Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Kodak wins in patent dispute with Ricoh, and Nikon goes after Polaroid

<Nikon D5300 Couponsp>by Tim Barribeau

The world of legal battles between camera companies is a murky one. Between technology patents, similar looking and sounding cameras, and all sorts of licensing, it can be difficult to keep track of who owns what, and who owes what to whom. But recently, a number of companies have become involved in courtroom battles for an array of technologies.

According to the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle, Ricoh has agreed to pay Kodak $76 million in a patent battle. Kodak alleged that when Ricoh purchased Pentax in 2011, they owed back royalties since Pentax had never licensed the imaging technology from Kodak. Ricoh said there was no evidence of Pentax having violated Kodak copyright. However, it seems that now Ricoh has agreed to pay out $75.8 million over the issue. A Kodak spokesperson talked to Amateur Photographer, and said "'Kodak is gratified that both the judge and jury have validated our contract claim. These decisions certainly also demonstrate the value of the technology that Kodak created.'

While that lawsuit is ending, another is just getting under way. Remember the unexpected (and slightly bizarre) Polaroid mirrorless camera, the iM1836 manufactured by Sakar? Nikon is filing a lawsuit "for design patent and trade dress infringement". The company alleges that the Sakar/Polaroid camera for looking too similar to Nikon products. And looking at the comparison below (via Engadget), you have to admit it's a dead ringer for the Nikon J1. According to the press release, "Nikon seeks injunctive relief against Sakar in the lawsuit to prevent them from manufacturing and selling their Polaroid brand digital still camera, "Polaroid iM1836"." The iM1836 has popped up on Amazon recently, where it's being widely disparaged, despite not yet having shipped.


Source: Imaging-resource

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Nikon Releases Cryptic Teaser for New DSLR Camera

<Nikon D5300 Cheapp>A man stands in an open field, a soft breeze rustling long strands of green grass around him. He gazes out at the landscape.

Though that scene might seem like a perfect opener for a gritty, independent film or a self-reflective novel, it's actually the beginning of Nikon's new teaser ad. Viewers watch a mysterious man, clad in a beige trench coat, as he adjusts something unseen with a couple of clicks. Right when he lifts what we know to be a camera to his face, the scene changes back to him in the midst of the gloomy landscape.

That teaser doesn't show the camera but it includes a very important sound that excited many camera fiends online - the distinct click of an old-school shutter. That small clue paired with one line of dialogue at the end - "It's in my hands again" - seem to hint that Nikon will release a retro-styled DSLR camera.

Little else is known beyond hearsay, with Nikon Rumors conjecturing that the full-frame camera will be called the Nikon DF, for "digital fusion." The post also claims the camera will include the same autofocus system found in the D610 and that it will offer settings for aspect ratios of 1:1, 3:2 and 16:9.

On its official site, Nikon explains the short video as the first in a series called Pure Photography. The videos follow a photographer traveling through Scotland as he "reunites with his creative self during this uniquely ambitious trip."

Have something to add to this story? Share it in the comments.

Image: YouTube, Nikon Asia

BONUS: 5 Fun DIY Camera Kits


  • Source: Mashable

    Sunday, October 20, 2013

    'Pumpkin fairy' shares her tips for fall decorating

    REYNOLDS, N.D. -- In the dark of the night she comes, carrying pumpkins and gourds for her friends and family members. She arranges the festive fall gifts in a little display along their front steps and leaves without a word.

    Stacy Schumacher of Reynolds is known as the pumpkin fairy.

    "It kind of just started by accident," Schumacher said of her now yearly tradition. She started growing pumpkins and using them to decorate for the autumn season about 15 years ago when her children were young.

    "We had the garden space, so I just threw in pumpkins because they're easy pumpkin decorating ideas to grow," she said. "You just plant them and pick them."

    When Schumacher wanted more variety, she started planting more gourds and specialty pumpkins. This year, she grew more than 100 of both. But she doesn't keep all the pumpkins for herself. Schumacher said she shares the pumpkins with about 30 other families. About 10 of them pick out their own and the other 20 she delivers to, creating small front-step displays.

    The first time Schumacher delivered the pumpkins, she said, she just set them out on the steps, but her friends said they liked what she had done, so she continued creating simple little displays for her friends and family.

    "I usually do it when people aren't home, so that's why my relatives call me the pumpkin fairy," she said. "And, a lot of times it's dark because that's when I get home from work."

