Showing posts from October, 2011

HP Ink Challenge: The End

And just like that the HP Ink Challenge is over. It's been an interesting 6 weeks or so, and though I came into it thinking I knew what the final outcome would be, I was surprised how these tests reinforced it. As I think I said from the beginning I figured this would be series of tests that were going to show how much better it is to buy HP inks and papers to go with your HP printer, and for the most part I'd say that's true. For me it was definitely true, though I did see some people who had as good, and sometimes better, results with refill inks. But when you look at the results as a whole the HP inks performed consistently with little effort. The refill inks are very hit or miss, and the money saved isn't worth the degradation in print quality, in my opinion. I had never purchased or used refilled or remanufactured print cartridges before, and after this I won't be tempted to.

One More Black & White (Photocentric)

I've been sick the last couple days with a persistent cold. Unfortunately it was the type of cold that made it hard to concentrate, so couldn't really read Steve Jobs . I had also just finished a complete computer wipe and manual installation of all applications (that I could find) and my data, so wasn't sure how Aperture and my photos were going to work out. So far it looks like things are going well. Then, to top it all off my large monitor decided to die. I wasn't sure I was going to even post this week. Heck, I didn't even really know what day it was when I wrote this. So I thought I'd share one more black and white shot. With this shot I can effectively check off a type of shot I've wanted to take; the still water reflection shot. Nothing difficult about this shot either. The black and white tones simplified the shot, the color version gets a little distracting with the sky reflection. I knew while shooting this what I wanted to do in post processing;

HP Ink Challenge Assignment #4

This week we're moving up. By "up" I mean we're printing full 8.5"x11" prints. I personally don't like 4x6 prints as I find them too small, but I understand that is what is most often printed. I think differences also show more prominently with larger prints, and sure enough we have differences this week. First up to compare 3 of my own photos to look for differences. I've picked one to share. This is the original shot HP Inks Refill Inks Neither one is really a great representation of the photo, but that's beside the point of this exercise. The greens on the HP Inks are the closest to the original shot. The Refill inks aren't bad, but they're just not as green. Things to keep in mind though when viewing them on this webpage is how calibrated or not your monitor is. These subtle differences played out in my other 2 shots. At first glance and viewed separately the the versions look alright, but when placed side by side y

A Fountain in Black & White (Photocentric)

When I first started reading up on photography there was a lot of talk about "learning how to see", or "training your eyes" to see like a camera. Our eyes, with the help of our brains, are more superior than the lens and sensors of our cameras, for the most part. And as I learned how to shoot HDR it again required me to train my eyes to take better shots in HDR. Although it is true that any shot (and when I say shot I mean bracket of shots) can be HDR'd, the shots that are planned with HDR in mind usually turn out better. The same goes for black & white. In the digital age black & white photography, for the most part, starts off as a color photo that is massaged in post processing to become black & white. The b&w option on your camera, or the quick b&w conversion in your photo software usually doesn't make for a dramatic photo. Again, any shot can be black & white, but the shots that were seen as black & white while being plan

A Little Pre-Halloween Fun (Photocentric)

It just hit me today that it's October. That Halloween is just around the corner. I'm so not in the mood for Halloween, so today's shot is to help me get in the mood. Taking a shot from the same set that that this  came from, I went to work. This is one of those rare times (for me) that I had a definite idea on how I wanted this to look after I was done. There's nothing spooky about a graveyard in the middle of the day. I had originally shot this as a 3 shot bracket with the intention of HDRing it. It didn't really turn out the way I had wanted so I left the shots and promptly forgot about them. This time around I HDR'd again with an eye for converting the finished product into black and white. I wasn't going to make it look like a night shot, but I was hoping I could make it look like a full moon. I think it turned out alright.

HP Ink Challenge Assignment #3

As you would expect most of these assignments are going to revolve around printing some control photo or project and comparing them to see which one is better. This is to be expected, but this week Thom, our head ink-ologist came up with a little twist involving water. Our all HP HP printers printed up 8 photos on HP branded 4x6 photo paper and our refill inks HP Printers printed these same photos on another brand name (Kodak) 4x6 paper to see how they perform with a little sprinkle and a dunk in water. I think you'll agree there's a solid case for keeping your printing accessories all in the family.

