of 2 grand on a new MacBook Pro.

So a few days watching ebay and I saw a few likely candidates, but they went for silly money. However a search of Gumtree and I found a MacBook Pro, 2.33ghz, Intel Core 2 Duo machine, with 2GB RAM, 320GB Hard disk in near mint condition with box and original disks and paperwork, in fact the remote control had never even been taken out of the box. All for £650, a quick haggle and £600 notes change hands, Deal Done!

I have spent the last day or so installing all of the software that I require, and I am gobsmacked at the difference in performance, I probably shouldn’t be too surprised, my old G4 1Ghz Powerbook is at least 6 years old, and whilst it has been upgraded in terms of memory and hard disk space, the processor was the weak link.

Damned and Blast

g4You will see in a couple of days a new post for a job I did last week for the Star on Sunday in Turkey. Unfortunately, during that trip my Powerbook (an old G4 1Ghz Aluminium) took a bit of a tumble whilst waiting for an internal flight from Bodrum to Istanbul. Net result was that the machine would not reboot. Fortunately I had wired all of the images that I needed to from the hotel before I left.

Anyway on arrival home, I replaced various bits, swapped hard disks, memory and the such, but concluded that it must be the logic board. Damned expensive to replace, something like £500+. A quick trip to my preferred repair agents, called Backstage Services in Esher Click Here for their website, to drop the laptop off for repair on Monday morning. Monday lunch they confirmed my worst fears, but they could get an exchange logic board, supply and fit for £328.00 all inclusive. Even though it is a six year old laptop, I figured it was worth it, as a new one would be in excess of £1300, plus I would still need to recover all the images from the old hard disk.

They promised the part would be delivered Tuesday and installed ASAP.

Once again they delivered superb service and incredibly quickly as well, kudos to Backstage.

Hot, damned Hot

tempgaugeHot, damned Hot, which is fine if you’re with a women, lousy when your laptop is melting your jeans.

One of the problems with the G4 Powerbooks is that by defualt they tend to run very hot, the default seems to be something like 60 Degrees C, and there is no control from within the operating system (well not from the GUI part anyway) so a quick bit of research and I found a peice of software called Temperature Monitor that gives the “live” temps from four different parts of the laptops casing, the Battery, the Processor, Power Supply and the hard disk.

All well a good, but there is no method of controlling the temperature that the fans will kick in at. So a bit more research and a piece of software called “ControlPBFan” (actually not so much software as a script, using the BSD Unix that runs behind OSX) and now I have my temp set to 50 degrees, which means that the casing of the laptop is cool enough to use perched on my lap, something that was uncomfortable before.

Fuck Me, Remind me not to do that for a while…

g4I have an old (must be about 5 years old) MAC G4 PowerBook, and recently it has given me some shit, I upgraded to 10.5 and Photoshop CS4 and everything just seemed to die. Thinking that the OS upgrade and the bloated CS4 caused a problem I downgraded back to 10.4 and CS3, that seemed to cure some of the ills.

However today the machine crashed, and would not restart. It also seemed to be running hotter than usual. First reaction was hard disk failure, second though was memory sodimm failure, a quick test revealed that the memory (which was only recently upgraded to 2Gb) was OK. So I went and purchased a new 2.5 IDE hard disk from one of my regular suppliers (wwww.cancomuk.com). The original HD was a 60Gb Hitachi, the replacement a 120GB Hitachi.

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Back Ups

It is all very well taking sellable images, but not much use if you cannot keep then safe and accessible.

Having created your masterpieces, the next most important thing (after getting them to your market place) is to keep them safe, and accessible.

Many photographers are, at best, haphazard about backing up their images and maintaining an archive that will enable them to find their images in a hurry. Many have no processes to protect their images against accidental deletion or sudden and catastrophic equipment failure.

I will outline here a few of the procedures that I use, that ensure that should I lose some images I can retrieve them from my back-up systems.

Firstly, and most importantly don’t rely on a single back-up strategy, CDs and DVDs fail, often without warning, you burn them, you test them and put them somewhere safe and 6 months later they are un-readable. The problem is that you cannot tell what ones will fail or why. External Hard disks can also be prone to failure (in fact there is only two types of hard disk; ones that are about to fail and ones that have failed).
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Vodafone 3G Broadband

I have used the Vodafone 3G datacard since its launch a couple of years ago, however after a colleague mentioned that there was a brand new 3G Broadband card launched recently I decided to upgrade, especially as it was a free upgrade.

The difference is impressive, although the card looks identical to the original card the speed is significantly improved. There has also been a significant update to the Vodafone Connect Software for the Apple Mac, even though it falls someway short of the functionality of the Windows version.

The upload speed difference is remarkable; I have just uploaded 3 images to an FTP server, all over 1mb each in a matter of a minute.
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Canon WFT-E1

A little while back I ordered a WiFi transmitter pack for the EOS1 D bodies, nobody in the UK had them in stock, and Canon couldn’t or wouldn’t commit to a delivery date. I was looking forward to the challenge of setting it up with both the PDA and Powerbook.

I have spoken to a few other togs that have tried them (both the Nikon and the Canon variants) and they have mentioned that there are a few difficulties with setting them up reliably. One of the users suggested that every time there is an Security Update with OSX is throws all the settings out. However I remain cautiously optimistic that the transmitter will work with the PDA.

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I’m in love again

The concept of the Pocket PC, still really appeals (as mentioned a couple of posts ago), but it is hampered by the involvement of Microsoft (with my Windoze Mobile 2003 version). Anyway, it appears that I am not the only one that thinks that MS cannot design an operating system; it would appear that Fujitsu-Siemens also agree, as I have found a great add-on (it is actually included, but wasn’t installed on my machine).

It is Specifically written for the Loox, although I would imagine that each Pocket PC manufacturer has done it as well. Called Connect Mobility, it prevents the OS from needing manage connections, something that it handles rather well.

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