    Simple, effective

    Schumacher's fall decorations are simple, inexpensive and effective. Around the outside of her house, she places white, yellow, orange and green produce in little clusters with a variety of colors, shapes and sizes.

    "I like the varied sizes and colors, personally, because I think it makes it a little more fun," she said. "You can just go get a couple pumpkins and a handful of gourds, and you could have a display."

    Schumacher pairs these with potted plants, decorative chairs and other fall ornaments that she's collected throughout the years, like metal letters and decorative glass balls.

    She said she likes to have a lot of layering with pots and plants of different heights.

    "On my front step, I have the tall red pot that I just filled with sticks and twigs from our trees to give the height; and then, I have the taller pot that I put the mum plant in," she said. "These taller things are a great backdrop when I fill in with my pumpkins and gourds."

    In her backyard, she artfully scatters pumpkins and gourds throughout the bushes that line the fence. She also angles a red wagon next to the fence and fills it with smaller produce.

    "A lot of what I do is pretty simple," she said. "I don't like things too overwhelming ... just accents for the different seasons that compliment my everyday house style."

    Chuck Flemmer, store manager at Michael's in Grand Forks, said Pinterest has a ton of fall decorating ideas. He suggested buying pieces of burlap and looking to Pinterest for ideas on how to incorporate it into a fall display.

    Whether it's covering a pot in burlap, creating a burlap wreath for the front door or using burlap ribbons for little accents, there are countless projects.

    Schumacher took a little inspiration from the social media site this year, as well. Putting her own twist on a Pinterest find, she used a paint maker to draw a decorative "S" for her family's last name on a couple of pumpkins, which were used as the focal point in the displays.

    Halloween-specific

    She said painting pumpkins is an easy, mess-free alternative to carving. But, she said she still plans to carve a pumpkin or two toward the end of the month to make the decoration more Halloween specific.

    Flemmer said another option is craft pumpkins, which are carve-able foam pumpkins that can be used year after year.

    "You can carve your family's last name in them," he said. "A lot of people will do their kids' names or grandkids' names."

    Flemmer also suggested using items such as hay bales and scarecrows to create a fun Halloween backdrop.

    For those looking to decorate for the first time, Schumacher recommends starting small.

    "Just do your front door area if you're looking to start," she said. "A nice mum and a couple pumpkins are perfect."

    Quick tips for fall displays

    Start small: Start with a simple, concentrated display by the front door.

    Create layers: Use pots and plants of different sizes and heights to create a layered backdrop for the pumpkins.

    Variety is key: A variety of sizes and colors of pumpkins and gourds will easily create a more interesting display.

    Keep it simple: Utilize items you already have to keep the display simple and inexpensive.

    Utilize Pinterest: Draw inspiration from Pinterest and home magazines.


    Source: Grandforksherald

    Wednesday, October 16, 2013

    SOUTH BRUNSWICK: Von Thun Farm marks 27th | CentralJersey.com

    The Von Thun's Farm, located on Ridge Road in Monmouth Junction, has been celebrating its Fall Harvest Weekends from Sept. 21 through Oct. 27.

    Cindy Von Thun, an operator of the farm, said that traditionally the Columbus Day weekend in particular is the busiest weekend on the farm drawing approximately 8,000 people in recent years.

    During this time of year, the farm has numerous activities that families with children of all ages can participate in.

    There are hayrides, apple and pumpkin picking, a corn maze, an inflatable moon bounce and obstacle course, rubber duck races, a farm animal exhibit, a singing chicken show, pony rides, games, face painting and much more.

    On Oct. 12-13, the farm celebrated its 27th Annual Fall Festival with additional activities and entertainment including clown face painting shows, magic shows, puppet shows, a stilt walker, vendors selling items and live music by the country band named Nashville Attitude.

    A family from Edison with three young boys, Jack Bills, 10, Brett Bills, 5, and Jesse Bills, 3, visited the farm to pick out just the right size and shape of their favorite pumpkin.

    Jack said he likes to carve the larger sized pumpkins and paint faces on the smaller sized pumpkins.

    Meanwhile, Brett was searching for the biggest sized pumpkin so he could draw happy and mean faces.

    "I found a big one, yeah, right there." , said Jesse Bills as he ran around the pumpkin patch looking for his favorite pumpkin.

