Tag Archives: Austria

4033 – The Glass House – Scratched Edition

A few days ago I’ve looked at the stats of this blog on Statcounter.com. Oh my! It’s really good that I don’t care any more 😀

Basically it’s at around 30 average daily unique visits with 33.5 average page views. In 2009 that were 158 and 200, and when I ran tutorials or gear reviews, then I had highs between 3k and 4k on certain days.

I don’t do that any more and it shows. On the other hand, you can do only so many things in a short life time. Why waste it on always the same?

Again, I don’t care. There is no magic in accumulating hits. It’s just providing content that people want to see, promoting that content, and putting lots of work into it. And that exactly is what I currently don’t want to do 🙂

It’s not even the work, it’s the content as well. Content people want to see, that is frequently not content that I want to produce. Sure, I could write reviews, especially of exotic pieces of equipment, that hardly anyone writes about. For instance I have bought a Mitakon 20mm F2 4.5x macro lens in January.

It’s probably one of my less successful purchases, because when I found out that it can’t focus beyond a few centimeters, I put it back into its box and on a shelf. There it’s collecting dust. I could as well have put it on a camera, the camera on a tripod, and then started to get creative with flowers or all kinds of small objects. It would have made an interesting review, and for such an exotic lens it would likely have been one of only a handful of reviews on the Internet.

Hmm … it even begins to sound interesting, but don’t count on it 😀

4032 – A Sea Of Flowers II

Flowers! I mean, how on earth can you be original with that? Turns out I can’t, but a lot of people can. I’m pretty sure though, they’ve spent at least as much time taking pictures of flowers, as I’ve spent taking pictures of bicycles.

Speaking of bicycles: you know, I don’t see that many of them where I live and work now, and therefore they have practically vanished from my work. Maybe I should more often get into Vienna’s center again and – most importantly – take my time when I’m there.

At the moment I am looking through my old images. There are a little more than 7000 since 2006, that have been processed and mostly used on this blog. Since I bought the new iPad, I’ve put all of them on the tablet, and while I was at it, I’ve put them on the Mac and on my phone as well. Which means: I’ve started to browse them again.

I haven’t done that at any time. There were too many of them for my small devices. Now my phone has 64 GB, that’s enough for my images, the German Wikipedia (without pictures), plenty of Kindle books, all of my productivity apps, offline maps, and I still have 16 GB of free memory.

At the moment I have finished browsing through the images of 2006 through 2009. Lots of bicycles, lots of shallow DOF, lots of creativity. Hmm … compared to 2009, my current work looks pretty bland. And I guess that’s what it is. I think I should really put more time into photography again, do it more regularly again, daily even 🙂

4031 – A Sea Of Flowers I

More or less once a year I make a trip to Blumengärten (flower gardens) Hirschstätten.

“Trip” is actually too big a word for that. By foot I could get there from work in 20 minutes, and if I need to make haste, I can take a bus. Still, I don’t do it more often.

Sometimes though I have a strong desire for colors 🙂

4029 – A Green Line

You may remember that, after having used Android only for years, I’ve bought an iPad Pro two weeks ago. I did it because the tablet market for Android did not offer anything in that class.

I won’t bother you and me with a full review, but I guess it’s a good time to relay some impressions. First of all: I consider it a success. The iPad is beautiful, fast and, with some tweaking, I got it to look as I like my tablets: free of icons. At least on the primary home screen. Basically I’ve moved all icons into folders on the second screen, and while empty screens at the end seem to vanish automatically, an empty screen in between is kept. Nice. This way I see my wallpaper. Other people probably won’t care, but as the photographer, I hate it when my images are cluttered with icons 🙂

Performance-wise I can’t complain. This tablet is as fast as I can imagine. So far I’ve never felt any lag, regardless of what I did.

I’ve installed my usual Google apps, GMail is my mail app, and even streaming to the Chromecast works. Nice again.

Ergonomically the story is different. Believe it or not, today Android is far ahead of iOS in terms of ergonomics. It’s really only one problem that bothers me, but it bites you whatever you do: No back button!