Cooking With Gojee

I cooked this weekend. I was originally going to write up about these awesome pillow cookies I made, or this great chicken thing I made (pictures and links down below) but really, who wants to read about that. Especially since I'm not a cook and don't particularly enjoy cooking. But this weekend I enjoyed it, and it got me wondering why. The first thing that helped me enjoy cooking is probably the biggest hurdle I hate, finding something to make. Yes, there are many recipe sites out there, but they don't work for me. In most things I enjoy reading up on how to do things, but not with food. I want a big picture showing the final product. Not what most recipe sites that I know have, which are little thumbnails surrounded by a column of navigational text, a center column of recipe text, and sometimes a third column suggesting other recipes if I like this recipe. If you want to get me hooked show me big well done pictures of your stuff and make the recipe part secondary. If I

HP Ink Challenge Assignment #2

Week 2 has, big surprise here, more printing and comparing. Using the supplied 4x6 HP Advanced Photo Paper it was time to print out 5 photos, and 1 black & white of my own to compare between the 2 printers. So I opened up Aperture and picked 5 of my most recent shots and turned one into black and white using Aperture's tools, as opposed to my favorite black & white tool Silver Effex Pro 2. As a quick comparison, here are 2 of the color photos. Click on them to see them larger HP Inks Refill Inks As you can see there's a reddish tinge to the refill inks, and the magenta colors on the edge of the pedals are more noticeable with the Refill Inks. The photo is the full photo of the cropped image on the far right of this earlier post . I think the HP inks come the closest.

An Inspiration

Normally on Thursdays I post a photo of mine that I like and want to share. This week's photo isn't of mine, but is worthy of sharing. I'm sure it's been viewed all over the web by now. Many more eloquent and people more familiar with Steve Jobs have said things about him. To me he was an inspiration. A symbol of having a vision and making it happen. He was a symbol of the Bay Area and Silicon Valley, and a name I grew up hearing a lot. His products are simply wonderful to look at and use. He will be missed. Rest in peace.

HP Ink Challenge Assignment #1

Let me get this out of the way now. I am NOT HP's biggest fan right now. I don't agree with their current strategy of possibly spinning off their PC unit, and bailing out of webOS devices before they were really able to do anything with them. But, shortly after these decisions were made, and before the more recent decisions of hiring Meg Whitman, I received a survey to be included in the HP Ink Challenge. There wasn't much in the way of details, but it sounded like a marketing/research project to show how much better HP's inks were over refilled cartridges. I sent it back, and promptly forgot about it. This, times 2 Well, I got picked for it, and shortly after two HP Photosmart D110a printers were on my doorstep. The first of 2 packages to come from HP, along with what looks to be weekly assignments setup to compare ink quality. I was impressed with just how much stuff HP was going to supply us with; various photo papers, regular papers, ink cartridges, a gift car

HP: How to NOT Make Customers Happy

It should be pretty obvious by now that HP has no idea what they're doing, except they seem to be making potential customers very unhappy. HP TouchPads are the hit tablet device right now, sadly more for it's price than it's great OS. When HP decided to discontinue the TouchPad and all future webOS based devices they set pricing at all time lows for a quality product. Say what you will about webOS, but $99 or $149 for a very capable tablet is a steal. They sold out in a matter of days. Demand was so high (and parts to make them piled up so high) that HP said they'd make some more to satisfy demand (and contracts with partners). Fast forward about a month or so and it's time to rejoice! HP TouchPads are back instock at HP's Home & Home Office web store, except the 32gb (currently the only one available) is $249, and the unavailable 16gb one is $216. Now personally I still feel this is a good deal for what is a very competent tablet, but if HP is really

Amazon is on Fire

Amazon is finding itself in the spotlight recently and for good reason. Their new Kinde e-readers look great, and more importantly have a starting price of under $99! They also, thank goodness, got rid of that horrible looking keyboard. With different models offering different features it's hard to find a reason not to buy one. The entry evel model has a buttton interface for page turning, wifi connectivity, and shows well designed ads on the home screen and as screen savers. The top of the line e-ink e-reader features an infrared touchscreen (like the latest from Barnes & Noble) and adds 3G cellular connectivity for buying books from Amazon. At these prices I'm having a hard time seeing how Barnes & Noble can compete. Their entry level Nook is $139. The only other thing I used to be able to cite as a big selling point for Nooks were their ability to check out e-books from libraries, but earlier last month Amazon announced their file format was now avaiable in librar

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