    Two family friends from Staten Island brought their daughters, Charlie Errigo, 4, and Ellen Guastavino, 4, who both said they had a lot of fun picking out a pumpkin, riding on the ponies, and eating pretzels.

    The Von Thun Farm is open to the public from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. For further information www.vonthunfarms.com or 732-329-8656.


    Source: Centraljersey

    Saturday, October 12, 2013

    Katy Perry dons thigh high boots for romantic date with John Mayer

    <mcdavidp>PUBLISHED: 12:11 EST, 11 October 2013 | UPDATED: 13:52 EST, 11 October 2013

    They have an on/off relationship but right now Katy Perry and John Mayer are very much on.

    The couple enjoyed a romantic dinner at Arlington Club Steakhouse in New York on Thursday night and Katy made sure to dress up for her man.

    Roar singer Katy wore a pair of sexy thigh high boots for her date, which she paired with an ALICE by Temperley Mini Poppy Dress in Black from the Resort 2014 collection.

    Katy's black hair was loose around her shoulders and she sported lipstick and dark eye make-up.

    John was more casual than his girlfriend, wearing jeans and a matching denim jacket along with a brown shirt and white T-shirt.

    Katy walked out of the restaurant first ahead of the handsome musician as they made their way to a waiting car.

    Katy recently described her boyfriend as a 'genius,' in an interview with Billboard magazine.

    The 28-year-old Roar singer not only loves Mayer's looks, she is also taken with his brain. 'He literally is a genius, as is evident from his songwriting,' she claimed.

    'I always tell him, "Darling, you know I'm going to have to give your mind to science after you've passed, because we're going to have to understand how all these sparks work,'" she added to the magazine in the latest issue.

    The colourful pop star bragged that her 35-year-old musician lover can finish word puzzles 'in under 10 minutes,' and has unwavering determination.

    'We'll be in bed, and he'll be doing the crossword puzzle. Every night, he tries to finish it in under 10 minutes,' said Katy.

    'When he puts his mind to something, he really gets it done very well. I always ask for his help.'

    While Katy clearly seems doe-eyed over the Waiting For The World To Change singer, Mayer is just as complimentary about her.

    'Roar is in my life. I remember hearing it, going like, "Wow what an interesting experience," to hear something that you identify as massive before it's massive,' he gushed about Perry's recent hit.

    'I thought it was a really sweet, unforgettable sort of experience to hear someone's work while they still have a very nascent relationship with it.

    'In a way you get swallowed up by it, it's so big.

    'Because it's such an incredibly big song that it doesn't need you to tell anybody, while you're eating lunch, [that] millions of people are going to be dancing on tables to that.'

    The talented couple began dating after Perry's divorce from Russell Brand. They have broken up twice but appear to be happier than ever since reconciling earlier this year.


    Source: Dailymail

    Tuesday, October 8, 2013

    New Rugged iPad Case is Designed for the Bretford and All Charging Carts

    <5s iphone ipad cases for kids with autismi>Designed with schools needs in mind, the new iPad Slim Tough Case G3 offers many improvements over its popular predecessor, the STC G2. With stainless steel pivots and slides in the kickstand, a scratch resistant screen protector lens, and a thin profile designed to fit the Bretford and other charging carts, no wonder the G3 received "thumbs up" from examiner.com columnist Rick Limpert.

    Chicago, IL (PRWEB) October 03, 2013

    The iPad Slim Tough Case G2 has been wildly popular with K-12 school deployments, and was chosen by numerous college and professional sports teams to provide rugged protection for their iPads. The new G3 case raises the bar even higher, featuring improvements in the kickstand, screen protector, port covers, material strength, and the same slim profile that fits perfectly in the Bretford PowerSync charging cart.

    In an article titled "iGear's iPad Slim Tough case passes all the tests", Examiner.com columnist Rick Limpert praises iGear's Slim Tough Case G2 for its customization feature, flexibility, and ruggedness, saying "I like it because it is so sturdy. I feel like I can take my iPad anywhere and it will be safe."

