Thursday, December 27, 2012

Can't Stop Reading The Walking Dead!

I keep reading this over and over. Does anyone know of any other comics like this:  Non-superhero humans living through some horrible hardship for years and years?

Breaking Up with a Laptop on Vacation

My wife and I recently went to Orlando for a quick vacation.  I decided to try and live without my laptop for the trip since I recently got an iPad 3.

To be clear, I really only bring the laptop (a two-year-old MacBook Pro) to edit photographs I take with my SLR.


My iPad 3 still has the old connector, and has 64GB of RAM, so it was very easy to get the RAW images from my camera into the iPad.  I even pulled in a high-def video about 10 minutes long.

This is maybe the most important "good":  The screen on the iPad 3 is astonishing.  The colors are extremely accurate and the resolution is truly better than my eyes can see, which can not be said for my laptop.  It was a lot easier to identify bad photos because the resolution of the screen made it easy to identify if the desired in-focus areas were truly in focus. 

I was able to do everything I wanted to do (eventually) and it didn't really seem to take more time than on a computer.  Some functions, like cropping and rotation, were easier and smoother on the iPad.

I was able to edit a movie using iMovie on the iPad before I posted it.  It could have been easier, but it was certainly usable.

Of course, the iPad took up much less space and weighed a lot less than the MacBook Pro.


iPhoto on the iPad is NOT the same as Aperture on the Mac (duh).  I was able to make 90% of the changes I wanted to make to my photographs, but I didn't feel like I was finished with them (I didn't mess with them at home later, so I guess I was finished after all!).

iPhoto and the camera roll use two different storage locations.  I had to "export" edited pictures to the camera roll to publish them, and this could only be done one picture at a time.  Fortunately I only wanted to post a few of the pictures, but this would be unacceptable on a photo vacation (see update).

There is no way to batch-edit photos for things like white balance.  This is maybe a good thing because it forces me to make sure the white balance is where I want it when I take the photo, instead of planning on fixing this in post (rember, white balance is just a setting in a RAW picture, so it's easy to change in post--unlike a JPEG, where white balance is part of the processing so you can't "undo" it if it is incorrect).


iPhoto for iOS has been updated to make it much easier to move multiple pictures between iPhoto and the camera roll. 


I will no longer bring my laptop on vacations to edit and publish photos.  SD cards are cheap, so I'll make sure I have enough cards to store all my pictures, using iPad as editor and backup.  I can transfer everything to the computer when I get home.

Far Cry 3 vs. Skyrim

There are lots of posts on this already, but I wanted to give my opinion.  I have only played a portion of Far Cry 3, so I am certainly not an expert on the game, but my first hour with the game has shown me all I need to see.


I was very impressed with the intro/tutorial.  It drew me in and kept me involved the whole time.  I was genuinely scared for my character.  I have to say that this portion of the game felt more "realistic" than Skyrim's intro/tutorial because it felt like what I did mattered, unlike in Skyrim where the tutorial just waited on my to get to the next checkpoint.

I'm running both games on a two year old MacBook Pro.  It was easy to set FC3 up so that it ran smoothly on this machine.  Skyrim took many hours of fiddling with settings to run smoothly without too many artifacts like popups.

The world is lush and feels realistic.  The plants don't move out of my way, but that hasn't bothered me in the past few years of games.  It makes me want to just wander around the island to see what I can find, which leads me to...


The game is very mission-based.  I am used to wandering around wherever I want in games like Skyrim to find little things to do--it makes the world seem alive.  FC3 is more like the earlier GTA3 games, where the current mission is the only important thing.  The missions I have been on so far have invisible boundaries that cause a reset if you move too far from the mission area.  Once the mission is completed and you are instructed to go to the next mission you have the opportunity to wander around on your own.  Unfortunately all you can do is collect plants, kill and skin animals and maybe kill a couple of red-shirts to loot them for collectibles.  There do not appear to be any "side-quests" or any things you can do to spend time on your own outside of mission.


I was hoping for a tropical Skyrim, but this is not it.  The game looks great and plays well, but the beautiful landscape is wasted since you can't really do anything with it.