Tag Archives: Pavement

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.

4023 – Bubbly

After I had bought the OM-D E-M1 Mk II, I did what I always do when I have a new toy: I used it almost exclusively for quite some time. It took not very long though, and I began to miss the light weight and the small size of my PEN-F and the tiny primes.

Well, the 75/1.8 is maybe not that tiny and light, but for an equivalent focal length of 150 mm it is small and light enough. Now it’s October, and in the meantime I have arrived at a simple system. In general I use the PEN-F in Vienna, and in Carinthia and for major vacations I use the OM-D. Except for the exceptions, of course 🙂

3778 – A Well-Trodden Path

Not long ago, during the Yugoslavian War, Rovinj was almost empty – shunned by tourists. Yes, this was 25 years ago (really? oh my!), but you wouldn’t believe it when you see it today.

This has been taken a bit off the night tracks. It’s one of the streets leading up to the church, and most people at that time of the evening are busy finding a table in one of the countless but hopelessly overcrowded restaurants.

3581 – Running in Parallel

It was early April. I got an offer I couldn’t refuse 🙂

DSLR-Forum is a very active community of german-speaking photographers and they have a lively marketplace. I’ve sold most of my Nikon gear there and I’ve also bought some Olympus and Panasonic lenses. It’s all private to private, it’s all based on trust, but I’ve never had any problem when I’ve payed in advance. Everything always arrived in exactly the condition that was advertised.

I can’t really say that I need something, but I still have the habit of browsing the Olympus sales forum at least once a month. You never know, do you?

Early April I was electrified: I saw an Olympus PEN E-P5 in silver, with VF-4 and without a kit lens, for a very reasonable price. Low count of exposures, good condition, what was not to like?

This is a camera that I’ve always wanted to buy. It came out while I had the OM-D E-M5, shortly before I switched to the OM-D E-M1. Basically it’s E-M1 tech in PEN format. No weather sealing, but otherwise the same perfect stabilization, an external electronic viewfinder with the same resolution. It’s elegant. A beauty.

When it was new, I found it too expensive for a second body that I’d probably rarely use. It’s also not the camera for big and heavy lenses like the 40-150/2.8 PRO. Now, after almost two years, I got it for substantially less than half of the initial price.

I added a Kalahari leather wrist strap and a Garitz half case. The latter is pretty mandatory, because the grip of the E-P5 is exactly as bad as everybody says. It contains the WiFi antenna, therefore no good external grips are available. With the Garitz case I’ve got a pretty decent hold on the camera. I had to order it from Singapore though. It’s not made any more, not available in Europe, and the few US shops still having it refused to ship to Austria. Well, it was cheaper in Singapore anyway.

Here we are, I’ve got a second body 🙂