Connect with us

Tech

Gift guide: Photography accessories for the shutterbug in your life

Published

on

Looking for some gift ideas for the photographer in your life? Look no further. Though shooters amateur and professional tend to take care of their own needs pretty well, there are plenty of things you can given them that they’ll appreciate. But you might have to be ready to spend a bit — people don’t pick up this hobby because it’s so cheap.

USB-C Hub – $40-$60

A lot of the latest laptops are eschewing a variety of ports for more or only USB-C. Some like this trend, and some hate it, but one way or another you’ve got to deal with it. Photographers especially. This Vava hub has pretty much everything your average shooter needs, including old-type USB ports for legacy gear, an SD card reader, and a headphone jack for reviewing video. This one is $60 but there are bigger and smaller ones if you happen to know they use Ethernet, microSD, and so on. Just stay away from the bargain bin ones — you don’t want to mess around when it comes to carrying lots of power.

Hand strap – $10-$40

Everyone has a neck strap for their camera because they always come with one. But not everyone wants to use them — the included ones are cheap and even good ones can be annoying. A hand strap is a good alternative that adds a lot of security very simply. For a smaller camera like a mirrorless, a simple, high quality strap like Gordy’s is a good option. And for heavier bodies like DSLRs with big lenses, Peak Design’s Clutch is a solid one that works across many brands. Many camera manufacturers make their own as well, but we’ve found that Peak often makes meaningful improvements on suchstandard models.

Extra SD cards and a carry case – $30-40

A photographer can never have too many cards, and a good case never goes amiss, either. You can’t go wrong with Pelican when it comes to cases, even if $30 seems a lot to spend on a little plastic clamshell with foam inside. As for SD cards, 32 gigabytes is a nice safe number. Just make sure you stick to known brands like Sandisk and Kingston, and make sure it’s a “Class 10” card — lower numbers mean slower transfer speeds.

A year of Adobe – $120

This is a tough one. Lots of photographers use Lightroom and Photoshop, and it would be nice to be able to gift them a few months or a year’s worth of subscription to Adobe’s platform. But Adobe makes this so hard to do that we can’t actually figure out a good way to do it. Nevertheless, if you can figure out a creative way to go about this, your photographer friend will appreciate it. Adobe, if you’re reading this, make this work!

Microfiber wipes – $10-15

One thing you can never have too many of as a photographer is lens wipes. Some prefer the disposable type and/or a little air puff, but a pack of small microfiber ones will also be welcome, as they can be used for glasses, laptop screens, and everything else as well. They’re all pretty much the same and you can get a dozen small ones for less than ten bucks.

A decent bag – $100-400

waxed messengers 28

It’s amazing how often a photographer will spend a thousand bucks on a lens but have their gear sloshing around in some old backpack. A good bag helps keep your gear safe but also makes you a better shooter by making you organize, inventory, and keep things accessible. There are a lot of great bags to choose from out there, which is why we have Bag Week, but I’m partial to Ona for waxed and vintage style camera bags and Peak Design for a more modern, synthetic style.

Soft shutter release – $25

A soft shutter release is definitely a niche gift, but if you have someone on the list who shoots one of Fujifilm’s rangefinder-style cameras, or a Leica if they’re really fancy, a soft shutter release is an awesome, inexpensive stocking stuffer. The Match Technical Boop-O pictured above on an X-T3 camera adds a very nice, easy-to-squeeze ergonomic shutter control to the existing flat button. It screws into a hole that’s already built in to Fuji cameras that support this, including the X100-series and the X-T series cameras, to name just a few popular options. Stick-on soft shutter releases are also available for cameras that don’t have this mount built-in.

Portable lighting – $70-$500

If you think photographic lighting is just about on-camera flash, then you probably haven’t done enough experimenting with the variety of smart lightening accessories out there. Two great options are the Lume Cube line of products (Lume Cube Air pictured, left above) and the Profoto C1 and C1+. These serve different needs, but can both be used to help you do really fun stuff with both smartphone and dedicated camera-based photography. The price ranges vary, but Profoto’s offering is aimed more at pros who want portable lighting that approaches what you can get out of much more expensive studio setups, while Lume Cube is better suited to the action and drone photography set.

Gnarbox – $500-$900

Gnarbox 2.0 6This is definitely a gift reserved only for the people who merit big ticket purchases on your list, given its price. It’s also designed specifically to suit the needs of creative professionals, so it’s probably too much gear for most people. That said, if there is a pro photographer or videographer in your life who you really care deeply about, this is likely to be a gift that they’ll value – even if they already have one, since it’s the kind of gear where more = better. The Gnarbox provides easy SD backup and file management for photos and videos, so that you can keep shooting longer in the field and work with the files on the go. The 2.0 version is finally shipping, which offers SSD-based storage for much faster transfer and working speeds.

Mini tripod – $12 – $35

A mini tripod is a great addition to any photography kit, and there are a range of options available to suit different sizes and types of cameras, from smartphones all the way up to big DSLRs. The best value for money just might be the Manfrotto PIXI lineup, however, which itself comes in a range of options. The basic PIXI Mini Tripod is probably plenty enough for most, and can really help make sure that you get great travel shots and selfies while keeping your pack light. The PIXI EVO gives you a bit more flexibility with extendable legs for a bit more money.

News

Jury deliberates for 45 minutes before handing Elon Musk victory in ‘pedo guy’ defamation trial

Published

on

By

Tesla Inc boss Elon Musk gained a stunning legal victory on Friday as a federal court jury swiftly rejected the US$190 million defamation claim brought by a British cave explorer who Musk had branded a “pedo guy” on Twitter.

The unanimous verdict by a jury of five women and three men was returned after about 45 minutes of deliberation on the fourth day of Musk’s trial, which was closely watched by legal experts because it is believed to be the first major defamation lawsuit by a private individual to go to trial over tweets.

READ MORE: Defamation trial over Elon Musk’s ‘pedo guy’ tweet begins

Musk, 48, who had testified during the first two days of the trial in his own defence and returned to court on Friday to hear closing arguments from the two sides, exited the courtroom after the verdict and said: “My faith in humanity is restored.”

Story continues below advertisement

Outside the courthouse, cave explorer Vernon Unsworth told a throng of reporters he was resigned to his defeat. “I accept the jury’s verdict, take it on the chin and get on with my life.”

British cave diver Vernon Unsworth attends closing arguments of his defamation trial against Elon Musk in Los Angeles, California, U.S., December 6, 2019.
British cave diver Vernon Unsworth attends closing arguments of his defamation trial against Elon Musk in Los Angeles, California, U.S., December 6, 2019. REUTERS/Mona Shafer Edwards

The case stems from a public quarrel between Musk and Unsworth, who gained fame for his leading role in coordinating the successful rescue of 12 boys and their soccer coach from a flooded cave in Thailand in July 2018.

Tesla Cybertruck’s ‘armour glass’ windows smash during demo

Tesla Cybertruck’s ‘armour glass’ windows smash during demo

Unsworth, 64, had chided Musk in a CNN interview for delivering a mini-submarine, which was never used, to the site of the Tham Luang Nang Non cave system. Unsworth called Musk’s intervention a “P.R.” stunt and said the high-tech entrepreneur should “stick his submarine where it hurts.”

Musk responded two days later on Twitter with three posts that became the basis of the defamation case. The first questioned Unsworth’s role in the rescue, while the second said, “Sorry pedo guy, you really did ask for it,” using a slang term of pedophile.

Story continues below advertisement

The third tweet, in reply to a follower who asked Musk about the second tweet, said, “Bet ya a signed dollar it’s true.”

READ MORE: Smashing success? After cybertruck demo, Elon Musk says Tesla has received 146K orders

In closing arguments on Friday, Unsworth’s lead attorney, L. Lin Wood, summed up his case by castigating Musk as a “billionaire bully” who had “dropped a nuclear bomb” on Unsworth in his Twitter blast.

Wood said Musk’s “pedo guy” remark was a slur that would overshadow Unsworth’s relationships and job prospects for years to come and urged jurors to teach the Tesla chief executive and SpaceX founder a lesson by awarding Unsworth $190 million, including $150 million in punitive damages.

SEC goes after Elon Musk over another tweet

SEC goes after Elon Musk over another tweet

Two days earlier, under questioning on the witness stand, Musk had estimated his net worth at $20 billion.

But the jury was apparently swayed by the arguments put forth by Musk’s attorney, Alex Spiro, who said the tweets in question arose from an argument between two men and amounted to an off-hand insult that no one could be expected to take seriously.