    The third generation Slim Tough Case G3 offers multi-layer protection using a combination of (1) an outer soft rubber shell, (2) a rigid inner polycarbonate hard case, (3) a built-in clear screen protector, and (4) a slim profile that's designed to fit the Bretford charging carts. This case is supremely shock absorbent and provides drop protection of up to 20 feet. A built-in kickstand has been reinforced with stainless steel pivots and slides, making it virtually unbreakable. It props up the iPad in both vertical and horizontal orientations, making it easy for students to share knowledge. In addition, the kickstand works as a handle for holding the iPad with one hand. The G3 is designed to fit in virtually all popular charging carts, including Bretford, Anthro, Datamation, and more.

    A rugged case is a must for schools. According to an article published on Billings Gazette - "About 5 percent of the iPads purchased for school students and staffers in Powell Wyoming have had to be repaired or replaced since they were introduced last year. Eighty-one iPads worth $40,192 were damaged. Of those, seven belonged to teachers and administrators and 74 were assigned to students. The most common problem was broken screens."

    There have been other reports that iPads deployed in schools suffer damage rates of up to 10%-15%, with accidental dropping the most common. Schools that purchased rugged iPad cases face another problem - the cases are so thick that they don't fit in charging carts, such as the Bretford PowerSync line. iGearUnlimited designed a new product to address both problems - The iPad Slim Tough Case G3 features a multi-layer construction that's intensely shock absorbent, a polycarbonate hard shell inner jacket that offers impact protection, and a slim profile to fit in the most popular charging carts.

    In a survey conducted by iGearUnlimited of K-12 schools across the country, the company asked participants to name the most needed features of an iPad case for schools. The requests were not surprising:
    1. A rugged case that can protect the iPad from daily use and abuse
    2. Not too bulky - need to fit in the popular Bretford charging cart and kids' backpacks
    3. Built-in screen protector - easy to use, always on, no hassle protection of the iPad screen
    3. Built-in kickstand that works in both vertical and horizontal orientations
    4. Trackable - school's asset ID needs to show as trackable barcodes on each case
    5. Customizable - schools love to feature their logo on each iPad case
    6. Low cost - get the maximum amount of protection and features for the least amount of money

    An overwhelming majority voted iGear's Slim Tough Case as their iPad case of choice due to the fact that it is the only iPad case on the market designed specifically to satisfy the needs of schools.


    Source: Virtual-strategy

    Saturday, October 5, 2013

    Your Guide to Oral Arguments in McCutcheon v. FEC

    On October 8, the Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in one of the most significant 5s iphone cases political animals cast regarding campaign finance in recent memory. The case calls into question freedom of speech and the ability to spend money on political sponsorships, but it also entails a larger examination of the motives behind campaign spending, fundraising, and donating. Contributions may not be explicitly designed to influence a politician's decisions, but it seems common sense that they would do so. There's a reason why no member of the Republican Party would dare support a gun-control bill, just as no self-respecting Democrat would seriously threaten the organizing rights of labor unions. The numbers would indicate that campaign finance laws are simply becoming redundant or procedural, lacking the teeth needed to seriously limit money's influence in political decision-making.

    Political mechanisms today have undergone significant transformations with the advent of different media sources, platforms, and organizations. Particularly while campaigning, candidates formulate complex strategies based off media time and exposure, all of which has come to cost a significant sum of money. Campaigning extends beyond simply news media, however, and the overall cost of running a successful (or unsuccessful) campaign has increased dramatically. In 1986, a successful campaign for a seat in the House of Representatives cost less than $400,000. Today, it takes, on average, over $1.5 million to win the same election. The Senate and the presidency have shown similar increases over the past 25 years.

    The money raised, however, falls under the umbrella of free speech - donating money to your favorite candidate is another way of showing your support, according to the Supreme Court's ruling in Buckley v. Valeo (1976). The court argued that limits on spending are only permissible when the donation clearly corresponds with a political decision and when it reaches a certain monetary amount. The case the court will hear on Tuesday, McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission, is a conflict over the idea of limiting campaign donations. In a larger sense, it might suggest a logical conundrum for the court: If, as Buckley suggested, a limit on donations provided a "marginal" restriction on speech, then at what value does the limit become more than a "marginal" restriction? Sure, the court ruled that a $25,000 aggregate limit was legal, but what about a limit of $25,001? In other words, previous cases offer a good deal of precedent and principle, but provide little specificity as to just how much a campaign donation has to be in order to be unconstitutional.

    The case on Tuesday will put this problem before the court. Alabama resident Shaun McCutcheon wanted to donate more than the biennial, or two-year, limit on spending to a candidate, and he along with a team of lawyers and supporters from the Republican National Committee decided to challenge the limits as a infringement of his freedom to donate money as he wishes.

