I’ve been using the Windows 7 Beta release on my laptop for awhile now and I really like it. Today Microsoft released the release candidate to the public so go grab it. The best part is that RC1 doesnt expire for over a year! Holy Cow! My laptop is only a 32 bit processor but now I’m thinking of backing everything up and switching to Windows 7 on my main PC so that I can check out the 64 bit version… decisions.
I feel that I must preface this writeup by first saying that I’ve never really gotten why people would want to look at photographs on their TV. Having slide-show functionality and ability to organize photos on a computer is something that has always been possible so having that functionality elsewhere isn’t really that exciting for me.
That being said, for those who do want something like this the Photoshop Photo Gallery seems like it would be a good choice. It gives you the ability to organize photos by date and time, what camera was used to take the photo, colors within the photo, number of subjects, ages, and even facial expressions. Some of these are admittedly pretty cool. Once organized you can create playlists to be used for slideshow purposes.
The program itself is well put together, looks cool, and uses some pretty interesting effects for page transitions and stuff. It seems responsive and quick to load as well. I havent tested if it can display Raw images but I doubt it. If you are at all interested in displaying photos on your PS3 its worth the 104MB download in addition to the 2.6 firmware update to check it out.
Today I received my copy of Adobe Photoshop CS4 Extended in the mail. After installing it one of the first things I noticed was its speed. Not only does it start up faster, but it also operates much faster as well. It now uses the computer’s GPU to handle a lot of on screen rendering so it can get away with a lot more visual effects. As a result the image now looks nice no matter what zoom level you’re at (instead of only looking good at like 25%, 50%, 100%, etc). Scrolling around a image is also much smoother (and has iPod Touch/iPhone like easing), and even zooming response has been improved.
One of the most exciting features for me is the fluid canvas rotation. It doesn’t sound like much but for those who use a tablet its awesome. When you draw on paper most people turn the paper so they can use the natural motion of their wrist to help draw curves. Up until now doing that hasn’t really been possible with a tablet. Turning the tablet generally results in your mind shitting its pants with the wild disconnect between what it is doing and whats happening on the screen. This feature lets you just spin the canvas by holding the R key and dragging to whatever angle you want with the help of an on screen compass rose to help you remember what way is up. When R is released it snaps back to whatever tool you were using before. Its really fantastic. It should be noted that the fluid canvas rotation tool does not actually alter the image at all. It just uses the GPU to spin it around. This should not be confused with the normal canvas rotate tool which does edit the actual image itself.
Another amazing thing is the content aware scaling feature. It really needs to be seen to be believed. It allows you to resize an image while leaving subjects like people unaffected by the scaling while figuring out what to do with the less important parts of the image on its own, usually with astonishing results.
Adobe Photoshop CS4 Extended is one of the best upgrades in terms of real world features since the CS line began. If you are looking for a landmark release of Photoshop to invest in this is it.
I’ve been streaming media from my computer to my PS3 for awhile now. In the past I’ve used Windows Media Player’s media server which has done a decent job. A few weeks ago, however, my friend rob suggested a new “improved” media server for me to try out. Well, improved it was.
The aptly named PS3 Media Server not only streams your media but transcodes it in real time. What this means is that a normally not supported file format (such as MKV) can now be streamed with no problem what-so-ever. If you watch a lot of anime, or do other, more nefarious things that involve downloading video this media server is a must.
So I’ve finished installing the Windows 7 beta. It is running very well. Especially for being on my shitty laptop. I really like some of the new features like the side by side window stuff and how you can shake a window to minimize everything else. Some pretty cool new features. I’ve also not run into any compatability issues. Everything seems to just… work.
One of the sites that I frequent is drawn.ca. Yesterday I noticed that they had posted a story about a disney artist named Stef Kardos who has been posting sketches made in an iPhone app called Brushes to his flickr page. After watching the video that they linked I was convinced that this app was a necessity. It takes a little getting used to but its a pretty powerful painting program. I’ve done a few sketches on it so far which I’ve posted to my own flickr page if you want to check them out.
Brushes is only $3 and is totally worth it if you like to sketch or doodle or want something to do during your long commute (assuming that you take public transportation).
Oh, and welcome to 2009.
So I just was told by iTunes that the new iPod Touch (and iPhone) firmware is out. This update FINALLY adds podcast support to the mobile iTunes store, which is a big plus for me. Now I can download a podcast at the office and listen to the new stuff on the way home. yay!
Adobe bridge is actually really cool. I’ve never really used it before but now that I have a good camera and have been shooting in RAW i’ve been using it to preview pictures. I actually like it a lot. You can sort your photos by ISO, see all your camera settings, and all sorts of other cool stuff. I also really like how you can drag all the parts of the program around to get the custom layout that you want (like the one I use above).
I’ve also really liked using Camera Raw, mostly for the ability to flip through the different types of WB to get it to look like it did when I was taking the picture.
I was just going over some of the new features of Photoshop Creative Suite 4. One of the coolest that I’ve seen is “Content Aware Scaling“. You really need to watch the video to get it, but its… wow.