On Android, you open something by touching it, and with the back button you get … back. Not so on iOS. Frequently there is a small back arrow in the upper-left corner of the window. It may be smaller or bigger, sometimes it’s blue, sometimes it’s black, sometimes it’s missing. If you are in a browser, you may have to scroll up a little until it gets visible.

If it’s still missing, then you have opened something in a popup dialog. Conceptually you may not understand the difference (there may be some rule in Apple’s User Interface Guidelines though), but when it’s a dialog, you close it by touching “Done” in the upper right corner of the dialog. At least you do so, unless it’s an “X” in the same place.

Steve Jobs is dead and you feel it. Don’t get me wrong, I am not so much calling for visual consistency here – although Steve would likely have done that as well. What I want is a button that’s always in the same place and always gets me back, regardless of what it is that I have opened. That’s how it works in Android. There may be arrows, X-buttons or “Close” buttons, but even if so and regardless of where they are, you can always ignore them and instead back out with the universal back button.

My Nexus 5 and Nexus 9 had soft buttons, that were always in the same position, regardless of screen orientation. That’s my preferred arrangement. You can’t feel those buttons, but they are always where you expect them and you could use them blindly, if that would make any sense.

My current Android phone, a “BQ Aquaris X Pro”, has fixed buttons on the “lower” short edge, just like Samsung devices have, but at least their order is the same as on stock Android (not reversed like on Samsung devices). I can live with that. I always use a flip cover for protection, and that implies a “natural” way of holding the phone for any of the two orientations. You have to “learn” two positions for the back button, but for every orientation it is consistent and it works in all apps.

That’s not all. The notification system of Android has already been copied by Apple, but they are still where Android was two releases ago.

Funny. I wouldn’t have thought that I’d ever say something like that, but if I could keep the hardware and choose an operating system, I’d choose Android over iOS any time.

4026 – No More Ads, Still A Fence

Across the street from our office there once was a market square with lots of small booths. I never saw it, because when we got there four and a half years ago (not longer, really?), the market was abolished, the booths torn down and the square fenced in.

People in the neighborhood had fought for their market, but to no avail. An office building was planned in that place. Or a hotel. I’m not sure. Still the square is empty and fenced in.

In the beginning the wooden fences were densely covered in adertising posters, but the furious people kept tearing them down. A few times I have taken images of the fence and the remains of the ads. Today almost all traces of ads are gone. At least it’s more honest.

4024 – Pinky

Did I ever say I love the bokeh of this 75/1.8? Well, I guess I did a few times 😀

In the meantime a lot of things have happened. One thing is, that we had general elections. Didn’t turn out well. I may write a few words about it in another post.

The other thing is, that I had found the performance of my Google Nexus 9 tablet lacking, and so much so, that I had searched for a replacement for months.

It’s not so easy. Basically I want a vanilla or near-vanilla Android on a new tablet. This eliminates the Samsung S3, the seemingly best Android tablet in the market. Samsung loves to bundle lots of software that I don’t want or need, and they are bad at keeping their devices up to date. Additionally the S3 is a year old. I think it got Android 7 via an update, but if it’ll ever get Android 8, who knows.

There’s a relatively cheap Lenovo Tab4 10 Plus with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 625 (same as in my phone), 4 GB of memory and 64 GB of storage (same as my phone), but only 1920×1200 (hardly more than my phone). Performance-wise I’d have been happy with it and it will very likely get the update, but I really, really wanted something with higher pixel density.

It’s not a matter of price. I would have bought everything. It’s only that nobody cares to offer high-end Android tablets. Actually I would even buy a Microsoft Surface, were it not for the weight. When traveling, I always have my Macbook Pro with me. That’s what I use when I need a keyboard and a mouse. No tablet comes close and I don’t need a tablet as notebook replacement. I need it for reading in bed.

Last Saturday I snapped. I’ve got an iPad Pro 10.5 now, 256 GB of memory, tons of performance, the whole German Wikipedia (pictures included) on my tablet, along with all the 7122 images that I’ve processed during the last 11 years. And then I’ve got peace of mind 😀