    Naturally, conservatives will identify with Mr. McCutcheon's desire to spend money as he wishes. After all, limiting an individual's ability to spend his or her own earnings seems a bit counter-capitalist. However, it's equally important to consider the negative effects of giving anyone - or any corporation or special-interest group - the unfettered ability to donate funds to political campaigns. Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) spoke about the case last week, suggesting the court's further progression down the road of decisions like Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission would continue "neutering Congress' ability to limit the influence of money in politics."

    Campaigns, even those for individuals like Ms. Warren, cost money. The logistical expenses alone to remain competitive in a race are baffling. Nonetheless, it seems as though the battle between Republicans and Democrats (and their respective donor groups) has become a proxy battle for the question of how much large donors should be able to enhance the attractiveness of a politician's campaign. The question becomes less about how spending limits will affect an election, and more about whether spending should influence an election at all. Voters should be casting ballots for the individual whose ideas resonate most with their interests, not the candidate who appears in more campaign ads financed by money from a private interest group.

    In 1952, a female supporter of Adlai Stevenson in the presidential election told the candidate, "Governor, every thinking person will be voting for you." Stevenson wryly responded, "Madam, that is not enough. I need a majority." Rather than focusing on spending money to gain support from ideological, ethical, social, or corporate interests, perhaps candidates might benefit from appealing to the thoughts and ideas of the American people, and not so much on impressing them with a well-financed campaign. Hopefully, the Supreme Court's decision in McCutcheon will reinforce the importance of a candidate's ideas and initiatives over his or her financial support from one-sided support networks.


    Source: Policymic

    Thursday, October 3, 2013

    Lunatik TAKTIK cases for iPhone 5s: Extreme peace of mind

    Summary: Lunatik has issued updated versions of its ultra-protective, extreme lifestyle 5s iphone cases otterbox water proof for the iPhone 5s.

    Anyone who follows this blog knows that I am a huge fan of protective cases for mobile devices. Recently, I looked at OtterBox's latest Defender case designs for the iPhone 5s and 5c.

    While I still believe that OtterBox is one of the better cases on the market, recent design changes in the product to accommodate the Touch ID sensor in the new iPhone 5s may have reduced the effectiveness of some of its protection.

    So if you really want to add a little bit more fudge factor to your active lifestyle and increase your peace of mind when carrying these expensive devices, there's another solution on the market: The Lunatik TAKTIK.

    Lunatik has two cases on the market to address active as well as extreme lifestyles. The TAKTIK Strike, for both iPhone 5s and iPhone 5, is a multi-layered, machine screw-sealed and thick "sarcophagus" enclosure for your mobile device.

    The bezels are made out of an impact-resistant polymer, which is surrounded by a silicone, 9mm-thick impact truss, accompanied by PVD-coated steel hardware with aluminum port covers. This is a case designed to take the rigors of daily use and abuse and then some.

    What I most like about the case is the tight fit from screwing the enclosure shut, as well as the high elevation of the bezel from the screen area, which is critical for protecting the screen from damage if it happens to fall flat towards the display area. At $60 for both the white or black versions, I happen to think the price is right for what you are getting, which is a lot of peace of mind for an otherwise fragile and slippery device.

    Unlike the OtterBox Defender, the TAKTIK Strike does not have a permanent screen protector, but I don't think this is a major deficiency in the product's design.

    For those of you with "extreme" lifestyles, there is the TAKTIK Extreme for the iPhone 5s and 5, which adds a secondary layer of Corning Gorilla Glass. This doubles the price of the case ($124) and it also, in the case of the 5s, completely covers the Touch ID sensor, leaving it usable as a home button only and thus requiring the traditional pin-code screen unlock and password entry for App Store purchases.

    However, my guess is that anyone wanting to use this case on a 5s probably doesn't care about this issue.

    Have you pre-ordered your TAKTIK Strike or Extreme for your iPhone 5s? Talk back and let me know.
    Source: Zdnet

    Virgin selling iPhone 5s, 5c at $100 discount

    Buyers interested in the iPhone 5c or the iPhone 5s iphone cases otterbox defender usa may want to give Virgin Mobile another look. As we mentioned last week, the low-cost Sprint-owned carrier is offering the new models as of Tuesday, but they're doing so at a cheaper price than you'll find elsewhere.

