Thursday, 26 July 2012

Boosting Your Macbook Pro RAM

As the physical size of computer RAM chips reduces and their capacity increases, we can pack more into the same space, making our computers faster and more efficient, especially when handling large files.
One of my bugbears has always been the [small] amount of RAM you can load into a laptop. Because of their obvious size limitations it's never been easy to add nearly as much RAM as it is to a [far larger] desktop computer.
I recently bought an Apple Macbook Pro (MacbookPro8.2 model) and, at the time of purchase, chose to add the maximum RAM possible: 8Gb, combined with the latest i7 QuadCore processor. It works very well. 

However one of my photo students was talking about upgrading beyond the stated Apple maximum using RAM bought from a non-Mac source.
Yes, you CAN add even MORE RAM to a MacbookPro if you buy not-recommended-by-Apple sort of RAM. For years I have incorrectly thought that if it was not sanctioned by Apple, it was possibly inferior or would make the device malfunction. But then, I have been using non-Epson ink cartridges for years with great results and have frequently added non-original parts to my car - and it still works.
The company I bought the RAM from was Other World Computers (OWC) in the States. I ordered on Monday, it arrived on Thursday. It took ten minutes to install. Easy. As I wanted it to go smoothly I also ordered the handy OWC tool kit - just so I did not try to open my shiny new Macbook Pro using a bodgy jeweller's screwdriver that I have in hte kitchen drawer.
You can also find simple, clear and no-fuss video tutorials on the OWC website that rate the trickiness of each operation for each model and go through the process with a blow-by-blow commentary (e.g.

I used a US company because it was recommended, but I have since seen several Aussie companies advertising a similar service - albeit slightly more expensive. Try or maybe

Note also that you can upgrade the internal storage (hard drives), in particular solid state drives (SSDs) to a far higher capacity that Apple currently offers. All these products are fully guaranteed so there seems to be no risk involved unless you are a total klutz with a screwdriver...

Wednesday, 18 July 2012

Cuba Photo Montage Book

I have just received my Cuba Montages book back from the printer - very happy with the quality, although to be truthful, over the past month I redid most of the pages many times, editing the colour and brightness again and again till I was happy. Someone remarked to me 'how long' it takes to make a digital photo book. This has taken me two months, on and off. If I have a folder of edited images it is possible to get it all done in a day, but then there's always something in the design, layout, colour, sharpenss and subject matter that can be improved upon.

For the first time I tried Blurb's ProLine Uncoated paper - in plain English this refers to a 'dead matte' finish. Great for a more 'arty' look and feel - but do beware, the more matte your paper surface, the flatter the tones reproduce so, to compensate, you might have to boost the colours slightly. As Blurb doesn't issue colour profiles for its pre-press you really have to do this by eye and hope for the best. Having said that though, if your screen is accurate (i.e. calibrated) then it's more likely to come out the way you want. It was also a good $25 cheaper - for the same thickness paper (as the more expensive ProLine Pearl).

You can buy the eBook here or check out the print version below:

Thursday, 5 July 2012

Photo-Real: a New Definition?

Here's a new 'take' on the description "photo realistic" - produced by Corridor Digital, a bunch of creative guys who make a lot of fun videos - mostly with ordinary DSLRs. Hope you enjoy it...