Sometimes, it’s the little things…

Dropbox sits in the Windows 7 task bar

There’s one thing that I use with all of my computers (laptop, desktop, netbook, and even my iPod Touch) that makes the task of moving files around so painless that I’m not sure how I ever got by without it.  I’ve been using it for almost two years, and I continued to be baffled by how uncommon it is to find other users.  I’m talking, of course, about USB flash drives Dropbox.  It’s a way of having your files on your computer and in the Cloud all at the same time.

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Lightroom 3 on its way!

Adobe Lightroom 3Lightroom 3.0 is on its way after a long beta-testing period.  Ian Lyons has broken down the new features quite well on his Web site.

One of the more interesting changes is that Adobe has re-engineered its RAW processing engine to the point that it isn’t exactly backwards compatible.  Photos processed in past versions of Lightroom or Adobe Camera RAW will be labeled “Process Version 2003” (the year that Camera RAW became a standard feature in Photoshop).  Photos processed in the new version will have “Process Version 2010” appended to them.

The difference?  Supposedly, the noise reduction and sharpening tools have been improved dramatically.  The change in the way RAW files are converted to TIFF, JPEG, etc. is supposed to yield a greater quality image as well.

One of the other changes to Lightroom is support for DSLR video files, although my understanding is that the implementation is rudimentary.  You cannot play back a video file within Lightroom–it launches your preferred video viewer (Quicktime, Windows Media Play, etc.).  What I do not know yet is whether there is at least some ability to put video files inside of Collections to keep them organized.  I would certainly hope that this functionality was not overlooked.

I did not participate in the Beta program because I simply didn’t have the time as I was enrolled in classes at the University of Missouri School of Journalism, but now that I am working on my final project I have a more flexible schedule, and am looking forward to the changes in Lightroom.

The upgrade for users of Lightroom is only $99.00 at Amazon; the full version is $299.

iView Media Pro turned Microsoft Expression Media now in the hands of Phase ONE

A few years back, iView Media Pro became Microsoft Expression Media.  And what happened?  Um, nothing.  It was re-branded and left to languish.  Feature development was basically non-existent, and I stopped using it.  Instead, I turned to Adobe Lightroom for my database needs, and began a  (somewhat painful) transition for my older work, archived in iView/Expression Media, to Lightroom.  For new photographs, Lightroom is a snap to use.  For older work, it can be a bit of a bear.

Well, there’s hope for those who still use Expression Media (including the Pictures of the Year International and College Photographer of the Year contests run out of the Reynolds Journalism Institute and the University of Missouri School of Journalism, respectively): Phase ONE just bought it from Microsoft.

Anyone curious (or serious) about the absolute highest quality digital imaging knows about Phase ONE’s medium format backs and, more recently, Mamiya-based camera bodies.  Their Capture ONE software is also a very powerful RAW converter, easily the equal of Adobe Camera RAW (both of which leave the manufacturer’s supplied software from Nikon, Canon and Olympus in the dust).

For a limited time, owners of Expression Media 2 can have a free copy of Phase ONE’s Capture ONE software (which is great), and owners of Capture ONE can get a free copy of Expression Media 2 (OK, less great).  The details are on Phase ONE’s Web site: