Thursday, October 09, 2014

Shopping list

I've had a couple of things hit the priority list for shopping ...

Techie shopping that is.

The pooter and laptop and all the other home computing/electronic stuff is all good. Pumpkin (my desktop) is a few years old now but is definitely not feeling its age. It's hanging in there pretty well, which is one of the lessons - if you buy the maximum you can afford, while still being sensible, then you get a PC that lasts for many years. I used to buy base spec, every 18 months, because that was what I could afford. That actually costs more in the long run as it gets out of date quicker. Mind you, that was in a time when pooter power was growing spectacularly.

Nah - the pooter and Macbook are doing pretty well, no need to buy bits for those. But what does that leave ?

A camera.

I've been curious about a camera ever since trying to take that low light shot of the moon a few weeks ago. The iPhone 5 has a decent camera on it in terms of megapixels but its low light performance is appalling and it doesn't have an optical zoom. My other camera is a Nikon Coolpix 4300, which I believe may have been bought last century. (I don't think it's that old) It only has a 4 megapixel sensor and it absolutely murdered its batteries.

So for Comic Con and other things, I'm looking for a camera with a modern sensor and a battery life that'll last all day. Which is more than can be said for that iPhone too ...

The favourite choice at the moment is between two Canon Ixus. I don't want to spend too much cash, so it's between the 150 and the 155. The 150 has a 16 megapixel sensor, the 155 has 20. The 150 may actually be a better camera due to that. Less pixels mean the area per pixel is bigger, which means they can grab in more light. I'll probably get it from a local place, Bristol Cameras, as that means I'm supporting a local trader instead of the uncaring monolith that is the big national stores.

Oh and they're cheap too. That always helps.

I bought the Comic Con ticket today, which means finding a printer for the ticket ... Well, it worked six months ago for Rezzed but is now whinging that it needs a new black cartridge. Before and after changing. Uhoh. May need to shop for another printer ... Darn those short lived easy to break inkjets.

I'm also looking for image manipulation software. I'm currently using the Gimp but don't get on with its silly selection method. It also doesn't do curve transformations apparently. I'd like to get Photoshop Elements but don't want to pay the £50 it would cost.

Solution ? Use VMPlayer to make a pretend PC inside this one which would run WinXP with an old enough version of Internet Explorer to run Photoshop Elements 1. The problem is that PE1 demands IE4 and only checks one digit of the version. So IE10 and IE11 become IE1. Silly people. Typical of Adobe programming to be honest. It's a shame Flash is so pervasive because it's a horrendous buggy insecure example of messy software that bloated way beyond its original purpose.

Camera, software, printer ...

Phone ? My iPhone 5 is coming up for the end of its contract in a few months. I only have one problem with it, there's a nasty battery life. Plus it'll shut itself down at anything between 20 and 35% and not wake up until its fed with more power. I've seen it shut down at 50% once. Options :

Update to an Iphone 5s or iPhone 6. That's not going to happen because I'm quite happy with iOS6 and don't want to break iTunes by changing from that.
Switch to a cheaper contract so I'm not spending more than I need to. This will happen if possible.
Buy a battery extender - need to find one of these. I totally forgot at the Mall on Tuesday.

I'm sure there's a few more bits and pieces of techie stuff I really need apart from camera and battery extender. I'm getting closer to a new mouse too because mine is starting to double bounce on the left click button. It's a Microsoft Habu mouse which I've had for a few years and I've been quite pleased with it. Pleased enough that I'd buy another.

Headphones too. I have a headset mic but could do with a headphone + mic combo that would let me record things. I'd like it to plug into USB too, instead of the analogue port which I don't think I connected. (There's one at the back but that involves reaching ...)

That all makes for a decent shopping list huh ?

I'm only likely to get the camera and the battery extender. The camera is a bit of a luxury item but ... it is a big birthday coming up on 13 Nov. (Age ... classified) The battery extender is more of an essential because that iPhone battery barely lasts out the day.

Could someone be a little too addicted to the internet ? Perhaps ! :-)

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