READ MORE: Elon Musk faces trial for ‘pedo’ insult after dismissal attempt fails

“In arguments you insult people,” he said. “There is no bomb. No bomb went off.”

Spiro also said Unsworth failed to demonstrate that he suffered any harm from Musk’s comments, which the South African-born businessman apologized for in court earlier in the week.

Story continues below advertisement

© 2019 Reuters

Source: Global News

Continue Reading

News

Uber weighs next steps after report showed more than 3,000 sex assaults during U.S. rides in 2018

Published

on

By

A day after Uber revealed that more than 3,000 riders and drivers were sexually assaulted last year while using its U.S. service, attention is turning to what’s next for the ride-hailing giant and whether its plans to improve safety go far enough.

Uber’s report was hailed by victims’ rights organizations for taking a step that other companies have so far been unwilling to match. But it’s unclear whether the transparency will help rebuild trust or backfire by showing customers how deep Uber’s safety problems go.

READ MORE: Uber reports more than 3,000 sexual assaults during U.S. rides in 2018

In the safety report, Uber said 464 people were raped while using its U.S. services in 2017 and 2018. Almost all of them — 99.4 per cent — were riders. It’s difficult to compare those statistics to other modes of transportation, because U.S. taxi companies and transit agencies generally do not collect similar national data.

Story continues below advertisement

Even so, many said the report shows Uber has work to do.

“This is a major crisis situation that they’re going to have to deal with because the brand’s built on safety, and even though some could try to say it’s a small number, it’s still way too high — it’s higher than zero — and I think that shows a gap in their screening process,” said Dan Ives, managing director of Wedbush Securities.

The revelations give “meat on the bones” to regulators, including those in London who chose not to renew Uber’s license over safety issues, he said.

Uber investigating after Toronto woman left stranded ‘in middle of nowhere’ during Calgary snowstorm

Uber investigating after Toronto woman left stranded ‘in middle of nowhere’ during Calgary snowstorm

Uber has been working to improve safety over the last two years, rolling out features including an in-app emergency button, a ride-check feature that detects unexpected stops or crashes and the ability for riders or drivers to share their location with loved ones during a ride. The company outlined additional safety steps it will take in the report.

On Monday, Uber plans to launch in seven cities a feature to give riders a four-digit number that they can use to verify that they are getting into the right car. Next year, it plans to launch a survivor support hotline staffed by RAINN, a sexual violence organization, and to provide sexual misconduct education for drivers. The hotline may encourage more victims to report attacks.

Story continues below advertisement

The report only covers Uber’s U.S. operations. The U.S. and Canada brought in 63 per cent of Uber’s revenue last quarter. Lyft said it would release its own safety report, but it has not indicated when.

READ MORE: Ridesharing companies worried about mounting municipal business licences in B.C.

Critics say Uber should be doing more, particularly with background checks, to weed out potentially dangerous drivers. Unlike many taxi companies, Uber and its main U.S. rival, Lyft, do not check drivers’ fingerprints against a national database.

The gold standard for background checks is fingerprinting “because someone can easily fake a Social Security number,” said Dominique Penson, an attorney who has represented sexual assault victims. “You can’t fake a fingerprint. And if somebody has been convicted of a crime anywhere in the United States, that will appear in a national database, and when you run that fingerprint, you’ll know.”

Uber says the FBI has acknowledged its database is incomplete and does not always include a final disposition. The company’s process includes a motor vehicle screening, a criminal background check and ongoing notifications about any new offences.

Quebec taxi drivers worry new legislation will leave them out in the cold

Quebec taxi drivers worry new legislation will leave them out in the cold

An added fingerprint check could add precious time to the driver-approval process at a time when both Uber and Lyft are fiercely competing for market share.

Dashboard cameras also could help by recording incidents and serving as a deterrent for bad behaviour, said Harry Campbell, founder of The Rideshare Guy, a blog and online community for drivers. Campbell encourages drivers to get cameras, but the ride-hailing companies have not encouraged the practice.

Story continues below advertisement

“Even if you have dashcam footage, it’s hard to get Uber and Lyft to actually look at the footage,” Campbell said.

READ MORE: Vancouver loses what little ridesharing it had as Kater suspends service

Last month, Uber announced it would allow passengers and drivers in Brazil and Mexico to record audio of their rides.