    Virgin tends to sell phones for the full unlocked cost, but in this case it's offering $100 off that unsubsidized price. That means if you're looking for an iPhone 5s, you can pick one up for $550, $650, and $750 for 16GB, 32GB, or 64GB, respectively. An iPhone 5c, likewise, goes for $450 for 16GB and $550 for 32GB. All that on top of Virgin's generally cheaper monthly plans, which start at $35, offer unlimited data and text messaging, and do not require a contract.

    Of course, Virgin is one of the smaller carriers in the U.S. and it relies on Sprint's network, which is somewhat smaller than those offered by AT&T and Verizon. It's also worth keeping in mind, however, that the Sprint version of the iPhone 5c and 5s used by Virgin are not compatible with AT&T, T-Mobile, or Verizon (though they do work with several smaller carriers), so your switching options are limited.


    Source: Macworld

    Eight killed when church bus crashes in Tennessee

    <timesp>Eight people were killed in Tennessee on Wednesday afternoon after a church bus blew a tire, veered across a highway median and crashed into two other vehicles, authorities said.

    The bus was carrying members of the group Young at Heart of the Front Street Baptist Church in Statesville, N.C., who were traveling home from the 17th annual Fall Jubilee in Gatlinburg, Tenn., The Associated Press reported. Fourteen others were in injured in the accident, and eight were in critical condition, the report said.

    Dalya Qualls, a spokeswoman for the Tennessee Department of Safety & Homeland Security, said 18 people were on the bus and six of them were killed. One person among three in an SUV was killed, and the driver of a tractor-trailer also died, AP reported.

    None of the victims has been identified.

    A service at Front Street Baptist Church was scheduled for Wednesday night.

    George Stadfeld, who has been a member of the church for eight years, told AP that he knew everyone on the bus.

    "We're all shaken," he said. "As bad as it is, they're all Christians, and I know where they're at. I'll join them later."

    After the accident, a banner was posted on top of the Fall Jubilee website saying, "Our thoughts are with our friends at Front Street Baptist Church in their tragic loss. ... all the Jubilee team have you in our prayers."


    Source: Washingtontimes

    Lunatik TAKTIK cases for iPhone 5s: Extreme peace of mind

    Summary: Lunatik has issued updated versions of its ultra-protective, extreme lifestyle 5s iphone cases otterbox college for the iPhone 5s.

    Anyone who follows this blog knows that I am a huge fan of protective cases for mobile devices. Recently, I looked at OtterBox's latest Defender case designs for the iPhone 5s and 5c.

    While I still believe that OtterBox is one of the better cases on the market, recent design changes in the product to accommodate the Touch ID sensor in the new iPhone 5s may have reduced the effectiveness of some of its protection.

    So if you really want to add a little bit more fudge factor to your active lifestyle and increase your peace of mind when carrying these expensive devices, there's another solution on the market: The Lunatik TAKTIK.

    Lunatik has two cases on the market to address active as well as extreme lifestyles. The TAKTIK Strike, for both iPhone 5s and iPhone 5, is a multi-layered, machine screw-sealed and thick "sarcophagus" enclosure for your mobile device.

    The bezels are made out of an impact-resistant polymer, which is surrounded by a silicone, 9mm-thick impact truss, accompanied by PVD-coated steel hardware with aluminum port covers. This is a case designed to take the rigors of daily use and abuse and then some.

    What I most like about the case is the tight fit from screwing the enclosure shut, as well as the high elevation of the bezel from the screen area, which is critical for protecting the screen from damage if it happens to fall flat towards the display area. At $60 for both the white or black versions, I happen to think the price is right for what you are getting, which is a lot of peace of mind for an otherwise fragile and slippery device.

    Unlike the OtterBox Defender, the TAKTIK Strike does not have a permanent screen protector, but I don't think this is a major deficiency in the product's design.

    For those of you with "extreme" lifestyles, there is the TAKTIK Extreme for the iPhone 5s and 5, which adds a secondary layer of Corning Gorilla Glass. This doubles the price of the case ($124) and it also, in the case of the 5s, completely covers the Touch ID sensor, leaving it usable as a home button only and thus requiring the traditional pin-code screen unlock and password entry for App Store purchases.

    However, my guess is that anyone wanting to use this case on a 5s probably doesn't care about this issue.

    Have you pre-ordered your TAKTIK Strike or Extreme for your iPhone 5s? Talk back and let me know.
    Source: Zdnet

    Ash borer identified in eastern Iowa trees, regional quarantine being considered

    <kaffirp>The emerald ash borer has been positively identified in a residential tree in the city of Mechanicsville in eastern Iowa's Cedar County, making this the fourth location where the invasive beetle has been found in the state, the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship said today in a news release.

    Allamakee County was declared infested in May 2010, Des Moines County in July 2013, and Jefferson County in August 2013.

    The emerald ash borer kills all ash species and is considered to be one of the most destructive tree pests ever seen in North America, the state agency said.

    With four total ash borer finds in eastern Iowa, officials are considering a regional quarantine to slow the accidental movement of the pest by humans.

    This regulatory action restricts movement of hardwood firewood, ash logs and wood chips out of the quarantined counties. "I think we're seeing the culmination of an EAB population that is finally large enough to detect, coupled with trees readily showing symptoms because of multiple stresses, including EAB, drought and floods occurring in recent years," said Robin Pruisner, state entomologist.

    Pruisner said all Iowans are strongly cautioned not to transport firewood across county or state lines, since the movement of firewood throughout Iowa or to other states poses the greatest threat to quickly spread ash borer even further.

    "Preventive treatments next spring - mid-April to mid-May 2014 - are available to protect vigorously healthy and valuable ash trees within 15 miles of the known infested area," said Mark Shour, an ISU Extension and outreach entomologist.

    Ash is one of the most abundant native tree species in North America, and has been heavily planted as a landscape tree in yards and other urban areas. According to the USDA Forest Service, Iowa has an estimated 52 million rural ash trees and approximately 3.1 million more ash trees in urban areas. It is unknown how many public and residential ash trees are located in Mechanicsville.


    Source: Desmoinesregister

    Wednesday, October 2, 2013

    Infinite Crisis Catwoman Reveal Trailer Released

    <halloween costumes catwomanh2>The bad kitty is back!

    Warner Bros. has recently unveiled the next champion to be added to the Infinite Crisis roster, Catwoman.

    Set in the DC Multiverse allowing all DC characters to fight it out, Infinite Crisis is an upcoming multiplayer online battle arena, or MOBA, in development by Turbine. Other MOBA style games include the likes of League of Legends, LoL, and Defenders of the Ancients 2, Dota 2. Infinite Crisis sets itself apart by having characters from the DC Multiverse and now the 'bad kitty' Catwoman joins the roster.

    The new character is explained and tips and tricks are given in the trailer for her release.


    Source: Justpushstart

    Tuesday, October 1, 2013

    iPhone 5s camera comparison test

    I don't know about you, but I find that one of the most popular topics at parties is what kind of phone we carry and how one-sided the conversation can be if there is a phone preference. Nobody really wants to believe that they bought the lesser phone. Most people just stick with their phone contract and upgrade. Who really takes the time to research the best camera in a smartphone anyway? Well, I did, along with a few friends and here is what we found:

    One of the new features of the iPhone 5s iphone cases characters is its improved camera with a larger sensor and more pixels. Apple decided this was the best approach to improve its new camera. It's certainly a much different approach than one of their competitors, Nokia, which went with a 41-megapixel sensor - a number that dwarfs the Apple camera's 8 megapixels.

    Since I don't have any way to technically compare the quality of the sensors, it seemed best to compare the images each smartphone camera produced.

    It was a beautiful day and what appeared to be a perfect way to spend a Saturday afternoon was testing smartphone cameras. Somehow, the list of cameras grew to the iPhone 5s, iPhone 5, Samsung S4, HTC One and Nokia Lumia 1020. This was the perfect opportunity to see if there was enough reason for me to update from the iPhone 5.

    I needed help with this project, as testing so many cameras in a short time was going to be difficult. I asked Allison Sheridan of the NosillaCast Podcast to help me out. I needed her expertise, energy and organization. Also, this would give me a second opinion, plus her husband, Steve, just got the new iPhone 5s.

    According to Apple's marketing, which I wrote about in a previous post, there's a major upgrade to the new camera using more pixels. I needed to see this for myself.

    We decided to shoot in the automatic mode, shooting photographs more like snapshots, to see how the cameras fared. The test included: Outdoor contrast scenes like boats in a marina, colorful flowers; indoor in low light using available light and flash.

    The most noticeable difference when we first started was the screen real estate. I am used to the Apple screen, and it's noticeably smaller. I am certainly ready for a bigger screen when taking and viewing photographs. But that's not enough to make me change brands just yet.

    There were a few technical glitches, which included a way to download photos to the computer for comparison using three different smartphone operating systems: Windows, Android and Apple OS7. Not a problem, but just something we had to work out to conduct our test.

    Flowers. The first test was the easiest: Photograph flowers with bright, vibrant color in bright sunlight. We found some fuschia-colored bougainvillea growing along a fence. The iPhone 5s gave the best rendition of colorful flowers with the most detail without blowing out the highlights. It almost gave a slightly muted color, but it was the most accurate. The other cameras were pretty much the same, with more saturation and a lack of detail in the highlights. It was probably most noticeable with the Nokia phone.

    Kayaks. Next, it was off to the marina. We spotted two colorful kayaks tied next to a sailboat. This was a great subject, plenty of high contrast along with some deep shadows in the rocks underwater. Again the iPhone 5s was the winner in this category. It performed flawlessly with an automatic exposure, producing the vibrant blue and yellow color of the kayaks, a perfect exposure on the white of the sailboat and great detail of the rocks underwater. The iPhone 5 came in a close second; the Galaxy 4S had the least amount of dynamic range, which looked great until you noticed the rocks disappear in the shadow; the HTC was a little blown out in the highlights; and the Nokia phone seemed to have the worst problem with its automatic exposure, but would have been fine it we had changed the manual exposure compensation.

    Jetty. We tried photographing a scene which included rocks at the jetty with boats in the background. This is a typical photograph you might take on vacation and should be no problem for most smartphones. The Nokia Lumia 1020 was the winner here. It seemed to shine the most in well-lighted scenes with a blue sky. It also produced the most detail as we zoomed into the photographs. The other phone's images were very close, but we had a difficult time with the Galaxy S4 - it locked up and needed to be rebooted. As we looked closer at the HTC One image we noticed noise artifacts in the blue ocean.

    Low light. Now we are getting to my least favorite categories after viewing the results. I guess my expectations are still high after looking at the marketing of these cameras. While there are promises of great low-light photography with more pixels and faster lenses, the improvements are slight compared to previous versions. The iPhone 5s did the best and is an improvement over the earlier iPhone 5 model. Again, not enough to make me upgrade just for the camera. Most of the photographs were dark, with only fair color balance. The Samsung looks the worst, producing a very grainy image. We did try the manual exposure compensation with the Nokia 1020 and it made an amazing difference. It proved that with a little work and exploring the controls with each camera, you can really improve your images.

    Flash photography. It's the best of the worst here. It only went downhill with this test. I guess I expect too much from these cameras, but they do call them smartphones. The iPhone 5s with its dual flash system produced the best results. The others ranged from a green to pink to a yellow cast over the image.

    Here are the results after testing the cameras:

    1-iPhone 5s
    2-Nokia
    3-iPhone 5
    4-Samsung S4
    5-HTC One

    After spending two days shooting and then reviewing the photographs, the results were unanimous: Overall the iPhone 5s proved to produce the most high-quality images using the automatic setting. Realistically, this will be the way most people will use the camera. The Nokia placed second; it took great outdoor photos especially with a typical setting with lots of blue sky or water. If you used the manual setting, it produced some great images with fine detail. It was just a little inconsistent with its color balance, especially in low light.

    The iPhone 5 was close, coming in third, with nice results which are good enough to keep me from upgrading just for the camera. Of course, the fingerprint unlock feature and faster processor have me tempted.

    Overall the Samsung S4 produced consistent images in bright light with its nice large screen. It was the weakest in low light.

    The HTC One images were fine for a smartphone, but we noticed small artifact noise in the water of the outdoor photographs, which dropped it in the standing.

    Most noticeable for me is how weak these cameras scored in low light and the flash when compared to most compact cameras. I also miss an optical telephoto lens. It will be tough for me to use my smartphone for all my snapshots. I still turn to my high-quality compact camera for many of my photographs. Check out the results below from our tests.

    Flowers Kayaks Jetty Low Light Flash photography

    Video by Steve Sheridan - Photographs by Allison and Steve Sheridan

    robert.lachman@latimes.com

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    Source: Framework