Sony has long had an inexplicable love affair with proprietary connectors, accessories, anything. From Memory Sticks to ATRAC Minidiscs to annoying headphone sockets on phones, Sony’s philosophy seems to be "if you can piss off a customer, why not do it?"
And so it is with the NEX mirrorless cameras. Excellent devices in almost every way, unless you want to use a flash, in which case you have to spring for one of Sony’s own specialty units. Still, this customer hatred is at least good news for third-party accessory makers, and NEX Proshop will now sell you an adapter that adds a proper hot-shoe and PC socket to your NEX camera.
While the threat of the Flashback trojan has seemed to largely subside, Apple has released a tool for removing Flashback from older Macs running OS X 10.5 Leopard. A Flashback removal tool was released for Lion and Snow Leopard users a month ago, and now Leopard Macs can get in on the action. Yay for antivirus software!
Apple has also released a Leopard security update that automatically disables outdated versions of Adobe Flash player.
Adobe backpedals after demanding users upgrade to receive security patches
Last week, Adobe created a firestorm of user unrest when it issued a series of security bulletins impacting three applications of its Creative Suite and said that users must pay to upgrade to the latest versions of the apps if they wanted patches that would close the vulnerabilities.
The company was quickly besieged by users, technology professionals, and security experts demanding that it reverse course and offer security patches to users who couldn’t afford the upgrades (or didn’t want to spend the money). Even though company quietly backpedaled and announced it would offer security updates without acknowledging the reason for its about face or offering an apology, the gaffe raises concerns that Apple’s yearly OS X release cycle might lead it down a similar path.
Today Apple released Safari 5.1.7 alongside OS X 10.7.4. The latest Safari update includes several general improvements and bug fixes, including a new way of handling Adobe Flash on the web. If an older version of Flash attempts to run in Safari 5.1.7, Apple’s browser will automatically disable it and give you the option to install the newest version of Flash from Adobe’s website.
There are probably a thousand different flash-diffusing accessories out there that claim to transform your DSLR Speedlite’s sickly beam of photons into one that’s more soft’n'dreamy. Problem is, many portable diffusers are tricky to use, don’t work well, or both.
But the Gary Fong Lightsphere Collapsible ($60), though it looks a little too much like a flash’s top hat, is surprisingly effective at softly lighting all that surrounds it.
The Gary Fong Puffer ($22) has one function: diffuse your popup flash’s harsh light, making it softer, more eye-pleasing, and eminently more usable. It mostly delivers on that promise, but will it cure my distain for actually using popup flash? Doubtful.
This DIY grid spot looks as professional as a store bought one. Photo Jeff Vier (CC BY-SA 2.0)
On of the funnest* things you can do with off-camera flash is to modify the light. This might mean squirting it through a “snoot” (some kind of tube or cone which focuses the light into a tight beam), reflecting it from a colored, uh, reflector, or firing it through a giant soft-box.
Or you can use a grid spot, an excellent tool for pointing your light at one single spot, far away, with a sharp fall-off into shadows at the edges. Sound expensive? It can be, unless you steal some drinking straws from your local fast food emporium and follow along with this how-to.
These fun filters are a great reason to charge some AAs and dig out that old abandoned flash
You have a camera, and maybe you have an old flashgun lying around the place. Problem: while you know what to do with the camera, even in all-manual mode, you are terrified of that flash. Used on top the camera it washes everything out and makes it look like a drunken birthday party photo taken in a bar. Used off the camera… well, in that direction there be dragons.
You really should learn to use off-camera flash. But seeing as you never will, Photojojo’s neat set of flash-filters will at least give that old strobe something to do.
The Flash Player 11.3 beta brings improved support for the Mac App Store, support for older graphics cards, and more.
Installing Flash Player on a Mac is a surefire way to ensuring all of your processing power and RAM is maxed out on a frequent basis. Whether you’re watching a video on YouTube or playing a simple puzzle game, the second Flash begins to load your system becomes an unstable mess.
Unfortunately, a lot of sites still insist on using Flash content, so you’re forced to install it or put up with a half-baked worldwide web. But it’s good to know Adobe is still hard at work on improving the experience. The company has just released the first Flash Player 11.3 beta for Mac OS X, which features all sorts of enhancements and tweaks.
Last month, OnLive launched its free cloud-based Windows desktop app for the iPad. OnLive Desktop provides iPad users with a cloud-based Windows 7 desktop that comes complete with the standard Microsoft Office apps (Word, Excel, and PowerPoint) and 2GB of storage. This week, the cloud-gaming company expanded the features and storage available to OnLive Desktop users via new subscription plans – one of the most notable being that OnLive Desktop can now play Flash videos and content.
The company will also be adding a more full featured “Pro” plan that will let users install additional Windows applications and an enterprise service that would allow companies to configure and manage virtual Windows desktops on the iPad’s of employees.