A U.S. House committee is looking at legislation that could reduce the number of sex assaults involving ride-hailing passengers and drivers, U.S. Rep. Peter DeFazio, D-Oregon, chairman of the House Transportation Committee, said Friday.

The committee has discussed requiring fingerprint background checks, camera monitoring and front license plates for ride-hailing cars in states that don’t have them. This would help prevent fake ride-hailing drivers from picking up passengers by making it easier for passengers to check plate numbers against the ones provided by Uber and Lyft, DeFazio said.

Former Google engineer now Uber employee charged with tech theft

Former Google engineer now Uber employee charged with tech theft

In Eugene, Oregon, fingerprint checks earlier this year by the local police department found about two dozen Uber and Lyft drivers had criminal records that were missed in the companies’ checks, DeFazio said. One was a convicted murderer, while another was a registered sex offender, according to The Register-Guard newspaper. The city stopped the people from driving for the companies.

There may be limits on what federal legislators can do. Ride-hailing companies could be regulated federally because they conduct interstate commerce, but that is new legal territory, he said.

Story continues below advertisement

Still, he applauded Uber’s report, saying the company had done more than any of its competitors “by just reporting,” DeFazio said. “There’s more to be done, for sure.”

The report raised alarm among some riders.

READ MORE: Uber stripped of licence in London, U.K. over safety ‘failures’

“I think I’ve taken it a little bit for granted, the fact that the app already tracks who I am and where I’m at,” said Mary Yao, 28, an MBA student at U.C. Berkeley. “I think I’ll be more conscientious next time I climb into a car to not always be on my phone. So it has made me raise my awareness a little bit.”

Bryant Greening, an attorney and co-founder of LegalRideshare, a Chicago law firm that specializes in ride-sharing cases, noted that more than 40% per cent of the reported sexual assaults, which include incidents less serious than rape, were against drivers, who also are at risk.

“There’s no more dangerous place to be than in a moving car with a stranger,” Greening said. “You are really vulnerable without a clear path to escape. So this system, rideshare, needs to be made safe for everybody who is in that car.”

Uber in Vancouver

Uber in Vancouver

© 2019 The Canadian Press

Source: Global News

Continue Reading

Tech

In a first, Amazon launches a battery-powered portable Echo speaker in India

Published

on

By

After launching nearly a dozen Echo speaker models in India in two years, Amazon said on Wednesday it is adding a new variant to the mix that addresses one of the most requested features from customers in the nation: Portability.

The e-commerce giant today unveiled the Echo Input Portable Smart Speaker Edition, a new variant in the lineup that includes a built-in battery. The 4,800mAh enclosed battery will offer up to 10 hours of continuous music playing or up to 11 hours of stand-by life, the company said.

“Portability has been one of the most requested features in India,” said Miriam Daniel, VP of Alexa Devices. “You want to be able to carry Alexa with you from room to room within your homes. So we have designed something just for you.”

The company said the Echo Input Portable Smart Speaker Edition (which remains a mouthful) shares the same “architect” as the Echo Input, a device it launched last year that does not feature a speaker.

The battery-powered Echo model, designed exclusively for India, is priced at 5,999 Indian rupees ($84). Users can currently purchase it at an introductory price of 4,999 Indian rupees ($70) and the device will begin shipping on December 18.

Other than the built-in battery pack, the new speaker model offers an identical set of features — access to some 30,000 Alexa skills, compatibility with a range of home devices, of course, support for Alexa voice assistant — as other Echo variants. (The new model additionally carries an array of four LEDs that light up when a user taps the power button to show battery level.)

Amazon has never disclosed how many Echo speakers it has sold in India, but it has noted that the country is one of its most important markets. At a conference in September, Rohit Prasad, VP and head scientist of Alexa AI at Amazon, said the “adoption of Alexa in India has been phenomenal.”

The e-commerce giant, which has invested north of $5 billion in India, is among many international firms that are currently betting to turn the nation of 1.3 billion people into one of their biggest markets. Winning that market means customizing many of their products and services to align with local conditions in the nation. In September, Amazon announced Alexa was adding support for Hindi language to broaden its appeal in the nation.

Amazon executives said they intend to bring this new speaker to other markets eventually.

Continue Reading

Trending