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“The best selling Pro notebook lineup”

I'm pretty tired of hearing that the 2016 MacBook Pro lineup is "the best selling Pro notebook lineup ever" on blogs and news articles. The actual quote given during an interview with The Independent was,

... our online store has had more orders for the new MacBook Pro than any other pro notebook before.
— Phil Schiller

Let's ignore the qualifier of "online store" for now, and focus on the idea that these are the best selling "pro notebooks" that Apple has made.

Previously

The MacBook Pro lineup has previously included 2 different machines, a 13" with a lower wattage (28W) CPU and no discrete GPU option and a 15" with a higher wattage (45W) CPU with 2 more cores, and an optional discrete GPU. The new lineup continues on largely in this same tradition, only trading the optional discrete GPU for one that's non-optional.

Now

Now, they've also tossed (what I believe to be) the MacBook Air successor into the MacBook Pro lineup. The MacBook Air has always used the even lower power Intel CPU size class (15W). This is what originally allowed Apple to slim the machine down and then later, still deliver solid battery life. The new 13" MacBook Pro (non TouchBar) uses the same 15w class chip and is now faster, thinner (on average), narrower, shorter, and within a breath of being the same weight as the legacy 13" MacBook Air. It's clear to me that this machine is the MacBook Air in all but name, and if the MacBook Pro (non TouchBar) were $500 cheaper, I reckon Apple would've discontinued the MacBook Air instead of keeping it around.

Here's why it's the best selling lineup of all time

So, we have a new MacBook Pro lineup that spans 3 Intel CPU performance classes and groups together the 2 highest selling Apple notebook model lineups. Our new lineup is:

  • MacBook Pro (13-inch, Late 2016, Two Thunderbolt 3 Ports)
  • MacBook Pro (13-inch, Late 2016, Four Thunderbolt 3 Ports)
  • MacBook Pro (15-inch, Late 2016, Four Thunderbolt 3 Ports)

Are you seeing where I'm going with this yet?

Let's say BMW waited for 2 standard model refreshes to update the M3. When they did refresh, they decided to label all models in the 3 series lineup "M3". Now the M3 is a lineup of vehicles:

  • M3 (2.0l turbo engine)
  • M3 (2.0l turbo engine, all wheel drive)
  • M3 (2.0l turbo engine, all wheel drive, station wagon)
  • M3 (3.0l turbo engine)
  • M3 (3.0l turbo engine, all wheel drive)
  • M3 (3.0l high output turbo engine)

In rebuttal to press about a "dissapointing M3 refresh", BMW says that they are seeing the "highest sales of any M series in it's history". Does this accuractly reflect the state of the M3? Of course not.

RIP Magsafe

The definitive Apple feature is now gone.

Things Rands knows about watches

Rands,

  • A good watch is passed on from generation to generation.
  • Watches have never been about communication, but we’ve kind’a always wanted them to be, but I won’t be talking to my wrist. Maybe.

Agreed on both. From legendary Patek to the Dick Tracy communicator.

Custom Logo’d Lightroom Identity Plate

Lightroom has offered custom Identity Plates since version 2, bringing the ability to put your name, brand or even your logo in the upper left corner. This is a great way to keep your name front and center when showing off work to clients from Lightroom. Unfortunately, the editing tools for inserting your graphic into the ID plate have always been terrible. There is no indication of size or shape, no template to get you started (until now!), and no way of editing, resizing or relocating images once you do get them into the ID plate.

I've always made graphical id plates by trial and error, until today. I decided to document and create a template to help make graphical ID plates much faster.

example.png

I've found that 57px is the absolute maximum height usuable, however it touches adjacent screen elements and drives me crazy, so I give a margin around my logo and text. 15px from the left edge of the screen matches the margin for the left toolbar thumb. The width is dependant on your screen width and how many modules you show on the right.

In LR5, there is an added complexity of the LR Mobile Sync Status bar, which you can disable. I disable mine, as clicking on the ID plate brings up the current sync status. I also usually have the top bar hidden, so I don't actually see my ID plate most of the time – especially while in Develop.

I've included an overlay to show you how much the sync status bar takes up if you have that turned on, and want to design with that in mind.

Screenshot 2014-07-21 14.31.50.png

To Use

  1. Download the template
  2. Insert your logo and text
  3. Hide the black background
  4. Hide the sync status bar simulation layer
  5. Export as PNG, scaled to 50% I made this template at 2x size to keep resolution as high as possible if/when Adobe makes LR Id plates retina-ready.
  6. Insert into Lightroom ID Plate

First Impressions: Artisan Obscura Soft Shutter Release

First Impressions: Artisan Obscura Soft Shutter Release

I've had little more than 2 hours with the release, and I think it's one of my favorite photography purchases under $100 that I've made, if not the best. I was so excited about it, that I've decided to publish my knee jerk, first impressions of the soft shutter release.

Packaging

My Artisan Obscura soft shutter release arrived in a simple, brown box with Artisan Obscura's logo stamped on top. It's a simple, understated package that I find quite beautiful. Popping the top, you are presented with your soft shutter release in a wood block. I've seen where others have ordered multiple soft shutter releases and they arrive packaged in a wider version of this box with a custom wood platform holding the releases in a row. This gives a hand-made, luxurious feel to the product – they are as excited for you to have it as you are to have ordered it.

King Louie

When I saw the first Artisan Obscura wooden soft shutter release, I was sold. Not only an improvement in handling for your camera, but a nice touch to compliment the throwback design of the Fuji X Series, Leicas, or in my case the Nikon Df. I couldn't decide whether I wanted an etched design or a pure, unadultered convex release button. I immediately loved the King Louie design, but wasn't sure about the color they showed in the product grid. I was starting to narrow in on the ebony wood button but had reservations that the button in the ebony finish may be a bit too subtle. I finally settled on the ebony, and really loved how well it would compliment the silver/black finish on my Df. After visiting their site many times, I happened to stumble across the ability to choose different finishes for the etched designs. Eureka! That solved it, ebony King Louie it is.

Ergonomic Improvement

I've already rattled off over 1500 activations on the Df since I received it for Christmas – I just can't put it down for very long. I find the Df to be magnificent, both to use and to look at. The only issue I had with it was that I couldn't use the rear portion of index finger pad, or even the first joint, to take a photo like I can with modern DSLRs. I roll/flex my finger to fire off the shutter instead of pushing the tip of my finger into the shutter button, and the Df just didn't accommodate this action easily. I had heard of Soft Shutter Releases before, usually in Leica circles, but hadn't tried one. With the Df, trying a Soft Shutter Release was on the top of my list. After only 1 press, I saw why people love them. It allows me to rest my index finger on the shutter speed dial and return to using a roll/flex motion to trigger the release. It's smoother, more natural (for me), and keeps the camera much more stable – they don't call them "Soft Release" for nothing!

You can get many different models from different manufacturers. Either small, large, convex or concave in design. Many are aluminum, brass or steel and anodized or painted - the classic metal red button you see on Leicas for instance. However, once I saw the wooden Artisan Obscura releases, I was sold. It will give a warmer feel on cold days in contrast to the chilly magnesium Df, and has a bit of texture which is nice under the finger.

It is so choice. If you have the means, I highly recommend picking one up.
— Ferris Bueller

Does your camera have a shutter release button that allows the use of a screw-in remote? Run, don't walk to artisanobscura.com and try one out!

First Impressions: Luma Labs Cinch 2

First Impressions: Luma Labs Cinch 2

I've owned the Cinch version 1 for over a year and when I use a strap it's the only one I'll choose - it's been amazing. From toting around a 70-200 2.8 + 2x teleconverter all day long during the Head of the Hooch Regatta to just a 10.5 fisheye while touring the VAB at Kennedy Space Center it's kept the camera close and easy to access. I love it's simplicity, the machined bits, and how fast it adjusts. 

When Greg and Duncan announced version 2, I knew I had to get it. After a few weeks of anxious waiting, I got it. I've been using it for a month or so now, here is what I think so far.